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Showing posts from January, 2010

Six Word Saturday: 16 Shevat, 5760

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Take sourdough rise times VERY seriously.  :-(

Have I mentioned before how magical bread is?

How simply amazing?How perfectly incredible?Ted asked at supper tonight, “what’s in this?”  (yes, the disastrously flat semolina sourdough bread)And I just sat there, smiling, and said, “flour… and water.”Okay, there’s a bit of salt, and I realized this bread also included a bit of honey.But basically, flour and water.You mix it one way, you get one thing.You bake it differently, you get another thing.It’s like the magical desserts we used to make as kids, in the cool hidden part of the garage:  water in a little teeny ring mold.  My brother swore if we left it in the ring mold long enough, it would turn to jello.  It never did:  I just figured we didn’t leave it long enough.We used to psych each other out, convincing each other we could turn our spit to concrete.  I’d find a blob on top of the concrete of the back steps and show him, saying, “see?  I spit there last week and now it’s hardened.”And he’d do the same, showing me a blob of “hardened spit”… each of us knowing we were lyin…

Semolina & Sour

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As promised, tonight’s bread (ungrateful child:  “do we always have to have bread??!?”) is a web version of Maggie Glezer’s Sourdough Semolina, courtesy of The Fresh Loaf.A few new techniques here, beyond just resuscitating my existing sourdough, which took two days even before I started this bread:1) Using a stiff starter to raise a sourdough2) Converting 100% (pancake-batter) starter to 50% (stiff) starter, as described in last night’s post.3) Using semolina flour in a bread dough – very authentic, rustic, Italian, mmm…4) Shaping baguette-type long breadsI guess that’s it for new stuff.Anyway, I am sorrowed to report mixed results:  fine performance from the sourdough (yay!), nice taste and outstanding texture of the bread (mmm!)… but a yinky flat toad-shape in the final loaves (blech!), as you’ll see see.  Initial firm (50%) sourdough left to ferment overnight:Now, in the morning, autolyse, mix and knead… and fast-forward 2 hours to… shaping the loaves.  Gaw-geous!  Little hint of …

Okay, I’ve got it… sourdough time again!

Figured out the perfect applications – plural! – for the sourdough that has been coming back to life on top of my fridge all week.  Two Maggie Glezer recipes (my mother probably has her book, A Blessing of Bread, if I wanted to hold and caress it in person instead of just steal recipes over the Internet):Sourdough Semolina Bread, and then, later in the week, Sourdough Challah (or I might try this semolina challah variation) But first… here’s the fun part, which I can actually do now that I have a scale:  all of Maggie Glezer’s recipes apparently call for a FIRM starter.  And my starter is pancake-battery; I believe it’s known as 100% hydration, which means that by weight I add about as much flour as water.  So I must spend a day converting the starter to 50% hydration…Here’s the technique I plan to follow.So much bread-geeky, scale-happy fun…Wait a minute!  That technique (Maggie Glezer’s conversion formula) is apparently WRONG, and according to this site, I am apparently not the bigg…

Focaccia and Ciabatta – two days from one dough!

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Inspired by Matt, husband of Kath Eats, at  her blog, I attempted to follow his formula for Focaccia and Ciabatta.  He adapted these from a single ciabatta recipe out of Bread:  A Baker’s Book, by Jeffrey Hamelman, which is probably the #1 “Bread Book I Would Love to Own if I Had $50 Hanging About Doing Nothing.”I definitely like how, after the poolish stage, he splits the dough into small enough batches (1/3 for the ciabatta, 2/3 for the focaccia) that I could run them individually through my food processor.  No hand kneading!  My hands are still tired from last week’s challah.No idea why, but I didn’t have quite the amount of poolish as I should have.  Maybe lost some against the sides of the bowl?  I mean, I weighed everything going in, so… .it’s a mystery.Anyway, the two doughs turned out beautifully, but were not exactly the “pancake batter” consistency he describes in his blog entry.  I used all-purpose flour, not bread flour, but that shouldn’t have made the bread more gluten-y…

Postscript to this week’s challah

In case you’ve been following my Adventures in Challah with bated breath, and were wondering how this week’s brand-new challah endeavour fared.Postscript:  It was GOOD.  It was VERY good.  It was very moist.  However…it was not at all sweet.  I knew that going in, but I wanted to commit to, at least the first time, making it “verbatim.”  Because I can’t stand it when people do recipes wrong the very first time and then complain that it isn’t a good recipe.  It is a good recipe, and I think tweaking it to be as sweet as I like will not be a hard thing.  It is a very soft, sticky dough, but with some working, becomes quite friendly.  Very doughy, if that’s a good word to describe dough.  We ended up taking a ball of it that I’d separated and using it to play catch with.  It was nice and rubbery; if I was a baker, I might call that “well-developed.”That could also be because I actually took the time and trouble to hand-knead it for about ten minutes on Thursday evening.  Lots of creaking…

And a happy new cake!

I wanted to make a pareve banana cake for Shabbos, but didn’t have any tofutti sour cream (= Sour Supreme)… plus I wanted to see if I could get away from the creamy-margarine-based cake thing.So I found this oil-based, super-easy banana cake recipe at RecipeZaar.  Much easier than creaming, not to mention finding and buying the Sour Supreme, and nobody noticed the difference.No picture because the cake was gone about fifteen minutes after lunch ended this afternoon.  I guess that means it was good!Maybe I’ll take its picture next time.

Six Word Saturday: 9 Shevat, 5760

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This week:  wake up, sleepy starters!

Pouffy Master-Dough Pizza

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Further to Tuesday night’s AB5 Master Dough, here’s more of the same in the form of two pizzas! I wouldn’t say these were a rollicking success.  The crust was certainly tasty, but it was definitely more bread than pizza.  I wonder why it pouffed so much…?This was all oven spring, by the way.  It was very, very thin when I stretched it out in the pan.Anyway, delicious supper had by all.  Not a single complaint; just a lot of bread.Now, who could complain about that?Super-easy to make, also.  The dough was very elastic and easy to stretch out (I used 1.5lbs on each pan).  And there’s still enough of this double batch to make one more loaf!  And it is developing a lovely tangy sour smell… maybe I’ll save it and bake it up for supper on Monday.

Argh! Flour? And a total Challah revamp!

Okay, I’m stuck.  It’s Thursday night, and I’m supposed to be making challah, but HOW?  I am stuck on the most basic of basics:  how to measure flour.I had an astonishing insight:  rather than rely on various sites’ guidelines for how much all-purpose flour is supposed to weigh, I can simply weigh my own and average it out.Well.Ten scoops later, it turns out my flour averages a little less than 150g per cup.  Which is very nice and interesting, except then I realized that I’m weighing the bottom of the bag, which is more compressed than the top.So then I weighed the “fluffed-out” flour that I had weighed previously.  Well, so that stuff only weighs around 135g – almost a full 15g less per cup!  (and since we’re aiming for a challah recipe which calls for 12-13 cups of flour, that discrepancy could mean a full cup, more or less)Just to totally confuse me, the unit-conversion site I’ve been using for baking recipes, the one I was so excited about when I first posted the link here, says …

p.s. Semolina…?

I really really REALLY want to make bread with semolina.  I remember I  used to get it almost anywhere, back when I was making pasta.  Why haven’t I seen it anywhere lately?Where, oh, where, is the semolina hiding?

Two bread epiphanies

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Wait a minute!  Last night’s bread (in photo at left) was not even as good as previous attempts to make the AB5 Master Dough.  Why???  Well, don’t waste too much time puzzling it through, because I just figured it out!On their website, the authors of Artisan Bread in Five estimate a cup of flour at 5 ounces (ie 141g) BUT most people estimate it a bit less, like between 4 and 4.5 (closer to 125g).  It’s not a lot, but what I just realized that it is probably enough to make a difference.  My trustworthy “Artisan Bread in Five” bread is suffering, ironically, due to my newfound snobbishness about exactitude and scaling all ingredients!  Oh… my… gosh.  If this is so, I totally feel betrayed!Look at the crumb of the bread in the picture above.  Quite (um) crumbly, right???  Except…this is not, by nature, a crumbly bread.  Unless you have tossed in too much flour, which, of course I have, thanks to the authors’ own recommendations.But, of course, dumb, dumb me for assuming that I can toss C…

The Ciabatta/Focaccia thing…

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My latest challenge is a simple one:  create a delicious creamy airy fabulous artisan-quality Ciabatta… or Focaccia, because they are basically flip sides of the same thing. First attempt yesterday was not amazing.  Not a flop, but not mind-blowing.The bread, based on the Artisan Bread in Five (AB5) Master Dough, was TASTY, but it could not by any stretch be called either of the two paradigmatic bread-types above.  Basically, it was just bread.Bread with a weird shape.  Yummy bread, and half the dough is still waiting to make a fabulous base for tomorrow night’s homemade pizza, but just bread, nonetheless.SO… after weeks, if not months, of lazy bread lady slackishness, it seems that we are back to messing around starters and poolishes and whatnot.First stop along the fun & delicious path to the perfect Ciabatta:  one of two sites:Kath’s husband Matt’s dual-purpose-from-a-single-poolish Focaccia and Ciabatta.or…The highly fabled Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread over at…

Thinking I need a new “staple” challah … :-(

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This variation on the no-knead dough has been tweaked to death.It now performs beautifully!  Forms shapely loaves that look great and actually taste wonderful when fresh… but I do not like it by the next day.Maybe it’s the egg?I feel like water challahs lose less in the transition to “day-old,” but I dunno, because all the books tell you that egg helps keep breads moist and fresh longer.Whatever it is, I don’t like egg in my challah.Maybe I will take out the egg next week, and tweak the recipe so it uses lots and lots of water.  I’m very open to suggestions, because this is our Shabbos staple and I would really like to moan with pleasure every time I bite into it, whether it’s Friday night or the next afternoon…Okay, maybe not moan.  Maybe just a modest little “mmmm…”Must think.  Must tweeeeeeeek.

Six Word Saturday: 2 Shevat, 5760

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Shabbos is coming… let’s get baked!(I’m over six words, but clockwise from top left:  PC from-a-mix buttery ginger cookies, chocolate mousse “boils” pie in honour of the plagues in this week’s parsha, onion/spinach quiche, and two some-knead challahs)

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…

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I left a batch of basic Artisan Bread in Five no-knead master dough in the bucket in the fridge over the weekend.Two days ago, I was making a delicious beany supper (not such a success with the small set, but anyway), so I hauled out the dough, expecting it to have perhaps separated (like sourdough does – speaking of which, my poor neglected starters!!! :-o)Anyway, the dough looked GREAT!  A little bit of wetness at the bottom, but the dough itself was fine.  Except it had this surreal bubbly lunar landscape on top.Once I sprinkled the dough with flour, it was great to work with.  It had a nice, mellow “developed” flavour (not exactly sour)without being overwhelming.Anyway, I forgot to remember exactly how old the dough was… not quite a week, and I realize some of their doughs don’t keep for as long as the basic one (I wouldn’t want to keep an enriched dough, especially one with eggs, for very long at all), but it’s nice to know the dough has great staying power to keep it handy for “…

Six Word Saturday: 24 Teves, 5760

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Lots of baking… not much bread!

Scaling New Heights!

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Yup, it’s a tacky pun, but here I am, scaling the flour for yet another Artisan Bread in FiveBig Batch.It sure ain’t pretty, though… Since they’re aimed at home cooks, none of the recipes in the book include weight measures.  But at their website, the authors mention that they are weighing a cup of all-purpose at a standard 5 ounces.And since we’re in Canada, my beautiful new Birthday Scale (thank you, Sara!) (if you’re crushed that you can no longer buy me a scale for my birthday, other lovely items are still available on my wish list!), weighs things only in metric.  Who cares about ounces once you’re north of the border???Well, as everybody knows, 5 ounces equal 141.75 grams.  No problem!  (or at least, I knew this after using my Cool Cooking Web Tool site)And that means if I’m making a double batch of the Master Bread recipe, I have to multiply the 6.5 cups it calls for by two, then by 141.75.  What you end up with is 1842-ish grams, give or take… and here it is, all lit up in bea…

Six Word Saturday: 17 Teves, 5760 (erev my birthday)

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L’chaim!  To a year in BREAD!

Now THESE are chocolate-chip cookies! (tutorial link)

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Yay, me!  I’ve been selected to host an upcoming edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival, a blog carnival focused on… okay, I won’t insult your intelligence.Stay tuned in Adar for a round-up of exciting Purim-related posts from the blogosphere or blogoverse or bloggetty-blogland or whatever they call it these days.  And, of course, if you have something fun and foodie, please submit it because I haven’t a clue what I’m going to include!Anyway.I just posted a step-by-step tutorial for my roll-your-own “Pillsbury-style” freeze, slice and bake chocolate-chip cookies.  It’s more of a technique than a recipe, and I didn’t think it was entirely appropriate for this “baking” blog because it’s not bread OR cake.  But this is absolutely my favourite way to make never-fail ccc’s, so if you like them as much as I do, here’s the link yet again!The freeze, slice and bake technique ensures perfect-looking cookies (okay, ignore the lopsided batch shown above) that are deliciously thick, crisp, chewy,…

More delicious kosher morsels!