The Fresh Loaf

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coreyjan's picture
coreyjan

I like Passover and I like Matzah - especially the Yehudah brand whole wheat matzot that they sell at Whole Foods. I like matzah with butter. I like matzah with honey. I like it with brie or stilton on it. I like it in our kosher-for-Passover versions of Lasagna, Spanakopita and Nachos (which we call "Matzagna," "Matzakopita" and "Machos"). And for quite some time now, I've wanted to make my own matzah for Passover. I bake our own bread, make our tortillas - how much harder could this be?


Not much, it turns out.


 


Corey-Jan's Matzot


 


The trick is to know what you're doing. I researched a lot before I got started. There's the obvious: no yeast or other leavening agents. But what else?


Well, the good news is that if you use whole wheat flour (particularly if you can get it somewhere where you can grind it yourself to watch it and be sure that no moisture is being added), you don't have to buy special Passover flour. Well, we switched from white flour to only whole grains a long time ago. So that part was taken care of.


I wondered if I could add olive oil to my dough, the way I do when I make tortillas. After all, that wouldn't add any kind of leavening. I was all set and ready to go with that - until I learned why Kosher for Passover matzah doesn't have oil in it. Turns out that the prohibition has nothing to do with leavening. It has to do with that concept of matzah being the "poor bread that our ancestors took out of the land of Egypt." If I were to add oil, it would make the matzot "too rich." Oil would have been a luxury that the Egyptian slaves probably didn't have in abundance. It's the same reason why egg matzot aren't strictly Kosher for Passover. So, okay, no olive oil.


Back to the plus side of things, I discovered no reason not to mix the dough in a food processor, as long as it was clean and dry to start with.


Then, there was that question of the 18 minutes. I saw lots of recipes online that made it unclear whether that would be the start-to-finish time or the start-to-oven time. Just to be clear, in order for it to be kosher for Passover matzah, it's 18 minutes, start-to-finish. So, okay - this was going to be a race.


My friend Kimberly came over to do this with me and one thing became immediately clear: this would be very hard to do as an individual effort - but it's relatively simple with a partner. We figured that it would be even easier if between three and six people worked together. And we agreed that the whole matzah-making experience was probably a female bonding/community-building thing when people didn't buy mass-produced matzot. Whether that was an intentional or accidental by-product, we weren't sure.


So, we preheated the oven to 500 degrees, mixed four cups of whole wheat flour and a little salt, started the timer and turned on the food processor. In went the water - about one and a third cups, maybe a touch more - just until the dough collected together into a ball. Kimberly divided the dough into neat little balls. I rolled them out (very, very thin) and put them on baking sheets (aluminum foil, actually). She poked at them with a fork (I don't have one of those cool rolling pins with spikes that they use to make pizza as well as matzah) and popped them into the oven to bake for about 3 minutes each. When the timer beeped, we had eight kosher for Passover matzot plus four that needed a little more time in the oven. We figured we could use those for taste testing and such. Then we looked at each other. That wasn't so hard. So, we cleaned everything off, scraped the dough scraps off the rolling pin and started again. This time, we did even better, making around 14 kosher for Passover matzot.


They didn't come out as perfectly flat as the ones from the store but they were nicely crispy - and became crispier as they cooled. But we were both pleased with the effort. And the taste - like any other bread, there is something about how it tastes when it's been freshly baked, as opposed to when it's been sitting on a box for a while that's just plain better. Yum. Really - yum.


My family goes through about four or five boxes of matzah every Passover. I don't know that I have it in me to make THAT many batches. But would I want to augment the store-bought stuff with a batch of home-made? Oh yeah. And that whole community building aspect of it appeals to me, too. After all, everyone knows my ethos about just about everything - as long as I can make it a social occasion, I'm good to go. It'll be a great part of the holiday preparations and we'll all get to take home some artisanal-looking matzot, too.


Anyone else want in on it for next year?


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I have been working on Sam Fromartz's mixed yeast and levain, long ferment method for baguettes. I know Hamelman prefers the poolish preferment method and I have to say I like the aroma that comes off the poolish better than almost anything. So, I decided early this morning to start the poolish and spent the day rereading the chapters on preferment of yeasted breads in Bread.


Along the way, I read over a sentence I had no doubt seen several times in the past, concerning steaming and baking on Page 100. Here in plain common words I discovered something I don't recall ever seeing before that I think is going to change my breads for the better. Hamelman is saying that for the home baker, after the steam period, the door can be propped open with a spoon for the remainder of the bake to help give a crisp crust in the drying phase of the bake. I have turned the oven off and left the bread in the oven at the end of baking to crisp the crust and make it slightly thicker and easier to cut after cool down. But never have I had the door propped open for 18 minutes. Right out of the oven the crust is hard and well colored. Now that it has cooled and been cut, I'm a little surprised that it's more open. The crumb is airy but not the dense crumb with many larger size holes. This is more like foam with a few larger holes. Honestly, I'm not sure why at this point. I'll have to think on it over night as it's already past my bed time. :>) I think I like the flavor better with these over the long refrigerated ferment. I still have another 700g of dough in the fridge I saved to bake Saturday so we'll see how that is after the overnight.
Eric



These were baked for 24 minutes at 470F. They are 350 grams pre bake.



The loaf on the left got 4 slashes and looks a little over proofed at 1-1/2 hours to me.



Not quite as open as I like but good for brochette.

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

Recipe from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Bread - White Bread Chapter





I have an interesting bake last night.  This bread is very very tasteful,  with the caraway seeds,  brown sugar, and orange zest.  The taste is exceptional.  Somehow, this reminds me of gripe water that we give to babies.  Very very refreshing taste...if you are one of those that like caraway seeds,  try this...


Ingredients:




3/4 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange, grated
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 package yeast
2 cups of bread flour


1.    Boil water, sugar, orange, butter and caraway seeds for 3 minutes.
2.    Mix 1 cup of flour, yeast and the boiled ingredients (after cooled).
3.    Knead well and let it rise for 1 hour.
4.    Add rest of flour slowly and knead well.
5.    Shape into loaf pan and let proof for 1 hour.
6.    Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 1 hour


This bread is so easy to eat,  we had ate 3/4 loaf in the morning.  Eat it plain or just put tuna,  taste just as a good...


 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Decades ago, my elementary school teacher Miss Yeung wrote down 'Simplicity is Beauty' in my graduation autograph book.  Even though I knew every word in this phrase, it was too complicated for a 6th grader who was then indulging in Hello Kitty and Melody dolls to fully appreciate the profound meanings behind it and I haven't given it much thought since. Today, the same phrase just dawned on me when I completed Mini Oven's 100% rye. Isn't this bread a true reflection of the message my teacher was trying to convey years ago?  It's a simple loaf made with Mini's magic ratio. The moist, airy, glossy, and flavorful crumb is the beauty I've witnessed and experienced. 'Yummy' would be an understatement to describe her bread. In order to appreciate the combination of the complexity of flavors and the spongy-yet-substantive texture, you've got to try it yourself!


Last time, I was uncertain what my relationship with rye would be when I made the 90% rye loaf.  Remember, we're Asians and we did not grow up with and are not even familiar with rye breads.  In fact, my kids had refused to eat rye bread again after trying a terrible sourdough rye loaf from a famous local boulangerie. Hear this:  "We have a personal grudge against rye bread!!! We won't eat it again!!!" That's how bad it was but that has changed. This time, these 100% rye loaves have received accolades from my entire family and we're in love with them!  I sincerely thank Mini Oven for her time and generosity in sharing 'trade secrets' unconditionally and it has made my first 100% rye experience very successful and enjoyable.


The details of procedures are discussed in Mini's blog.  I doubled her formula and adapted to a 3-bulid, 50% hydration firm starter. A summary of my formula is as follows:


 


 


 


The specifications of the flour I used are as follows:



Approximately, slightly more than half of the dough I prepared went into an 8x4x4 Pullman pan, which was filled to about 1" below the rim. Next time this amount should be reduced to make a perfect Pullman loaf.  The remaining dough went into a greased Pyrex bowl.  Fermentation took place at 80F for 8 hours.  


 


I removed my baking stone and replaced it with a sheet pan prior to baking.  These loaves were covered and went in the oven when it was cold. They remained covered until 15 minutes after the oven had reached 410F. Then the probe of a thermometer was inserted in one of the loaves and baking continued until internal temperature registered 205F. 


 


This time I didn't forget about my rye breads in the oven.  They were sliced 36 hours later.


 


Here are some pictures:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/41705172@N04/sets/72157623703922158/show/


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Intrigued by the beautiful Baguette's that Sam Fromartz has been baking, I continue to plod along, improving my skills at baking this simple(?) bread. The original post on his blog can be found here.


I'm actually trying to see if I can taste and see an improvement in the bread when using some original French T55 flour sent to me by a very kind friend a while back. This is Organic T55 from Biocoop and reported to be very good flour. My new go to AP flour is from Dakota Maid. I like the colors I get and the flavors of the grain. After the side by side with the T55, I'm wondering about the amount of malted barley they add. The crust seems to color much more quickly. I used the same formula and method for both flours to arrive at these results. Both breads were flavorful and exhibited good qualities. Not the same but both very good.


Eric




 





T55 Baguette has a nice lighter golden color. The flavor didn't suffer in comparison to the DM flour which was much darker from the same bake time.



Crust detail on the T55. You can see the more golden color, even through the heavy handed additional flour I dusted over the dough prior to baking.



This is the Dakota Maid crumb. Very translucent and a nice crisp crust.

rognick17's picture
rognick17

Does anyone know how I can get an owner's manual for Magic Mill II?  I found one for Magic Mill III Plus, but assume there are some real differenes that I need to know about.

mountaineer cookie company's picture
mountaineer coo...



Alright as promised, here is the instructions for my Bagels.  I don't do the whole percentage thing, I am a by feel baker, so my flour measurements aren't set in stone.  First thing ya want to do is preheat your oven to 450 degrees.


 


1 1/2 cups water


1 1/2 tsp. sea salt


2 tsp. reg. instant yeast (not quick rise)


1 1/2 tsp. sugar


1 1/2 tsp. Barley malt syrup 


1 T. canola oil


 


Wisk above ingredients together till yeast is desolved  


 


 


 



Then kneed in 4 cups high gluten flour (I use king Arthur Sir Lancelot flour)  Use more or less, dough must be stiff.  I kneed dough in my Kitchen aid only till it comes together, then transfer it to the table where I kneed for about a minute then cover with plastic wrap for ten mins and kneed again, here is a before and after picture of my kneeding methods.  I kneed almost all my doughs this way, much easier on the wrist.



Before



After


Next shape into 4 and a 1/4 oz balls, it should make 8.  Then insert a small rolling pin or your finger and make a whole in the center and stretch into bagel like shape. see pictures.




Spray parparchment lined pan with pam.  Let sit for around 20 mins.  Meanwhile get your water ready


12 cups Water in a covered electric  skillet.


Large blob of malt syrup, sorry I don't measure this stuff, it's too sticky :)  Here is a picture of what I call a blob.



After bagels have proofed for 20 mins boil for 1 min. each side (do not start timing until water returns to a boil)  I do 6 at a time because I make about 4 times this size of recipe, but you could boil 4 at a time.  




Drain and add toppings at this point, try to work quickly in order to gain back shrinkage after boiling.  Place bagels on the same parchment lined pan the proofed on.  I suppose at this point you could bake them on a stone, I don't.  Bake them in a 450 degree oven for around 15 mins, more or less depending on how you like your crust.  Here is a picture of the finished product.



seseme



Asiago cheese (My Favorite)



I'm sure you can figure out the rest,  Happy Baking!!


 


 

ilan's picture
ilan

Hi 


Baguette is one of my favorite breads. For long sandwiches, with a full meal or just eat fresh with butter. One of the things I like about the Baguettes that I buy from the market is the very crisp crust and a very soft interior. It cannot be eaten without making a mess. But in this case, I really don’t care.


So, in the past, I made long roles using the same dough I used for bread: 3 cups of flour, 1.5 cups of liquid (2/3 parts milk), 1.5-2 teaspoons of yeasts, 1 teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon of sugar, mix, kneed, rise, shape and bake. It was very good as roles, but the crust was different – softer. This is not a Baguette... but it took it as a a base for my experiments (a mistake, but i learned a lot back then)


I converted all the milk from the recipe to water and tried again. The crust was harder but I could not get the desired crunch.


Next I added steam in the first 10 minutes. Got a good progress with the crunch but something was missing.


Added more water - got a very soft interior with bigger holes. Still not what I looked for. 


So, I did some reading and came up to French dough recipe. Of course, how it eluded me… French bread is done with French dough, duh.


There I came across the preferment for the first time. The recipe I found included total of 3 1/4 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups of water (now it looks too dry) and of course, no sugar.


It goes like this:


Preferment (15 hours in advance)


-       1 cups flour


-       2/3 cups of water


-       1/3 teaspoon yeast


The Dough:


-       2 1/4 cups flour


-       1 3/4 teaspoon yeast


-       3/4 cup of water


-       1 ¾ teaspoon of salt


 


After mixing the preferment with the rest of the ingredients and receiving a unified mass, i let it rest for 20 minutes, then kneaded it for about 10 minutes more. I let it rise for another 90 minutes, shaped it and let it rise for another 70 minutes before baking


I placed a pot of boiling water in the oven and let it continue to boil there before I entered the Baguettes inside and removed it 10 minutes after.


I admit, I didn’t fold the dough, it was not sticky so I skipped it. The dough itself was more slick then I was used to and stickier even though the amount of water was lower. 


Here are the results:



 


It was excellent, and all 3 got eaten the very day with help of my wife's sister and her boyfriend which is good sign for a baker/cook that he is doing something right.


After reading the tips for better French bread, I think I will try another batch (or 10) of these. I love the tenth tip - Practice!, and what comes after :)


 


Until the next post


Ilan

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Twice a week I spend time with children from my grandaughter's third grade class, listening to them read. Their teacher is a friend and loves to get a loaf now and again, and she asked if I would take some bread for the children and tell them about sourdough. Always eager to spread the word I decided to use some of my "discard" bread. I made a huge batch in my trusty Bosch and baked up three pan loaves for the neighbors and two large braids for the class. I brushed the tops with eggwhite and water and sprinkled on  raw sugar. The dough included about a quart of discard, oats, dried milk, potato flakes, sugar and lots of raisins, and I did spike it with about 1T instant yeast. Teacher's loaf was my usual sourdough boule which I baked this morning. I also took a small amount of starter and fed it before I left the house so that we could check on its growth. I gave my little spiel and asked the children for name suggestions for teacher's new pet, the starter, and they came up with some creative ones. Then it was time to eat, and apart from some of them them taking me seriously when I said the raisins were dead flies they loved it. Only a couple of the girls said their grandmothers make bread and most of them seemed amazed that I had actually made these loaves. Next time I'm planning to make the chocolate faces, A.



thespencers06's picture
thespencers06

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