Posts Tagged ‘daily bread’

Dutch Treat

A frequent customer to the shop where I work (and when I say “frequent,” imagine 3 or 4 times a day — she lives next door) is starting her own business as a personal chef. As she’s experimented with cooking and baking, we’ve often traded stories. She was quite excited to find that I bake and has now put me on her slate as her go-to person for breads and such should she have a need of them for a client. Woot!

Anyway, the other day, she brought in a loaf of bread which was quite good. When she told me it was a no effort at all bread, I scoffed. How could such a thing be possible? I soon found out as the next day she brought in the formula scribbled on an index card.

The result:
Dutch Treat

Late, late last night I put a few cups of flour, some salt, some yeast, and some water together and left it to sit in a bowl. Twelve hours later, I shaped it, let it rest for a couple hours, then plopped it in a pre-heated dutch oven (my gorgeous Le Creuset French oven to be exact), aaaaaand… baked.

No kneading, no fussing, and hardly any muss. WTF? We haven’t tasted it yet, but the crust sang for a good 15 minutes after I took it from the oven and the aroma is heavenly.


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Stale Bread

A while back, The Baker asked her friends how much they’d pay for a fresh loaf of home baked bakery bread to be delivered to them. One of the answers was “I wouldn’t, it goes stale too quickly.” The current standard loaf in our household takes a lot longer than a day or two to go stale, but we still end up with a lot of ends of loaves going stale and this got me thinking about what you can do with stale bread.

The obvious answer is toast. I love toast, and it’s perfect for using up old bread. Once you toast it, it gets all crispy on the outside and the insides get soft again from the heat of the toaster. And then you melt some butter on it, with maybe some cheese or jam or a fried egg, and it’s great. But what else? (more…)

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Pain de Tradition

As part of my ever-expanding project to increase my bread repertoire, I wanted to try something new, so I scanned through recent postings at The Fresh Loaf and found something old-ish.

This certainly looks interesting, and the formula is written in a way that’s new to me, so I get the benefit of a new technique and a different presentation.

We begin with a sodden, lumpy mess. I think at this point, I should have realized that my dough was just a wee bit overhydrated. What can I say, I don’t usually measure water in grams. Millilitres and ounces, no problem, but wtf with “400 grams” of water? I had to put it on my SCALE, people.

A little sticky and gooey after the first fold. I’m used to this, but I’m also used to oh… adding a load of flour when I do this too, so this was very very different.

Fingers considerably less in a Rolling Stones-type state after the second folding.

It grew quite a bit between the second and third folding. It was also developing a lovely yeasty aroma at this point.

Again, quite a bit of growth in that hour before the fourth folding. Lots of good, hearty gluten development, very stretchy and resilient. But, in my opinion, still too wet. Next time I’ll have to experiment with the water amounts.

I don’t have a basket for bread baking, nor a clay mold, so I really just had to go with a free form loaf.

A less hydrated loaf would have brought me a better bloom.

And fresh out of the oven, a nice internal temp of 200 degrees, the whole house smelling of fresh bread? Oh yeah, we’re golden, baby.

And this crust did sing for ages.

Can’t wait to have it with dinner tonight, and to see how the crumb came out.

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Cardamom Bread

For the most recent holidays, my housemate’s (Cyn), mother gave me a copy of Alfred Lunt’s Ten Chimney’s Cookbook. In there, of course, was the one recipe I couldn’t wait to try, his famous Cardamom Bread. As you can see from the formula, this a bread with over 100% hydration, and the first time I made it I had to add more the twice the amount of flour called for. This put an onerous burden not only on my mixer, but my poor shoulders as I tried to beat more flour into the goopiest bread batter I’d ever encountered.
Keep reading

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Magic Bread

This bread is made from a poolish pre-ferment. I mix it up the night before and it’s more than ready to go the next morning. It’s even better if I leave it more than 24 hours.

This morning I mixed together about a pound of flour, six ounces of tomato puree, an ounce of water, a teaspoon of salt, and a splash of olive oil. I let this sit for a good 20 minutes to autolyse. Autolysing is one of the most awesome techniques I’ve learned in the last few weeks; along with folding, it’s significantly improved my bread.

After the autolyse, I added the poolish, a teaspoon of instant yeast, two sprigs of rosemary (I think people use too much rosemary in their breads these days, it’s overpowering, I like to have just that hint of rosemary at the back end of the bite), and a couple of twists of the black pepper mill, and mixed it all together until it became the mostly smooth batter you saw earlier. I plop all that in my big yellow bowl and leave it to ferment for 20 minutes.

After 20ish minutes, I scrape the dough out of the bowl onto my pastry mat which is well-floured, no, more than that, no, still more.

Then I generously toss a bunch of flour on top of the dough and gently flatten it with my hands, while flattening, I am also stretching it a bit.

Then it’s on to the folding. When the dough is still really hydrated like this, it can be difficult to get a good grip on it, and it’s really difficult to do one handed. Again, I’m stretching it while I’m folding.

This is the first fold. As you can see, it’s done in thirds, like a letter.

Then the second fold crosswise to the last.

Then I flip it over and do the same thing again.

At the end of the folding (sometimes it takes a bit more during that first hour if the dough is very loosey goosey), I can pick it up with one hand.

After another 20 minutes of fermenting, it’s time for more stretching and folding.

At this point, you can see that air pockets are beginning to form and the dough is increasing in strength and elasticity.

I repeat the stretch and fold process.

Now, I could divide and separate the dough at this point, but I like to set it out for a second rise.

So this is how big it is at the start of the second rise.

And… 45ish minutes later. Nice.

Divide and conquer. These are going to be boules.

Once they’re benched and shaped, I put them on baking sheets which are liberally dusted with semolina flour or corn meal. Today I decided to be a bit fancy and did an egg wash so that I cold emboss a rosemary sprig on the top of each loaf. It’s important to use only the top soft bit of the rosemary, it’s not nice to have a stick glued to the top of the loaf, plus it won’t bend to the shape and will burn up in the oven.

About 45 minutes to an hour later, just before I put it in the oven, it’s time to score the loaves.

And 20 minutes later… we have bread.

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