Friday, November 30, 2007

Baker's Marks

I ran across a link about baker's marks, used to identify the baker that created the loaf in medieval times. Like a moth to a flame, I'm feeling the need to create my own. The writer of the article had theirs made out of silver, I'm thinking that I'll try ceramics for my first try. Clay and a glaze just might do the job.

Here is the link.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fridge Bread, Loaf 2

Sorry, no pictures of the second loaf. I proofed it for about 2 hours, so it spread out a bit. The loaf didn't taste bad, but I wasn't thrilled with the results. I think part of what works about the method is that the cold dough holds it's shape better. I'll try it again sometime, with some wheat and high gluten flour for the loaf, to see if I can make something with a bit more fluff.

Commerical Focaccia Dough Article

An article about how to make a huge amount of focaccia bread. I've never made more than 15 lbs of dough at one time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fridge Bread Loaf One



The first loaf turned out pretty good, although a bit denser than I usually do my bread. I think that the fridge bread has some more experimentation in it. I have one more loaf to make later, which I will proof longer to see how that works. After that, it's playing with different types of flour and proof times. I admit, I like the convenience.

Friday, November 23, 2007

another no knead bread

This is an archive of an article in a Buffalo paper, for a style of no knead bread I may play with at some point.,+no+knead+bread&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

Essentially (after I halved and converted it to weight measurements) 1 lb flour, 2 teaspoons yeast, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and 12 oz (1.5 cups) water, mix with a spoon (will be about the consistency of biscuit dough), proof 2-3 hours, then fridge. When ready to bake, pull off a hunk (about half what I made, since I halved it and it's supposed to make about 4 loaves at full recipe volume), lightly flour and form into a ball, proof 40 minutes at room temp, bake on a pizza stone at 450 for 30 minutes.

I've made the dough, tonight I'll actually bake it. It says that it's good for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Monday, November 12, 2007

5 lb loaf.

From June 2007, multiple posts from my personal journal leading up to the making of the 5 lb loaf.

I'm also going to attempt a single 5 lb loaf probably tomorrow, which requires the two batches of preferment increased from Alton Brown's recipe by 50% (or just a third batch, now that I do the math. Whatever.) But the preferment will go into two separate 2.5 lb batches of dough (the max my mixer can handle without emotional trauma) which I will combine into a single lump for proofing and shaping. I'll probably use my pizza stone for it since it may be wider than my sheet pans, so a parchment covered pizza peel will by the oven delivery system. It may actually fit on a cookie sheet, but I can't mentally calculate the second proof diameter. Bake time should be interesting, good thing I have a probe thermometer to check interior temp, and I suspect I'll have to use foil to stop crust browning towards the end. Those huge slices should make kickass panini sandwiches.

Someone on pointed to the site, so I checked it out and decided to dive into no knead bread just one more time. There is something very zen about the idea of just stirring the dough and letting time do the work for you, but my luck with no knead has been mediocre at best.

A big premise of the no knead, besides more hydration and a long room temp first rise (18 hours), is baking it in a heavy covered dish for a hard crust. For the fun of it I just made up two batches, which were going to be rye but I ran out of wheat flour without realizing it, so rye it is. One will be made in a covered container (enamel stock pot, they call for cast iron dutch oven but I don't have one) the other I'll bake on a cookie sheet just to see what the difference is. If nothing else, the dough has a nice feel to it after mixing it up.

Tomorrow I'll also be doing my 5 lb bread loaf experiment, which should be interesting. It'll be twice the size of my biggest loaves to date.

The no knead dough is looking wonderful. I think the problem with my earlier attempts may have been too much hydration, and a lack of a tougher grain (whole wheat or rye) for structure. It's supposed to have an 18 hour rise so I'll be messing with it around and after dinner tonight. At least I won't be doing stuff with it at 2am again.

I'll work on the 5 lb loaf after Pari goes to camp today, so that I don't throw off my timing and need to do something during pickup time. if nothing else, this loaf will make a groovy picture and awsome paninis, assuming I give it enough structure and it holds upright enough.

Part of me wonders if I could build a really long oven to make super long loaves, but I think that would be a quest just to see what it would take rather than actually doing it. Googling "how to make an electric oven" should give me an idea. If I knew of 6 foot long insulated tube that could be turned into an oven with heating elements at minimal cost, then I'd have to start building plans, but so far I am coming up with zip. Besides, I'd have to have custom loaf pans made, unless they make 6 foot loaf pans (great, now I'll have to look that up on ebay.)

5 lbs of dough are made and in the cold oven with a hot pan of water for it's first proof, which should take about 2-3 hours (hard to tell with that much dough sometimes). So I'll check it after lunch to see if it's ready for shaping into a bigass boule loaf.

And the no knead rye loaves continue to...sit there and wait until I do something with them this evening. It takes so long, I almost feel like I should give the two batches of dough a deck of cards to keep themselves entertained while they proof.

I must say, 5 lbs of dough isn't that difficult to lift, but it's almost more than a handful to shape. The loaf is formed and on it's second proof, in about 40 minutes I'll preheat the oven and 15 minutes after that I'll bake.


So here it is, five pounds of dough turned into a single huge loaf of bread. I think it's the single largest loaf I've ever made, and couldn't do any bigger without a different pan (maybe a huge lasagna pan). When I checked it after 45 minutes with a probe it was about 15-20 degrees below target temp so I covered it in foil to stop more browning of the crust and gave it another 10 minutes, which worked fine. I was able to wrestle it through my slicing machine enough to get huge slices to make 3 panini sandwiches for dinner.

The loaf was Alton Browns Very Basic Bread recipe x3, with whole wheat for the preferment, the remaining flour half bread and half high gluten, and 3-4 tablespoons flax meal.

I decided that this was too much of a hard act to follow, so screw the no knead bread. That glop just landed in the trash.

From June 2007.

You know, when it's past midnight and I still have 35 minutes left on the bread's second proof before baking, I say to myself, "Marz told you yesterday she needed something for a potluck. Maybe you should'a started that challah dough around 6pm, not 9pm."

But I got to experiment. One I added both some cocoa powder and about 3 oz of melted semisweet chips to, the other I put in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and raisins. And for shorter baking time I did 5 half pound loaves of each rather than a single 2.5 lb loaf each, which reduces baking time from 40-50 minutes to about 20 minutes. And I'll be baking at a slightly higher temp for the smaller loaves, so the outsides brown better. Last time I baked at the big loaf temp, but with the shorter baking time the outside was a bit lacking and slightly sticky, so the small loaves clung together.

At some point I should see how hard it would be to bake a single 5 lb boule loaf. Maybe I'll plan that for later this week when the challah is all gone.

Purple challah twist braid

From June 2007


Just for the fun of it, I made a loaf of challah with some purple yam powder. It adds nothing to the flavor, but does make the dough purple. I did two half batches of dough, one purple, after proofing I divided each half of the dough into 3 strands, paired them up with opposing colors and twisted them together to form 3 bicolored ropes, then braided those together to make the loaf. The result tastes just like any other challah loaf, but looks real cool inside.

Chocolate challah

Again, from June 2007


For some fun I added a bit of powdered cocoa and some semisweet chips to my standard challah recipe. Besides being a bit more messy to knead after the first proof, it turned out pretty good. Maybe it could be a little sweeter. I'll play with it again someday. The kids sure did like it.

flatbread stuff

Again, from June 2007

Interesting,while making flatbread for tonight's dinner I decided that instead of stretching out the last two like I do pizza dough and most of my flatbreads, I'd just smush them flat with my fingertips and see what happens. They inflated like balloons, and I have just discovered how to make hollow pita. I'll play around with it later and post pics when I have controllable results.

flatbread pizza

Again I'm updating this blog with ones from my personal journal. From June 2007, flatbread pizza.

Ok, I'm playing around with the flatbread recipe to make small pizzas for our lunch in a few hours. Step 1, take the recipe and play around with it. I eliminated the baking powder and reduced the rediculous amount of yeast from a tablespoon to a teaspoon. I suspect that whomever made the recipe had dead yeast and couldnt get it to rise well. Since I'm going for pizza I left out the powdered milk but added in a teaspoon of dried basil. I also did a preferment for some flavor, and high gluten yeast which makes good pizza crust. So far, this is what I have.

Flatbread Pizza Dough

Preferment (proof 24 hours in the fridge)
5 oz bread flour
12 oz water
2 teaspoons sugar/honey
1/4 teaspoon yeast

In a bowl, mix
13 oz high gluten flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup olive oil

Add in preferment, turn on dough hook for about 5 minutes. Put dough into an oiled bowl in a cold oven with a pan of hot water, set timer for 2 hours.

That is where I stand now. The preferment soaking up the water overnight and it being cold allows for a more cohesive dough than the same day flatbread recipe, an interesting variation already.

flatbreadpizza.jpg This turned out even better than I thought. Using the dough in my previous post, I divided it into two equal portions, half going back into the fridge for use tomorrow. The other half I quartered, each piece being about 3.5 oz. I rolled them into a round lump, flattened them, and covered while preheating the oven to 550. When the oven was heated, I stretched the dough out into a disc, 2 per baking sheet (the peel was just for the photograph). Top with a bit of sauce, cheese and pepperoni, bake 5 minutes until the edges are browned. There was adequate oven spring, and good taste.

My Basic Pizza Sauce
8 oz can tomato sauce
1.5 teaspoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1.5 teaspoon dried onion flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced

Mix and use to top pizza. it's a good default recipe with handy ingredients I usually have onhand.

Next time I'll either bake them on a pizza stone for the 5 minutes or give it an extra minute so the bottom is browned a touch more. When baking at 550, the difference between done and burnt is 1 minute or less.

flatbread baking

I'm catching up on posts that I made to my personal blog about baking but started neglecting this blog. So here's a flatbread post and picture from June 2007.


This weekend I played around with flatbread. Basic recipe as follows

18 oz bread flour
4 Tablespoons powdered milk
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1\2 cups water

Dump into a mixer, turn on the dough hook for about 5-8 minutes until thoroughly blended into a wet dough. Spoon out into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour (I put it in the oven with a bowl of hot water). After first rise, dump onto a floured surface and knead a bit, divide into 8 equal portions. Now is a good time to turn the oven to 550 (remove the water bowl if you used one), with the oven racks either centered or spaced for 2 sheet pans. Roll the dough into 8 balls and let rest for about 10-15 minutes (the amount of time it takes for my oven to preheat.) Press/roll the dough into flat discs about 6-8 inches across, and fit 2 per sheet pan. Bake for about 4-5 minutes, if doing two sheet pans at once you'll need to rotate them after 2 minutes. They go from almost done to brown quickly, so watch them closely. After baking the first batch, remove them from the sheets and put the second batch on, being careful not to burn yourself (I have enough sheet pans to do all of them on different sheets, but who wants to wash 4 cookie sheets.) Using baking parchment makes it easy to unpan them.

These are great with gyro meat, dipped in hummus or even with pizza toppings. I must admit, these are my first real successful flatbreads, and I've made batches using amaranth flour as 25% of the total flour, but regular bread flour works great.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

video link