The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Floydm

I had a busy weekend and did not bake this weekend.  First time in quite some time, actually.


I don't think I ever posted the BBQ Chicken Pizza I made during the Super Bowl.


super bowl pizza


The crust is Peter's Neo-Neapolitan recipe that is my standard.  Cheap store-brand BBQ sauce as the sauce, chicken breast, cilantro, red onions, and a mixture of chedder and mozarella. Super simple and the kids loved it.


super bowl pizza


I made Current Cream Buns that weekend too but they got gobbled up before I could take a picture.


The other thing I've been making recently are Crepes.  Our new favorite filling is a pat of butter, a scant teaspoon of sugar, and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Super simple but absolutely delicious!


 


 

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Floydm

I baked a couple of things this weekend.  The first was the Sourdough Carrot Cake recipe from King Arthur that someone (TXFarmer?) posted about a couple of months back.


Carrot Cake Muffins


I halved the recipe and baked them as cupcakes rather than a cake.  It is quite good and a useful way of disposing of ripe starter.


I thought I also baked a walnut levain today, but judging by the timestamp* this is a loaf that I'll bake 205 years from now.


Walnet Levain


It looks like it'll be good.  I'm looking forward to trying it someday!


 


* I suspect the fact that my 8 year old son has been borrowing my camera to make stop action movies with Lego figures recently has something to do with the timestamp getting changed.  

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Floydm

I made a potato bread today, using Dan Lepard's recipe from The Art of Handmade Bread (AKA The Handmade Loaf) as the basis and tweaking it a bit.  If memory serves me right, I used:


300 grams water


200 grams mashed potatoes


500 grams bread flour


1 tablespoon sourdough starter (cold from the fridge)


1 tablespoon honey


2 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon instant yeast


I gave it quite a while, 10 minutes or so, in the mixer, then let it rise slowly most of the day, folding it a couple of times when I noticed it cresting over the edge of the bowl..  I shaped it an hour or so before I wanted to bake it, then baked it with steam at 465 for 15 minutes then 400 or so for another 20 to 30 minutes.


Potato Bread


Potato Bread


It has a relatively tight crumb but is really nice and soft.  I'm thinking I may make this as rolls for my Thanksgiving day feast this year.


My kids and I also made fresh butter in Mason jars as discussed here


Bread and butter


The kids had a blast dancing around the living room shaking the jars (we put some music on) and the butter was truly delicious.  It is well worth the effort!

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Floydm

I received a copy of Tartine Bread in the mail today and realized my baking bookshelf is now full.


My bread book shelf


(click the photo to see a higher res version on Flickr).


Um... yeah... I guess I'm going to need to start a new shelf!


Tartine Bread reminds me a lot of My Bread.  A West Coast version.  I haven't had a chance to bake from it yet but there are some interesting sounding recipes in there, like the Olive Oil Brioche that TXFarmer posted about recently.  I'm excited to check it out!

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Floydm

So, yes, this evening we had a user get upset and try to expunge himself from the site.  For now, I have shut down the account.


Sadly, there isn't a simple way for a user to erase his or her own account and all associated content or for me to do that.  They've added that feature to the next version of Drupal, the software this site runs on.  It is the oldest feature request in the system (look at the URL... it is node number 8).  For almost 10 years people have been asking for this feature. I do want to respect individual's ability to manage their own information and remove it if/when they decide to leave, but until Drupal 7 comes out and I upgrade the site (early 2011?) there isn't a reliable way to do that. My apologies.


I don't think it is appropriate to get into the specifics about what led up to this, but at a high level:



  • member A left a rather specious comment on a three year old thread that, frankly, I should just delete.

  • member B made a moderately nasty reply insulting member A.

  • member A flagged member B's comment as offensive, as did a few other folks here.

  • I removed the offending comment and asked member B to please be more courteous, even if privately I agreed with his opinion.  

  • Member B did not respond well to this and, after first asserting that it is my responsibility to verify that all posts are factual, began the self-immolation.

  • I closed member B's account and cleaned up what I could.


In the five years I've run this site, I think I've been pretty consistent about the policy here.  If I could boil it down to four words, it'd be "Don't be a jerk" (though I tend to use a stronger word than that).  There are thousands and thousands of unmoderated listservs and bulletin boards online where the loudest and the snarkiest rule.  I'm not going to let the happen here.


It is also true that I don't believe that being right or a being a better baker gives one the right to treat others disrespectfully: there are plenty of things that I am convinced I am right about that I probably disagree with many site members about. I'm sure they are equally convinced their views are correct and that I am the foolish one.  So it goes.  If we can find a civil way to exchange opinion, correct facts, and help each other see things from the other's perspective that is wonderful, but if it is going to slide into mudslinging and name calling I will ask folks to move along and discuss something else (like an NYC cop: "Alright people: shows over.").  


Similar incidents have happened a few times before and I'm sure will happen again.  I don't hold any ill will against the parties who've been asked to leave or who've chosen to leave on their own and I hope they will respect -- even if they disagree with -- my approach and what I've tried to accomplish here.  Many folks enjoy this environment and are willing to check some of their opinions at the door, but I understand that this doesn't work for everyone.  Thankfully the internet is a big place and there is room for all of us.

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Floydm

I get a lot of books from publisher, most of which I don't post about, but I received one today that I really like. 


Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of The American Academy in Rome, The Rome Sustainable Food Project comes out in a week or so.  It is a little book but contains a really nice selection of cookie, biscotti, and meringhe recipes.  There are a nice range of recipes, everything from basic sugar cookies to fava bean cookies, and while a few require ingredients that I don't keep around the house (fava beans, pine nuts), none of them that I've looked at strike me as terribly complex or inaccessible.


What else.  The photography and typography are nice, the paper feels nice, it is just... a really lovely little book, one that feels more expensive than the thirteen bucks you can pick it up for right now. It'd make a nice, inexpensive gift for anyone you know who likes to cook and bake but hasn't yet caught the bread bug. 


I've not baked any of the recipes from it yet, but I shall soon.

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Floydm

I am still trying to develop a recipe for cream buns something like the scones from Murchies in Victoria, BC (see my previous posts on the topic here and here).  What I baked yesterday turned out awfully good and, if memory serves me right, is along the same lines of what they serve at Murchies.


Cream Buns


Cream Buns


Cream Buns


It is worth mentioning that I've been using my Lesson 1 recipe as the basis for this, with substitutions (milk and cream for the water, add some sugar, etc).  Though by itself that recipe is nothing special and one I've abandoned baking as it is written there, it still is frequently my starting point for experimentation.


My recipes was roughly:


3 cups bread flour


1/3 cup sugar


1/2 cup warm milk


3/4 cups warm heavy cream


1 1/2 teaspoon salt


2 heaping teaspoons instant yeast


1/2 cup dried currents


I started with less liquid than that  (1/2 cup of each) but the dough got pretty tight, so I poured in more cream and worked the dough with wet hands until it got to a state I was comfortable with. 


I mixed it in my standmixer for quite a decent time, 8-10 minutes I'd guess.  I gave 90 minutes for the bulk fermentation, cut and shaped the dough, and then another 60 minute final rise.  I baked them around 25 minutes at 375.


Looking back at my photo of the Murchies scone, they were a bit yellower.  perhaps I'll add an egg or some butter the next time I try to make these so they come out more brioche-y.  These were very good though, both hot out of the oven and for breakfast the next day.


*      *      *


While making these I remembered that one of my favorite baked items in France this summer, the little Briochette they sold in the grocery stores there, are fairly similar to these.  There is the assumption here that the way to appeal to Americans is to make things sickly sweet.  I could be wrong, but it seems like there is a missed opportunity here: were I a purveyor of baked items I'd try putting out something soft, less sweet, and with a good shelf life, something that a parent wouldn't feel guilty feeding their child.  The closest thing I can find in grocery stores around here are the King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, which our kids devour every time we buy them.   Sprinkle in little bits of chocolate, currents, raisins, or dried cranberries, maybe come out with a whole grain version -- Moore's Flour Mill in Ukiah, CA used to make these whole wheat raisin buns that were to die for -- and I think you'd have a real winner.

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Floydm

I think I fed my sourdough starter once this summer.  I thought for sure it was a goner, but I fed it last Saturday night and, lo and behold, Sunday morning it had nearly tripled in size.  It baked a great looking loaf.


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Floydm

As I mentioned the last time I posted, after a visit there I decided I needed to figure out how approximate the scones at Murchie's in Victoria, BC.  I tried two recipes last weekend that were very similar except one was yeasted and the other was unyeasted.  The unyeasted one came out very good and, while light and creamy, had the crumbly consistency I typically experience with scones.



I used the cream scone recipe here but substituted currents for the cranberries.   


For the yeasted recipe, I came up with something like this saffron bun recipe, leaving out the saffron and using cream instead of milk and butter.



These were delicious but too rich and heavy.  Next time I'd use maybe half cream and half milk and bump up the amount of yeast I use.


I'm pretty sure now that Murchie's scones are not traditional baking powder raised scones but instead yeasted cream buns.  They really nail it so that they both taste light and rich at the same time.  It is going to take a few more tries, but I think I'm heading in the right direction.

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Floydm

We just spent a weekend up in Victoria BC. 



As you can see, it was beautiful.  We had a great time.  I have a new obsession now though:



The current scones at Murchie's Tea & Coffee (on the right) were unbelievably good.  We had them with tea in the afternoon the day we got there and I had to go back to have another the next morning.  So light and totally different than the biscuit-like scones I am used to.  


I've been told that using cream that is already whipped and folding it into the dry ingredients is the secret to scones like these. I will figure out how to bake them or something very like them... oh yes, I will... and share my findings here.

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