Well, I leave the baking of breads to Floyd (my husband, and the webmaster of this site), but I figured I'd post this in my baking blog here because, well, maybe someone would find it fun (and besides, I suspect Floyd won't mind). Our son turned 4 on Sunday, and for his birthday he wanted to have a Pirate Party. So, I made him a Pirate Ship Cake!
read more to see how it was done!
My boy wanted a strawberry cake, and I was a bit surprised at how pink the thing turned out to be. A few calculated slices and some picks to keep the pieces from falling, and we'd turn this into the scariest strawberry cake on the seven seas!
There's the pirate ship! I left the mast off until we arrived at the pizza parlor where we planned to have the party.
The ship was named after the birthday boy, with sugar skulls and a grape fruit-roll flag, pirouline cookie cannons, and chocolate malt-ball cannon balls
which turned out to be quite popular with the kids.
Arr there be a treasure chest filled with gems and dubloons by the cap'n too!
There she is, all assembled. The ice-cream cone crows nest was supported by a straw nestled inside of more pirouine cookies. The only part that wasn't edible (aside from the picks that held the shape of the ship and the straw, was the pirate flag hanging from the top of the mast. Oh, and the pirates of course.
Don't make bread when you're sleep deprived!
Mix everything but the yeast and salt into the dough before letting it autolyse!
I'm making potato rosemary rolls again (thank you for the clarification, Floydm) but incorporating the autolyse and cool rise techniques. I was half asleep at the time and thought it was a good idea to mix in the potatoes and proofed yeast while I knead. Mixing the yeast into the autolysed dough wasn't a problem but the potatoes didn't do so well - the kneaded dough has chunks of potatoes, spices, and whatnot randomly dispersed throughout but not blended. The dough is now rising in my fridge (or so I hope; I can never tell whether the dough has risen by eye) and it will be shaped and baked in the morning. I'll try to apply some gentle CPR to break up the potatoes then.
I started making bread about six months ago, I've been enjoying making bread so much that I've started TAFE to become a baker. My goal when I started was to produce a soft white sandwich bread in as short a time as possible. Now that I can do that I'll share what I've learnt. The first thing that I think is important is to use percentages and weight I do not measure by cups etc, I also keep an eye on time and temperature. Since approaching breadmaking with an engineers hat on so to speak my bread has improved considerably. So here is how I make a rapid bread from start to finish in about two hours.
First I work out how much dough I need, today I'm going to do two baguettes at 450g and a lunch loaf at 550g which is about the maximum capacity of my oven, using two oven shelves never seems to work. So I need a dough of 1450g and I'm using the following formula.
2% Olive Oil
Total -- 164%
I would usually use bakers flour and 1% bread improver however I wanted to test a cheap all-purpose flour with a protein content of 10.8% (Savings Brand in Austraila) and to see the result of no improver.
For my weights I do the following.
1450g / 1.64 = 884g -- dough weight divided by our 164% gives the required flour weight.
884 * 58% = 513g -- All other percentages are relative to the flour.
884 * 2% = 18g -- Salt
884 * 2% = 18g -- Olive Oil
884 * 1% = 9g -- Sugar
884 * 1% = 9g -- Yeast
I weigh my flour then add other dry ingredients to the flour and give it a good mix with a spoon. Next I start mixing slowly with a stand mixer whilst adding the liquids, once all is mixed I let it sit for anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes to let the dough relax.
On a higher speed I work the dough for roughly 8-10 minutes. At this point I want a dough with temperature of about 28°C, I usually get the water temperature(20-22°C with the current warm weather) set by adding a couple of ice cubes(tap water is about 26°C here) to a jug of water before weighing the water off. Kneading the dough will warm it up a bit which is allowed for in the water temperature.
I pull the dough out and give it a "window check" if it's not up to scratch I'll give the dough some hand work. I've seen mentioned here somewhere not to tear the dough but this is exactly what I've been taught at TAFE and hence what I do which rapidly develops the gluten. I suppose there are many schools of thought on kneading :-)
I then let the dough sit again for 10 minutes to again relax the dough before shaping. I split the dough into the required weights and shape. For the lunch loaf I would usually punch down and roll a baguette shape, cut in half and put in the tin with pointy ends in the middle. But today I tried splitting the dough in half and putting 2 balls in, my loaf suffered as I didn't degas it before balling it (almost no oven spring).
For the baguettes I punched down the dough folded the sides in and then rolled it whilst maintaining tension. I slice the baguettes before prooving as doing so afterwards can be difficult. For prooving I use a plastice storage container to which I add boiling water for steam. The rise takes about 30-60 minutes and may sometimes need more boiling water added to keep the heat up if the weather is cooler.
A spray of water and some seeds and into the oven at 220°C. I pour some water onto an oven tray on the bottom of the oven for steam. I turn the temperature down to 210°C and bake for approximately 25 minutes, a bit shorter for baguettes and rolls sometimes and usually a bit longer for loaves.
From todays effort I can say I rushed a bit and should have left the dough in the proover longer and the gluten was a little under developed. But not a bad result considering my mistakes and cheap flour and it still tasted good with some brie ;-)
I'm brand new to the website, and love all the helpful hints! I am also brand new to breadmaking, and am FASCINATED by the art of breadmaking. I've been a serious home chef for years, and have mastered (or so I like to think) many different appetizers and entrees, but have never taken the time to bake...until now! I'm using "The Breadmaker's Apprentice" and having great success. I use his hearth baking technique, and preheat a heavy pan to add water to at the beginning. I've tried both top and bottom, and haven't really seen much of a difference in the crust. What I have found to work EXTREMELY well generating steam is to take a regular old plastic 16oz. water bottle from Costco or wherever, and poke 6 or 7 holes in the top. I used the point of a corkscrew to make the holes...but any sharp object will do. For the three or four steam injections I think you'll find that it creates an amazing amount of steam as compared to a squirt bottle. Also, it dramatically cuts down on the amount of time the oven door stays open, thus retaining a higher oven temperature throughout. One quick shot on each side of the oven only takes about 3 or 4 seconds total, and really kicks out a tremendous amount of water and steam!
Anyway, just a minor trick from a novice baker. Thanks for listening!
I didn't bake this weekend. I made waffles and pancakes, but that isn't really baking, is it?
I baked last weekend, both a sourdough and a poolish bread, but I've been swamped. Work is busy and I'm doing some freelancing on the side, I'm taking a Spanish class, and I've really gotten sucked in to rereading The Iliad. Twisted, eh?
Probably the most bread-like thing I did this weekend was watch The Tick vs. The Breadmaster. If you have broadband and twenty minutes to kill, it is an amusing cartoon.
A couple of weeks ago I ordered a used copy of Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf from a bookseller in Ipswich. I'm hoping it'll get here soon and that it'll kick me into the baking mood again.
Thought someone out there would enjoy the soap opera of a sourdough newbie..LOL!
I have been studying the techniques of many mentors here..I had my notes on the long
proof of my starter,autolysing, folding & shaping, slack doughs, retarded rise..too many
facts for my feeble brain I fear!! I took my starter out Friday, poured out but 1/4 cup
and fed with 1/2 c flour & 1/2 cup H2O..a little later bubbling and very happy..into the
oven with the light on overnight..Saturday morning (12 hours later)slowing down..so I feed
& back into the oven. Sunday morning..I think I waited too long..still bubbling..but there
is hooch too. I mix my starter, yeast,milk,lemon juice & flour..cover and let sit 30 min.
Un oh..really stiff so I add a bit of H2O..way too sticky..then flour..still a mess.
I cover and decide to let it sit for 45 min..while I make Sunday breakfast..french toast,
fresh strawberries & bacon. My husband decides to assist and dumps the dough out on the
bread board ..OK..I tell him wait..not ready yet and cover it up. We eat..I go back
to my doughy mess..hmm not too bad..dough has relaxed ..so I fold..put it to rest ..I'm in
the shower and now remember I haven't put in the salt, sugar and olive oil!!..another 45 min
has gone by and it has risen..Hmm..I know I am committing bread suicide..I pour my dough into my food processor..add the salt, sugar and olive oil and do the wicked deed..and pray.
I let it rest again..fold and back into the bowl. A hour later..it has risen nicely..so
I divide and fold and into the fridge ... and so the sourdough rises.. I hope
I do have a dilemma..usually I get out of work at 2:30 PM..but tomorrow 5:30..
if my house is pretty cool ..in the 60's ..can I take my bread out of the fridge to rise
@ 6AM ish? so I can bake tomorrow night..and/or can I wait until Tuesday to bake..when I
get home earlier?
I just opened th oven and burst out laughing... Looks like my boule might have been a bit underproofed 'cuz it practically exploded in the oven. Silly looking for sure. Hopefully it'll be tasty though!
i don't know how to put it in words...nor describe that intangible feeling...but whenever i make bread i just feel so content. i can compare it to painting a mural or writing a great story. the process is as important as the result. there are so many things i don't know about it...maybe that's why i keep on relishing the experience on making bread by hand. anyone out there who can relate? it'll be some kind of affirmation that i'm not odd or something similar. does anyone have an idea on how to bottle the aroma of freshly baked bread? : )
I made some beer bread on Saturday and held back some of my dough to make a second batch once my Super Peel arrived - the first batch was very good, so I have no complaints over making it again.
The Super Peel seems fantastic! I am a little wary of using it just because gadgets that seem easy to me always seem to blow up in my face, but I shaped my dough and let it do its final rise on the peel, and then had absolutely no trouble transferring the dough to the baking stone - something that's been quite a headache in the past. I bake bread primarily on the weekends, so I'm anxiously awaiting this weekend when I'll be able to put the Super Peel through some more rigorous testing.
Oh, and I got one of my sourdough starters in the mail today - still waiting for another 1 from SDI, but hopefully that one will be here in the next few days too... It's been too long since I've made sourdough, and I can't wait to start making it again - hopefully it will mean no more commercial yeast for me.