The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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AnnieT

I am coming "home" for the first time since 1990 along with family, and we are hoping to spend a few days in Devon - we lived in Ideford before coming to America. I am hoping some of our English TFL members might be able to recommend a vacation cottage we could rent as a center to explore Devon. There will be five of us, three adults and two teenaged girls, and while I don't mind sharing a room with the girls this old Nana thinks two bathrooms would be nice.  Looking forward to clotted cream, pork pies - and any bakery suggestions would be lovely, A.

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AnnieT

A little bit late but I wanted to tell you about Italy Depot.com where I just bought 5lb of the above flour, shipped free! I checked the site this morning and the price was $12.95, and they have larger sizes and other types. I am anxious to try Roberta's pizza dough since reading the NY Times article posted on TFL and didn't want to buy a huge amount of OO flour. It was securely packed and arrived quickly and the site is easy to cope with. A.

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AnnieT

I was recently given a bag of kamut flour, grown and ground here on Whidbey Island, and I added it to my regular sourdough recipe with good results. My daughter-in-law brought me a four pound bag of teff flour from Oregon, and I added 1/4c to the same recipe. Oh dear! The dough became "slimy" and even after many stretch and folds it was still slack, so I was surprised to get good oven spring. When I started a loaf today I added some gluten and so far, so good. I should explain that the 1/4c of teff was added to 2 1/4c of Morbread flour. Has anyone worked with teff? Was the odd texture typical? A four pound bag has a lot of 1/4cups! I Googled teff and found a pie crust recipe which I gave to my DIL along with the 2 cups of teff called for, but it hardly made a dent in the total amount, A.

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AnnieT

My grandaughter has to make a big presentation on Azerbaijan this week, including food of the region. Being a good Nana I Googled "Breads of Azerbaijan" and found a Tandir bread which sounded easy enough for a nearly 13 year old to tackle. I did a trial run and found that the dough was way too wet so we adjusted the recipe and Margaret used my new Bosch Compact to make the bread which turned out beautifully. Unfortunately she has to cut it into ready to eat samples so the other students won't get the full effect of the pretty bread. She also has to make and serve "Plov" which sounds rather like rice pilaf. So today was my turn to play with the Bosch and I chose Vienna bread from ITJB. My kitchen was very cold and the dough took much longer to rise, but it was a delight to work with and the loaves were lovely. I am not used to working with enriched doughs but can see a whole new world opening up - maybe sticky buns or cinnamon rolls? Baby Bosch handled the kneading so effortlessly, and many thanks to Stan and Norm for the recipe, A.

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AnnieT

A couple of years ago I bought  Bosch Universal mixer because I was thinking of making large batches of whole wheat bread for my son's family. Well, the grandgirls make their own lunches and prefer sliced bread, so my mixer has been sitting taking up counter space and at most has been used 12 times. So I want to do what I should have done in the first place which is to buy the Bosch Compact, much more sensible for a little old lady living alone.  I hope to sell the big mixer which is in excellent condition, and who better to offer it to than a fellow TFL member? Sorry, Floyd, not sure of the proper place for selling things, A.

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AnnieT

Late last night I checked on TFL member M.C's Farine site and found the most interesting report on her visit to Orchard Hill Breadworks in New Hampshire. Lots of video of Noah Elbers and his crew at work making the shaping look so easy. As it was late I couldn't take it all in and plan on viewing this great write up again, and I strongly urge members to check it out. Thank you M.C., A.




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AnnieT

My California son makes this bread most weeks, but recently he bragged about success after adding 1/3cup of sourdough starter instead of the white vinegar. I don't think his friends are too picky, but evidently this loaf received rave reviews. Not about to be outdone by a nearly 50 year old kid I decided to give his method a try. Had the dough mixed and sitting on the counter when the other son called to ask me to babysit today, yet another half day at school for the girls. When I whined about this to the CA son, not sure how I could fit the bread in, he told me that he had "punched down" his dough twice. Instead of punching down I folded the dough with my plastic scraper, once before taking my elderly pug to the vet. and again before meeting the girls off the school bus. Then we came back here and I shaped the boule and placed it on a square of parchment paper in my 8" cast iron skillet. I have been reading about TFL members different methods of baking no-knead loaves and decided not to use my stainless steel "Dutch oven" this time. I preheated a heavy baking sheet and poured hot water into one half of an aluminum roaster which fit nicely. When the loaf was ready to bake I slashed it, placed the skillet on the baking sheet and covered it with the roaster (minus the water!) Baked for 30 minutes at 425* covered and another 30 minutes uncovered, and the resulting loaf was a beauty, if I do say so. Well risen with "ears" and it sang loud and clear for some time. Too soon to cut it but I'm hoping for great things. Now if I could only remember how to post pictures... A.



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AnnieT

I thought this might be of interest to fellow limeys, both here in the States and back home. My English neighbor gave me a well used booklet "Home recipes with Be-Ro Self Raising Flour" and "Home Recipes with Be-Ro Plain Flour". This had belonged to her mother, and unfortunately there is no date anywhere but Mary is 80 years old so it has to be pretty old. The recipes are given in grams and ounces and there are lots of pictures and useful hints and tips. I was especially interested to read that the company was offering three additional "specialist" flours - Be-Ro Strong White Bread Flour, Be-Ro Brown Wheatmeal Bread Flour and 100% Be-Ro Wholewheat Bread Flour. Their range even included dried yeast, each sachet being the right quantity for use with a 1 1/2kg bag of bread flour. Sorry to say I don't remember what brand of flour my mother used. Does this ring a bell with anyone? This little treasure measures 3 3/4"x 7 3/4" and just reading the index brings back happy memories of some good old English treats. A.

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AnnieT

Ever since txfarmer posted her recipe these have been on my "to bake' list, and once my grandgirls saw the cute "bone" cutters there was no excuse. Lily and I mixed the dough on Saturday afternoon but for various reasons we wrapped it well and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. It sat on the counter while I made the requisite Sunday morning sourdough pancakes which were voted the best ever, maybe because I used my cookie scoop and the pancakes were smaller than usual. Then Lily and I started rolling and cutting, and yes, it makes a lot of biscuits! Margaret had a good book but did stop by now and again to admire our efforts. Glad to say they are dog approved by their two dogs who inhaled them and by my elderly mostly toothless Pug who takes more time to eat one. So thank you, txfarmer, and good wishes to Ruby from the Whidbey Island dogs, A.

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AnnieT

Or something like that. As I sat here this morning waiting for a call back from the furnace repair man who said it was fixed on Wednesday, and carefully re-piecing the quilt pieces I had painstakingly unpicked over the last few days - I had time to mull this over. If a bread recipe doesn't work out the way it should, at least the results are usually edible. I know I have continued to work with dough that any sane person would have dumped and frequently been pleasantly surprised. Quilts, on the other hand, are not so forgiving. I knew one of the fabrics in this latest quilt wasn't quite right, and yet I persisted. Did I think the quilt fairies were going to somehow make it look good? Could this be why I make "Susan's Sourdough" over and over, along with what my family and friends refer to as "The Quilt"? No surprises with either, but once in a while it would be nice to branch out.


Well, the furnace man is coming to take a look and hopefully it won't cost a fortune to fix. The new fabric looks good, and my starter is ready to go. Life goes on, A.



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