Flying Flour, Splashing Spices, Roomful Aromas

Monday, June 28, 2010

Disappointment and Anticipation

That title could be about one's yeast bread baking efforts!  Not this time.  Yeast breads and cold pre-ferments are producing good results.  This is about the baking stone I have awaited with anticipation.  It arrived via UPS.  As the bubble wrap was pulled back from the first corner, the ominous break was revealed.  Thus, the disappointment.  A call to the attentive agent at the company(AWMCO, product name: FibraMent) prevented further disappointment.  He asked I send in photos, which I did.  He explained a replacement stone will be shipped out Monday (today, June 28).  I am back in anticipation mode awaiting anxiously again for the arrival of the baking stone.
Why bother with a stone?  For the even baking and over all end result of great bread elements of crumb and crust.  Also, even though the oven is large, two baking sheets do not really fit well.  The whole surface of the stone will allow better placement of loaves when I choose to bake 3 or 4 at a time or want to accommodate a large batch of buns/rolls.  Here are photos from a recent effort on Peter Rheinhart's Semolina. Above are two loaves in final proofing stage on one baking sheet.  They did swell into one another costing some of the luscious crust.  This will be solved with the baking stone.  The second photo demonstrates the loss of crust due to crowding.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cornbread, Southern Style

I have to tell you, since my grandmothers didn't make yeast breads so much, the aroma that sends me back is when the first spill of cornbread batter hits that hot oil in the iron skillet which has never seen anything but cornbread!  As a kid I thought it smelled like popcorn!  And my Pop and I couldn't wait for it to come from the oven so we could slather it with butter.  A tender, coarse crumb with that delectable crunchy bottom was heavenly.  There was always a fruit salad and an entree but who needed all that when the cornbread was fresh, steamy and hot!

I have been making this recipe since 1986 from the Southern Country Cookbook by Lena E. Sturges, who has an award list of culinary accomplishments that go back to the 60's.
This is a Southern cornbread, therefore, it is not sweet nor has the cakey texture.
This is real cornbread like we had on the farm.

Buttermilk Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons AP flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt ( I use Kosher and measure 1.5 teasp.)
1 Tablespoon melted shortening
I egg
1 cup buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients.  Melt shortening in 10 inch iron skillet.  Beat egg,
add buttermilk.  Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir only
until well mixed.  Add melted shortening; stir well.  The remaining skillet should be heated to "smoking" at which time you pour in the batter.  Slide the skillet into a hot 425 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes.  Remove and allow to rest for about 3 minutes.  Tip out onto a plate.  Serves 6, if you share!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Baking Tools

They arrived today. Peels.  Bread/pizza peels.  Time to put the starter together to bake up a Vienna loaf from BBA.  The large one measures 18 X 22; the small one is 12 X 14.  I will be reporting as to the use of these for proofing bread and delivery to the hot oven stone.I will be all set once the baking stone arrives a in a couple of days.
Another bit of good news is about German Brotchen.  Yes, the one I wrote about previously.  There was a post on from another baker who posted her recipe for Brotchen.  Now I can compare.  Her recipe does not use warm milk and she suggests Tippo 00 flour to get that perfect brotchen crumb texture.
A new project I have taken on is researching bread recipes for a friend who is allergic to wheat.  Using HBinFive, I have learned the attributes of various flours man of which are not from wheat.  For those of you out there with experience with flour substitutions and ratios please chime in via the comment link.

Monday, June 21, 2010

German Brotchen

    German brotchen is a hot milk bread that kneads together yielding a smoothly elastic dough.  This makes great rolls and buns.  The best is to eat it warm with your favorite cheese or jam.  I have searched online for other brotchen recipes.   An internet search did not turn up a brotchen recipe for awhile but now several are available.  However, none are identical to the one I got on that wonderful trip to Germany in the 80’s from a nice German lady who bickered with her US Army officer husband over the conversion of measures from metric to English.  By far, the best travel souvenir I ever brought home.
Here I share my recipe for you to enjoy:  

Mix first three ingredients. 
1/2 c.  warm water                         
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1  1/2 Tbsp yeast
Add:  3/4 tablespoon sugar
          1 teaspoon salt
When well blended
Add 1 cup flour            
Beat this with a wooden spoon until bubbles appear in the pancake like batter.
Add more flour a cup at a time to make a dough you can no longer stir.
(This recipe uses 5-6 cups of flour total)
Knead for about 10 minutes,  adding as little flour as possible;dough should not stick to hands.  The dough should be firm, and spring to the touch. Place in a lightly oiled bowl to rise for 90 minutes.  The dough should more than double in size.  Degas and remove from bowl onto a floured surface.  Knead 4 or 5 times and divide into 8 pieces for burger size buns or 16 for dinner rolls.  Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal generously and evenly space rolls.  Allow to rise again covered with plastic wrap you have brush lightly with oil.  Preheat oven to 350.  When the oven is to temperature, bake 20 - 30 minutes or until lightly golden.  I throw a 1/8 cup of water three times in 20 second intervals into my gas convection oven to promote crust development.  Remove to cooling rack.  Enjoy!  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Baking for the Petkids

Families around the nation celebrate Father’s Day today.  Here we celebrate 16 years of a loving pawed companion, GenghsiBob and starting a fourth year without him.  Words can’t say how we miss him.  The pain of our loss is only as strong as our love for him.  
He was always close by no matter the activity at hand.  He had friends, many of whom sent cards,emails and flowers when they learned of his death.  Lhasa Apso, black and white or was he white with black... he is still the topic of conversations among those who knew him.
Here is to you GenghisBob!

Tasty Dog Biscuits

1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

3 tablespoons honey
1 egg
2 tablespoons dry parsley
5-6 cups whole wheat flour

Blend the yeast, water and broth with the honey and beat in the egg.  Add 1 3/4 cups of the flour and stir. Blend in the parsley.   Add more flour and work it in to form a stiff dough.  Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes.  Form a flat disk, wrap it in plastic or place in a zip bag.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Remove from the refrigerator, return to floured surface.  ROll dough about 1/4 to 1/2 inch think and use your choice of shape to cut cookies. Reform scraps, roll and continue to cut cookies until all dough is used.  Place cookies on baking sheet and place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, turn cookies and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.  Turn oven off and allow cookies to remain in oven till morning for optimum crunchiness. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

30 Posts in 30 Days Challenge

I thought I would give this challenge a try.  Check out my nablopomo (national blog post month) blog page to read more about how I came to bread baking and some of my creative writing efforts.  My goal is to write, write, write and write.  My goal is to recreate a daily writing ritual in order to   finish stories started and pursue publication.  30 posts in 30 days will appear on the nablopomo site, not Flour, Flour Everywhere.  More for Flour, Flour Everywhere with recipes and photos coming soon.  Thanks for checking in.  Come back often.~ Lisa~

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day: Great Book From A Great Friend

Still searching for that pull apart recipe. I can't let that keep me from progress. Today's recipe is from HBinFive by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I am making a 5 grain whole wheat. Jeff's recipe is for 10 grain but alas, I could only find the 5 grain cereal by Bob's Red Mill. For the reference to 5 minutes a day, Jeff instructs how to make the dough in quantity and have it in the fridge so you can bake when you wish over several days. 
This bread recipe goes together rather wet and moist. In his procedure, kneading isn't such a big deal; slow, cold fermentation is. That is why the dough has been in the refrigerator since yeasterday afternoon. :) Baker's humor!
Now the dough is ready for dividing and minimal handling to shape. Resting for 90 minutes I have more than enough time to clean the kitchen, play with the pups, read and figure out how to upload my photos. 
This bread bakes in a HOT oven @ 450 for 30 or so minutes.  To obtain a wonderful crunchy crust, the dough needs steam. A pan below the rack with hot water added when the loaves go into the oven or my style.... I throw in an 1/8 cup of water and close the door. I do this three times in 20 second intervals. Be careful to protect the glass in the oven door with a towel. Now the hard part, waiting for the end result!  The slashes opened nicely accenting the seed coverage.  And before I could post pictures, one loaf is all but devoured. 
 Lisa T., I baked this one for you today.  Thanks for a great book and feeding my passion for baking! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lost a Recipe

Oh, the memories of the tender, aromatic parmesan-garlic-pull apart loaf of the 70's!  Had the recipe card just weeks ago and now it eludes me.  I wish to post it here with an account of the first time I made this mouth-watering-ever-tender-you can't-eat-it-slow bread!  But it is not to be today. I am searching through the leaves of cookbooks for where I may have tucked it.  When I get my hands on it, I will share for the search on the internet has not yielded my recipe.  This is NOT made with commercial refrigerated biscuits of any kind.  Even Uncle Phaedrus doesn't seem to have it  and he has everything imaginable!    This is today's post as I am in search mode.  Thanks for checking in.  I'll be back . . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bread Adventure Beginnings

Hi, my name is Lisa.  Baking bread is what I do.  I am not a pro, nor do I  own or work in a bakery.  I tend to be adventuresome rather than a purist and this is how it all began.
Is a cookbook an odd thing for a teenager to buy?  It took a lot of babysitting money at fifty cents an hour but I do not recall oooooing over which cookbook to buy.   My mom didn’t use cookbooks and my grandmother only had one or two which were ancient. (I have an appreciation for them now.)  I selected Good House Keeping, the big red and beige one.  It seemed to have everything I could ever possibly need in it.
I read it like a novel.  My grandmother had taught me the proper way to set a table and she always had a table cloth, napkins and the proper flatware on the table three times a day.  But I knew nothing about what a person needed to set up a kitchen. Mom had always done that as well as the cooking and baking.  She was fast, neat and never measured anything.  So, I read and read and read.  When I got to breads, I was captivated. (page 435) That was something Mom didn’t make.  Oh, she made the best buttermilk biscuits you could ever dream of and we had scrumptious chocolate muffins hot from the oven when we came in from school, but she did not make yeast breads.  I saw this as an opportunity to be in the kitchen making something of my own.   Mom hated a mess.  She could make a huge dinner for ten or more, we could sit down at the table and the kitchen would be clean.   Not me, then or now. The yeast bread recipes intrigued me.  I shared my idea with Mom, she gathered the ingredients making a run to the grocery for the yeast, and let me have her kitchen. She didn’t even stick around to watch.  I went through the stages of making the dough, the rise, shaping and chilling.   Mom was a sport.  I did get the kitchen back to normal.  Mom made spaghetti to go with my bread.  I was so excited.  I preheated the oven and slid the loaves in, set a timer and waited.  The aroma wafted through the house, the timer went off.  Mom came to the kitchen to see.  We took the loaves from the oven and tested the bottoms for that “hollow” sound.  We couldn’t wait; we had to slice off some and smear it with butter.  There was a crunch, some crumbs and audible “mmmmm”.
I had  created something wonderful in the kitchen.  Mom liked it despite my mess.  Here is the recipe from that same cookbook which sits on my kitchen shelf today.  I have made this recipe for decades.  
Italian Bread  (from The Good House Keeping Cookbook, page 443) 
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
salad oil
1 egg white
Early in the day or day before serving:
  1. In large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour sugar, salt and yeast; add butter or margarine.  With a mixer at low speed, gradually pour 1 3/4 cups of hot tap water into dry ingredients.  Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bow with rubber spatula.  Beat in 1/2 cup flour or enough to make a thick batter; continue beating for 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl.  With spoon, stir in enough additional flour (about 1 3/4 cups) to make a soft dough.
  2.   Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about ten minutes. Cut dough in half, cover with towel; let stand 20 minutes.  Grease a large cookie sheet; sprinkle with cornmeal.
  3. With lightly floured rolling pin, roll ones dough half into 15 X 10 inch rectangle.  Starting with the 15-inch side, tightly roll dough, jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Place loaves seam side down on cookie sheet; taper ends.  Brush loaves with salad oil; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2- 24 hours.  (Cold fermentation is all the rage in the artisan bread revolution these days, not new)
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425.  Meanwhile, remove loaves from refrigerator; uncover and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.  With a sharp knife, cut 3 or 4  diagonal slashes on top of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, with fork, beat egg white with 1 Tablespoon cold water.  Remove loaves from oven and brush with mixture; return to oven and bake 5 minutes or until golden.  Makes 2 loaves.
Use this recipe to make Italian Rolls, breadsticks, pizza crust.  Bread may be topped with seeds or salt as your taste guides you... adjusting baking time for size of rolls or sticks.  Do not lower the oven temperature.  Enjoy!