Bread Primer Launched on Epicurious!

Here it is: all the basic techniques, ingredients, equipment, and recipes for bread baking. I worked with Epicurious for many months to create this useful primer. It just launched today and I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.If you're new to bread baking. this primer will give you a great jump start. If you're already a pro you may learn a few new tricks and recipes. http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/howtocook/primers/bread

Special for Whole Wheat Wimps

26 Percent Whole Wheat Sandwich BreadFor those of you who pefer less than 50% whole wheat bread, here’s my modification for the Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread posted a few months ago. Decrease the water and the honey each by 1 tablespoon. Use 2 1/3 cups/12.3 ounces/352 grams Gold Medal Harvest King/Better for Bread flour, 1 cup 5 ounces/142 grams whole wheat flour. The resulting bread will be higher and lighter both in color and texture than the 50% version. Mine was 5 ¼ inches high and looked like this: The Bread Baking The Baked Bread A Slice to Show the Crumb

Adding Old Starter to Bread Dough

Several of my recipes I've offered on this blog give an option for adding old unfreshed stiff sour dough starter when making bread dough. I do this to add depth of flavor, moistness, and longer shelf life. I always have left over starter after the weekly feeding of my sourdough starter so I freeze it exactly for this use.I would not want to add it to a soft bread dough such as a soft white sandwich loaf or brioche because it makes the texture slightly firmer. But I do add it to most other doughs and I do add it to challah because it makes the dough more stretchy and easier to braid. You need to keep in mind that there is no salt in this starter so you need to add extra salt to balance the flour and water. You may also need to use a slightly larger pan or cut off the equivalent amount or weight of dough and bake it as a roll. If you retard the dough overnight, it will not rise quite as high so you can then use the same size bread pan as the one you would use without the starter. A bread that rises to 5 inches for example will rise to only about 4 1/2 inches if retarded for 8 to 12 hours. Of course you will need to make or purchase a sour dough starter and add enough flour to it to make it the consistency of soft bread dough.

To determine how much starter to use in the dough, multiply the weight of the flour in the dough by 16% and that will be the weight of the starter. For every 75 grams/2.6 ounces of starter add 1/8 teaspoon salt to the recipe. I like to soften the starter by cutting or tearing it in pieces and soaking it in the water used for the dough for 30 minutes before adding the other ingredients. This helps to distribute it more evenly throughout the dough. I am so devoted to this technique I may never write another bread book because it presupposes people will have or make or buy a starter and I feel it would be a serious compromise to omit this! The alternative would be to give the recipe with and without added starter the way I do for recipes on this blog...hmmmmmm

Golden Honey Oat Bread Revisited

Sunday, on my return from Hope, NJ, I ran right to the local supermarket to check if the new packaging for Gold Medal Better for Bread had arrived and there it was--the beautiful bright yellow package with my picture on the lower right hand bottom. And I lost no time in making a bread on Monday.

This is the bread recipe previously posted--just put the words oat bread in the search box. I was never happy with the photo of the finished loaf with the barley bran so here is a photo of my new version and a cut slice. I used the variation of part oat flakes and part cracked flax and added my old starter. i think i'll cut back on the salt by 1/ 8 teaspoon next time. Though it's the same 2.2% salt i usually use I think the oat flakes and flax somehow accentuate the saltiness. Anyway, I encourage you to try the recipe if you haven't already. It's a delicious and healthful loaf with great texture, and makes a great sandwich bread.

The drawer in the freezer for Elliott's snacks was getting very low so I thought I'd better fill it with bread for when I'll be away. I told him the bread was for him and his response was: "No! It's for you!" When I asked him why his explanation was :"You just love baking bread!" Can't deny it!!!

Golden Burger Buns

The Perfect Two by Fours

When I wrote The Bread Bible, I didn’t include burger buns thinking no one would go to the effort of making them. Well I was wrong—I do! I’ve tried many versions, including the Sweet Heart of Wheat, Basic Hearth Bread, and even Ten Grain. They were all wonderful but what I really wanted was a softer bread so I switched to sweet potato dough. My first trials were with added old starter and though good, they kept the dough from being as soft as I had hoped for.

Here, just in time for the rest of the grilling season (which for me is all year!) are is my top favorite bun. The sweet potato adds a beautiful golden color, moistness and softness. I always toast them lightly—if the grill is on I do it on the grill but watching carefully as they toast within seconds.

These are great for lots more than burgers for example crab cakes, or even fried eggs, chicken, tuna, or egg salad.

When I use them for hamburgers I get 4 inch half pound ground aged beef patties from my favorite butcher Pino, on Sullivan Street. It was his son Sal's idea and the flavor and juiciness of the beef makes these the best hamburgers I've ever had. My preference is to sprinkle them with salt before grilling and then pepper afterwards and to serve them with a thick slice of Vidalia onion and ketchup but not too much as I don't want to mask the flavor of the beef.

TIME SCHEDULE

Dough Starter (Sponge): Minimum 1 hour, Maximum 4 hours (or overnight refrigerated)

Minimum Rising Time: About 3 1/2 hours

Oven Temperature: 400°F.

Baking Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Sweet Potato Dough for 4 Hamburger Buns

Makes: almost 1 pound / 454 to 460 grams, 4 inches by 2 inches hig

Dough Starter (Sponge)

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Early in the morning or the night before bake the potato and start the sponge

1) Bake the potato: In a 375°F. oven bake the potato 50 minutes or until tender. Cool, peel, and put it through a ricer or strainer or mash it. Measure or weigh out 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces)

2) Make the dough starter (sponge) In a large bowl (mixer bowl if using a stand mixer), place the flour, water, honey, and yeast. Whisk until very smooth to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. The dough will be the consistency of a thick batter. Scrape down the sides.

Flour Mixture

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(For bread machine see note at end)

3) Combine the ingredients for the flour mixture In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour (reserve the 2 tablespoons if mixing by hand), dry milk, and yeast. Sprinkle this on top of the sponge and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Allow it to ferment for 1 hour or up to 4 hours at room temperature. During this time the sponge will bubble through the flour blanket in places. This is fine.

4) Mix the dough Add the butter and mashed potato. With the dough hook mix on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) for 1 minute or until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt. Knead the dough on medium speed (#4 Kitchen Aid) for 7 to 10 minutes. It will be smooth and shiny and slightly sticky to the touch. With an oiled spatula, scrape down any dough clinging to the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, scrape it onto a lightly floured counter and knead in a little more flour. If it is too stiff, spray it with a little cold water and knead it in. (It should weigh about 1 pound/ 454 to 460 grams.)

5) Let the dough rise Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top. Cover the container with a lid, or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75 to 80°F.), 1 1/2 to 2 hours until doubled.

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, remove the dough to a floured counter and gently press it down to form a rectangle. It will be full of air and resilient. Try to maintain as much of the air bubbles as possible. Pull out and fold the dough over from all 4 sides into a tight package or give it 2 business letter turns and set it back in the container. Again oil the surface, cover, mark where double the height will now be and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it reaches the mark. (It will fill it fuller than before because it is puffier with air). [Or refrigerate overnight, pushing down once or twice during the first 2 hours and take out about 1 hour. before shaping.]

6) Shape the dough and let it rise Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and divide it into 4 equal pieces about 4 ounces / 112 to 116 grams each. Shape into balls and set several inches apart on parchment. (If you have a large peel you will be able to transfer them on the parchment by slipping it between the counter and the parchment. Alternatively, line a baking sheet with the parchment and baking the buns on the parchment-lined sheet.

Allow the buns to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Flatten to 4 inches by 3/4 inch high. Spritz with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds, pressing them in with your fingers. Cover with a large plastic box or cover it lightly with plastic wrap that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray and allow it to rise until puffy--30 minutes to 1 hour (4 to 4 1/4 inches by 1 1/4 inches and when pressed gently with your finger tip the depression slowly fills in).

7) Preheat the oven

1 hour before baking preheat the oven to 400°F. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place an oven stone or baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan or sheet pan on the floor of the oven before preheating.

8) Bake the bread (turn half way through) Spritz the buns with water and quickly but gently set the pan on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until medium golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read 190°-206°F/88°-96°C.) Half way through baking, rotate the pans half way around (after 10 minutes) for even baking.

9) Cool the bread

Remove the buns from the oven and set them on a wire rack. to cool top-side-up.

Notes:

If not using the dry milk you can replace the water with 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of milk, preferable nonfat, scalded (brought to the boiling point) and cooled to lukewarm.

If you’d prefer to mix the dough in a bread machine, mix the sponge starter in a bowl and scrape it into the bread machine container. Sprinkle the flour mixture on top. Mix for 3 minutes, allow to rest for 20 minutes. Add the salt and mix for another 3 minutes. Then knead for 7 minutes.

The Rose Ratio

flour: 100% (Includes starch contained in the potato)

water: 64.1% (Includes water contained in the butter, honey and yam)

yeast: 0.94%

salt: 1.9%

butterfat: 4.4%

NOTE I like to use Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour in the starter and the unbleached all-purpose in the dough--it's a good balance for softeness and lightness. Also, I like to keep the dough very sticky--too sticky to touch until after the first rise when I scrape it from the container onto a floured counter. I continue to add a minimum flour only to the outside to keep it from sticking to the counter and my hands. This results in the lightest softest texture.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

This is my favorite new whole wheat sandwich loaf that I've been promising to post.I look forward to hearing if you love it as much as I do. I've found that using 50 percent whole wheat and 50 percent white wheat flour is the perfect balance for flavor and texture. There is enough gluten from the white wheat flour to give it excellent volume and consistency. Adding the starter gives it a longer shelf life and also incredibly perfect depth of flavor but it's great even without it or you could substitute the suggested old bread dough. Simply save some when you are making a loaf of hearth bread. It keeps at room temperature for about 6 hours, refrigerated for 48 hours and refrigerated for at least 3 months. If you omit the old starter or if you add old dough (which already has the right balance of salt) you will need to use 1/8 teaspoon less salt. I've worked out some tips for working with whole wheat flour should you want to replace other recipes with part whole wheat. They will be at the end of the recipe for those who are interested. But just one essential tip right up front: Whole wheat flour must be fresh to give a sweet wheaty flavor to the bread as opposed to a bitter (rancid) flavor. You can grind your own or purchase it. If grinding your own you need to use it within 3 days or store it for 3 weeks up to 3 months. For longer storage freeze for up to 1 year. If purchasing the flour, make sure to check the expiration date. You can also freeze it for up to 1 year.

Oven Temperature: 450F/230˚C, then 400°F/200˚C Baking Time: 35 to 45 minutes.

50% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Makes: An 8 1/2 inch by 5 inch by 4 1/2 to 5 inch high loaf (927 grams/2 pounds)

Whole Wheat Sandiwch Loaf.png

Equipment: A 9 inch by 5 inch (7 cup) loaf pan (8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan if not using old starter) greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. A baking stone or baking sheet.

1) Soak the Starter: In a mixer bowl, place the water and tear the starter or old bread dough into small pieces into it. Add the honey, cover and allow it to sit for about 1 hour. In a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, Harvest King Better for Bread flour, non-fat milk powder, and yeast. Add about 2 cups/300 grams/10.5 ounces to the water mixture and whisk until smooth and the consistency of a thick pancake batter. (This is to distribute the pieces of starter evenly.) (If using a bread machine place the water and honey in a medium bowl. Tear the starter into the bowl, in a few pieces, and stir it together until it is soft. Scrape it into the bowl of the bread machine. Whisk together the two flours but not the yeast or salt and sprinkle the mixture on top. Let sit covered 30 minutes to 1 hour.)

2) Mix the dough: Add the rest of the flour mixture and, with the dough hook, mix on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Add the oil and knead the dough on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) for 7 minutes, adding the salt after the oil is mixed in. (In the bread machine, mix it for 3 minutes and then autolyse--let rest--for 20 minutes. Add the oil and knead for 7 minutes, adding the yeast after the first minute and the salt after the yeast is mixed in. ) The dough should be sticky enough to cling to your fingers. If it is not at all sticky spray it with a little water and knead it. (The dough should weigh about 2 pounds, 3 1/2 ounces /1011grams/ a little more than 1 quart).

3) Let the dough rise: Place the dough into a 3 quart or larger dough rising container greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Press down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top. Cover the container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 80°F/26˚C.) until doubled in size, about an hour and 10 minutes. Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, remove the dough to a lightly floured counter. Press down on it gently to form a rectangle. Stretch the dough and give it a package fold (pull out the bottom and fold it to the center, then the same with the left side, right side, and top), round the edges and return it to the bowl, smooth side up. Again, oil the surface, cover, mark where double the height will now be (3 quarts) and allow it to rise until it reaches this point, about 1 hour. (Or refrigerate it overnight and bring it to room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding, pushing it down when it reaches 3 quarts.)

4) Shape the dough and let it rise: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter, smooth side down, and press it gently to flatten it. It will still be a little sticky but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary to keep it from sticking. Allow the dough to rest covered for 20 minutes. Dimple it all over with your finger tips to eliminate air bubbles, shape it into a loaf, and place it in the prepared loaf pan. It should fill the pan no more than 1/2 inch from the top. Cover it lightly with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until the highest point is 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the sides of the pan and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in--about 45 minutes.

5) Preheat the oven: 1 hour before baking set a cast iron pan lined with foil onto the floor of the oven and preheat the oven to 450F/230˚C.

6) Bake the bread: Spritz the top of the dough with water. Quickly but gently set the bread pan onto the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door, lower the temperature to 400°F/205˚C, and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will register 190° to 205°F/88 to 96˚C. Half-way through baking rotate the pan half way around for even baking.

7) Cool the bread Remove the bread from the oven, unmold it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top-side up.

Note: If not using the starter omit the extra 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Tips for Working with Whole Wheat Flour My basic hearth bread is 66.6% hydration (including the water in the honey). This recipe is 70.6% hydration because of the whole wheat flour. The bran requires more water. It will be very sticky after mixing but after the first rise much less so as the water is absorbed more evenly. Avoid adding flour until shaping and then use the minimum to prevent sticking. This keeps the bread light and soft.

If you want to replace white wheat flour with whole wheat flour in your favorite recipes, you can replace it cup for cup though whole wheat flour is slightly lighter. 1 cup of white flour equals 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of whole wheat flour but of course that will vary depending on how you grind the wheat or how you measure it so weight is really preferred. The way I measure, lightly spooning the flour into the cup: 1 cup of Harvest King/Better for Bread flour = 150 grams/5.25 ounces 1 cup whole wheat flour = 142 grams/5 ounces For every cup of whole wheat flour used add 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (you can round off to 1 1/2 tablespoons) of water by weight this is 28.3 grams/1 ounce

Speja Apricot Raisin & Walnut Bread

This is the bread that I fell in love with in Stockholm from the award winning book Riddarbageriets Bröd By John Sörbergs.I am offering both my version and the original for comparison. The original uses two starters, a white wheat starter and a rye starter. Since I only have a white wheat starter I calculated the amount of rye in what I assume to be a liquid starter and added that to the over-all flour for the dough. I substituted instant yeast for the fresh yeast and increased the percentage slightly as I’m using old starter rather than active starter. I increased the hydration from 66 percent to 70.5% because I have come to prefer a lighter moister crumb. And I shaped the dough into a torpedo/batarde rather than a round boule and slice it on the diagonal but if you prefer you can shape it into a boule. I’ve found that softening stiff starter in the water for a minimum of 30 minutes helps it to integrate more evenly throughout the crumb.

The starter gives this bread extra moistness and depth of flavor. If you don’t have one you can substitute old dough from the last batch of bread. It keeps at room temperature for about 6 hours refrigerated for 48 hours, or frozen for about 3 months. If you omit the starter and the old dough you’ll need to use 1/8 plus 1/16 teaspoon less salt. This bread is wonderful with cheese including blue cheese or just with butter.

TIME SCHEDULE Minimum Rising: About 3 hours and 20 minutes Oven Temperature: 450°F/230°C, then 400°F/200°C Baking Time: 30 to 40 minutes

Swedish Speja (Apricot, Raisin, Walnut Bread)

Makes: Two 10 inch by 3 3/4 inch by 3 inch high loaf 20.2 ounces / 573 grams

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1) Soften the starter In a large bowl, or mixer bowl if using a stand mixer, place the water and tear in the starter in small pieces. Cover and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.

2) Mix the dough In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours and yeast and add it to the water mixture. With the dough hook mix on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed (#4 Kitchen Aid) for 7 minutes. The dough should be very elastic and smooth, and sticky enough to cling to your fingers. Allow it to rest covered for 20 minutes. Add the raisins, apricots, and walnuts and knead on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) for about 1 minute or until evenly incorporated. (The dough should weigh about 2 pounds 13.2 ounces / 1292 grams.)

3) Let the dough rise Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into an 4 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75°F to 80°F.) until doubled (to 3 quarts), about 1 hour. Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, remove the dough to a floured counter and press down on it gently to form a rectangle. Give it 2 business letter turns, round the edges and return it to the bowl. Again, oil the surface, cover, mark where double the height will now be (4 quarts) and allow it to rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (It will fill it fuller than before because it is puffier with air). If time allows, for extra flavor give the bread the second rise overnight in the refrigerator. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter, cut it in two equal pieces, and press each down to flatten slightly. The dough will still be sticky but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary. Cover it and allow the dough to rest for 1 hour before shaping.

4) Shape the dough and let it rise Shape each piece into a torpedo about 9 inches by 3 inches by 2 1/4 inches high and set it on the prepared baking sheet. Cover the shaped dough with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until about 10 inches by 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches high—about 1 hour. Preheat the oven: 1 hour before baking time preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C

5) Slash and bake the bread With a sharp knife or straight edged razor blade, make three 1/2 inch deep slashes in the top of the dough. Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400˚F/200˚C and continue baking 15 minutes. Turn the breads around half way and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 206°F/97°).

The Rose Ratio flour: 100% HK.: 84% (including what’s in starter) rye: 16% starter: 20.8% (of flour not including flour in starter—usual is 16%--theirs is 40% probably liquid starter ) water:70.5% yeast: 0.7% salt: 2.2% (of all flour including 33 grams in starter)

Original Version Translated by Tiv from Finland SPEJA (to my knowledge means some kind of cake decorating tool – maybe they have named this bread after it because of its texture, looks like beautiful decoration with apricot,raisin and walnut) Speja is a perfect match with all kind of cheese. Ingredients: 300g/3dl water 400g/6,5dl wheat flour (does not specify, but I think they meant unbleached all-purpose flour. I myself would probably try a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat) 100g/3,5dl coarse rye flour 100g/1dl wheat sourdough 100g/1dl rye sourdough 10g yeast (fresh yeast, dissolved in cold water) 6g/1tsp light syrup 15g/1tbsp salt (they use only sea salt) 260g/4dl raisins 160g/2dl apricots (if they are hard soak them in luke warm water for 10 minutes) 160g/4dl walnuts

1. Mix all ingredients except raisins, apricots and walnuts.

2. Use the stand mixer with mid speed for 12 minutes or knead for 20 minutes.

3. When you have 20 seconds left from this time mix in the fruits and the nuts.

4. Let the dough rest in a bowl under a baking cloth for 2hours.

5. Cut the dough into three pieces and shape as shown on page 18 in the book.

6. Let the pieces rest for 10 minutes.

7. Press down the pieces, use wheat flour if sticky. The dough should be approx. 5cm (1,97inches?) high. Sprinkle a little flour on the pieces. 8. Put the breads on a tin plate and let them rise for 2 hours. Please note that they will not rise that much because of the amount of fruit and nuts.

9. Warm the oven to 250 degrees Celsius/ 482 degrees F.

 10. Put the plate into the oven and spray also water into the oven.

11. Lower the temperature to 210degrees Celsius /410 degrees F. 

Please note: This juicy bread will be preserved a longer time than others, thanks to the fruits and nuts. If you are allergic to nuts, use figs instead.

The Perfect Popover for Breakfast!

Are you all familiar with the wonderful mail order catalogue called Levenger's? Recently I ordered a beautiful cherry work table for Hope and couldn't wait to tell my father the cabinet maker that it came disassembled and I was able to put it together on my own except for the long 5 inch screws that needed heavy duty muscle to penetrate all the way through from the frame to the table top (thanks Elliott!).

In the process of purchasing the table I gave my e-mail address for confirmation. Since this include the words "cake bible," Linda (who was delightfully helpful taking my order and arranging for delivery here in the woods) asked me what that meant. This led to a request for a breakfast quiche. I persuaded her to accept this fun and easy-to-make breakfast popover instead!

This is reprinted from my book The Bread Bible.

TIME SCHEDULE
Oven Temperature: 425°F.
Baking Time: 1 hour
Advance Preparation: at least 1 up to 24 hours ahead

Dutch Baby
This batter recipe makes for a beautiful, dramatic and very quick and easy breakfast. It is actually a giant crater-shaped popover, perfect accommodating a filling of sautéed caramelized apples, peaches, or fresh berries, and a billow of crème fraîche or whipped cream.

As is so often the case, it is the simplest things that require the most work to perfect. My goal was for a Dutch Baby that had crisp puffy sides but a tender, almost custardy bottom as opposed to an eggy/rubbery one.

The final result of many tests is this crunchiest, puffiest and most tender version, due to coating the flour with the butter before adding the milk, the addition of 2 extra egg whites and enough sugar to tenderize and flavor it.

For a "Baby Dutch Baby," to serve 2, simply divide the recipe in half and use an 8-inch oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron). Decrease the baking time at 350°F to 15 minutes and make the slits 10 minutes before the end of the baking time.
Serves: 4 to 6

Equipment: An 11 inch steel Dutch Baby pan or cast iron skillet (if using the cast iron skillet, lower the initial 425°F. to 400°F.)

THE BATTER

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1) Mix the batter
Food Processor Method

In a food processor with the metal blades, process the flour, salt, and sugar for a few seconds to mix them. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and process until it resembles tiny peas, about 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the container. With the motor on, add the milk, the eggs, and egg whites, and the vanilla and process for about 20 seconds or until the batter is smooth.

Hand Method
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, the sugar and the salt. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and use a fork to mash and mix it in until it resembles tiny peas. With a rotary beater or whisk, slowly beat in the Beat in the eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating about one minute after each addition. Beat until the batter is fairly smooth (small lumps of butter remain visible). Beat in the vanilla extract.

Both Methods

2) Let the batter rest
Allow the batter to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. Allow it to come to room temperature and beat it lightly before baking.

3) Preheat the oven
At least 30 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 425°F. Have the rack towards the bottom level.

4) Prepare the pan
Remelt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan. Use a small pastry feather or brush, to coat the entire interior with the butter. Three minutes before baking time place the pan in the oven and heat it until the butter is hot and bubbling.

5) Fill the pan and bake the Dutch Baby
Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter on top of the hot butter. Bake at 425°F. 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 30 minutes or until puffed around the edges above the sides of the pan and golden brown.

6) Release the steam
15 minutes before the end of the baking time, open the oven door and quickly make 3 small slits in the center to release the steam and allow the center to dry more.

Apple Filling

Fruit Filling for Popover.jpg

My New Best Bread Friend

I love Maggie Glezer’s book Artisan Bread and have made many recipes from it but it wasn’t until I saw the photos and posting of the Tom Cat's Semolina Filone on the October 16, 2007 posting in www.breabasketcase.blogspot.com that I just had to try it. I’ve made it twice and will be making it again many times because it is so amazingly good. In fact, while it is baking the aroma is so heavenly it encourages one to breathe more deeply just to hold onto the marvelous scent more fully.

The second time I made this bread I only had enough durum flour left to make a three-quarter recipe and that is a lovely size too. I also find the dough more manageable at 73% hydration so have added 100 grams/ 3.5 ounces extra flour and still love the texture. Maggie recommends a combination of half bread flour half unbleached all purpose but Gold Medal Better for Bread flour aka Harvest King is about the same protein content and seems to work perfectly. Because I added extra flour I also increased the salt by 1/2 teaspoon to keep it at 2%. As Maggie points out, different flours (or methods of measuring rather than weighing) will alter the consistency of the dough so add only as much flour as will make you feel comfortable to handle the dough. This is my adaptation of Maggie’s wonderful recipe.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Bake 50  to  minutes

                           Makes: A 16 x 6 by 3 inch high batard   (3/4 recipe=13 x 6 x 3)

POOLISH

Filone 1.png

The night before: In a four cup glass measure stir together all the above ingredients until all the flour is moistened and it forms a smooth lump-free mixture. Cover tightly and allow it to ferment for about 8 hours or until the surface is filled with breaking bubbles and deep wrinkles are forming. (Note: On first try poolish was held for 12 hours at 60 in back room and then 4 hours at 80-82 in kitchen. It was just starting to wrinkle so could have been longer but worked perfectly.)

The poolish just beginning to wrinkle.

DOUGH

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Equipment

In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the flours. Add the water and with the dough hook on low speed mix until combined. Cover and allow to rest (autolyse) for minimum 15 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

Stir the yeast into the poolish and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Add the poolish to the dough and mix on low speed until the dough is very smooth and cleans the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and continue mixing for 2 minutes to incorporate the salt evenly. The dough will weigh 33 ounces/940 grams and be about 1 quart. Scrape it into a 2 quart or larger container lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover tighty and allow it to rise until doubled to 2 quarts, 2 to 3 hours. Turn the dough 3 times at 20 minutes intervals and then leave it undisturbed until doubled.

Preheat the Oven

1 hour before baking preheat the oven to 400°F. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan or sheet pan on the floor of the oven before preheating.

Pour the sesame seeds onto a sheet pan. Shape the couche into a trough to support the loaf. (No need to flour the couche.)

Shape the dough on a lightly floured counter. Use a gentle touch to maintain as many air bubbles as possible. First round it lightly, cover and allow it to relax for 15 minutes. Then shape it into a torpedo as follows: Place it skin side down. Bring the top edge of the dough over all the way to the work surface and use your thumbs to seal it all the way along the edge, pushing back to form a tight cylinder.  Roll the dough over so that the seam falls at the bottom in the middle of the dough. Use the palms of your hands to roll the dough gently back and forth, allowing it to elongate to 12 to 14 inches.  Exert more pressure on the two ends to form a pointed shape.

Lift the dough onto the sheet pan and roll it to encrust it all over with the sesame seeds. If necessary, spritz the dough with water to help them adhere. Set the dough, seam side up, into the couche. (Use a retainer bar or pan set against one side of the folded couche to keep it from spreading.) Cover it lightly with the couche or plastic wrap and allow it to proof until when pressed lightly with a finger tip the depression fills in slowly--about 1 hour. It will grow to about 18 inches in length.

Use the couche to flip it onto a piece of parchment, seam-side-down.  Straighten the dough and use a straight-edged razor blade to make a 1/2 inch deep slash along the top of the dough. Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently slide it, still on the parchment onto the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 45 to 55 minutes, turning the bread half way around after the first 20 minutes of baking, until deep golden. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F.)

Set the loaf on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely, top-side-up.

Bubka Bliss

I first met fellow author and baking sister Marcy Goldman in Montreal during the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) annual conference. She had invited me out to her home for a visit along with two other bakers and it was an enchanting experience to be in her kitchen tasting the cakes she made for us as we all talked baking. She also presented me with a beautiful rolling pin of her design which I used yesterday to roll out the bubka from her new book A Passion for Baking. I am sitting here (having already eaten a piece for breakfast and I don't usually eat breakfast, trying to fight off the impulse to defrost a slice I stashed in the freezer to make just such a temptation less convenient. One of our fellow bloggers asked me what I thought of Marcy's bubka compared to the babka I had described in a previous posting. So of course I had to find out first hand even though I knew it was going to be wonderful--all the more so!

First let me explain the name bubka. In both Polish and Yiddish, babka is a diminutive of baba or babcha, meaning old woman or grandmother. When I was growing up, my grandmother described an old woman as an "alta bubba." No doubt Marcy's ancestors come from the same location in Russia near the Polish border (Minsk) as bubka seems to come from bubba. Come to think of it, maybe it was a distant village as my grandmother used the word bubka to describe little hard things that are undesirable as in "it's not worth bubkas"! But a bubka or babka by any other name will taste as sweet and this is a cake/bread that deserves all the attention and enthusiasm it gets.

According to the New York Times, my dear friend Arthur Schwartz, whose book Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking is due to be published in April, writes that: ''Babka, in its original form, was stout and round, just like grandmothers used to be before they went to aerobics classes and practiced yoga.'' Now to Marcy's bubka itself. Compared to Anne Amernick's (to which I referred in the prior posting) it is less cakey and more bready, i.e. less tender and more chewy which I personally find more satisfying. This texture is mostly because it employs a combination of bread flour and unbleached all-purpose (I used Harvest King flour which is about the same protein percentage).

Marcy describes the recipe as "...it strikes the right notes of sweet and bready," and for me this resulted in the perfect balance between bread and cake. The dough is so lively it virtually bursts from the pan on baking. In fact, I would use a larger bread pan than the 9 x 5 recommended to keep it from spreading sideways as much. (My 9 x 5 pan is 7 cups but my All Clad 10 x 5 is 8 cups and I think that would be just perfect.) For those of you who weigh, I used 412 grams/almost 15 ounces of flour for half the dough.

To continue with the comparison, Marcy's bubka has less egg and butter but more water which makes it lighter and moister. In fact, it is quite similar to my kugelhopf but moister which I prefer! I also adore the brown sugar/almond paste in the filling. Some oozed out to form crunchy edges on the crust--confession--I who write in no uncertain terms to let the bread cool completely before cutting kept attacking this bubka to eat those crunchy edges until finally I could stand it no longer and cut a whole still hot slice and consumed it all!

In the process of making this bubka I have quite fallen in love with Marcy's new book A Passion for Baking along with Marcy herself! That is because she provides a real and personal presence in this book. Starting with the cover which shows her hand (and what is more eloquent or definitive of a baker than her hand) drawing a heart in the flour on the counter, you see the love she has for her craft. Right beneath it are the words: "Bake to celebrate . Bake to nourish . Bake for fun." Does this not say it all?! It reminded me of the visit to her home when she shared that before cleaning up her work counter she always drew a heart in the flour that remained on the surface. In fact, her son when he was only 12 took the photo that inspired this cover. It is the hand of a ballerina baker! Marcy dedicates this book to her sons: "...I love you more than words can say and far more than infinite fields of golden wheat. You are the gold of my heart." But anyone who opens this book will feel her love and generosity pouring out to all her fellow bakers as well, and in full measure. Note: Marcy generously is offering this recipe below. Do check out her site: www.betterbaking.com

Baker's Bubka With Crumb Topping

Bubka is pure heaven to me - because it strikes the right note of sweet and bready. It is also relatively easy to make - not as complicated as true Danish with its rolled in blocks of butter but certainly richer and moister than a sweet dough. I often use a bread machine to make the dough - although I have to give the mixing a hand at first by using a rubber spatula, just to get the rich dough properly going.

Dough 1 1/2 cups warm water (100˚ to 110˚ F) 2 tablespoons rapid-rise yeast 3 large eggs 2 yolks 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon pure almond extract 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 3/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup milk powder 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 3 cups all-purpose flour 3 cups bread flour

Filling 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped almond paste 2 tablespoons corn syrup 2 teaspoons cinnamon 3/4 cup chopped almonds, optional

Egg Wash 1 egg, pinch sugar

Crumb Topping 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 cup scant confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Generously spray two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line a double-up baking sheet with parchment paper. For an extra large bubka, use a 10-inch angel food cake pan, also sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place the pans on the baking sheet.

In a mixer bowl, hand whisk the water and yeast together and let stand 2-3 minutes to dissolve the yeast. Briskly whisk in the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, almond extract, lemon juice, sugar, salt, milk powder and all-purpose flour. Then stir in the butter and most of the bread flour.

Mix dough, then knead as it becomes a mass, with a dough hook or by hand for about eight to ten minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding in more bread flour as required. Remove dough hook and cover entire mixer and bowl with a large, clear plastic bag. Allow to rise, about 45-90 minutes until puffy or almost doubled in size. This is also an ideal dough to refrigerate overnight and resume next day, allowing dough to warm up a bit before proceeding. Whisk an egg in a small bowl for the egg wash.

For the Filling, in a food processor, process the butter, sugar, almond paste, corn syrup, cinnamon, and almonds to make a soft paste or filling.

For the Crumb Topping, in a small bowl, cut the butter, confectioner's sugar and flour together to make a crumbly topping. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate the dough.

Divide dough in two portions. On a well-floured work surface, roll dough into a 16 inch square. Spread on the filling over dough surface. Roll up dough into a large jellyroll. Cut in half. Place both halves in prepared pan, beside each other - it doesn't matter if they are a little squished.

Brush well egg wash and sprinkle with some sugar. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Spray the tops of both loaves with nonstick cooking spray. Place the pans on the prepared baking sheet and cover with the large, clear plastic bag. Let rise until the bubka is flush or a touch over the sides of the pan, 45-75 minutes. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with Crumb Topping.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake 40-50 minutes (55-70 minutes for one large bubka) until bubka is medium brown. Cool in pan fifteen minutes before removing to a rack or serving plate. Makes one large or two medium bubkas.

Sweet Heart of Sprouted Wheat Bread

I'm posting this recipe at the request of one of the members of this blog.

Sprouting wheat berries is easy and fun but does take several days of pre-thought. It is a fantastic "science" project for kids as they get to see one of the most simple and basic forms of life that sustains our life--the grain of wheat and how water wakes it up out of dormancy (sleep) to sprout into the potential of a stalk of wheat or as in this case a loaf of bread with delightful crunch. Maybe we should rename it Sleeping Beauty Bread!

The sprouted wheat berries that rise to the top of the dough become very hard during baking so try to avoid having to many on the surface.

TIME SCHEDULE

Dough Starter (Sponge): 4 hours

Minimum Rising Time: About 3 hours

Oven Temperature: 450°F., then 400°F.

Baking Time: 30 to 40 minutes

Sweet Heart of Sprouted Wheat Bread

Makes: About a 2 pound loaf, 8 inch by 4  inch high free form loaf, or a 9 inch by 5 inch by  4 1/2 inch high sandwich loaf

Equipment: A baking sheet lined with parchment or sprinkled with  flour or corn meal or­ a 9  inch by 4 inch (7 cup) loaf pan), greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. A  baking stone or baking sheet.

Dough Starter (Sponge)

1) Early in the morning make the dough starter (sponge)

In a large bowl, or mixer bowl if using a stand mixer, place the bread flour, wheat germ, optional bran, yeast, honey and water. Whisk until very smooth to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. The dough will be the consistency of a thick batter. Scrape down the sides. Set it aside covered with plastic wrap while making the flour mixture.

Flour Mixture

Sweet Heart 2.png

2) Combine the ingredients for the flour mixture

In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour (reserve 2 tablespoons if mixing by hand), and yeast. Gently scoop it onto the sponge to cover it completely. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably 4 hours at room temperature. (During this time the sponge may bubble through the flour mixture in places. This is fine.)

3) Mix the dough

Machine Method

If you are making a sandwich loaf, add the optional oil. With the dough hook, mix on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Add the sprouted wheat and the salt and knead the dough on medium speed (#4 Kitchen Aid) for 7 minutes. The dough should be very elastic and smooth, and sticky enough to cling slightly to your fingers. If it is still very sticky knead in a little flour. If it is not at all sticky spray it with a little water and knead it in. (The dough should weigh about 2 pounds / 920 grams + oil.)

Hand Method

Add the optional oil, the salt, and the sprouted wheat and with a wooden spoon or one hand, mix until the flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together and then scrape it onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, enough to develop the gluten structure a little, adding as little of the reserved 2 tablespoons of flour as possible to keep it from sticking. Use the bench scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together as you knead it. At this point it will be very sticky. Cover it with the inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. (This resting time will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.)

Knead the dough for another 5 to 10 minutes or until it is very smooth and elastic. It should be sticky enough to cling slightly to your fingers. If the dough is very sticky, add a little more flour. (The dough should weigh about 2 pounds / 920 grams + oil.)

Both Methods

3) Let the dough rise

Scrape the dough into a 4 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Press down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75°F to 80°F) until doubled, about 1 hour.

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, remove the dough to a floured counter and press down on it gently to form a rectangle. Give it a business letter turn, round the edges and return it to the bowl.Again, oil the surface, cover, mark where double the height will now be and allow it to rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (It will fill it fuller than before because it is puffier with air).

4) Shape the dough and let it rise

Turn the dough onto a floured counter; press down on it gently to flatten it slightly, and use your fingertips to press out any large air bubbles. It will still be a little sticky but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary. Shape by rounding the dough into a ball about 6 inches by 2 1/2 inches high and set it on the prepared baking sheet. (If you are making a rectangular shaped loaf, gently press or lightly roll the dough with a rolling pin into a wide rectangle. (The long side of the dough should be facing towards you.) The exact size is not important at this point. Place it in the prepared loaf pan (no more than 1/2 inch from the top of the pan). Cover the loaf with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.. It will be about 8 inches by 3 inches high. (In the loaf pan the highest point will be 1 inch higher than the sides of the pan.)

5) Preheat the oven

1 hour before baking time preheat the oven to 450°F.

Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan or sheet pan on the floor of the oven before preheating.

6) Slash and bake the bread

Using a single-edged razor blade, make a 1/4-inch deep long cross in the top of the free form loaf. If using the sprouted wheat, pick off any that are on the surface as after baking they become very hard. Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet, and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door, lower the heat to 400°F. and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 205°F.). Halfway through baking, with a heavy pancake turner lift the free form bread from the pan and set it directly on the stone so that it is turned halfway around for even baking. (Turn the loaf pan half way around also.)

7) Cool the bread

Remove the bread from the oven (if in a loaf pan unmold it from the pan), and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top-side-up. For the free-form loaf, to recrisp the crust before serving, return the bread to a 350°F. oven for 5 minutes

Sprouting Wheat

Equipment: a 2 cup canning jar with metal screw band; a small piece of plastic screening or cheesecloth

It takes 2 to 3 days to sprout the wheat. If the sprouts are ready before you are ready to make the bread, refrigerate them.

Place the wheat berries in the canning jar and add tepid water (80-85 °F.) to cover them by about 2 inches. Cover with the plastic screening or cheesecloth and keep it in place with the metal screw band. Let sit for about 1 hour and then turn the jar up-side-down to drain out all the water, saving this water in another jar, at least 1-1/2 cup capacity. Refrigerate the water. Store the jar with the wheat berries on its side, in a dark warm place such as a kitchen cabinet, covered with a damp cloth.

Rinse the wheat berries in the morning and at the end of the evening by adding enough tepid water to cover them through the top of the jar, swirling them around in the jar, then inverting the jar to drain them, always saving the water until you get about 1-1/2 cups. Do this until the sprouts are the same length as the wheat berries. Then drain them well and use at once or refrigerate.

Beer Bread in Under Two Minutes

After the presentation demo in January we invited Woody to come with us to Hope for the weekend. We spent the whole weekend cooking and baking. I made him roast duck (he only had it once before in his life), wild Concord grape pie with grapes stored in the freezer since Summer of 1994 (you do the math!) that tasted as fresh as the day they were picked by me, blueberry pancakes with Seville orange curd, and beer bread for his ham sandwich to take on the plane.

I've decided that the time has come to label the sugar and salt antique glass canisters which are so close to identical that I ended up putting sugar in the bread instead of salt. I knew for sure I had put in what I thought to be salt but was puzzled why it rose faster than usual and also had a flat taste. It took several days for it to come to me--it was sugar not salt! This was not a total disaster as the ham was salty and it also led me to reinvestigate the recipe that is in The Bread Bible. It is for a free-form loaf made in the food processor. I thought it would make a great sandwich bread baked in a loaf pan but needed to have a softer crust so I added oil and also my beloved stiff starter for extra moistness and flavor.

This is my personal contribution to the "no knead bread" category. It is both faster and easier to handle and has more depth of flavor from the beer and the starter. If you prefer the same technique can be used replacing the beer with water. I'm not a beer drinker but I enjoy the slight bitterness of the stout. Elliott does not.

It is a fabulous bread with ham, cheddar cheese, and even orange marmalade which I made last week. Call it fighting bitter with bitter!

Edit: A correction has been made to the ingredients for this recipe because oil was missing from the original list.

TIME SCHEDULE

Oven Temperature: 375°F.

Baking Time:  30 to 35 minutes

Beer Bread Loaf

Makes: An 8 inch by 4 inch by 4 5/8 inch high loaf

Bread Under 2 Minutes.png

***IF YOU DON'T HAVE OLD STARTER DECREASE THE SALT BY 1/8 TEASPOON. You can moisten some leftover bread to the consistency of dough which will add extra flavor.

Equipment: A 6 cup loaf pan, lightly coated with cookie spray. A baking stone

NOTE: If you are not weighing the beer you will need to allow it to sit until the head subsides to get an accurate measure.

1) Mix the dough

In a food processor bowl with metal blades add the yeast, malt, or sugar, the bread flour, and the whole wheat flour. Process 30 seconds to mix. Pulse in the salt. Add the starter and process for a about 15 seconds until combined. With the motor on the dough cycle, add the beer and oil, and after it comes together, process 45 seconds. (The dough will weigh about 1 pound, 11.3 ounces/ 775 grams with the starter.)  If the dough doesn’t clean the bowl add about 2 tablespoons/0.7 ounce/20 grams of flour and process for a few seconds to incorporate. The dough should be tacky.

2) Let the dough rise

Place the dough into a 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, coated lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75°F to 80°F) until doubled, 2 to 2  1/2 hours.

3) Shape the dough and let it rise or for extra flavor refrigerate overnight

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press down on it gently to flatten it into a rectange. Dimple it with your finger tips to elminate any large air bubbles and let it rest covered for 15 minutes. Shape it into a loaf and set it in the prepared loaf pan. With starter, when pressed down it will be 3/4 inch from the top of the pan. Cover it with a large container or oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until almost doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in. It should be about 1 1/2 inches above the sides of the pan at the highest center point.

4) Preheat the oven

1 hour  before baking preheat the oven to 375°F.  Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan or sheet pan on the floor of the oven before preheating.

5) Bake the bread

Quickly but gently set the loaf pan on the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the pan and continue baking 15 to 25 or until the bread is golden brown a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F.If the sides are pale bake the bread for the last 5 minutes directly on the stone.

6) Cool the bread

Remove the bread from the oven, unmold it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top-side up. It keeps well for 2 days at room temperature, wrapped airtight.

Pointers for Success

Avoid using honey for this bread because the beer darkens the crust so honey would make it too brown and have a tendency to burn.

“Peculiar Ale” made a delicious bread and you can also try your favorite beer to vary the flavor.

Note: the little white specks on the crust are due to the overnight shaped rise.

A Fabulous New Bread Recipe for the New Year!

Golden Honey Oat Bread

I’ve been working for a long time on a healthful bread with delicious flavor but also my ideal of a perfect texture. The result is this nutritious bread which is also amazingly light, soft, and slightly chewy with lovely crunch from the flax seed. The wheatiness of the whole wheat, flax and oat or barley flakes together with the sweetness from the honey conspire to make this one of my top favorite breads so I am offering it to all of you as my Winter/holiday present for a happy and healthy New Year.

Be sure to use the vital wheat gluten, available in many supermarkets and health food markets. It is the secret to the marvelously light texture of the bread which usually becomes quite dense with the addition of whole wheat and other grains.

Note: Though the photo shows a sprinkling of barley flakes on the crust, I prefer not to sprinkle the top of the loaf with oat or barley flakes as they tend to get hard and fall off when cut.

Note: If anyone wants to make a version using old starter see notes at end of recipe!

TIME SCHEDULE Minimum Rising: About 3 hours Oven Temperature: 400°F/200°C, then 375°F/190°C Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes: One Loaf about 4 1/2 inches high

Fabulous New Bread.png

Equipment: A 9 by 5 inch/ 7 cup bread pan, coated lightly with cooking spray. A baking stone set toward the bottom rung and a cast-iron pan on the floor of the oven.

1) Make the dough (Bread Machine)

In the bread machine container, combine water, oats, and cracked flax and mix to moisten. then let sit covered for a minimum of 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, gluten, powdered milk, and yeast.

Add the honey, and oil to the oat mixture and then the flour mixture. Mix 3 minutes and allow to rest (autolyse) for 20. If your bread machine always restarts with a 3 minute mix allow it to do so while adding the salt and then go into the kneading cycle for 4 minutes. If it starts with the kneading cycle also run it for 4 minutes, adding the salt at the beginning of the kneading cycle.

Stand Mixer

Proceed as for the bread machine method, mixing for about 3 minutes and scraping down the sides until all the flour is moistened. After the autolyse, knead on medium low speed for 4 minutes.

Both Methods:

The dough will be a little tacky and stretchy.

2) Let the dough rise

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2 quart container with cover or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. It will be 4 cups /943 grams/33 ounces.). Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 80 to 82°F./28°C) until doubled, about 1 hour, 15 min. For extra strength and elasticity, you can stretch it after the first 30 minutes. To achieve a moist and warm temperature I put a small container of very hot water—about 1 cup--under a plastic box to create a proofer and change the water every 20 to 30 minutes. (You can retard the dough overnight after the first rise by gently deflating it and refrigerating it but it seems to rise best when baked the same day. If you refrigerate it overnight, remove it to room temperature. for about an hour before shaping.

3) Shape the dough and let it rise

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press it down to flatten it slightly. It will still be sticky but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary. Shape it into a log and allow it to relax covered for 20 minutes. (This is essential for an evenly shaped dough.)

Shape the dough into a loaf set it into the prepared baking pan. It will be about 3/4 inches from the top of the pan.

Cover the shaped dough with the plastic box or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in. The highest point will be about 1 1/2 inches higher than the sides of the pan. Using the plastic box and hot water it takes 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. At a cooler temperature it will take longer. Meantime preheat the oven for a minimum of 40 minutes.

4) Slash and bake the bread

If you like the look of a bread with a slash down the middle, with a sharp knife or straight edged razor blade, make a 1/2 inch deep slash down the top of the dough. You can also leave it unslashed. Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door,lower the temperature to 375ºF/190ºC, and bake 20 minutes. Turn the dough around, tent, and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 205°F.).

5) Cool the bread

Unmold the bread onto a wire rack and allow it to cool, top-side-up until barely warm.

The Rose Ratio flour: 100%

white flour + gluten: 75.5%

whole wheat: 24.5%

oats/flax: 16.5%

gluten: 4% (2 teaspoons per cup of flour)

water: 63.4% (including water in the honey & oats and flax in the flour totals)

yeast: 0.69% (including oats/flax in flour total)

salt: 2.2% (including oats/ flax in flour total)

To make a version using old sourdough starter:

Use about 2/3 cup/150 to 159 grams /5.5 ounces old starter torn into the water and oat flake mixture.

Increase the salt to 2 1/4 teaspoons/13.5 grams

Use an 8 to 8 1/2 cup bread pan OR cut off about 1/2 cup/155 grams/5.5 ounces of dough and shape it into a mini loaf or 4 rolls.

SLICE OF BREAD WITHOUT STARTER

SLICE OF BREAD WITH STARTER

Quick: Get this Babka Out of the House!!!

...because i can't stop eating it! when i saw the article by my friend and esteemed colleague joan nathan in last wednesday's new york times, the texture and swirl of the crumb just drew me right in.

i grew up on 95th street and central park west and my parents each went to eclair on a regular basis (eclair was mentioned in the article), my mother during the week to pick up my favorite whipped cream filled eclair and my father on sundays to pick up a babka. in my bread book i have recipes for brioche and for kugelhopf, both of which are similar to babka but not the same thing. babka is somewhere between a rich coffee cake and a brioche. compared to my brioche it has about half the egg, two-thirds the butter, and about 1/3 cup more liquid. All this conspires to make a softer and lighter cake/bread.

i am a great fan of ann amernick whose new book "the art of the dessert"(john wiley 2007) contains this recipe. you can also get the recipe by going to this link at the New York Times. you will find several choices of filling and topping. i used the cinnamon-raisin filling adapted from katja goldman, but soaked the raisins in rum as adapted from mrs. london's, saratoga springs, n.y. and i used ann's streusel topping with the cinnamon.

here are a few of my baking notes: i like ann's use of part cake flour as it makes a more tender cake-like crumb but it also makes the dough fragile and prone to tearing so lift it carefully when placing it in the pan and if it tears as mine did, just pinch it together. it actually looks most attractive with some of the raisins and sugar spilling out and caramelizing on the crust. but i wouldn't try twisting it as indicated when placing it in the pan unless you use all unbleached all-purpose flour or you want it to break open. those of you who prefer weight to volume, the all-purpose flour (be sure to use unbleached or the dough will fall apart completely) is 10 ounces/285 grams and the cake flour 3 ounces/85 grams. alternatively use a total of 13 ounces/369 grams unbleached all-purpose flour.

if you use instant yeast you can add it directly to the flour. use only 2 teaspoons and add the 1 tablespoon of water to the milk (which by the way i prefer to scald and then bring to room temperature before using). i also increased the salt from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon.

i used my nordicware "Classic Anniversary Bundt" which is non-stick and 15 cup capacity but the standard 12 cup bundt that's called for will work as it didn't come up to the very top of the pan. but the extra height did serve to shield the streusel topping so if using the 12 cup bundt you may want to tent it loosely with foil after the first 30 minutes of baking. by the way, i did not line the pan with parchment, but coated it with cooking spray and it released beautifully--even the escaped caramel part. my instant read thermometer registered 188˚F after 50 minutes of baking.

i unmolded the babka onto a rack as soon as it came out of the oven. almost all of the streusel stayed on what was now the bottom. as it was 11:00 at night, and i didn't want to ruin the crisp crust and streusel by covering it, i stayed up to watch "kinsey" on the late show and by the time it was over the babka was completely cool! so i covered it with an inverted plastic box and dove into it this morning. when you see the photos i took you'll understand just why it provided such a temptation. by the way, the little brass doorstop in the photo is an antique punch and judy. i usually move it away from the best light location for photos but this time it seemed appropriate as babka means little old-lady. actually just old lady or grandmother but in my era they were always little (now we take calcium pills)! bubba, alta bubba, babcha--they're all yiddish and polish variations which sound as endearing, comforting, and lovable as this recipe. p.s. except for one piece, the missing part in the photo was all consumed by me within 10 minutes!

White Chocolate Chip Bread

Update: Now with photos!

I wanted to include this recipe in The Bread Bible but it necessitated a second visit to Club Med by my cousin Elizabeth who gave me the recipe after a prior visit. The original recipe was all in metrics (no problem there) but included “Puratos” as one of the ingredients. Luckily I had learned about this interesting product, which is a sourdough starter sprayed onto the yeast, when I went on a bakery tour in Switzerland, sponsored by Albert Uster several years ago. I replaced it with my usual old sourdough starter and was delighted by the results.

The white chocolate chips (and be sure to use the variety that contains cocoa butter such as Nestle’s) melt and form little spaces in the bread which become coated with the chocolate forming a lacy crumb. I love it for breakfast or tea time (not that my work schedule allows for it) lightly toasted with butter and strawberry jam or sprinkled with cinnamon with just enough sugar to separate it for even distribution which is equal volume

WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD CINNAMON TOAST

Recently I had a delightful conversation with head baker Louis Felix at the Martinique Club Med, who invited me to come down and bake with him saying that wonderful French phrase “Il faut mettre le main à la pâte” (which translates to: it is necessary to feel the dough. By the way, I’ve heard people mispronounce it as paté which would be not a good idea at all!) They no longer use the “Puratose” and they add a little vital wheat gluten as their flour is softer. Other differences that may interest you is that they use instant yeast equal in weight to the salt which is about 4 times the amount I use so the dough rises much faster. Also, they use 60% water, about 25% chocolate chips, and bake the loaf free form at 180˚C which is about 350˚F.

My version uses the old sour dough starter for extra flavor and shelf life and a slower rise, again for more flavor but the flavor and sweetness of the chocolate makes this less necessary. If you eliminate the starter, decrease the salt by 1/8 teaspoon (total 6.2 grams).

Oven Temperature: 425°F., then 400°F. (tent after 15 minutes)

Baking Time: About 30 minutes

White Chocolate Bread Club Med

Makes: An 8 inch by 4 inch by 4 1/4 inch high loaf, 21 ounces / 600 grams

White Chocolate Chip.jpg

Use 1 teaspoon yeast if room is below 80°F

Equipment: One 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 6 cup loaf pan, lightly greased

1) Make the dough

SPONGE

In a large bowl (mixer bowl if using a stand mixer), place 100 grams/3.5 ounces/2/3 cup of the flour, water, starter, and half the yeast. Whisk until very smooth to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. If using a bread machine scrape it into the container.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining flour with the remaining yeast and dust it over the sponge to form a blanket (completely covering it) Cover the container or bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 1 hour or up to 4 hours at room temperature.

Bread Machine Method:

Mix for 3 minutes, rest for 20, mix 3 minutes while adding the salt, and knead 7 minutes.

Mixer Method:

With the dough hook mix on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed (#4 Kitchen Aid) for 7 minutes.

Both Methods:

The dough should be very elastic and smooth, and sticky enough to cling slightly to your fingers. If it is still very sticky knead in a little flour. If it is not at all sticky spray it with a little water and knead it. Add the white chocolate chips and knead another 3 minutes (The dough should weigh about 22.6 ounces/646grams---about 3 cups.)

2) Let the dough rise

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into an 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75°F to 80°F.) until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours to about 6 cups. Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, remove the dough to a floured counter and press down on it gently to form a rectangle. Give it 1 business letter turn, round the edges and return it to the bowl. Again, oil the surface, cover, mark where double the height will now be and allow it to rise for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (It will fill it fuller than before because it is puffier with air—to 2 quarts).

3) Shape the dough and let it rise

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press it down to flatten it slightly. It will still be sticky but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary.

Gently press or lightly roll the dough with a rolling pin into a wide rectangle. (The long side of the dough should be facing towards you.) The exact size is not important at this point. Press the dough with your fingertips to deflate any large bubbles. Try to keep the chocolate chips from being exposed as they will caramelize if not covered by the dough. Place it in the prepared loaf pan (no more than 1/2 inch from the top of the pan—it was 1-inch from top).

Cover the shaped dough with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in. The highest point will be 1 inch higher than the sides of the pan. (If desired, you can do the entire shaped rise overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, allow it to finish rising, if necessary, at room temperature or if it has risen fully, allow it to come to room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.).

4) Preheat the oven:

1 hour before baking, set a baking stone or baking sheet toward the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 425˚F.

5) Bake the bread

Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door, reduce the heat to 400˚F, and bake 15 minutes. Turn the bread half way around, tent it with aluminum foil, and continue baking 15 to 20 or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 190°F.).

The Rose Ratio flour: 100% starter: 10.4% water: 66.6% yeast: 0.66% salt: 2% (of all flour including 23.1 grams in starter) chocolate is about 17% of the dough

Food Processor Ricotta Bliss Bread

the first time i saw bread being made in a food processor, in under 2 minutes, i didn’t know whether to be amazed or aghast but after speaking to fabrizio bottero of cuisinart, i learned just why it works so well. the gluten strands which develop and are then cut by the whirring blades during processing reconnect as soon as the processing stops.

this is an important lesson about bread dough. think of dividing the dough as you would about the human body as in a break vs. a sprain. a break heals, a sprain is a tear that weakens a ligament and never repairs in the same way. this means that to have a strong viable dough you can cut it with sharp shears or a knife but not pull it apart to tear it!


the potential problem with the food processor, however, is that the friction produced by the blades can overheat the dough very easily and also the processor can stall if the dough is stiff or if there's a large quantity of it.

charlie vanover solved the second problem by working with cuisinart to design a machine that has a dough button that actually slows the machine preventing overheating and straining of the motor. if you are using another type of processor, it may be necessary to stop when you hear the motor straining or the dough jamming and allow it to rest for a few minutes for before continuing.

for the second problem—overheating—i have come up with the following solution: i have everything but the butter as cold as possible to prevent build up of heat in the processor. If the butter has not been softened, however, the processor is likely to stall. freezing the flour/sugar/yeast mixture for 15 minutes or as long as you want would only help but is not absolutely necessary.

one of my favorite recipes in the bread bible is for the ricotta loaf on page 285 but i'm about to provide you with a better version of it—so much better in fact that i originally called it "ricotta bliss bread." here's another lesson: bread baked free form as opposed to in a loaf pan will be more open in texture. i can just hear the gears clicking as some of you will think—but what about the no knead bread? well if a bread is that moist, and has no side walls of a pot to restrain it, it will puddle sideways and not rise as much—as many of you have experience i'm sure.

the bliss bread which makes two loaves became the ricotta loaf due to the organization of the book. the texture was not that of a rustic bread but rather that of a soft loaf so it fell into the loaf category and i was asked to tweak it into loaf shape. but just last week, i decided to make it the way it was originally intended and gasped at the incredible softness and deliciousness of flavor—so extraordinary i knew i'd have to share it with you as soon as possible. for those of you who have the first and second printing of "the bread bible," just print it out and tuck it into the book. it's the same recipe, but shaping, rising, and baking times will vary. i added it to the third printing so it will be in all subsequent printings.

By the way, note in the photos the difference in the top crust of the cut and uncut loaf. the cut loaf was one that hadn't been proofed as much during the final rise and therefore burst open a little unevenly on baking. the uncut loaf has wide openings because it was just ever so slightly underproofed--my preference--so it can have more oven spring and more attractive slashes.

TIME SCHEDULE

Starter: None (Straight Dough Method)

Rising Time: About 3 hours plus optional overnight rise

Oven Temperature: 375°F./190°C.

Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

This recipe was adapted from one that came to me as a gift from Diego Mauricio Lopez G. of Pandora bakery in Columbia South America after the publication of The Cake Bible in 1988. As I was busy at the time, I put it aside and years passed before I came across it again and tried it.

This bread is incredibly quick and easy to mix and thoroughly enjoyable. It is a pleasure just to touch the dough which is as soft as a newborn's skin. It bakes into a pale yellow almost lacy, unfathomably soft crumb that can be sliced very thin. The flavor is ethereal, rich and deeply complex. I should never have waited so long!

Makes: Two 7 inch by 3 1/2 inch high loaves each about 1 pound/474 grams

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Equipment: A baking sheet lined with parchment, or sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. A baking stone or baking sheet.

If using active dry yeast proof it. To proof, dissolve it with a big pinch of the sugar in 2 tablespoons of the water warmed only to hot bath temperature, 110°F./43°C. Set it in a warm spot for 10 to 20 minutes. It should be full of bubbles. Add it when adding the ricotta.

Mix the Dough

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and instant yeast. Place it in a food processor with the dough blades. Add the ricotta, softened butter, egg, and salt and pulse about 15 times. With the motor running, add the cold water. Process 60 to 80 seconds but be careful not to allow the dough to get hot—i.e. not over 80°F/27°C. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it is not soft, spray it with a little water and pulse it in. If it is sticky, transfer it to a counter and knead in a little flour at a time. After the first rise it will become firmer and difficult to shape if it is not soft. The dough will weigh about 2 pounds, 5 ounces/1048 grams.

Let the Dough Rise

Place the dough into a 4 quart or larger container, coated lightly with cooking spray or oil. Press down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise, ideally at 75 to 80°F./24 to 27°C., for about 2 hours or until doubled

Preheat the oven to 375°F./190°C. at least 30 minutes before baking time. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place an oven stone or heavy baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan on the floor of the oven before preheating. (You can line it with foil to prevent rusting.)

Shape the Dough

Empty the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead it lightly to deflate it. Divide it in two (if desired, one or both can be placed in a freezer weight plastic bag(s) that has been sprayed with cooking spray and refrigerated for up to two days. The dough will develop more flavor and have a more open texture. You will need to take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before shaping.)

If you are baking the same day, preshape it by pulling the edges to the top. Without flipping the dough over, use a bench scraper to move each round to a lightly floured counter. Cover them with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow them to sit for 20 minutes or until extensible (when you pull the dough gently it stretches without tearing).

Shape each piece of dough into a 4 1/2-inch by 2 3/4-inch high round. Set them at least 3-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place a large plastic box over them or cover with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk about 1 hour. They will be about 6-inches by 3 1/4-inches high. Slash the tops with a sharp knife or straight edged razor blade. (I like to make a slash in one direction and a second slash perpendicular to it.)

Mist the dough with water and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (A instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F./93°C.). Halfway through baking, turn the pan around for even baking.

Transfer the loaves to a rack and brush with the melted butter if desired. Cool until barely warm—at least 1 hour.

Note: If you prefer to use a mixer, proceed exactly as above, but have the water at room temperature. Use the dough hook on low speed (#2 Kitchen Aid) and gradually add the water. When the dough is moistened, raise the speed to medium low (#3) and knead for 10 minutes.

The Rose Ratio

flour: 100%

water: 70.2% (Includes water contained in the cheese and egg white)

yeast: 0.96%

salt: 2%

Butterfat: 17.5% (Includes fat contained in the egg yolk and cheese)

Baby No Knead Bread Encore

last weekend the urge to bake a little no knead bread seized me although i didn't have any flour on hand suitable for bread baking . as it takes far less time to produce this bread than a trip to the local supermarket, i decided to experiment by using FOUR YEAR OLD unbleached all-purpose. interestingly and predictably, the flavor was good and the texture much less lacy than usual. no complaints from my husband who can be quoted as saying: "maybe the holes are important to you but they aren't to me--in fact i find them undesirable"!

this weekend we had to do our bi-monthly shopping so i picked up a bag of harvest king--turned it around to check that my recipe was still on the back--and as usual had to fight the impulse to hug it. whipped up the bread in under 5 minutes (added a few droplets of water to the moisten the flour at the bottom that hadn't gotten incorporated) and left it to sit undisturbed for 18 hours. then scraped it onto a floured counter and with lightly floured hands gave it the 2 business letter folds, set it on a small silpat sheet and covered it with a big glass bowl.

after 1 hour preheated the oven to 450˚F/230˚C along with the baking stone and baby cast iron lodge pot and lid. 2 1/2 hours later, when pressing it gently with a wet finger tip and it kept the impression for a brief moment i decided to test something else: without flouring the top i lifted the bread still on the silpat, held it close to the pot, and then inverted it. gradually it detached itself from the silpat and slipped right into the pot--slightly unevenly. i jiggled it a little which didn't help much, covered it and set it on the baking stone. after 20 minutes i removed the lid and saw that the bread had risen beautifully and had some huge bubbles on the top. i lowered the heat to 400F/200C., turned the oven to convection to vent out any moisture, and baked for another 10 minutes. the bread unmolded easily. it tested 207F/97C. and the bottom was a tiny bit too brown to my taste--next time i'll try 425F/218C for the first 20 min. or maybe just bake 7 minutes with the lid off at the end. the bread resembled an etruscan drinking utensil. it had its usual lacey open texture and extra vibrant flavor due to the fresh flour.

incidentally, people have complained that this technique renders the crumb too moist. i don't mind this and in fact the next day, i toast it lightly and it's still moist but much less so. if you prefer it drier the same day you have only to return it to the oven with the door open for another 10 minutes and it will help to vent internal moisture.

IDEA: as summer approaches and the heat rises, the thought of turning the oven to 450F/230C for 2 hours may justifiably leave you cold. if you have a gas grill, simply use that to preheat the pot and bake the bread. it should work perfectly. i intend to try it when my 93 year old father comes to visit. he'll just love seeing me drop the dough into the burning hot cast iron pot not to mention the simplicity of preparing the dough. by the way, a charcoal grill would work too if you use enough charcoal to get hot enough but it's more of a nuisance because more briquettes would need to be added to maintain the heat for so long a period of time.

NOTE: the recipe has already been posted in the larger size and baby size on this blog.

Cranberry Walnut Bread

As promised, here's the recipe for the cranberry walnut bread I made for my recent plane flight.

 

Cranberry Walnut Bread

TIME REQUIRED:

Dough Starter (Sponge): Minimum 1 1/2 hour, Maximum 24 hours

Minimum Rising Time: About 3 1/4 hours

Baking Time: 50 to 60  minutes

Oven Temperature: 375°F/190˚C

Makes: 2 pounds, 3.3 ounce / 1000 gram  loaf

The optional stiff sourdough starter adds flavor but what is most important, it extends shelf-life, keeping the bread soft and moist.

Equipment: A 10 inch or longer  baking sheet, preferably insulated, or a double layer of 2 baking sheets, top 1 lined with parchment, or sprinkled with  flour or corn meal.

Early in the morning or the night before prepare the cranberries, walnuts, and start the dough starter (sponge)

Cranberries

Cranberry Walnut Bread 1.png

1) Soak the cranberries

In a small bowl, place the cranberries and water. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dried fruit soak until it is softened and plump, stirring once, for 30 minutes. Drain the cranberries, reserving the liquid in a 1 cup liquid measure. (You should have 3 fluid ounces.)  Add enough water to come to the 1 cup level and set it aside covered. If planning to mix the dough the next day, cover the cranberries and water with plastic wrap and refrigerate them overnight.

Flour Mixture

Cranberry Walnut @.png

2) Prepare the walnuts and flour mixture

In a preheated 325ºF. oven, toast the walnuts very lightly for 7 minutes. to bring out their flavor and loosen the skins but do not brown them. Transfer them to a clean towel and while still hot, rub them to remove as much of the bitter skin as possible. Coarsely break 1  1/2 cups of the walnuts and set them aside. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of walnut halves in a food processor along with the whole wheat flour and process for about a minute or until ground fine. Pulse in the bread flour and yeast. Set it aside.

Dough Starter (Sponge)

Cranberry Walnut 3.png

3) Make the dough starter (sponge)

In a medium bowl whisk together the bread flour, yeast, and malt, or sugar. In a mixer bowl, place the cranberry water and tear in the starter. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes or until softened. Add the flour mixture and whisk until very smooth to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. The dough will be the consistency of a thick batter. Scrape down the sides. (If using a bread machine, you can mix in the container with the dough blade(s), but you’ll need to scrape the corners several times.) Lightly spoon the ground nut/flour mixture on top of the sponge. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 1 hour or up to 4 hours at room temperature. The batter beneath the flour will be very bubbly and spongy in texture. Some of it will break through the flour mixture.

Dough

Cranberry Walnut 4.png

4) Mix the dough

Mixer Method

Add the oil and walnuts, and with the dough hook, mix on low (#2 Kitchen Aid) about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened, to form a soft rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and  allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on salt and knead the dough on medium speed (#4 Kitchen Aid) for 7 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. After the first 3 minutes, if the dough still appears sticky and does not begin to pull away from the bowl, add a little of the flour a tablespoon at a time. Sprinkle the counter lightly with a little more of this flour. Place the dough on top and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes to relax the gluten.

Bread Machine Method

Add the oil and broken walnuts and mix 3 minutes. Allow the dough to rest 20 minutes. Then knead 7 minutes. (Add the salt after the first minute or two after mixing. Add cranberries by hand after resting 20 minutes because they are soaked so would smooch in the machine.

Both Methods

Roll the dough into a rectangle (about 14 inches by 10 inches). Sprinkle the cranberries evenly over the dough and starting from the short end, roll up the dough as you would a jelly roll. (Do not use the machine to mix in the cranberries will break down and result in a dark compact crumb.)

Form the dough into a ball and knead it lightly. After the cranberries are added the dough becomes a little tacky (sticky) and will need a little more of the extra flour. (The dough should weigh about 2 pounds, 6 ounces / 1075 grams.)

5) Let the dough rise

Place the dough into a 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75°F to 80°F) until doubled, 1-1/2 to 2 hours (a little over 2 quarts).

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, remove the dough to a floured counter and press down on it gently to form a rectangle. Give it 1 business letter turn (I), round the edges and set it back in the container. Again, oil the surface, cover, mark where double the height will now be and refrigerate over night or allow it to rise until doubled, about 1 to 1/2 hours. (It will fill it fuller than before because it is puffier with air). Note: If refrigerating overnight, deflate it once or twice to prevent over-proofing.

6) Shape the dough and let it rise

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Press down on it or roll it to form a rectangle and shape it into a 8 to 12 inch long torpedo shaped loaf.  If 8 inches long it will be about 4 inches wide by 3 inches high. If 12  inches long it will be about 3  1/2 inches wide by 2  1/2 inches high. Set the dough on a baking sheet lined with non-stick liner or parchment. Cover it with a large container oroiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in, 45 minutes to 1 hour (12 by 4  1/2 by 2  3/4 inches high or 9 by 6 by 3 1/2 inches high).

7) Preheat the oven

30 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 400°F/200˚C Have the oven shelf at the next to lowest level and set a cast iron pan or sheet pan on the floor of the oven before preheating.

8) Slash and bake the bread

Allow it to sit uncovered for 5 minutes to dry slightly.  With a sharp knife or straight edged razor blade, make 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep horizontal slashes in the top of the dough about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Mist the dough with water and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the oven rack. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 5 minutes. Lower the heat to 375°F. and continue baking  45 to 55 minutes or until the crust is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F.) Tent loosely with foil after the first 20 minutes of baking. Halfway through baking, turn the pan halfway around for even baking.

9) Cool the bread

Remove the bread from the oven, lift it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top-side up (at least 2 hours).

Pointers for Success

Don’t set the pan on a preheated baking stone as this bread tends to brown faster and could over-brown.

Soaking the cranberries not only softens them but also produces a naturally sweetened liquid that permeates the bread and turns the crust a magnificent golden brown.

The walnuts are toasted very lightly to keep them from turning blue in the crumb. As some of the nuts work their way to the top of the crust and continue to brown, it is best to toast them only lightly.

This bread takes longer to rise because of the extra weight of the whole wheat flour, cranberries and nuts. Extra risings makes the grain more even and lighter.

A softer dough results in a lighter texture ideal for this bread. Don’t work in too much flour.

If using malt syrup instead of malt powder, it will produce a browner crumb instead of the rosy hue. As the long baking required for this large loaf and the cranberry soaking water containing sugar conspire to making a very brown crust, this bread should not be baked on a baking stone.

The Rose Ratio

flour: 100%

     bread: 86.2%

     whole wheat: 13.8%

water: 58.9%

yeast: 1%

salt: 2%

oil: 3.4%

Plane Food

Cranberry Walnut Bread I’ve been carrying my own food on plane trips for years now but my husband usually prefers to eat what’s given on the plane. HOWEVER, now that one has the privilege of paying for such dreadful stuff, I’d have to be plain crazy not to bring my own and Elliott is now amenable to the idea. So two days before departing for our annual ski vacation in Deer Valley, I started the cranberry walnut bread destined to be filled with cold roast chicken for the trip. (brownies for dessert). Since I baked it the day before, we already consumed about a third of it before making the sandwiches. The rest will be divided between breakfast before departure and the freezer for our return.

This seemed like an excellent opportunity for a step-by-step bread lesson so instead of packing in a timely way, and not waiting til the last minute, I photographed all the different stages of the bread. For those of you who have the Bread Bible, you will already have the recipe. As you will see from the photos, I mixed it in the bread machine this time. I made half the recipe (which baked in the same time) though I would recommend tenting it with foil after the first 30 minutes of baking and using a cushioned baking sheet or double baking sheets as this bread tends to brown readily.

The only thing I did that was different was to add 75 grams (2.6 ounces—a scant 1/4 cup) of stiff starter that I keep in the freezer to add to dough to give it extra flavor and extend its shelf-life. If you do this, defrost it and add it torn in pieces to the water mixture. Also add an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt to balance the extra flour in the starter. Anyone who doesn’t have the Bread Bible and wants to make this recipe let me know and I’ll post it on the blog on my return.

Sponge Peaking Through Flour Blanket After 1-1/2 Hour

Initial Mixing of the Dough Dough after the 20 Minute Autolyse

Dough Kneaded 7 Minutes

Soaked Cranberries Spread on the Rolled Dough

Cranberries Kneaded into the Dough

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Dough Doubled, Risen 1-1/2 Hours

Shaped Dough with Hot Water in Container in Background to be Covered
with Plastic Proof Box

Dough Fully Risen and Slashed, Ready to Bake

The Baked Bread

Slices of the Bread

Note: The crunch of the walnuts and tart moistness of the cranberries were fantastic with the sliced chicken breast and a light gilding of mayonnaise.