The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hanseata's picture
hanseata

Multigrain Pitas - The Tasty Pocket

The owner of A&B Naturals, the store that sells my bread, asked me one day: "Can you bake pitas, too?" I had never made them, so I said with conviction: "Yes!"

At least I knew where I could find a pita recipe!

In "Whole Grain Breads", one of my favorite baking books, Peter Reinhart has a recipe for whole wheat pitas - just the right thing for my grain loving customers.

I started my first pita dough. No big deal, until I got to the shaping part. The pitas had to be rolled out no thinner than 1/4 inch (6 mm), and to an 8-inch (20 cm) diameter. But my pitas already reached this thickness at 6 1/2 to 7 inches (16 to 18 cm.)

Pitas are shaped in three steps, first into rolls, then rolled out to 4"/10 cm. Don't skimp on the flouring!

Below: rolling out pitas to a larger round (6 1/2 - 7" or 16 - 18 cm.) Re-flour them, if necessary.

A high oven temperature is key to a pita's proper horizontal separation into two layers. This high temperature has to be maintained during the whole bake, from below as well as from above.

Many cheaper ovens don't heat up to the necessary 550ºF (280ºC.) Without that boost pitas can't produce the large gas bubble that creates a pocket. And without a pocket - no delicious filling!

A baking stone, or a rack lined with unglazed terracotta tiles (like I have), works best for keeping the  temperature stable, even when the oven door has to be opened several time during the baking process. And very hot stones make the best baking surface for pitas, too.

To reheat fast enough after each opening of the door I remembered Peter Reinhart's advice for baking pizza ("American Pie"), where the problem is the same: intermittently switching the oven to broil for a short time.

How many pitas can you bake at the same time? One batch of dough makes 8 (or 6, if you want larger ones.) Peter Reinhart says one at a time, but, of course, being a semi-professional I wanted to do it a little less time consuming.

After some trials, I found that I can put two at the same time in the oven. That's the maximum, with more it becomes very difficult to load and unload them without damage, and to keep control over their baking process.

2 pitas can be baked at the same time. Once out of the oven, they deflate quickly.

Of course, it takes a little bit of experience to slide the pitas into the oven without them folding over in one place, and to extricate them without nicking them with the peel.

But it's not rocket science, a smart child can do it:

  Josh, our carpenter's son, thought it was much more fun to help with my baking than reading his book!

Though Peter Reinhart's original 100% whole wheat pita is very good, I made a few changes to it. I substitute a 7-grain mix for some of the whole wheat flour, and add an overnight bulk rise in the fridge, this is more practical for my baking schedule, and, in my opinion, improves the taste even more. It also has the advantage that I can reduce the yeast amount by 2 grams.

Though I usually cut down on the sweetener in Peter Reinhart's recipes, this whole grain bread needs the full dose.

We like our pita filled with grilled Halloumi cheese, tomato and lettuce - the way we had it in Girne/Kyrenia on Cyprus. And how do my customers at A&B Naturals like them? They fly off the shelf so that I have to bake them every week!

Here is a link to the recipe in my blog "Brot & Bread".

thihal123's picture
thihal123

How to keep bread moist?

Is there a way to keep homemade bread moist for a longer period of time? My breads are pretty good (I'd think) for the first couple of days. After that, it gets slightly dry and begins to crumble easier. It's still good, but not what it was just two or three days ago. Any tricks I could use? My doughs are usually wet doughs and made with simple whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and sometimes sweetner like barley syrup, molasses, or honey (but sometimes no sweetner).

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Bolillos with poolish

Living in San Diego for school, I gained a love for the little rolls brought from the local panaderia down the street.  Like little mini batards, pulled from the oven and placed in bins alongside racks of pan dulces.  Alas, here in the oakland hills the closest panaderia is a 15-20 minute drive away, and the bolillos just aren't quite like the ones I used to get in San Diego.

Most of the recipies I've seen are straight-dough, and being that I can't leave well enough alone, I have developed the following recipe, based off of the Poolish Baguettes in Hamelman's Bread.  The percentages of fat and sugar are from a bakery near mexico city (I don't remember quite where).

Poolish:
166g Flour
166g Water
Pinch of yeast (less than 1/8 tsp)

Let poolish sit overnight or at least 8 hours, untill poolish begins to pucker in the middle.

Final Dough:
All of the Poolish
334g Flour
164g Water
15g Fat (Lard or shortning)
10g Salt
10g Sugar (unrefined cane or honey)
2g instant yeast

Mix everything but the salt together into a shaggy mass.  Let autolysis for at least 20 mins.  Add salt and kneed dough untill it passes a windowpane test.  Let rise until doubled.  Divide into 6-8 pieces, preshape into rounds and let bench rest for 10 mins.  Shape into ovals and place into a floured couche like you would for baguettes.  Preheat oven to 500F at least 45 minutes before baking.  Slash bolillos once lengthwise and place into oven. Bake for 5 mins with steam at 500F then turn down oven to 450F for 10 mins (or untill a dark hazlenut color is achieved).  Remove breads and let cool (if you can).  Enjoy with some avocado, pickled jalapenos, ham, and farmers cheese, or just with some butter.

 

Bread behind is some oakland sourdough, made with Central Milling's type 70 high extraction flour.

 

eat.bread's picture
eat.bread

New Oven

Hello wise bread bakers.

We are in the market for a new oven and would LOVE your advice on good, general use ovens that are especially friendly to baking artisinal breads. 

 

What's your favorite oven?!

Thanks!

Emily

 

freerk's picture
freerk

'Roti Durian Belanda' - sweet breakfast rolls with soursop filling

Blu d'a Mare

For the last leg of my recent holiday in Indonesia, I was in Lombok, or to be more specific; the Gili Islands; a threesome of small coral islands north-west of Lombok, with Gili Trawangang being the most developed island of the three.

 

The locals are descendants of Sulawesi fishermen (Bugis) mixed in with the 'local' Sasak from nearby Lombok.

There are no cars, no police and no dogs on Gili Trawangang, and all (!) cats have funny tails.

The art of snorkeling is practiced here by simply sticking your head under any water you can find.

Donkeys rule the streets by local ordinance, no motorized vehicles are allowed on land.

I spent my time at Blu d'Amare. A wonderful  small resort with trattoria, right on the beach, run by an Italian couple. Moreno, the man about the house, takes out his boat early in the morning to go fishing. The same tuna he wrestles out of the water bare handed, is in the carpaccio on your plate that same afternoon.

On top of that they bake their own bread, which was the reason I decided to book with them in the first place!

 

   

Blu d'aMare

To thank the lady of the manor Sandra, her hubby Moreno and their staff, I have been busy coming up with a sweet breakfast roll in their honor. I made my version of 'Roti Maros' from Sulawesi - basically an enriched sweet jam-filled bun - and replaced the durian filling with soursop jelly. The 'durian belanda' (=soursop) is considered to be a for whimps by the locals, so if you want to be brave, use the real thing :-) But don't say I didn't warn you when you do! It also works well with any other jam or fruit in season.

Durian Belanda 

A Dutch person is called a 'Belanda' in Indonesia. It literally means "Holland". But just like with the word 'Bakra' in Surinam, another former Dutch colony,  it has a teasingly derogatory connotation when used by the locals.

That probably explains why there is a fruit named after the Dutch in Indonesia. The 'Durian Belanda', also known to the rest of the world as soursop is a fruit that more or less tastes and looks like the Durian, but doesn't come with that one thing this 'king of fruits' is known for and probably cursed over by many a Dutch colonizer when the time of the year would come around that the (up to 3 kg!) ripe durians would fall to the ground...

 

Low hanging fruit

In the middle of the night a man travels from Makassar all the way to Tana Toraja, Sulawesi. After about half an hour on the road, the bus comes to a screeching halt. The driver shuts off the engine, and, turning on his chair, faces his passengers with the same blank stare he has been using to negotiate the treacherous moonlit Indonesian roads. 

Without discussion the passengers start drawing their wallets. Some throw it at the driver. He picks them out of the air like low hanging fruit. A few walk to the front, fork out some rupiahs, and go back to their seats without muttering as much as a word. 

The driver squints in the dark and scans the bus. The man has instinctively reached for his wallet by now, albeit with an overtly puzzled look on his face. By the time he gets it out, the driver has slammed the door of the bus shut on his way out, leaving the man startled. Is this a stick up? Or just more government officials to be paid for services never rendered? 

Daniel from Makale

Daniel from Makale, who has been fast asleep with his mouth wide open at the window seat next to the man, wakes up. "Ah, Maros?" he mutters, with sleepy disappointment. He tugs on his make shift pillow, closes his eyes, opens his mouth and dozes off again. 

The man watches the sleeping Daniel as if to find some sort of proof in the features of this young man's face that he has been making this journey many times before. Then he carefully leans over to try and see what is going on outside. 

The door hisses open. The driver is back and carries a stack of white boxes. He is throwing the same blank stare around. He squints at the man leaning over Daniel. 

The sweet smell of freshly baked bread rolls through the bus. Wafts of warm sweet dough, butter, caramelized sugar together with something... undefined. By the look on the man's face it is beyond disturbing. The slow smell with a pungent punch makes the man's nose curl up, adding horror to the bewilderment already present in his eyes. 

Just about when that nasty, remotely fruity overtone of odor curls itself around the pleasant smell of freshly baked bread and starts choking it to death, Daniel from Makale wakes up with a jolt.

"Roti Maros!" he shouts into the man's armpit.

He aptly wriggles his way out of the chair before the man even gets a chance to get out of his way  and starts pleading with the driver. Passengers come to the front to collect their white boxes. Daniel gets off the bus, pointing his finger at the driver, not to go anywhere without him. 

By now, the evil stench, clearly emanating from the white boxes being passed around, has squeezed the life out of any association with freshly baked goods. Instead the entire bus smells of almonds, turpentine, rotten onion and size 15 gym socks after Polish Jesus' protégé Klecko and his treadmill are done with them, all at the same time.

Roti Maros 

Daniel from Makale comes back with a white box of his own. The driver shouts at him. Daniel from Makale shouts back and sits down next to the man with a big grin on his face. 

 

He opens the box. There are ten soft sweet white buns in there. Neatly stacked in two rows of five. A snug fit. Daniel from Makale takes out two buns, shreds them apart and offers one to the man. 

The man has managed to take control of his curling nose by now. No one in the bus seems phased by the horrid smell but him. Instead, big grins have appeared on all sleepy travelers' faces, and there is animated chatter as every one digs into their 'Roti Maros'. The man takes the offer.

 

 "Apa yang bau?" The man asks Daniel. What is that smell?

Daniel from Makale laughs. He takes a big bite from his roll. A brown glob of jam oozes out.

"Durian"

"Ah!" The man says. "That explains a lot"




Roti Durian Belanda

(sweet breakfast rolls with a soursop jelly filling)

for the dough

375 gr / 13.2 oz lukewarm milk

115 / 4 oz gr butter

100 gr / 3.5 oz sugar

12 gr / 0.4 salt

2 eggs

± 812 gr / 28.6 oz all purpose flour

7 gr / 0.2 oz yeast

for the soursop jelly

370 ml soursop juice (can)

425 gr / 15 oz jam sugar (with pectin)

for decoration (optional)

powdered sugar

a little water

maple sugar

Method

making the dough

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer; the flour, the yeast, the salt and the sugar. Mix well. Slightly beat the two eggs and add them to the flour, together with the lukewarm milk and the soft butter. Mix on low speed until the dough is well developed and passes the window pane test, about 9 to 12 minutes.

Oil a container and put in the dough. Cover the container tightly with cling film and let the dough rise at room temperature until it is just about doubled in bulk (±1½ hours).

making the soursop jelly

To make the soursop jelly; heat up one can of soursop juice (about 370 ml) and add 425 gram of jam sugar to it. Bring to a boil, let it simmer for a few minutes, and then take the jelly of the heat. Give it a good stir and let it cool until it sets.

If jam-sugar isn't available, use normal sugar and add the appropriate amount of pectin. If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh soursop fruits, you might find this link to make your own soursop nectar useful!

Preheat the oven to  190° C / 375° F

forming the rolls

When the dough has doubled, turn it out on a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in pieces of about 80 grams and then shape them into balls. Cover and leave them to rest for about 10 minutes.

Make a deep dimple in the ball using your thumb.Put a moderate blob of soursop jelly in the middle and carefully wrap the dough around it, making sure to close the rolls properly, so as little as possible jelly oozes out during baking.

Cover and proof the rolls seam side down on a baking tray until they are puffy and ready for the oven, for about 20 minutes to half an hour.

Bake the rolls for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top, making sure to rotate the trays halfway through the bake to ensure even browning.

Dilute a little water into 3 TBS of powdered sugar and brush the tops of the rolls twice right after they come out of the oven. Dunk them in maple sugar and leave them on a rack to cool.

 

 

 

 

.

Freerk (BreadLab)

codruta's picture
codruta

40 Percent Caraway Rye

I'm posting this bread hoping that it will inspire other TFL members to bake it, because it is a great bread. It took me a long time till I decided to make it and now I regret that I haven't done it sooner. Full of flavor, easy to make and friendly with rye beginners, it is light and healthy and for my taste, it's perfect.

I followed mr. Hamelman's formula from "BREAD" page 194, with few modifications:

- I didn't used commercial yeast.

- I increased hydration from 68% to almost 73%.

-Instead of white flour I used a mix of 41% Malthouse Doves Farm (which is a mix of Brown Wheat Flour, Malted Wheat Flakes 15%, Rye Flour 3.6% and Malt Flour), 41% Whole Wheat Doves Farm (but I removed the big brans) and 18% white flour austrian W 480 (mehl griffig).

For those who don't have the book, eric (ehanner) posted the formula on his blog, a few years ago (here is the link to the formula).

For the quantities and details of the method I used, please visit my romanian blog (translation available), link here.

 

 

Hope you'll make this bread as soon as you can! Happy baking to all of you!

codruta

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

hamburger bun question

How many ounces of dough are used to make hamburger buns?

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Flora, Fauna & Pane

A lovely weekend on the North Coast of California. 

First, the Fauna.  Our yard seems to be the pasture of choice for our neighborhood herd of Mule Deer.  And the herd has grown in the last few weeks.  We’ve seen at least three new babies (we refer to them, collectively, as “The Fonz”).  And the young buckeroos were particularly rowdy this weekend.  After the pictures below were taken, a large group assembled not 20 yards from our porch (perhaps drawn by the smell of Focaccia buns baking; more likely by the dandelions in bloom).

Next, the Flora.  Cat and I pretend that our courtyard garden is a big pain to keep up, but the truth is we love working on it.  It’s been a while since I looked at it without making a mental list of the chores that need to be done.  But today, I was looking it over from the upstairs deck, and realized that it looks pretty great.  So I snapped a few photos.

And finally the Pane.  I saw an article in the food section of the SF Chronicle a week or two ago about the wonderful hamburgers at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa (http://www.sfgate.com/food/chefssecrets/article/Secrets-of-Bistro-Don-Giovanni-s-burger-3674609.php#page-3).  The story included their recipe for Focaccia Buns.  So, with lots of good stuff around for sandwiches (leftover Salmon and Tartar Sauce; leftover chicken and barbecue sauce), I tried it out.  This is about the quickest bread I’ve made (LOTS of yeast).  It takes about two hours from mis en place to baked.  The buns are good—they are tender and tasty and hold up to saucy fillings.  I’m sure they would be great grilled for burgers.

Here’s the recipe (with my added weight measurements):

Bistro Don Giovanni’s Focaccia Hamburger Buns

Makes 12

These buns are adapted from the ones made at Bistro Don Giovanni.  The buns can be made ahead, wrapped well and frozen for a couple of weeks.

         2 1/4 cups (540 g) whole milk

         1/2 ounce (14 g) instant dry yeast, about 1 1/2 tablespoons

         1/4 cup (55 g) olive oil + more as needed

         5 1/3 cups (730 g) all-purpose flour

         4 teaspoons (25 g) salt

Instructions: Line two rimmed baking pans with parchment; set aside.

Warm milk to about 100°-110° and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add the yeast and the 1/4 cup olive oil. Whisk to dissolve the yeast, then add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium, and continue to mix for about 2 more minutes.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until almost doubled, about 30-40 minutes. The dough should barely spring back pressed gently with your fingers.

Move oven racks to the middle and bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425° (400° if using a convection oven).

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4 ounces each). Shape each portion into a ball. Arrange balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart (about 6 per sheet). Brush each ball generously with olive oil and let rest 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, oil the palm of your hand, then use your palm to gently flatten each ball until the top is somewhat flat and the balls are shaped like buns.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the buns are light golden brown. If needed, switch pans from top to bottom and back to front for during the last couple of minutes for more even browning.

Place the pans on a rack, brush each bun lightly with olive oil, and let cool completely before slicing. Wrap individually and freeze if not using the same day.

*********************

And may each of you have an enjoyable third fiscal quarter.

Glenn

amart898's picture
amart898

Confectioner's Cream Stuffed phyllo pastry.

When I made some Danish the other day I had forgotten to make the confectioner's cream. So I made it, then realised oh I have to chill it for at least a few hours. I didn't have the time (working before the afternoon heat hits)  so I said well ill make something else with the cream later on. I thought well crispy, buttery phyllo pastry stuffed with a sweet cream would be GREAT. it was. The only thing I would want to change would be to add more sugar to the cream and maybe a little on the top of the pastry. I love using phyllo dough but it takes such a long time to complete what ever it is you are using it for. BUT ITS WORTH IT IN THE END!

It will help if you put a damp paper towel over the phyllo dough. Keeps the dough pliable and not crunchy.

One stick of butter. my guilty once in a while pleasure when I bake. ^_^

First layer of phyllo dough. To be followed by many more.

Final product before being baked at 320 degrees until golden. ( sorry I rarely time things)

My wonderful breakfast while waiting for the pastry to cook.

Golden brown pastry. Smells like HEAVEN in the house!

This one and a couple others others ARE MINE! muuahahaha

Came home from my night classes and only 2 were left! It was fair game i ate them as an appitizer ;)

Here is the recipe for the Cream I used Its from my Baking with Julia cook book.

Confectioner's Cream

  • 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbl cornstarch
  • 2 Tbl Sugar ( i would add more at least 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Get a microwave safe bowl, set your microwave to high and in the bowl mix together the half and half,cornstarch,sugar. Microwave for 1 minute stir then microwave one minute at a time for another 2 to 3 minutes. Or until the mixture somes to a slight boil and thickens slightly. While the liquid is heating whisk together the egg yolk and the vanilla in a small bowl. Then once the cream has been thickened Temp the eggs ( add a little of the cream to the egg and stir FAST AS HELL!) Then add the yolk to the cream and stir. Once the egg has been mixed in very well microwave again for another 30 seconds. let it come to room temp. then put plastic wrap over it pressing down on the cream and refridgerate over night or up to 3 days.

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Spicy Light Rye Sourdough - if you can't take the heat...

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Index for my blog entries

Got some Mexican red chili powder and red pepper flakes, holy moly, are they hot. Made some nice stews, then my thoughts automatically turned to bread...

Spicy Light Rye Sourdough
Note: make a 900g loaf

- levain
whole rye, 77g
water, 61g
rye starter (100%), 8g

1. Mix and let rise 12-16hours.

- final dough
bread flour, 456g
water, 300g
salt, 11g
Mexican red chili powder, 1TBSP
Mecican red pepper flakes, 1TBSP
all levain

2. Mix everything, autolyse for 20 to 60min,mix @ medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope.
3. Bulk rise at room temp (~75F) for about 2.5hrs. S&F at 30, 60, 90min.
4. Shape into batard, put in basketes smooth side down, put in fridge over night.
5. Next morning take the dough out to finish proofing, about 70min for me. Score.
6. Bake at 450F with steam(either put in preheated cast iron pot and cover with lid, or put dough on preheated baking stone and pour water in another cast iron pan to create steam) for the first 15min, take out the pan with water, keep baking for another 30-35min. Turn off oven and crack the door open a bit, and leave the breads inside for 10min before taking out.

Nice ears

REALLY nice crackling crust. Apparently steaming and baking temp/time hit the right combo this time, the crust is heavenly.

Since the chilis are potent enough, flavor is noticably spicy, which is just fine with me.

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