The Fresh Loaf

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Transporting bread cross continent - need ideas

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Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Transporting bread cross continent - need ideas

Next month I'm flying back east to be with family around Thanksgiving.  I'm planning to bake up a few batches of cookies and ship them ahead of time.  But then my sister said something like, "I was hoping for a loaf of bread."  I told her the logistics of that were beyond me, but then I got to thinking.

I could bake up some good bread - maybe a loaf and some rolls - and freeze it (so I don't have to be baking at the last minute) and then somehow stick it into my luggage so that it won't get crushed.  Or I could mail it ahead - after working out some logistical details.

I will be travelling all day the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and the freezers there may well be full.  So a good-keeping bread would be in order.  Sounds like sourdough to me - but my luck with sourdough so far is spotty, so other suggestions along this line would be appreciated.

Other thoughts about mailing or packing bread cross country would also be appreciated.  Has anyone else been faced with this?  What have you done?

Rosalie

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I would take a 5# bag of your favorite flour and some reliable yeast, and do a loaf of something you love there. You need 12hrs of waiting on a poolish for great results and 30 minutes of oven time. The bread will be fresh and much better than anything that was baked 3 days ago. The family doesn't need to be inconvenienced and they will be thrilled with your fresh bread. I did a similar thing last year and brought the poolish with me while I drove the 8 hours. I mixed the final dough after dinner and was done baking 10 loaves of bread by 1 AM. I was also skeptical about the SD reliability also so I used the Instant yeast and poolish.

If you are only doing a couple loaves you could prepare the dough, let it raise, shape and freeze it ahead. Place the dough in a small cooler with a bag of ice near and let it thaw while you travel. Check for thaw when you arrive, proof and bake it when it's ready. You have time to experiment to see how it works for you.

Hope that gives you some ideas.

Eric

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Hi Rosalie, I shipped a loaf from WA to CA and it was pretty expensive. My friends raved about it but of course I have no idea how good it was after 3 days in the mail. It was a miche type loaf from Eric at Breadtopia, Whole Grain Sourdough - you can find it on his sourdough page. I think Eric H might have the better idea, to bake it there. Does your sister have things that you would need, like bowls and baking sheets? Maybe you will create another baker! Good luck and have a wonderful time, A.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Thank you, Eric and Annie.  Set the brain a-wagging.

Depending on their schedule there, I could (as I have done in the past) bake there.  If I bring flour, it will be my own home-milled.  (I wonder what Homeland Security would think.)  But baking in someone else's kitchen is a hassle.  And they're people who get very hectic even when nothing is happening, so I would have to fight for kitchen time.  I will consider Eric's idea of a cooler, but I don't know.  It's a twelve-hour journey, and that's just from first plane take-off to third plane landing.

Anyway, I'll still do cookies.

Rosalie

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Ros, last year I flew out to Boston on Tues. eve. drove out to the Cape and stressed out over trying to do an 8 loaf ciabatta batch amidst the whole turkey baking thing.  I succeeded despite the strange oven and overnight proofing in the garage. Last year I brought about 4 oz. of my own yeast  and a bunch of parchment sheets.

 

  This year I am planning it much better .  I will be on the Cape well before the family rush.  I am still bringing my own yeast and parchment, but I am also including some of my favorite starter, and 4 half pints of my favorite homemade jams.  I am qgoing to take my time and bake somewhere between 12 - 20  loaves during my 6 days there. not to mention the little things like Bialys and english muffins.  As we all know,  a good baker needs  a little space and about 2 hrs. of oven time to keep everyone happy 

_______________________________________________________

Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Rosalie,
After re-reading your post and thinking about it, I don't think frozen dough is a good idea. If you don't get the timing just right it will be a mess, and after-all you are talking Tuesday through Thursday.

If it were me, I would take the items you need that make doing remote baking hard, so it isn't. I suggest taking your own flour, yeast, parchment, salt and mister if you use one and maybe your favorite dough mixer. Just the essentials will all fit into a small bag and timing isn't an issue. Choose a bread you know well that will produce a great result. I have found some flour combinations recently that really taste great with not complicated formulas. Let me know if you would like a suggestion.

You and your family will enjoy the time in the kitchen Rosalie. You will kibitz while you toss together a nice loaf of the best bread ever. Good family time!

Eric

leemid's picture
leemid

teaching everyone how it's done, and maybe a little thrill in the wow of being the bread baker. There might be someone there that will get involved and become a baker too.

Lee

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

My sister-in-law (with whom I'd be staying) is a practiced baker, but not so much lately with bread.  My sister knows how to bake, but I don't know when the last time she made bread was.  Both have KitchenAid mixers.  My brother would probably just talk about when he made bread in his bread machine until the novelty wore off.  And I'm not that fancy a baker.  All I'm trying to do is make a contribution.

All things considered, while the suggestions have been very interesting, I might just as well stick with cookies.  What I'd like to do is spend a little bit of time baking with my sister (thus focussing on something non-stressful), but that's looking unlikely too.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

place for an Artisan Bakery.  Bread, wonderful bread makes the perfect gift and it would be no-stress for the traveler.  Picked up on the go, so to say.

Mini O 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

weighs less.  Pre mix poolish dry in a large zip bag (label) so that you can use the bag as a bowl. Press all the air out (bags expand in the airplane as do closed airy containers, sometimes with a bang). The water can be added upon destination.  I would be tempted to bake one loaf and freeze it tightly in plastic wrap.  Just before closing the suitcase, wrap the loaf in foil and then newspaper or insulation wrap.  Use rubber bands so you can re-wrap if homeland security wants a peek.  Clothes wrapped around will also insulate.  If it is a soft bread, I recommend a box to prevent crushing.   It will still be frozen when you arrive.

I would throw in enough baking parchment and bench scraper and plastic scrungee to help you clean up.  I'm sure the oven will get it's workout especially when a turkey takes the Thursday block.  I would ask sis if she has the space and utencils for baking and if they are available to you.  Normally with crowds, those big bowls get relegated to salads.  If you have a large plastic bowl with a lid, take it with you but don't seal it, pack the lid underneath.   If you want the sourdough flavor but don't want to mess with wet dough, dry some of your starter or old starter and powder it, then just add it as an ingredient with the flour and use instant yeast to raise the dough.  Keeping the dough in a bowl and "out of the way" would make it easy for all the cooks in the kitchen.

Another trick is to bring a few bottles of wine and open them before the pre-dinner hectic,  My husband and brother-in-law are experts in this field of soothing the cooks and it works wonderfully!    

Mini O

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

To a wedding for the Thankgiving weekend.  What Chaos!  I love it!   I plan on packing nut fillings for cinamon rolls, Chocolate, Caraway seeds and powdered sourdough.   Parchment paper and bench scraper.  Anything else can be winged.  Get to stay in a condo so I can bake up a storm.  Thinking more in the line of Breakfast.  I have to make sure all my stuff is pre-packaged or vacuum packed.  Even then, some stuff might not make it through Home-Security lines.

Mini O

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

You might have the best luck with stuff in your checked bag.  You could always carry duplicates in your carry-on - except for the bench scraper.  Be sure to label everything. Worst case, you could probably replace your bench knife at a department store with a good kitchen department.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

I am going to ship all of that stuff ahead of time, the airport hassles are too much, especially Boston.  My biggest concern is finding a plastic bench knife as my in-laws have very new granite tops and would shoot me if I put my steel scraper to them. 

_______________________________________________________

Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I use a steel benchknife on my granite all the time.  But then mine is a bargain basement real granite variety.  Some of the most beautiful are other stones that aren't really as hard as granite.

goetter's picture
goetter

Like KipperCat, I use a steel bencher on granite countertops (labradorite - fairly fancy stuff).  I'd bend the bencher before I could ever scratch the granite.  It's very, very tough stuff.  Doesn't mean that your ILs won't freak, but they shouldn't.

Granite is a such pleasure for dough work.  Wish I had it everywhere I baked.  (grumble grumble Formica grumble)

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I plan on packing nut fillings for cinamon rolls, Chocolate, Caraway seeds and powdered sourdough. Parchment paper and bench scraper.

I just ran across this post from Thanksgiving. Did you have any problems with airport security with these? Drying the sourdough starter seems like a very easy way to transport it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and left the parchment and scraper at home. Everyone was having so much fun stuffing me I didn't have time to stuff them. I do reccomend not packing in alu foil or tins. Boxes and bags are the way to go and vacuum pack 'em if you can.

Gotta eat and run after those cookies...from Rosalie, (next post) 

Mini O

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I just did it.  I shipped cookies, as planned.  Then I made some sourdough rye (using,  I think, an Ed Wood recipe) to freeze until I was ready to go.  I wrapped it well to insulate during final packing (though I ended up spending the night at Chicago Ohare airport on a cot, and my bread stayed packed until the next day).

But my sister enjoyed it.  She stuck it in her freezer initially.  The other day she e-mailed me that she loved the bread and couldn't stop eating it.  'Nuff said!

Rosalie