Monday, April 09, 2007

Bread Triad....

For a small experiment I decided to use 3 different types of flour as the preferment for Alton Brown's Basic Bread recipe. From left to right in the pics we have white, wheat and rye flour used. In the top pic are 3 preferments made from 5 ounces of whole wheat, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast and 10 oz water. I let them proof at room temp overnight, and you can see how the yeast fed more on the wheat and especially the rye.

After an overnight proof I used high gluten flour (the recipe calls for 11 oz, but I used 10 because it gets a bit gummy with that much flour after an overnight proof) and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Proof about 2 hours, shape and proof another hour before baking at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

The overnight room temp proofing of the preferment makes for a stronger flavor than an overnight or multi day fridge proofing, which I'll do in a side by side experiment later. The dough makes an excellent small loaf that weighs about a pound and a half, and fits into a 1 pound loaf pan (far as I can figure it's called that because it fits a loaf made with one pound of flour and doesn't count the liquid content.)

Today I made some grilled cheese out of the bread, with excellent results.

Friday, April 06, 2007

pizza madness

I ran across this website recently, the man disabled the safety on his oven so he could cook using the 800 degree oven cleaning cycle in the quest for the perfect pizza.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


LinkCalzone, using Alton Brown's pizza dough recipe. I took the dough out of the fridge about 3 hours before using, divided the dough in half and rounded it into a disc. Roll it flat, add pizza sauce, toppings and cheese to half, put a little water on the edge and seal by pressing down with your fingers. Slice through the top just barely through to the toppings (and you can tell toppings apart by how many slashes you do, I did 3 for veggie pizza and 5 for pepperoni), put on parchment paper, brush with olive oil and bake on pizza stone at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Overall these worked out really well. I added about a teaspoon or so of basil to the dough while making it, it makes for a little more flavor but is mostly really neat looking. When you add dried herbs to the dough it may mean needing a little more water to compensate for the increase in dry goods.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Country White Bread, Panera Cookbook

I acquired The Panera Bread Cookbook a few months ago, and have just begun exploring their recipes. First thing I will say is that they use fresh yeast in their recipes, which I think is not practical for most home bakers. The stuff goes bad quickly, and if there is a difference in flavor I don't know because I can't find fresh yeast locally.

Reviews of the book say that it has almost no recipes of the bread used at Panera Bread, but I'm still checking out a couple to see how I like them. I modified the recipe slightly due to my laziness with materials.

Country White Bread

1 cup warm water
2/3 teaspoon instant yeast
4.8 oz all purpose flour

whisk together, let ferment (recipe says 30 minutes, I gave it 3 hours)

Add to starter
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons honey (I used unrefined sugar, didn't feel like cleaning up honey today)
1 1/3 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil (recipe called for shortening, again was feeling lazy)
22 oz all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon salt

I kneaded it all in the Kitchen Aid mixer, proofed in greasted bowl for about 2 hours until double, divided, shaped and proofed for about an hour in 2 smaller loaf pans (8.5x4.5x3.75 inches). Each loaf was about 1 lb 3 oz, and there was room to spare after the second proof so I think that it could have been put into one larger pan, or more dough used. The smaller pans are called 1 lb loaves, no clue what that means. Maybe 1 lb of flour.

Baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, internal temp read at 200 degrees (target temp 190-200). I think I could have shaved 5 minutes off and saved the top from a little extra browning.

Overall a tasty loaf, and the texture would have been great for a freestanding loaf. I may modify and play with the recipe in the future.