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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rustic Roasted Garlic Bread


Go out and buy the book already. I had a rough week. I was looking forward to the weekend and bread baking. Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking is filled with delightful stories from bakeries all over the US. When you read the account of Della Fattoria you become aware that an artisan bakery, with a wood burning stove is a 24 hour commitment. Who feeds the starter, who stokes the fire. I love reading stories in cookbooks and am really enjoying this one.

One of Della Fattoria's most popular varieties is the Rustic Roasted Garlic Bread. You need a little time on your hands to make this bread. First you will need a firm sourdough starter that has been refreshed 8 hours earlier. Glezer tells you how to make your batter type starter into a firm starter, buy the book, you won't regret it.

The starter is mixed with water, bread flour and wheat flour and allowed to ferment overnight. I enjoy having things fermenting on my counter. It makes me feel like I am back in lab.

At some point, you roast three heads of garlic in the oven for about an hour. After they are roasted, pop the cloves out of their skins, mash them and add some olive oil, salt and pepper to make at least 3 Tablespoons of garlic paste.

The next morning, mix the fermented levain, water, and bread flour. This forms a wet, soft dough that you mix in a stand mixer for 25 minutes. Not a typo. So far the recipes in Artisan Baking have had a longer mixing time. After 25 mins you add some salt. You end up with a very soft dough. I can't help but wonder if the 25 minutes is really necessary. It would be nice to have a bake off.

Now starts the four hour fermenting. Put it in a container, every 30 mins take it out and fold it, do this for 3 times or 90 mins, then leave it alone for 2.5 more hours. It will slowly rise. Divide it into two. Form it into rounds, flip them over, squash them down, smear on some garlic paste and asiago cheese, pinch the dough together to make a pleated pouch. Flip it over, make a nice parsley wreath and put a clove of garlic into a slice in the the center of the loaf. Put the loaf parsley side down in a floured, linen covered bowl. Let it ferment for four more hours. Flip it onto a sheet. You were supposed to slice around the perimeter right before baking. I forgot that part. Bake it on a baking stone in a 425 oven.


Then, let the bread cool. Slice it open and fight over who gets the piece with the most garlic puree. It is clear that the hours spent fermenting add to the flavor of this bread. This is not bread for the faint of heart, it screams hearty, flavorful, not white, garlic lover bread.

I sending this over to YeastSpotting.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Minimalist Hot Cross Buns - Mellow Bakers 1st Bread


I found myself in a state of confusion after I finished the last of the BBA challenge breads. What was I going to do on the weekends? What to bake? Paul over at the Yumarama Bread Blog suggested forming a new group of bakers, the Mellow Bakers. We are baking breads out of Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.

Paul suggested Hot Cross Buns for March. Some people enjoy a hot cross bun in the springtime. I've lived with the people in my house for some time. I know their idiosyncrasies. They will eat no fruit in their breads. They have no aversion to uncooked fruit. Two of my family members have been known to eat raw lemons. Candy that lemon and they won't go near it.

The paste that is used to cross the buns has been peeled off and discarded from many a pastry brought into my house.

So I made nontraditional hot cross buns. No dried currants, no candied peel, no allspice. A touch of cinnamon and a little glaze after they had cooled. They made a delicious breakfast treat. I am not certain that I could convince any one that they tasted like the traditional hot cross buns. If you would like to see what the traditional buns look like and find a recipe, head over to Susan's Wild Yeast blog.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sullivan Street Potato Pizza



I am enjoying Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking. It is hard for me to decide which recipe to try next. I chose this recipe because the guy in the book looks so pleased to be carrying a potato pizza. And why shouldn't he? Potatoes, pizza, what is not to like?

It is a very wet dough that is made by mixing bread flour, all purpose flour, instant yeast and 109% water with a pinch of salt and sugar.



You are supposed to mix it for 20 minutes to see the miracle of bread making. It took a little less for a nice dough to form.


After fermenting for four hours, it is put in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan that has been coated with olive oil. After it is given a chance to rise, it is covered with a mixture of thinly sliced yukon gold potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, rosemary and olive oil. The rosemary plants in my backyard are covered with new growth.

It smells incredible while baking.

We all enjoyed the pizza although we aren't really sure that it is a pizza. We are willing to give it another try to discern it's true nature. Some people in the house think that a pizza has to have some sauce/cheese. It has been suggested that this is more like a tart by my bread eating family. I do not know, but I know why the guy in the book is smiling.

I'm sending this to YeastSpotting!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Polenta with Mushrooms in Beef Sauce


So, I had the delicious focaccia and some leftover polenta in the fridge that I had poured in a pan to firm up. I am trying to use up all leftovers and not waste food.

I sauteed some onions and garlic in a little butter. I added some red wine and cooked it down. I put in a little flour, cooked it and added some of that delicious homemade beef stock that I had made.

I cut the polenta into squares. Warmed them up in a pan and topped them with my sauce. Added some grilled veggies, because veggies are important.

The risotto may not have been my favorite, but this was delicious.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Acme's Herb Slabs




This herb slab is a delicious focaccia, flecked with rosemary. I thought about roasting some garlic and adding it but decided to try the recipe as printed in Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking.

The evening before baking, you make a poolish of water and all-purpose flour. It only uses 1/16th of a teaspoon and I questioned whether it would have much effect.



Indeed it did.

The next morning, flour, salt, fresh chopped rosemary and yeast were combined. Some water and olive oil were added to the poolish and then they were all combined. I mixed it in the mixer until it came together and then let it rest for 10 mins. Apparently to let the yeast hydrate. Then I mixed it with the dough hook for 5 mins.

It was a very wet dough. Over the next hour, I turned it three times and then let it ferment for five more hours. It was divided into two, formed into round blob shapes and rested.



then shaped into rectangles. The rectangles were dimpled, then proofed then baked in a 450 degree oven. After 5 minutes, you flip the loaves. Really, doesn't that sound like a bad idea? A way to get burnt. Or maybe a way to develop a lovely crust?

It is a delightful focaccio. Full of flavor. Nice crumb. I served it with some polenta and sauteed brocollini with garlic.

I am enjoyed Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking. She has a different way of presenting the breads. I wonder if I could make all the recipes in her book?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Risotto Daring Cooks




This was not my favorite recipe and I wouldn't post it except it is part of the Daring Cook's challenge. Eleanor and Jess choose risotto with a homemade stock for this month's challenge.

We enjoy risotto. For this challenge I thought that I would try something that I had never tried. I have never made my own beef broth. I decided to make some beef broth out of shanks, onion, red wine and water. Then I chose a recipe that required beef broth from Marcella Hazan's Marcella Cucina. Risotto with Sausages and Cranberry Beans.

It was a simple recipe with cranberries beans, pork sausage, onions, beef broth and risotto.

Hazan says that the final step of risotto is the mantecare. It means to work butter or cream into what you are cooking. It is what gives the risotto some of its creamy consistency.

The mantecare for this recipe included better and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. The risotto was ok, I have had rice and beans made with white rice that I enjoyed more. The beans are mashed against the edge of the pot to add some creamy consistency.

I have some risotto recipes that I enjoy more.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche, The Final BBA Bread


I wish that you could smell my kitchen. This bread has filled the house with the aroma of bread, cheese and onions. It is amazing.

It was a three day bread. A bonus recipe in the end of the Bread Bakers Apprentice. Another recipe from Bennett Valley Bread and Pastry's.

It started with a sponge of water, flour and starter. Then onions were chopped, sprinkled with olive oil and roasted with some salt and pepper.

I made the whole seven pounds of dough. The dough had the started and some instant yeast as well as flour, water, salt, olive oi, 16 ounces of asiago cheese, chives and scallions. Half of the cheese was incorporated into the dough, half was saved for the top. After the ingredients were mixed, the dough was formed into two large boules which were put in the refrigerator for up to three days.

While baking, in the hearth like oven, the aroma was amazing. We all enjoyed the bread and I took a loaf into work. It was gone pretty quickly. I was worried, it is a full flavored bread, with the onions and scallions and chives. But everyone enjoyed it.

I am conflicted now that I have reached the end of the book. I am proud and excited that I have completed all of the recipes and sad to see the end of the book. I have never cooked every recipe in a book before. I think that it is a fascinating way to approach a cookbook. The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart is subtitled Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. I certainly have made some extraordinary breads. I have become familiar with the twelve stages of bread baking, cooling remains my least favorite stage. I wouldn't consider myself a master at bread baking, but I am on my way. Some of the breads I will make again and again, and some I made just for the experience. I can easily say that my reasons for preferring some breads are based on childhood memories, personal palate and past experiences.


Favorites?

Bagels
Ciabatta
Cinnamon & Sticky Buns
English Muffins
Focaccia
Italian bread
Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire
Pain a l'ancienne
Pane Siciliano
Pizza Napoletana
Potato Rosemary Bread
Basic Sourdough Bread
White Bread
Potato, Cheddar & chive Torpedos
Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche


Plans? I think I'll head over to Mellow Bakers. A new challenge is in the works. Why not?