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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Light Rye Bread or the blob

I wanted to make this bread before the end of April, because...

I am not a mellow person.

There it is, in black and white.

If there are three breads in April's Mellow bakers challenge, then I will bake all three.

There were a couple of problems with my plan, the most pressing was the lack of my books.

Good news, I found a recipe on line and assumed it was correct.

I made the sourdough with rye flour,
mature sourdough

This ripened for 14 to 16 hours. Things looked to be going fine, I made some grey-brown slime and watched it bubble. Been there.

I rushed home from work and put

high gluten flou
1 T salt
the sourdough mixture

into a bowl, mixed it and thought that I needed some more flour, added a little more then cut the dough in half and added caraway to half a loaf.

let it rise until doubled, and then, when I poured it out, I had a blob. An almost impossible to shape, limp mess.

Shaped into boules, left to rise for another hour. I tried to slice them, oh, slicing slime never works. Never

Into the oven to pray for spring.

I have seen some beautiful looking loaves from this recipe, maybe, is this the recipe. And thanks to some number checking from some fellow bakers, I had the right recipe.

I ended up adding at least a half a cup of flour during the initial mix, I should have added more, but I am hesitant to add lots of flour to a recipe.

The good news is, the bread is delicious. I just won't be making this one again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thom Leonard's Country French Bread

I needed to bake the bread for the week and three of my cookbooks have gone to visit a friend. This country french bread had appealed to me when I first looked through Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer. Almost all the recipes in Artisan Baking call to me, bake me, bake me next. Maybe it is a good thing that some of my cookbooks have disappeared?

You start by making a levain with 25grams of your fermented sourdough starter, 140 gram of water and 140 grams of bread flour. This is left to ferment overnight on the counter. We should all know by know that I love having things bubbling away on my counter.

The next day, a mixture of 350 grams whole wheat flour, 750 grams bread flour, 30 grams rye flour are mixed together and then added to the levain and water.

Glezer uses a coarsely ground whole wheat flour that you can order in 50 pound bags from some place in Colorado. I wonder what my husband would say if I start ordering 50 pound bags of flour?

This is mixed for 10 minutes and then one Tablespoon with 1.5 t salt is added and mixed for 5 more mins until you make a soft, sticky and extensible dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes

The dough is folded after 30, 60 and 90 minutes and left to ferment for 90 more minutes.

So, this recipe actually makes about a four pound loaf. At least that is what the shaping called for, one gigantic loaf.

After three hours, I divided into two, let it rest on the counter and then shaped two boules which were allowed to ferment for four hours. I used my new brotform and my colander covered with a floured linen clothe. After four hours, turn the loaves out and slash them. One loaf I slashed, one I did not.

This is an all day, slow one hundred percent sourdough bread. There is no frantic rushing around the kitchen with this bread. This is a delicious loaf of bread, well worth the effort. The sourdough flavor was delicious and I was surprised how much you could taste the rye flour.

When I run out of recipes whispering to me, I will make this one again. But, before I do, I am going to send this recipe to yeastspotting.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


One of the Mellow Baker's April breads is bagels. My husband really enjoys a good bagel. I was glad to get the opportunity to make these. Unfortunately, we are overwhelmed by our daughter Emily's lifestyle. She is the stage manager of the high school production of Beauty and the Beast. There are four shows this weekend, which are cramping my baking/blogging style!

High gluten flour, salt, yeast, diastatic malt powder and water were combined to make a stiff dough. Bagels almost killed my mixer the last time that I made them. I know there are other, heavy duty mixers out there. But my stand mixer is older than my marriage, maybe 25 years old. So I proceeded with care.

My stiff dough fermented for one hour and then was formed into bagels. Some of them I made by Hamelman's rope method and some of them I made by poking a hole into a round of dough.

They were put into the refrigerator overnight to gain some more flavor.

At this point, I decided to skip the ice path, bagel flipping method. I boiled some water with baking soda, boiled the bagels for a minute each side and popped them into a 450 degree oven for about 8 mins.

They are delicious. We are trying to figure out which ones we like more. We think that it might be the BBA recipe, but perhaps we were influenced by how exiting it was to actually make bagels at home.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brunswick Stew

I'm late. I've been busy with school. And perhaps I am too old for school Sometimes when it an assignment is due, I find myself thinking, I could be baking bread. Oh well. I finished the recipe earlier but forgot to write it up...

April's Daring Cooks Challenge was a Southern classic, Brunswick Stew. I had never made Brunswick Stew. A quick internet search revealed that I could make the stew with rabbits or squirrels, but I fresh out of both of them. I opted for chicken and pork.

Any recipe that starts with sauteed bacon is on its way to tasty goodness. After the bacon was removed, I sauteed some serrano chiles and some poblanos. They were removed and then I seared the chicken and pork.

The pan was deglazed with stock. The stock was reduced and then more stock,bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, pork, bacon and chiles were added and simmered for 1.5 hours. The chicken, and pork were removed and shredded. The bay, celery, chiles and bacon were discarded. Carrots, onions, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes were added and simmered for 30 min with the meat. At the very end, vinegar and lemon were added.

This was a tasty stew. I'm glad that I was able to find the traditional butter beans, like huge squished lima beans with less of the pasty taste.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rustic Bread

I have officially baked my first bread in the Mellow Bakers challenge. The rustic bread started with a pre-ferment. A pre-ferment adds a depth of flavor to breads. This rustic bread pre-ferment used bread flour, water, salt and yeast. A stiff dough was formed that was allowed to stand on the counter for 12 - 16 hours.

The next day bread flour, whole rye flour, whole wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast were combined with the preferment. I cut back on the amount of salt in the recipe. One Tablespoon of salt is a little too much salt for my taste.

Knowing how rye flour can quickly get gummy, I paid close attention to the dough during mixing. It took less than 5 minutes for it to come together and form a supple dough.

The dough was then fermented for 2.5 hours with folding at the 50 minute and 100 minute mark.

After resting, I tried Hamelman's folding technique. I was trying to make a batard with blunt ends. I didn't quite pull it off. The loaves had their final fermentation in floured baker's linens.

After 1.5 hours, they were scored and baked in a 450 degree oven.

I checked on them after 25 minutes and was surprised at how brown they were. Clearly I should have scored them more deeply.

It makes a very tasty loaf of bread, I think that the three flours come together in a delicious fashion and am looking forward to toast...

Spicy Jalapeno Cornbread

I wanted some cornbread for tonight's dinner and when I checked in the Modern Baker, by Nick Malgieri, I found a recipe. A quick peek at the Modern Bakers Challenge web paged indicated that no one had signed up to blog about the recipe. I don't know why people aren't rushing to sign up for the bread that calls for four jalapenos. I'm not kidding. Four.

This is a savory recipe in his quick breads section. The quick breads come together with little effort. It is a little bit of an unusual cornbread with the addition of jalapenos, scallions and cilantro. You actually have to seed, and slice some jalapenos and scallions and saute them. I chose to use only two jalapenos, and I diced them. Sometimes I like cornbread for breakfast, and didn't want to end up with a slice of jalepeno in my mouth at five in the morning.

I assembled my ingredients and set about measuring and chopping.

Once the jalapenos and scallions cooled, and butter was melted and cooled this recipe came together quickly.

cornmeal, ap flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt were combined. The eggs were beaten lightly and buttermilk was added to the eggs. Several options are provided for the liquid, I feel buttermilk adds a nice tang to cornbread.

The melted butter and the cooled jalapenos, scallions and cilantro were added to the liquid and everything was combined.

I put it into a square pan. Nick uses round, but I like squares of cornbread. They are easier to split open and grill in the morning.

This is a delightful savory cornbread recipe. I liked the flavor from the 2 jalapenos and the baked cilantro. However, it is not a sweet cornbread. I was impressed by how varied the reviews of the cornbread recipe in the Bread Bakers Apprentice challenge were, I wonder if this recipe will invoke the same varied response.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chocolate Spice Bread, The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker challenge has begun and I decided to skip the first recipe in the book and move on the chocolate spice bread. I will be skipping recipes this challenge. My family lacks a sweet tooth. Or perhaps they have a very defined sweet tooth. There are a lot of things that they just won't eat. Dessert is not really something they enjoy.

However, this chocolate spice bread was just up their alley. Who doesn't love a quick bread? Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir. In another bowl, whisk some eggs, add some sugar and brown sugar, add some melted butter and sour cream and then add the dry ingedients.

Put the mixture into a bread pan and cook until a knife comes out clean.

I served this with strawberries and whipped cream. This was quick and easy, a good recipe to have when you find out unexpected company is on their way. It made a delightful dessert, which prompted Emily to ask why is this a bread and not a cake????

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Judy Unruh's Wedding Zwieback

Artisan Baking keeps calling me. Maggie Glezer writes such endearing stories about the bakers that she meets. She went to threshing days in Goessel, Kansas. It celebrates the wheat harvest and Mennonite heritage.

Judy Unruh was making these rolls in the Krause House, part of the Mennonite Heritage Museum. The recipe makes a sweeter, wedding roll.

I went out today to buy some rolls at Costco, the shame. But the Costco by me has some pretty delicious rolls. Unfortunately, they were sold out. There was a brief moment of concern, what to do about rolls for Easter dinner? And then I remembered, I can bake.

I have a recent new favorite roll recipe, but the story about the Zwieback hooked me in and makes me want to try the recipe.

It starts with scalded milk. My mom always scalded the milk before she made yeast bread. Glezer says that it denatures a protein in the milk and makes for a smoother texture in the bread. You add some yeast, some flour, sugar, salt butter and optional eggs. The eggs are added if you want richer and light rolls, just where I was heading.

Then I added a little of King Arthur's baker's special dry milk, because I could. And I think it adds a little flavor. I needed to add a little more flour, the dough is supposed to be soft and sticky, mine was liquid. I think that the added eggs needed a little more flour.

Any the dough spent the night in the refrigerator. I pulled it out in the morning, let it come to room temp for about two hours shaped it and let them rise for two more hours. baked at 350 for 25 mins. I'd like to note that the recipe says to serve the rolls immediately. Glezer needs to talk to Reinhart. Eating bread fresh out of the oven!!

2 cups scaled milk cooled
sprinkle with 1.25 t instant yeast
add 825 g ap flour ( I needed more)
55 g sugar (I cut this down to 30)
2.25 t salt
6 T unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup baker's dry special milk

Mix by dough hook for about 5 mins, then into the frig overnight.

Can you picture the sandwiches?

Roasted-Potato Bread

I set off to make the first of the April breads for the Mellow Bakers. The Mellow Bakers are a group of bread baking enthusiasts who bake some bread each month. A few breads from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread are posted each month and you can bake them and blog about them. If you want. Or not. It is very Mellow.

April's breads are a Rustic Bread, a Medium Rye and Bagels. Some how, I started following the recipe with the roasted potatoes, one page after the rustic bread. So for my first of the Mellow Bakers challenge, I am not baking the right bread. I'm in the neighborhood. The Rustic bread and the Roasted-Potato bread are very similar, the key difference being the roasted potatoes.

Both breads start off with a pate fermentee which is left to ferment on the counter for sixteen hours. The roasted potato bread adds some roasted potatoes. Hamelman recommends roasting the potatoes for added flavor. I love to roast my veggies, it brings out their flavor. I scrubbed and the cut some yukon gold potatoes into chunks, tossed them in some olive oil and roasted them in a 400 degree oven until they were tender, about 20 mins.

The bread flour, wheat flour, salt, yeast, water, roasted potatoes, skins and all and the pate fermentee were combined.

At this point, I have to say that Mr. Hamelman's book is driving me a little crazy. All of his recipes are presented in formulas for 20 pounds, 10 kilos or 2 pound of flour. The 2 pound column is challenging, the measurements for 1 5/8ths, couldn't we just use metrics??? The fractions are a little hard for my eyes, early morning baking will become more challenging. 1lb, 11.2 oz, how sensitive is everyone's scale? Let us all just switch to metrics now please. Metrics 4 US It will be a rough couple of years, everyone will think that they have lost weight when they learn their weight in kg, it will take some adjust, but please let us all switch to metrics. Now.

So, Hamelman is into folding. After 45 mins, the bread was folded and returned to ferment for another 45 mins. The dough was divided, allowed to rest and then shaped. I made a boule and a loaf. The final fermentation was for a little more than an hour. The oven was heated and I forgot to put in my baking stone. I put some boiling water into the pan at the bottom of the oven and baked the breads.

It is a delicious loaf, softer from the addition of the potatoes. Darker from the addition of the potatoes. I'll get this right some time, maybe next weekend.