The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dolfs's blog

  • Pin It
dolfs's picture
dolfs

Baking Challah is a weekly thing in my kitchen. I have blogged about it extensively. For the holidays I did something a little "special" inspired by a long ago post by Mariana (I think).

 Rosh Hashanah Challah (yud bet)
Rosh Hashanah Challah (yud bet)

Maggie Glezer in "A Blessing of Bread" describes this as a yud (ten) bet (two), an originally Hasidic bread that represents the twelve tribes. I added double twisted ring on the outside symbolizing the world, unity, or the circle of live (the completion of a year), take your pick. The resulting Challah is thus also round, a traditional shape for the holidays.

A particular challenge came with the fact that no recipe I could find would tell me what size/weight to make each of the twelve balls and how much was needed for the two outside ropes. I started with my own recipe of a 1.7lb Challah that I make each week. Figuring I could do with a larger bread (guests for dinner tonight), but not being sure how much dough I would need, I made 3lb of dough starting last night (overnight ferment in the fridge). I also added raisins.

In the end I decided to make the balls 2.5oz each (30 oz) and use the remainder for the two ropes: 9oz each. Once I shaped the balls and placed them on parchment in two triangles of six (bases touching), I used a tape measure to figure out how long my outside ropes needed to be: 40 inches. Now I was very happy with my new 36" maple countertop (see other posts). I could just roll these out on the diagonal. Without it, on a smaller board, or the tile countertops this would have been a no-go. Stretching/rolling the dough that far requires a little patience and one or two rests before you get there. I was in a hurry because my wife needed the oven and broke one of the two, but with some repair its not too bad. The "break" is on the back left in the picture. So, all this worked out perfectly so you can use these ratios: 60-65% of the dough for the 12 balls, the rest for the ropes.

Taste was delicious, but my formula has now proven itself many times so I was not worried about that. Next challenge will be bread sculpting for Halloween. Don't know yet what will top last year's pumpkin and turkey

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Same party with neighbors (see Eliopsomo), different bread. From the book "Savory Baking from the Mediterranean" (Anissa Helou), page 133. This was definitely an interesting a delicious treat. Two loaves did not last very long.

 Tortano Ripieno - Savory Baking from the Mediterranean
Tortano Ripieno - Savory Baking from the Mediterranean

This "torta" "no", or not quite pie, is very interesting. A Tuscan bread, it is filled with several kinds of cheese (some of it seen having oozed out above), salami and, of all things, hard boiled eggs. Savory indeed, and very delicious.

Tortano Ripieno - Inside
Tortano Ripieno - Inside 

I went through a similar recipe transcription process as for the Eliopsomo, but this time things came out too dry. I was suspicious of the 52% hydration that came out of the conversion effort, and added more water to bring it closer to 64%. In the end, I think I could/should have brought it up a little higher even. On the other hand, the low hydration did make the bread have some characteristics of a pie crust. The recipe starts out by thoroughly mixing lard (or butter), with the flour before doing anything else. Again a technique more akin to pie crust than bread dough.

I ended up putting three hard boiled eggs inside each loaf. The recipe calls for cutting them in 6 parts, which I did for one loaf, but for the other loaf I used a slicer and put the slices in. The first method gives nice, recognizable chunks in some bits, the second method distributes the egg better. If you like the egg in it, I'd put in 4 eggs in 6 parts. Concerned about health? This bread is not for you, with 3 or 4 eggs!

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

A party with neighbors brought some new inspiration to bake something different. From the book "Savory Baking from the Mediterranean" (Anissa Helou) I picked the recipe for Eliopsomo, or Greek olive bread. The book does not specify baker's percentages or weights, but I used my Dough Calculator to compute those. The conversion for spinach, herbs and olives are guesses and probably not exactly what the author intended. Nevertheless, I doubled the recipe and made two loaves.

Eliopsomo - Savory Breads from the Mediterranean
Eliopsomo - Savory Breads from the Mediterranean 

It worked out reasonably OK. I did not like the amount of filling. It appeared too much and the moisture content was too high. If I were to bake this again, I'd squeeze, or somehow dry out, the spinach, and also drain the olives much better/longer than I did. I would also reduce the overall amount of filling to about 60% of the recipe. It is, of course, always possible that I just misinterpreted the instructions and simply made too much, but I doubt it. I also believe that a better technique than described in the book would be in order for final shaping, causing the filling to be more distributed (like a cinnamon roll perhaps).

Filling was so wet, stuff leaked out during proofing in my couche (and ruined it). 

Eliopsomo - Inside
Eliopsomo - Inside 

 The taste was definitely OK, but not wow.

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
dolfs's picture
dolfs

A birthday present and long time no baking: had to use the present and bake some!

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls

Ever since I started baking, now about 2 years ago, I hated our tile counter tops which are not suitable for working dough etc. I had worked on a marble slab since, but it was small and got me into trouble with larger batches, or longer breads (like large challah). Yesterday my solution arrived (two day early father's day/birthday present) in the form of a maple countertop, standard depth (25"), 48" wide and 1.5" thick. You can see it in the background of the photo above. While meant to be an actual counter top, I put some rubber feet under it to prevent sliding, and put it on top of the counter. Heavy lifting, but solid and immobile (might leave it on permanently). Wonderful! Now I needed to make/bake something.

I got Suas's book (Advanced Bread and Pastry) a while ago and read almost the whole thing (the technical stuff, not all formulas) in just a few days. I really like this book. This weekend I finally had time to make something from it (work has been incredibly busy, so little baking happened in the last few months, except the routine sandwich bread). The choice was actually from the Viennoisserie section, page 360/361: Cinnamon Rolls made with "Sweet Roll Dough", and  "Sticky Bun Glaze" (p. 394) on the bottom and "Flat Icing" (p. 646) on top. Although not in the recipe, but apparently present in the photographed version, and consistent with that, I added golden raisins.

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls Inside
Suas' Cinnamon Rolls Inside 

Of course, and as fairly typical for me diving into formulas in books, I found an error in the "Sweet Roll Dough" formula right away. I found this because I use my Dough Calculator spreadsheet and it comes up with different answers. In this case the conversion from metric to US decimal was wrong in the formula on the line for Cake Flour, and as a result, the fractional representation of the decimal was wrong as well. In the formula, as presented, cake flour is 0.748 pounds, or 0.424 kg. That is incorrect. The correct number: 0.935 pounds (which is indeed 424 g). Also, the lbs & oz number, given as 12 should be 15 oz. Here is the formula I used (with different numbers because it was scaled down to produce 2 lbs of dough):

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls
Suas' Cinnamon Rolls (12 rolls)

I did not have milk powder, so I used the Dough Calculator to convert to "real" milk (and presented above). Although the formula does not describe it here (but does in the book), I used SAF Osmotolerant Instant Dry yeast (available from King Arthur's Catalog). The high sugar content of the dough can make life a little difficult for regular IDY but OT IDY can handle this better. Fear not if you do not have it. You can use just a little more regular IDY and allocate a little more time for the proof and you should be fine. A similar comment applies to the use of cake flour. The texture will be better with it, but if you don't have it, try AP flour instead. 

The instructions for making the dough are pretty standard. This dough should come out of the mixer fairly cold (72F) so you may need to use cold(er) milk. You can see the calculation for my case in the formula above, where I had to use 42F milk. My fridge happens to be set at 40F, so I used it straight from the fridge. Put all dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Add wet ingredients, except butter and mix at second speed (even 3rd on KA mixers) until full gluten development, adding the butter in small batches starting about 2/3 of the way through mixing. Dough should clear the bowl and be fairly stuff, although supple because of the butter. If you desire raisins, knead them in by hand at this point (I used about 100 g).  Let proof on the counter for about 1 hr and then refrigerate overnight.

One of the problems with this book (in particular for the home baker) is that it provides formulas  (of course using baker's percent) for both large amounts (typically a 10lbs dough) and "test" amounts, but does not specify the yield for either. My prior baking experience told me to make a 2lbs dough to get about 12 rolls (I actually got 13). Likewise it talks about using the "Sticky Bun Glaze", but does not tell you how much you need, nor does it say how much cinnamon sugar and icing you need. I guessed the cinnamon sugar wrong, but here is how to make the right amount (prepare whenever, and store in moisture tight container):

 

Ingredient % Decimal lbs Fractional lbs Volume Metric
Sugar 100% 0.1103 1 3/4 oz 4 T 50 g
Sugar, Brown 100% 0.1103 1 3/4 oz 4 3/4 T 50 g
Cinnamon 8% 0.0088 0.14 oz 1 3/4 t 4 g

 

Next morning, take the dough out of the refrigerator about 1-2 hours and let it warm up. While it warms up, prepare the "Stickly Bun Glaze" (optional) from the formula below. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, then add the remaining ingredients and set aside. Alternatively you can heat everything up in a pan until the sugar is dissolved and then let things cool down.

 

Ingredient % Decimal lbs Fractional lbs Volume Metric
Sugar, Brown 100.00% 0.3314 5 1/4 oz 7/8 C 150.0 g
Butter 56.67% 0.1878 3 oz 5 3/4 T 85.2 g
Salt 0.83% 0.0028 0.04 oz 1/4 t 1.2 g
Honey 38.33% 0.1270 2 oz 2 1/2 T 57.6 g
Vanilla Extract 2.50% 0.0083 0.13 oz 3/4 t 3.8 g
Cinnamon 0.83% 0.0028 0.04 oz 1/2 t 1.2 g

 

Degas the dough and roll out into a rectangle about twice as wide as it is long, about 1/8" thick. Brush the whole rectangle with water and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture, making sure to leave a 1" strip at the far (wide) end uncovered so the dough can stick. If you didn't do the raisins already, you could add them here (I prefer to do them earlier so the dough absorbs the raisin flavor). Roll up the dough somewhat tight, starting at the wide, sprinkled end, and ending at the other wide end, where a little pressure will "glue" things shut.

Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper and spreading the "Sticky Bun Glaze" evenly on top of the paper. The glaze will melt and be absorbed in the bottom of the rolls and cover the bottom. Take a wet and sharp knife and cut 1" pieces of the rolled up dough and place sideways on the sheet. Leave room between the rolls for expansion. Twelve rolls, evenly spread out, will be about the right spacing on a standard home oven baking sheet. Let proof until about 1.5 to 2 times size. Pre heat the oven to 350F and bake on middle rack. You may want to consider putting another baking sheet immediately under it, to prevent the bottoms from burning. The rolls will be ready in about 15-18 minutes.

Now comes a tricky move. Take the sheet pan out of the oven, place a cooling rack on top, and then, without pressing, flip the whole deal over and place on a surface where you can deal with the dripping glaze. Remove sheet pan and parchment paper. If you used the paper this will be extremely easy! Now, to prevent too much glaze from covering the sides and top of the rolls, use a second cooling rack and invert again. Now let cool. This seems convoluted, but you do not want to handle the hot rolls with your hands: they're really hot, very sticky, and very fragile! Meanwhile prepare the "Flat Icing": 

Ingredient % Decimal lbs Fractional lbs Volume Metric
Sugar, Powdered 100% 0.2197 3 1.2 oz 7/8 C 100.0 g
Lemon Juice 3% 0.0066 0.11 oz 1/2 t 3.0 g
Water (hot) 14% 0.0308 1/2 oz 2 3/4 t 13.9 g

Mix this together with spatula and try to not incorporate any air in the mixture. If you desire it thinner, add more water. This was just about right though, I think. Now, when the rolls are still somewhat warm, but not hot, put the icing in a piping bag with fine tip, or if you don't have fancy equipment, use a plastic baggy (sandwich size or so), and cut just the tiniest piece of a corner. Drizzle the icing over the rolls in the desired amount and let the icing set (a few minutes). Then, get set and eat!

Suas' Cinnamon Rolls Sample

Cinnamon Roll Sample

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Today I made Norm's recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Discussion here and elsewhere has me convinced that his Americanized version is more appropriately called Spotted Dog.

Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread)
Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread)

I made 4 loaves. Two loaves were in 7" cake pans, but I used 1 lb 5 oz of dough instead of Norm's suggested 1 lb and 2 oz. The other two were in square pans a little larger and I guesstimated 1 lb 10 oz each. Otherwise I followed Norm's formula to the letter. Mixing was done by first mixing the shortening with the flour, and then adding the remaining dry ingredients, mixing again, and finally the buttermilk and water. I did this by hand using a dough whisk. Since I had 4 pans in the oven at the same time I baked at 350 convection (my oven's thermostat is on the low side so this is not as bad as it seems). Towards the end I even cranked it up to 375F convection to get some more browning. Start to finish (cooling time not included) a little over 1 hour.

Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread) Crumb
Norm's Spotted Dog (Soda Bread) Crumb 

Never made this before, nor tasted it before. The crumb came out really nice and soft, but I think it could have used a little more raisins. Tasted delicious with a little (lot) of butter on top! Thanks Norm. 

 

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

In seeking a tasty and healthy bread for my 6 year old son's lunch box I've been looking to create a sandwich loaf that is in large part whole wheat flour and other grains, yet has a somewhat soft crust (you know children: they don't appreciate the best part of good bread), and fine and soft texture. It should hold up well for PB&J as well as cheese, turkey etc.

Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread 

Today was baking day for me and I made up a new recipe. It started with a variation on Peter Reinhart's Struan from his "Whole Grain Breads," but ended up with substantial modifications. What remains is the "epoxy" method which has always worked well for me since I learned about it. As you can see from the picture most (if not all) of my goals were reached. The whole loaf is airy, and the crust is mild in flavor and "crustiness." The color is lighter than you might expect because a substantial portion of the whole wheat flour used was white whole wheat flour. This is another one of those "fool the kids" tricks. If the bread doesn't look too brown it tastes better! (The white whole wheat does have a milder taste too).

The overall composition of the bread (not counting the oats on the outside) is 37% bread flour (I used Giusto's Ultimate Performer, organic unbleached), 35% white whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur), and 13% whole wheat flour (Giusto's), 14% rolled oats, 3.4% wheat germ (yes, that's a little over 100%, I rounded the amounts for this summary). Salt comes in at 1.85% overall, and hydration is at 75.6%. The bread flour comes in handy to provide enough gluten for a good rise (needed for good air and fluffy bread) and also helps create a milder (less WW) taste. I am not saying you need this much for the gluten reason, it is just what I ended up with and I am happy with bread that is only 1/3 refined flour. You can experiment with less if you want.

The end result was exactly what I was looking for. Within this goal, it was certainly my best ever. I know that some of you frown upon this kind of bread because it is not 100% whole wheat, it is too much like Wonderbread (not really, except texture may be somewhat), etc. I make plenty of "real" bread, but this outcome was the goal. Others have looked for this in the past (although mostly in a "white" bread), so I thought it worth sharing. 

Here is the recipe (from my Dough Calculator Spreadsheet):

Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread Formula
Multigrain Oatmeal Sandwich Bread Formula 

The recipe, as given here, makes 3% extra of the soaker and the biga to compensate for what might stick to your container and utensils and doesn't (easily) make it into the dough. I bake by weight (highly recommended), but approximate volumes are given for almost all ingredients. The wheat germ, if I remember correctly, was about 5 tablespoons. Not mentioned in the formula, but I also used about 1/16 of a teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C) as a dough enhancer. It promotes dough strength and allows for a "lighter" product. It gets destroyed during baking, so no health benefits!

Also note, for those of you that like to judge a formula by looking at the percentages, that soaker and biga are huge percentages in the final dough. This is normal for doughs made with the "epoxy" method as virtually all flour is part of biga, starter or soaker. In fact, if there was no flour whatsoever in the final step, you wouldn't be able to use percentages, because 0 flour would result in infinite percentages for the other components. The dough calculator has a convenient "Analysis" worksheet that collects all ingredients into an "Overall dough", which is how I got the percentages mentioned above.

Directions:

  • Soaker: Mix all ingredients until everything is mixed well and hydrated completely. Leave out at room temperature for 12 hours (overnight is what I do).
  • Biga: Mix all ingredients until everything is mixed well and hydrated completely, and then knead briefly. For a ball and place in refrigerator for 12 hours (overnight).
  • Final Dough: Cut up soaker and biga each into some 10 pieces and mix them in a bowl with all other ingredients. Mix well (dough whisk, stand mixer, whatever you like) on low speed until you have achieved a good blend. This will happen easier than for doughs not made with the "epoxy" method. Continue to knead until full gluten development has been achieved. With this dough you should be able to achieve a wonderful gluten window (window pane test). Your ideal dough temperature at this point should be 78F (if you don't know why or how, don't worry about it).
  • Bulk Ferment: Shape dough into a ball with tight skin and place, good side up in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until approximately 2.5 times original size. (This happened for me in about 75 minutes in a 70F) kitchen. The dough will feel very airy! In my case no folds were necessary, but if you feel your dough s not as strong as you want (possible since the dough is fairly wet), give it a folder after 30 minutes and perhaps another after one hour.
  • Divide & Pre-Shape: The recipe makes two 1.5 pound loaves, so divide the dough into two equal pieces and quickly shape each piece into a tight ball. Deflate the dough some, but not completely while doing this. Let the pre-shaped balls rest (covered) for about 15 minutes. The dough might be just a tad sticky to your hands (it should have cleared the mixer bowl). If necessary use a tiny amount of flour, or wet your hands.
  • Shape & Proof: Pre-heat oven at 400F (I used a stone and cast iron pan for steam, but you can do without). Grease your loaf pans (I used spray with flour in it, you can use some butter, oil, or use parchment paper). Shape each ball into a roll/loaf, make sure seam is pinched shut, and roll the top side (seam will go down in loaf pan) in some oats that you have spread out. Place in loaf pan, seam down, oats up, and cover and let proof until a dome forms above the edge of the loaf pan (this took about 1 hour for me).
  • Slash & Bake: Optionally slash the loaves (I used a curved slash through the middle). If you don't slash and you get too much oven spring you may get tearing. I happen to think the slash looks good anyway. Place on the baking stone (i you use one, otherwise straight on rack in lower third of oven) and bake approximately 25 minutes until internal temperature is 205F (or use the "thump" test if you do not have a thermometer). Make sure you rotate pans sometime in the middle to get even heating and browning. I also remove the loaves from their pans when the internal temperature is about 190F so that the sides of the bread get some more browning. Careful with that, the loaves are very fragile at this point!
  • Cool & Eat: As always, let cool fully before slicing and eating. This bread freezes well. I slice the whole loaf and freeze two slices in a sandwich ziploc for easy "on demand" retrieval.



--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures
dolfs's picture
dolfs

I haven't produced much published baking material in the last few months, so here is something new for me.

Bertinet's Croissants & Pain au Chocolat
Bertinet's Croissants & Pain au Chocolat

Since my last post I have been baking plenty, but essentially nothing new. I was baking well rehearsed products (baquette, Tom Leonard's Country French, pizza, sandwich loaf, Challah) for the family and a few parties. Virtually no baking in January: my family and I were in Tanzania on Safari (anybody should be willing to forego baking for a few weeks to see that), and now we're in Montana for our annual winter vacation. Out here I have virtually no tools (no stand mixer, dough scraper or bench knife, no thermometer, limited flour selection), but I needed to bake. I made some bread from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. I made some 50/50 white and white whole wheat dough and produced some rolls one day, and a sandwich loaf yesterday. I'd say both were OK, but not as good as other breads I've made in the past using more traditional approaches. So, it was time for a little more of a challenge.

I had Amazon deliver several bread books to Montana so I had something to read. One of them was Bertinet's "Crust" and I liked the croissant recipe in it. It also comes with lots of description and pictures. So far I had resisted making croissants, despite the fact that my family loves them, because it seemed to involved, and perhaps difficult. Since I am on vacation, and was not skiing yesterday and today (avoiding the President's Day crowds) I decided it was time for croissants. Here is the recipe from the book, scaled and converted through my Dough Calculator. I also converted from fresh yeast to instant dry yeast.

Bertinet's Croissant Recipe
Bertinet's Croissant Recipe

I didn't have whole milk so I substituted 1/3 cream (which is probably too much) and the rest skim milk. I also used 4T of Splenda rather than sugar (Splenda converts on a 1:1 volume basis). I used one large egg for the 50.8 g of egg. The butter listed on the bottom is not part of the dough, but is rolled in later. The egg below it is for an egg wash. Since I had no stand mixer I mixed and kneaded by hand, which is easier for this recipe because no full gluten development is needed.

Directions (very abbreviated - the book has 18 pictures illustrating the steps):

  1. Mix dry ingredients well
  2. Add liquids and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Full gluten development is not needed, nor desired. It will happen during the rolling process.
  4. Form dough into a ball and cut cross on top.  Chill in refrigerator for 2-12 hours. The dough will ferment and swell.
  5. Take 2 sticks of butter (which is slight more than needed) out of the fridge about 1 hour before you take the dough out.
  6. Take dough out and roll out in 4 directions (use the cross as a guide) into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Rotate so it looks like a diamond.
  7. Put butter between two sheets of plastic and pound gently with a rolling pin or other heavy object until a rectangle about 1/3" thick is created. Remove top plastic and pick up bottom plastic and butter to turn over on top of middle of square dough (you should have the side triangles of the diamond still uncovered). Try to not touch (and warm up) the butter. Remove final sheet of plastic.
  8. Fold over rest of dough and seal, completely enclosing the butter. Repeat following step three times.
  9. Place dough with short side facing you. Roll out, gently and evenly, in the long direction only, until about 3 times as long. Fold in thirds and press to seal. Place in plastic bag and chill in fridge for 30 minutes (place on flat surface!). Mark with indentations in dough, or a note, so you don't forget whether you are on cycle 1, 2 or 3. Roll gently and evenly to prevent cracks and rips and butter leaking out. If it does, cover with flower and continue. The open spot will be on the inside once folded.
  10. Just before the next step, prepare an egg wash by beating one egg with a pinch of salt. 
  11. After the final chill, after the third cycle, have short side facing you and roll out into a rectangle approximately 3-4 mm (1/5" - 1/8") thick. Keep the rectangle about 12" wide (you may mav to toll sideways as well now) and put the rest in the other dimension. You should end up with approximately 12"x36".
  12. Using a knife, trim edges to make a nice rectangle. Cut rectangle into two strips approximately 6" wide. Cut each strip into triangles with a base  of about 9 cm (3 1/2").
  13. Make a small cut (1.5 cm or 1/2") into the middle of the base of each triangle and then, holding the outside corners of the triangle, stretch a little and roll up towards the top of the triangle. Roll tight, but not excessively so.
  14. Bend the corners of the rolled croissant to create the traditional crescent shape and place on greased cookie sheet, or parchment paper, with the tip of the rolled triangle on the bottom (to avoid unrolling). Leave ample space for expansion during proof and baking.
  15. Brush each croissant with egg wash, from the middle to the outsides to prevent egg wash pooling in the creases. Cover with some non-stick cover, or put in a draft free place, to proof for approximately 2 hours. Do not do this in too warm a place, as the butter may start oozing out. Apply egg wash a second time just before baking.
  16. Preheat at 425F and bake for 17-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly on racks and eat warm!

The recipe made about 14 croissants for me (I rolled them a little tick, so your mileage may be better). I actually started this at night and left the third chill in the refrigerator overnight. Also, please note that all this was done at 6,800 feet altitude so things may be slightly different at sea level. I proofed and baked one half (see photo above) and froze the rest after one egg wash. I placed them in the freezer on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. We'll be baking these tomorrow after a 20 minute thaw (or so), and at a slightly lower temperature. Unless this doesn't work, I will not post about that.

I remembered to take two pictures in the middle of the family eating most of these croissants. Here is a picture of the inside:

Bertinet's Croissants & Crumb
Bertinet's Croissant Crumb

We eat these the way I was taught in Europe. Put some butter and jam on your plate and then, before each bite, apply some of the butter to the end you're going to bite, slather some jam on top, bite, savour, repeat! 

For my first time making croissants I was extremely pleased (and so was the family!). They were extremely light and fluffy, nice color, crisp but thin outside crust, flakey and not greasy on the inside. My son loves chocolate croissants, or pain au chocolat, so I used some of the dough to make three of those (that was all the good chocolate I had in the house as this was an afterthought, and the store is a 30 minute ride into town). That's what you see as the more rectangular shapes in the front of the picture. I took a strip of three chocolate squares and laid them on top of a rolled out rectangle approximately 4"x6". This left about 3/4" on each side. Roll the dough over the chocolate in the long direction and completely roll up and seal the sides. Rest of the treatment is the same as for the croissants.

Conclusion: This was nowhere near as difficult as I had anticipated and the results were fabulous (better than I've had from most stores). Well worth the try and, if my freezing experiment works out, you can make a bunch the day before and freeze them. Everytime you want them it should only take about 1 hour (thaw + bake) before you can have fresh croissants for breakfast! 

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

A late entry. For Christmas I made stollen with a recipe that looked like it would produce something close to what I know from The Netherlands.

Dutch Regale's Almond/Rum StollenDutch Regale's Almond/Rum Stollen

I did look at many recipes, but finally decided on a mix of two recipes. I used mostly the recipe from Glezer's Artisan Baking across America for "Dutch Regale's Almond Stollen," but incorporated a slightly different mix of dark and golden raisins with a small amount of candied cherries, all soaked overnight in rum. Dutch stollen uses something called "sukade," but I haven't found that available here.

I suppose this is not an easy recipe (recipe post here). The first try resulted in something that was delicious, but a little flat and dense. It was almost more like a somewhat moist shortbread. For the second try I did the same recipe but worked more on developing the initial dough. The result was better (see picture, although this is not a picture of the best specimen: it disappeared before I could take a picture) and surely was declared delicious by all that ate it.

The almond paste was made from equal weights (250 g) of almond flour (I'm too lazy to blanch and grind almonds), fine granulated sugar, and an egg. I made three times this recipe about two weeks ahead of time. The texture and taste improves notably by keeping it in the fridge over that time.

The stollen went to us and some close friends where we celebrated Christmas. For many other friends and neighbors I made Panettone. We had a progressive block party on the 29th and my wife signed us (me) up for the bread course. I baked 4 baguettes, 3 epis and 3 loaves of Tom Leonard's Country French. I've pictured all these before, so no new pictures.

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Inspired by Susan's account in her blog, I decided to make Panettone as presents for friends for the holidays.

PanetonnePanettone

I pretty much followed Susan's recipe. I used vanilla extract rather than vanilla beans, and I did soak the fruit in Amaretto and Rum, plenty of it. Before using I drained them and then tossed the fruit in some flour to dry it. I used half the water and it seemed the dough was way too wet. So I added about 5 good size spoons of flour. Then, in the final mixing stage, I used a tiny amount of water to get it where I thought it needed to be. Did I mention I love my new DLX mixer? This batch of 4.7 pounds of dough would have never made it through my KA mixer!

Like Susan I converted my normal stiff starter with three 50% hydration feedings in a four hour cycle. Started in the morning so pre-dough was ready for mixing around 9PM. Add 12 hours ferment and ready for production next morning. I proofed in my oven with the light on. It took about 4.5 hours. Unlike Susan's instructions I let it proof a little more in the oven, until about 1/2" under the rim. Then I glazed with the glazing from the recipe, added some blanched almonds on top and put a candied green cherry in the middle, pearl sugar around. Oven spring was incredible. Interestingly enough, I must not have put even surface tension on the dough. The decoration that was smack in the center moved outward on some breads during the oven spring. Baked 40 minutes at 350F on rack (not on stone).

I had inserted wooden skewers, as suggested before putting dough in the molds, and so immediately after baking I removed the bread to hang it upside down. The construct I came up with consisted of two plastic storage creates with some slats across them.Panettone hanging out to dryPanettone hanging out to dry

The tips of some skewers came a little close to the oven wall and smoked a little in the beginning. I considered soaking them for my next bake, but decided against that. I am afraid the moisture escaping from them might not do the bread any good. The bread was finished around 9PM and I let it hang overnight.

We tasted one this morning. I had to, honest! I never made this before and I wanted to make sure the result was OK before starting to hand these out to friends as holiday gifts.

Panettone sliced and crumbPanettone sliced and crumb 

The bread is quite delicate. I think it came out excellent and the taste was just wonderful. I either have improved my baking skills and am now able to adjust doughs based on (expected) feel, or I continue to get lucky. Most of my first time breads work out just fine. Susan's recipe and description in her blog (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/12/07/panettone/) is excellent, so I am not repeating it here.

We're restraining ourselves and have half left for tomorrow. The other three went to friends this afternoon. I have another starter building and will mix pre-dough for another batch of 6 tonight.

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

For thanksgiving I again made my pumpkin bread (recipe), and this time I made one jack-o-lantern, like last time, and one bread shaped like a turkey.

Thanksgiving turkey breadThanksgiving turkey bread

The picture was taken the day after the bake (Wed bake) and due to some bubble under the crust, it wrinkled a little). Still, this worked out well I think, both shape and flavor. There is nothing left at least!

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - dolfs's blog