The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Look no further - good bread is as near to home as it is far away

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Look no further - good bread is as near to home as it is far away

It was Dan DiMuzio who first brought to my attention that people who came from a pastry background are more sensitive to ideas about design and fashion when they become bread bakers.  I regularly visit a Brisbane specialty chef and bakers store to see what's new.  I was there last week looking for a gigantic stainless steel bowl for long batard or gigantic miche baking one day.  Just about I was leaving, I glanced over the New Arrival books section.  I was almost sure I had already had all the books in the world that I ever wanted to purchase, but no harm browsing.  Bourke Street Bakery?  Hmmm, what's that?  Um, the sourdough on the cover page looks gooooood, deep score with very rustic exterior. 

                                          

                                                Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam & David McGuinness 

What? A bakery in Surry Hills, Sydney!  That's near where we used to live (well, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge).   I read, on page 10, "Baking is part science, part stoneground milling and part river-running romance.  But it's not the romance that will keep your baking consistently good, it's the science....  If you take our electric deck oven and mixer from the production process, you are not far away from how bakeries would have operated in the 16th century."  Just those few words would get in into their bakery! 

Courtesy of Paul Allam, following are a couple of photos from the book: 

                          

                                                Page 110                                                                                     Page 104 

This is the exact book that I've been waiting for from a bakery - full of bread pictures and unpretentious, rustic, and mouth-watering pastries for a home cook.  Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt's Tartine Bakery cookbook is very good but it is only cakes and pastries.  I have been waiting for their bread book.  Now I won't have to.  

For this post, I have made the humble beef pie, page 194.  As Paul and David said in the book, "If you ask most people, 'What is Australian cuisine?' they will often answer, 'The meat pie.'  ... A bad pie is just un-Australian."  They gave their pie to Paul's father, the chief "pie eater," to try; his father claimed that it had "too much flavour!" (page 197).  Well, just how I like it.  The following are my pies based on their recipe with minor variations: 

 

          

                                                                                                               

 

I told my husband about these pies; he asked for one to be reserved for him.  I quickly shuffled two into the freezer before my children gobble them up.  Yozza, if there were same-day freezer courier service for home cooks (as in Taiwan), I would have loved to send one (no, I would send two) for you to try.   For these pies, I used the best available puff pastry: Carême all butter puff pastry, handmade, from Barossa, South Australia.   I had not wanted to make my own puff pastry.

 

                             

 

Also in this post, I have included pictures of a bread that I made last week to try to finish up some old flour that I had.  This levain bread is 1/3 golden semolina flour, 1/3 WW, and 1/3 bread flour (72% overall hydration):  

 

       

                                                                                                                  

                         

 

I find semolina gives a tough texture to the bread, not to my liking.  I should have added olive oil (3% will do) to soften the crumb.  Honey would also have benefited the crumb as semolina has sort of a bland taste. 

As I was slicing the bread, Polly was waiting ever so patiently for her share: 

 

                                            

 

It has been very wet for the last few days where we are.  Our dam is finally back up to 80% capacity, last seen eight years ago.  Some remote towns are flooded and the radio reporter couldn't even pronounce their names.  Our lawn is now moss green.  The bamboos outside my tea room are alive to have been bathed in rain.  I felt like in Japan over the last few days where some parts of the country rain for two-thirds of the year.  Outside my windows I saw squirrels coming out to stretch and leap.  And, a baby goanna came to visit my lawn!  He was not scared of me.  As I moved closer to take the shot, he stood still, turned his head and smiled.  What a fine showing.  Is he a dinkum Aussie animal

 

                                         

 

How often do you hear people say that the best view from their house is from the worst spot of the house?  Maybe not in Australia, but certainly in Taiwan where apartment buildings are so congested.  I never forget one day, one of the high school teachers, with whom I still keep in contact, led me to the side of her meditation room to sneak a view of the mountain against which her apartment is situated.  The containment and satisfaction on her face!  Well, it was a clear night some months ago, one of those drought weather nights, which seems so far away now that the rain has come back to us in Queensland, Australia.  I was getting ready for bed; for some reason I stuck my head out of my bathroom window, facing south-west.  And, WO!, there were a cluster of stars as bright as glistering tinsels from my childhood Christmas card, which I had never seen before.  What was going on in the night sky?

I ran out to my front balcony.  As I saw more and more stars, I went closer and closer down the steps to my front lawn, and in the end, standing in the wide open, with my jaws dropped, looking at the ... Milky Way.  

I had never looked at that side of the night sky before.  I had always looked at the other side for... the Southern Cross.  That night the Southern Cross wasn't there. 

When I came back up my balcony again, what I saw 10 - 15 minutes ago had largely disappeared - how fast had the Earth spun just in that time.  But that night I went to sleep with Milky Way in me.

 

Shiao-Ping

Comments

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"The best view from the house is from the worst spot of the house."

I like that.  

I think you found the spot for my garden bench.   

The pie looks too yummy!  And all the breads too!  I wonder how many bakers, home and professional have been influenced by your breads? 

Mini

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Maybe when you are temporarily not mini-oven, you could let us know by having a different name, like "monstrous-oven"?  (People in old China, especially the literati, gave themselves many fancy names for different occasions.  The more names they had, the more famous they were.  Hehehe....) 

Shiao-Ping

p.s.  By the way, my son suggested that name. 

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

I think it's an eastern water dragon not a goanna, much cuter than a goanna.

The pies and bread look so good.

Liz

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Is that right?!   Glad that we sort that out.   Oh you said he is much cuter than a goanna, you are probably right.  When I was browsing on the net to try to pick on picture of a goanna, all that came up were huge reptile looking things. 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Shiao-Ping,

I envy your ability to see such a magnificent sight as the Southern Cross. A visually powerful beacon in the night sky. Only to be seen in the Southern Hemisphere as it works out.

The meat pie has me drooling. So much so I found the book on Amazon and purchased it. Here we make meat pies wrapped in foil and paper to send below in the miners lunch bucket so he will have a warm lunch after hours of hard work in the cold mine. (or at least that's how they used to do it). The puff pastry sounds so much nicer.

Thank you for an inspirational post this fine morning here in the cold North.

Eric

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Great post and I would love to get that book... I followed your link and they want $65.95 for that book and on amazon.com it was like $30.00 so ahop for the best price.

I'll be ordering that book today thank you for the review.

Faith

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

when I first looked at it (something like $90) and that was why I showed the fishpond link.  I am glad to hear that Amazon.com now has better prices.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

the "Southern Cross" were the Southern Cross because they looked so not like a cross.   My husband said they were.   He pointed to a very bright star (or may even be two stars) from the Southern Cross and said they are pointing to the direction of the actual Southern Cross.  The Milky Way are more amazing (if they were Milky Way).   Sometimes I think I'd like to be an astronaut, but the science bit would really take all the fun out.

Funny you should say that meat pies are (or were) eaten by miners.  I was going to include a few sentences to that effect but decided that I better not say anything that I don't know for sure.  We were driving in a remote town somewhere and there were meat pies in every take-out place.  There is a similar thing called ... sorry, the name escaped me, it normally has chicken and mashed potatoes and comes in a triangular pouch (made of some sort of butter pastry).  I use the idea and make mini Chinese "pao" (Chinese word for pouch) and they are always popular with our guests.

Shiao-Ping

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your baking has me drooling too!  How about that meat pie...puff pastry really makes it gourmet and gorgeous.  I'm looking at the sprig of rosemary..could this be lamb meat pies?...delicious!  Beautiful book, pooch and the little guy in the grass.. adorable.

added:  Just looked up the book on Amazon and ordered it..I have been wanting to make some puff or danish pastry all week..but have been under the weather with this head cold...so now I have it to look forward to when Iam feeling better ; )

Sylvia 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Yes, rosemary often goes with the lamb.   To make up for the 900 grams of beef that is requred for the recipe, I subsituted some lamb for the beef.

Shiao-Ping

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Depending on how much butter there is in the ready-made puff pastry, it will sweat in room temperature as you work on it.  The better (the more butter) in the puff pastry, the more it sweats (depending on your room temperature of course).   But any puff pastry will do.  Mine is a sheet weighing 375 grams and measuring 27 cm x 27 cm x 0.4 cm.  What I do is:

(1) After it's defrosted enough to work, I cut it by half (half is for the bottom and the sides, and the other half is for the top).  I use a muffin tin.  The bottom and the sides will work out to be much bigger area than just the top; so if I were to have them all even thickness, I would cut out a slightly bigger half for the bottom and sides.  But I have found with meat pies, it is best to have thin crust on the bottom and sides, and have a thicker crust on the top for the flaky effect.   If your crust on the bottom is thick, it will just be squashed under the weight of fillings and be soggy. 

(2) Cut each half to six pieces.  Dust flour on all of them (to absorb moisture) *.  Be generous on the flour (to keep pieces from sticking to each other).  Place these on a tray in the refrigerator.

(3) Grease your muffin tin in butter or spray with oil, then dust the muffin tin in flour (shake out excess flour).

(4) Take only 2 or 3 pieces of puff pastry out each time to work.  First, do the bottom and sides.  Roll out each piece to quite thin (maybe 0.2 cm thickness), like a big square- ish shape, then, place this on the muffin hole, trim the four edges (save the edges, you may need them for patching).  Quickly move the muffin tin into the fridge, then, work on the next one.  If your room temperature is, say, below 20 C / 68 F, you probably won't need to place your muffin tin in the fridge while you are working.  If, any time, you find your puff pastry is getting too soft or sweaty, dust more flour on it.  But you'll want to work as fast as you can to avoid having to put too, too much flour. 

One way to roll out the piece to a round disc is if it started out round. * Before you dust any flour on the small cut-pieces, you squish them in your palm to little round balls.

(5) Once all the bottom and sides are done, you fill the holes with your beef fillings (or even chicken in mushroom creamy sauce, anything you like with a thick sauce), the sauce has to have already cooled down or it will be bad for the puff pastry.  After that, place this thing back to the fridge. 

The flour that we dusted on the puff pastry will also protect our pies from being soggy.  (It is a trick I learned from making apple pies.)

(6) Roll out the remaining puff pastry to fit the top, one piece at a time (maybe 0.35 cm thickness).  Before you roll, use kitchen shears to cut four corners out so it is easier to roll it into a round piece, but don't cut too much off, you want to have enough to join the sides.

(7) Press the top and the sides together to close the gap.  Place the muffin tin back to the fridge as you go (I am sure if it were winter here, it won't be so troublesome).  

(8) Once all done, cut a sliver of 1 to 1.5 cm wide on the top (to allow steam to escape) and bake!

 

Bertel's picture
Bertel

Wow great stuff! Any change on some more information on the semolina? I make one ( not as good as yours) which is more like 60 semolina and 40 normal bread flour. I guess yours is sourdough? Compliments, stiil have to finish your thread on the Poilane.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

My levain was a white levain, and 25% baker's percentage.  It was a simple bread, 2 + 1/2 hours bulk (or may even be 3 hours) and 1 + 1/4 hours proof.   When I use a banneton for proofing, I tend to do longer bulk and shorter proof so the shaped dough doesn't stick.

Bertel's picture
Bertel

K. Thx I'll give it a try. I also wondered how you bake it but I gather I can info on that in Poilane thread.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Your pies look just as good as your bread does shiao-ping, I can almost taste  it from here. I may be going to Queensland (the state of high hydration) later in the year so perhaps i'll bring the Frankland Shiraz and we can wash down a pie or two then!

Regards Yozza

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thanks for the compliments.

Regards, Shiao-Ping

yozzause's picture
yozzause

At last we have after 110 days with only .02mm of rain had A DOWN POUR it's done quite a lot of damage and was quite frightning, back to sunny days again now.

I had a bithday over the week end and a complete suprise was the BOURKE STREET BAKERY, bought by my wife, as a present it really is a good read.  

So we will be able to sign from the same hymn book now Shiao- Ping.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

That sounds like a lovely birthday present.  Hope you had a nice birthday over the weekend.

Shiao-Ping