What is your showcase bread?
Posted: 24 February 2011 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi everybody…
I am new to baking and decided to start with bread.  I am a very proud owner of all of Rose’s books and absolutely love all the technical aspects of baking.  The fact that Rose does as well and has shared all that she has learned hasn’t failed to encourage and inspire me to feel confident in learning this new skill set.

I am having a blast baking bread!

My questions for Rose, and anyone else that would like to share, are as follows:
Having a chance to show off for family and friends which loaf of bread would you use to showcase your bread baking talent?  Which loaf do you feel would best showcase flavor and/or the beauty of a fresh loaf of home baked bread?  Which recipe, from The Bread Bible, had garnered the most acclaim and exclamation from your family and friends?

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Posted: 24 February 2011 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The biggest crowd pleaser so far has been the raisin-pecan bread, and Rose says this is her favorite as well.  Last time I made it I served it to a small group of volunteers with local creamy ricotta and honey, and they demolished the entire loaf. 

My personal favorite is her 100% freshly ground whole wheat bread from the blog, when served with cheese (hearty enough to be the main course at a light dinner or lunch): http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2006/11/rose_levy_beranbaums_100_whole.html

Some general favorites in our family are the rosemary focaccia, the focaccia with herbs under the crust and semolina (forget the name), and the pugliese (cover bread).

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Posted: 24 February 2011 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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From the Bread Bible, my list would have to include:

Cinnamon Crumb Surprise
Bagels
Popovers
Pumpernickel
Raisin Pecan Bread
Sticky Buns

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Posted: 25 February 2011 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Matthew, I want to start with the Popovers.  Where did you get your pan?

I might bake the Cinnamon Crumb Surprise this weekend.

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Posted: 26 February 2011 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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My first traditional metal popover pan came from Sur la Table. It does make the most beautiful popovers, but I found the pan increasingly difficult to clean, so I finally tossed it.

My next purchase was the indivdual silicone popover cups from Lekue. They work well but produce not quite as beautiful popovers—taste is the same though. They are a lot easier to clean, but still not the easiest.

Lately, I’ve just been using glass custard cups on a baking sheet. They are the easiest to clean, but definitely produce the least atractive popovers. I don’t mind for just family as they taste as good, but I probably wouldn’t use them for company. I’ve found the sort of oblong shaped ones from anchor hocking work the best.

The real secret I’ve found to great popovers is to warm the batter slighltly before baking. Just till it is warm to the touch probably around 105F. You will get the highest rising popovers this way.

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Posted: 26 February 2011 02:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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You just saved me a lot of time shopping.  Starting with the custard cups is a great idea. I’ve never made Popovers before.  If we like them enough to want them more frequently, I can get the pan later.

How do you warm batter?

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Posted: 26 February 2011 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I do it in a pan over medium low heat—I just use the pan to mix up the batter instead of a bowl. You have to keep whisking/stirring or it could scorch. I test it until it is warm to the touch and then use it immediately. I suppose if you didn’t want to watch it as closely, you could also use a double boiler, but it would probably take much longer.

Btw, I should add that I haven’t tried preheating the custard cups. When you heat the batter it is probably not necesarry. You might want to try it with heated cups though to get the highest rise, I just haven’t out of ease—I simply spray them with baker’s joy. I learned that we have popovers more often once I simplified the process—so these are my weeknight, not showcase popovers smile Also, my favorite way to eat them is with broccoli cheese soup—perfect combination for me—or with honey is good too.

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Posted: 26 February 2011 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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For the cinnamon crumb surprise, follow Rose’s updated technique of adding the crumbs on in the last part of baking. I can’t remember if it is in the bread bible version like this or not. I also make extra crumb topping as there is never quite enough for my liking.

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Posted: 26 February 2011 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Matthew - 26 February 2011 07:58 AM

I do it in a pan over medium low heat—I just use the pan to mix up the batter instead of a bowl. You have to keep whisking/stirring or it could scorch. I test it until it is warm to the touch and then use it immediately. I suppose if you didn’t want to watch it as closely, you could also use a double boiler, but it would probably take much longer.

Btw, I should add that I haven’t tried preheating the custard cups. When you heat the batter it is probably not necesarry. You might want to try it with heated cups though to get the highest rise, I just haven’t out of ease—I simply spray them with baker’s joy. I learned that we have popovers more often once I simplified the process—so these are my weeknight, not showcase popovers smile Also, my favorite way to eat them is with broccoli cheese soup—perfect combination for me—or with honey is good too.

I would have never thought of mixing the batter in a pan. Thank you for the great tip. 

I’ll try heating the custard cups too.

Matthew, should I place the custard cups on a heated half sheet?

Broccoli soup sounds delicious.  So does the honey.

I have a recipe from Dorie Greenspan for “Chicken in a pot.” I think popovers would be a good accompaniment.

I’m making it tomorrow.  I will plan on making the popovers too.

Thank you.

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Posted: 26 February 2011 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Matthew - 26 February 2011 08:08 AM

For the cinnamon crumb surprise, follow Rose’s updated technique of adding the crumbs on in the last part of baking. I can’t remember if it is in the bread bible version like this or not. I also make extra crumb topping as there is never quite enough for my liking.

Thank you for that tip too. I like a lot of crumbs.  I will make more.  I can’t wait to try it.

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Posted: 26 February 2011 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hmmmn…where to start.  Her Golden Honey Oat Bread (on website) is fabulous and makes great buns—I up the whole wheat to 50% of the flour with no ill effects.  Also the butter dipped dinner rolls are super!  Also love the Rye bread!!  The Bread Bible is my fave bible!

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Posted: 26 February 2011 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My go-to recipe is the hearth bread. I often add nuts or seeds, I up the amount of ww flour (to 50 %), and I add old starter. I’ve taken it to various dinners over the last few years. Some times it turns into “the best bread I’ve ever made,” sometimes not, but it’s always very good. By now it’s more of a formula for me. I actually haven’t made many others from the Bread Bible. Of course the hydration then needs to be adjusted.

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Posted: 27 February 2011 12:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Oh yes!  I mustn’t forget ... adding the browned butter milk solids to the Golden Honey Oat bread makes it even better.  I keep a stash of milk solids in the freezer just for this purpose.

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Posted: 01 March 2011 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thank you so much for your posts.
 
As I’ve spent time reading through a large quantity of the forums here, I’ve learned there are a lot of very kind and knowledgeable people willing to share their knowledge, experience and tips for baking anything you can imagine.  I think I’m going to like it here smile

I now have a very nice list of breads to learn to make.  Hopefully my guests and recipients of my bread baking will be pleased with my results.  They may not mind being my guinea pigs as I learn these formulas and techniques but I’m not going to tell them either. 

I have also learned a thing or two about pop over pans.

Thanks again.
Mike

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Posted: 01 March 2011 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Hope you report back on your results. smile

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