Posts Tagged ‘bread’

French-Style Country Bread

Country Style French Bread

It has been rainy and cold here in Southern California for a little over a week, and I have to admit that it is kind of nice. I grew up in Montana so I really enjoy the crisp cool air and the excuse to wear warm snuggly clothes and cuddle under blankets. Now I am not saying that I am ready to ditch the sunny California weather for the snowy Montana roads, but it is nice to have the occasional cool days.

When we have these cool days it really makes me want to turn on my oven and bake some yummy goodies. This time I decided to go with crusty bread. Since I started working with yeast last summer, I have been excited to try so many different recipes. Working with yeast is so much fun and so far the end results have been out of this world fantastic. I found this recipe on the King Arthur website and was drooling as I read through the steps. This bread has a wonderful crusty exterior with the perfect soft fluffy inside you would expect from a French bread and the flavor was perfect. My favorite way to eat any crusty bread is fresh out of the oven, sliced and dipped in olive oil and vinegar. And the first night, that is how we ate it. However, the next day for lunch, my husband and I sliced thin slices and made grilled cheese sandwiches with some sharp and medium cheddar cheese. They were outstanding grilled cheese sandwiches, and my husband even said he thought they were the best grilled cheese he has ever had. I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Country Style French Bread

French-Style Country Bread
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Sponge Starter (Begin 2 to 16 hours ahead)
1 cup (8 ounces) cool to lukewarm water, preferably spring water (90 to 100°F)
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur White Whole Wheat or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour

All of the sponge starter (above)
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water, preferably spring water (100 to 115°F)
3/4 teaspoon active dry or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 3/4 to 4 cups (1 pound to 1 pound 1 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

To Make The Sponge: Stir all of the sponge ingredients together to make a thick, pudding-like mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on a counter overnight or for at least 2 to 4 hours. If you’re making this in a bread machine, place the sponge ingredients inside, and turn the machine on for just a few seconds to mix the ingredients together. Turn the machine off and close the cover. Let the sponge rest for 4 hours or overnight (anywhere between 2 and 16 hours is fine, the longer the better).

To Make The Dough: Stir down the sponge with a spoon and add the water, yeast, sugar, most of the flour (hold back about 1/2 cup to use if required), and salt. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to make a soft dough, 10 to 12 minutes.

Note: You may also do this in your bread machine, using the Dough or Manual setting. After the dough has finished kneading, place it in a lightly greased bowl, and continue as directed below.

Big Tip: Mix ingredients together using up to 80% of the flour called for: it will be a loose, messy mass. Let the dough rest for 12 minutes, and you’ll see it change in texture, to be come much smoother. Continue, kneading and adding additional flour as required. Overall, the dough handles better once its had time for the flour to absorb the water while resting and relaxing. By using this method, you’ll tend to add less flour, and have much bigger holes in your finished bread.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or plastic container, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and a damp towel, and let it rise until almost doubled (depending on the weather, this could be l to 2 hours). If you’re going out, or if you prefer, let the dough rise slowly in the fridge. If your dough has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature; it’ll warm up and rise at the same time. After its first rise, deflate the dough gently, but don’t knock out all the air; this will create those “holes” so important to French bread. Form the dough into a round ball. Place two cookie sheets atop one another, and place a semolina- or cornmeal-dusted piece of parchment paper on top. Gently place the ball of dough on the cookie sheets, seam-side down. Cover it lightly with a tea towel, and let it rise the second time until it’s puffy and about 40% to 50% larger, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes (depending on the weather, luck, and magic). Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Dust it with a little flour.

Preheat your grill to High. Place the bread (on the doubled-up cookie sheets) on the grill, and close the cover. Immediately reduce the heat to Medium (400°F), and allow the bread to bake for 25 minutes, or until it’s well-browned. Reduce the heat to Low, and carefully place the bread directly on the grill. Continue to bake until completely done, about 5 minutes.

For Regular (Oven) Baking: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Slash the bread, spritz water into the oven with a clean plant mister, and place the bread in the oven. Reduce the heat to 425°F and spritz with water every few minutes for the first 15 minutes of baking. Bake the bread for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it tests done. Yield: 1 large round bread or two medium breads, 10 to 12 servings.

Adapted From: King Arthur

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Italian Bread

 Italian Bread
I have really been enjoying learning to work with yeast. It is not as scary as I thought it was going to be and I can’t wait to try so many new recipes. Although I am not sure many can top this recipe! I absolutely love bread dipped in oil and vinegar and this bread was perfect for dipping. It has the perfect crusty outside with the soft spongy inside. The flavor of this bread is also perfect. It is just like the bread they would serve you at a nice Italian restaurant. This is a recipe that I plan to make very often. ln fact I plan to make it to go with our Christmas Eve dinner this year which is usually an Italian themed meal. If you love crusty bread, I promise this recipe will not disappoint!

Italian Bread
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Overnight Starter
3/4 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup water
2 3/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons saltTopping
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
sesame seeds (optional)

The Starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.

Manual Method: In a large bowl, combine the starter and the remainder of the dough ingredients, stirring till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it’s supple, but the surface is still somewhat rough. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes.

Mixer Method: Combine the ingredients as above, using a flat beater paddle or beaters, then switch to the dough hook(s) and knead for about 5 minutes; the dough should have formed a ball, but its surface will still be a bit rough. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients, including the starter, into the pan of your machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. When the cycle is finished, remove the dough, deflate it gently, and let it rest, covered, for 30 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into three pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-inch rope. Braid the ropes (tucking the ends under), set the braid on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise it rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, or till it’s very puffy.

Brush the braid with the egg white glaze. Sprinkle it heavily with sesame seeds. Bake the bread in a preheated 425°F oven for 25 to 35 minutes; the longer it bakes, the crunchier it’ll be. Remove it from the oven and cool it on a wire rack (or cool it in the turned-off, door-propped open oven). Yield: 1 loaf.

Adapted From: King Arthur

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
Have I mentioned that I love the fall? Well, if not, then I LOVE the FALL!!! And one thing I love about the fall is all the yummy pumpkin goodies there are to eat (oh and drink, because who doesn’t love a nice hot pumpkin spiced latte from SB :)). I have a huge list of pumpkin yummies that I hope to make between now and Thanksgiving and I plan to share my adventures with you as I go. 

This pumpkin bread is simple and VERY easy to whip up and throw in the oven for a nice warm treat any time of day. It is moist and the spices are the perfect balance with the pumpkin. I usually make my pumpkin bread nut-free, however, feel free to add your favorite nut for some crunchy goodness in each slice.

Pumpkin Bread
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1 cup brown sugar                                  
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup butter                                           
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs                                                 
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin                          
2  teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cup flour                                       
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger

Cream sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl.  Beat in eggs and pumpkin until light. Stir in dry ingredients until well blended. Bake in greased 9×5 pan for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

I recieved this recipe from a friend and modified it slightly, not sure of it’s original source.

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Whole Wheat Bread

Wheat BreadMaking homemade Wheat Bread has been on my kitchen “bucket-list” for quite awhile now and since it finally started to get cooler I decided to give it a go. This recipe has quite a few ingredients, but the flavor is perfect. It has a very light wheat flavor and the honey gives it a nice sweetness. For my first ever batch of homemade bread it turned out wonderfully!  The dough was simple to make and it was also easy to work with and shape. Overall this was an easy recipe and I look forward to making it again. Next time I am going to try to measure the flours by weight and see if it does anything to the density of the bread. The recipe makes two loaves, so we have one out for now and we froze the other one to use as needed.

Whole-Wheat Bread with Wheat Germ and Rye
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Makes two 9-inch loaves.

2-1/3 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
1½ tablespoons instant yeast
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
2½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup (7/8 ounce) rye flour
½ cup toasted wheat germ
3 cups (16½ ounces) whole-wheat flour
2¾ cups (13¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix the water, yeast, honey, butter, and salt with a rubber spatula. Mix in the rye flour, wheat germ, and 1 cup each of the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours.

2. Add the remaining whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, attach the dough hook, and knead at low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead just long enough to make sure that the dough is soft and smooth, about 30 seconds.

3. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

4. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Gently press down the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Gently press each piece into a rectangle about 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With a long side of the dough facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing down to make sure that the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place each cylinder of dough in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, seam-side down and pressing the dough gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover the shaped dough; let rise until almost doubled in volume, 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim reads 205 degrees, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer the bread immediately from the baking pans to wire racks; cool to room temperature.

Adapted from Annie’s-Eats, originally from Baking Illustrated.

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