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Bricejacob's picture
Bricejacob

In my first post, I mentioned the recipe I started with.  Here's how things have evolved since then.

My first problem with the original recipe was pretty major: I could never get a enough of a rise to get two loaves with the pans I had.  Given I was making bread for a family of five, my first change was to simply double everything.  From this doubled recipe, I made 3 loaves.  This seemed to work out pretty nicely.  I generally ended up with 3 2-lb loaves of bread from each batch.

The next changes were more evolutionary.  I don't recall the exact order of each of these changes.  Likely the most interesting change was this: I stopped using powdered yeast.  There is a local farmer's market here that has excellent produce and cheese.  Hidden among the cheese are 1-lb blocks of something labeled "Red Star Yeast" for about $1.50.  They are about the size of quarter of butter.  Since that is *much* cheaper than the instant stuff, I started breaking off a bit of this stuff and creaming it in the warm water with my fingers.  Now, I've been at a loss as to what this stuff is, but it works wonderfully.  I'm guessing it's what I've heard called "compressed yeast", so that's what I'm going to refer to it as.

The original recipe calls for "butter" generically, and I'm pretty certain the first few times I made it I just used normal sweet cream butter (salted), but after doing a bit of reading, it seemed that I wouldn't want to include "extra" salt, so I've clarified it as unsalted butter.

The next change was flour.  I originally just used whatever flour I had available (generally AP of some brand), but I wanted to try "bread" flour.  My wife found 50-lb bags of Bread Flour at Costco for ~$11, if memory serves.  So, I started using that.  Recently, I've been looking for another source of good flour in quantity, as the flour from Costco is bleached and enriched, but thus far I haven't found anything reasonable.  I can get KA flour in 5-lb bags from a few local stores, but that's hardly cost effective when I'm baking 6-9 loaves of bread a week (at least lately....).  I discovered Wheat Montana flour when visiting my in-laws, and fell in love with the Prairie Gold variety, but I have yet to find anywhere I can get it here in St. Louis.  Ooops....big tangent there.  Let's get back to my changes, shall we?

Another change was accidental.  You may have noticed that the egg yolk is the only "wet" ingredient not included in the melting butter mixture.  This caused me to forget to add it on more than one occasion (I'm a bit disorganized, for many reasons).  Interestingly, my family and I never noticed a difference when I didn't include the egg yolks.  So I dropped them.  It also makes things a bit simpler and means I don't need to find a use for the left over egg whites.  I did use them as a wash a couple of times, but at least in my oven, this made the crust quite dark and a bit thicker than I could convince my kids to eat regularly.  So I stopped.

The most significant change is also the most recent: I've started making a Poolish before hand.  The first time, I just did the Poolish using the water from the recipe and a pseudo-random amount of flour.  I think it was actually more of a sponge than a Poolish.  After consulting with Levy's Bread Bible from the local library, I adjusted this a bit and have been *quite* pleased with the results.  I've dropped the amount of milk in the doubled recipe from 2.5 cups to 1.5 cups.  I've doubled the water to 2 cups.  So my Poolish is now 2 cups of warm water, approximately an ounce of compressed yeast (I really need to get a good scale...), and a pound of bleached bread flour (about 2.5 cups as I measure it).  The poolish seems to take about 4-6 hours to reach maturity (beginning to collapse), longer if I use a bit less yeast.  I'm trying to get it to the point I can make the poolish in the morning before work and finish the process in the evening, but I haven't mastered that just yet.  It works, but I haven't achieved consistency.

The last adjustment I've made was switching to Kosher salt.  Since I don't have an accurate enough scale, I've been using Alton Brown's rule of thumb that you need 50% more Kosher salt than table salt to achieve the same weight.

Oh, and I dropped the sugar, because the bread was a bit sweeter than I wanted for everyday use, and my wife and I certainly don't need the calories.  We're also trying to move away from refined sugars anyway (which seems a bit silly, I know, when I'm using bleached bread flour).

So, for those of you still reading, here's my adjusted recipe:


Mr. Dugan's White Bread - with Brice's Modifications

Poolish 

  • 2 Cups of warm tap water
  • 1 lb (~2.5 cups) of bleached bread flour
  • 1-2 oz of compressed yeast
Remaining Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups of 2% milk
  • 2 tbs Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup of Honey
  • ~7 cups of bleached bread flour
Instructions:
  1. In a glass of ceramic bowl, dissolve the compressed yeast in the water, creaming it with your fingers.
  2. Add 1 lb of flour and stir until nice and gooey.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let stand on the kitchen counter until it starts to collapse.  Make sure you use a big enough bowl for the poolish to more than double before collapsing.
  3. When the poolish is starting to collapse, combine the butter, salt, milk and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until the butter has melted.  Stir occasionally.
  4. Combine the milk mixture with most of the remaining flour (save ~1/2 cup for dusting the kneading surface).  Stir until liquid is absorbed.
  5. Add the poolish to the above mixture.  Mix until the dough starts coming together.  Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until uniformly combined.
  6. Cover with the bowl and let rest for 15-30 min
  7. Knead the dough until it starts to get elastic. 8-10 minutes.
  8. Shape into a rough ball and drop into a large, lightly oiled, ceramic bowl to rise.  As I have a pretty drafty kitchen, I place mine in the oven with the light on, and a pan of steaming water below the bowl.  Let rise until doubled in bulk (approximately 1 hour for me)
  9. De-gas and shape into 3 loaves.  Place in lightly oiled bread pans.  I tend to use a rolling method.
  10. Let rise until doubled again.  This takes about 90 minutes for me (about twice as long as before the poolish method)
  11. Bake at 350 for 30 min.  I've actually been using the convection setting on my oven for the same time and temp.  This seems to better insure the loaf is "done".
Well, hopefully you've enjoyed this look into the evolution of my core bread recipe.  I've done several variations on this (an herb bread, a cinnamon-raisin bread, replacing various portions of the bleached bread flour with something else (usually a whole wheat of some type).  I'd welcome any and all comments and suggestions.  I still have a *lot* to learn. Mr. Dugan's Evolves  - Brice -  
Bricejacob's picture
Bricejacob

Greetings!

 I started baking bread about two years ago.  My grandmother had passed away shortly before that, and I realized that my children (all three!) were not ever going to have the simple pleasure of having her white bread as toast.  So I dug out her recipe and decided to start trying to make it.  This began my current journey so I thought it might be a good starting point and introduction for my blog here on The Fresh Loaf.  As a side note, I have *no* idea who Mr. Dugan is.  I have no idea where my grandmother got this recipe and no one in my family can recall either.  So if any of you *have* heard of this, I'd love to hear from you.

 Mr. Dugan's White Bread  

  • 1.25 cups Milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbl butter
  • 0.25 cup honey
  • 5-6 cups unsifted white wheat flour
  • 0.25 cup granulated white sugar
  • 0.5 cup lukewarm water - 125 degrees
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 packages active dry yeast. 

Instructions  

  1.  Place the milk, salt, butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until butter (use real butter) melts.  Pour mixture into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and turn the dough out onto a floured board or counter top.  Or use an electric mixer with a pastry hook.  Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  3. Turn the mixture into a greased mixing bowl and cover with a towel.  Let stand in a warm place until double in bulk.  (One trick is to put it in an oven with a pan of boiling water on the shelf below.  Want a temperature of about 85 to 90 degrees.)  This takes about 45 minutes to one hour.  Divide the mixture into two parts and flatten each into a rectangle.  Place each rectangle into a 9.25 x 5.25 inch lightly greased Teflon bread pan.  Let stand in a warm place until dough rises to the top of the pan.  About 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Now, this isn't the way I make this recipe today.  These are the instructions as my mother passed them to me.  I'm certain my grandmother didn't initially use Teflon bread pans, for example.  Also, when I started doing this, I had no concept of a preferment, so I've adjusted things a bit.  However, starting with this recipe, I've begun (over the past 6 months of so) experimenting with varying different parts of it, usually with pretty tasty results.  I'll share some of those (hopefully with some pictures) in the next couple of blog entries. 

 

maxamilliankolbe's picture

Sad NJ transplant looking for beloved Portuguese rolls recipe - however, not the Portuguese sweet bread previously discussed

December 31, 2007 - 8:42am -- maxamilliankolbe
Forums: 

I am a NJ transplant in Omaha, Nebraska and am dying to make Portuguese rolls the way I could get them while living in NJ. They are not the Portuguese sweet bread that I have read much about elsewhere on the site, but rather are oval shaped rolls that have been folded and left to rise to create a crease down the middle. They are plain old white and the crust is a little chewy. They typically do not have a very hard crust, which makes them perfect for sandwiches because you don't kill your gums or your teeth trying to bite into them.

goetter's picture

Cacao nib sourdough

October 27, 2007 - 6:03pm -- goetter

A professional baker acquaintance of mine recommended that I work with more 100% white flour doughs for practicing my hand-shaping skills.  White bread always reminds me a little bit of candy, and I happened to have on the counter some cacao nibs from garnishing the previous night's hot chocolate: hence, Cacao Nib Sourdough Bread.

Preferment: 140g KA white AP flour; 84g water.  Target 60% hydration

Soaker: 15g roasted cacao nibs (Scharffen Berger brand), crushed lightly in a mortar;  20g water

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I baked my first challah last Thursday and wanted to share.

I was unsure what to expect but it was so much fun. I’d been meaning for some time to bake a recipe from Maggie Glezer’s book, A Blessing of Bread, which is a wonderful compilation of traditional Jewish recipes from around the world. Floyd has written a very nice review of the book here.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/bookreviews/ablessingofbread

I decided to start with Glezer’s own personal recipe for sourdough challah. I love making sourdough and was interested to see what the texture of this bread would be compared to a yeasted challah which I have eaten only a couple times.

The recipe seemed easy to me despite the fact Glezer calls it expert. I’m not sure why but, again, I’m new to challah. The dough was so easy to mix together and then, as Glezer puts it, the time involved is mostly waiting after that.

She says to bake it to a dark brown which I did. I’m not sure if it is considered too dark or not but it was really a beautiful color and I do typically bake my bread darker as she instructs in Artisan Baking.

The crumb was amazing to me. It was very creamy and soft and almost reminded me of an angel food cake. It has remained moist to this day (5 days later) as there are only two of us to eat and can’t quite get rid of all the bread I bake. I am going to cut very thick slices of what is remaining to freeze and later use to make French toast.

I decided for my maiden voyage into challah bread I would make an elaborate braid. I used the six-strand braid version and got a lot of help from the video Glezer did showing how to do it. Gosh, the internet is awesome! Just as she said it makes a beautiful, very high loaf.

Braiding ChallahFine Cooking Video, Maggie Glezer

http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/videos/braiding-challah.aspx?

I’m posting the recipe so those of you who are new to challah as I am can have a chance to make it and perhaps will be inspired to buy this lovely book. For those who have made challah for years I’d love it if you tried the recipe and let me know your thoughts on it compared the some of your favorite traditional recipes.

More of my photos can be seen here:

http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/3500289#197395950

Thank you to each and every one of you on this site that have been such inspirations in baking such as Floyd, Bill Wraith, Susanfnp, Mountaindog, JMonkey, Browndog, Bluezebra, Eric, SDBaker, Mini Oven, Dolf, Qahtan, Zainab and so many others. All you wonderful bakers have helped me incredibly along the way over the past few months that I have been baking so many thanks to all.

My Sourdough Challah - Maggie Glezer's personal recipe from her book, A Blessing of Bread

Sweet sourdough breads are delicious and well worth the time (which is mainly waiting time) if you are a sourdough baker. The sourdough adds a subtle tang to my challah, and the crumb has a moister, creamier texture that keeps even longer than the yeasted version. While it’s true that challah or, for that matter, all bread was at one time sourdough (the Hebrew word for leaven, chametz, means “sour”), challahs have definitely gotten sweeter and richer since the introduction of commercial yeast. To convert such recipes back to 100 percent sourdough, the sugar has to be cut back in order for the dough to rise in a reasonable length of time (sugar that is more than 12 percent of the flour weight inhibits fermentation), so this version will taste slightly less sweet than the yeasted one, a deficit completely overridden by the rich complexity of the sourdough. I have also changed the all-purpose flour to bread flour, which has more gluten, to counteract the starter’s propensity to loosen the gluten (the acids in the starter change the proteins, a natural part of sourdough baking).

Skill Level: Expert

Time: About 20 hours (about 8 1/2 hours on baking day)

Makes: Two 1-pound (450-gram) challahs, one 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) challah plus three rolls, or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) rolls

Recipe synopsis: Make the sourdough starter and let if ferment overnight for 12 hours. The next day, mix the dough and let it ferment for 2 hours. Shape the dough and let it proof for 5 hours. Bake the breads for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on their size.

For the starter:

2 tablespoons (35 grams/1.2 ounces) very active, fully fermented firm sourdough starter, refreshed 8 to 12 hours earlier

1/3 cup (80 grams/2.8 ounces) warm water

About 1 cup (135 grams/4.8 ounces) bread flour

For final dough:

1/4 cup (60 grams/2 ounces) warm water

3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams/0.3 ounce) table salt

1/4 cup (55 grams/1.9 ounces) vegetable oil

3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.3 ounces) mild honey or a scant 1/3 cup (60 grams/2.1 ounces) granulated sugar

About 3 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) bread flour

Fully fermented sourdough starter

Evening before baking - mixing the sourdough starter: Knead starter into water until it is partially dissolved, then stir in the flour. Knead this firm dough until it is smooth. Remove 1 cup (200grams/7 ounces) of the starter to use in the final dough and place it in a sealed container at least four times its volume. (Place the remaining starter in a sealed container and refrigerate to use in the next bake.) Let the starter ferment until it has tripled in volume and is just starting to deflate, 8 to 12 hours.

Baking day - Mixing the dough:

In a large bowl, beat together the water, the 3 eggs, salt, oil, and honey (measure the oil first, then use the same cup for measuring the honey — the oil will coat the cup and let the honey just slip right out) or sugar until the salt has dissolved and the mixture is fairly well combined. With your hands or a wooden spoon, mix in the bread flour all at once. When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface, add the starter, and knead until the dough is smooth, no more than 10 minutes. (Soak your mixing bowl in hot water now to clean and warm it for fermenting the dough.) This dough is very firm and should feel almost like modeling clay. If the dough is too firm to knead easily, add a tablespoon or two of water to it; if it seems too wet, add a few tablespoons flour.

The dough should feel smooth and very firm but be easy to knead.

Fermenting the dough:

Place the dough in the warm cleaned bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for about 2 hours. It will probably not rise much, if at all.

Shaping and proofing the dough:

Line one or two large baking sheets, with parchment paper or oil them. Divide the dough into two 1-pound (450-gram) portions for loaves, one 1 1/2 pound (680-gram) portion for a large loaf and three small pieces for rolls (the easiest way to do this without a scale is to divide the dough into quarters and use one quarter for the rolls and the rest for the large loaf), or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) portions for rolls. Braid or shape them as desired, position them on the prepared sheet(s), and cover them well with plastic wrap. Let proof until tripled in size, about 5 hours.

Meanwhile, 30 minutes before baking, arrange the oven racks in the lower and upper third positions if using two baking sheets or arrange one rack in the upper third position if using one sheet, and remove any racks above them. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas mark 4). If desired, preheat one or two baking sheets to double with the baking sheet(s) the loaves are on. Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt for glazing the breads.

Baking the loaves:

When the loaves have tripled and do not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, brush them with the egg glaze. Bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, the 1-pound (450-gram) loaves for 25 to 35 minutes, or the 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) loaf for 35 to 45 minutes, until very well browned. After the first 20 minutes of baking, switch the loaves from front to back so that they brown evenly; if the large loaf is browning too quickly, tent it with foil. When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and let cool on a rack.

johanneshoogenboom's picture

Begginers Recipes for Milling

August 13, 2007 - 11:55am -- johanneshoogenboom

Hello Everyone

 My girlfriend and I are thinking about trying to bake bread and other things using flour that we have made ourselves. Does anyone know of a recipe book conataining recipes for home milled flour that would be appropriate for begginers like us?

Thanks alot

Johannes

danmerk's picture

Marble Rye - help me with this recipe

June 28, 2007 - 8:41am -- danmerk

Can someone help me create a marble rye recipe? I am looking for a lighter crumb than my normal sourdough as this will be a few loaves for friends. Here is what I was planning on doing.

Use a refreshed starter and build to 200g (used to split for seperate levains)

Rye Bread

400g white flour
200g rye flour
16g salt
400g water

Pumpernickel

400g white flour
200g rye flour
16g salt
100g molasses
5g cocoa powder
375g water

Uberkermit's picture

Hamelman's Vollkornbrot recipe

June 7, 2007 - 10:34am -- Uberkermit

Hi folks,

I am in the process of trying out Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe for Vollkornbrot, prompted by a German friend's whining about the lack of real rye bread in this country. In the process, I came across a mistake in the recipe for preparing the sourdough starter. The starter recipe as printed (Hamelman, 2004; p. 217) calls for 3 5/8 cups of rye meal, 5/8 cups water, and 2T + 1stp mature sourdough culture. However, if you prepare this you will end up with dry crumbles of rye flour, definitely not a viable starter.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

On Mother's Day I found myself without a prepped starter or poolish. There were some leftover mashed potatos in the fridge, so I hit the cookbooks and found a recipe that fit the bill in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.

This made wonderfully soft, sweet rolls. They weren't as rich as brioche, but they certainly tasted much richer than what I normally bake. The crumb was even and very soft, soft enough that my 2 year old was petting it.

Soft! "Purr purr"

Sister Jennie's Potato Bread Makes 1 dozen rolls 1 cup mashed potatoes 2 eggs 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup warm water 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter 2 teaspoons instant yeast 4 - 5 cups all-purpose flour

I combined everything and then let it rise until it had approximately doubled in size (90 minutes).

I scaled the rolls to between 4 and 5 ounces, which was on the large size (almost hamburger bun sized). There is enough sugar in them that they need to baked at a fairly low temperature and on a higher shelf than usual unless you want burned bottoms. I believe I baked them for around 20 minutes at 375.

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