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GSnyde

Reel  BayGulls

 

That's my pictogram for the day.  It shows what I baked this morning: Real Bagels!

 

 

 

And they were goood!

It started with the croissants.  Several people asked me what’s next now that I’ve made croissants.  It got me to thinking about what’s missing from my repertoire.

I thought to myself, “Self!” [That’s what I call myself.] “Your life would be richer and more meaningful if you made bagels.  Real bagels, like you couldn’t eat if you didn’t have good teeth.”  [I do have good teeth.]  “Or are you afraid?” [I am not afraid.  I do have good teeth.]

So, after that cheeky challenge from my self, I had to bake real bagels. 

I wish I could say I grew up eating really great bagels, but in truth, my youth was bereft of such bagels except on occasion when our cousins in Tarzana brought bagfuls from Western Bagel in Van Nuys.  Later, when I started to travel to New York on business, I learned what it meant to eat a Real Old School Urban American Bagel.  This is what I hoped to bake.

I looked to my usual sources for guidance—Peter Reinhart, Jeffrey Hamelman, David Snyder.  I settled on the formula for Krakow Bagels from the soon-to-be-published “Inside the Jewish Bakery”, which David reported upon favorably (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18280/kraków-twisted-bagels).  This formula—which doubtless will make Stan and Norm’s fortune-- has been published in The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748703794104575545843564259642-lMyQjAxMTAwMDEwMjExNDIyWj.html).  The market was up that day.

After consulting TFL as to flour choices given my depleted stash of high gluten flour (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24717/need-advice-flour-bagels), I decided to supplement the Sir Lancelot with some KAF Bread Flour; it ended up being about 75% Sir Lancelot.  I followed the formula, hand-mixing and then kneading, and kneading, and kneading the stiff dough… for about 18 minutes, ‘til it felt like it was ready and made a small window pane; and it threatened to make a small back pain too.

After dinner last night, my wife, Cat, and I divided the dough and shaped the pieces several ways—some rolled thin, then doubled and twisted per Stan and Norm’s directions; some just made into regular bagels.  The twisty ones were a challenge.  Cat made a couple that looked right, but mine were thin and too bracelety (my new word for the day).  They retarded overnight and were boiled in honey water, seeded and baked this morning. 

I have considered at length exactly how to describe the results, and have come up with the proper terminology:  Yummmmm!  These taste like, and have the texture of, Real Old School Urban American Bagels.  Right after half-cooling, they had a nice crunch to the crust, and it took a good tooth-grip and a serious tug to get a bite.  Good and chewy (even with only 75% high gluten flour).

They were delicious unadorned, and even better with cream cheese and kippered local King Salmon.

These bagels made a real meal.  And, of course, a real meal needs dessert.  So I also made some cinnamon roll sticky buns.

These were made using Floyd’s timeless recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2374/cinnamon-rolls), with the rolls laid on top of a layer of butter, cinnamon-brown sugar and pecan bits.  Awesome second breakfast!

My wife loves anything with cinnamon, sugar and nuts.  She said these cinnamon rolls came close to the ones she remembers from her junior high cafeteria, the ones that taunt her to this day.  That made me happy (I mean...if any cinnamon roll is going to taunt her, shouldn't it be mine?)

What made me even happier is she said the bagels were even better than the cinnamon rolls.  You have no idea how much she has to like these bagels to say that!

I guess bagels will be in my regular repertoire.

Glenn
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GSnyde

 

[

I’m coming up on my first anniversary.  It was late August last year when I first baked something like bread and wrote something like a blog post about it. 

So how do I celebrate this anniversary?  Perhaps by baking some wonderful bread to demonstrate the skill and experience I’ve gathered over the past year?  Of course not!  That’s would hardly be a meal fit for a glutton for punishment.  No, I have to try something new and difficult, to re-live the feeling of utter novice-hood that I remember as if it were just last year.

Croissants and Laminated Pastries!!  Something I could study for weeks, work at for days and finish by realizing how very much I have to learn.  Sounds like the kind of challenge that got me started baking bread. 

I started preparing myself for this experiment by reading everything I could find and watching lots of videos about making lamented dough (yes, I know that word is missing a letter; more about the lamentation later).  I was hoping that if I knew the mistakes other people had made, I would only make my own new and novel mistakes (of which I was sure there would be plenty).

Of all the writings on croissants on the World Wide Web, the best by far is Txfarmer’s TFL post about her pursuit of the perfect croissant (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22677/poolish-croissant-pursuit-perfection).  I careful reviewed her lengthy and detailed description of all the lessons she learned in repeated attempts.  Her account is a perfect example of what makes TFL great.  So much work so generously shared, and a wonderful pictorial of a successful course of experimentation. In the process of making the dough and shaping the croissants with the benefit of her numerous tips, I realized that she probably saved my ten pounds of butter worth of inedible (or at least grossly imperfect) croissants. 

I made two batches of dough, one Friday for baking Saturday, and one Saturday for baking Sunday. Each batch was split, with some of the dough going into croissants, and some into pastries—morning buns Saturday and pains aux raisins Sunday.

The Morning Bun recipe is here (http://www.7x7.com/recipes/tartines-heavenly-morning-buns-recipe), as cited in Sue’s blog post a couple months ago (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23704/tartine039s-morning-bun-best-eaten-fresh-morning-every-morning).  The pains aux raisins recipe is here (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jacques-torres/croissants-pain-au-chocolat-pain-raisin-and-danish-recipe/index.html). 

In general, I found the process challenging but manageable.  So many steps, a full weekend is needed, and almost as much patience as butter.  I found the dough to be very elastic after the third fold, and never could get it as thin as ¼ inch, even after repeated rests.  I also learned on the first batch to be very patient with the proofing…it does take a long while at 70 degrees F. for the pastries to get sufficiently jiggly.  The first batch was a bit underproofed, I think.

But, all told, the results were very satisfying, even delectable.  The croissants are flaky on the outside, tender on the inside—a wonderful mouthfeel.  I slightly oversweetened the morning buns the first time, and will cut back the sugar coating a bit next time  The texture of the morning buns is pretty close to the way they should be.  Just a bit too heavy and chewy, probably due to underproofing.  And the pains aux raisins (which I may re-name “raisins d’etre”) are delightfully tender and delicious, with their almond cream and rum-soaked raisins.

I’m pretty pleased with my first tries at laminated goodies, and grateful to my mentors.

The peak experience was a mid-morning macchiato with warmed pastries.  A real morning buzz.

Now, about the lamentation.  Yes, I admit I love a good pun almost as much as a bad one.  But I really do have a lament about this baking experience.  I knew pâtisserie had lots of butter.  But, until I saw and dealt with the quantity of butter in this recipe, I hadn’t realized that eating this stuff is basically eating butter and sugar held together with just enough flour and liquid.  I imagine if I ate these regularly, someone would need to bash my arteries with a rolling pin (per the proper lamenation technique) just to get the blood to squish past the plaque buildup.   I’d end up looking like our local pinniped friends, the elephant seals.

It is simply not fair that something soooo good is soooo bad!  Plus, I know that Txfarmer is right that it would take a lot more practice to get really good at it, and of course I have to eat my homework.  Plus, today I got an Amazon package with the Tartine cookbook with all their amazing cakes, tarts and pastries.  I’m doomed!

So, if I can muster the will power, this will not be a weekly, or even monthly, habit.  But I will return to these sinful pleasures on occasion, hopefully when I have a crowd of butter-loving carbotarians around so I don’t need to eat more than one or two myself.  Okay…maybe three.

Glenn

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GSnyde

 

Cat and I don’t throw dinner parties very often, but when we do we are reminded that we are pretty dang good at it.  And now that I have become a semi-competent baker, the parties are even better.

There were several reasons for last night’s event: (1) a business associate (and friend) of Cat’s is visiting from New Zealand, (2) he’s also a good friend of Cat’s boss, whom we had never hosted in our home, (3) he’s also a good friend of Cat’s brother and brother-in-law, who are also friends of Cat’s boss and always entertaining, and (4) we had so much bread in the freezer that Cat and I would have been eating Panzanella for a month to whittle it down.  Oh, yeah, and (5) we like feeding and fermenting friends into a frenzy of frivolity.

I should mention that “having the boss and his wife over for dinner” may sound like a tense occasion (ala how many old movies).  But in Cat’s case, her boss recruited her years ago, already knowing her intelligence, skill and good nature, and his opinion of her has only grown higher over the years.  I suppose we could have messed up her work life by poisoning the boss, but I didn’t even think about that scary prospect until now.  I am conscious of the reversal of classic roles here: the wife, a manager in a big corporation, invites the boss and his wife over for a dinner prepared by the husband (whom she likes to keep in the kitchen). 

The menu included baguettes and cheeses and toasted Curry-Onion-Bacon-Cheese Bread (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22549/some-spice-breads-–-one-sweet-and-one-savory) to start, with a main course of charcoal-grilled butterflied leg of lamb (Julia Child marinade), bulgur pilaf, and Panzanella with heirloom tomatoes and herb fried Tartine BCB (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24230/continuing-italian-theme-panzanella).  Dessert was vanilla ice cream, awesome strawberries and Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies. 

Cat’s boss is a widely recognized gourmand and his wife was (before kids) a talented professional chef.   So I chose to prepare proven recipes (except the cookies, of which more below).  Having a Kiwi visitor was an opportunity to prove the superiority of California Lamb over the New Zealish variety (I don’t really mean that—the lamb in New Zealand is spectacular, much better than what they export to the U.S.).

Anyway, enough background.  I should say something about baking since this is still, to a large degree, a bread-oriented web site, pastrami and pickles to the contrary notwithstanding.

I have been experimenting with different baguette formulas lately, but the most reliable for me, and the one I like best, is proth5’s formula now known as “bear-guettes” (recipe below).   The dough is a dream to work with, and the result is crispy-crackly crust and tender creamy crumb…perfect as a cheese conveyance.  The formula makes 6 mini-baguettes.  I divided the dough after an hour of bulk fermentation and put half in the refrigerator for 90 minutes, so I could bake in two batches, the second after leaving enough time for the steaming skillet to get back up to temperature.  The results were quite satisfactory, with many oohs and ahs (attributable in part, I’m sure, to the creamy goat cheese the baguettes conveyed).

The main course was also very good.  Grilled lamb and bulgur pilaf are nicely enhanced by a puddle of tart vinaigrette from the salad.  Cat’s boss’s wife—the chef—commented appreciatively on how perfect the bread in the Panzanella was; she thought I’d gotten the bread from Tartine Bakery, and seemed impressed when she learned I’d baked it myself from the Tartine recipe.  As much as I treasure my wife’s favorable reaction to my bread, there’s nothing like unbiased third-party expert validation.  The feast was washed down with a pretty fair duo of 2001 pinot noirs, one from the Russian River Valley (Dehlinger) and one from Burgandy (a Gevrey-Chambertin).  

Then, the dessert.  I’ve toyed with chewy chocolate cookie recipes for years, my favorite being a Mocha cookie with bitter-sweet chocolate, fresh ground dark roast coffee and (I hate to admit) instant coffee crystals.  Somewhere recently I saw a formula for a chocolate bread with sour cherries and nuts, and thought that chocolate-cherry cookies would be pretty good.  So I modified my Mocha cookie recipe to replace the coffee with more chocolate and added dried tart cherries.  Awesome!  Very soft and chocolaty, with the extra chew and tartness of dried fruit. 

After some coffee and music, our guests waddled off into the late night and I’m confident Cat’s job is safe.

Here’re the recipes:

Proth5’s Bear-guettes

(adapted from dmsnyder’s report on proth5’s formula. See further notes at http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21620/proth5039s-quotstarting-get-bearquot-baguettes)

 

 

Poolish

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

AP flour

3.7

Water

3.7

Instant yeast

“generous pinch”

 

Levain

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

AP flour

1.7

Water

1.7

Ripe sourdough

0.35

 

Final dough

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

AP flour

31.35

Water

19.2

Instant yeast

0.05

Salt

0.70

Poolish

All

Levain

All

 

Total dough

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

Baker's %

AP flour

37.1

100

Water

25

67.25

Instant yeast

0.1

0.25

Salt

0.70

1.9

Starter

0.35

9

Total

63.1

178

                   

                  Mix the poolish and the levain and let them ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

                  Mix all the ingredients except the salt to a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

                  Add the salt and hand mix in a large bowl.

                  Bulk ferment for 4 hours with a stretch and fold at 2 hours. (I cold retarded half after the S&F for 90 minutes).

                  Divide into 10.5 oz pieces and pre-shape as logs. Rest the pieces, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

                  Shape as baguettes.

                  Proof en couche for 1.5 hours.

                  Pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

                  Transfer loaves to peel. Score them and transfer them to the oven.

                  Reduce oven temperature top 460 F and bake with steam for 10 minutes, and bake dry for another 9-11 minutes.

                  Transfer to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before eating.

                                     

                                    CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHERRY COOKIES

                                     

                                    INGREDIENTS:

 

                                     

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder    (Scharffenberger)

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

4 oz. Scharffenberger bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped or shaved

2 cups dried cherries

                                     

                                    DIRECTIONS:

                                     

1.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

 

2.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder; set aside.

3.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.  Stir in the chopped baking chocolate and cherries by hand using a wooden spoon.

 

Refrigerate dough at least one hour.

 

Drop cookie dough (about ¾ of a 1/4 cup measure per piece) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be at least 1 ½  inches apart.  Flatten each cookie a bit.

 

4.

Bake for 12-13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Glenn

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GSnyde

 

It’s Summer in San Francisco, and that means soup weather.  And what goes better with soup than a nice tender, wheaty dinner roll with whole grains and seeds?  I’d never made such a bread, but why not try?

I’ve never really invented a formula before, just tried adaptations of proven formulas.  But I didn’t find a formula that looked quite like what I was after: something in between the Hamelman Whole Wheat Multigrain and an enriched whole wheat-oatmeal bread.  So I looked to my experience with enriched whole wheat and oatmeal breads, read a number of TFL entries about how to achieve a soft crust and about seedy breads.  Then I looked at a bunch of formulas from Hamelman and Reinhart, and put pencil to paper (with calculator at hand).

Since I had a very active starter going, I decided to make a leavened dough, with a pinch of instant yeast.

I also had in mind trying the Central Milling Organic Type 85 flour for something besides a Miche.  So that’s the flour I used for this experiment (but I think a mix of 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour would work fine).

I mixed the levain last night, and this morning I soaked some Bob’s Red Mill whole grain cereal (Five Grain with Flax seed) and toasted some wheat germ and some pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.

My calculation on paper of the proper hydration for this dough was a ways off, presumably due to the thirsty whole grains, and I ended up having to add more water during the initial mix.  Reminded me of proth5’s discussion of the “hydration neutral” concept.

But once I got the dough texture feeling right (kind of like the Hamelman Oatmeal bread), it was a joy to handle.  Having no clear idea how long the bulk ferment should be for this dough, I just watched the dough, not the clock (hmmm…where have I heard that before).  After about 1 ¾ hours, the dough had expanded about 50% and seemed nice and airy. 

So that’s when I divided and pre-shaped the dough into 3 oz balls, waited 30 minutes, and then shaped the balls into round rolls.

They proofed 1 ¼ hours, then baked for 18 minutes, the first half with steam.

They came out a nice golden brown, and they make the house smell delicious.

I let them cool about 40 minutes before I couldn’t resist any longer.  They are about the density of a firm whole wheat bread; nice and springy, but firm; the structure would be good for a sandwich loaf.  The seeds and whole grains make for a nice mix of feel and flavor.

The flavor is nutty and complex, just the slightest bit sweet.   It would be excellent with a sharp cheese or with peanut butter, or just sweet butter.  My wife enjoyed the first taste a lot, and said it would be great with raisins added…and nuts and cinnamon (she has a thing for cinnamon-fruit-nut breads).  That’s a variation I’ll try.

All in all, a good experiment.  The formula follows a few more photos.

Multi-grain Seedy Rolls

(7/31/11)

Liquid Levain

.4 oz ripe starter

2.4 oz water

1.9 oz Type 85 flour

Soaker

2 oz BRM 5-grain cereal mix

2.5 oz hot water

Final Dough

14.1 oz Type 85 flour

.4 oz baker’s milk powder

.05 oz instant yeast

6.8 oz warm water

.7 oz honey

.8 oz vegetable oil

liquid levain (all)

soaker (all)

.35 oz salt

1.2 oz toasted seeds (mix of sesame, pumpkin and sunflower) and wheat germ

Procedure

1.        The night before baking, mix the liquid levain and leave covered at room temperature 10-14 hours.

2.        An hour before mixing dough, (a) toast seeds and wheat germ in 300 F oven for 40 minutes, then let cool, and (b) pour hot water over cereal for soaker, and cover bowl.  

3.        Mix flour, milk powder and instant yeast.

4.        Mix water, liquid levain, honey, vegetable oil, then add soaker.

5.        Pour dry ingredients into liquid ingredients and mix to shaggy mass.

6.        Cover for 30 minute autolyse.

7.   Add salt and toasted seeds and wheat germ, and mix thoroughly, then knead five minutes to medium development.

8.        Bulk ferment at 70 F. for two hours with four way stretch-and-folds at 45 minutes and 90 minutes.

9.    Divide into approx. 3 oz pieces and pre-shape in balls.  Rest 30 minutes.

10.  Shape as round rolls, place on parchment, and proof one hour.

11.  Pre-heat oven, with baking stone and steam apparatus, to 450 F.

12.  Transfer parchment to baking stone and bake 9 minutes with steam, then remove steam apparatus and lower  temperature to 400 F.  Bake an additional 9 minutes or so (to internal temperature of 195-200 F), rotating the parchment for even browning as necessary.

13.  Remove rolls from oven, and brush with milk (if you like softer crust).  Cool on rack for 30 minutes or more.

Submitted to Yeastspotting (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/)

Glenn

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GSnyde

After fiddling repeatedly between last October and this March with my formula for pain de campagne, which I dubbed “San Francisco Country Sourdough,” I got distracted by other things—mostly Tartine Basic Country Bread.  A couple weeks ago, we thawed and enjoyed the last of that SFCSD, a sign that it was time to return to that formula and try it again.   I was curious after all this time (four months may not seem like a long time, but its 30% of my bread-baking history), to see if the product would be better due to my experiences baking the Tartine BCB.

I can say that the product was better, but—of course—I can’t say why.

I used the same formula as last posted (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22679/spring-air…and-oven), with the following variations: (1) I got stuck on a long phone call, so the stretch and folds were at something like 30 minutes, 110 minutes and 150 minutes; (2) I shaped the dough into three 500 gram batards, and (3) I proofed the loaves on a linen couche instead of my usual brotforms.  These smaller loaves were done baking after about 30 minutes at 450 F.

What had shifted my focus to the Tartine BCB was its magnificent crumb, the perfect point for me on the chewy-tender spectrum.   This bake of the San Francisco Country Sourdough was very close to that ideal, and it has the dash of rye flavor I love in pain de campagne.  This one—which I didn’t retard—had a nice slight sourness.

In looking at the two formulas, the procedures are fairly similar.  But the SFCSD has a lower hydration and the dough is much less sticky and, therefore, easier to handle. 

I wonder now whether the improvement in this bread since my last try at it has to do with the progress of my skills in dough handling and judging fermentation, or was it just kitchen karma, or do I not remember how good this bread was in previous bakes?

In any case, fresh-baked with butter, it was an ideal accompaniment for a Summer dinner of seafood salad with homemade Louis dressing.

This bread will again be a regular in my rotation.

Glenn

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GSnyde

There was much discussion recently about TFL t-shirts and good logos and tag lines and the like (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23436/interested-tfl-tshirt-ballcap).

I like the motto "Make Loaves, Not War".  Here's a couple pictures.  Maybe with some photoshop magic, this could be a t-shirt design.

These are also delicious loaves, Tartine BCB.

I think they'd be good with Peacetrami.

Oh, and here's a crumb shot.

Glenn

 

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GSnyde

I made Pastrami and Rye Bread today.  The Pastrami is going better (should be ready to slice soon).

The first time I made the Greenstein Sour Rye, back in May, it came out great.  Today, I tried to bake three big loaves at once and I think my old tired oven didn’t hold its heat with the overcrowding.  So it baked too slow, almost charring on top before it was done inside, over an hour.   The oven and stone were well pre-heated, but maybe not well enough).  The loaves also had some crust eruptions; not sure if that’s related to the oven problem.

It does taste good, nice and sour.  I hope The Snyder Clan enjoys it under my Pastrami… if and when we exhaust David’s much prettier (and more voluble) ryes.

Before proofing

After proofing

Baked

Crumb

Next time I'll make two at a time and pre-heat longer.  What I really need is a new oven.

Glenn

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GSnyde

If one prepares and freezes stocks and stews and sauces, and breads, it  is necessary to re-organize one's freezer frequently.  In my case, "frequently" means approximately annually.

I recently went on an expedition in my freezer, to determine whether there was a stash of frozen pesto there (there was not, so I have another project when I didn't need to have another project).  In the course of my expedition (picture pitons and ice axes), I realized that I was reorganizing my freezer.  Fine, it needed it.

In the process, I came to a useful realization: Bread that isn't very good frozen and then thawed (e.g., my cheese-onion-curry bread) just sits in the freezer, gathering age, with no real prospects for a happy future.  This is especially true of breads that don't make good croutons or bread crumbs or altus (the proper destiny of most mediocre loaves).  So, I've adopted a new rule: don't make more cheese-onion-curry bread than we can eat or give away within a day of baking.

Also, in the process of organizing my freezer, I found a forgotten treasure.  Way in the back, in the bottom, behind and/or beneath the 2010 baguette experiments (destined to be crumbs) and the 2010 Smoked Turkey Gumbo (destined to be dinner this week), I found one of the first pan loaves I ever baked.  Labeled "Honey Whole Wheat Bread September 2010", it appears from my blog that this bread was baked on September 28, 2010, approximately one month after I started baking bread.  I didn't really remember this bread, but I had bacon, lettuce and tomatoes on hand and I was not interested in a BLT on stale baguette.

So out came this frozen specimen, like a Mastedon from the Arctic ice.  Unlike a Mastedon from the Arctic ice, however, it thawed quickly and I sliced it up, toasted it up, mayoed it up and ate it with the above-mentioned B, L and T.   And here's what I found: (1) a well-packaged sandwich loaf keeps very nicely for 10 months in the freezer, (2) that honey-whole wheat formula (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/wholewheathoneybread) is pretty dang good and I should try it again, (3) forgetting things in the back of the freezer can be exciting (if you don't have a life), but doesn't really make for much of a blog post.

So, do any of you have a shorter memory than the freezer-shelf-life of your breads, so that you make exciting "discoveries" when you go on an expedition in your freezer?

Happy Thawing!

Glenn

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GSnyde

My baking this weekend was good, but not novel.  I baked more of Sylvia's sandwich buns to have with Bulgogi.  Still I feel like I should contribute a blog post this week.  So, here's one of the many excellent recipes using stale bread (a plentiful commodity in our household).  "Panzanella" (which I believe means "Nell's trousers" in Italian) is a Florentine salad, according to Wikipedia.  

As with so many things, it is magnificent if you have great ingredients.  The real key is to use excellent tomatoes (not a problem in California in July).  My recipe differs from most I've seen in its use of Pancetta.  My theory is that most salads are better if they have bacon in them, and Italian salad calls for Italian bacon.  It adds a nice additional flavor.  If you don't have access to Pancetta, I think American bacon would do fine.  (Eric, I bet Pastrami would work too if you upped the mustard in the vinaigrette).

GSnyde’s Panzanella Salad

Servings: 4 side dish or 2 main dish

Ingredients

◦       3 tablespoons olive oil

◦       3 1-inch slices of French bread (2 to 3 day old is best)

◦       2 medium size firm ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

◦       1/2 of an English cucumber, sliced 1/2-inch thick

◦       1/3 of a red onions, thinly sliced

◦       10 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped

◦       2 1/8” thick slices  Pancetta, cut into ¼ inch pieces (optional)

◦       2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmagiano cheese

  • Vinaigrette

◦        1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced

◦        1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

◦        2 tablespoons champagne (or other white wine) vinegar

◦        2 tsp fresh lemon juice

◦        1/3 cup good olive oil

◦        1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

◦        1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

1.            Heat the oil in a large saute pan.

2.            Add the bread; fry over medium heat, turning frequently, until nicely browned.  Then cool on paper towel.  When cooled, tear into bite size pieces.

3.            In a separate pan with a bit of olive oil, fry the Pancetta until brown.

4.            Whisk all the Vinaigrette ingredients together.

5.            In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil, and Pancetta.

6.            Add the bread pieces and toss with the vinaigrette, 1 tsp of the Pancetta drippings and the Parmagiano.

7.            Season liberally with salt and fresh ground black pepper. 

Before serving, allow the salad to sit for 20-30 minutes (tossing occasionally) for the flavors to blend.

I made this salad last week with Tartine Basic Country Bread and it was fabuloso.  I tried it this week with leftover Focaccia and it turned to mush.  I think you gotta use a firm hearth bread.

I hope you enjoy it.

Glenn

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

This weekend has been pretty much perfect.  We’re on the North Coast.  The weather is sunny and mild.  The birds and flowers are enjoying Summer.  I’m barbecuing three nights in a row (loin lamb chops, Bulgogi and Tandoori Chicken).  And I baked something new and something familiar; something sour and something sweet.

After my Bouabsa baguette fail a couple weeks ago, I didn’t panic.  And I didn’t fall back on the old reliable (and always wonderful) proth5 Bear-guettes for my next baguette bake.  Yesterday, for the first time, I baked the Baguette Tradition After Gosselin After DMSnyder which Brother David recommended (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23821/baguette-tradition-after-phillip-gosselin).  According to the instructions, I divided and “shaped” the gooey dough into “baguettes”, with no proofing before baking.  The shapes are sorta long and skinny—skinnier in some places than others, but they basically refused to be pulled into any regular shape.  I believe the term “roosteek” makes them sound prettier than the term “gummy snakes”.

The crumb also is not perfect.  Better than the Bouabsa ones, but still just a tad rubbery.  Perhaps under-fermented.  The crust is nicely crispy.  The flavor is outstanding, a bit sour and very complex. 

I’ll try this formula again.

Tomorrow is my brother-in-law’s annual barbecue, and today I made a bunch of Sylvia’s amazing sandwich buns (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17329/buns-sandwiches) for burgers.  I had tried this formula before, and again found it simple and satisfying.  I made 14 of them with a double batch of dough.  The convection oven allowed me to bake two pans together (oooooh!).

Here they are ready to go in the oven.

And here’s the finished product.

They are delicious!  My wife says I should have made seven more so we could have a 21 bun salute for the occasion.

I leave you with a view of the garden we love to tend.

Happy Independence Day to all!

Glenn

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