The Fresh Loaf

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Almost every weekend I bake. Lately I've been trying different recipes using my sourdough starter. At other times I baked yeasted artisan breads and sandwich breads. But one thing has remained constant: almost every time I have the oven heated for baking I make a batch of banana bread. I can safely say that I've made more batches of banana bread than any other bread.

I've tried a number of different recipes, but the majority of the time I fall back on the recipe below. It tastes great, it keeps well, it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. You can't ask for much more than that.

This recipe is from the 1997 revision of the Joy of Cooking. There is at least one step in the Joy recipe (mixing the butter and sugar with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes) that I skip. Doing so may make a slightly lighter loaf, but I find it unnecessary.

As I said, I've tried close to a dozen different banana bread recipes but I like this one the best. It is a little drier than recipes made with Vegetable or Canola Oil, but I like the flavor of butter and consistency of this bread better.

I've also found that we enjoy this a lot more baking it in small loaf pans rather than a regular bread pan. In the large pan I tended to have a harder time getting it to bake evenly, often resulting in overbaked ends and a gooey center. It also would go stale before we could eat the entire thing. With the small loaves, I bake 2 or 3 a weekend and freeze all but one. Every couple of days we pull a new one out of the freezer and never have any trouble with it going stale.

The other breads in the photo, by the way, are two whole wheat sourdough loaves and a sourdough rye. I haven't had a chance to even try them all yet. If they turn out good I will definitely share the recipes.


Banana Bread

Makes 1 full-sized loaf or 2 small loaves

Preheat the oven to 350.

In one bowl, combine:

1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 or 3 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar

Use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small (1 centimeter) chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.

In another bowl, combine:

1 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.

If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right.

Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.

After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.

Enjoy!

Related Recipes: Better Banana Bread,Eggless Banana Bread

10 Minute Banana Bread

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Honeyed Spelt and Oat

This recipe is from Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More from
Sarah Owens. She won the James Beard Award for 2016 in baking books. I don't own the book but I found a copy of the recipe online.

I changed the method a bit to allow for an autolyse with just flour but the dough was really stiff and I probably should have added the oat soaker in at the same time. Anyhow, this was my method which differs a bit from the book.

1. Make levain with 40 g water, 30 g starter and 40 grams spelt. Let sit overnight.

2. Make soaker with 140 g rolled oats (old fashioned) and 275 g boiling water. Let that sit overnight too.

3. Next morning, autolyse 245 g of warm water and 45 g honey with 445 g flour and 105 g spelt. I let it sit for one hour.

4. I mixed in the 110 g of levain, 415 g of soaker and 16 g of salt. I added 25 g of water here to adjust the feel of the dough. I did slaps and folds to integrate the oats right through the dough.

5. I started the bulk fermentation with folds every half hour and this went on and on and on. The dough just didn't seem to  want to rise at all. 7 and a half hours later, the dough had risen about 30% and was finally ready to be divided and pre-shaped.

6. I pre-shaped using the letter fold method and let sit for a half hour before doing the final shape. I shaped it again using the letter fold method and put it into floured baskets.

7. I let it proof on the counter for a half hour (next time I am doing the full hour) and it went into the fridge for an overnight proof.

8. Late the next morning, I baked it in dutch ovens at 500F for 20 minutes, and took off the lid. I realized 10 minutes later that I had not dropped the temp at the 20 minute mark and had taken off the lid instead. So I dropped the temp to 430F and let it bake for another 20 minutes. Once again, I wasn't paying close attention but it worked out anyhow.

The results were a delicious bread with a super fluffy crumb. The one loaf disappeared in one day. Mind you, the loaves were tiny and next time, I am doubling the recipe and not forgetting to autolyse the oat soaker along with the flour.

Crumb shot:

With butter and honey:

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

YW Primer

Teketeke Bread

teketeke got me going with my YW a couple of years ago and I have helped quite a few others, as she helped me, to get theirs going. Here is what I basically sent them but fixing all the spelling and grammar errors I could find.  Hope this will help all who want give YW a shot – it is so worth having another child in the kitchen.

 teketeke's post on YW is a good one if you scroll down far enough when the pictures start to appear again - way down. She is a great YW baker from Japan and I bugged the heck out of her to get my YW going.  Worked first time too - and she is a master and I named my first original YW concoction after her as thanks!

The idea is to get a slightly acidic base to start from, be a little on the warm side temperature wise, don't use any sugar - use honey instead, use bottled water, open the lid often, right before shaking and get some fresh air in the jar by fanning it with a piece of paper, shake the container often and be patient - like starting any other wild yeast

The fruit you start with matters. I started mine with orange and tangelos from the back yard because they are acidic, I left the skins on the pieces for one day to inoculate the water with the wild yeast on the skins and then replaced the fruit with skinned oranges and tangelos because the skin can be a little toxic to the yeast. - but I would do it differently today.

 

Teketeke's Japanese White Sandwich Bread

You want to make sure the fruit you use is organic thus no fungicides and herbicides on the skins and it has to have the skin on. What you want to do is get an organic apple and some organic raisins. People have their own opinions as to which ones work best but using both is really the cat's meow. Don't wash the apple or the raisins since the yeast you want is on the skin. I use a plastic 14 oz re-purposed peanut butter jar for my YW container but anything with a screw top lid will work.

Take 20 raisins and mash half of them. Take half an apple, leave the skin on, take the stem and base off and core the seeds out. Chop the 1/2 apple into 1/4 inch cubes. Mash half the apple pieces. Save the other half of apple by rubbing the cut side with lemon, lime or orange juice and refrigerate it.

Place all the 1/2 apple and raisins in the jar including the mashed portions. Add 1 T of orange juice. Fill jar 3/4 of the way up with bottled mineral or reverse osmosis water that is absolutely chlorine free. If you are using other tap water then pour it into an uncovered container 24 hours ahead of time so the chlorine can dissipate.  Do not add any honey at this point.

Keep the jar warm around 78 -80 F. I used a heating pad with kitchen towels folded on top till I got the right temperature and then covered the whole shebang with another towel to keep the heat in.

For the first 2 days, every couple of hours, open the jar fan some new air in it, close the lid shake the jar vigorously, loosen the lid a tad to let CO2 out and let it sit on the heating pad that way till you do it all again.

Yeasr Water Babka

On the 3rd day add 1 tsp of honey.  Keep up the fanning, shaking, loosening the lid till day 4. By that time, after you shake, the mix should bubble, easily be visible and remain for awhile. The jar lid should hiss as compresses CO2 escapes when you open the lid after shaking it.

After a week or so you should have some nice YW to bake with. To know if it is ready just make a levain with 50 g or the yeast water and 50 g of flour and see if can double in volume in 6-12 hours.

YW/SD multigrain bagels

Each week after the beginning week, strain everything out of the jar. Put 3 T of old YW back in the jar with a few pieces of old fruit say 4 raisins and 4 pieces of apple. Add more fresh raisins and half a diced apple you put in the fridge (you don't have to mash them up anymore).

Add 1 T of honey and fill 3/4th full with water. Leave on the counter. The next day it will be ready to build a levain with again. After it settles itself in, after a couple or three weeks, you can then refrigerate it 4 hours after feeding it and it will be ready and peaked to make bread after 2-3 days in the fridge. I now feed mine every 3 weeks and keep it in the fridge all the time

YW/ SD combo levain multi-grain with scald and seeds - YW will open the crumb of any usually heavy crumb.

You can replace any SD levain with YW.  If the recipe calls for 220 g of levain just use 110 g of YW and 110 of flour to make it. When it doubles it is ready to go about 6 hours or so. If you bake a lot like Janet does, or a little like me, when you use the YW just replace it with new bottled water and a little honey shake it up and leave it on the counter for a couple of hours before refrigerating.

 Happy YW baking.

YW/ SD Durum Ricotta with pistachio pumpkin and millet seeds.

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Home with bread / Fighting gravity

For the first time in five months I baked bread at home and it made me very nervous.

It is an entirely different proposition to make a hand full of breads in a home oven as opposed to the rhythm and flow that working in large batches provides. My attention and perfectionist streak is focused on too few ... the dough is essentially the same (though not quite as rewarding) ... but the loading of a home oven is problematic and inefficient.

... the nicest dough in the world can be ruined by a lousy oven.

So while my time with a wood-oven at Chester St has come to a close it seems that more possibilities may be ahead of me soon. Bread is my way forward ... it is my future ... but in the meantime I am thankful for some time to spend with my family and friends ... they have missed this busy baker.

 

 

 

There has been sadness this week though, as my good friend Daryl sadly lost his father Keith Taylor. Daryl worked with me in the kitchen at Chester St and his parents would visit us on occasions which was always a treat. Keith would stand opposite my bench and chat as I busied myself shaping or rounding loaves. He loved bread ... it was from his past ... it was a part of him.  As a young boy his father owned a bakery in Brisbane running a large scotch wood-fired oven and Keith was granted a special license at the age of 14 to deliver bread to the local community. The smell of dough and baked bread transported him back and he had many tales to tell. I will cherish those talks.

These breads are for you Keith ...

Keith Ian Taylor 23/12/1933 - 3/6/2013. R.I.P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

My time at home has also allowed me to catch up on another activity ... reading. The latest book I am ploughing through is Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael PollanIn it he has a chapter called "Air" which is related to bread fermentation where he discusses the many aspects of bread and its production with the likes of Richard Bourdon, Chad Robertson and Dave Miller (my biggest bread influences).

While reading this I was inspired to begin milling and fermenting freshly milled flour. I couldn't help but do it ... I had to ... It has been so long since I have made honest heart-felt bread like this. This formula is influenced by Dave Miller's method of milling and mixing on one day then shaping and baking the next.

Fresh milled wholewheat (4 x 1000g)

Formula

   

Final starter build – 3 hrs 27°C

 

 

Starter

93g

50%

Freshly milled organic wheat flour

186g

100%

Water

120g

65%

 

 

 

Final dough - 24°C

 

 

Whole wheat starter @ 65%

348g

18%

Freshly milled organic wheat flour

1899g

100%

Water

1709g

90%

Salt

44g

2.3%

 

Method

  1. Mix final starter and leave to ferment for 3 hours at 27°C
  2. Mill flour and allow to cool to room temperature before mixing with water (hold back 100 grams of water) and autolyse for a one hour.
  3. Add starter to autolyse then knead (French fold) 5 mins. Return the dough to a bowl and add salt and remaining 100 grams of water and squeeze through bread to incorporate (dough will separate then come back together smoothly) then knead a further 10 mins.
  4. Bulk ferment for one hour at room temperature. Stretch-and-fold after one hour and place in a fridge at 4°C for 12 hours.
  5. Remove from fridge. Divide. Preshape.
  6. Bench rest 30 mins. Shape.
  7. Final proof was for 1.5 hours at 22°C
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 250°C for 10 mins with steam then bake for a further 40 mins. 

 

 

 

 

 

While shaping the bread the words of Dave Miller resounded in my head "You're always fighting gravity with wholegrains" ... I shaped them tight ... If I was going to struggle to get loft then I wanted bloom!

... and after 5 months of baking in ovens without windows I was again awestruck as I sat before my glass fronted home oven and watched oven spring unfold ... perhaps my home oven is good for something :)

Happy baking everyone ...
Phil 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Bread Scoring Tutorial (updated 1/2/2009)

 Please Note: This tutorial has been updated extensively with additional material and new and improved videos. Here is a link to the updated Bread Scoring Tutorial: Scoring Bread: An updated tutorial

Scoring Bread

 

What is scoring?

“Scoring” is the word used to describe the cuts made in a loaf of bread before it is baked. Some breads are not scored. For example many loaves baked in pans are not. However, almost all free-formed “hearth breads” are scored.

When is scoring done?

Scoring is generally performed just prior to loading the loaves in the oven.

Why are breads scored?

The purpose of scoring is primarily to control the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring.” Intentionally creating a weak spot on the surface of the loaf prevents the loaf from bursting at weak spots created during shaping.

The pattern of cuts made, the angle at which they are made and the depth of the cuts also influence the rate of expansion and the formation of an “ear” - a raised flap of crust at the edge of a cut.

The pattern of cuts also can create a pleasing visual pattern on the surface of the loaf. While there are some very traditional patterns, for example for baguettes, the baker can use the scoring pattern to identify the type of bread or to create an unique pattern that identifies the loaf as coming from his or her oven.

The effects of scoring on loaf shape are discussed in more detail below.

How are breads scored?

Breads are scored with very sharp cutting implements. These may be straight or curved razor blades, which may be held in the hand or mounted on a handle. Scoring may be performed with other sharp, straight blades, even with a straight razor. Some bakers prefer serrated blades. Some examples are pictured below:

Lame

This is a “lame,” the French term for a razor blade used to score bread. This one is permanently mounted on a handle. Others are made with replaceable blades.

This lame holds the blade in a curved position. Others hold the blade straight. The curved lames are generally used for long breads like baguettes which are scored with cuts parallel to the long axis of the loaf. The cuts are made with the blade held at a shallow angle to the surface of the loaf, about 20-30 degrees or so. The blade is held with the concave surface facing up (away from the loaf). A flap of dough is created that will lift up to create an “ear” as the loaf expands and, by lifting gradually, slows the expansion of the loaf. This prolongs the time during which new areas of dough are exposed to the direct heat of the oven and results in greater overall expansion – a larger “bloom.”

Serrated knife

Serrated knife

Tomato knife

Tomato knife

These are examples of serrated, straight bladed knives. The first one is made expressly for scoring breads. The second one is manufactured as a “tomato knife,” but it is very sharp, holds its edge well and has been found to work very well for scoring bread.

Straight bladed knives are preferred for cuts made with the blade held perpendicular to the loaf's surface. This sort of cut is generally used for round loaves (“boules”). However, they can be used for the same kinds of cuts described above as well.

The angle the blade of the knife makes with the surface of the loaf is important in determining how the cut will open up. If you want the cuts to spread equally from the cut and to open quickly, the knife should be held vertically – at 90 degrees to the surface of the loaf. This type of cut is usually made ¼ to ½ inch deep.

Wrong lame position

 

If you want the cuts to spread more slowly and create an “ear,” the knife blade should be held at a shallow angle with the surface of the loaf, like this:

Correct lame position

This type of cut should be shallower than the cuts made with the blade vertical to the loaf – about ¼ inch deep. A deeper cut will result in the flap closing from its own weight rather than separating from the surface of the loaf to form an “ear.”

The scoring stroke should be firm, rapid, smooth and decisive. For the beginner, it may help to take “practice swings” or to visualize the movements and totally focus one's attention before making the cuts. Understanding the functions of scoring and the effects of the variables described can help, but there is no substitute for experience. In this respect, scoring bread is no different from an athletic skill or any other art or craft. (Tourist: “Please, sir, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” New Yorker: “Practice, practice, practice.”)

 

The effect of scoring on loaf shape

Michael Suas, in his book "Advanced Bread & Pastry," provides some information about how scoring patterns influence loaf shape. Scoring is not just to make a visually pretty design on the top of a loaf. It is also how the baker controls the direction in which the loaf expands. This impacts the shape of the loaf cross section (rounder or more oval), the height of the loaf and, for a boule, whether it stays round or ends up more oblong.

According to Suas, long loaves like bâtards and baguettes are traditionally scored parallel to their long axis. This may be a single long cut or multiple cuts that are almost parallel and overlap somewhat (for ¼ to 1/3 of their length, generally).

Classic cuts

Classic Cut – Single and multiple cuts

However, for breads with high-rye content which have lower gluten and less oven spring, the traditional objective is to encourage a higher rise in the oven spring resulting in a rounder cross section. This is achieved by "sausage" or "chevron" cuts.

Sausage cut (on the left) and Chevron cut (on the right)

Sausage cut (on the left) and Chevron cut (on the right)

Boules are scored in a variety of patterns, again with differing effects on how the loaf expands. The common "tic-tac-toe" pattern and a simple cross will direct the expansion upward. More complex patterns like diamonds result in a relatively flatter loaf.

Boule with tic tac toe

Boule scored with “tic-tac-toe” pattern

One of most interesting effects is that scoring a boule with multiple parallel cuts encourages expansion at a right angle to the cuts. This results in an oblong loaf shape.

 

What's the point of an ear? Controlled bloom!

This topic is not about the auricular anatomy of elves (or Vulcans). It's about scoring breads.

Scoring loaves creates a visually pleasing pattern, and it helps control the expansion of the loaf as it bakes.

These San Francisco Sourdough breads illustrate a more "advanced" aspect of scoring that is alluded to by both Hamelman (in "Bread") and Suas (in "Advanced Bread & Pastry.")

San Francisco Sourdough Breads (from Peter Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb")

Bloom

Detail of bâtard crust, with "ear," grigne" & "bloom."

 

What Suas called "the classic cut" is parallel to the long axis of a baguette or a bâtard. The cut is made with the blade at a shallow angle to the surface of the loaf. The cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch deep. Paradoxically, this shallow cut results in the flap lifting better than a deeper cut would, thus forming a nice "ear." Hamelman (pg. 80) points out that "a deep cut will simply collapse from its own weight."

The angle is also important. "If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development." (Suas, pg. 116.)

The second photo, above, illustrates a fairly nice "ear," but it also shows that the bloom occurred slowly, as it should. Notice that the color of the crust in the opening has 3 distinct degrees of browning, decreasing from left to right. The darker part on the left obviously opened first and was exposed to the direct heat of the oven for longer. If the bloom occurred too rapidly, it would have a more even coloration.

This boule was slashed with the blade held at 90 degrees to the surface of the loaf. Note the even coloration of the bloomed crust.

In summary, in order to achieve an optimal bloom in baguettes and bâtards, one must attend to 3 variables when scoring them:

  1. The cuts should be almost parallel to the long axis of the loaf.

  2. The blade should be held at about a 30 degree angle to the surface of the loaf.

  3. The depth of the cut should be shallow - about 1/4 inch.

Variable shading of the bloomed crust confirms that the desired slow but prolonged opening of the cut during oven spring occurred.

Happy baking!

David

P.S. I have made a video version of this tutorial. It was my first attempt at editing a video. I am not delighted with the quality, but I hope I can show it and, maybe, get some help improving it. Here is the link:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4381896920195658969&hl=en (for slow connections)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6866686363544546201&hl=en (for broadband, e.g., DSL or cable)

 

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Chasing thin, crispy, not thick/tough dough

For a year, I have been the route with the best books, internet sites, conversations with authorities (King Arthur); have altered everything you can name (hydration, baking temperature, Pizza store and Lodge pot, spraying and not, baking time, etc. etc. etc.  AND, STILL produce thick, chewy (trip to the dentist) crust!  After trying all the best books/methods, I am now finally going simple (Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day).  Does anyone know what REALLY works for thin, crispy crust???  Thanks much.  Jim Burgin 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Ficelles made with Anis Bouabsa's baguette formula

 

 

  • Flour500 gms Giusto's Baker's Choice
  • Water375 gms
  • Yeast1/4 tsp Instant
  • Salt10 gms
  1. Mix flour and water and autolyse for 20 minutes.
  2. Add yeast and mix by folding dough in the bowl.
  3. Add salt and mix by folding dough in the bowl.
  4. Mix dough by folding and stretching in the bowl for 20 strokes. Repeat this 3 more times at 20 minute intervals.
  5. Refrigerate dough, covered tightly, for 21 hours.
  6. Divide into 4 equal parts and preshape gently for baguettes.
  7. Allow preshaped pieces to rest, covered with plastic, for 1 hour.
  8. Shape into ficelles (short, thin baguettes).
  9. Proof en couche or on parchment paper dusted with semolina for 45 minutes.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 500F with baking stone in middle rack and a cast iron skillet and a metal loaf pan on the lowest rack. Preheat 45 minutes or longer before baking.
  11. 3-5 minutes before baking, place a handful of ice cubes in the loaf pan. Shut the oven door. Bring water to a boil.
  12. Transfer the ficelles to a peel and load them onto the baking stone. Pour one cup of boiling water into the skillet. Close the oven door.
  13. Turn the oven down to 480F.
  14. After 10 minutes, remove the loaf pan and the skillet from the oven.
  15. Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until the loaves are nicely colored, the crust is hard all around and the bottom gives a hollow sound when tapped. Internal temperature should be at least 205F.
  16. Cool on a rack completely before slicing.
Anis Bouabsa is a young Parisian boulanger who won the prize for the best baguettes in Paris in 2008. He gave Janedo, a French home baker extraordinaire and a member of TFL, his formula, and Jane shared it with us. He uses a technique of a long, cold fermentation which has been used, with variations, by a number of contemporary French bakers.In addition to producing wonderfully flavored bread, it also permits the home baker to make bread using two blocks of about 2-3 hours rather than requiring longer time blocks. For example, I mixed the dough yesterday evening after dinner. I took it out of the refrigerator at about 4:30 pm this afternoon, and we ate it with dinner at 7:30 pm.These ficelles sang loudly coming out of the oven. I cooled them for only 20-30 minutes. The crust was very crunchy, and the crumb had a sweetness that would make one think there was sugar in the dough. Very yummy.Variations on Bouabsa's formula, adding 100 gms of sourdough starter and substituting 10% rye or whole wheat flour for an equal amount of white flour, make a delicious pain de campagne, which has become a favorite bread of several of us.This is described in my blog entries under "Pain de Campagne" and "San Joaquin Sourdough."Enjoy!David

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Anis Bouabsa's baguettes

 

Anis-Boabsa-baguettes

Anis-Boabsa-baguettes Crumb

Anis-Boabsa-baguettes Crumb

 

Last month, Janedo visited the bakery of Anis Bouabsa in Paris. This young baker had won the prize for the best baguettes in Paris this year. Jane was able to acutally meet M. Bouabsa, and he generously shared his formula and techiniques with her, which she then generously shared with us at TFL. See her blog topic: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8066/great-baguette-quest-n%C2%B03-anis-bouabsa Eric (ehanner} and Howard (holds99} have successfully made baguettes from the recipe I extracted from Jane's notes. I attempted them once with poor results, but that was while on vacation, in a rented house on the Oregon coast. I was eager to try these baguettes again with my familiar home oven and equipment. I was happy with the results, although not completely. Formula for Anis Bouabsa's Baguettes Flour 500 gms (about 3.85 cups of AP flour) Water 375 gms (about 13.25 oz or about 1-2/3 cups) Yeast 1/4 tsp (for instant yeast) Salt 10 gms (about 2 tsp) Mix ingredients and knead. Ferment for 1 hour, folding every 20 minutes. Refrigerate for 21 hours. Divide right out of refrigerator and pre-shape. Rest for one hour. Shape. Proof for 45 minutes. Score and Bake at 250C (480F) for 20-25 (?) min. Notes: I used King Arthur French Style Flour, filtered tap water, Balene Sea Salt and SAF instant yeast. The dough was initially quite gloppy. I did a few french folds with minimal change in it. I then placed it in a covered glass bowl and folded every 20 minutes for an hour. Even before the first of these, after a 20 minute rest, the dough had come together nicely. It was still a bit sticky, but the gluten was forming surprisingly well. After the 3rd folding, I refrigerated the dough for 22.5 hours, then proceded per the recipe above. The dough actually almost doubled in the refrigerator. It continued to form bubbles after preforming and the formed baguettes rose to about 1.5 times during proofing. I baked with steam at 460F with convection for 10 minutes, then for another 10 minutes at 480F without convection. I let the loaves rest in the turned off and cracked open oven for another 5 minutes. I got nice oven spring and bloom. One of the loaves burst along the side. In hindsight, I probably didn't seal the seam well enough in forming it. The crust was more crunchy than crackly - a bit thicker than standard baguettes. The crumb was fairly open with a cool, tender/chewy mouth feel. The taste was not bad but not as sweet as classic baguettes. I wonder why. I'm going to have some tonight with chicken cacciatore (made yesterday), buttered broad beans and fedelini. Matter of fact, I better go get it all going! David

Kaiser rolls are great for picnics, sandwiches, and other summertime meals. The hardest part about making them is shaping them. If you want them to be perfect, order yourself a kaiser roll stamp. Or you can roll out the dough out and knot it the way Peter Reinhart suggests in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Below I'll show you the technique I've found easiest.

The recipe I'm using is a cross between Bernard Clayton's recipe and Peter Reinhart's recipe. Peter's recipe uses a pre-ferment, the one I've listed below does not. You can adjust this recipe to use a pre-ferment quite easily: simply throw in some old dough if you want to use a pate fermentee. Or pull out a cup of the flour and 1/2 a cup of the water and 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast, mix them together, and let them sit out in a covered bowl overnight to create a poolish. Either technique will result in a more flavorful roll, but if you are going to be making sandwiches slathered in mustard or a sharp cheese, something likely to overwhelm the flavor of the bread, the extra work is probably not warranted.

Kaiser Rolls
Makes 8-12 rolls, depending on how large you like them
3 1/2-4 cups (1 lb.) bread or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon malt powder
1 tablespoon shortening, butter, or oil
1 egg
1 egg white
1 1/4 cups (10 oz.) water

Combine 3 cups of the flour and the other dry ingredients in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix in the water, eggs, and shortening. Knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes or 5-7 minutes in a mixer, adding more flour by the handful as necessary. The dough should still be tacky but not terribly wet. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. Allow it to rise a second time for an hour before shaping. To shape the rolls, divide the dough into smaller pieces (if you are particular, use a scale to get them the same size). Roll the pieces of dough into balls and cover them with a damp kitchen towel so they can relax for 5 minutes.

To shape them, first I press them out into flat disks on a well floured surface (Clayton suggests using rye flour, though any type of flour will do). I let them rest, covered, another 5 minutes. Then I stretch the dough a bit thinner again and fold pieces up into the center.

Finally I press down in the center to seal it up tight.

I place them face down on a sheet pan covered with poppy seeds while they are rising for the final hour.

One could just as well let them rise face up and then spritz them with water and sprinkle the poppy seeds on, but doing it this way prevents the seals from splitting while they rise.

Preheat the oven to 450 during the final rise. Just before placing them in the oven, flip the rolls upright. You want to have steam in the oven when you bake them, so use whatever technique you prefer: squirting them with water, squirting the oven sides with water, pouring boiling water in a preheated cast-iron pan or a cookie sheet. These rolls take around 20 to 25 minutes to bake. I suggest rotating the pan once 10 minutes into it so they'll brown evenly.

Related Recipe: Potato Rosemary Rolls.

Kaiser Rolls

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a_warming_trend

A Weekend Roundup (And One Simple Formula)

Phew. I've baked for a number of friends over the last few days! Many of them just wanted or needed a very generalized designation of "bread" for events, so I was able to experiment a bit with sourdough baking.

Disclaimer: All ciabatte described are "pre-dabrownman-flip-recommendation," so don't judge me too harshly...I still haven't acquired a second pastry scraper, so all ciabatta experiments are on a temporary hold...

Saturday, I baked some whole wheat ciabatte and a few small simple batards.

also, a small parmesan-encrusted boule, and a small sesame-encrusted batard.

 

Then on Sunday, a few more ciabatte -- this time with cream cheese and chive. 

 

And then just this morning, Monday, before work: A simple 80% hydration batard with 5% levain. Still working on my shaping. Still striving for those ears. 

Because my friend just emailed me saying that this was her favorite bread I've given her, I'll post a very basic formula:

Ingredients:

425 g AP flour

50 g whole wheat flour

375 g water 

5 g wheat germ

11 g salt

10 g sugar (in place of 5 g malt)

50 g 100% hydration white starter 

Steps:

1) Mix flour and water, and autolyse at room temperature for 6-12 hours. 

2) Incorporate all other ingredients using the pincer method. This should take about 4 minutes. You'll notice that because the dough was already so wet, incorporating that small amount of 100% hydration levain, salt, sugar, and wheat germ is a surprisingly smooth process. 

3) Stretch and fold vigorously every 30 minutes for 3 hours. The number of turns depends on how the dough feels! Anywhere from 1-4 turns (4-16 folds), each session, performing the turns until the whole mass of dough wants to lift from the container.  

4) Rest on the counter for 8-12 hours, until dough has increased 80% - 100%, but no more.

5) Retard for 2-24 hours.

6) Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough in the container, and allow the flour to coat the edges as you gently release it. Pour onto a floured surface and rest for 10 minutes.

7) Shape and place seam-side up in a a brotform of some kind, cover with plastic, and proof at room temperature for 1.5 hours. 

8) Place  the brotform in the freezer for 15 minutes (I really like this freezer trick for high-hydration doughs proofed at room temperature...I genuinely think it helps with ovenspring!).

9) Score and bake at 460 for 20 minutes with steam, 25 minutes without.

The recipient has confirmed the appropriateness of the loaf for egg-dipping. 

More soon!

--Hannah

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