Tag Archives: bread

Favourite posts this week

IMG_2179

All grown up. Sigh!

:: We are thinking about cutting back on our beloved coffee, save a little money and save on the caffeine too. Can I substitute it for these pancakes?

:: Leyla has some great food photography tips (that I really need to take note of!)

:: In honour of national breastfeeding month (p.s. I love this blog)

:: I am grateful not to feel this way when I eat sugar. We don’t eat that much, but I’m not ready to quit altogether.

:: Speaking of sugar, I love this Foundations series. This week Emma looks at meringues, and they sure look beautiful.

:: Cute! Plus I’d like to live in a house like this one.

:: My kind of salad

:: Pretty looking paleo bread.(We’ll pass on the fennel, though)

Hope your weekend has been great so far! We are trying to cope with a very teethy little one. Surely the last teeth by now? So far all he has eaten today is frozen peas!

Bake

xoxo

Bagels – Apprentice #3

Homemade Bagels

Episode #3 in my plan to work through every recipe in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

I’m not going to tell you much about bagels, but these are way, way, way more interesting than any bagel you can buy in an English supermarket.

They are a faff to make, but also quite a lot of fun if your weekend isn’t too busy. It’s not a task for a working weekday.

Here’s a version of the recipe with much better photos than mine, and a New Yorker’s take on their authenticity. I won’t join that debate… I have no credentials for an official opinion on bagels. But, having made them with my own hands, I’d feel much happier talking to a New Yorker about bagels.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/09/bronx-worthy-bagels/

Be aware, this recipe makes a load of bagels (I made 24 of the size you would typically buy here in the UK) and they all need to proof overnight in the fridge. The day I made these I was unusually delighted to find our fridge was empty. I needed two-thirds of the total shelf space in our fridge. Don’t make these bagels just after your weekly food shop.

Also, you will need a bagel eating strategy. The 24 bagels this recipe made are awesome for two days at most.

I can’t shouldn’t eat 24 bagels in two days.

If you’re the same, you should plan for this.

Thankfully, we took most of this batch to a BBQ where they doubled up as fancy burger buns, and very few passed the two day mark when we established their basic life-span.

Shake out.

Artos Greek Celebration Bread – Apprentice #2

Artos Greek Celebration Bread

Artos Greek Celebration Bread

So, it turns out my plan to work through every recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice may be awesome, but it’s not unique…

This big-old list of bloggers have already done exactly that under the banner of the BBA Challenge.

I’m late to party it seems.

A few years late.

Anyway, that means there’s a very good chance I can point you in the direction of all these various recipes as I’m trying them out.

So apprentice bread #2, Artos, is tasty! It’s basically like a giant somewhat more eloquent hot cross bun that’s worth eating any time of year. And it makes great toast for a Sunday morning.

In the photo above, the top of the boule looks sunken. That’s not a problem with the recipe, just some of my slap-dash decision making when trying to navigate our oven-thats-not-an-oven-that-is-an-oven. I proved the loaf in the base of a La Cloche and put the whole thing into the oven cold. The base of the loaf stuck to the cloche, in shaking it out the rest of the loaf got squashed while it was still hot. My bad, not the recipes.

Also, thinking back while writing this post. I should mention that I was out of white flour, and baked this with wholemeal which worked nicely too.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out:
http://pinchmysalt.com/artos-greek-celebration-bread/

Shake out.

Anadama Bread – Apprentice #1

Anadama BreadHello blog readers.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. So long in fact, that my wife is threatening to demote me to guest blogger status if I don’t get my act together! :)

So here is a post for you…

I’m currently working on the following:

  • Learning more about bread
  • Extending my baking repertoire
  • Extracting as much value as possible out of the bread books I currently own 

And in order to this, I:

  1. Picked a bread book from the bookshelf, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
  2. Am working through it from cover to cover, testing every recipe, even if it doesn’t appeal to my usual taste for certain types of bread

The first recipe I have tried is for Anadama Bread, and if you follow this series of posts over the coming weeks, you’ll notice that’s because the book is in alphabetical order.

My first challenge was motivating myself to actually make this Anadama Bread.

I’d never heard of it before and quite frankly, from the photo in the book it looked boring. I had spent so long trying to perfect an open crumb, chewy sourdough that anything vaguely resembling a commercial sandwich loaf from a tin seemed like a waste of effort.

But as always when you try something new, you learn something new, and this bread turned out to be delicious (and has been made again since which is a good sign).

The molasses enriches the dough, and soaking the polenta/cornmeal overnight turns it from a coarse grain into a deep and subtle flavour.

I’m not going to type out the recipes from the book, as I’m working through every single bread I’d end up reproducing the whole book, which would look a lot like stealing!

But, if I find the recipes online, I’ll point you in the direction from each post.

Here is the Anadama Bread Recipe:
http://www.whiskblog.com/2009/05/bread-bakers-apprentice-anadama-bread.html 

Use the tag “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” to navigate all the posts in this series.

Shake out.

Le fournil de Luc

Photo courtesy of Le fournil de Luc

We didn’t imagine when we moved here that we would be just 30 minutes away from an organic bakery and café, especially given how far everything else is from us.

But we are! And it’s wonderful :)

Fournil bio de Luc

Breakfast

On our first visit (of hopefully many) Shake sampled a chocolatine (the name for a pain au chocolat in the south of France) and I had a chocolate chip brioche.

Both were delicious and not as sweet as you would expect, which was perfect.

The coffee was great too and our waitress was adorable – completely charmed by our baby.

We couldn’t leave without buying some bread – maybe Shake will review it another time.

Fournil bio de Luc

Very pretty (and tasty) organic bread

We are sure to visit again soon :)

Bake

xoxo

 

 

Tartine bread, cast-iron combo cooker alternative

Photo credit to an endless banquet

If like me you’ve read Tartine Bread, but can’t find any shops nearby that sell the lovely cast iron double dutch oven combo cookers recommended, there is an alternative.

Or at least I thought there was…

Then before I’d finished writing this post I ran into a problem.

Emile Henry tagineOur Emile Henry tagine is meant to be invincible to heat. The manufacturers claim you can move this straight from a freezer into a 500 degree oven without causing any damage.

But after a few weeks of (very successfully) baking bread every day ours has cracked.

Maybe this isn’t the cause of the problem, but I can’t think what else would do this after 5 years of use.

Cracked Tagine

So moving on, I had a look at dutch oven combo cookers for sale online, but ended up ordering a La Cloche Baking Dome instead. It looks made for the job.

Fingers crossed.

Bread proofing box – improvised alternative

Improvised bread proofing boxOne of the challenges of baking sourdough here is that it proves very quickly in the heat. If I’m out working in the morning, it can be over-proven by the time I get back at lunch.

So I’m using our cool box (for our shopping) as an improvised proofing box. Currently four ice-packs seems to retard the dough just enough for my purposes.

It’ll be a very different story in the winter though, so I’ve been checking out some designs for home-made proofing boxes.

I feel another carpentry project may be on the horizon.

 

Pain Poilâne meets Tartine Bread

They say a baker’s score is their signature, and my initial A actually works quite well as a cut. (Plus you can call it anarchy bread if you’re that way inclined)

I’ve been baking daily using the Tartine Bread method and I’m really pleased with the results. Each day I’ve been trying a different mix of flour, starting with the suggested 90% white / 10% wholemeal, testing varying amounts of white flour, grey flour, wholemeal and rye (up to 10%). The technique holds up well for all these combinations, so I decided to push on with my original goal of producing something similar to a Pain Poilane.

The snippet I had from Wikipedia was that Pain Poilane is 70% grey flour and 30% spelt, which was as good a starting point as any. I found spelt flour (farine d’épeautre) at one of the Bio stores nearby, but was a little put off by the price (over double the cost of wheat or rye).

Due to the extra expense of the spelt flour, a part of me was hoping the difference in taste would be negligible (as the recipe was tasting pretty good already). But it was a hit, and has had the best reviews from all the family. So great for the taste, but a shame about the price. Now I need to find a local mill that can offer a better price if I’m buying larger quantities.

Collapsed a little due to (forgetful) overproofing, so the crumb is tighter than planned

Tartine Bread: simplified recipe notes

Worth the effort. This sourdough is made from the Tartine Bread recipe.

This isn’t much use on it’s own, but I’ve seen a few people find this site when looking for Tartine Bread so I thought I’d share my notes for any one else baking from the same recipe.

I mentioned in the past that the book is pretty confusing to follow (though well worth the effort), so I ended up writing these notes out on a piece of paper that I keep in the front of the book.

If you haven’t already read the book, do that first as this is deliberately in note form. And for those of you who’ve read it, I hope this helps.

Leaven

- 1 tablespoon of starter
- 200g 50/50 white/wholemeal flour
- 200g water

1) Mix
2) Cover
3) Wait 12 hrs

Bread

- 1000g flour (900g white, 100g wholemeal)
- 700g water, plus 50-80g (work up to 80 for increased hydration %)
- 200g leaven
- 20g salt

1) 700g water in bowl, add leaven and stir
2) Add 1000g flour, mix and leave for 25-40 mins
3) Add salt plus 50g-80g of additional water, mix by hand and transfer to glass bowl
4) BULK RISE (3-4 hrs at average temperature. Adjust time and taste by managing temperature)
5) During bulk rise, turn every 30 mins for first 2 hrs
6) BENCH REST dough onto work surface, flour, cut, flip, fold and rest for 20-30 mins
7) SHAPE and place in rice flour dusted baskets
8) PROOF (3-4 hrs at average temperature. Adjust time and taste by managing temperature)
9) Pre-heat combo-oven/tagine at 500F/260C
10) Dust base of loaf, flip into base of combo-oven
11) Cover, reduce to 230C and bake for 20 mins
12) Uncover and bake for 20-25 mins

Enjoy.

Shake out.

The value of homemade bread

My first loaves from the new proofing baskets

While (barely) awake at 5.30am and mixing dough I had a panic about the amount of flour I would get through if I continued baking my current recipe every day. It would be about 7kg per week, costing about 10 Euros.

10 Euros felt like quite a lot, given our weekly food budget is about 35 Euros. So I did a few sums. Slowly.

I’m making 2 x 1kg loaves per day. One of these is for us, and the other goes to the in-laws or other visitors. So to start with I can halve the 10 Euro cost as only half of it comes from our food budget, the other half is a form of rent :)

Next I looked at the bread I could buy with 5 Euros, and a 1kg boule from a decent bakery is about 4.50 Euros. And if I wanted organic bread (the flour I’m using is both local and organic) this would cost even more.

So each day, my costs are about 1.60 Euros (including a little for electricity) and the bread made has a commercial value of about 10 Euros. Over a week, that’s about 11 Euros costs, for roughly 70 Euros value.

In terms of the hands-on time working the bread, this works out something close to minimum wage so an economist would tell me that my hours are better spent earning my wage as a web developer and buying the bread instead.

But the economist doesn’t have useful metrics for pleasure, self-satisfaction, resilience, creativity, learning, the smell of bread baking as you work in the afternoon, or the lessons you teach your children when you show them how to make things with their own hands.

Given the numbers, and the things that don’t have numbers, I think I’m in profit.

Shake out.

This posted has been submitted to Yeast Spotting