Sunday, June 10, 2012

St John Valley, Flax, Quinoa Bread

This is truly one of my favourite breads.  It is easy to make, you can start it in your breadmaker, do it in your mixer with a dough hook or you can do it totally by hand.  Simply mix the ingredients; if you use a breadmaker follow the instructions and setting for dough, in your mixer use the dough hook for about 5 mins and if by hand need the dough for 10 mins.  All methods lead to letting it rise 30-60 mins  (a little longer for the mixer and hand methods).  Then shape the loaves and let rise until double (all recipes say that but I don't really know when that is complete).  I let it rise about 60 mins.  Then score the top and cook at 375 for about 30 mins to 40 mins, it is done when the internal temperature is 200 and it has browned.  Here are the ingredients:

1 and 2/3 cup of water lukewarm
3 tbsp of powdered milk
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 and 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup St John Valley cereal (or other multigrain mix)
1/4 cup flax (I prefer yellow but any works)
1/4 cup quinoa (I don't but you could cook or soak it in advance, I use it raw)
1 and 1/4 tsp yeast
OPTION: you can add 3 tbsp of Vital Gluten to help in the rising, but that is totally optional.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Making homemade bread doesn't have to be difficult, check this out...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Italian Peasant Bread

This one was almost too easy.  A nice simple recipe, an easy dough to need, a quick rise and a very nice end product.  The only things I really changed was to use a stone (preheated in the oven) and a little steam by pouring a cup of water into a preheated pan on the lower shelf.  A pizza peel is a great tool for getting the loaf in and out of the oven.  It has a very nice flavour and great texture.  I will definitively use this recipe again. 

1 pkg. dry yeast
2 c. lukewarm water (105 to 110 degrees)
3 3/4 c. flour, divided
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Melted butter for brushing risen loaf
Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in yeast-and-water mix thoroughly with a large spoon. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, adding only enough of the remaining 1/4 cup flour to keep the dough from sticking, until smooth and springy. Shape the dough into a round loaf. Set loaf on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place, out of drafts, for 1 hour.Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Gently brush risen dough with melted butter. Wait for a minute or two and sprinkle lightly with flour. With a new, single-edge razor blade or the tip of a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 long, shallow cuts in the top of the loaf in one direction; repeat in opposite direction to form a "checkerboard." Bake for 10 minutes.
Lower to heat to 400 degrees and continue to bake for about 20 minutes, or until bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when the bottom or sides are tapped.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Rainy Saturday

A rainy Saturday gave me a great opportunity to do some baking.  The baguette and batard were made using a mix of dough from the refrigerator and fresh dough.  The fermented dough from the fridge made for a great crumb and excellent crust.  The miche is from St John Valley grains and  the rest from a very simple dough.

The Master Baker at work...

My baking hero, Richard Rice, the owner of the Boulangerie North Head Bakery on Grand Manan.  To step into his bakery is to step into a boulangerie in France.  The traditional french breads are given a local touch with the delicious specialty bread made with grains that grow on the St. John River.
I paid a visit this weekend and had half a baguette eaten before we made it to our cottage!
Be sure to visit if you ever have the chance.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

There is no better lunch then sandwiches made from fresh homemade bread. A nice sandwich loaf can make all the difference! This loaf of Saint John Valley bread is nutritious and delicious. The longer loaf pan makes a perfect size for sandwiches!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Refrigerator Bread

This has quickly become a favourite in our house.  It is in the fridge all the time and we use it for basic bread, pizzas, naan, pita... almost any thing.  I have stolen the recipe from Jeff Hertzberg's book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day"

The dough is ready for the fridge

1. Start with 3 cups of warm water
2. Add 1.5 tablespoons yeast and 1.5 tablespoons of salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded container . Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.
3. Mix in the 6.5 cups of flour by (I replace a cup to a cup and a half of the white flour with whole wheat) . Mix with a wooden spoon,  until uniformly moist.Don’t knead! This step is done in a matter of minutes, and yields a wet dough loose enough to conform to the container.
4. Cover loosely.. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature approximately two hours, depending on temperature. Longer rising times, up to about five hours, will not harm the result. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than room-temperature dough. We recommend refrigerating the dough at least three hours before shaping a loaf. And relax! You don’t need to monitor doubling or tripling of volume as in traditional recipes.
5. Prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent the loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. (I use parchment paper then you don't need to use cornmeal)
Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour, then cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-sized) piece with a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on four “sides,” rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go, until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it doesn’t need to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf will flatten out during resting and baking.
6. Place the ball on the pizza peel. Let it rest uncovered for about 40 minutes. Depending on the dough’s age, you may see little rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking.
7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on another shelf.
8. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing, serrated knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1⁄4-inch-deep cross, scallop or tick-tack-toe pattern into the top. (This helps the bread expand during baking.)
The Finished Product
9. With a forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about a cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch. With wet dough, there’s little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or “sing,” when initially exposed to room temperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire rack, for best flavor, texture and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.
10. Refrigerate the remaining dough in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next two weeks: You’ll find that even one day’s storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the two-week period. Cut off and shape loaves as you need them. The dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

It's a new year and I can't wait to try more new breads.  I have been playing with Jeff Hertzberg's "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day".  It's a great book and an easy way to have fresh bread everyday.  It's a really simple concept using just water, flour, salt and yeast but the results are great.  I'll post some results over the next few weeks. This is a loaf made from this simple recipe and it tasted great!