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#61 of 129 Old 06-24-2013, 06:10 PM
 
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What I usually do is oil or butter the pan (olive oil, usually) and then give it a good coating with sesame seeds or fine or coarse cornmeal, and sometimes a bit of rock salt. It always seems to climb fine and the dry ingredients make it much more non-stick than oil alone. I'd never noticed a problem with rising; I get nice high loaves (unless I'm lazy and don't rise it enough, but that's a different issue!) If you think about it, one usually rises dough in an oiled bowl and it climbs quite happily in there, so maybe it's a non-issue? I can't imagine baking in a cast iron pan without greasing, unless it was super-well-seasoned; bread likes to stick.


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#62 of 129 Old 06-24-2013, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What I usually do is oil or butter the pan (olive oil, usually) and then give it a good coating with sesame seeds or fine or coarse cornmeal, and sometimes a bit of rock salt. It always seems to climb fine and the dry ingredients make it much more non-stick than oil alone. I'd never noticed a problem with rising; I get nice high loaves (unless I'm lazy and don't rise it enough, but that's a different issue!) If you think about it, one usually rises dough in an oiled bowl and it climbs quite happily in there, so maybe it's a non-issue? I can't imagine baking in a cast iron pan without greasing, unless it was super-well-seasoned; bread likes to stick.

 

Good points. Okay, I'm going to give it a try for the next baking. Incidentally I won't be doing a traditional bread baking this Sunday upcoming since we're headed on vacation. But next next Sunday for sure. And I like the idea of dusting with something - maybe I will try a light dusting of corn meal. 


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#63 of 129 Old 06-24-2013, 08:00 PM
 
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Fine cornmeal is really nice dusted on the tray when you make white burger buns (I dust it over the tops as well, with rock salt.) Coarse cornmeal goes well with pumpkin bread. I've used poppy seeds and sunflower seeds in the past, too. It isn't appropriate for every kind of loaf, but it's yummy when it works.

 

DH got me some vital wheat gluten, so I should start kneading, but I'm sewing and have a cold and bah... maybe later.


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#64 of 129 Old 06-25-2013, 02:04 PM
 
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And now I have a question for everyone. :-) The loaf I made in the enameled cast iron turned out really well, so I'm going to keep working the recipe until I perfect it. The only real issue is that the loaf stuck pretty good to the sides of the pan. I was able to pry it out mostly intact with an icing knife, but it wasn't dinner-guest-worthy by a long shot (not that I ever have those, but still). Should I oil or butter the pan before I put the dough in? I think I've heard that's not recommended because the dough won't have the traction to "climb" the sides of the pan as it bakes in the oven, but what do you guys think?

 

The only time I've baked bread in enameled cast iron, it's the No Knead recipe. For that recipe, I turn out the dough onto parchment paper and place the paper and the dough into the pre-heated Dutch oven, cover it with the lid and bake. The parchment paper works well. 

 

I think the oil/cornmeal suggestion would work too.

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#65 of 129 Old 06-30-2013, 03:21 PM
 
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Has anyone tried baking bread (or anything else) in a counter top oven (like the big turkey roasters)? The weather has gotten very hot and so I want to minimize using my stove and could plug it in outside. We have a very old grill/bbq so I don't trust using that as I don't think it will maintain a steady temp.

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#66 of 129 Old 07-07-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't tried a counter top oven, but summer always makes me want a brick outdoor oven. When we buy a house I will have one!

 

In the chaos of unpacking and getting settled from vacation, I completely forgot to start bread dough this morning. I'll be baking some pumpkin muffins and brownies after sundown when it hopefully cools off a bit, so maybe I'll do a quick loaf of white bread too. 


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#67 of 129 Old 07-07-2013, 08:19 PM
 
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It's supposed to be hot again later in the week, so I'll venture to use the countertop oven and see how it turns out and let you all know!  A brick oven sounds pretty amazing!


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#68 of 129 Old 08-16-2013, 08:05 PM
 
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People! People, people, people! Everybody! I just discovered the most awesome thing ever. I got it off Pinterest. Baking a loaf in a preheated Dutch oven. Anyone done it?

 

I used my big Le Creuset, after DH kindly unscrewed the knob for me (the Le Creuset Classic knobs are only rated to 190C - you can get heat-safe stainless steel replacement ones, apparently, and I might just have to). Preheated, with lid, for 30 minutes at 220C. The bread was shaped into a round, put on baking paper and left to rise in a bowl (not sure why, the internet said to - better shape, I guess?) Took the Dutch oven out, carefully picked up the baking paper and popped the whole lot in, slashed the dough shallowly, dusted it with flour. Lid back on, in the oven for 30 minutes. Took the lid off, cooked it 15 minutes more. Took out to cool on a rack.

 

Ladies, the rise was incredible - you can't tell in the pictures, but that is one monstrous loaf. Nearly filled up the Dutch oven, and it's my big unwieldy one I mostly use for chicken stock! And the CRUST! I have never in my life made a non-wimpy crust... which didn't bother me until recently, because I like soft crusts, but ever since I learned making a hard crust is considered an art form I've been peeved I couldn't do it. :p I baked my bread on a pizza stone once, but it didn't do anything (though my pizza stone is wonderful for pizza, so I bear it no ill will).

 

The bread's for dinner tonight with guests, so I can't cut into it yet and inspect the crumb. And the bottom crust is pretty darn crunchy - I hope it's not too hard. So technically the jury's still out, but I was so excited I had to come and post this for you all! Look:

 

 

 

Totally legit rustic, amirite?! I am ridiculously excited. Loaf #2 is now in the oven.

 

ETA: I used this and this for reference, but my own bread recipe - 2/3 white, 1/3 wholemeal, no sourdough or 5-minutes-a-day-ness or anything fancy. The idea is that the lid traps the moisture of the dough inside, eliminating the need for a steam-injected oven (or opening it every now and then to spray it down, which makes the oven temp fluctuate and doesn't work that well anyway IME.)


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#69 of 129 Old 08-16-2013, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Brilliant Smokering! You have resurrected the bread thread! I am trying this on Sunday! 


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#70 of 129 Old 08-16-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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Yes! This is my standard technique, though I use a modified version of Jim Lahey's recipe from the NY Times (a third white flour, 2 thirds whole wheat, shaped with flax seeds mixed in at end). Yours looks gorgeous too!

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#71 of 129 Old 08-16-2013, 08:52 PM
 
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Yay!

 

Loaf 2 just came out. It was a bit smaller - I wasn't sure how the Dutch oven thing would work, so I made a double batch of dough and shaped one into an oval on a baking sheet just in case. When the first one turned out so well I couldn't resist doing another, so the poor loaf kind of changed shape halfway through rising. That, and the fact that I halved the dough a bit unevenly, made a smaller loaf, but it looks neater and less rustic. I think my slashing was tidier or something. Anyway it rose and crisped nicely too, and is cooling on the bench. DH wants to taste it, but apparently cutting into it before it's cool softens the crust (another thing I never knew!) So he will just have to wait.

 

Granite, do you have consistently good success with the method? Any tips? What happens if you warm the loaf later? I like warm bread, but I don't want to ruin the crust...


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#72 of 129 Old 08-16-2013, 10:32 PM
 
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This is pretty much the only bread baking technique I've used in recent memory! I had wrist problems for a while, and that's how I got into the no-knead thing. My dad first told me about it when that NYT recipe was published several years ago. For him, this is his "special occasion bread", and he thinks it's funny that it's part of my weekly (or daily!) routine... But I love how easy it is, with little spurts of work spread over a long period. I usually start the dough at bedtime, shape it when I get home from work the next day, and bake it in time to enjoy with dinner. Sometimes I start it in the morning, which doesn't have the same depth of flavour... But the dutch oven baking technique still works great!

 

I've re-warmed the loaves with no problem... And also shaped the dough into buns, then baked all together (they end up needing to be pulled apart, but that's part of the fun!). I never knew that about cutting-before-cooling softening the crust, either; thanks for the tip.

 

I don't actually slash mine, but maybe I should? Like Lahey's instructions, I flip over the shaped loaf to expose the seam as it bakes, which cracks open nicely.

 

I was on a gluten-free kick while TTC this past year, and have only recently gotten back into the bread-making routine... You've got me all inspired to stretch my skills thumb.gif


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#73 of 129 Old 08-17-2013, 01:43 AM
 
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Well, the bread was a success. I did re-warm it, and the crust went all crackly and nice and didn't soften. The bottom crust was firmer than the top and sides (not in a problematic way, just interesting to note). The guests complimented it and took some home. So yep, I think this is going to be my new baking method!

 

Now I need to convince DH to buy me a big oval Le Creuset, in case I want to do braided or oval loaves. :p


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#74 of 129 Old 08-17-2013, 04:02 AM
 
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Smokering, that's a gorgeous loaf! I would post a photo of the loaf I made yesterday, but it's a pretty boring whole wheat sandwich loaf. 

 

I am impressed with your slashing technique. I can't seem to slash the No Knead dough before it goes in the oven. It's too wet and soft. I also use the Lahey recipe posted by granite, so maybe I will try your links (haven't looked at them yet to figure out the differences).  I've been making No Knead bread for a few years now but I haven't for a while. I'm inspired to make a loaf again. 

 

For anyone who wants to try a reliable, traditional recipe for artisanal rustic loaf, this one from King Arthur Flour using the sponge preferment has been popular around here lately. I let the sponge sit overnight, about 12 hours total. I use the "Regular Oven Baking technique" in the recipe. 

 

Oh, and the No Knead bread is delicious toasted.  

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#75 of 129 Old 08-17-2013, 02:21 PM
 
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Well, I just used my regular bread recipe - approx 3 c flour to 1 c liquid. The loaf didn't have that lovely airy crumb some of the photos online had, though - it was a bit holey-er than normal, but not significantly - so I might have to experiment with different recipes. DH really loves holey bread, and ciabatta in particular.

 

I slashed the dough with my really good breadknife (a bit tricky trying not to burn myself on the hot Dutch oven!), but apparently the posh way to do it is with a razor. If you oiled it first a razor should slip through even a fairly wet dough, don't you think?

 

It was actually the first time slashing has worked for me. :p I used to slash it before the second rise, fairly deeply, and it kinda worked, but it didn't look like 'proper' rustic loaves. Slashing it after the rise always seemed strange to me, like the air would escape. Goes to show how little I know! The site recommended very shallow slashes too, just 1/4 inch.

 

I can't wait to try this technique with a sweet loaf! A braided apricot-orange loaf with a crackly crust, thickly dredged in icing sugar, served with orange rum butter, is a pleasing thought...


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#76 of 129 Old 08-17-2013, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I slashed the dough with my really good breadknife (a bit tricky trying not to burn myself on the hot Dutch oven!), but apparently the posh way to do it is with a razor. If you oiled it first a razor should slip through even a fairly wet dough, don't you think?

 

I use a pastry scraper to divide my dough and slash my loaves. Works like a charm. 


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#77 of 129 Old 08-18-2013, 01:24 AM
 
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Well, I've been researching how to get an open crumb, and it looks like I handle my dough way too much after the first rise. I've always been quite conscientious about squooshing out all the air bubbles, because I thought that was the point of knocking the dough back! (Plus, it's fun. I'll miss doing that.)

 

Also, though I've been moving towards a wetter dough (and using the dough hook rather than kneading by hand makes that less unpleasant), it seems my dough is still way too floury.

 

So I just made a poolish, and am going to try a slightly weird hybrid of several techniques in order to make a sweet raisin-orange loaf for supper tomorrow night after choir. I'll make the dough as wet as I can bear to. In the interest of not degassing the dough too much while shaping it, should I add the raisins and stuff during the initial mixing/kneading/folding process? My traditional-recipe method is to add big stuff like nuts and raisins after punching down the dough, just before shaping, but I'm not really sure why I do that.

 

So many assumptions to question! This is quite exciting.


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#78 of 129 Old 08-18-2013, 06:51 AM
 
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One suggestion I read in Michale Pollen's newest book was to sift your whole wheat flour first, reserving the larger bits of the grain that get left in the fine sieve and then rolling your dough in them right before the last rise, so that they just coat the outside. This keeps those "sharper" pieces of the grain out of the rising process and they don't shred your gluten strands. This makes for a much less dense bread. He was doing a long rise sour dough, but it was 100% WW.

I have yet to try it, but it sounds worth a try :)

I'm w/ you on the quest for the best bread. I have found that melted coconut oil as the fat in the sandwich bread helps keep it softer as the loaf ages.

Good luck! And if you try this, let us know :)

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#79 of 129 Old 08-18-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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That's a good idea with the whole-wheat flour! I'd wondered about sifting it and adding the bran back in after kneading, but I figured that while it'd give the gluten strands a chance to develop, it'd just cut them up anyway when added. Adding the bran to the outside is a great solution! I'll try it.

 

I watched this again last night and changed my poolish into the dough he uses. This morning it was all risen and bubbly and stringy like it should be (impressive, with only 1/4 tsp yeast!)

 

Just now I added raisins, sultanas, currants, chopped almonds, orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice. Tried to mix it in thoroughly without completely de-gassing it. It can rise for several more hours like this anyway - I'll try to give it a few quick stretches every 20 minutes for the next few hours - and then I'll shape it in the bowl and bake it Dutch oven-style. It seems like my Dutch oven should be even hotter than I had it before. I bought a stainless steel knob for my Le Creuset yesterday. :)

 

And I'll be sure to cook it, let it cool completely and reheat it before serving, instead of serving it warm from the oven. For the sake of the crust... but it also happens to be easier and should make it less doughy to cut. Win-win.


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#80 of 129 Old 08-18-2013, 07:00 PM
 
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Looking forward to hearing about your results, smokering!


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#81 of 129 Old 08-19-2013, 07:44 AM
 
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Oh good! Please let us know if it helps at all. I just made WW pizza dough yesterday and wondered if I could have sifted the flour and just sprinkled the bran over the top of the sauce or something?

 

Good luck!

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#82 of 129 Old 08-19-2013, 02:05 PM
 
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Well, the raisin bread was... can you say 'unqualified disaster'? It was a mess! lol.gif

 

The dough was WAY too sticky and I don't think I did the fold-and-stretch thing right. It had none of the surface tension necessary to getting a good rise - it didn't even look like a loaf, just like a kind of wettish scone dough plopped into the bowl. I baked it anyway, hoping magic would happen in the oven, but nope. For some reason, though the searing-hot-Dutch-oven trick worked beautifully for my last loaf, this time it just burned the loaf to a crisp. Which is sort of what you'd expect from chucking a loaf in at 230C for 30 minutes... but why was it fine last time?

 

I cut the resulting sorry mess open just to see if there was at least a lovely open crumb inside, proving I'd done something right - but nope. It was sodden and dank and underbaked. I pitched it out the back door and hastily made some coconut-orange chocolate chunk cookies for supper instead - which went down a treat, fortunately.

 

So, yeah. Don't do what I did. :p

 

Nothing daunted, I have ciabatta dough - ciabatta gloop, more precisely - rising as we speak, from this recipe. The only thing I've changed so far is to autolyse the flour and water overnight, because a few commenters said the flavour wasn't very developed due to the quickness of the recipe. It's only about 4-5 hours all up. So hopefully this will give it a better depth of flavour. I'm more worried about the texture, though - if I can make a really holey open-crumb bread I'll be as pleased as Punch. And my husband will love me more. :p He adores ciabatta.

 

mamasaiall: I usually use white flour for pizza dough. I'm not sure the bran would be good on toppings. Maybe you could just toss the bran back into the flour bin? You'd still have a slightly healthier dough than with white flour, but a better texture. Every whole-wheat pizza dough I tried in the past was kind of gluggy and heavy and dank, so I'm a big fan of white dough rolled as thin as humanly possible these days. Sometimes I do a stuffed crust with mozzarella, and sesame seeds and rock salt sprinkled over the stuffed edge, too. That's yummy.


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#83 of 129 Old 08-19-2013, 06:00 PM
 
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Holey crumb, Batman! It worked!

 

 

 

If anything it's probably too holey, but do you think I'm gonna complain about that?

 

Also, OVEN SPRING. Look at this. The one on the left is about to go in the oven. That's how much they rise.

 

 

I am very happy and can't stop eating it. And my darling son just picked up an entire loaf (the recipe makes four) and bit into the side. Sigh.


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#84 of 129 Old 08-19-2013, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One suggestion I read in Michale Pollen's newest book was to sift your whole wheat flour first, reserving the larger bits of the grain that get left in the fine sieve and then rolling your dough in them right before the last rise, so that they just coat the outside. This keeps those "sharper" pieces of the grain out of the rising process and they don't shred your gluten strands. This makes for a much less dense bread. He was doing a long rise sour dough, but it was 100% WW.

 

Which book? Have I missed a new one?


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#85 of 129 Old 08-19-2013, 11:47 PM
 
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Inspired by my success, I'm now itching to make Hokkaido Milk Bread. Doesn't it look fantastically soft and squishy and luscious? I sent DH out to buy some milk powder especially for the purpose. :) I won't do it plain, I'll put some kind of yummy filling in it - I think it might be nice with minimal raisins and pink coconut icing on top, like a Boston bun.

 

It uses tangzhong - a roux made of flour and milk or water - which is supposed to give it a really silky texture. It's meant to be a good method for hamburger buns or any other fluffy, 'supermarkety' kind of soft bread. A bit odd to go from trying to make a rustic-as-heck holey ciabatta to trying to replicate feathery bland supermarket bread! But it does look yummy...

 

Also, I gave a loaf of my ciabatta to a friend today. She said she'd tried to make it once, but the recipe must have been wrong because the dough was really wet. Ha! I said I'd send her the recipe I used. It really was the bizarrest dough I've ever seen - like a mass of marshmallowy bubbles - but it worked!


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#86 of 129 Old 08-20-2013, 06:36 AM
 
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 kitchensqueen- Cooked , Michael Pollan's newest book, came out near the end of April. And since I was only a couple weeks postpartum I had plenty of time to read, but I've had no time to bake since reading it :)

 

Smokering- That is some beautiful ciabatta! Well done!! I wish I had more time to bake right now. I really want to do the dutch oven thing, Pollan does that for his bread recipe too, and apparently it gives his WW sourdough a great crust and crumb. I'm also fan of stuffed crust, mozzarella sticks cut from the big block, not string cheese, for me it just doesn't melt the same. I've usually put garlic salt inside the crust, never dressed the outside, but I will have to try that next time.

I sometimes do all WW for pizza crust, sometimes using white whole wheat if I have it, or part WW and white, or all white, depending on what I'm going for or who I'm cooking for. The white whole wheat and a little white flour is my favorite. I give it a little extra rising time, sometimes overnight in the fridge if I can swing it. I also have an Electrolux Assistent mixer that I bought used off of ebay a few years ago and I absolutely LOVE it for the way it handles WW doughs. I just beats them into submission and really makes them lighter and silkier than I can manage by hand or w/ the KitchenAid stand mixer.

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#87 of 129 Old 08-20-2013, 02:49 PM
 
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I need to try white whole wheat! I've heard good things about it, just not sure where to get it round here. Something that's healthy like regular whole wheat but closer in texture to white sounds ideal.

 

Does Pollan recommend preheating the Dutch oven? Apparently you can do it either way and it makes almost no difference. After the major burning of my raisin loaf I'm wondering if a cold Dutch oven would be safer (but then, my first loaf was fine! Why?) - but putting cold cast iron into a 250C oven seems like it might stress the enamel.

 

The ciabatta is all gone. :p It made four loaves - small loaves, to be sure, and mostly air - and we gave one away, but between the four of us we managed to finish the other three in half a day. Oops.

 

I made the tangzhong for the Hokkaido bread last night. Will time it to be ready around tomorrow lunchtime - I have a friend visiting at 2PM, and then we're dropping the kids off at Gran's in the evening so we can go see a movie, and I can give the second loaf to them. Otherwise I'd really have no excuse for making the stuff.


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#88 of 129 Old 08-20-2013, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamasaia11 View Post

 kitchensqueen- Cooked , Michael Pollan's newest book, came out near the end of April. And since I was only a couple weeks postpartum I had plenty of time to read, but I've had no time to bake since reading it :)

 

I did miss one then! I need to see if the library has it... 


Apartment Farm - the chronicles of my cooking, gardening, crafting and other such things. 

 

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#89 of 129 Old 08-21-2013, 09:04 PM
 
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The Hokkaido bread was a success! I added raisins, baked it as squooshed-together buns in a loaf tin and a roasting pan, and iced with pink coconutty buttery icing. The crumb was indeed silky and soft and tasty. I recommend it. :)

 

A friend just had her baby (finally, 13 days late!), so I have an excuse to make more bread. Muahaha. And I need to make pizza dough for tomorrow night too. I'll go start autolysing! I think it really does make a difference to the handleability of slack dough.


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#90 of 129 Old 08-23-2013, 08:56 PM
 
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I've been reading through all the posts in this thread and loving it.  I used to bake more regularly, but fell out of the habit.  With fall coming and the super hot weather we've had this summer (hopefully) almost over I'm going to start again.  I used to bake wheat bread each week for sandwiches as well as muffins and quick breads.  I want to get back into baking our sandwich bread regularly again as well as trying my hand at burger and sub rolls.  And I am going to venture into sourdough this fall as well. 

 

The one thing I've never been successful with is pizza dough.  I love homemade pizza, but can never get the dough right.  I've given up for a while and buying dough from a local pizza place to bake my pizzas at home.  I am determined to get it right one of these days.

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