The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

For the most part, I have had a lot of luck with bread recipes.  If it does not work out the way I want on the first try I begin the tweaking process.  It is not always fast but I get there in the end.  I say for the most part because I have had one bread nemesis.  One bread that, no matter how I tried, would never work out the way I wanted.  


That bread was the delicious Indian flat bread called naan.


Naan Fixins


Naan is my nemesis no longer.  Now I have a recipe for naan that is tender, chewy, crispy, and soft all at once, and is terrific stuffed with curry.  The recipe is adapted from one found here.  


Along with a good recipe I have a good cooking method.  Naan is made, traditionally, in a tandoor oven which produces an insane amount of heat.  If you want naan that has the right texture, the soft inside with the chewy exterior, you have to find a way to replicate a tandoor at home.  I tried the grill with average results.  I tried the stove, in a similar way that I cooked my tortillas, but it was not hot enough.  


I make pizza at home from time to time and have two very well seasoned pizza stones.  On the internet I had read that some bakers use their pizza stones, in a smoking hot oven, to achieve a tender interior with a crisp exterior.   It sounded promising, so I tried it.  I heated the oven to 500 F with my pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven.  I let it heat for thirty minutes and then added one rolled out piece of naan.  It was as close as I will ever get to perfect, and it is pretty darn close!


Naan Dough Divided


Another thing I discovered is that you need to have patience.  Don't rush the naan.  Give the dough a two hour ferment, then after they dough is divided give it the full half hour proof on the bench before rolling.  Letting the dough develop will give you the taste and texture you want.


Naan 


Naan   Yield 12 naan


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 cup milk, heated to 110F
1 tsp sugar
ghee to taste


Activate the yeast in the warm milk with the sugar added.


Combine the flour and salt.  Once the yeast is active, combine the yeast mixture with the flour mixture.  Mix in a stand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, or knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.


Allow to rest for two hours, covered with a towel or plastic.


Naan DoughNaan Dough Divided


After the dough has rested turn it out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces and round them into balls.  Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.


While the dough rests heat your oven to 500 F and place a pizza stone, or cast iron skillet, on the bottom rack of the oven.


Naan Rolled Out


Once fully rested roll out the dough until it is about 6″ to 7″ wide.  It should be fairly thin.


Naan on the StoneNaan Baked


Moisten your hands with water, gently pass the dough between your hands to moisten gently, then lay on the hot pizza stone.  Close the oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until puffed and beginning to get brown spots.


Remove from the oven, brush lightly with ghee (or melted butter) and cover with a cloth.  You may need to press the naan to release the air inside.




Serve warm.


Posted at www.evilshenanigans.com - 2/27/2009

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

 BBQ Pork Steam Bun 


When my husband was little his mother, who is from Taiwan, would take him along on her shopping expeditions to Chinatown in his hometown of Chicago.  As a treat, she would buy him char siu bao, or Chinese BBQ pork steamed buns.  I believe food can create memories, and passing a Chinese bakery one day a few years ago we saw some of these pale buns in the case and he was five again, shopping with his mom and munching on buns.   Of course, we bought some and boy were they good!


BBQ Pork Steam Buns 


Like anything, if I like it I want to make it, and my husband was all for that!  I tried a couple of different recipes for the bun dough and while they were ok, none were as good as what we had at that little bakery.  So, I quit making them because, frankly, who wants to eat sub-par buns?


Well, that changed quite by accident.  Last week I was browsing my favorite food blogs when I found a recipe on the most excellent, and very tasty, She Simmers  for Plain Chinese Steamed Buns.  The pictures Leela posted showed pale, fluffy buns that I could not resist. 


BBQ Pork Steam Buns 


Bright and early Sunday morning I made the dough then packed it up, along with some pork filling, to my in-law's house a couple of hours away.  During the drive the dough rose, and once we got there it sat for another hour, giving it four total hours to ferment.  When I turned it out I was afraid I had over fermented but it was just lovely!  The dough was smooth, supple, and very easy to work with.  The buns were easy to form with the pork filling inside, and after a good proof, they steamed up to fluffy awesomeness!


Char Siu Bao, or Chinese BBQ Pork Steamed Buns    Yield 12


Pork Filling:
1 lb. ground pork
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup Char Sui sauce (available in the Asian section of most supermarkets)


BBQ Pork Filling 


Brown the pork in the vegetable oil until the meat begins to color.  Add the garlic and green onion and cook until the meat is cooked through.


BBQ Pork Filling  


Add the Char Siu sauce and cook for five minutes, or until the sauce has caramelized slightly.


BBQ Pork Filling 


Allow to cool to room temperature.


Steamed Bun Dough    adapted from She Simmers


Sponge:
1/3 cup water, heated to 100F
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar


Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lard, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup water, heated to 90F


Mix the ingredients for the sponge in a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, with a spatula until uniform.  Cover and allow to ferment until the top of the dough is covered in bubbles that are beginning to break.


Add the all-purpose flour, cake flour, 1 teaspoon of the baking powder, salt, sugar, lard and water.  Mix for 2 minutes on low, then check the hydration.  It should be slightly sticky, but not wet.  If it is too wet add additional all-purpose flour by the tablespoon until the dough is no longer wet.  Mix on medium for 5 minutes.   The dough should form a ball on the dough hook and just cling to the bottom of the mixer. 


If mixing by hand, mix in the water and knead in the bowl until the dough forms a rough ball.  Turn out on a board dusted with flour and knead until the dough is smooth, about ten minutes.  Dust the board with additional four as needed to prevent sticking, but do not add too much.


Steam Bun Dough 


Cover the dough in the mixing bowl and allow to ferment for four hours.   It will rise and smell very yeasty.


Turn the dough out into a flour dusted board and press out the largest air bubbles.  Gently knead in the second teaspoon of baking powder.  Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and, one at a time, press into a circle.  The dough should be thinner at the edges and plump in the center.


BBQ Pork Steam Bun - Ready to Seal BBQ Pork Steam Bun - Ready to Steam


Spoon one tablespoon of the prepared pork filling into the center of the dough.  Gather up the edges and press to seal.  Place the bun seam side down on a square of wax paper.


Allow buns to proof on the counter, covered, for 1 hour.


Bamboo Steamer 


Prepare a steamer, I use a bamboo steamer set on a wok, with gently boiling water. 


Once the buns have proofed gently place them, at least 1 inch apart, in the basket of your steamer.  Cover and allow to steam for ten minutes.  Do not let the water boil too vigorously. 


BBQ Pork Steam Bun  


After ten minutes carefully remove the lid, making sure not to drip water on the buns, and remove to a plate.  Cover with a towel until ready to eat.  Steam the remaining buns.


 


Peel the paper off the buns and serve warm.


Poted at www.evilshenanigans.com - 3/11/2009

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

When I was taking my Breads & Rolls class last year in culinary school we made an Indian bread called Aloo Paratha. It is a wheat bread dough that is filled with a curried potato mixture, rolled flat and cooked on a hot griddle. They were, in a word, delicious!


  


I have thought of them fondly, but had not gotten around to making them when the curry bug bit one afternoon. I had potatoes, I had Indian spices, and I had wheat flour. I would make parathas to go along with some Curry Crusted Chicken Thighs.


Aloo Paratha    Yield 8 parathas


For the dough -


2 1/4 whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt


For the filling -


1 lb. potatoes (about 2 large)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine
salt and pepper
vegetable oil, or ghee, for brushing the parathas


Aloo Fixins 


 


 


In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the flour, salt and water with the dough hook for 5 minutes on medium speed.  The dough should be quite soft and a little sticky.


Aloo Dough


Cover the bowl with plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes. 


 


Aloo Paratha Filling Fixins 


 


While that rests make your filling.


 


Boil the potatoes in their jackets, or microwave for 12 minutes, until soft.  Allow to cool slightly then carefully peel the potatoes and put them in a bowl.  Add the spices, cilantro, oil, mustard, and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well and form the mixture into 8 equal sized balls.  (I used a disher for this to make sure the balls were all the same size)


 


Aloo Paratha Filling 


 


After the dough is rested turn it out on a floured surface and divide it into eight equal pieces.  Flatten with your fingers and place a ball of filling in the center.  Wrap the filling with the dough, making sure the dough is completely sealed.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and filling.


Aloo Paratha, Wrapped in Dough 


 


Gently pat out the parathas into fat disks, then carefully roll them out until they are between 6″ and 7″. 


 


Aloo Paratha - Rolled out 


 


Cook the parathas on a smooth griddle over medium heat for two minutes.  Flip the parathas, which should be lightly browned and spotty, and brush the cooked side with vegetable oil or ghee.  After two minutes flip again and brush the second side with oil or ghee.  Cook for 30 seconds per side then transfer to a plate and cover with a towel. 


 


Aloo Paratha  


Repeat until all the parathas are cooked.


Published on www.evilshenanigans.com - 3/13/2009

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

This is the first time I've tried this popular bread.  I used my Australian sourdough.  I'd like to try making it again...I had a lot of running around to do today...but at least it got a long ferment but pushed and shoved around a lot getting it into the oven...I should have saved myself a lot of grief and just put in on parchment paper!!  I'll know better next time! 



Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough W/Whole Wheat



This bread is delicious and I will be making it often! I will make 4  loaves instead of 2!


Sylvia


 


 

Marni's picture
Marni

One of the traditions of Purim (a very festive Jewish holiday celebrating an ancient victory) is to send gifts of food to friends.  Because the day is so full of fun, many people try to provide a laugh along with the treats.  This year, I decided pizza and beer would be fun.  How is that fun? 


Because they're cookies!





I made about 25 which my son, dressed as a messy teenage "pizza guy" delivered (with beer).  A strange combination, but it brought out the smiles. 


I'll get back to bread next week!  Thanks for letting me share.

rhag's picture
rhag

As requested here's the recipe I use to make baguettes. This recipe yields about 10-390g baguettes. For use in a home oven i would scale down the weight otherwise you'll end up with a small loaf rather than the slender french icon.


Baguettes:


 


Poolish:


Flour (Hard) 850g


Water           850g


Yeast           Pinch


Flour: I use manitoba organic white. I think it runs in the 13% range for protien. So use accordingly, KAF seems like good flour in the US


 


Final Dough:


Flour (Hard)  1675g


Water             850g


Salt                50g


Yeast (Fresh)  26g If using instant yeast use 1/3 of the listed fresh amount.


 


1. Poolish- 12-16 hours prior to the bake mix all ingredients for the poolish until smooth. Water temp should be cool to the touch roughly 21°C or 70°F. Cover and let rise at room temp. Make sure the Poolish does not collapse. If the poolish collapses discard it as it will not longer provide the proper flavour, extensibility  or gluten development to your dough.


 


2. Mixing- By hand or my machine. It's up to you I use a spiral. In the spiral i put all the ingredients in and mix for 6-7 minutes on the only speed the spiral works at. Itwould be equivilant to a 1st speed on most mixers. Your looking for a smooth shiney dough with moderate gluten development. Dough temp should come out of the mixer at 25°C or 78°F. You'll have to adjust the water temp based on the ambient temp.


3. Fermentation- Bulk Ferment 2 hours. With a Fold at 1 hr.


4. Dividing and Shape- Pour dough from proofing container on to floured table. Do not Degas at this point. Scale out your portions and be gentle we're trying to retain some of the hole structure we've built from out fermentation. Give a light oval preshape to the portions and let rest for 10-15 minutes. The dough needs to be sufficiently relaxed because when we final shape the dough we want to extend the dough to its final length in 1 or 2 passes. At this point we are trying to handle the dough as little as possible. Over working the dough will give a very tight crumb structure. Final shape the dough  gently degas and shape http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3pFkbKzOSE this is the closest video i can find to how i final shape the baguettes.


5. Proofing - Proof at room temp for 30min - 1hr between folds of bakers linen, couche, canvas whatever you've got.  seam side up.


6. Bake - Score w/ razor blade in desired pattern or cut into epi loaves. Bake @ 460°F w/ steam on hearth. Give  a good bake so the moisture in the dough doesn't migrate out the the crust, a soft crust on cooled lean bread means it needed a longer bake. I don't time my bakes because each batch of dough is different so thats a judgment call in your court.


7. EAT!!!!!!


8. If there are left overs the next day make crustini, breadcumbs, crutons or bread pudding!


RESULTS:





 


If i'm missing anything or am completely wrong let me know and i'll give this an update. Hope this helps.


 


 


 

bigphredo's picture
bigphredo

My first loaf


There it is my very first loaf of bread, honey whole wheat. It went pretty well, I had my first sandwich today. Boy was it good, so much better then store bought. I'm making another loaf tonight...I just couldn't wait. I'm make a different version of the honey whole wheat. I'll let you know how it goes.

rhag's picture
rhag

On Saturday the 7th at 9pm I started mixing my first dough and began my overnight bake to have fresh bread out for my display at the 2009 culinary salon. As the night progressed I created my take on the epi loaf, guinness and barley bread, ciabatta, palmiers, croissant, danish pastries, 5 grain buns, 5 strand challahs and my centre piece. I set up the display around 6 am on sunday after a relaxing night bake. Judging began at 8am and i was allowed back at 1pm. I arrived with much anticipation and found my peice awarded a 1st place standing in my category!. Gold! I took some pictures of my work space at the college for everyone to see. Needless to say i was excited all day about the win.


 


A couple doughs getting fermented



 


The Deck oven I use. Its not fancy but gives good heat and I control the steam I add w/ a manual lever



 


Palmiers Getting rolled out



 


My take on the Epi



 



 



 



 


Baguette Crumb



 



 


Me and Chef Bucher( my instructor from europe)



 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Irish American Heritage Month


This is the way my Irish Mother 'Sylvia' taught me to make Irish Soda Bread.  I was born in Belfast, Ireland and raised in the USA.  All my family...My Children and Grandchildren 'My Brother his Irish wife and her family '10 brothers and sisters' their four children and now Great Grandkids,Aunts, Uncle's,cousins..you name it are close by here in the USA and a few Aunt's and Uncle's cousins in Australia!  We all love Irish Soda Bread!  This Soda Bread is very Basic and yet this recipe can be made using some wheat flour, even the Irish Wheaten flour, add raisins, currants or sultans and make "Spotted Dog" or "Spotted Dick", shape into Farls or Round Bread and cut a cross on top.  I didn't use my currants today...but you get the idea!  I baked my Farls in my Iron skillet...heated until a little flour sprinkled on the bottom turns brown..a med. low heat!  Farls also bake up very nicely on griddle...my Aunt used to cover hers with a towel to help them bake a little warmer.  I bake a Farl about 10min. on each side..till they are nice and lightly browned and then turn them over once and finish.  The oven baked soda bread is baked in a preheated oven 350F for apx. 35 min.


I hope this might help some who are making Irish Soda Bread on St. Patrick's Day...It's simple fast and delicious warm or cold!


This Recipe Makes One Round Loaf "or" 4 Farls.


2  Full Cups of All Purpose Flour or 1 1/2 Cups AP and 1/2 Whole Wheat> my Mum always said the Irish cup measures are larger so we filled them!!


1 tsp. Salt


1  Slightly Heaped tsp. Cream of Tartar "This is a Family Secret sort of : )"  you can take it out if you insist on using only Baking Soda!! 


1 Heaped tsp. Baking Soda> I use the one from the health food store


1 Full Cup of Buttermilk


Mix all dry ingredients well.  Make a well in the flour and pour in buttermilk.  Toss with fork until all flour sticks together.  Handling is  fast, gentle and not over mixed...Iron fist velvet glove!!  Drop out onto a very well floured surface and push into a ball and give 2 or 3 gentle kneads it can be sticky so use extra flour.  Form gently into a ball.  Place into pie pan. Flatten a little, cut a cross on top with a floured knife.  For Farls.  Flatten cut into fourths and bake in a skillet or on a griddle.


Bake 350F Oven 35min. till sounds hollow when bottom is tapped and nicely browned -Farls are>    Med-Low Skillet/Griddle  Nicely browned not to dark


 



Mixing Dry Ingredients



Your gonna love these measurments...Full Cup of Buttermilk...same with Flour measurements...flour is heaped in this cup!!  Hey this is the old fashioned Irish Way!!



Pour Buttermilk into a well of Flour



Form into a sticky mass Gently!



Gently knead 2 or 3 times into a ball adding extra flour to keep from sticking.



Cut a cross on top or flatten a little more and cut all the way through with a floured knife and flour sliced areas and make  Soda Farls.


Place in 350F preheated oven


Apx. 35 min till done


Sliced Warm Crumb


Soda Farls in the Iron Pan


Turned Over after about 10mins.


Place in towel to keep soft.


Slice like this...


Farl Crumb


Oh I'll just have an 1/8th...and another and another before I go on my bike ride!!


Hope you enjoyed my photos...I let the battery run down in my new camera and still not sure how to use this older one! 


May The Luck of The Irish Be With You!  If you try this recipe : ))


Sylvia


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Jw's picture
Jw

In absence of my camera (the display is broken), I uploaded a few old pictures. When our kids were younger, we once took them to the Bakkery Museum. They were really exited about the figures the bakers demonstrated. If it is not the content of a bread, it will be the form that decides whether they like it are not!


We made some of these breads during several birthday partys, even the 'never eat bread' kids would eat that own bread this time.


I am progressing with the sourdough, more on the art part then on the science part. Baking full week around is also working out so far. Pictures will follow! Groeten, Jw.


A baker at the museum. I remember they put on a real good show, they made everything look so simple.



Some of the figures:


And a picture from a birthday party. The kids added a bit of sugar powder on top... the pictures are from 2002.



 

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