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GSnyde

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Continuing my bread baking jag on the North Coast, yesterday I baked the best-looking breads I’d ever produced. The formula is the same “San Francisco Country Sourdough” I’ve posted before (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20471/san-francisco-country-sourdough—take-two), except I used Central Milling Artisan Baker’s Craft flour in place of KAF AP, and I rolled the three mini-baguettes in KAF’s seed mix. I also made a 800+ gram batard.


I have gotten comfortable enough with this dough that I could focus on visual aesthetics.  I took care to divide the dough ball so that part of the taut surface formed one side of each piece. I was able to shape the three mini-baguettes so all were about the same size and shape, and the scoring was pretty good.  My very happy starter and my magic SFBI linen helped provide good grigne. The downside of good open cuts with seeded baguettes is you don’t end up with as many seeds on top…a small price to pay.


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I’ve got to find a stronger glue for the seeds.


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The batard was preshaped as a boule, then shaped as a tight oblong, not a long torpedo shape.  In baking, it opened up and sproinged hugely. It has a really nice moist chewy crumb.


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Even if I hadn’t enjoyed the Challah, the pastries, the rye breads, and the other sourdoughs I’ve learned to bake this year, this bread alone would make all my baking efforts worth it. I wonder how I’ll tweak it next.


Pictured below is the bread bowl shared with our dinner guests last night—seeded SFCSD baguette, SFCSD batard and SFBI Walnut-Raisin Sourdough. Sourdough can be pretty sweet.


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Glenn


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

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GSnyde

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When Brother David finished the Artisan II course at SFBI a few weeks ago, he didn’t have to plead with us to take some of the products of his craft off his hands. All of the breads were good, but two stood out—the Miche and the Walnut-Raisin Bread. I’m sure he will get around to baking the Miche at home, and I’ll try to be patient waiting for that recipe to be shared.


Happily, he baked the fabulous Walnut-Raisin bread at home the week after his course, and posted the formula (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21289/walnut-raisin-sourdough-bread-sfbi-artisan-ii). The texture and flavor of this bread are very similar to Acme’s Cranberry-Walnut bread, which is one of our very favorites.


The other day, in my kitchen on the North Coast, I tried to replicate that wonderful bread. And my first attempt at a Suas formula was highly edible. Kinda purdy, too. It is an almost 30% whole grain bread made with a firm sourdough starter that accounts for about 15% of the final dough. The substantial volume of toasted Walnuts in the bread seems to complement the sourness of the dough, and the raisins add a nice bit of sweetness. My only departures from David's formula were to use Central Milling Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft Flour (which includes a bit of malted barley) and our unique Mendocino Coast high-hydration well water.


The dough was very sticky and not easy to hand-mix. I tried to follow instructions, but I have to say that mixing at “Speed 2“ for eight minutes gave me serious tendonitis. As evidence of my very active sourdough starter, the dough rose very nicely in two hours.


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I had made 150% of the amount in David’s formula to have a loaf to eat, one to freeze and one to give as a gift. I formed two batards and one boule, and proofed them in oval willow brotforms and a round linen-lined basket.


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The batards were baked in our electric oven with the proven combo of Sylvia’s magic towels and lava rocks in a cast iron skillet. The boule was baked in the gas oven in an old Magnalite Dutch Oven (does that brand even exist anymore?).


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As you can see from the top photo and those below, the loaf in the Dutch Oven came out with a lighter crust. I can’t tell you what the texture difference is, since the boule has been frozen for future enjoyment. The batard we cut into had a nice thick crust. Not very crunchy. The interior is wonderfully complex, with fairly-dense chewy crumb, crunchy walnuts and juicy raisins. The flavor is outstanding, nicely sour and well-balanced with wheat and rye.


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The flavor is enhanced with Cotswold cheese or cream cheese.


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This is a bread I will make many times again.


Glenn

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GSnyde

The Winter Solstice and the Year-End/New Year is a time for re-collecting the events of the year, and also a time for renewal and reinvention. It’s a time for tradition and a time for new things, too. A good time to look back and look forward.


Mendocino Sunrise 12-23-10


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As I look back on this year, one major event was the start of my bread-baking passion in August. By chance, my sister forgot to take the sourdough starter David had brought to my house to give her. So I adopted it, and the rest is….delicious. I recall some rookie mistakes and some great bakes. No question, I’ve learned a ton … and have many tons more to learn. Looking forward, there are a thousand things I want to try: some totally new things, and some tweaks to make the tried and truer even better. The year draws to an end, with family visiting our weekend house on California’s North Coast (Mendocino County). It’s been a nice break from the usual hectic schedule. And I am baking. Some “old” favorites, and some new experiments.


Our year-end tradition is to gather with my wife’s family in our warm house while the inevitable Pacific storms rage outside. And eat and drink. A lot. We have dined on Chile Verde with Red Rice (later reprised as enchiladas), Roast Goose with stuffing from (my) old bread, Charcoal-grilled butterflied leg of lamb with bulghar pilaf and pear-pecan salad (leading to lamb sandwiches on still-warm Challah and, later, lamb curry). But you probably want to hear about the baking. With all the sweet tooth’s around, and a “we-can-diet-next-year” attitude, I baked some sugary stuff. Some new things, and some old favorites. All were very nutritious—with fruit or nuts.


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Some Fruit


For dessert after the Christmas Goose, I made Apple Crostada from trailrunner’s recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20622/apple-crostada). My first try at this a few weeks ago didn’t work out—too much liquid in the dough made it tough. This time, using only 9 Tbsp of buttermilk, the pastry was flaky, as promised. The apple filling was spiked with a shot of Pyrat Rum and quite a bit of lemon zest. It was very nice with Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream.


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Thanks, Caroline. This one’s a winner!


Some Nuts


Since reading Txfarmer’s blog entry about pecan buns made with brioche dough (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21208/pull-apart-pecan-buns-amp-frangipane-persimmon-brioche-tarts-what-do-leftover-brioche-dou), I knew I was a goner. My wife and I both love nuts, sugar, cinnamon and butter. And these gooey brioche balls are as good as it gets.


I’d never made brioche dough before. I settled on Peter Reinhart’s “Middle Class Brioche” from A Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The book describes the process very well. Hand-massaging a half pound of butter into the dough was almost too sensual. It poofed up hugely in the fridge over night. And the next day, I formed 24 airy butter balls, dipped them in more butter, rolled them in cinnamon sugar, plopped them on a bed of yet more butter and pecan parts, slathered them with a paste of cinnamon sugar and—yes—even more butter, and baked them, with my nose pressed against the oven vent. The results were absolutely heavenly! Melt-in-the-mouth dough encased in cinnamon-sugar, sticky with caramel and crunchy with nuts. As we say around here, “what’s not to like?”


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With the last bit of brioche dough, I made some nice muffins.


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A nice healthy breakfast.


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Thanks for the great buns, Txfarmer!


Some More Fruit


Many years ago, we were invited to lunch at the home of one my senior partners. His wife was quite a cook, and baker! She made very tart lemon bars. You know, the kind with short bread topped with a lemon curd. They were the best I’d ever had, and I asked her for the recipe. I used to make them fairly regularly, but it’s been years. Having gotten a bag of beautiful lemons, these lemon bars just popped back into my head and would not go away. Though they have almost as much butter as the pecan buns, they taste so fruity, they have to be good for you.


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Some Bread (Still a Little Sweet)


Though the sweet things I baked all have a bit of flour in them to hold the butter together, it was time to bake bread! And we had a large quantity of leftover leg of lamb. So I baked my absolutely favorite sandwich bread—Challah. This was my second try at Glezer’s “My Challah”. And, again, it came out nicely. A couple new twists (pun intended) this time: I used Central Milling Co.’s Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft flour and filtered water from our trusty well (the higher-hydration kind of water from our very wet Winter). The malted barley in the flour may have added a bit extra crunch in the crust.


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And the Challah was perfect for sandwiches of sliced lamb, sliced cucumber, and lemon-garlic-mustard sauce. I’ll leave the sheep head to Hansjoakim.


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The Challah-making process is now becoming familiar, and I feel ready to try a sourdough version, and maybe one of those beautiful round braided things.


Serious Hearth Bread To Follow


In the last couple days, I have been baking a couple hearth breads. They, too, made be very happy. My report will follow in the next blog post.


Wishing that you all enjoy the sweetness of good memories. And that the new year holds more.


Glenn

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GSnyde

Not a lot to report this weekend.  The highlight was the Saturday morning bread handoff from David.  We adopted a dozen or so wayward loaves from his SFBI adventure: a baguette, an Italian bread in baguette shape (Stirato?), an olive bread, a raisin walnut bread, a couronne, several airy decorative loaves, and--best of all--a miche.  Here's the haul, minus the five loaves already in the freezer.


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We haven't tasted all of them.  We've been concentrating on  the miche--it was perfect for chicken sandwiches.  We did make wonderful french toast with part of the couronne--seemed a shame to "waste" such a gorgeous thing, but it was an embarassment of riches.


Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to bake bread this weekend, but I had to bake something.  So I tried Breadsong's wonderful lemon turnover recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20376/flaky-turnovers-made-cream-cheese-pastry#comment-148317), which had been high on my list since she posted it.  I am no pastry baker, but it came out pretty well.  Her instructions were good.  The dough was indeed very flaky and delicious.  I didn't know what filling to use, and I chose badly.  I used a lemon pie filling and it was too liquid, and leaked a lot.  It probably also kept the bottoms from getting as done as they should have been.


But I can't complain.  They are yummy.


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Next week, I'll be on vacation and baking lots of old favorites and new experiments.


Glenn

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GSnyde


 


After my baking hiatus, I needed to take another try at variations on my “San Francisco Country Sourdough”.  I made three mini-baguettes and a 800 gram boule. 


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I wanted to try this bread with my new favorite flours--Central Milling Co.’s Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft (with malted barley) in place of AP flour, and Central Milling Co.’s Organic Type 85 in place of the whole wheat. Making the BBA Poilane-Style Miche Saturday involved making a larger quantity of liquid levain (what Reinhart calls his "barm") than I needed for the Miche, so I used some leftover levain for the SFCSD.


Once I got all the math done to adjust for the different hydration in the BBA levain, it was all pretty simple.  The mixing, fermenting, dividing, shaping and proofing pretty much followed my previous techniques for this bread. 


The baguettes were proofed on the wondrous linen couche from SFBI, and I’m pretty pleased with the scoring and grigne.  The boule was proofed in a linen-lined banneton.  I tried a different scoring pattern; ok, it ain’t artistic, but it spung.


My main experiment was baking the boule in a cast iron Dutch oven (Lodge 5 quart “Double Dutch Oven”).  I did not preheat the DO, though the oven was pre-heated.  I loaded the loaf on parchment in the lid of the DO.  It didn’t get any color in the first 12 minutes covered, but it sprung some.  Maybe 15 minutes covered would have been better.


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It took almost an hour of total baking time to get the right color and internal temperature. Maybe the longer baking time was due to using a lower shelf in my oven to make room for the DO.


In any case, all four loaves came out well.  The flavor of the baguettes is wonderful, but not noticeably different than with KAF flours.  The malt in the Organic Artisan Baker’s Craft may have added a bit to the dark roan color.


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Here’s the whole formula.


 


San Francisco Country Sourdough (12-12-10 variation)


Yield: Two 750g  Loaves or Three Mini-Baguettes (235g each) and one 800g Loaf


   


Ingredients


LIQUID LEVAIN BUILD


140 grams KAF bread flour


140 grams water


26 grams active starter (75% hydration) 


FINAL DOUGH (66% hydration, including levain)


660 grams   Central Milling Organic Artisan Bakers Craft flour (85.7%)


65 grams  Central Milling Organic Type 85 flour (8.5%)


45 grams   BRM Whole rye flour (5.8%)


456 grams   Water at room temperature (59%)


17 grams   Salt (2.2%)


306     Liquid levain  (40%)


   


Directions


1. LIQUID LEVAIN:  Make the final build 8 to 10 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F.  The levain should be bubbly and gluey.  It can be refrigerated once it has activated; if you refrigerate it, make sure you adjust the water temperature in the final dough to compensate.


2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary.  Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for an autolyse phase of 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency.  


3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F:  3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 30-strokes at 45-minute intervals.  Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes.


4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional):   After second S&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl.  Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience.


5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into two  pieces (or more for baguettes) and pre-shape.  Let sit on board for 30 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards or baguettes.


6. PROOFING: Approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 72° F. Ready when poke test dictates.  Pre-heat oven to 500 with steam apparatus in place.


 


7. BAKING: With steam, on stone. (or in cast iron Dutch Oven)  Turn oven to 460 °F after steaming (or 475 °F if using DO). Remove steaming apparatus (or DO cover) after 12 minutes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes total (50-60 minutes if using DO).   Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary.  When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.



Happy Baking.


Glenn

 

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GSnyde


 


I took a week away from baking last week.  It could have been a visit to the East Coast, or a pulled muscle in my back, or a very unpleasant gut infection.  In fact, it was all three.  But the good news is (1) the absence of discomfort now seems like heaven, (2) I didn’t forget how to bake, and (3) I got the chance today to try the Central Milling “Organic Type 85”  high-extraction flour for the first time.  And I never knew what I’d been miche-ing!


Brother David had a good experience with the same flour (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20962/miche-michel-suas039-quotadvanced-bread-and-pastryquot) which I had scored a few weeks earlier.  David suggested I try the Miche recipe from Peter Reinhart’s A Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  So, I did.


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I hadn’t previously tried any of Reinhart’s sourdoughs.  His Miche method is elaborate (though, I gather, not as elaborate at Suas’).  You make a liquid levain (kinda like a bubbly bowl of superglue).   Then you use it to make a stiff pre-ferment that is refrigerated overnight.  Then you mash it up with flour, water and salt, knead for 15 minutes, ferment three hours, shape in a huge boule, proof for two to three hours and bake with steam.


I departed from Reinart’s method in a few ways—some because of preference, some because of necessity.  First, I used the Organic Type 85 flour instead of sifted whole wheat.  Nicky Giusto at Central Milling had said that this flour is the closest to the flour used by Poilane.  Second, instead of just letting the dough sit for a three hour primary ferment, I did a few stretch and folds. Third, because of the large size of the loaf and the small size of my oven, there wasn’t room for steaming apparatus.  So I tried the stainless-steel bowl method for the first time.  With a 16 quart bowl!  Note the bowl overlaps the stone; I was concerned about this, but I don't think there was too big a shortage of steam.


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Here’s the loaf after the bowl was removed.


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I also got to try the SFBI couche material for the first time, using it to line a big bowl for proofing the loaf.  As David had said, the fabric is like Teflon.  Looking forward to trying it for baguettes tomorrow.


Working with a four-and-half-pound ball of dough was a new experience.  Hand mixing and kneading that quantity of fairly stiff dough was a good workout.  The texture of the dough became silky and airy, and it behaved well.


The bread came out nicely.  The crust is crispy (for now) and the crumb is wonderfully moist and toothsome.  The flavor is delightful—nutty and complex.  I think I will try the Organic Type 85 flour in a 50-50 mix with white flour some time.


This bread was a perfect accompaniment for a chicken stew, and would be great for a BLT or toasted with jam.  I’ve never had a “real” Poilane Miche, but I’m pretty happy with my facsimile.


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And I’d never before baked anything bigger than Tasha (who is rightfully tense since she is not--in theory--allowed on the counter... one of those silly human rules that only applies when they're watching).


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Tomorrow, I’ll use a combination of Central Milling flours in my San Francisco Country Sourdough.  I need to finish before dinner with David who’s coming to town for his next SFBI adventure.


Glenn

 

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GSnyde


Of course, different people prefer different breads.   I like variety, but I am here to say that I love challah.


Being a newcomer to baking, I’ve only tried eight or ten different breads.  And probably half my bakes have been some variation on Sourdough Pain de Campagne (Hamelman and dmsnyder, for instance).  I’ve managed to learn “on the job” pretty quickly, thanks to lots of reading, TFL tips and occasional chats with David. 


But challah seemed like a different animal.  All those ingredients, and the braiding and all.  So I had decided that I wanted to try baking challah for the first time in a “science lab” setting. You know, with the teacher partly showing you and partly telling you how to do it.  Letting you make your own mistakes, but with a safety net.  “No, it isn’t really best to tie the challah in a slip knot shape; try this nice three-strand braid.” 


I was fortunate enough to find myself this weekend in Dr. Snyder’s bread lab.   With all the ingredients for challah, and with a lot of turkey to be sandwiched for a lot of Snyders.  What were we to do?


David gave excellent instruction.  I know my kneading, strand-rolling and braiding technique were enhanced by the guidance of an experienced challah-er. And the results were more than merely edible (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20820/thanksgiving-2010-baking).  There’s something really fun about team baking.


Having returned from Fresno yesterday, in time to roast some turkey parts for sandwiches, my self-assigned homework today was to bake more challah, but this time all alone!  Without trainer wheels or a net!  [oooooh!]


I used the same formula as a few days earlier—Maggie Glezer’s “My Challah” from A Blessing of Bread.  It is a yeasted dough and the whole things takes about 7 hours.   It’s easy if you know how to do it. Here's today's homework.


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I am happy with everything about this bread: appearance, melt-in-the-mouth texture and –especially- the flavor.   Just sweet enough, just eggy enough.


I know that sourdough challah is supposed to have a longer shelf life, but with bread that tastes this good, I’m not worried about it getting stale before it disappears.  During the course of a quick dinner of Turkey sandwiches, between “yummms”, my chief bread-tester informed me: “this would make great cinnamon toast.” “this would be great for grilled cheese sandwiches,” and “this would be great for French toast”.   I think we have a winner.


Thanks for the recipe, Ms. Glezer.  And thanks for the seminar, David.


Glenn

 

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GSnyde

I seem to be developing a pattern for my weekend bakes: one lean bread and one hearty rich something-or-other. Today it was Polish Country Bread with Rye Soaker and Chicken Pot Pie. Both were excellent (yes, I do say so myself) and both owe much to my TFL mentors.

The big excitement this weekend was stopping at Keith Giusto’s Bakery Supply in Petaluma and scoring some wicked flour (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20519/alert-north-bay-flour-seekers#comment-144005).

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Then, of course, I had to try it.

Polish Country Bread with Rye Soaker

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I have baked several breads with a portion of whole Rye flour. In fact most of my favorite sourdoughs have some rye, including Brother David’s much heralded San Joaquin Sourdough and my San Francisco Country Sourdough. I do plan to try a “real” Rye bread at some point soon. Meanwhile, I was intrigued by Wally’s blog post about Polish Country Bread with a Rye soaker (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18965/variations-polish-country-bread). I mostly followed Larry’s formula, but I increased the Rye to 20% by increasing the soaker to 110 grams of Rye flour and 220 grams of water; accordingly, I reduced the water in the final mix. Also, in place of the Sir Galahad, I had to use the Central Milling Co.’s Artisan Bakers’ Craft flour (with a touch of malted Barley flour in it) that I got yesterday at Keith Giusto’s Bakery Supply. This bread gave me a chance to experience some of the characteristics of Rye flour while baking something in my comfort zone.

The night-before prep of soaker and two levains went fine, but I found the dough very hard to mix by hand this morning. It started out lumpish and stiff. I added a small amount of additional water. Then after 10 minutes of bare hands mixing it became as sticky as anything I’ve worked. Finally, with several minutes of kneading on a floured board, it started to get silky and workable, though still pretty dense. It didn’t really windowpane, but I decided it was ready because I had had enough mixing and needed my cappuccino. The dough became much more cooperative as it got stretched and folded during the bulk ferment. It was still not easily malleable, but it felt like bread dough. This experience helped persuade me that I might need to get a mixer for firm doughs and big batches. I look forward to seeing David’s BUP in action next weekend.

The two loaves, one boule and one batard, rose nicely in their bannetons, and I could tell when I slashed them that they were just ready for some baking. Indeed, they sproinged like crazy in an oven steamed with a combo of Sylvia’s Magic Towels and a cast iron skillet with lava rocks. The crust was crispy and fairly thick, with strong caramelization (not as dark as the photos indicate). And I don’t believe I’ve had such big grignes before. And since I pre-heated the stone for over an hour on convection setting, the bottoms were nice and brown.

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The crumb was not as moist as the Pain de Campagne I’ve baked recently, but it was a nice combination of airy and chewy.

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Chicken Pot Pie

When I was a boy in the Old Country, we had a unique dining establishment called The Chicken Pie Shop. Its décor featured 1950s old growth naugahyde booths (in a variety of green tones) with pastel sheet metal chicken sculptures on the walls. It served chicken pies and little else. I describe it in the past tense (though the place is still there) because the memories are more real than the present. For much of my short adult life, I have been trying to replicate those pies—flaky crust with big chunks of chicken and a simple thick Chickeny gravy.

A couple years ago, I found a recipe that is pretty dang close (http://southernfood.about.com/od/chickenpies/r/bl30425c.htm). I have made it several times, using Pillsbury pie crust dough. Having drooled over trailrunner’s Apple Crostada recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20622/apple-crostada), I decided I needed to bite the bullet and make pie crust for the first time (I know, I have big gaps in my culinary experience…but at least I’m trying to fill them). My wife knows a lot more about pie making than I do, having lived for part of her youth with her expert-baker granny. So she (wife, not her granny) helped me with the crust. It seemed to be going well, though I think we added too much buttermilk, and overhandled it a bit. It was good tasting but not flaky. Not bad for a first try. It made for a delicious dinner, and a valuable pie crust lesson.

The chicken pie has about one-third of a pound of butter in it, between the crust and the gravy. But, as my spouse says, it has some vegetables, so it's good for us.

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Another bunch of lessons learned, and the homework was good enough to eat.

Glenn

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GSnyde

Much excitement.  Kind of a busy weekend.  But late last night after getting home from a friend's birthday party, I mixed the levain for baguettes.  Today I tried to do a bit more baking than I should have.  I wanted to make Lahmajouns for lunch while the baguette dough fermented.  So I mixed the baguette dough first thing, with my first cof of cuppee.  It's a wonder I didn't put sugar and milk in the mixing bowl (I'm not much good first thing in the morning especially after a late night).


Once the baguette dough was mixed--using a variation on proth5's 65% hydration formula, which my spouse adores--I started the lahmajoun dough.  I followed the recipe that Xaipete had posted last year (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12631/lahmejun-lahmacun-lahmajoun-armenian-or-turkish-pizza), hoping it was something like the lahmajouns of my Fresno boyhood.  


What I hadn't really figured was that the various steps in the baguette process and the various steps in the lahmajoun process would make the day just a tad impossible.  The lahmajouns are easy to make, but the topping takes some time, and they bake two at a time for 12 minutes each.  So the oven was tied up when it needed to be preheating for the baguette.  And I couldn't fit the baking stone, cast iron pan and sheet pan for lahmajouns in there all at once.  I was afraid the baguette dough would over-proof, but it all worked out.  I didn't really have a leisurely Sunday, though.


Here are the lahmajouns.  The dough was a bit too elastic, so I couldn't roll it out thin enough.  Besides being a bit too thick, they were excellent.  Thanks, Pamela.


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The baguettes, as I said, were a slight variation from Pat's formula.  I used KAF European-Style Flour instead of AP.  They sprung up good, but no big ears.  Totally delicious, with thin crispy crust and moist crumb.  Thanks, Pat.


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After dinner (Lahmajoun Encore], we went to hear Rosanne Cash, a great modern Country singer and her incredible band.  Rosanne Cash is the daughter of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash (of the Carter Family).  So, yes, she has a Mama June and we had a Lahmajoun.  It was meant to be.


All in all, a very exciting day.  Of course, Tasha slept through the whole thing.


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Glenn 

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GSnyde


Before I started bread-baking 10 weeks ago, we used to always have excellent hearth bread in the house from one or the other of the wonderful artisan bakeries in the area.  But lately, we've been eating my bread, except for the occasional bakery challah or bagels.  When I get great bread in a restaurant, I take it as a challenge: someday soon I can do it just like this.


But yesterday at the grocery, I bought some smoked turkey for dinner, and realized my weekend bread is stale.  So I bought a loaf of an old standby, Acme's Pain au Levain.  It makes me realize how far I have to go before I can bake great bread.  It is humbling.  Gorgeous to look at.  Perfect crust and crumb.  And deliciously sour and complex.


After that experience, I needed to bake something sweet to give me courage and determination, and avert a lapse into hopelessness.  


Floyd's cream cheese blueberry braid did the trick (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/blueberrycreamcheesebraid).  I used apples instead of berries, and topped it with cinnamon sugar.  It is wonderful.


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With the other half of the rich dough, I made improvised chocolate-cinnamon-pecan rolls.  They were nothing to look at (in fact, I think I'll add them to OWS's "Ugly Loaf" thread), but boy were they delicious.  I rolled the dough out and filled it with cinnamon-sugar, chunks of Scharffenberger semi-sweet chocolate and toasted pecans. The dough was too sticky to roll up properly and I overfilled them.  I also should have baked at a slighlty lower temperature.  But I'd gladly eat ugly pastry with my eyes closed.


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Now I am reinvigorated to keep at the quest for great homemade hearth bread.


Glenn

 

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