The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

active dry yeast

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ejm

A while back, Julie J was asking for advice on how best to crush cardamom for her Finnish cardamom buns. As soon as I saw the recipe, I knew I had to try it! And finally, this week, I got the chance.


pulla

I'm not sure if this is how the buns are supposed to look. I pretty much guessed about how much of an indentation to make for the butter. And as I was inserting butter into the thumb holes, I completely forgot about sprinkling extra sugar on top as per Julie's instructions. But I did think of using some inferior apricot jam on two of the buns. It turns out that this is a great way to use and improve apricot jam! I decided to make a 3-strand braided loaf as well. And then when I was placing the buns on the tray and worried that they were too close together, I shaped 4 of the rounds into snakes and braided them together into a smallish 4-strand round loaf.


pulla

Did I take my advice to use the coffee grinder to crush the cardamom? Ha! That would have been too easy. I used the mortar and pestle. Remind me to use our big sharp knife next time. The mortar and pestle is way too labour intensive and leaves rather large chunks of cardamom behind. Or perhaps I will follow my own Fresh Loaf advice to use our coffee spice grinder. Luckily, large chunks of cardamom taste good and are soft enough that we aren’t risking getting broken teeth... and the crumb is beautifully soft and moist. Absolutely delicious with or without extra butter! (The extra butter is really unnecessary! But oh so good!)



-Elizabeth


pulla

 


edit: link to JulieJ's pulla recipe fixed.

ejm's picture
ejm

caraway rye bread

The last time I made caraway rye bread, I used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking. We really like it. But as I was leafing through The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, I noticed her recipe for rye bread. A recipe that looked too good.


Whenever my father had an excuse to return to the Bronx, he'd never come back without a freshly baked loaf from his favourite bakery. I liked the rye bread, studded with constellations of caraway seeds, best. My grandmother, who lived with us, would serve it to me spread thickly with unsalted btutter, the top paved with rounds of sliced red radishes. - Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Bread Bible, page 324

How could I not try this bread?


As it turns out, this is the best rye bread we've had. Thank you, Rose Levy Beranbaum!!



caraway rye bread

I would love to have tried the bread with butter and sliced radishes. But we didn't have any radishes.... Initially, I had thought we would be making Reuben sandwiches with it. But my husband was so thrilled with how light it was that we decided to serve it with goulash and steamed broccoli. It was brilliant!


-Elizabeth

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Autolyse & Active Dry Yeast

January 26, 2009 - 7:14am -- bansidhe

Hi,


 I read about the autloyse method on your site.  Very cool, indeed.  SO, I tried it.  I mixed flour & water together and let it sit for a bit.  The result actually looked like dough I had kneaded.


My question is this.  Since I am using active dry yeast whats the best way to incorporate it?


I used a bit less H2O for the autolyse and dissolved my yeast in the deficit. However, incorporating

ejm's picture
ejm

Happy New Year!!

festive bread

In past years, I've made sweet saffron buns for Christmas. But after tasting the recently made semi-wild challah, we both agreed that while the saffron adds a lovely colour and flavour, it doesn't add quite enough flavour to merit the expense of using the saffron. We decided to forego the saffron and make plain sweet bread (we used the saffron in our shrimp for New Year's Eve dinner instead).

Saffron-less bread is delicious!! (Saffron shrimp is equally delicious!)

And I must say that I'm awfully pleased with myself for managing to do the six strand braid correctly - after reading, rereading, testing with string, reading, rereading the braiding section in Blessing of Bread by Maggie Glezer.

I had planned on putting together a little photo essay of the six strand braiding but right now, I think I neeeeeed to head down to begin New Year's Day celebrations. Hmmm, shall we start with Festive bread?

-Elizabeth

braiding festive bread

If you can't wait, please look here:

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ejm

Glezer bread

For a recent dinner featuring shrimps in Pernod, there was special request for the bread to be made WITHOUT using my wild yeast. So I fell back on one of our favourites from Maggie Glezer's book Artisan Baking Across America: Acme's Rustic Baguettes. On first reading, the recipe seems a little complicated with its double preferment but it is almost fool proof. And it's NOT sour. Not even remotely.

The bread was so successful and so good and so free of any sour taste that it is the primary reason for the fit of pique when I threw our wild yeast starter down the drain.

I feel so free!

Even though the shape isn't quite right, everything else about the bread was great. Some day I might actually shape the bread in baguettes but boules are SO much easier. The only thing that I haven't managed to get right is to keep the loaves from growing into each other as they rise.

Glezer bread

To learn more about our feast, please read here.

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ejm

semi-wild bread

The cooler weather has set in with a vengeance and whenever it is windy, our draughty house is even colder than usual. Consequently, I was once again having difficulty getting dough and/or shaped bread to rise.

cold kitchen = SLOW rise

So I decided to add a tiny bit of commercial yeast to our wild bread recipe. The dough still took forever to rise - it was after midnight when I took the bread out of the oven. I had hoped and expected to be baking the bread just before dinner at around 19:30... but I didn't get to shape it until 19:00!!

I really should have taken a photo of the bread just before it went into the oven. It was easily half the height. Talk about oven spring!

semi-wild bread

The crumb was nicely chewy and the flavour had a slight sour tone but a lovely nutty flavour. Even though the crust was quite dark, there was not even a hint of burnt aroma or taste.

Here is the recipe I used:

semi-wild bread

-Elizabeth

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ejm

The other day when I made these hamburger buns, based on Susan's (Wild Yeast) recipe for soft hamburger rolls.

hamburger buns

What excellent hamburger buns!!



And easy to make too! Buns are SO much easier to shape than loaves! The only slight difficulty I had with the recipe was with the fractions of grams Susan called for. My fancy new scale isn't THAT fancy. It will not register partial grams.

The part I really loved about the recipe was the instruction on how to get the sesame seeds onto the tops of the buns. I've always sprinkled them on. But Susan has a much better method:

[S]hape [each piece] into a tight ball. [...] Roll the top of the ball on a wet towel to moisten it, then in sesame seeds.

How smart is that!? The seeds all go onto the buns instead of being scattered on the pan below.

I did make a couple of changes to Susan's recipe. I used active dry yeast instead of instant and decided to use only one egg rather than the two she called for. To make up for the missing liquid, I added a quarter cup (or so) of water. I also decided to add the equivalent of a cup of skim milk by adding powdered milk.

We used the buns for vegetarian burgers* garnished with cheese, bacon, red leaf lettuce, tomato, pickle, bacon (ha! why not?), mustard and eggplant relish. And that red stuff? It's beet salad. And that golden crispy stuff? Onion rings made from the left-overs after feeding wild yeast!

hamburger and onion rings

* To make the burgers, we used chickpeas as the base, basically following our falafel recipe but putting in thyme, onions and garlic, rather than the middle eastern spices and coriander leaf. We were completely thrilled with the results and may never go back to ground meat burgers again....

ejm's picture
ejm

cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread


I was wandering around in here the other day and saw what looked to be great looking raisin bread on Floydm's pages. The recipe was originally from Hamelman's book "Jeffery Hamelman's Bread". (I just tried to read Hamelman's tome, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes and returned it to the library after aborting about ten pages in. With what's left of my mind, I just couldn't quite manage to retain enough to comprehend anything he was saying.) But happily, Floydm could retain and comprehend what he read, enabling him to translate this fabulous recipe.

Thank you Floyd! The bread is absolutely delicious!

cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread

Here is what I did to Floyd's version of the recipe:

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