two skinny jenkins

090905 – Rye Bread | BBA #19
090909, 10:26 am
Filed under: BBA Challenge | Tags:

Rye Roll

BBA #19

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.

Roll sans Egg

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…

Rye Grilled Cheese

Check our more fab shots taken with our new toy on FLICKR!

090902 – Washington Post Published!
090902, 10:16 am
Filed under: BBA Challenge, FUN

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!

090829 – Light Wheat Bread | BBA #18
090829, 9:41 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, LUNCH | Tags:

Light Wheat Bread

BBA #18

new kitchHere is a shot of my new kitchen! Surprisingly, it has more cabinet space than our last one (even though the apartment is 50% smaller) and i find it is easier to work in. One cook at a time.

I, like a lot of Americans right now, don’t have a lot of expendable income, and so i have not yet bought a copy of the Bread Bakers Apprentice.  I have been checking it out from the library in DC (and then for a short while in Charlottesville).  I have not yet gotten my driver’s license for Massachusetts, and therefore cannot yet get a library card here.  I could not find the recipe for ‘Light Wheat Bread’ on Google BooksPanic.  Luckily, Smitten Kitchen has published the full recipe on her site!  Thanks to her, i am saved for this week, and should be able to get my hands on a copy from now on.  For free.

Also to save money, i did not buy the powdered milk that the recipe called for.  Instead, I substituted 4 T regular milk for 3 T of powdered.  Otherwise i followed the recipe exactly and the bread came out GREAT.  It was a little on the sticky side after 10 minutes of kneading, and approximately an additional 1/2 C of flour (white wheat flour added during kneading).  I sampled a slice while it was still warm and it was delicious with bit of jam on top.  This will also make some excellent sandwiches.  I think next time (there WILL be a next time) I will try adding some sunflower seeds to mimic my favorite bread in Charlottesville – sunflower wheat from Bread Works.

Check out more of my Light Wheat Breadmaking photos on FLICKR!

090820 – Kaiser Rolls | BBA #16
090823, 7:57 am
Filed under: BBA Challenge, DINNER | Tags:

Kaiser Rolls

BBA #16

So far so good! I have been SO glad I decided to do this Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge.  Marathon training is probably the BEST time to be consuming such vast quantities of bread.

I made these rolls for Joe’s and my sendoff dinner that his mother threw us the other night.  She invited my family and his grandparents over for the day before we move up to Boston.  Our ‘vacation’ in Charlottesville went by too quickly!  We did a pretty good job of keeping ourselves busy.  We bought and reapulstered dining chairs, refinished a new bed frame, drove an hour to Lynchburg to buy a lamp at this great little second hand furniture shop called Loft 3F, made pillows, and baked and ate some bread.

Since I wanted to make enough large sandwich rolls for 10 adults, I made a full pâte fermente recipe and 1 1/2 x recipe of the kaiser rolls.  I made these in ONE day, by adding a double yeast in the pâte fermente to speed up the rising process.  This is probably a big no-no, but the rolls came out very well anyway.  After mixing and proofing, the fermente sat i the fridge for about 4 hours.  From there I followed the rest of the Kaiser roll recipe, using a little more than 1 1/2 times the recipe ammount of barley malt syrup.  I baked the rolls for just 14 minutes using the oven’s convection setting and they came out golden brown.  They were a little hard on the outsided but tasty and soft on the inside.

If i were to make thesea again, I would (1) allow time to properly follow the two day recipe and (2) try to mimic a kaiser roll cutter for forming. The method shown on page 82 of looping the dough around looked pretty, but had a tendancy to fall apart.

Homemade BBQ Sandwich

Beef brisket BBQ recipe coming soon!

FLICKR photo link.

090817 – Lavash Crackers | BBA #17
090818, 10:31 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, SNACK | Tags: ,

Lavash Crackers

BBA #17

These ‘crackers’ were really tasty!  The dough was just as Peter Reinhart described; silk smooth and hard, yet relatively elastic.  I was worried when i first started kneading because the dough took a while to homogenize. Eventually it did come together and pass the windowpane test.

After it FINALLY doubled (after profing for about 2 hours), I rolled it out to esentially cover the sheet pan (the book said to make a 12″ x 15″ rectangle), yet the dough was still too thick.  Next time , i will cut the dough in half before rolling it out and roll it until about 1/8″ thick.  I topped the crackers with four different spices: black sesame seeds, garlic-ginger medditeranian spice blend, paprika, and kosher salt., and sliced the sheet into diamond shapes before baking.  They baked for about 25-26 minutes and tasted GREAT with red pepper hummus.

Lavash Sheet

Here is the link for FLICKR photos!

090815 – Cranberry Walnut French Toast
090815, 12:15 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST | Tags:

French Toast

I have been wanting to make french toast for some time now.  With all of the delicious bread recipes i have been making with ‘The Challenge’ it is a wonder that i haven’t tried yet.  Finally, I made some with the Celebration Bread (Challenge #11) I made on Friday.  The recipe is adapted from The New Best Recipe (my new fav).  It was delicious.  Not too eggy and very easy.  My only suggestion is to sift the flour into the batter while whisking so that it doesn’t clump up.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 C skim milk, about temperature
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 4-6 slices of brioche style bread
  1. whisk egg in a shallow dish.  Whisk in milk, then melted butter. Then add sugar, salt and flour (sifted).
  2. Heat cast iron skillet over medium and drop 1/2 T butter in.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1/2″ thick slice of bread into the mixture and let it soak for 30-40 seconds on each side. (you don’t want the bread too thick, or to let it sit for too long and get soggy)
  4. Cook toast in the skillet until golden brown on both sides.

090814 – Celebration Bread | BBA #11
090814, 9:57 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, DESSERT, SNACK | Tags: ,

Cellebration BreadBBA #11 | Celebration Bread

I finally got around to making this celebration bread (I baked challenge #15 last weekend)!  I would not feel like I had conquered the Bread Baker’s Apprentice if i never baked this bread. In part, I blame Joe for my procrastination.  He did not like the Artos (Greek Celebration Bread) I had made way back when for challenge #2,  and has been trying to convince me to skip it entirely.  Now that i have baked it, it has turned into one of his favorites!

More than half the loaf is gone. I personally thought it was about 10 x better than the Artos.  Either my baking skills have drastically improved, or using the lemon extract, or both made a big difference.  The extract smelled amazing.  The bread had a lot of flavor and was just the right amount of sweet, between the 3 T of sugar and dried cranberries.  I think this will make great french toast (or regular toast) in the morning and it will definitely make an appearance at Thanksgiving!  Thank you Peter Reinhart!

As a side note: I had to go out during the day, so after shaping the loaf, I kept it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.  I took it out when i got home and let it warm up/ proof on the counter for 90 minutes (partly while preheating the oven).

Cran-walnut Crumb

More photos coming soon on FLICKR!

090811 – Italian Bread | BBA #15
090812, 10:19 am
Filed under: BBA Challenge, DINNER | Tags: ,

Italian Bread_02

BBA Challenge #15:

This, my SECOND attempt at the Italian bread recipe, came out pretty well.   You can find the link to the first attempt here.  I was not able to find the Diastatic Barley Malt Powder in time, so i used a bit of Barley Malt Syrup from a local natural foods store. The final result was nice and soft and yeasty tasting.  I followed the recipe cooking times exactly (usually i stretch the proofing times a bit) and baked it on a semolina dusted baking sheet.  Not my favorite BBA recipe, but one that i will probably make again this winter.  It the dense, yet soft crumb will be PERFECT for eating with soup.  The only change i will make next time is to bake it on a pizza stone.

The first loaf vanished at dinner last night and i think the second won’t last much longer.  I have plans to make bruchetta tonight… or maybe for lunch.

Check out part of the recipe at Google Books (p. 172).

Italian Bread

090809 – Italian Bread | BBA #15
090810, 10:21 am
Filed under: BBA Challenge | Tags: ,

Italian Bread Attempt #1

Baking Fail:

Woopsie.  We heard a big POP in the oven after the first time i sprayed the oven walls with water and the oven light went out. I think the steam did it, but it could have been my bad aim. We don’t have a spray bottle, so I have been using a water bottle to spray the oven walls all along.  I’ve used the same technique 4-5 times in our apartment (electric) oven with no problem, but my parent’s (gas) oven did not go so well.

Needless to say, we did not taste the bread. There were little shards of glass all over it.  It smelled amazing and I was really tempted to cut the inside out just to taste.  I did cut one loaf in half just to see what the crumb looked like.  After roughly 19 minutes of baking, the inside looked a little under done to me.  I could not find the diastatic barley malt powder that the recipe called for, so i used barley malt syrup instead.  I think that the extra moisture/ stickiness from the syrup might have been why the dough looked so dense.  Now that i have a second chance, i will try calling bakeries around town and see if anyone has some powder that they would sell me.

I will start my biga today and make a loaf of italian bread and probably some breadsticks tomorrow.

090729 – French Bread | BBA #14
090729, 5:21 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge | Tags: ,

hand written

Taking it back to the old school…

As in hand written recipes!  we are moving out this FRIDAY.  We have disconnected our internet and I have returned my library borrowed Bread Bakers Apprentice book.  I feel like i have really stepped back in time; baking homemade bread without my laptop by my side.

This will be my last post from this kitchen.   I just have to stop making a mess in the kitchen.  Not to mention that there really aren’t enoough ingredients left to make anything… Fortunately this was a very simple recipe (ingredient-wise).  I made the pate fermentee a couple days ago and have kept it in the fridge.  The dough ball had definitely doubled while it was sitting in there.  I think it would be interesting to try (though maybe a waste of flour) making french bread without this starter.

My pizza stone broke a week ago so i just baked the loaves on the pan that they proofed on after shaping. One thing i would do differently is spaced the loaves at least 3″ apart when on the pan.  The second thing i would have done differently is make BIGGER SCORES in the loaves!  Because i had placed the loaves too close together, i had a hard time manuvering my knife around to score them.  In the end, they still look okay, but not as dramatic and delicious as they could have.

Final Loaves

check out more photos on FLICKR!


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