The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Section I: Introduction

There are few things that smell quite as good as a loaf of bread baking in the oven. But there are other benefits beyond just that lovely smell of baking your own bread. It’s cheaper, tastier, and, more often than not, healthier than buying it from the store.


Our goal with this e-book is to help amateur bakers produce the kind of bread that they would most like to pull from their ovens. We hope that it helps you.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Norm's NY Style Onion Rolls-OMG- GREAT!

Norm's Onion Rolls
Norm's Onion Rolls
Onion Crumb
Onion Crumb

First off I have to say, stop what ever you're doing now and run to a store to pick up some dry onions so you can make these up tonight. This is an amazing recipe and your home will smell like heaven of roasting onions. Norm, I wish I could shake your hand in person. This is a home run (sorry about the Mets) and the recipe you posted worked perfectly for me, first time. I made a dozen batch and was planning on sharing with the next door neighbors but the sun got in my eyes and I didn't get to it lol.

There are several versions of this recipe on the site and I think I should show the link that I believe was corrected by the baker himself. This batch uses 32 Oz of flour and will make 12-4Oz rolls just like the ones shown above. For clarity, here is the recipe as I made it.

One last thought. Be sure to save the water from hydrating the onions and use it as part of the dough water. The improvement in flavor is amazing. To be honest I forgot that step until I was about to mix the dough. The water had so much aroma I threw the whole liquid part out and started over with the onion water. It only cost me an egg and a small amount of oil and yeast. It was well worth the extra effort.

I hope you enjoy this gift from our friend Norm.

 

Onion Roll Recipe -- per Norm

Topping:
1/4 c. dehydrated onion flakes
1T poppy seeds
1/4t salt
1T oil

Soak the onion flakes in boiling water until they're fully hydrated, then drain and add other ingredients; set aside until you need them. (BTW, according to Norm, you can also use this same topping for bialys). SAVE THE ONION WATER FOR USE LATER IN DOUGH

Dough:
32oz bread or first-clear flour (I used bread flour)
16oz water Use all of the water from hydrating the onion plus make up to 16 Oz.
1.5oz beaten egg
1.5 oz sugar
0.5 oz malt syrup/powder
1.5 oz vegetable oil
0.6oz salt
0.3oz active dry yeast (or equivalent cake/instant yeast) (2 teaspoons IDY)

1. Mix the water/malt/yeast and egg/oil separately; blend dry flour salt and sugar in mixer or by hand;

2. Add the liquids to the flour/sugar and hydrate well. This is a very stiff dough that will work either your back or your Kitchen Aid very hard.

3. Knead for about 10 min until the dough is very smooth and elastic, then set aside and let rise until doubled in bulk.

4. Turn dough, which will be incredibly silky, onto a dry board (no additional flour) and punch down, shape into 3-4 oz boules and let rest, covered, for at least 20 min.

5. Norm suggests spreading the topping onto the work surface and then pressing the boules flat into discs about 1/4"-1/2" thick. This works fine IF you let the dough rest, covered for at least 20 minutes as Norm suggests.

6. Preheat the oven to 450, Cover the rolls and let fully proof until about doubled in size. Just before loading into oven, press a dimple with your thumb in the center. Bake on parchment with a light spritz of water into the oven until they're nice and brown -- 20 minutes in my oven on a sheet pan.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads"

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone Crumb

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone Crumb

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Poolish
Instant yeast     Disolve 1/4 tsp in 1 cup of 110F water. Use 1/4 cup of the resulting suspension.
Water               135 gms (in addition to the above 1/4 cup)
Flour                 150 gms of King Arthur AP (or 75 gms lower-gluten AP and 75 gms Bread Flour)

Dough
Durum Flour           250 gms
AP Flour                 50 gms
Water                    205 gms
Instant Yeast         1/4 tsp
Poolish                  All of the above
Salt                      9 gms
Sesame seeds       About 2 cups

Procedure
The night before baking, mix the poolish and ferment 8 hours, covered tightly.

The day of baking, combine the flours and water, mix and autolyse, covered, for 15-60 minutes. Mix the yeast with the poolish and add to the autolysed dough for 5 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of a stand mixer, according to Glezer. (But it didn't, even with 3-4 T of added AP flour.) Sprinkle the salt on the dough and mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should be sticky but not "gloppy." (The dough was what I'd call "gloppy," even with mixing another 10 minutes at Speed 3 on my KitchenAid. I decided to proceed anyway.)

Scrape the dough into a bowl 3 times its volume, cover and ferment for 2-3 hours, folding every 20 minutes for the first hour. (The dough started coming together better after a short time and was still sticky but smooth and puffy after 2 hours in a 75F kitchen.) Preheat the oven to 400F and prepare your steaming apparatus of choice. Scrape the dough onto your bench and preform it into a boule. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the dough, then form it into a batard.

Roll the loaf in seseme seeds and place it, seam side up, in a linen or parchment couche. If using a parchment couch you will bake on, place the batard seam side down.) Cover it well and allow it to expand until quite puffy. (Glezer says this should take 30-60 minutes. My dough was very puffy, and I shaped it very gently to retain the bubbles. I let it proof for 20 minutes only before proceeding.)

Roll the batard onto parchment (If using a linen couche). Spray with water and score with one cut from end to end. (I cut holding the knife at and angle to get a nice "ear" and "grigne.")

Transfer the batard to the oven and bake with steam for 15 minutes, then continue to bake another 30 minutes or so until the bread is well-cooked. (Golden-brown color, hollow thump on the bottom and internal temperature of 205F.

Cool completely before slicing.

Comments
I have made 3 other semolina breads, but this was the first time I used fine-ground Durum Flour. The recipe is Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads."

I used all King Arthur AP flour, as Glezer says this has the desired gluten level for this formula. I found the dough to be much wetter than I expected. I did add extra flour, as she says one might have to, but it remained a very wet dough. I was concerned it might be quite impossible to form a real batard, but, after the stretch and folds and 2 hours total fermentation, the dough behaved much better than I anticipated. It did have to be handled very gently, but I'm learning to do that.

I was also surprised how well this soft, puffy, wet dough took my cut,and the oven spring and bloom were phenomenal.

I think the result was a quite attractive loaf, and the crumb was even more open than I expected - a real "rustic"-type crumb. The texture and taste of this bread are both outstanding. The crust is crunchy with a prominant hit of toasted sesame seeds. The crumb is very soft and tender with a cool, creamy mouth feel. it has a definite semolina flavor that is most often described as "nutty." I don't know what kind of nut it's supposed to taste like, but it tastes really good.

I have been a little disappointed in the taste and texture of the other semolina breads I've made. I've not made any of them more than once. Maybe the durum flour makes the difference. Maybe it's Tom Cat's recipe. Maybe my skills in handling dough have advanced. Whatever. I'll be making this one again, for sure!

David

manuela's picture
manuela

Italian jam tart


This is a very simple yet very good traditional Italian jam tart, made with pastafrolla--Italian-style shortpastry. The original post is from my blog

 

From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi
In: La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” , 1891–Italy

Ingredients

2 cups (250 g) AP flour, unbleached
1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup (110 g) sugar
1 medium egg
1 yolk
1 cup (260 g) fruit jam (such as apricot, plum, or sour cherry)


If the granulated sugar is coarse, it is preferable to process it briefly in a food processor or coffee grinder. Mix flour and sugar, then work the butter in with the tip of your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the egg and yolk and work briefly until the dough just holds together.
It is important not to overwork the dough (do not knead it) or it will harden when baked.
A food processor works perfectly to make the dough: start by placing flour and sugar in the work bowl, process for a few seconds to mix, then add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the egg and yolk and process a few seconds more until the dough forms. Do not overprocess.

Wrap the dough in wax paper and let it rest in a cool place for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured board roll 2/3 of the pastry dough to a 1/8-in (3 mm) thickness, and line with it the bottom and sides of a 9-in (23 cm) tart pan with scalloped edges and a removable bottom. The sides should be lined with a slightly thicker layer of pastry than the bottom, about 1/4-in (0.5 cm). Fold back in the dough that is hanging over the sides to make a thicker lining along the sides. Cut of excess. Prick the pastry bottom with the tines of a fork in a few places, then spread with the jam. Do not use a deep tart mold.

Roll the remaining pastry on a lightly floured board slightly thicker than 1/8-in (3 mm), then with a sharp knife or pastry cutter cut it in strips 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) wide and make a lattice on top of the jam layer. There might be some leftover pastry. I usually make a few cookies with it, or tartlets.

You can see how the lattice should look here.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake the tart until golden, about 25 minutes. Unmold the tart as soon as it is ready and let it cool on a rack. If left in the pan it will turn irremediably soggy. It is great freshly baked but it definitely improves after a day or two, if kept in a closed container.

A note on the fruit jam: select a jam that is relatively low in sugar, 38% to 40% content of sugar is best; jams that contain a higher percentage of sugar tend to be adversely affected by the baking temperatures, turning sticky and ruining the final result.




 

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Work has kept me busy and away from posting as often as I'd like, but I'm happy to be able to share this recipe. These are completely amazing cinnamon rolls. They've conquered my heart, and I don't even really like cinnamon rolls. Except these.

 

Tang Zhong Milk & Honey Sweet Dough 

The cornerstone of this recipe is the soft, moist and tender sweet dough. It uses honey and a roux to tenderize and hold in moisture. And the long kneading time yields a wonderfully light, ethereal texture.  

Cinnamon Rolls

 

 Crazy Good Cinnamon Glaze

Instead of the traditional plain powdered sugar frosting, these have a richly flavored, creamy glaze that rounds out the cinnamon with butter, vanilla, cocoa butter and coffee. While testing this recipe, my office mates repeatedly offered to lick the bowls, whisks, serving plates, you name it. 

This was a recipe I developed for Brod & Taylor for the roll-out of their new shelf kit. (If you haven't seen the shelf kit yet and would like to, it is here.)  It includes directions for the Folding Proofer with a shelf kit, but can also be made using a warm-ish (85F) proofing spot.

Yield: 12 Cinnamon Rolls (double the recipe to make 24 rolls). Make 12 rolls in two 9” (23cm) round cake pans or one 9x13" pan. Make a double recipe in two 9x13” (23x33cm) rectangular pans.

Timing: On day 1 the dough can be made, chilled, rolled and cut, then the rolls are refrigerated overnight. On day 2, pull the rolls out of the fridge about 2¼ hours before serving time, then proof and bake.

Milk & Honey Sweet Dough

 VolumeGramsOunces
Unbleached flour, 12% protein2 c spooned2508.8
Milk¾ cup (180 ml)1826.4
Instant yeast1½ tsp4.80.17
Salt¾ tsp4.50.16
Honey3 Tbs602.1
Egg yolk1 yolk150.5
Water1 Tbs150.5
Butter, very soft4 Tbs572.0

Make the Roux. Measure the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk to a small saucepan and whisk in 3 Tbs of the flour from the mixer bowl. (If you are weighing ingredients, put 30g/1.1oz of bread flour into the milk and 220g/7.8oz into the mixer bowl.) Heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until uniformly thickened and bubbling, about 20-30 seconds after the mixture first begins to boil. Cover and chill until cool to the touch.

The butter will incorporate more easily with the dough if it is so soft that it’s gone all melty at the edges. If you have a Folding Proofer, the butter can be warmed at 85F/29C. To prepare for rising the dough, lightly oil a container and mark it at the 4-cup/1 liter level (8-cup/2 liters if making a double recipe).

Tang Zhong Sweet Dough

 

Mix the Dough. Add the instant yeast and salt to the flour in the mixer bowl and stir to combine. Add the water, cooled roux, honey and egg yolk. Mix on low speed until flour is moistened. Once the dough comes together it should stick to the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add 1 more tablespoon water to achieve the right consistency.

Knead Intensively for an Ethereal Texture. Raise mixer to medium-low and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should still be sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add the butter in four parts, kneading until each piece is incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once all the butter is incorporated, knead for 10 more minutes on medium-low. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, although it may still stick on the bottom.

Ferment the Dough. Scrape the dough into the oiled container, place in the Proofer if you are using one and allow to rise until doubled, about 75-80 minutes at 85F/29C.  

Fold and Chill. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and stretch and fold all four sides to the middle, creating a square package. Wrap loosely and chill (a relaxed, cool dough will be less sticky and easier to roll out without adding too much flour). After 30 minutes, deflate the dough and re-wrap. Chill 30 more minutes or until it’s convenient to roll the dough, up to 24 hrs.

Cinnamon Pecan Filling

 VolumeGramsOunces
Butter, melted and cooled4 Tb572.0
Light brown sugar2 Tb271.0
Cinnamon2 tsp2 tsp2 tsp
Vanilla½ tsp½ tsp½ tsp
Egg white, cold1 white321.1
Pecans, chopped¾ cup853.0

While the Dough is Chilling, Make the Filling. Butter the bottom and sides of the pans and chop the pecans finely. Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until well combined. Quickly whisk in the cold egg white to thicken and emulsify the mixture.

 

Roll and Fill the Dough. Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough, then roll out to a 12 x 14” (30 x 36 cm) rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, extending all the way to the edges on the short sides and leaving a small bare border on both long sides. Sprinkle the nuts over the filling. Starting from a long side, roll the dough into a log and press lightly to seal the seam. Use plain dental floss to cut the roll into 12 pieces. If using a knife to slice rolls, it may be easier if the log is chilled first. Arrange the rolls in the pan with smaller rolls in the middle. Cover and chill overnight.

 

Proof the Cinnamon Rolls. Set up the Proofer, if using, with plenty of water in the tray. Use the rack with the fold-out legs on the lower level to raise the pan off the warming element so that the lower level and upper level proof at the same rate. Set the thermostat to 90F/32C. Place one pan of rolls on the lower rack, off to one side. Then add the shelf supports and shelf and place the second pan on the upper level, off to the opposite side. Close the lid and allow the rolls to proof until the dough springs back slowly when the side of a roll is dented with a finger, about 90 minutes. Half way through proofing, rotate the pans 180 degrees.

Cinnamon Mocha Topping

 VolumeGramsOunces
Fine quality white chocolate barone 3oz bar or
⅔ of 4.5oz bar
853.0
Butter2 Tbs281.0
Cinnamon¼ tsp¼ tsp¼ tsp
Coffee or Espresso (brewed)1 Tbs150.5
Powdered sugar2 Tbs140.5

Preheat the Oven.  Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375F / 190C.

Make the Glaze.  Break or chop the white chocolate into pieces and put in a small bowl along with the coffee, cinnamon and butter. When the cinnamon rolls are fully proofed, remove them from the Proofer, then turn the thermostat up to 120F (49C). Remove the upper rack and fold up the legs on the lower rack so that it rests close to the warming element. Place the topping mixture in the center of the rack and close the lid. (Because the white chocolate is being melted with coffee and butter, it’s OK to leave the water tray in the Proofer - a little steam won’t hurt it.)  If you're not using a Proofer, melt the glaze over a double boiler or with short bursts in the microwave.

Bake the Cinnamon Rolls.  Cover each pan of rolls with aluminum foil (to seal in moisture and encourage the fullest oven spring possible) and place in the oven on the lower rack. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil, rotate pans 180 degrees and place on upper rack to encourage browning. Bake 15-20 more minutes, until nicely browned and the rolls reach an internal temperature of 190F (88C).

Cool and Top the Rolls.  When the cinnamon rolls are done, remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While the rolls are cooling, whisk the melted glaze ingredients until they emulsify and are thick and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Unmold the rolls onto a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls.

Alternative Timing:  The rolls can be made all in one day.  After the first rise/bulk ferment, chill the dough only for the minimum time of 1 hour.  Then roll, fill and cut the rolls.  Skip the overnight time in the refrigerator and shorten the final proof to 70-75 minutes (the dough will be warm and will take less time than refrigerated dough).  All in, start these rolls 5½-6 hours before serving time.

 

 

 

 

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Mixed Flour Levain with Long Autolyse

There has been lots of discussion here and elsewhere (notably Ken Forkish in FWSY and Ian in his Ars Pistorica blog) on the benefits of long autolyse.  I thought I would do a side by side comparison to see what the difference in taste is, since, after all, that's the main reason we all bake so much.  Just for fun, I also wanted to try a more complex levain.  I have been using a simple straight wheat levain that I maintain at around 100% hydration.  After reading posts by Tom (Toad.de.b) and MC (Farine) on the mixed flour blend used by Gérard Rubaud, it seemed this would be a place to start in order to get a better flavor.  I adjusted the levain flour blend to the same as in the final dough. For the autolyse, I used only the wheat flours (AP, bread and whole wheat), mixing in the rye and spelt together with the levain because I am not sure if the additional enzymatic activity would make the dough too slack (aha, another experiment!).

The loaves baked very much like other levain loaves that i have made with similar hydrations (about 72-73%) with nice blooms and singing crusts. 

The comparison loaves were made with the same formula except for using a 30 min. autolyse instead of the overnight refrigerated autolyse, and I did deviate slightly by shaping them into 500g loaves instead of the 1000g ones above.

The flavor was definitely more intense on the loaves that were autolysed for around 16 hours.  Compared to breads I made in the past using a straight wheat levain with the same flour blend, the flavors were  more nutty and wheaty.  Also, the texture was much more creamy on the longer autolysed loaves and the crumb highly gelatinized (the photo doesn't do it justice). 

This is all consistent with what others have been saying.  I've been just a little slow on the uptake here.

The formula, which is scaled to two 1000g loaves after baking, is below:

I'm very happy with these loaves, and I plan to try them again upping the hydration to around 78%.  The other questions that still need to be answered are whether long autolyse with rye and spelt negatively affect the dough, and what is the difference between the refrigerated and room temperature autolyse used as an enzymatic preferment.

-Brad

 [Edit: Replace formula panel because some lines in Method were incomplete.]

nellapower's picture
nellapower

Dresden Christmas Stollen

I have been lurking in the forum for over two years now, soaking up all that I could about sourdough bread-baking. All this time, I wished there was something that I could give back, that I could share with the community. Seeing that I am still a bread amateur compared to you guys, I thought I will have to wait a few more years for this blessed moment. But today, as I was getting my kitchen ready for baking, it hit me. There actually is something I can share with you: my recipe and my experience with baking Dresden Christmas Stollen. I know, there is already one recipe around by harrygerman. My recipe is similar, but with even more butter and fruit. This stollen is an amazing thing: rich, heavy, and fruity. The dough is different from anything else I know and a little tricky to work with. Before I give you the recipe and the technique, I will start by telling you a little about the history of Dresden Stollen. Seeing that there are very different stollen recipes around, I think you need this little introduction to understand how the Dresden stollen is different and why it is worth making, despite all the effort.

In Saxony (the region in the East of Germany, where Dresden is), stollen has been a tradition Christmas bread for centuries (the first written documents about stollen are from the 1329). At that time, however, stollen was a light, yeasted bread, containing nothing but flour, water, yeast and sometimes oil. It was sold and eaten during he pre-Christmas period of Advent fast. Saxony was then catholic, so the use of any richer ingredients such as butter or milk was strictly forbidden. The Saxon rulers, however, were apparently dissatisfied with their Advent bread, so they applied to the pope for a permission to use butter in their stollen. The pope allowed this in 1491, on the condition that they atone for their sin by donating liberally to the church. Although meant only for the rulers and gentry, the pope's permission was quickly applied with much more liberation. Maybe to compensate for centuries of butter-free fasting, the Saxons transformed the stollen into a rich, buttery bread stuffed with fruits. No longer a fast meal, the stollen became a Christmas celebration bread. After a while Saxony turned protestant, but the stollen remained. Of course, with its centuries of tradition, the title "Dresden Stollen" was soon used for trading purposes, unfortunately not always with high-quality products. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the traditional Dresden stollen bakeries fought against the on-slough of so-called Dresden stollen. Today, "Dresdner Stollen" is a registered trademark and only selected backers from Dresden area can use it, provided that their stollen meet criteria with regard to the minimum amount of butter and dried fruits.

Enough of history, let's look at the bread. A real Dresden stollen contains at least 500g Butter and 650g sultanas per 1000g flour. This makes it extremely heavy and rich. Furthermore, the stollen is traditionally heavily coated in icing sugar. The bread needs to ripe for at least 3 weeks in order to develop its flavours and texture and keeps in proper conditions easily for several months. I have started baking stollen some ten years ago, when I moved to Dresden. I now bake 2-3 batches each year before Christmas. For my husband, stollen is something to look forward to throughout the whole year. Even when we spent six month in Finland last year, there was no questions that I will bake his beloved stollen. The recipe that I have here is based on a century old recipe for Dresden Christmas stollen, that Dresden bakeries use as a foundation. Of course, I have adapted it to suit our tastes. You are free to do the same. Just what ever you do, do not cut down the fat! Without the fat, the stollen will never keep as long and it will not develop the proper texture and taste. The same goes for the amount of fruits. You can play with the sugar though, for example leave out the sugar coat (I prefer our stollen uncoated).

Right, enough said, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1000 g flour (fine, weak flour; all purpose flour should do nicely)
250 g cream
42 g fresh yeast (or 14 g dried yeast)
500 g butter (or 450g butter and 50g lard or tallow)
1 g ground mace
0,5 g ground cinnamon
0,5 g ground cardamom
zest of 1 lemon
150 g sugar (I use Muscovado whole-cane sugar)
50 g candied lemon peel (instead I make my own by soaking peel from two lemons in honey
for several days)
150 g candied orange peel (instead, I soak peel from 4-5 oranges in honey)
500 g sultanas
250 g currants
100 g rum (optional, I use Amaretto instead)
200 g ground almonds
+ extra butter (approx. 250 g)
+ extra fine castor sugar (approx. 100 g)
+ extra icing sugar (at least 250 g)

0. Save the date
It's important not to start baking stollen too late. My personal experience with this recipe is that they need at least 4 weeks, ideally 6 weeks before you cut into them. Really! We always cut our first stollen on the first Advent Sunday, so I bake my first batch 10 weeks before Christmas. I bake my second and sometimes third batch about 5-6 weeks before Christmas, partly for us and partly as presents for friends.

0. Preferment
The stollen dough is very heavy and it will need a strong yeast activity to raise it. For this purpose, I like to preferment a portion of the flour. I take 300g of the flour, break in 21g yeast, and knead it with 250g cream. I leave it to ferment for 1 hour by room temperaure and than for 12-24 hours in the fridge. You can also use sourdough in the preferment. I have successfully baked sourdough-only stollen, you just need to let them rise longer.

0. Soaking
Place the sultanas and currents in a large bowl. If you are using alcohol, pour it over the fruit. Add enough boiling water to cover the fruit. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes, but best over night. It is important to soak the fruit even if you are not using alcohol, or else it will burn in the oven. Don't forget to drain the fruit well before you start making the dough to make it as dry as possible.

1. Dough
I sieve the flour onto a working surface (this definitely does not work in a bowl). Break in the remaining 21g of yeast (you can leave this out, just adjust the rising time). Rub the lemon zests into the sugar and mix the sugar into the flour, together with the mace, cinnamon, and cardamom. If you are wondering about the small amounts, the stollen is not supposed to taste very spicy. However, this is your stollen, so you can add any spices you like. Cut the preferment into small pieces and distribute it on the edges of your flour mound and do the same with the butter/lard. Now comes the kneading. Be warned, that you will need about 30 minutes to knead the dough. You can try it in your mixere, but make sure your mixer can take it. Better invest the time or coax a physically strong friend or relative into helping. Start by taking a few pieces of the preferment and the butter and kneading them together. As you do this, the dough-lump in your hands will turn sticky. Place it in the middle of your flour mound and knead it there, until so much flour has been incorporated that it's dry again. Now take some more preferment and butter and knead them in your lump. This will make it sticky again, so add flour. And so on and so on. At some point, the dough-lump may become difficult to handle. Feel free to cut and put aside about two thirds of it and continue kneading with the rest. You can put the pieces together in the end. Do not be tempted into adding more flour or any liquids. Trust me, just keep kneading, it will all be well in the end. As you work, the kitchen will be slowly filled with the smell of lemon zest and the spices - Christmas is on the way!



2. Fruits
You are tired, your fingers ache and you are a proud owner of a homogeneous dough lump that reminds you of short-bread dough. Congratulations, let's add the fruit. Take your drained sultanas and currants and mix them with the ground almonds. This will help soak up the remaining liquid. Mix them with the candied orange and lemon peel and pour the whole lot on your working surface. You might have the urge to check the recipe now, because you think you have too much fruit. But it really can be incorporated into you dough-lump. First, cut the dough-lump into 5 pieces. Start by working the first piece into the fruit. As the fruit is wet, this will make it all turn into a strange paste. Keep adding piece by piece, until the whole lot is incorporated. Don't worry if you feel more like making mudpies. Place the whole mass into a bowl and clean your working surface with a dough scraper. Now evaluate the dough. Is it like a soft short-bread or cookie dough? Than you are done with it. If it's too wet and soft (probably it will be), dust the working surface with flour, turn the dough onto it and carefully work in a little more flour. Not too much, though, the dough should be just about manageable. You won't need to make anything fancy with it, so as long as it does not stick to the work surface or your hands like crazy, it's fine.



3. Divide, form, and rise
Divide the dough into 2-5 pieces. For us, I prefer to make two large stollen. This size apparently has a positive influence on the texture of the stollen later on. But you can make several smaller stollen, too, for example as gifts. Just don't forget to adjust the baking time. Form each stollen into a rough, high log. Just pat it into shape - no rolling, no stretching. Just a note here: the traditional Dresden stollen has no almond paste inside. With all the dried fruit and its sugar coat, I also think that it does not need it. But it's your stollen, so if you like, add it now. Put the formed stollen on a baking sheet with baking paper (make sure the stollen are far enough apart) and let it rise for about 2 hours (more, if you are using only sourdough or less yeast). The stollen will become a little puffy, nothing more. It will definitely not double.

4. Score and bake
There is a traditional way of forming a Dresden stollen. I use a different, simple way used for stollen from Thuringia (another region in Germany). It's easier and the stollen are less flat, so they are also moister. Basically, you just make a log and then you score it with a single cut all the away down the stollen's back. That's it. I score the stollen directly before putting it into the oven. I don't preheat the oven, just pop it in and bake it at 180°C for approx. 1-1,5 hours. Keep a watchful eye on the stollen. Cover it with aluminium foil if it has turned brown before its time and adjust the time according to the size of the stollen.


5. Coat
This is an optional step. Traditional stollen is heavily coated in sugar. If you want to  coat the stollen, brush it with liquid butter (as much as the stollen can soak up) immediately after taking it out of the oven. Than sprinkle it heavily with fine castor sugar. The castor sugar will soak up any access butter. Wait for the stollen to cool and sprinkle it with a very thick layer of icing sugar. As I wrote, I skip this step. Firstly, I find the coated stollen too sweet and secondly it makes a mess when storing. Alternatively, it is also possible to store uncoated stollen and brush it with butter and coat it in sugar right before cutting into it.

6. Store
The stollen has to be stored for at least 4 weeks (I recommend 6) before cutting into it. If you cut it earlier, you will be disappointed. Cutting it later is even better. Stollen store best in an old fashioned cool celler, with high humidity. If you don't have such a cellar, you can store stollen outside in wooden boxes provided that your climate is cool enough (that's what I do). Otherwise store the stollen in the coolest room of your house, but not in the fridge. Some people like to freeze the stollen, I don't think its necessary and it has a negative impact on the texture. If you are storing stollen in a cellar or outside, simply wrap it in cotton cloth and put it in a wooden box, so that it can breathe. Otherwise wrap it well in a plastic or aluminium foil. The idea is that if you cannot provide an environment with high humidity, such as cellar or outside, you should prevent the stollen from drying out. That's it, now wait.

7. Eating
If you cut into a stollen 2-3 weeks after baking, you will be disappointed. It will taste fine, but the crumb will be far too dry. Don't give up and put the stollen away again and wait a little longer. The texture will change over time and after six weeks it will have a short-bread-like crumb and the taste will be a mixture of spices and fruits, all rolled into a buttery, sweet bliss.

So to sum up, a Dresden stollen is not hard to bake. All it takes are good quality ingredients, some muscle and a lot of patience. The reward is a truly unusual bread. Although I am not German and grew up baking other Christmas goodies, stollen has become to me a personification of Christmas. You take the best, you do your best, you wait for the occasion, and then you enjoy it in full.

I hope someone might have a go at my Christmas stollen. I'll be happy to help you.

Best, Nella

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Sourdough Crackers

Sourdough Crackers


Previous blog: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22542/noknead-multigrain-seed-and-nut-loaf


I know that most of us, that culture wild yeast, seldom actually "discard" the discards of our sourdough. Of course, it is not unusual to hear someone new to keeping a sourdough culture remarking that they hate to have to through out the discards. And again, of course, a dozen replies of "No! Make pancakes..." or "Oh, no! Make waffles... ". Well, from now on, I will be crying "No! Make sourdough crackers.. The older the discards, the better the crackers!"


Naturally, that does assume you like sour sourdough, but the crackers are great even with "un-sour" sourdough discards, Rye Sour, etc. or even non-discarded levain as the leavening ingredient.


I came across a year old post by Sarah Wood on using your discard for whole wheat crackers. The link is:
http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/03/08/sourdough-recipes-galore-whole-wheat-crackers/
It certainly looked simple enough, so I tried it. I am certainly glad I did, although, a batch never last very long and another few hundred calories have been ingested.


So, here is a step by step, complete with photos, Baker's percentages, some suggestions, and pointers on the ingredients and process. Even if you are not of an experimental curiosity by nature, I suspect you will have some ideas for variations you would like to try.



A small amount Sesame Oil, or Olive Oil to brush the top of the crackers and Kosher salt to sprinkle over the oiled surface will also be needed.


Substitutions of butter or lard can be made for the coconut oil, but I prefer the coconut oil, either the Extra Virgin, or the Expeller types.


Notice that I chose the ingredient amounts to exactly match the Baker's percentages. This batch size works very well for one sheet of crackers per Silpat baking sheet and a 100 grams of discards is an equally reasonable size. If you wish, make multiples of this amount and store in the fridge until you want more crackers.


I do want to mention some considerations to keep in mind when using coconut oil. Using the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is my first choice, Expeller Coconut Oil is my second and neither one requires special consideration in a warmer kitchen, but if the kitchen temperature, or the dough temperature, is below about 78ºF ( 25.5º C) then you should either use methods to maintain the temperature of all ingredients about 78ºF ( 25.5º C) during the mixing phase, or use softened butter. Coconut oil is liquid from about the 75ºF ( 23.9º C) and above. Adding it in a mix of cold, fresh out of the fridge, levain may very well cause lumpy, difficult dough conditions. Once the full mixing is complete, this is no longer of any potential problem.











Let your finished crackers cool before placing (if any are uneaten) in an airtight container to preserve their crispness.


============= 110328-1330


   Next Blog:http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22910/ingredient-list-and-calcultor-tfl-bakers


 


 



msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

The PERFECT bread recipe for the beginning baker! Think Wonder Bread!

Hi,


First, I want to mention I'm not talented enough to be able to claim I created this recipe.  I found it on another forum and I really don't know who the original author is, but whoever it is, created a WINNER!  This bread has a soft crust and interior (somewhat like store bought white but much tastier with a nicer texture) so for those of you who only want to tackle a crusty bread, this one is not for you.   The crust also does not get very dark, but you could probably mist it with a bit of water if you want it darker.


But, if you're even a little like me in that you desperately want to be successful in making ANY kind of bread, you will LOVE this recipe!  After I struggle for days to get a more complicated recipe to work for me, this one is a RELIEF to work on.  I have never had a failure, even when I threw it together in a hurry.  And EVERYONE here loves it!   My grandson, who never asks for seconds of anything, asked me for a second slice of this tasty bread.  My husband, who is difficult to please to say the least, is very happy when I use it to make his sandwiches to take with him to work in the morning.  He's actually so proud that I can make it that he shares his sandwiches from time to time so his associates can sample it.


This is the recipe:


Combine in the slightly preheated bowl from your stand mixer (you can also do this entirely by hand, but it's a lot more work):


2 cups of 110-112 degree water


1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon instant yeast (a total of 4 teaspoons)


1 tablespoon sugar


Cover and let rise in a warm place for 5 minutes (to create warm place, I put my oven on 350 degrees for about 10 seconds and shut it off)


Add to the yeast mixture:


¼ cup oil


5 cups bread flour (I find the best way to measure flour for this recipe is to scoop it, as recommended by the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.  I have tried weighing it--which really should work--and spooning into the measuring cup, as recommended by the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, but with both methods the dough was too slack and I had to add flour.)


2 teaspoons salt


Knead until smooth and elastic.  I use the dough hook to combine it for a couple of minutes (while scraping down the sides to help combine the ingredients) and knead for at least an additional 5 minutes on speed 2.


Place the dough (sometimes you have to aid it with a scraper to release it from the bottom of the mixer bowl as it doesn't seem to hold the ball shape on the hook each and every time) in a greased bowl, turn it, and cover it with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with a nonstick coating, such as Pam.


Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20-25 minutes.  I use the minimum time for both the first and second rise.  Punch the dough down and divide it into two equal portions.  Then roll each piece into two rectangles that each measure approximately 10" by 14".  Starting from the long end, roll each rectangle up in jelly roll fashion and tuck in the ends slightly.  Pinch the seam together and place each loaf with the seam to the bottom on a greased 12" by 16" (or similar size) cookie sheet or shallow baking pan.  I find the two loaves work fine on one pan.  Diagonally slash each loaf about 3 times with a sharp, floured knife.


Lightly spray the loaves with nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise for 20-25 minutes in a warm place.  Since I will have to preheat my oven while these loaves are rising, I cannot let the loaves rise in there and I turn on my toaster oven and leave it on for several minutes.  After I shut if off, I check to see how hot the top has become and layer the appropriate amount of kitchen towels on top of it so that the bottom of the cookie sheet I will be placing on it doesn't get too hot.  I then place the loaves on top of the towels on the toaster oven, making sure they are situated to the back (under the cabinets), where I believe the most heat would be trapped.  Your situation may be different so I am only offering this as a suggestion.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 20-25 minutes.  I use the maximum time as this bread does not get a very dark crust.  Let the bread cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing--it will still be warm.


ENJOY!  (Bread is pictured below)

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Baking this pound cake since 1964

I have decided to give the recipe for this wonderful pound cake I have been baking since 1964 and only given the recipe out to family in the past 45+ years.  It is very close to the same recipe given by Paula Deen called mama's pound cake.  I think only the milk and salt differs a little.  I have referred to this recipe always as 'Grandma Turners Pound Cake'.  It was given to me by my mother in law Elsie Turner in 1964 and was given to her by her daugter in law from Atlanta, GA.  What is so great about this pound cake and the reason I don't turn it upside down out of my large bundt pan or angle food cake pan is it has a cookie crunchy crust that is fabulous and I think very desirable on a pound cake.  It is a very large cake and can be made nicely also in loaf pans.   We love it with fresh sliced strawberries, sprinkled with a little sugar to bring out some juices...yumm.  A real family favorite for over 45 years.


1.  2 sticks of butter


2. 1/2 cup vegetable oil


3.  3 cups all purpose flour


4. 3 cups of Sugar


5. 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder


6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla -Added-vanilla extract used 


7. 5 Eggs


8. 1 1/4 cup whole milk


Bring your eggs and butter to same room cool temperature - so the butter is fairly soft -this helps prevent the curdling effect you get when mixing the batter together at different temperatures.


By hand or electric mixer


Grease and flour pans - Preheat oven to 325F - I use convection oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 min. for my 10+ cup large non-stick bundt pan.  Testing with a spagetti noodle poked down into the cake and coming out dry.  The crust will be a nice dark golden brown. 


Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl '3 times' now I just shake it though a wire sifter once.  In a large bowl or mixer, Cream butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy - Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture ' I lightly beat them - Add milk and flour to creamed mixture alternately. I end with the flour.  Add vanilla extract.  You can also use lemon extract. 


After the cake is baked.  Cool for about 5 minutes.  Lay a cooling rack on top of the pan and invert.  Lay another cooling rack on top of the bottom of the cake and flip back over to see the cookie crust side...try not to eat it all!


                  ADDED - These freeze great.  I wrap them up in plastic wrap and then foil.


      


                                       


                        


 


                                                                 Gets crunched a little more when removing but you can see why I prefer this top to the


                                                                  molded bundt top.  It's hard not eat this delicious crunchy cookie crust top.


 


                                  


                   Sorry we didn't have any whipped cream today.  The strawberries make a nice juice when sliced with a bit of sugar sprinkled over them.  Or you also make a lovely puree strawberry sauce to go with some sliced strawberries. 


Sylvia                            


 


 

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