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Jul 31, 2012

Zucchini Olive Oil Bread

I made this zucchini bread at the request of my oldest grandson, for whom I'd pretty much bake anything he wants.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Olive Oil Bread #zucchinibread #chocolatechips #quickbread

I don't usually care for quick breads. I make "real" bread. You know, the kind that takes a starter, a preferment, stretching and folding, steaming up the oven, thumping the bottom to make sure it sounds hollow......
Jul 29, 2012

BBA Challenge - Ciabatta, Cinnamon Buns & Sticky Buns, and Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

My next installment on the breads of Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Ciabatta, Poolish Version

This bread is made from a very slack, wet dough and is quite airy.  This recipe takes two days to make, day one for a "poolish," and day two for the final dough. It involves the stretch-and-fold method to develop the dough.

While this bread was wonderful, I had already baked with greater success Peter's recipe from his later book Artisan Breads Every Day. In that book, he continued to improve his techniques. So... this bread is good, but the later recipe is better.

Google BBA Challenge #7 to see other bakers' experiences.

Cinnamon Buns and Sticky Buns

This dough is wonderful. You can use it for both cinnamon buns and sticky buns. The cinnamon buns are baked and then topped with a fondant glaze. The sticky buns are baked in a mixture that creates a caramel glaze with nuts and raisins that top the buns once you turn the whole pan upside down. These were very easy to make and take only a few hours (mostly just waiting for the dough to rise). I divided my dough in half to make both.

My recommendation... go with the sticky buns. The caramel glaze worked beautifully. I was not as happy with the glaze for the cinnamon buns. Still, both are great, and I would definitely make them both again. Google BBA Challenge #8 to see other bakers' experiences.

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread 

.... without the walnuts

This bread is so good. This will be my "go to" cinnamon raisin bread recipe. I left out the walnuts, added the optional cinnamon swirl, and cut the amount of cinnamon sugar in the swirl by one half the recommended amount in the recipe. Make this bread.

 Google BBA Challenge #9 to see other bakers' experiences.
Jul 26, 2012

Poilane-Style Miche

My cousin went to Paris and made a pilgrimage to the Poilane shop, the boulangerie founded by Lionel Poilane. I'm still jealous. Fortunately for me, she returned with this....

This is a bag of flour from that famous bakery and it had been sitting in her freezer for a while when she brought it to me. It was about that time that I began baking the recipes from the book I've been baking my way through for about a year.
Jul 21, 2012

Demerara Sugar Honey Challah

This month, the Twelve Loaves (formerly Breaking Bread) fraternity is making challah. To participate, you can make any challah recipe you like, as long as you bake it in July 2012.

I decided to try the recipe from Cake Duchess, the host of this party, with one variation. Instead of Sugar in the Raw, I used demerara sugar. The sugars aren't that different from each other, plus my pantry will not hold one more unique ingredient. As an added bonus, I get to give my bread a different name.  Here is an explanation of the different types of sugars.

OK. Hope you came back after clicking all of those links. Onto the bread....

Recipe adapted from Cake Duchess, courtesy of Food Wanderings.

Jul 20, 2012

BBA Challenge - Poor Man's Brioche & Challah

Installment number two of my year baking my way through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Poor Man's Brioche 

I had tried another recipe for brioche before and wasn't all that happy with it. Brioche is a very rich bread. It includes eggs, a bit of sugar, and a ton of butter. It's not flaky like croissants, and it's not sweet. To me, the first recipe I tried just seemed greasy. I ended up making a very nice bread pudding with it, but it annoys me that I would have to take such an elaborate recipe and then create bread pudding. Seems like "bread pudding" and "French toast" are the catch-all excuses for what to do with bad bread.

Fortunately, Peter Reinhart provides three versions of his brioche recipe. Rich Man's Brioche, with a pound of butter to make three 1-pound loaves, Middle-Class Brioche, with 1/2 pound of butter to make two 1-pound loaves, or Poor Man's Brioche, with 1/4 pound of butter to make two 1-pound loaves.

I made the Poor Man's Brioche. It was perfect for me. And I think my loaves are quite pretty. Perhaps I'll try Peter's "richer" recipes someday.

I definitely would make this bread again.

Google BBA Challenge #4 to see other bakers' experiences.


This bread is excellent. I had already made Peter Reinhart's Challah from Artisan Breads Everyday. That recipe (which is very good) called for a very large amount of egg yolks (in fact, that's why I finally attempted macarons). This recipe called for two eggs and two egg yolks. And the leftover egg whites could be used as a bread wash before sprinkling the loaf with seeds.

I will definitely make this challah again. It's very good.

For this bread,  Google BBA Challenge #6 to see other bakers' experiences.
Jul 4, 2012

Hokkaido Milk Bread using the Tangzhong Method

This Hokkaido Milk Bread using the Tangzhong Method is the softest fluffiest bread you will ever produce. It's very different than most of the artisan style breads that I usually make. 

Hokkaido Milk Bread using the Tangzhong Method

This Hokkaido Milk Bread is reminiscent of Hawaiian bread, and it seems to stay fresh and soft for a long time. The oven spring is amazing.