Bread Bakers Apprentice #26
Woopsies. I am a wee bit behind on my blog posting. I blame the lack of inspiration i found in this bread. To it’s credit, i was juggling this and my first attempt at homemade pasta and first-time guests all at the same time and couldn’t give the bread all the attention it deserves. Still, as a moderately skilled baker and multi-tasker, I expected more out of it. The taste was bland. The texture was so-so. It didn’t have a nice crunch crust like Pain de Campagne, it wasn’t nice and airy like Pain a L’ancienne, and it wasn’t as tasty as it’s twin, Italian Bread. I think that the next time i want some baguettes, i will make on of the three former breads or a nice Ciabatta.
BBA Challenge #29
I totally messed this one up. Or so I thought. I was already making an alteration to the recipe by using sweet mashed potato instead of regular potatoes. Then i got a little over zealous and threw in over a CUP instead of a quarter cup. That was a mistake. When i was mixing the dough (via Kitchen Aid) it felt way too liquid-y. I knew I had thrown off the proportions by using too much potato, so I threw in a little extra yeast and some more flour. I also partly used the wrong type of flour. I used a combination of a half cup of semolina and some whole wheat pastry flour in place of the durum wheat I used the bread flour that the recipe called for. I followed the stretch and fold method per the Bread Bakers Apprentice, but let it cold rise in the fridge for about 4 hours while at the gym.
The end result tasted really good, but i am not sure what kind of bread i really made.
Oh, it tastes so good to be back! It has been nearly 3 months since my blog post. We have been eating new things and there have been several occasions when I though ‘this should go on the blog’ (mostly things Joe has made) but I could not find the time to post! I started my new job last September and had been increasingly busy there until about now. And I have just submitted my portfolio and application to the GSD. Now all I am doing is triathlon training for a half ironman called Mooseman, (here are my training schedules if you are interested: International mid week and Iron weekend) and working. I vow to post a new bread every other weekend (interspersed with other foods).
This is the best bread yet. I am only sorry that I didn’t get a good crumb shot to share. The bread had a nice crunchy crust, and super soft crumb. Something about the mashed potatoes made this bread melt in your mouth. I enjoyed kneading it so much! I made the mashed potatoes the night before (along with the Biga) while Joe was cooking dinner. I left two small potatoes wrapped in foil in the oven for about an hour, then mashed them up with a couple teaspoons worth of butter and a little bit of salt. While mixing the dough the next day, I found myself adding even more water than PR called for – at least a whole Cup full, in order to get the right elasticity. Finally, my last divergence from the printed recipe was a bit of sea salt sprinkled on top (see top photo). It was a very good addition.
Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST, DESSERT, SNACK | Tags: bread, cranberries, currants, raisins, walnuts
FINALLY! I got back in the kitchen and made some bread! It feels like ages. I have been away the last two (three?) weekends and just couldn’t wait till this weekend to get back into it. I have been doing more cooking than the blog suggests, but it takes more than i have these days to post every good thing i eat. Maybe this weekend i will get around to retro-posting some highlights.
This was not a good recipe to choose to make during the week after work. Especially not while making dinner, trying to bike on the trainer for an hour, and getting up at 6 to run before work the next morning. I think the bread came out pretty well, but I sacrificed the run.
My experience of this bread was ruined from the start by the perfectly delicious Panettone that I ate last Christmas. It was my first ever panettone experience. One of our consultants shelled out hundreds of dollars to ship us (us = the architecture firm i was working in) – a REAL Milanese Panettone. Despite it’s massive size, the crumb was as airy like a croissant with a perfect distribution of candied fruits and nuts.
My first panettone probably weighed 20 lbs. and I can only imagine that it had baked for hours. My petit panettone on the other hand, took roughly 40 minutes. I checked at 20, 25, and 30 waiting for the tops to be golden brown, and i think 40 minutes was a bit too long and dried them out too much. The big one (below) took about 1:20 and seems just right (texture-wise, i know it isn’t pretty). I don’t have a thermometer for it yet, but I know my oven is on the cool side. I was VERY glad i chose to use my mixer for the whole kneading process on this one. It was sticky, tacky dough (I may have been heavy handed with the rum) and i would have added too much flour had i kneaded by hand.
This bread in particular has made me appreciate the amount of quality control that goes into professional baking. To make this bread come out consistently good WHILE making a profit on the effort must be a real challenge.
This might be my favorite bread yet! I guess it’s easy to think that when you’re eating a warm slice of it and memories of breads past fade away. I have always really liked the semolina loaf at Whole Foods, and this recipe produced a very similar (though maybe more attractive) loaf.
I was warned by Paul of Yumarama that the final loaf (as prescribed by the recipe) does not come out looking like the photograph in the book, maybe due to a lack of glazing. So I decided to experiment. Of the three loafs produced by this recipe, I glazed one with an egg wash, one with olive oil (photo above), and left the last one plain. I sprinkled both the egg wash and plain breads with black sesame seeds. After baking for about 45 minutes (I think there is something wrong with my oven!) the difference was clear. Based on my results, I think the loaf photographed for the book was glazed with olive or some other oil.
Check out more process photos on FLICKR.
These loaves were fun to shape! Little did I know, this was to be my last bread for a little while. After hurting my ankle a week ago, I took a bit of a break from baking. Then i came back to bake this bread (I had been enticed by the photograph in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice). Now I have started a new job and it looks like i am not going to have any time to bake or cook. Today I worked 13 hours. C’est la vie d’un architecte! This is soon to become a Crock Pot themed blog! I’ll be making meals on the weekend for the rest of the week. It could be gross, or it could be exciting uncharted culinary territory!
This recipe was straightforward. I used rye flour to makes these loaves (1/3 C) and can only slightly taste it. I can only bake one loaf at a time in my oven (and i only have one baking sheet) so the two smaller ones spent a lot of extra time proofing in a couche (hence the light coating of flour on those two). Even though i found this bread less interesting than the Pain a L’Ancienne or Ciabatta, Joe liked it and it made some really good…
I just seeded and diced a tomato and mixed it up with balsamic, basil, salt, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper. I toasted the 1/4″ slices of Pain on both sides using the oven broiler, topped with the tomato mixture, then a tiny bit of cheese. I broiled them again for just a couple minutes with the rack on the top oven shelf. Total cooking/ prep time: about 10 minutes. Can’t beat fresh tomatoes!
Check out more photos (plus tips) on FLICKR!
my biggest bread baking blunder yet…
thankfully, this is a resilient recipe and it came out pretty darn good anyway. I will start by saying that i was having people over to our apartment for the first time last night and so i had been multitasking at the time (at least in my head). I was reading along the recipe for the first time while baking. The oven was preheated and I was just about to slide the bread onto the baking stone when i realized i needed a steam pan. The broiler pan i was used to using for this application had to be left behind in DC, and i just grabbed the closest pan i could find. It was glass. Multi-tasking. I was probably only thinking about all of the flour i was going to have to clean up in the kitchen, the food i still needed to buy…
I have been through this before with the Italian bread when my parent’s oven light bulb got a sprinkle of water on it and shattered all over the bread. At least this time, our oven is so narrow that the baking stone had completely protected the baking bread from the glass below. As a testament to the resiliency of the recipe, after i had let the oven cool down and cleaned out all the glass, I reheated the oven and continued baking those three loaves. They came out fine, and were met with many complements!
The last three loaves came out even better (so i recommend following the recipe the first time). WHEN i make this bread again, I will try leaving it out on the counter for an hour or so, to mimic the Ciabatta recipe. I noticed that my oven probably did not make it to the 500°F that it claims on it’s plastic knob. In order to get a good golden brown color, the loaves baked for a rough total of 40 minutes, not the 18-23 that the recipe called for.
- I observed that the recipe called for quite a bit less flour than i found necessary. I found myself repeating this phrase in my head, ‘the dough should be sticky on the bottom of the bowl but it should release from the sides’ as i kept adding flour and watching the dough hook glop around in the mixing bowl.
- While shaping the baguettes, take extra care to only minimally manipulate the dough and only stretch them. I made a few yo-yo moves with my baguettes, pulling them out too far then pushing back together. While the dough is sitting on a heavily floured counter, this creates some funky, dense areas on the bottom of the loaf.
Click for FLICKR!
I can’t believe I’m on challenge #20! I feel like celebrating.
Yet, I could kick myself. Whenever i don’t read a recipe ahead of time (which admittedly happens often) I miss out on some long preparation that i should have started at the beginning. Par example: 3 T cooked brown rice. Ugh. I had little flashbacks to the other night when joe and i cooked brown rice in the rice cooker and it took 45 minutes. I have things to do today! I cannot cook rice right now! Well, luckily i remembered the microwave. With a little improvising, i cooked precisely 3 T of short grain brown rice pretty well in our microwave. Here’s how:
- 2 T brown rice
- 6 T water
- 1/2 t safflower oil
- combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high power for 5 minutes.
- Add a bit more water (2T or so) if necessary then continue cooking on medium power for 4 minutes. DONE!
I made a few small alterations to the original recipe. For the soaker, i did not have any wheat bran on hand, so i just used 3 T millet, 3 T rolled oats, and 2 T cornmeal. I have had a large flour container with 3/4 C of white wheat flour in it for some time now, so i replaced some of the bread flour with my remaining white wheat. While working, i decided to bake two little loaves. One loaf I topped with sesame seeds and flax seeds (most of which fell off while slicing), and the other with sunflower seeds.
Tonight i toasted the bread and used it for triple-decker tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. It is really wonderful toasted
Click for more photos: FLICKR.
Woo Hoo! I love our new camera! Joe (only half joking) observed that it is going to start taking an extra half hour before meals so that i can take all the pictures i want. We had been looking for a while at getting the Cannon sx1, but Joe found a great deal for our T1i on Slickdeals.
The rye bread did not come out quite like i expected, but it is still good. I ended up using ‘regular’ rye flour and i think this had a big impact on the final product. Being new to Boston/ Cambridge, i have not quite. Still, I was glad to make two loaves this week. I froze the pretty, spiral loaf (wrapped in aluminum foil and bundled in two plastic grocery bags) after letting it cool completely. It had been baked an a loaf pan and was perfectly peaked over the rim.
The second loaf I made marbled, freestanding on a baking sheet with two little rolls (photo above). I was worried that the rolls (2 of the 12 pieces for the marbled loaf) would be overdone when i cooked them the same time as the loaf, but as you can see they came out great! For fun, i did one with and one without egg wash. The wash made a big difference. Though they both taste good, the one without just looks really dry and stale. Neither one lasted long. They were both eaten before they got a chance to cool.
BTW: this bread made some delicious grilled (Vermont cheddar) cheese with onion…
Check our more fab shots taken with our new toy on FLICKR!
The Washington Post published an article today about the BBA Challenge! (link to article)
Unfortunately the link to my blog was not included, but I am still very excited to have my picture in the Post!