Showing posts from November, 2009

Six Word Saturday: November 28, 2009

Are we all tired of bread??? :-o

HEAD TO HEAD: Battle Margarine, Round 2

Still hate margarine.  And I’m still playing around with Earth Balance margarine substitute. This round, the cookies actually came out quite a bit better than last time.  Read all about it on my real blog, here . (I’m keeping it over there because I want to keep this blog mostly for breads and cakes; every other kind of food product – soups, stews, couscous, cookies, tiramisu – can find a place over there somewhere.) However.  Because Earth Balance is much healthier, it may end up being my bread-baking “solid fat of choice”… I haven’t tested it in a bread recipe yet, so that could be an interesting future battle when I’m done messing around with chocolate-chip cookies.

A less-successful Beer Bread

I had YM make this Beer Bread not just out of laziness, but also to show him how super-easy it is to make quick bread.  (those are not his but Elisheva’s fingers around the beer can in the recipe – but this is indeed the beer we used tonight) I have made this several times before , but this time, I forgot that several reviewers warned NOT to let this bake the entire one hour stated in the recipe. Sure enough… I realized it just as I opened up the oven; overdone.  Ugh. Also, it turned out when we bit into the overbrown bread – he forgot to put in the salt.  And was… well, how do I say it?  A little overgenerous with the baking soda. So the bread was fizzy and sour and generally not as pleasant as the last time I made this recipe.  It’s a reliable recipe, but the moral here is that you can’t count on a 15-year-old boy to include ALL four ingredients!!! Hey… I just looked at the recipe again and realized it calls for baking powder.  He definitely put in baking soda .  Sigh. 

Yermy Bergels… I mean Bagels!

Sorry, couldn’t talk, my mouth was full of yermy bergel. My sister the baker gave me a biiiig bag of “professional” malt powder, and so the first thing that came to mind was:  bagels!  I have made them before several times, and actually quite like the soft pretzel recipe I used last time (I have made it as pretzels as well).  VERY easy. But I wanted to try a “real” bagel recipe and, having already returned Bread:  A Bakers Book to the library, I had to rip one off from the Internet.  In this case, the recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (BBA), by Peter Reinhart, which can be found, slightly modified, at this site . Here I am, ripping off  the recipe from the Internet!   What I didn’t take pictures of:  sponge, main dough, kneading, ball phase, weighing (yay, my mother gave me a scale that works great and confirmed the fact that my portioning-by-feel is actually pretty accurate). So here we are all the way at the rising-

PERFECT Hybrid “Some-Knead” Challah!

Okay, so I have adapted the basic Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day no-knead sweet dough recipe, and I think I have it just about perfect. The recipe has been tending to come out too sloppy to braid nicely, so I tried two fixes: ~ Cut the eggs from four to three (I could have cut the water, but the truth is, I don’t love really eggy challah anyway) ~ Fold the dough twice during the “bulk fermentation” (first rise) phase. I also gave it a longer first rise than usual.  I mixed it up Thursday night (I wouldn’t call it kneading, but it did require some fairly vigourous stirring by hand) and let it sit at room temperature for two hours.  On Friday morning, I took it out of the fridge early and let it sit for a couple of hours.  Then, I folded it several times, pressing it out very gently each time.  We had to go out for a couple of hours at that point.  When we came home, I folded it again and let it sit for about another hour. So, in short:  it made a WORLD of difference!

Six Word Saturday: November 21, 2009

  Only successful breads this week – please !

Roasted-Garlic Potato Bread…

Yes, further to my “Six Word Saturday” resolution , I am making the no-knead roasted-garlic potato bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for supper tonight.  Otherwise a completely lackluster supper, but hey, good bread …! ----- Post-script.  Or NOT.  :-( Note to self:  This is a VERY wet dough. Plopping the whole thing into one big pan is just wrong WRONG wrong.  Next time, TWO loaf pans or TWO boule shapes, but NOT one pan.  Too big.  Too wet to cook through in under an hour, and more than that would burn the outside. Yes, it was a soggy, disgusting mess in the middle… disappointing after so much eager anticipation of good bread.  I have just had to create a new blog category called “Disaster” so I will be able to track all these stunning failures over time… Anyway, in the name of learning from experience, here it is, slashed and going into the oven: And out again, 45 minutes later!   Looking yummy… Until we cut it open:    Blah.  Soggy mess. We d

Unexpectedly delightful: Injerah

  Today was the Ethiopian Jewish festival of Sigd, so I made an Ethiopian-themed meal in its honour. So, on a bread-related note, I made the traditional Injera flatbreads to go with the meal. Instead of the half-cup each of corn meal and whole-wheat flour that the recipe calls for, I substituted a full cup of rye flour, which one poster there pointed out is more closely related to the authentic Ethiopian “teff” grain.  The rye didn’t lend a distinctive flavour, but I believe its soft texture and fast fermentation definitely helped make these a success! These are really just like extra-fluffy, yeasty pancakes – there was a decidedly “beery” aroma of fermentation, even after only a couple of hours, before I fried them up. (I’d imagine this is a lot like what it’s like to eat pancakes made from straight poured-off sourdough with no add-ins, though those might be more sour… but I suspect the really authentic Ethiopian ones are a bit more sour as well) After being daunted by o

Six Word Saturday: November 13, 2009

  More potato bread this week, please!

Sourdough in a Day!?! Yes!

Too busy and too tired to post yesterday, but here’s what I made! From starter-in-fridge to loaf-on-table in… I dunno, maybe eight hours? Considering I’ve never made a loaf of sourdough that took less than two DAYS, pretty darn good.  And the actual hands-on time was not much at all. I actually set out to make a super-easy one-step bread, only to discover that we were – eek! – fresh out of yeast!!!  So the only yeasts in the house were the wild ones chilling in the fridge. I used the “ easy sourdough ” instructions from Prepared Pantry (though I baked it at a much higher temperature, like 460 instead of 350). First, the sponge.  This called for one cup of starter, and I didn’t have that much of either of my white (non-rye) starters, so I combined them.  Preparing sponge time:  10 minutes at 9 a.m.. Several hours later, mix & knead the dough.  Mixing & kneading time:  10 minutes, around 2:45 p.m.     An hour and a half later, it had puffed up a bit; not much.

Six Word Saturday

Decided I should do this here as well.  It's not quite Saturday anymore, but I'll try to do it, at least intermittently, from now on. And anyway, here's what I was thinking, bread-wise, last night!   Delicious no-knead challah; forgot a snapshot!

Moi, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire

This is a "Friday Favorites" guest piece  about challah baking with my kids that I wrote for the wonderful "A Year in Bread" blog .  Full link here:

Last of the Sourdough

Not much of this left by the time I got to it (rest of the family had first dibs before my aerobics class!), but it was the Vermont Sourdough from B:ABB. This was the second time I made it.  It was a beautiful loaf, but frankly, not a lot of sourdough taste for the days of effort that went into it. Or maybe I’m just feeling harsh and jaded and critical and tired tonight.  It was definitely yummy bread.  More about the rest of the supper here .

A (chocolate) bread to blog by

Ahh, life is good! Blogging here, my kids barely not screaming in the background, and relaxing with a cup of coffee and this pain au chocolat from the Artisan Bread in Five website, spread with plain butter: I forgot to put sugar on top of the pain before I baked it – probably because it was 6:45 in the morning.  I had dreams of breakfasting on this bread, which is made with lots of butter, cocoa, chocolate, chocolate chips and more yummy stuff. I will warn you – though it looks like it (sorry for all the brown against the brown countertop in the photo!) this is a “sophisticated” grown-up chocolate bread ; the little kiddies (2 and 4) didn’t like it much for their breakfast. I actually ran out of eggs; I only had three in the house (three out of four that the recipe calls for) while mixing it (Ted came home a little while later, so I had more eggs to mix up tomorrow’s no-knead challah).  The recipe has a lot of moisture in it, however, and doesn’t seem to have suffered for


I am the only baking-type person who didn't know this, BUT... on the off chance that there is someone out there who doesn't:   When you're finished feeding your sourdough, use COLD WATER ONLY to clean up whatever utensils you've used!   Though you'd think it would be better for cleaning, hot water inevitably turns the mixture of flour and water into wallpaper paste.  And soap just makes the whole thing into a slippery soapy mess.  No amount of soaking in warm or hot water can accomplish what a hard spray of cold water can in seconds.   So there you go.  In case you didn't know!

Aborted criticism

Boy-boy, 15, upon biting into a piece of bread tonight:  "Apart from being easy to slice and tasting good, this bread..." Me:  "What?"   He couldn't think of anything. You know it's good bread when he can't think of anything to criticize!

More delicious kosher morsels!