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Aug 28, 2012

Fresh Berry Focaccia

I've made focaccia, awesome focaccia, but not sweet focaccia. This dough is typical focaccia dough, but with berries pressed into the dough pieces, and a streusel generously spread over the top. The dough is super wet, requires an overnight refrigeration, and does not contain sugar. The contrast between the slightly savory and sweet is interesting. The dough is really easy to handle.
Aug 23, 2012

BBA Challenge #19 Marbled Rye Bread, # 20 Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire, #21 Pain a l' Ancienne

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

Go get some coffee. These breads were three of my favorites from this book. 

BBA Challenge # 19 Marbled Rye Bread


Left: Shaped as Marbled Rye. Right: Shaped as a Spiral Loaf, not all that different, right?
I always thought that marbled rye bread was made from two different doughs based on two different flours.. one white rye, one pumpernickel. Wrong. At least in this case, it's just the same dough, with half of it dyed brown with caramel coloring, cocoa, carob, or coffee powder. 

I didn't have caramel color and didn't know where to find any (I've since run across it at Smart & Final near my house), and didn't want to use cocoa or coffee in my bread. A search on "caramel color" on the internet produced a suggestion to use Gravy Master. Gravy Master? Guess what the top two ingredients are? Caramelized sugar and caramel color... and I already had it in my pantry. So I added a tablespoon of that stuff plus a few drops of AmeriColor gel food color in brown. Look at how contrasty this bread turned out. 

The dough is 1/3 white rye flour and 2/3 all purpose or clear wheat flour. You can use medium rye flour, but you won't get this contrast between the light and dark. I got my white rye from King Arthur Flour. You make two batches of dough and then add one of the darkening ingredients to one of the doughs. 

You have a few options for shaping. I tried the marbled technique and the spiral technique. For the marbled bread, you divide the dough up into balls and them clump them together and then shape your loaf. For the spiral loaf, you create four layers of alternating colors, and roll them into a spiral. As you can see, they pretty much exploded in the oven.  

For those of you who don't like rye bread, this bread does not have that store bought rye taste that you think of when you imagine rye bread. It is very mild and the dough behaved like bread dough. I would definitely make this bread again.

Google BBA Challenge #19 Marbled Rye Bread to see other bakers' experiences with this recipe. 

BBA Challenge #20 Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

Every time Peter Reinhart writes a bread book, he includes a recipe for this multi-grain bread, also called Struan. In fact, this is the bread that lured me into the BBA Challenge

This bread starts with a cornmeal, rolled oats, and wheat bran soaker. It also includes bread flour, cooked brown rice, brown sugar and honey, and buttermilk. It is pretty incredible. I highly recommend making this bread. Awesome toast. I've made it twice, even with the "pressure" to finish baking my way through this book. Try it. You'll love it. 

Google BBA Challenge #20 Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire for more bakers' experiences with this recipe. 

BBA Challenge #21 Pain a l'Ancienne

The amazing thing about bread (yes, I know I've said this before) is that you can take the exact same ingredients, and depending upon how you treat them, you get completely different results. Variables include ratios, and also the fermentation time, and in this case, fermentation temperature. 

This dough is cold fermented, and uses ice water. This method creates an amazing flavor.  In his book, Artisan Breads Every Day, Peter used this dough to create an amazing Ciabatta. I speak from experience. 

This dough is very, very wet. And forget slashing it. You create these strips of dough, place them on parchment, and bake them on a stone. Go with it. You will be pleased. You will feel like a pro. 

To see other blogger's experiences with this bread, Google BBA Challenge #21 Pain a l'Ancienne. 

And get the book! Or borrow it from the library. It's amazing.

Aug 16, 2012

BBA Challenge # 16 Kaiser Rolls, #17 Lavash Crackers, #18 Light Wheat Bread

Installment number six of my chronicle of baking every recipe in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread.

BBA Challenge # 16 Kaiser Rolls

These are also known as New York hard rolls, and are intended for making deli sandwiches. These rolls were really tasty. They also gave me another opportunity to use the diastatic barley malt powder that I purchased especially for the bagels from King Arthur Flour. Thank goodness. my pantry and freezer are overrun with ingredients and are shrines to that company.
Aug 15, 2012

Pain Francais - Plain French Bread

This recipe is from Julia Child's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, and the recipe is nearly twenty pages.... twenty pages....

While this bread takes several hours to make (mostly waiting for the dough to rise), it actually was very easy.. except when it came time to slash the dough and move it to the oven. It was there that I struggled.

You are supposed to be able to slash the loaves before placing them in the oven, but in my case, my lovely round mini-baguettes just went pffft and flattened when I began slashing them. That is supposed to indicate that the loaves have over proofed and that is likely what happened. The loaves are supposed to take 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours to rise, and mine were past ready in an hour. This dough is also very wet, which makes it difficult to slash. Rest assured, I will continue to work on getting this right!

Nonetheless, the flavor is wonderful. We sliced them lengthwise through the middle and they made great sandwiches.One of my favorite quotes from the book is "You may muff this every once in a while, and produce some queerly deformed shapes, but they will all bake into bread." Indeed they did.

For an easier, one day version that won't deflate, be sure to try Classic French Bread

French Bread

Makes three mini-baguettes/batards.

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
1/3 C warm water (about 90 to 100 degrees)
3 1/2 C, (about 16 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour.
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C room temperature water

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. While it's dissolving, mix the flour and salt in a the bowl of a stand mixer (You may also hand knead this dough if you do not have a mixer).
Add the dissolved yeast and the rest of the water.
Stir the ingredients to form a ball and allow it to rest for two or three minutes.
Knead the dough on low for about 5 minutes with the dough hook.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and let it rest for three or four minutes.
Knead by hand for a minute.
Place the dough into a bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise until it is 3 1/2 times its original size. This should take three to five hours.
Scrape the dough out of the bowl and, with floured hands, flatten the dough into round.
Stretch and fold the dough over itself from all four sides to form a ball and place it back into the bowl (covered) to rise again.
Allow the dough to rise to about 2 1/2 to 3 times its original size. This should take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
To shape the baguettes, cut the dough into three equal pieces, fold in half, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for five minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten each piece of dough into an 8 inch long rectangle, and fold the dough in half lengthwise. Seal the edges together with the sides of your thumbs.
Turn the dough so that the seam is facing up, and flatten the dough again and refold and seal again.
Begin rolling the dough back and forth with both hands, starting with your hands in the center, and slowly moving them to the ends until the loaves are about 14 to 16 inches long.
Place the loaves into a floured towel to rise 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. I baked my loaves on a preheated baking stone, but you can also bake them on a baking sheet.
Once the loaves have risen, slash them, and move them to your baking sheet or peel (if you are using a stone). I placed mine on strips of parchment to make moving them easier.
Slash the loaves, mist them with water, and place them in the oven.
Spray them three more times, every three minutes (or set up your oven for steam baking).
Bake for 25 minutes until browned and they sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
Allow to cool for two to three hours.

To quote Julia: "Although bread is always exciting to eat fresh from the oven, it will have a much better taste when the inside is thoroughly cool and has composed itself."

I am picturing bread "composing itself." What a perfect descriptor.

Today is Julia Child's 100th birthday. Susan of Yeastspotting chose this recipe for the Bread Baking Babes and Buddies to honor Julia, and PBS is celebrating her birthday with #cookforJulia.

Aug 11, 2012

The Negroni

A little less than a year ago, we spent a long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. Amazing place. The food is incredible. The people are wonderful. It seemed like many of the people with whom we interacted were actually from somewhere else, and purposely moved to Charleston because they loved it so much.
Aug 5, 2012

Pain de Beaucaire

What is amazing about baking bread is that it involves the same ingredients.. flour, salt, yeast (wild or commercial) and water, but with different results.

Pain de Beaucaire.... do a search on it...  I"ll wait.... I want to give you a chance to see what it is really supposed to look like.

This is a sourdough bread that uses a stiff dough, and yet results in a crusty loaf with an open, airy interior that is typically associated with a very wet dough. I first saw two versions of this bread on Wild Yeast. One version used a levain as well as bran to cause the top of the bread to open up. The second recipe skips the levain, and uses sesame seeds to cause the bread to open.

While the dough of this bread is stiff, it is painted with a slurry of water and flour, which is then sandwiched between two layers of dough. Once the slurry is added, bran, whole wheat flour, corn meal, or seeds are sprinkled between the layers.

My first attempt, using flax seeds, did not open up.

I used bran on my second attempt, but I think I over compensated after my first attempt. I had a hard time keeping the two parts together, and while the dough split open, it flattened a bit.

However, the flavor is amazing. The results are a lot like Pain a l' Ancienne, which is a completely different formula. Next time I will try using less bran. And maybe less water in the dough (although my dough was really stiff.... don't want to kill my mixer!).

Aug 4, 2012

BBA Challenge #10 Corn Bread, #11 Cranberry-Walnut Bread, #12 English Muffins

Part 3 in my chronicle of baking my way through The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.

BBA Challenge #10 Corn Bread

This is the only non-yeasted bread in the entire book.

This bread takes two days because it requires a corn meal soaker, but hands on time is minimal. 

This bread is topped with cooked bacon.....  and rendered bacon fat is used to coat the 10" round cake pan. 

This corn bread is lovely. It includes quite a bit of whole corn, and is quite sweet, so your reaction to this bread will depend on your taste. 

To see more blogs on this bread, Google BBA Challenge #10.

BBA Challenge #11 Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread

I wish I had more photos of this bread. I suspect that it is because both times that I made it I struggled with the shaping. The first time, when I tried to braid it, I ended up with a messy boule. The second time, I tried baking it in a baking pan, and the loaf out grew the pan. The good news is that I LOVED the flavor of this bread and will definitely make it again. I skipped the walnuts (although I will include them next time), and used orange extract rather than lemon. This bread is so tasty. I will definitely make it again.

To view many bakers' experiences baking this bread, Google BBA Challenge #11 Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread.

BBA Challenge #12 English Muffins

My English Muffins look gorgeous and they were easy to do. You first "fry" the muffins on a griddle, and then finish baking them in the oven. The frying technique was pretty cool

I was not all that excited about the texture of these muffins. The dough was very firm, and my muffins did not have a lot of holes. I am going to try the recipe in Artisan Breads Everyday. Still... aren't they pretty?

To see other bakers's reaction to this recipe, please Google BBA Challenge #12 English Muffins.