18
Mar
08

Decided I’m not a blogger

I’m only a picture taker.  So, in short, flickr is my blog:

My Flickr photos page

I probably won’t be posting here much anymore.

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14
Nov
07

Brioche

After having good success with the French loaves I decided to try my hand at some enriched bread. We often buy Brioche from our local grocery store that has a decent bakery so I figured I’d try my hand at baking some.

Once again, used the formula and process from the BBA and decided, what the hell, lets do the Rich Man’s Brioche. Mixed by hand and the dough was very rough/choppy:

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I was worried that since it wasn’t smooth the bread wouldn’t turn out right but for some reason was paranoid about over mixing. The book indicates the dough should be really smooth but as you can see above, it definitely wasn’t.

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Purchased some pyrex bread pans and fired up the oven:

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Everything cooked basically like the book indicated and I waited till I was happy with the color:

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The taste was FANTASTIC, and it turned out way better than i expected. Crumb loose and airy, crust was flakey:

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Very pleased with the results. Still have the big loaf in the freezer. More pics here: at flickr

13
Nov
07

First baguette attempt

2 weeks ago I decided to try my hat at a standard French baguette. Dough was nowhere near as wet as the ciabatta I did a few weeks back:

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The 1st rise was nice:

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The dough was fairly easy to handle, used the Bread Bakers Apprentice formula. This was the first bake I did with my new cast iron pan you can see in the picture:

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Loaves turned out nice. Good crust and crumb. Shape was a bit wacky on one of them as you can see, but that was a result of a lack of space on the cloth I laid them out on. Better shapes next time:

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you can see more pics here

02
Nov
07

Happy Halloween!




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Originally uploaded by mccun934

Happy halloween from our dogs!*

*no animals were harmed during the shooting of this photo 😉

01
Nov
07

Second try, ciabatta part II

Repeated same formula this last Sunday with the ciabatta. Modifications since previous attempt:

  • enriched the formula with buttermilk and olive oil
  • let poolish ferment on countertop for 60 minutes instead of 45
  • poolish fermented for 36 hours in fridge instead of around 10 on previous attempt
  • My previous primary ferment was ‘covered’ with the 4QT kitchenaid bowl which restricted how large the dough was able to rise. This time I let it rise loosely covered with saran wrap.
  • Used cast iron pan in stove with water for more steam (used turkey baster to deliver water without causing steam burns :-))
  • Strove for a generally ‘wetter’ dough

You can see from the poolish I got much better fermentation:

//flickr.com

The dough turned out really really wet and sticky, which is supposedly a good thing for this style of bread. It was super hard to handle and form into the right shape.

//flickr.com

you can see the high stick factor above as it sticks to my countertop. We have these annoying granite tiles (our previous house had Corian counters which would have ruled for breadmaking) that wouldn’t work well for kneeding/shaping bread on. I actually use a large plastic mat that I hang on the wall to give me a decent work surface. You can see it here from my first batch:

//flickr.com

Not that exciting, but perhaps a solution for those with tile countertops.

I let the primary rise go to work on the countertop under the green saran wrap. The rise was quite huge, perhaps a bit too big but quite satisfying to see. Didn’t get a pic at that point but they formed up OK, but the ‘middle’ loaf was signifigantly larger than the others:

//flickr.com//flickr.com

While trying to get the loaf on the far right onto the peel it stuck to the cloth and tore :-(. I tossed it in the trash but now realize I probably could have reformed it and baked it after I was done with the 2nd loaf. Next time I’ll use more flour on the cloth and if it does stick/tear I’ll try and re-use the dough instead of sending it to the trash bin!

Got a good ‘spring’ on the big loaf in the oven:

//flickr.com

Both loaves turned out great, much better flavor and nicer air pockets:

//flickr.com

a few more:

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And lastly, my favorite pic:

//flickr.com

Conclusions:

  • I cheated sorta by enriching the dough, but damn, it did taste better
  • Crust was MUCH better, lots of crackle and flavor
  • My wife wants more salt in the bread but I think that is kinda part of italian breads. I remember in Italy we always remarked at how the bread there was so low in salt.
  • Going to try this one more time soonish but may move to a French bread next

You can see more pics here: at my flickr.com collection

31
Oct
07

First bake

Earlier this summer my wife and I decided to try our hand at making some pizza dough from scratch. We had purchased various pre-made doughs from the supermarket and had been pretty disappointed with the results. We are usually up for a challenge so we decided to try our hand at making dough from scratch. You can see some of the pics and words on our first efforts here and here.

These blog posts caught the eye of Brian Spanger at Apizza Scholls and he graciously volunteered to have us stop by his restaurant and show us some tips on dough making. After an hour of demonstration our takeaway was an overwhelming sense of information to digest and the recommendationto pick up 2 books by Peter Reinhart, Bread Baker’s Apprentice:

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and his older book: Crust and Crumb. We ordered the books and let them sit around for a while. A couple months later I started getting the itch to create something I could eat and the books had been staring at me for a while. Picked up Breadmakers Apprentice and poured through the first sections.

Decided to start with the ciabatta formula which utilized a pre-ferment known as a poolish:

//flickr.com

which is just a mix of flour, yeast and water that ferments for ~24 hours. As you can see from the above pic its not all that active. Next time!

After mixing, kneeding and rising, I separated the dough out into 3 loaves:

//flickr.com

And baked them up into some bread:

//flickr.com

crumb:

//flickr.com

The results were edible but had a few problems. Was relatively bland, the crumb was too dense and chewy and the crust was thin and lacked any real ‘crackle’.

You can see more pics of my first attempt here at flickr.com

My next post will detail my repeat attempt at making the same formula.

30
Oct
07

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!




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