The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Today's post is a special one!

Oh wait. Every post is a special one :) But this one is something a little different! I've linked up with Cindy over at Once Upon a Loaf for her blogging event, Project PB&J! March is national peanut m0nth, and April 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, so Cindy and Christina (of She Runs, She Eats) have put on a contest for the best Peanut Butter & Jelly creation!

 

Please click over to my blog at Ovenmittsblog.com for the full post and recipe!

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raqk8

Hi all! I've posted my first Sourdough recipe on my blog :) The loaves are far from perfect, but are the first ones I felt were near good enough to go up. Click on over to Ovenmittsblog.com for the full post and recipe!

Thanks for your support,

Raquel @ Ovenmitts Blog

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How bout some hamburger buns?!

I made these on Friday night on a special request from AJ. Actually, it went more long the lines of "I want hamburgers on Friday. You can make buns, can't you?" Of course I can, honey! I actually love when he makes requests. It makes it easier for me to find things to cook. Not that I can't find anything... I just find too many things and can't decide on what to make! So requests are always more than welcome. As far as the buns go, my eventual goal is to create a 100% whole wheat recipe that still maintains a fluffy, light texture. But this being my first time making buns, I thought I'd start out a bit less ambitious. These are about 1/3 whole wheat, and incredibly good. They really made the burgers. AJ won't settle for regular store-bought buns anymore, and I'm glad to agree!

Please click over to my blog at Ovenmittsblog.com for the full post and recipe!

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raqk8

This loaf will melt in your mouth.

I mean it. It is so provocatively sweet, so deliciously soft, that you'll have trouble not eating the whole loaf. It's made with real maple syrup (yeah - that's the expensive kind [and the only kind you should ever buy!!!]), and a good serving of oats that'll make you think you're eating breakfast all over again.

It actually goes surprisingly well with sandwiches. It enhances the sweetness of the jam in a PB&J, and it'll give turkey sandwiches (if you eat the stuff) that sweet maple-roasted flavor.

Please click over to my blog at Ovenmittsblog.com to see the full post and recipe!

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raqk8

I get the feeling that dinner rolls are one of those things that don't come out of the oven very often. We all love them. There's something about the soft melt-in-your-mouth inside, the buttery outside... it's nearly impossible to resist a freshly made dinner roll.

That's just the problem though. That whole freshly made thing is hard to do. I don't know about you, but it is rare I have the time to be home early in the afternoon to throw a batch of dough together to be ready for dinner. I would absolutely love to (and so would AJ... he managed to finish all but one of the rolls I made), but it's just not that feasible very often....

Please visit my blog over at Ovenmittsblog.com to see the full post and recipe!

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raqk8

Happy Saturday! I know you’re excited. What better way is there to spend your Saturday than by making some sourdough?!? Not much I can think of.

Yesterday, I told you all about what exactly a sourdough starter is, and how easy it is to grow one! Today, we’ll begin the process of growing your very own wild yeast culture.

Let’s start with finding a place to keep your starter, preferably something with transparent sides. Both plastic and glass are okay, but don’t use metal. The fermentation of the starter will corrode the metal and can ruin your bowl over time and make your starter taste metallic.

I decided to go for a recycled pasta sauce jar. They’re nice because you can easily see if your starter has had any activity. Whatever you decide to store it in, make sure it’s not air-tight. You can cover it with saran wrap and secure with a rubber band or you can use a tupperware and poke a hole in the lid. I just stabbed the lid of my jar and that works just as well.

The next thing you want to do is weigh the empty container.....

Please see the original post at Ovenmittsblog.com for the whole tutorial!

Thanks, and have a great Saturday!

Raquel

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raqk8

Hey everyone! For those of you who haven't yet experimented with sourdough, check out my new blog post! I've included the intro here, but please head over to Ovenmittsblog.com to check out the rest!

Sourdough 101 - About Sourdough Starters

 

This is my current sourdough starter. He’s about 6 months old, and extremely flavorful for such a young guy! My boyfriend says that it makes the best sourdough bread he’s ever had, hands down. It took a few weeks for him to get going, but one day I made a loaf and WOW! Flavor explosion. But instead of using him as an example, I’m going to make a new one to show you guys how. And maybe, if anybody is interested, I’ll give it away when I’m done!

What is a Sourdough Starter?

A sourdough starter is a culture of yeast and bacteria that you grow on a water and flour medium. That sounds technical. Basically, it’s a living thing that you can add to your breads for natural leavening (as opposed to commercial yeast) and a fermented, or “sour,” flavor.

Sourdough, or wild yeast, starters are grown using just flour and water (or sometimes pineapple or orange juice to keep away bad bacteria, as we will use here). There is no commercial yeast added to “get it going.” This will hinder the growth of a really good starter.

Wait. Isn’t yeast, yeast?? Unfortunately, no.......

To keep reading, head on over to Ovenmittsblog.com! As always, I appreciate any input or comments you have to give.

Thanks a bunch,

Raquel

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raqk8

Hello! Here's my next tutorial on bread - well, more specifically, about flour! Please see ovenmittsblog.com for the whole post. I appreciate any feedback you have to give!

We all know it – flour is kind of a big deal.

In nearly every type of baked good, there is some sort of flour involved somewhere in the process. Whether it’s the main ingredient (like in bread), or if it’s just a part of the whole (say, pie), flour is essential.

When I first got into this whole baking/cooking/spendingallmymoneyoningredients deal, I really only knew of one type of flour – the bleached & enriched All Purpose that comes in five lb bags at the grocery store. When a recipe called for flour, that’s what it got.

But then I got into bread. And holy moly. Who knew flour was such a big deal?? And not just they type of flour used, but even the brands matter! And I can tell you, you won’t find a more dedicated following than those who use King Arthur Flour. Their flours are (in my opinion) of the highest quality out there. You can read about them here.

I know there are a TON of flour types out there, so I’m just covering the big ones. Here we go!

With any type of flour you buy, the absolute best is to buy the Unbleached and Un-enriched stuff. The goal is to get the least amount of processing possible. Your baked goods will taste better, shape better, and be better for you. That being said, I buy the 25 lb bags of bleached and enriched flour from Costco for my everyday breads. I’m not happy about it, but with how much I bake, ingredients get expensive. I do buy KAF Bread and Whole Wheat flours because I find that the quality of those is really crucial, as I will discuss shortly.

All-Purpose Flour (AKA AP flour, or white flour)

All-Purpose flour is just what it sounds – a flour that will work for most circumstances. It is milled from wheat berries and sifted to remove the bran. AP flour has a protein content of about 10-12%.

........

Please see the original post here to read the rest!

Thanks a bunch,

Raquel @ Ovenmitts Blog

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raqk8

Please see the original post at Ovenmittsblog.wordpress.com for the recipe!

Yesterday morning, to prepare for the rainy day ahead, I decided to make some bread. I wanted something warm, and cinnamon seemed to fit the bill. I wanted something sweet, so enter lovely raisins. I wanted something chewy, and oats seemed just right. So I threw them all in a bowl and ended up with a loaf that I am truly pleased with.

So here it is – my spur-of-the-moment Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread, that just might warm you up on a soggy, rainy day (and there’s that word again…).

 

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raqk8

Here is the fourth (!) installment of my breadmaking tutorials. As always, your input is appreciated! Please see Ovenmitts Blog at www.ovenmittsblog.wordpress.com for the whole post!

Breadmaking 104 - Bakers' Percentages

So many people ask, “What’s up with these bakers’ percentages?? How does one loaf of bread make 175%?!”

So, I’ve come to tell you all about these bakers’ percentages. Let’s do this backwards. I’m going to tell you the summary first, and the reasons why after. It’s like a scientific paper! What is that called again? Oh yeah. The ABSTRACT! I feel like I should start all of my posts with an abstract….

Anyway! Here is my abstract: Bakers’ Percentages are the best things ever!

I guess that doesn’t help much, does it? Maybe I should reconsider my biology major…

Let’s start with Hydration.

The hydration of a bread recipe is the ratio of water to flour. For example, if you are using 10 oz flour and you add 6 oz water, you have a 6:10 liquid to flour ratio, or 60%.....

Please see the original post for the rest!

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