bread poll

Jun. 24th, 2009 04:06 pm
coraa: (food love)
What should I try for my next bread experiment? (Backstory: I auctioned off twelve months of monthly bread for a charity auction last year. Every month, I make a trial loaf of the bread to make sure it'll come out okay, and then I make a loaf and mail it off.)

The 'base' dough is the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" master recipe, which is an ordinary white yeast bread with mild sourdough character. Since I have, like, five loaves' worth of dough quietly aging in the fridge, I'm not looking to create a new master recipe, so no suggestions that would require a new dough (like, "rye bread" or "whole-wheat bread"), please.

[Poll #1420712]

(I've already done cheese bread, garlic bread, and herb bread, as well as an 'ordinary' sourdough loaf, and while I may revisit them, I'm not ready to duplicate yet.)

I need a baking icon.

bread poll

Jun. 24th, 2009 04:06 pm
coraa: (food love)
What should I try for my next bread experiment? (Backstory: I auctioned off twelve months of monthly bread for a charity auction last year. Every month, I make a trial loaf of the bread to make sure it'll come out okay, and then I make a loaf and mail it off.)

The 'base' dough is the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" master recipe, which is an ordinary white yeast bread with mild sourdough character. Since I have, like, five loaves' worth of dough quietly aging in the fridge, I'm not looking to create a new master recipe, so no suggestions that would require a new dough (like, "rye bread" or "whole-wheat bread"), please.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 3


bread bread bread bread

View Answers

Raisin-cinnamon bread
1 (33.3%)

Honey-walnut
0 (0.0%)

Olive bread
1 (33.3%)

Onion bread
1 (33.3%)

Sesame bread
1 (33.3%)

Jam bread (as in, fruit jam)
0 (0.0%)

Something else I will mention in the comments
0 (0.0%)



(I've already done cheese bread, garlic bread, and herb bread, as well as an 'ordinary' sourdough loaf, and while I may revisit them, I'm not ready to duplicate yet.)

I need a baking icon.
coraa: (tasty science)
You can tell you've made a loaf of crisp-crust french bread right when the crust crackles audibly as it cools.

(Gas oven. Put the loaves in cold halfway through their post-shaping bench rise, turn the oven on to 400F, and, this is the secret, while the oven is cold, put a bunch of ice cubes on the floor of the oven. As the oven gets up to temp, the ice cubes will vaporize and make the oven steamy, which will make the crust lovely and crisp. If you're using an electric oven -- or are afraid that this will break your oven, for which I take no responsibility ;) -- you can put an ovensafe baking dish or cast-iron pan full of ice cubes in instead, although I'm not sure it'll produce steam quite as well.)
coraa: (tasty science)
This is my second bread-of-the-month bread -- a cheese bread. Not the kind of cheese bread that's regular bread with cheese melted into it, but bread with cheese baked in for flavor. I decided not to go with a sourdough on this one, because I was experimenting with the dairy (and the dough was pretty wet and dense), so I wanted to keep the yeast variable stable. I may try to make a sourdough cheese bread later.

This recipe makes two good-sized loaves, but it could be halved fairly easily. (This time I made one full-size loaf, to mail off, and three little loaflets about the size you'd get as starter bread at Spaghetti Factory or Outback. This is because an uncut loaf stales less quickly than a cut one, so the bread stays fresh longer if I make it into small loaves that can be devoured in a day or two.) It also uses weight measures rather than volume ones, and even so may take some tinkering, depending on how wet your cheese and yogurt are. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can find flour and water weight-to-volume estimates online. I've included rough (very rough) volume estimates for the cheese and yogurt.

Cheese Bread )

In the end, it looks like this: )
coraa: (tasty science)
One important element of cooking, of course, is proper food storage -- assuming that you, like most of us, can't get farm-fresh produce and meat that was harvested or slaughtered/caught this morning for cooking this evening. People usually think of this in terms of making sure that dead things stay dead: that bacteria, molds, and so on don't colonize the food before we get a chance to put it in our mouths. But another important element of food storage is making sure that things that are alive stay alive. This is really obvious in produce -- if you can deceive a lettuce leaf's cells into continuing to go about their business as usual, you can keep it fresh much longer.

It's also true of sourdough starter. Mine has been living, untouched and unfed, in my refrigerator for more than three weeks now, and it's time to see whether it's dropped dead or can be salvaged.

There are a few different schools of thought as to the storage of sourdough starter. (Assuming you can't actively care for it, by which I mean feeding and stirring it every week or ten days or so, which is ideal. Actually, really ideal is to bake with it regularly, and feed the extra sponge back into the bottle -- that way you have a healthy starter and lots of fresh bread.) One school says that you should give it a good feed right before you leave, in the hopes that it will stay reasonably active until you come back. Another school says that you should let it go dormant and allow most of the colony of yeasts to die out, and then rehabilitate the few that manage to hang on. (You can also freeze it or dry it, but success rates for that are not stellar, I'm told.) I went with the 'dormant' theory, not so much because I thought it was actually wiser but because I didn't want to add sponge-making to my list of pre-trip chores. My starter has sat in the fridge for three weeks, patiently waiting. Or perhaps dead.

But I volunteered to bake twelve loaves of bread (one per month) for a charity auction. (This is my standard trick: fresh homemade bread every month for a year. I haven't done it since high school, when it was my contribution to the school's fundraising auction, but [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry inspired me pull it out again.) The recipient gets to pick the bread type, so I need to see if the starter is alive -- so that if she wants sourdough for her first loaf, and if the starter's dead, I have time to build a new starter.

I pulled the starter out of the fridge. I keep it in a glass bottle -- an old Classico spaghetti sauce bottle, the label peeling off from being repeatedly scalded to clean it -- and it became immediately clear that the hooch had separated. Hooch is a liquid that sometimes rises off sourdough starter; as the name implies, it's got some alcohol content, and smells a good deal like very sour beer. Hooch is actually not a bad sign: it rises above the flour slurry, and the slightly alcoholic, acidic liquid layer helps keep starter from molding. Sure enough, I'd avoided mold, which would have been a sign that the starter needed to be discarded. So I poured off the hooch and dumped the glob of starter at the bottom (thick, with the liquid wept out, but still very moist) into a big mixing bowl.

Usually when making sponge, I use two parts starter, one part new water, and one part new flour. This time I used equal parts of all three -- so about twice as much new flour-water slurry as starter. I want to give the sponge plenty of food, in the hopes that it will grow, and quickly. I broke up the glob of starter in the water, then added the flour. Now it's sitting on my counter, covered with a tea towel, giving any remaining live yeasts a chance to wake up and eat. I'll peek at it in six hours, then again in twelve, then again in twenty-four. If I have not got a good layer of bubbles after twenty-four hours, chances are good the starter died, and I'll have to build a new one.

Here's hoping.
coraa: (food love)
I have come closer to mastering the flavor component of my sourdough (by which I mean it's super-sourdough, since both the boy and I really like a strongly sour flavor), but the loaves are still kind of dense. Will recap later and see if I can figure out whether I can get a bit more lightness/holes to the crumb....

Profile

coraa: (Default)
coraa

April 2013

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829 30    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Mar. 24th, 2017 12:05 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios