Entries in bread (23)


An Italianish brioche

To no one's surprise, I am a baker.  So this should be no surprise that that many of the people I follow on Instagram are bakers.  The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook has come up a few times.  It is always very interesting to see what other cookbooks other bakers are interested in.  Especially those of us who make bread.  I have not gotten very deep in the volume I got for Christmas!  That is going to be interesting when I do.  Beware close friends!  I may be hitting you up to receive bread!

I was able to get the cookbook from the library.  Which is my preferred first choice of reviewing a cookbook.  I flipped through it.  I have heard of Jim Lahey and no-knead bread before.  If you want to do this technique, I think it is great and more power to you.  You will have fresh bread at home and that is the goal.  Personally, I have been baking too long and it is too messy and fussy for me.  Saying that, he did have a brioche recipe that I wanted to use as a guideline.

To be completely honest, I like a good brioche better then a good croissant.  The main problem is that most purchased brioche are on the dry side, tending to stale.  It is just the amount of butter, eggs, and milk that are in them.  I have good brioche recipes so I was not really on the look out for another one.  According to Jim Lahey, this was an Italian style one.  Not quite so plain.  Was I going to give an Italian brioche recipe a try?  Of course!  I am not an Italian grandmother but I have been accused of those tendencies.

I really liked it.  I would make them again.  There was a bit of lemon and vanilla added.  I could see making them with orange like the coronetto I make have in them.  Again, Italian flavors.  And for a baker, who more then likes a cup of tea, a perfect breakfast with some mountain jam and butter on them.  A small bit of heaven.

italianish brioche

Note:  This recipe is modified from The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook.

100 grams (a scant half cup) water

113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter

90 grams (a scant 1/2 cup) sugar

5 grams (1 teaspoon) honey

2 large eggs

4 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract

finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (I had extract and not the lemon)

125 grams sourdough starter

540 grams (3 3/4 cups) flour plus extra flour for kneading and shaping

6 grams (1 teaspoon) salt 

In a large bowl, put the water, butter, sugar, honey, eggs, vanilla, lemon, and starter.  Mix well but it will be lumpy.  Mix in half the flour, 270 grams (1 3/4 cups flour).  Mix well.  It will still be lumpy.  Cover and let rise until a bubbly mass like pancake batter.

At this point, mix in the salt.  Add in the rest of the flour.  Mix until you can mix no more and then turn out onto a clean floured surface and knead until smooth. 

Put back into a clean bowl, and let rise for an hour, covered.  After an hour, flatten the dough.  Fold the dough like a piece of paper into thirds.  Then fold the ends into the middle.  Put the folded side down.  Cover and let sit again for an hour.  I do this about three or four times.  

After the last fold, put in the refrigerator for an overnight rise.

The next morning, cover a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.  I shaped the dough into knots instead of the traditional brioche shape.  Dust you hands with flour and took a golf ball size of dough. Shape it into a snake and then tied a knot.  Place it on the baking sheet.   When all the dough has been shaped this way, cover and let slowly rise until double.  Since the dough was pulled from the refrigerator, this could take some time depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  My kitchen was cold so it took almost all day.  I probably did not need to refrigerate the dough.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the dough is risen, bake the rolls for about 20 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  The range is due to the size.  You want a golden roll.  I used a white whole wheat flour which tends to a darker shade when fully baked.

I toasted mine and smear them with jam and butter for breakfast.  So good!  If I did not have three half loaves of bread currently, I would be making more for breakfast and tea.  But that is life.


roasted apple bread

I had this stray thought that I decided to write down.  How would my cranberry walnut bread taste if I kneaded in roasted apples instead of cranberries and walnuts?  The bread itself is not very sweet.  It has an earthy nutty flavor when I use whole wheat flour.  Something that would go really well with apples.  The roasted apples would add a bit of sweet but not be too sweet.  

I like sweet.  But lately I have been wanting less sweet.  The cinnamon rolls I made this week were almost too sweet.  This is more what my taste buds have been wishing for.  The silly thing was that as soon as the loaf was gone, I was told more was needed.  I have not gotten there yet.  I am waiting on a flour order.  I do not really wish to run to the grocery store for flour when I have 65 pounds of flour coming.  Maybe this weekend this bread will get made again.

I do have one simple problem with this recipe.  I roasted four apples for it, following my own recipe but keeping the sugar the same amount (or less) then I would use for two apples.  One of the boyos kept coming through and taking spoonfuls.  I finally told him he could eat up to half of the original amount.  I am not sure he did.  Therefore, I am not sure how many apples I really used but I would start with four again.

roasted apple bread

Note:  This is a yeasted bread.

four apples

2 tablespoons butter

1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon, or to your taste

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, or to your taste

One recipe cranberry walnut bread without the cranberries and walnuts

Follow my recipe for roasted apples but use the ingredients I have above.

Follow the recipe for my cranberry walnut bread, but instead of folding in the cranberries and walnuts, fold in the roasted apples.  I would suggest that they be cooled or the sugars are going to burn your hands and kill the yeastie beasties.

I baked the loaf for the same amount of time as the original loaf.  If I had all four apples, I probably would have wanted another fifteen minutes.

It was an awfully yummy loaf.  It was really good as toast with cream cheese spread on top.

I will be making more when the flour arrives.


the current favorite pizza

Like I wrote in the past, Goat Mountain Pizza in Bellingham, WA is the only place I eat pizza out.  I ate pizza there again last time we were up in the Pacific Northwest.  It is just all decadent to my taste buds.  A lot of it is because it is good bread with stuff on top.  

I have played with it in the city, half a country away.  Then, I checked out Bianco from the library.  I have wished to go to Chris Bianco's resturaunts.  His food looks good.  I actually started to follow him on Instagram because of bread makers.  Which is horribly silly.  My Instagram feed is mostly bread, mountains, surf boards, and skateboards.  It is an odd feed.  

The cookbook was not very inspiring to me but I liked the easy of his crust.  2 cups water, 5 cups flour, yeast, 1 tablespoon salt.  I use sourdough instead of yeast.  He does a thin crust pizza but uses the same recipe for his foccaccia.  That is what I did.  Made a foccacia or sicilian pizza crust.  If I have leftover dough, I have the possibilities of a good bread or croissants.  100 grams of dough.  50 grams of butter.  I make two croissants.  I still have the problem of underproofing croissants but I am getting there.  And this way I do not have to go find a bakery.

On top of that crust, I have been putting parmesan and blue cheese, thinly sliced red onion and brussell sprouts coated with a vinaigrette of oil, balsemic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Let sit for 30 minutes before cutting it.  This is my favorite pizza currently.  I can eat a quarter of it at a sitting.  The boyos are happy because that means they will get lunch!

Everyone seems tired after Harvey.  Even if they were not "effected" they are tired because if you live here you were effected some way.  My cinnamon rolls are being asked for a lot.  I have been using white whole wheat flour in them to get more nutrition into people who need love for body and soul in the form of a baked good.  I have also been asked for cake.  Eyes lit up so big when I brought out cookies to the shop.  People are craving sweets.  They are thankful for all the good but there is some soul feeding that needs to go on.  I am trying to do what I can.  And baking for anyone who asks.



heritage grains

It has been an interesting week.  Boyos went camping but then Koda Bear ended up not feeling well.  Not feeling well with a low grade fever and just wanting to be held.  I do not mind all the cuddling but it does mean not much gets done. 

My garden is swamped in weeds after being gone, heat, and rain.  While pulling weeds, I found an ant bead and was bitten multiple times.  This should not be a big deal.  Yes, ant bites hurt.  Burn.  The problem is I have been bitten too many times and my body is reacting very badly.  My hands and feet are badly swollen, I got dopey, and my throat tightened.  I do try to be careful but I did not even see the pile until after I had been bitten.  The rest of my day was taking care of my bodies reaction.

Days like these just make me wish to bake bread.  But I bought flours from heritage grains recently and one of the flours is being troublesome.  It absorbs a lot of water after the dough is mixed.  It is a Sonora White whole wheat flour.  The Red Fife whole wheat did not react the same way.  I have add to rely  more on measurements then feel.  I do find letting all the liquid and just the Sonora flour rise together for a few hours does help.  

Bread baking is one of my meditation spaces, healing spaces so this has been very hard on me.  

But I am getting there.  I have been relying more on weights and technique then feel.  But that is what you have to do sometimes, go backwards to go forward.  

Especially when you are fulfilling a request.  Every week I am currently making a loaf of oatmeal bread (which also needed tweaking with the new flours) and a loaf of cranberry walnut bread.  The cranberry walnut bread is not a sweet quick bread but a yeasted loaf.  Not cake.  A loaf that has not sugar except what is in the cranberries.  

It is based off a loaf I purchased from Barrio Bread.  A bakery that is only 1100 miles away from one home, 1500 miles from the other.  Another spot I cannot get to every week.  Where Koda Bear asked, "Grandma, can you make this?" from the back seat of the car while adventuring.  He was eating the loaf.

Since I am not a sandwich person, I do not eat this bread on sandwiches.  But I eat it on and with everything else.  I do use it for open face sandwiches.  Salmon and cheese on top.  Or just cheese.  I like it as toast and with my eggs.  It is just a good bread.  It also satisfies the craving for sweet at times.

What I make is denser the Barrio Bread's.  Mostly because I put more walnuts and cranberries in it.  I like it!

cranberry walnut bread

sourdough starter

100 grams water

100 grams whole wheat flour

350 grams water

300 grams white whole wheat flour (or just all purpose white flour work here as well)

20 grams salt

200 grams whole wheat flour

130 grams cranberries (these can be chopped if you wish)

65 grams chopped walnuts

A bit of extra flour for folding

In a large bowl, mix the sourdough starter, 100 grams water, and 100 grams whole wheat flour together.  Cover and let sit overnight or for ten to fourteen hours.  Eight works too.

The next day, set a bit of the starter aside for next time.

Mix in 350 grams of water.  Mix in 300 grams of white whole wheat flour.  Cover and let sit for a couple hours.  This is where I am using the Sorona flour which absorbs a lot of water but I find it works with any flour.

After the dough has sat for a couple hours, it should be bubbly.  Mix in the salt.  Mix in about 150 grams of the remaining flour.  Dust a clean surface with the rest of the flour and knead the dough until smooth.  Cover and let sit for about an hour.   I usually put the dough in a bowl.

After the hour is up, flatten the dough.  Fold a long edge a third of the way across the dough.  Fold the other long edge across the dough that has been already folded over.  Fold one short end into the center.  Fold the other short end into the center.  Fold the dough into itself along that crease.  You should have a squat cube.  Set in a bowl, cover, and let rest for an hour.

Do this flattening again.

After the previous wait, flatten the dough.  Spread the cranberries on it.  Fold the long edges in.  Knead the dough up into a roll.  I sometimes divide the cranberries into a couple of groups and do this with each group.  Add the walnuts in the same way.  In the end, of the dough in a rough ball.  Let sit for another hour.

After the dough sits for another hour, flatten again.  Put in a plastic bag with lots of room.  Put it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, take the pan or pot you will back in and line with parchment paper.  I have been using a vintage cast iron porridge pot.

Take the dough from the refrigerator.  Shape into a better ball or a loaf shape if you can.  Put it into your pan or pot.  Cover.  Let rise until there is not spring back when you push your finger into it.  

Put the pot into the oven.  Turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake for one hour.

The loaf should sound hollow when it is done.

If you can, wait until the bread has cooled before you cut into it.

I have prettier pictures but this crazy little loaf called to me.  There are also pictures of slices other places but this is about what I could do today.  And eat bread.  I can eat toast and tea today.  Even with all the strangeness, life is good.


sweet bread dough

I hope every one had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Quiet was happened for me which I have to admit is my favourite.  New Year's Eve was movies and tea.  There was a bit of sparkling wine with a nice steak and salad.  To me, it was about perfect.

There were a lot of experiments last week and over the weekend.  Which I will get to.  But the one thing I discovered when I made the St Lucy's buns that I am still itching from, is a lovely sweet bread dough.  It is nice to have a go to sweet bread dough.  Again, from the tome.  This dough works really well with sourdough.  Since I only do sourdough, pretty huge.  

I made it into cinnamon rolls and punky monkey bread.  The monkey bread started to be called funky punky monkey bread.  And then it started to get called zombie bread because of the reactions it was getting.  It was like zombies going after brains.

I am getting ready to try panettone next.  I am making the candied citrus peel for that.  It would help if it did not get thrown out.  I have helping hands.  Which is a good reason to have a sweet bread dough that I can use as a guideline.

sweet bread dough

Note:  Modified from The Nordic Cook Book to use sourdough and a bit of whole wheat flour.

sourdough starter

100 grams water

100 grams flour

320 ml / 1 cup 5 tablespoons milk

150 grams butter

1 tablespoon cardamom

1 egg

125 grams sugar

1 teaspoon salt

250 grams whole wheat pastry flour

500 grams all purpose flour

Eight hours or the night before, mix the starter, 100 grams flour, and 100 grams water in a large bowl.  Cover.  When it is bubbling, take out a portion for next time.

To the starter, add the milk, butter, cardamom, egg, and sugar.  Mix well.  Mix in half the flour.  Cover and let rest for about an hour or an hour and a half.  It should be bubbling and the consistency of pancake batter.

Mix in the salt.  Mix in about half of the last of the flour to make a soft dough.  It may be very soft.  Turn out on a clean surface and use the last of the flour to knead until smooth.  You might need a bit more. 

Put into a clean bowl and let rise for one hour.  Take it out.  Flatten into a rectangle.  Fold the long side of the dough into the middle, and repeat with the opposite side.  Fold the ends toward the center.  Gather it up into a cubish round and put back into a bowl.  Cover.  Repeat this process three times.

At this point, I sometimes need to put the dough into a ziploc and put it into the refrigerator until the next day.  It works well.

If you refrigerate it, the next day let the dough come to room temperature.

Shape and fill the bread anyway you please.  The middle picture is the zombie bread.  Above is cinnamon rolls.  Put the shaped dough in the correct pan for shape with the pan buttered and lined with parchment paper.

Let rise until puffy.

The oven temperature will depend on shape.  Higher for smaller and a shorter bake time.  Longer bake and lower temperature for larger loaf.  Most loafs I bake at 350 degrees Farhenheit for an hour.

Whatever you make of it, this is a good sweet bread.  Have fun!