Adventures in breadmaking

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Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Celia » Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:15 am

A few weeks ago I made a fortuitous discovery - that my local bakery will sell me fresh compressed yeast at a ridiculous price - A$5 for a 1-kilogram block. Across the road, the large Chinese fruit store offers 12.5kg bags of bread flour for A$10/bag. The net result has been a month of mad baking, a few extra kilos on the bathroom scales, and the purchase of a new Kenwood Chef mixer !

I've had great success with three different recipes. The first is a Jacques Pepin recipe from his book Encore with Claudine, for "Small Light Country Loaves". This is an interesting recipe, because it isn't kneaded much by hand at all. It is quite a wet dough made of 4 cups flour, 2 tsp instant yeast, 2 tsp salt and 2 cups cool water, all put together into the food processor (I used the Kenwood) and processed for just 15 secs. It is then allowed to rise twice (taking several hours each time), before being shaped into four flat round discs, which are then baked on a pizza stone in a steamy oven. The end result is a small, flat loaf, actually more like a large flat roll, with lots of holes in the bread and a crunchy crust, reminiscent of Italian woodfired bread. It also has the chewy consistency of Italian bread, and keeps quite well for a few days, possibly because of the slow multiple rises.

My second bread adventure has been in brioche ! Last year I purchased a magnificent book from amazon by Sherry Yard called The Secrets of Baking. It's a book of complicated, detailed dessert recipes, and I highly recommend it if that sort of thing appeals to you. It certainly isn't a simple short-cut cookbook.

Every couple of months, I try something new from the book. Last couple of weeks, I've been working through the brioche section. Her approach is a little like the Simply Ming cooking shows, in that she provides a series of master recipes. Her recipe for brioche dough is an absolute cracker. Apart from making plain brioche, I also used the recipe to make her sticky buns, which I've now had to stop making for fear of killing us all - they're THAT rich. :) The brioche is made in the stand mixer and takes a couple of days (it needs to have its second rise overnight in the fridge). It's a very rich recipe, with two sticks of unsalted butter in each batch, to which you add honey, sugar and cinnamon to make the sticky buns...

Finally, hot cross buns ! I know it's early, but I needed to get the recipe right before Easter - we're planning to take buns around the neighbourhood instead of chocolate this year. These have been well received - I make them without mixed peel to make them more child friendly, rise them twice (I've now become a huge fan of an additional rising, particularly if I have the time to put the dough in the fridge for the second rise), and when they're baked, I glaze them with a milk and sugar glaze. My son tells me it reminds him of Krispy Kreme glaze, but it's not quite that decadent !

Cheers, Celia
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Jenise » Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:19 pm

Across the road, the large Chinese fruit store offers 12.5kg bags of bread flour for A$10/bag.

Celia, you slut, it IS you!!! (big sisterly hug) I've missed you, where you been? How's Pete? How's your port collection? How's everything?
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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Celia » Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:05 pm

Hey girlfriend :)

Robin was kind enough to email me to let me know about the new forum ! Everything is going well, thank you. The port collection is healthy, although I drink very little these days - must get back into it again, as the cellar is getting some nice age on it. The family are all well, and growing up a little too fast ! I now have a starving 13 year old who's 3" taller than I am, so I'm perpetually trying out new things in the kitchen in an attempt to fill his hollow legs.

And it sounds like all is well over your side of the world ! I said to Pete last night..."Bob bought Jenise an Emile Henry stew pot...why don't you ever get me things like that ?" :)

Hmmm...it's so nice to "hear" your voice again !

Celia
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Jenise » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:31 pm

What do you need with a stewpot, with all those jewels Pete lavishes on you?
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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:59 pm

Jenise wrote:Celia, you slut, it IS you!!! (big sisterly hug) I've missed you, where you been? How's Pete? How's your port collection? How's everything?

Ditto Celia. Haven't seen you anywhere of late. Thought you must have gone t-total or something.
celia wrote:Robin was kind enough to email me to let me know about the new forum ! Everything is going well, thank you. The port collection is healthy, although I drink very little these days - must get back into it again, as the cellar is getting some nice age on it.

Nice to read your voice again.
Cheers,
Sue
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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Celia » Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:28 pm

Hey Sue ! I almost have gone t-total, but am still cooking ! Look forward to catching up again... :)

Cheers, Celia
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Howard » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:06 am

This is an interesting recipe, because it isn't kneaded much by hand at all. It is quite a wet dough made of 4 cups flour, 2 tsp instant yeast, 2 tsp salt and 2 cups cool water, all put together into the food processor (I used the Kenwood) and processed for just 15 secs. It is then allowed to rise twice (taking several hours each time), before being shaped into four flat round discs, which are then baked on a pizza stone in a steamy oven. The end result is a small, flat loaf, actually more like a large flat roll, with lots of holes in the bread and a crunchy crust, reminiscent of Italian woodfired bread. It also has the chewy consistency of Italian bread, and keeps quite well for a few days, possibly because of the slow multiple rises.


Is there anything else I need to know about this recipe before I try it? I've been working a lot with wet dough and slow rises after a couple of threads on the old, old forum. I'm still seeking the perfect crust. Yours sounds very good. Thanks for the update. I've always liked reading your posts so I'm glad to "see" you again.
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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Celia » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:45 am

Hi Howard !

Here's a summary of the recipe for you :

Small Light Country Loaves

4 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
2 tsp instant yeast (I used 30g fresh yeast)
2 tsp salt
2 cups cool water

Recipe states that you put all ingredients in bowl of food processor, and process mix for 15 secs. Because I was using fresh yeast, I actually made a sponge with the yeast, a pinch of sugar and some water first, then added the sponge to the flour and mixed the whole lot with the dough hook in the stand mixer.

Transfer dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, let rise for about 3.5 hours at room temp. Mine doubled in much less time than this, probably about 2 hours. I have this system now where I make a tower from pots and pans (inverted stock pot with smaller tall pasta pot on top), put my dough bowl on the top, and then sit it under the rangehood light. Makes a nice warm rising environment ! It would probably taste better with the slower rise though, come to think of it...

Release dough from sides with fingers and fold a few times into centre of the bowl, repeat until dough is deflated and a ball again.

Recipe at this point says to cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 2 hours. I actually put it in the fridge at this point, because I wanted to slow the rising down as much as possible to let the flavour develop. The absolute best result we've had to date was from leaving it in the fridge for about 7 hours, but I've pulled it out after about 2 and it was still fine, and doubled in size.

Deflate dough again, then with wet hands break into 4 pieces of equal size. Pepin arranges the pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then covers them with an inverted roasting pan to act as a proof box, to "prevent the dough from crusting on top as it rises". 45 mins more to rise. At this point, you need to preheat the pizza stone in a 425 deg F oven. I actually put each piece of dough on an individual sheet of parchment, and covered each one with an inverted mixing bowl. That way I could slide the whole risen piece, complete with paper, onto the pizza peel and put it straight onto the stone in the oven.

Once risen, dust tops with a little flour (we also added salt), then slide onto hot bread stone. Mist oven interior with a spray bottle filled with tap water, then repeat misting after a few minutes, and bake bread for a total of 35 - 40 mins.

Sorry for the longwinded explanation...I'm a bit bread-obsessed at the moment, and the joy is in the process... :)

Interestingly, I googled this recipe today, and came up with the following review - it certainly does make a bread reminiscent of ciabatta, albeit a little flat round one.

=============================================
http://www.books-for-cooks.com/Reviews/ ... feast.html

As we read Jacques Pepin's recipes for Small Light Country Loaves, we quickly realized that this combination of nothing more than flour, salt, water, and yeast was similar to an Italian ciabatta loaf--named for the flat, slipper-like shaped loaf the soft dough yields. We began the dough at around six in the evening, quickly mixing the ingredients and just letting them sit through nearly six hours of rising and deflating. The dough bubbled and snapped as it sat virtually breathing, a reminder that bread is life itself. By midnight, after the long rising that gives the loaf its airy texture and deep flavor, we had a puffy, golden, crusty loaf, and by breakfast there was nothing left but a bit of crust. This is good bread. Pepin offers an excellent tip--on the last rise he covers the dough with a pan to mimic a proofing box, that prevents the dough from forming a crust. It works better than a napkin or plastic wrap, which would stick and tear the dough.

==============================================

Yesterday, I tried a slightly different bread recipe from the Jacques Pepin Celebrates cookbook. I found a link to the recipe here : http://www.recipelink.com/ch/2002/novem ... ates3.html .
I added a second rise to this recipe, and then baked it in a black steel bread pan - delicious yesterday, and even better today as toast with vegemite ! :lol:

Cheers, Celia
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

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Re: Adventures in breadmaking

Postby Howard » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:28 am

No apology necessary at all. Thank you very much for all of the information. When I read your first post, I thought that I might try this but with 1 tsp yeast instead of two in order to slow the rise. I often use a sponge even with dried yeast because it seems to make a better flavored bread. And I've had very tasty results with rising in the refrigerator overnight.

Thanks again.
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