Last night I baked my first loaf for Sourdough Rye bread. I don’t think rye is ever an overly attractive loaf but I’m proud of it nonetheless. The starter was made following the recipe in Wild Fermentation and is nothing but organic rye flour and water. So much flavour! I’m very excited about this foray into sourdough.
Tag Archives: bread
Last night (and this morning) I made some pita bread. Pockets included. Who knew it was this easy?? Well, I’m sure some people knew, but I definitely didn’t. The recipe is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which I blogged about before. As I mentioned before, the idea behind the book is that you mix a large batch of dough that lives in the fridge, and then cut pieces off to quickly make a loaf. That method itself means you can have a fresh loaf with hardly any work time (this is the five minute part) but the fantastic thing about pita bread is that it literally takes 5-7 minutes to cook and needs no resting or rising time! I made some last night and we ate it with homemade hummus and some greens and then, because it is so quick, I made some more this morning so Gary would have something to take to lunch.
The pita can be made from several different pre-mixed doughs in the book. I used Light Whole Wheat but you can find the recipe for the European Peasant here if you want to try making your own pita. I’ll include the directions here, but I do really recommend getting the book since there are so many recipes. If you make bread you could probably try this with your own dough as long as it is a very soft dough, and just a flour/water/yeast/salt kind of dough. You do need a baking stone. (I think mostly these are sold as pizza stones. And if you like baking bread you should probably have one.)
1. Preheat oven to 500F with the stone on the middle shelf. At this point, your dough should be in the refrigerator.
2. Just before baking dust the dough with flour and cut of an orange sized piece. I weigh mine and a large pita is 8oz of dough. Shape the dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides. Dust the counter with lots of flour and place your ball on the counter.
3. Roll out the dough with a rolling-pin to a 1/8 inch thickness. Dust the rolling-pin liberally with flour, and flip the bread occasionally to stop if from sticking. Place the pita on a floured peel.
4. Slide the pita onto the stone. Turn on your ventilation fan, as extra flour may smoke at such a high temperature. Bake for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned and puffed. If you are making more you should be rolling one out as this one is baking. Mine didn’t really brown much but did puff.
5. Remove pita from the oven and wrap in a clean cotton towel. And that’s it. Eat warm or use to make pita sandwiches.
What with one thing and another I fell out of my bread making rhythm sometime during the past few weeks. This morning I set out to correct this but then realized I probably needed to wash my bread bowl. Now, this may startle you, but I have not washed my bread bowl since January! This is not, I hasten to add, neglect: the idea is that once you finish with one batch, you leave a little dough behind and mix your new batch right in the bowl. It’s a lazy way of adding a little sour-dough flavour to the loaf, and it works perfectly. The bowl of dough lives in the fridge and I use and replenish regularly, so all was fine. But after a few weeks of no baking I thought I should probably start with a clean bowl. The perfect time to try a new loaf from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Where bread making is concerned, I love the idea of habit and rhythm and I’m likely to always make the same kind of bread unless an occasion just such as this comes along! I’m making a %100 whole wheat loaf. I’m generally drawn to bread with few ingredients (water, yeast, salt and flour) but though this requires some milk, honey and oil, I do like the idea of a good whole wheat loaf. It’s rising as a type, so we shall see how it turns out!
There have been other things going on around here besides food preparation, but it may not look that way! Earlier in the week I made a loaf of Chutney Bread and documented the process. Unfortunately several of my photos are out of focus, but I’m enthusiastic enough about the chutney bread not to care too much.
I am still loving Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and am gradually perfecting my technique. I wanted to do something a bit fun with the dough so I decided on Chutney Bread. I used the chutney I made back in December. The recipe for the dough is found here. (Though I would make two corrections. First, use about 2/3 the amount of salt if using regular salt. The original recipe used corse grain salt so this makes a difference. Also, if using the dough FROM THE FRIDGE the original recipe recommends letting the cold dough rise/rest for 1 hour. 40 minutes is for the dough that hasn’t been refrigerated.)
First step: Took some dough from the fridge. Sprinkled flour on the counter and rolling-pin and rolled dough to a rectangle shape.
Step two: Spread Chutney over the surface of the dough. I think I was a little too liberal with the chutney so I would maybe be more restrained next time.
Step three: Roll it up, jelly roll style and fold over the ends.
Step four: Flipped the roll over so the ends were underneath and gently shaped it into a ball. Let it rest for an hour on a cornmeal sprinkled peel.
Step five: (Which I almost forgot.) Dusted loaf with flour and made several cuts.
Step six: Baked at 450. Time varies with size of loaf. Mine was about 1 1/2lb so I think it was about 45 minutes. As I’ve mentioned before, it is very easy to under-bake (happens WAY more than over-baking) so I generally bake it until I think it is done and 5-10 minutes longer.
This smells wonderful and tastes divine. Perfect for a cheese sandwich. Part of me knows that it might be less complicated to simply spread chutney on bread but never mind that!
There has been much bread baking in the house of late! I finished off my first batch of dough and started another (that incorporated some scrap from the first batch). I’m still trying to get a handle on the flour/water ratio. If I follow the recipe I get a much firmer dough, so I choose to add more water, though I’m still fiddling with it. But I’m quite happy with the results. Or at least, still enthusiastic!
After the last batch two things are on my mind.
1 – I *always* underbake my bread. I read somewhere once that it is difficult to overbake bread, and I think that is true. My bread is still very pleasant, and has a good crust, but I know it would be better if I would have the courage to leave it in the oven longer till it is really dark brown. (Especially as I am baking two loaves at a time. I know a big part of the idea of the book is that you can bake a loaf here and there, but I feel a bit guilty about heating the entire oven for one loaf of bread.)I find too that it comes out of the oven quite crisp but softens as it cools, which has to do with the moisture left in the dough. So this could be an issue with the baking time, and my fiddling around with the results. I’m weighing my dough before I shape the loaves so that when I finally hit on the right baking time I will be able to repeat it. Fortunately, it’s a nit-picky, refining issue, and in the mean time this bread is very nice to eat.
2 – The slashing pattern on the dough has a great effect on the loaf. The tic, tac, toe pattern leaves me with a flatter loaf while the “scallop” marks seem to help the bread keep a nice high shape.
Last loaf from first batch. This dough was in the fridge for a while. Quite flat, but again, I used the tic, tac, toe slashing pattern. Nice air bubbles. I just need to BAKE IT FOR LONGER!
Loaves from my new batch, dough mixed last night. Also need longer. I think I just need to keep repeating “Bake Longer” to myself as a mantra.
Today I transplanted my little lettuce seedlings to their permanent home. I didn’t do a terribly good job of it, and next time I’ll sew them directly in a big container. (I didn’t do that because the container was frozen from being outside and I was impatient and wanted to start planting!) Still, they might struggle along and do ok. Time will tell.
You may have seen in my last post I started a sourdough starter. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to flourish and again, I got impatient. (This seems to be a theme!) I had an urge to make new bread so I used this recipe online. It’s from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. This is achieved by mixing large quantities of a very soft dough that can live in the fridge (much like a starter). You then use a portion of it to shape and bake a loaf when it suits you. I loved the recipe, and the idea, so I went out and bought the book. I have to say too that the book includes a lot of good information and details so if the idea seems like your kind of thing you probably want to buy it. I’ve got a loaf’s worth of dough left to bake but I already want to make more and experiment with the different recipes. I think the flavour will change as the dough ages. This is also a perfect situation to use scrap dough. Bakers sometimes use a piece of “scrap dough” from a previous batch and add it to a new dough, which helps the flavour. I’ve used this technique once before but actually mixed up a bit of dough as my scrap. This time I’ll simply save a little from what I’ve got in the fridge already. I’m afraid I’ve got no pictures – we ate all the bread already. But I’m pretty enthusiastic about this so I’m sure I’ll have photos in the near future!
I just returned from the Partners for Care Farmers’ Market. (They don’t state the hours but I read somewhere it is from 10-2.) I have been hearing about this all summer and I’m glad I finally got a chance to go. It’s mostly made up of folks who are down at the Halifax Farmers Market on Saturday so I saw quite a few familiar faces. It’s popular and busy but being outside stops it from feeling crowded.
I was thinking only the other day that sometimes it seems like we need to go to the market for NOW, and then go again to get food to freeze. So I took this opportunity to buy food for the freezer; tomatoes, raspberries, blue berries, broccoli and swiss chard. But though I focused on freezer produce I also picked up my favourite yogurt from Fox Hill (seriously, if you haven’t tried this you haven’t tried yogurt), a lovely loaf of sour dough bread and apple juice that was apples at 7:30 this morning! Lovely little outing on a beautiful fall morning.