Flying Flour, Splashing Spices, Roomful Aromas

Sunday, January 30, 2011

BBA Challenge week #4 Brioche

Brioche has always seemed out of reach for me and this challenge got me across the 'bridge'.  It was the pan(s) not the recipe or procedure.  Here I am happy to share te results of today's efforts in the kitchen.

The sponge reacted in great bubble form.  I blended the dry ingredients and whisked the eggs separately as directed.  These were added to the sponge followed by the addition of the butter.  I chose to make the Poorman's version for the less butter content.  Oh, I would love the Richer version but we are trying on the calorie thing in our house.(somewhat)

With the butter worked in, the dough was extremely sticky.  I added a bit of flour and let the Kitchenaid to the knead.  I added less than a quarter cup of flour for the knead.  The dough became satiny but still tacky.  I tumped the dough onto the board for a hand knead to check the feel of the dough.  With flour on the board and hands, it folded well and was rather beautiful.  Next, the dough was given 90 minutes to rise in a lightly oiled bowl.  It rose nicely; excellent texture development.  I did not get photos before the bake.  Here you can see the crumb
tender, buttery, even without brioche pans.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BBA Challenge week #3 Bagels

Bagels, bagels, bagels, the ever elusive perfect bagel.  In the 80's the Combsman returned from a business trip toting in a huge bag of NYC Bagels... my first NYC bagel and oh boy, was it ever good.  Dense tooth, great flavor with or without the traditional smear of cream cheese.  Far too soon they were gone and we were hooked.  I did in the 80's make my first bagels with a recipe from a NYC cookbook I borrowed from the library.  Hey, this is before I had a computer or the internet evolved to the everything you need source it is today.  The procedure was to make the dough, rest, shape, rest, boil broil and bake.  They turned out fairly well for a novice and only one experience of eating a real bagel.  We were happy.  It was involved and cumbersome for the bread baker of only an Italian loaf and the occasional pan of sticky buns.  Now fast forward to the present and we arrive at my second and third attempt at bagels.  BBA's procedure with the cold fermentation produced a flat, less thick bagel more akin to the bialy. I found all the rise times to take longer.  I am in South Florida where we think it is cool, but not winter cold. They were tasty with a good tooth.  From the photo, you can see my skill of shaping the bagel needs much work.  How much does the cold fermentation add flavor to the bagel?  Checking bagel recipes and directions in Jeff Hamelman's Bread, he doesn't use the cold fermentation.   Curious bakers need to know.  I also must confess I had no malt... so I poured a Sam Adams Lager into the boiling water.  it did produce a bit of the sheen and crust texture desired.  I will be making bagels again because there are no real NYC bagels in my area and we gotta have a bagel fix from time to time.  I catch a King Fish occasionally, which makes a great fish dip spread tat screams for a homemade bagel.  Maybe, I should get on this brioche recipe for next week and make time for some fishing while the bagels cold ferment next weekend.  Oh, wait, I have this other thing called a job.... teaching.... I have papers to grade and science labs to prepare as well..... juggling all the fun events to fit them into a week is an art!!  Since that is a juggling act everyone attempts, we must all be artful by daily living, indeed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Anadama: Peter Rheinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge

Thanks to Chris at for hosting the BBA Challenge of 2011.  I missed the one hosted earlier by a different bread blogger and saw on The Fresh Loaf Chris was starting with the new year.  Perfect timing and here I am!

I mixed the cornmeal and water as the soaker and let it sit overnight.  Morning arrived bringing with it the time to make the sponge.  This went together easily and showed signs of promising performance immediately with the appearance of bubbles.  I allowed it to rest for the required hour; then returned to complete the dough build.  This formed a very moist, sticky dough.  With the dough turned out for the knead, I added a little flour at a time.  When the dough was tacky rather than sticky, I returned the dough to the greased bowl for a rest of 90  minutes.  I have learned a moist, tacky dough can be a good thing and adding more flour to prevent sticking can make a tough loaf.

The bowl filled and the dough was  beautiful.  I turned it out for shaping.  Still a tacky dough, I dusted my hands rather than the dough.  That turned out to be a good decision.  I made two 1.5lb loaves and placed them into the bread pans for the final proof.  Cooler temps today (even in Florida) caused me to increase this rise time to just more than an hour.

In a preheated 350 degree oven, I slid the pans in and set the timer.  At the end of 45 minutes, the loaves looked great, but I have grown to appreciate more color for the crust.  I added 12 minutes.

Removing the loaves from the pan started out as a worry.  Patience served me well today.  I let the loaves rest for about 5 minutes, ran a spatula along the interior of the bread pan for the release.  There they were on the rack in a cloud of steam, aroma and rich honey color.

 As the aroma filled the house, the Combsman appeared, hovering.  But he waited, allowing the bread to finish and cool.  Soon he was rewarded.

 Color is good but I would prefer
a bit more dome rise above the edge of the bread pans.

Slicing and tasting brought satisfaction of the flavors and textures of a well baked Anadama

 This recipe is in every bread book I have on the shelf and a few  other cookbooks as well. I had never made this and without Chris' BBA Challenge we wouldn't be sharing and enjoying this treat this weekend.

Come on back soon. There will be more reviews of recipes and more BBA Challenge results.  Comments are welcome.