Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BDD #63 - Topfbrot/Bread in a Pot -- An Experiment

It's a puzzle whether this event is the last one of 2013 or the first one of 2014.  Perhaps it's a bit of both.

Sandra of From Snuggs Kitchen invited us to bake a bread in a pot for the 63rd Bread Baking Day challenge.   This was a challenge featuring technique.

So, this was how I spent my Christmas day.  

I decided to experiment with my dough, baking half of it in the slow cooker, and the remaining half in a very hot pot in the oven.  My dough was a basic whole wheat dough, prepared several days before Christmas and refrigerated.  The shaping, clearly, was simple.

The slow cooker bread took about 2 hours to bake, and it was a bit flatter.  I placed it under the broiler briefly to darken the crust.

The oven-baked bread looked more like a traditional boule, with a nice crust.  Total bake time after oven heating was only 35 minutes.  It definitely had more 'spring' to it.

Inner textures for both were ok, not too dense, but not open either.   Flavors were equal. If I were to choose this method again, I would opt for the very hot pot in the oven.  I can envision another bake-off between the "hot pot" method and the traditional baking method to see if the textures vary at all.

 Thanks to Sandra for this challenge, and to Zorra for such a fun event.  Keep an eye out for the Roundup in the next few days.

New Year wishes to everyone.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

World Bread Day 2013

There's been a dry spell around here of late, both in the baking department and the weather department.  But, finally, the kitchen has come to life, just in time for World Bread Day (today!).  

Once again, Zorra is our hostess for this year's event.  You'll be able to look at the roundup on her website in a few days.

Recently, I had run across a recipe that was calling my name -- soft pretzels.  So, that is what I decided to bake for this special day.   October and pretzels go well together, right?

Pretzels aren't difficult, but there are multiple steps, so organization is very important.  While the dough was rising, I prepared the baking sheets, the water bath, and the timer.  As a result, the whole process went smoothly, and I ended up with 12 delicious pretzels -- brown on the outside, soft on the inside.

Soft pretzels are a delicious way to celebrate World Bread Day in October.  (Especially with some mustard and a cold beer!)

(I've included the link to the recipe.  Just a cautionary note, though:  there are two negative reviews for this recipe.  Since I followed the recipe to the letter and had no issues, I can only conclude that the reviewers were not experienced bread bakers and/or suffered from user and equipment malfunctions.  Try this recipe for yourself, or, if you have a tried-and-true one already, use that one.) 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BBD#61: Stuffed Breads

Once again it's time for my monthly post, and, of course, it's to celebrate Bread Baking Day, started by Zorra several years ago.  

Our hostess this month is Anusha of Tomato Blues.  She selected Stuffed Breads as the challenge for Bread Baking Day #61.

One of my projects this month was working on a new edition of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  (Due out in October -- preorders taken any time at Amazon).

I used one of the recipes from this cookbook:  Fougasse Stuffed with Roasted Red Peppers.  I chose the Light Whole Wheat dough and used jarred roasted red peppers from Trader Joes.  Easy to make and very delicious.

There is still dough leftover, so today I made a few pitas for dinner.  I'll probably use the remaining dough in the same way, because I love watching the pitas rise in the hot oven as they bake.

  Be sure and stop by Anusha's blog in a few days to see more stuffed breads.

Monday, July 1, 2013

BBD#60: Glazed Breads for BBD's Sixth Anniversary!!

To celebrate the sixth anniversary of Bread Baking Day, Zorra, the founder and June hostess, called for everyone to bake a glazed bread.

I searched all of my cookbooks and finally found just the right recipe -- Cinnamon-Orange Twists with an Orange Glaze, actually a combination of several recipes

Of course, I waited until the hottest day of the summer to make them.  I did start early in the morning, however, so the oven would be off during the worst of the heat in the afternoon.   

The dough, itself, was made in the bread machine, then removed, shaped, and baked.  While I made just a simple twist, you could stuff them with nuts, toasted coconut, cinnamon sugar, or some other mixture.

Finally, when they were slightly warm to the touch, I drizzled them with an Orange Glaze.

The twists are a nice treat for breakfast or snacks.

I'll be looking forward to the BBD challenges during the remaining six months of 2013.  In a few days, we'll also be able to see what the other bread bakers made to celebrated this special anniversay.

Orange Cinnamon Dough

(Adapted from BHG Best Bread Machine Recipes)

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
3 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Mix all ingredients in the bread machine according to the manufacturer's directions.  Use the manual cycle.  Remove dough and shape as desired when ready.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15-18 minutes.

Orange Glaze

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and enough orange juice to make a glaze of drizzling consistency.

Glaze the twists when they are barely warm to the touch.


Friday, May 31, 2013

BBD#59: Bread for Company

To celebrate Mother's Day this month, I chose to use the challenge for May's Bread Baking Day.

Ninive, of Ninivepices - Music, Dreams, invited us to bake bread for company.  Moms can be company, right?

So, for a special Mother's Day breakfast, I made yeasted waffles with fresh blueberries from the garden.  The basic batter is made the night before, so it doesn't take much extra time to prepare the meal.

 In the morning, right before baking, add eggs, baking soda, and a splash of vanilla.

The waffles were a great success.  Delicious and easy to make.  I'll definitely make them again (as long as I remember to make the batter the night before!).

Thanks to Ninive for hosting challenge #59, and thanks to Zorra for creating such a fun bread event. 

Marion Cunningham’s Raised Waffles

½ cup warm water
1 package (2 ¼ tsp.) dry yeast
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ tsp. baking soda

Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. (The batter will rise to double its volume, so keep that in mind when you choose the bowl.) Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes.

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour, and beat until well blended and smooth. (Electric beaters do a nice job of this.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it stand overnight at room temperature.

Before cooking the waffles, preheat a waffle maker. Follow your waffle maker’s instruction manual for this.

Just before cooking the waffles, add the eggs and baking soda, and stir to mix well. (I also added ½ t. vanilla at this point.) The batter will be very thin. Pour an appropriate amount of batter into your hot waffle maker: this amount will vary from machine to machine, and you should plan to use your first waffle as a test specimen. Cook until golden and crisp.

Yield: depends on the size and configuration of your waffle iron