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Nov. 28th, 2011



Celiac safe breads and flours?

I've done a bit of googling, but I'm really more interested in the experiences of folks on here with making breads safe for those with celiac disease to eat.

Any suggestions? I have a few days to experiment. :D

Jun. 13th, 2011



Book Review: Crust & Crumb

The full title is "Crust & Crumb: Master Formulas for Serious Bread Bakers" by Peter Reinhart. This book seems to be on everyone's Must Have list for breadies, so I'd put it on my list. Its finally arrived and I'm having a wonderful time reading it.


Reinhart speaks of the spirituality inherent in bread baking, while recognizing that at its most basic this is about making really gorgeous, delicious bread. Also, Reinhart uses the term "formulas" in place of recipes for a good reason. He's not just telling you what ingredients you need to bake bread, he's also teaching you how to use those ingredients to their fullest possibilities. I like a book that lists
mise en place
, in English "your workstation" because when I first started baking bread, I didn't have all the things I thought I needed. Reinhart teaches you to use what you have and suggests a few time honored tools to consider adding to your kitchen.

For whom is the book written you may ask?

The Beginners:
The book begins with a descriptor of the different types of bread, from baguette to quick breads. Using a decent array of graphics, the author describes in specific detail the techniques necessary to make wonderful bread. If you're just starting out or mentoring someone who is, this is the book to buy them.

The Traditionalist:
The technique sections aren't to be missed, as well as the helpful guides. The formulas are wide ranging and handily organized for quick searches.

Here's the Contents (chapter list):
Introduction: The Bread Revolution
What is world-class bread
Foundational breads: building the loaf
The staff of life: 4,000 years of bread
The quality of grain: the whole-grain renaissance
The romance of wood-fired brick ovens and a few advanced techniques
Enriched dough: not what you put on but what you put in
A tortilla by any other name: flatbreads around the world
The banana bread revolution: breads from toher leavens
The bread bakers guide to America

Available in a thrifty, paperback version MSRP $18.95.


Once you buy the paperback and fall in love, you'll want his other books, including "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", which thankfully runs under $20.

I can't speak highly enough of this book. I'm very picky when it comes to recommending a book on here, usually I just share a few recipes from other cookbooks. This one is a pure gem. You'll want to read it like a novel and thankfully, you can.

May. 15th, 2011



Coconut Bread

I generally ignore this type of cookbook, but I'm working on being more receptive this year and I've been checking out cookbooks at thrift stores and library sales.

This is from "The More Lean and Luscious: Volume II" by Bobbie Hinman and Millie Snyder.

2 cups minus 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp reduced-calorie margarine
1/2 cup skin milk
1-1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar (or sweetner equivalent to 12 tsp sugar)

Preheat oven to 250F.

Combine flour, baking powder and coconut. Add margarine and blend until mix resembles coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Whisk until blended. Add dry mixture, stirring until all ingredients are moistened.

Place batter with a 4x8 inch nonstick loaf pan or one that has been sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray. Pat down gently with a slightly wet fingertips. Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert on a rack until finished cooking.


Copper Bay Bread

Don't you love a local cookbook? This one is "The Copper Bay Cookbook: Recipes from the Queen Charlotte Islands" by Maria Ernst.

4 cups lukewarm water or 2 cups water & 2 cups scalded milk
4 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp active dry yeast
4 cups whole wheat flour or graham flour
2 1/2 tsp dulse salt or sea salt
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup soy fakes
1 tbsp soy flour
1 tbsp bran
1 tbsp brewer's yeast
1 tbsp wheat germ
1 tbsp lecithin granules
1 tsp dulse powder (if sea salt was used above)
1 tsp whey powder
roughly 5 cups unbleach flour

Combine all ingredients and beat well. Knead thoroughly, by hand or machine, about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down, divide into three equal parts and sprinkle with bran. Let rise 1/2 - 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. Bake bread 65-70 minutes.

Makes three loaves.

Mar. 13th, 2011

sleepy Hobbes


Sourdough Starter

I was researching sourdough starters on the internet; there were all kinds of different ones. Some called for grapes, some called for whole wheat or rye flour.

I had plain flour but I figured, what the heck.

Day 1: nuke 1 cup water from filter to bring to just above room temp. Mix in enough flour to make a thick paste. Add a bit of honey to give the yeasties an extra bit of quick energy. Cover with a clean, thin cloth and use a rubber band to hold it on. Stick it in the only window that gets any sun.

Day 2: dump out half of the starter. Nuke 1/2 cup water from filter to bring just above room temp. Mix enough flour to make a thick paste. Stick cloth back on. Stick back in window.

Days 3-7: see day 2.

Day 8: make the one-minute chocolate cake (http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/10/03/recipe_1-minute_microwave_chocolate_cake/36993/) that started the whole thing in the first place. Repeat day 2, except replace the cloth with plastic wrap. Go search the internet for more sourdough recipes.

Not much of a recipe, I know. But it's what I've got.

Feb. 15th, 2011



Poolish with milk?

I have a cinnamon roll recipe that I love, and now I want to play around with it. Previously, I've been letting the dough retard overnight before shaping and cooking. I want to try starting it with a poolish, but the only liquid called for in the recipe is milk. Has anyone tried making a one with milk, not water? I've been googling and haven't come across anything that tells me what will happen. I have dry milk, so I could, in theory, make the poolish and add dry milk later but I'm not sure what to do.

As a reference, I use the Cinnamon Rolls and Sticky Buns recipe in From Artisan Bread by Eric Kastel.

Feb. 14th, 2011



Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

From Cook's Illustrated, March 1, 2011.

A soft 60% whole wheat bread with wheat germ added. What's not to like?

Makes two loaves


2 cups (11 ounces) bread flour
1 cup (8 ounces) warm water (100-110 degrees)
½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups (16½ ounces) whole-wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
½ cup wheat germ
2 cups (16 ounces) whole milk
¼ cup honey
4 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Bread flour for work surface


1. For the Biga: Combine bread flour, water, and yeast in large bowl and stir with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature (70 degrees) overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).
2. For the Soaker: Combine whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and milk in large bowl and stir with wooden spoon until shaggy mass forms, about 1 minute. Turn out dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Return soaker to bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).
3. For the Dough: Take soaker out of the refrigerator and let come up to room temperature, about 2 hours. Tear soaker apart into 1-inch pieces and place in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Add biga, honey, salt, yeast, butter, and oil. Mix on low speed until cohesive mass starts to form, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. (You can hand-knead the dough, but it's easy to add too much flour during the kneading stage, resulting in a slightly tougher loaf.) Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead 1 minute. (You may need to knead-in more bread flour if the dough is too wet.) Shape dough into ball and place in lightly greased container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature 45 minutes.
4. Gently press down on center of dough to deflate. Holding edge of dough with fingertips, fold partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds). Cover and allow to rise at room -temperature until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
5. Adjust oven racks to middle and lowest positions, place baking stone on middle rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two 8½ by 4½ inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to well-floured counter and divide into 2 pieces. Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, pat each into 8 by 17 inch rectangle. With short side facing you, roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. Turn loaf seam side up and pinch it closed. Place loaf seam side down in prepared loaf pan, pressing gently into corners. Repeat with second ball of dough. Cover loaves loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes (top of loaves should rise about 1 inch over lip of pan).
6. Place empty loaf pan or other heatproof pan on bottom oven rack and bring 2 cups water to boil on stovetop. Using sharp serrated knife or single-edge razor blade, make one ¼-inch-deep slash lengthwise down center of each loaf. Pour boiling water into empty loaf pan in oven and set loaves on baking stone. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until crust is dark brown and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating loaves 180 degrees and side to side halfway through baking.
7. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Additional Information

Leftover bread can be wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 3 days. To freeze the bread for up to 1 month, wrap it with an additional layer of aluminum foil.

Nov. 1st, 2010



Chocolate Spice Bread

From Prevention's The Healthy Cook: The Ultimate Illustrated Kitchen Guide to Great Low-Fat Food, recipe by Michel Richard.

This sounds too good not to share!

Chocolate Spice Bread
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground anise seeds
1/4 tsp curry powder
pinch of salt
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 2 Tb orange juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat to 325F, coat an 8x4 nonstick loaf pan with no-stick spray, then set aside.

Into a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, anise seeds, curry powder and salt. In a large saucepan, combine the honey, cocoa powder and orange juice. Stir over low heat until well-mixed. Set aside to cool. Mix the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Gradually the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50- 60 minutes, or until a toothpick insreted in the center comes out clean. Unmold the bread onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

Oct. 25th, 2010



Yeasted Cheese Bread

From the Tassajara Recipe Book by Edward Espe Brown, Newly Revised Edition).

Preheat to 375F.

1 1/2 T or packages dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 t salt
1 T sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups flour
2 cups Gruyere, fontina or Cheddar cheese, grated and tossed with 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Combine the yeast and warm water, set aside to dissolve.

Scald the milk, then put it into a large bow. Add the butter, salt and sugar. Whisk the beaten eggs. Check the temperature of the milk-butter0egg mix, if it isn't too hot for the yeast, just slightly warm to the touch (115 or less) - add the dissolved dough. Thoroughly mix in the cheeses.

Butter or oil a large loaf pan and put in the dough, filling the pan only halfway full. Cover the dough and set it aside for 40 minutes. Bake at 375F for about 50 minutes, or until the bread is browned. Serve warm.

Oct. 22nd, 2010



No Knead Beer Bread

Borrowed from Backyard Chickens, first person is not I. :)

No Knead Beer Bread - recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup + 2 Tbl water at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 Tbl mild lager at room temperature
1 Tbls wine vinegar

Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

I left mine for about 12 hours. The recipe here notes room temperature, but I gave it about 45 minutes in a warm place at the end of this first rise. I live not that far from Antarctica here .. and room temperature at night is not that warm!

Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch frying pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Use a little flour on your work surface if you need to.

Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined frying pan and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

Again at this point I needed to put it into the warm place for a short time to help it to get to double in size, I would have been waiting a long time if I had not. In the warmer months it would be fine at room temp.

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart/litre heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500F/250C.

Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one long, 1/2inch (1.5 cm) -deep slit along top of dough.

If you wish to make the stripes as I have, simply cut strips of baking parchment place over the top of your dough and sift the flour over the top. Remove the strips before you place it in the oven.

Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Replace the lid and place in oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 425F/220C degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes.

Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown 20 to 30 minutes longer.

Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

This loaf would make a great accompaniment to cheese or to a thick hearty beef casserole with the undertones of beer in the bread. What happened in our house? The entire loaf was gone in about 10 minutes flat.
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