The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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proth5's picture
proth5

Lest anyone who reads my posts think I know what I'm doing, I've decided to post my latest adventure as an illustration to the contrary.

The story of how the tandoor got into my back yard is one for which the world is not prepared, but it is there, the weather is too hot to turn on the oven, and I thought to myself “Well, this is a good time to learn to make naan.”

The first step is getting the right tools.  After watching and watching the YouTube video of a chef making naan, I decided that the little tool seemed pretty handy.

Although it just looks like a wad of towels, it is actually a convex pad of compressed straw covered with a cloth.  It is firm enough so that (if you know what you are doing) you can get the naan dough to make good contact with the side of the tandoor.  It is pictured below:

Bread Pad 

Armed with the tool – the next step is to heat up the tandoor.  It took about two hours for my model (pictured below) to heat to the point where the walls were nearly 700F.

Not Pretty, but it gets the job done Fire in the hole

So it was time to cook the naan. 

I took about 4oz of dough and shaped it into thin disks and then draped them over the dough pad (sort of as per the video), gave them a quick spray of water (so they would stick better – hahahahahaha) and steeled myself to put my hand near a 700F tandoor entrance to stick the dough to the side.My first disk (of six)dropped promptly to the bottom to become a flaming dough ball.

Oh well.  I learned that you really need to apply some firm pressure on that tool.  Never mind the smell of burning feather as the hair was singed off my hand.

Finally disk three stuck.  But it also stuck to the side of the tandoor when it was done and came off in shreds.  Four was the turning point (or so I thought) and I moved on to five feeling like I had figured this thing out.  Four and five are featured in the pictures below.

One finally Stuck!

Looks almost good enough to eat

Two of six isn't bad... 

Number six showed me to be overconfident and slid off the dough pad without ever making contact with the tandoor wall.

Well, two out of six isn’t bad – and what bread I did get was eaten with relish.  Of course, failure never deters me – it just makes me more determined.  I’ll be back with a report when the whole thing has been perfected. In about a year or so...

Meanwhile my consolation prize is pictured below.  It has been a long while since I had real Tandoori food…

Consolation prize

Happy Baking!
MANZMAN's picture
MANZMAN

I am interested in baking a rustic bread with huge holes or bubbles and a thick crisp crust - any recipes come to mind? I have tried several chabatta bread recipes which come close but I'm looking for larger bubbles.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

I found this interesting book in the library recently, The Italian Baker by Carol Field. It covers not only bread but cakes, pastries and cookies and gives both weights and volume. It also gives methods in three ways, by hand, by mixer and by processor but they are quite well separated and easy to follow. The author lists many sayings and proverbs that express the Italians' way of expressing their sentiments, using bread as their common metaphor. A couple of my favorites: "Riuscire meglio a pane che a farina" To succeed more with the bread than with the flour ( to have more success than expected.) "Chiurugo come il pane, medico come il vino" Look for a surgeon like bread (young) and a doctor like wine (well aged.) Does anyone own this book? Any opinions on the recipes? A.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

English MuffinsEnglish Muffins

After seeing proth5's muffins I had to try them hoping to get the nooks and crannies. I messed up totally when I tried to convert the recipe to kg so ended up guessing. After several stretch and folds I let it rise for about 1 1/2 hour. It was full of big bubbles by then and I thought I want lots of holes so why should I deflate this thing and roll out all the air bubbles. I just gently turned it out on a floured board and gently pulled it out till it was about 1 1/2 - 2" high and just cut with an inverted drinking glass. I put them on cornmeal and then right onto the hot skillet still full of air bubbles, no rise time. I didn't use rings. I was happy to see all the "butter bowls" inside. I hope I can repeat the whole thing, mistakes and all. I ended up with 18. I doubled the recipe but should have ended up with 12. Oh well. Thanks proth5 for the inspiration. They toast up great.

 

My photo is very bad.

 

 

 

PagnottaPagnotta

 

 

 

Bill Wraith's Pagnotta

Today I also made Bill Wraith's Pagnotta. This bread always works well. I was on the phone when these were proofing and they went too far. I was worried they would deflate but they didn't, they just baked into each other so I'll have to pull them apart when they cool. The recipe can be found in the SEARCH. Hope you see these Bill so I can say thanks for your recipe.

lioness7's picture
lioness7

HEEEEELP!

I'm trying to find out some history on my kitchenaids.  I have a mustard colored tilt-head 4.5 and a moss colored tilt head 4.5 that I found for $5 and $10 respectively at local thrift stores.  I've contacted kitchenaid directly but they could not fill me in as to their age of each one, etc.  They work marvelously.

I also have a 5 quart, that is a dingy white, not a tilt head but it is old because I got it off of craigslist from a catering company that said they've had it for a good while but couldn't give me specifics.

So, it there is a kitchenaid connoiseur out there or possibly a an ex kitchenaid employee/historian please fill me in.

Thanks.

holds99's picture
holds99

If anyone is interested, King Arthur has marked their videos/DVDs 1/3 off.  There are some very good instructional videos/DVDs available from their site and you can't beat their marked down prices.  A while back I purchased two DVDs; The Baker's Forum - Artisan Breads with Michael Jubinsky and the Ciril Hitz - Simplified Bread baking: Baguette to Pretzel.  They're very good for entry level home bakers and also good for experienced bakers, to brush up on techniques.  When I purchased the Artisan Bread DVD it was $15.00 and is now $9.99, etc.  Here's a link for anyone interested: 

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/landing.jsp?go=DefaultSearch&stype=product&term=baking+videos&x=20&y=16

Howard

Kuret's picture
Kuret

As the bread bin seemed to empty this weekend I decided to make two loaves of sourdough, having eaten 100% rye and 60%WW bread for a couple of weeks I felt I wanted something a bit different, although last weekend I made a absolutley lovely toasted oat and honey bread. This weeks baking became a 35% WW 5% toasted oat dlour and the rest bread flour. I bulk fermented and also retarded the shaped loaves in my refrigerator until I had tome to bake them. The result was a lovely small loaf and a somewhat bigger boule with those small blisters that you get from refrigerator proofing. The main taste is the sourness of the starter and I don´t detect any WW or Oat flavor, but seeing as i regularly bake WW I suppose my taste buds want more. Sorry to not have any pics of the whole loaf but my boules often get cut up into either four or two pieces after cooling overnight, 2 persons cant eat it all before its stale so half of the boule went into the freezer.

 Sourdough boule with 5% toasted oats

Sourdough boule: Sourdough boule with 5% toasted oats

kjknits's picture
kjknits

My family has recently embarked on a "less-is more" natural style of living. We're trying to do more things ourselves instead of relying on commercial offerings. We're also trying to get rid of the plastic in our house, which is easier said than done! But baking things I usually buy ready-made at the store, I can do.

One of the things I have switched over to making at home is flour tortillas. We love tacos and quesadillas, and flour tortillas seemed easy enough to make. I remembered seeing women make them in San Antonio when I was there several years ago. All they did was roll out a ball of dough and plop it onto a cast iron skillet for a few seconds on each side. Simple!

I found my keeper recipe at epicurious, which is one of my fave food sites. I haven't tried the wheat version yet, but the white flour tortillas are amazing.

flour tortillas

I follow the recipe pretty much exactly, but I use my stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. And I divide the dough into 16 portions, then roll them out paper thin. This makes tortillas like the ones I'm used to buying at the store, about 8" in diameter and nice and flexible and thin. I would divide them into even smaller portions for tacos, though, because 8" is more like a burrito size. Then I just cook them one by one on a preheated cast iron skillet, no oil or anything necessary (my skillet is super-seasoned, thanks to our summer favorite, fried okra). I place the cooked tortillas in a big lidded Pyrex dish while they wait for the rest to get finished.

Next item on the commercial product hit-list: corn tortillas! Good thing we have a big Hispanic influence where we live...masa harina is on every grocery store shelf.

kjknits's picture
kjknits

So, I haven't posted here in Quite A While, but I made some hamburger buns the other day and thought I would share my results. I have always wanted to make my own burger buns, but the last time I tried over a year ago, they were heavy and too bready for burgers. We couldn't even finish our burgers, the night I served them on those buns! So I sort of let that idea pass away. But then a few weeks ago, I found a recipe posted on King Arthur's baking blog. I was intrigued by the method of forming the buns cinnamon-roll style, and I loved the idea of the onion swirl! So I gave them a try.

KAF burger buns

Well, first of all, they turned out beautiful. How pretty are those? The egg wash and poppy seeds really dressed them up. And the onion flavor from the dried onion swirl was really nice. Subtle, but still tasty. I added a little too much flour to this batch, though, and so they were a little more dense and heavy than I wanted. I really want homemade taste, but supermarket fluff, in my hamburger buns. So I tried them again the next weekend, added less flour (PJ says the dough should be tacky like tape, not sticky like glue, and that description helped me a lot). They were much lighter with less flour. So, I think the key to these is to avoid adding too much flour. I might try adding some milk instead of water sometime, too. It makes super light and fluffy dinner rolls, so it might also work well in hamburger buns.

(No, we didn't have french fries with our burgers that night. Instead, we had fried okra, straight from the farmer's market! Yum.)

shimpiphany's picture
shimpiphany

i finished the earth oven to the insulation layer a week ago, and had the first "dry firing" this weekend.

i've fired it twice to try and dry the insulation layer and track the fuel and heat usage, although i won't get accurate estimates on this until i'm sure the entire oven is dry, at least a few weeks from now.

on saturday, i fired it and made pizza. because of some bad scheduling on my part, i was unable to have any bread ready to bake in it, although we did use the tail end of the heat for potatoes and roasted garlic.

i'll fire it and bake bread this week, hopefully tuesday.

here are some photos:

here i am getting the fire started and losing some eyebrows:

here is the fire once it got going. after the fire got some momentum, it became a lot easier to keep it alive - wood placed in the oven would instantly burst into flames instead of needing to be coaxed. at this point, my infrared thermometer (which reads up to about 1000 degrees F) was off the charts:

the tongue of smoke. smoke means an inefficient fire. efficient firing and use of fuel is a very challenging part of this oven:

another view of the fire:

the infrared thermometer. its max is around 1000 degrees:

the themometer. a very fun tool:

here i am rolling out the pizza. i like the flat crust, so i use a rolling pin (blasphemy, i know):


the pizzas. porcini, homemade sausage and onion; and goat cheese and braised leeks. the sauce and crust are adapted from reinhart's american pie:

i'm experimenting with sizes to see how i can best maximize the floor space: 

cooking:

my father-in-law wielding the oven door, several 4x4's joined by countersinked (countersunk?) screws, joined to a 1x12 sleeve and mounted with two concrete float replacement handles:

with the door in place:

the finished product:

more to follow once i finally get some bread in there...

 

 

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