Bread boules!!

Bread boules!!

A few weeks ago I decided to make some bread for my lunch (I’d bring the bread with some deli meat and sliced cheese – very European I know).  I decided to just make two boules and bring one for a co-worker who has asked for me to bring some bread for her previously (little did I know that she’d be out sick).  I went back and found an old recipe and tweaked it slightly.

Ingredients:

Preferment:

  • 350 g bread flour
  • 364 g water
  • 3 g yeast

Remaining ingredients

  • 350 g bread flour
  • 266 g water
  • 14 g salt

I mixed up the preferment and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  I then added that to the remaining ingredients above.  I mixed these up thoroughly and then let it sit for the water to absorb before I kneaded it.

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I then proceeded to knead it for approximately 15 minutes until it was relatively smooth and I could do the “window” test – not perfectly but close enough.  I then set it in a bowl, covered it and used the proof setting on the oven to allow it to rise (double in size).

I pulled the dough out, did the knead and fold method a few times with 30 minutes in between before dividing the dough into 2.

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I formed the dough into a ball and then placed it into a well floured kitchen towel inside of a bowl (one round and one square). I let the dough rise again until I could press down on the dough with my thumb and it would only spring back halfway (since it was warm, this only took about 45 minutes).  I pre-heated the oven to 425 F while the dough was rising.  I then placed each of the dough balls onto some parchment paper and made some cuts through the top.

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I have a pizza steel I use and placed the dough on it and sprayed water into the oven.  I repeated the spray after 10 minutes and reduce the temperature to 400 F.

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I don’t remember exactly how long I cooked them for but I think it was in the 25-30 minute range (internal temperature was 198 F).

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They came out looking pretty good.  I ended up giving one of the boules to my other co-worker who hadn’t called out sick.  The crumb turned out pretty good as well.

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Today I decided to just make one boule for my lunches for the week.  I followed the same basic steps above.  I did make this one with some wheat flour thrown in.

Ingredients:

  • 300 g bread flour
  • 200 g wheat flour
  • 360 g warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 12 g salt
  • The only difference was that I put the risen dough into a preheated dutch oven (at 450 F).  I left it covered in the dutch oven for the first 10 minutes then removed the lid and dropped it to 390 F for an additional 25 minutes.  I haven’t cut into it yet so don’t know the crumb but it looked good from the outside.

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-StewsCat

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Whole wheat burger buns

We forgot to buy some bread for the week for lunches and such so I decided I’d give my hand at making a burger bun to use for sandwiches.  I perused a few different recipes online and cobbled together my own version as below.

Ingredients:

  • Warm milk – 1.5 cups
  • Egg – 1 large
  • Melted butter – 4 Tbsp
  • Sugar – 2 Tbsp
  • Active Dry Yeast – 1 Tbsp
  • Salt – 1.5 tsp
  • Whole wheat flour – 3 cups
  • All-purpose flour – 1.5 cups
  1.  Mix warm milk, egg, melted butter, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and incorporate  until frothy.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2.  In a separate bowl, mix the 2 types of flours and the salt.
  3.  Add wet to dry and mix.
  4.  Dump mixture onto countertop and knead for 5-7 minutes.
  5.  Form into ball and place in oiled bowl and allow to rise (double in size) – ~45 min to 2 hours.
  6.  Punch down, pour onto countertop and separate into 8-10 pieces.
  7.  Let rest for 10 minutes before forming into balls.
  8.  Form each piece into a ball and then flattened to get more hamburger bun shape.
  9.  Allow to rise (mine didn’t rise as much as I’d like).
  10.  Apply egg wash to each bun.
  11.  Pre-heat oven to 380 F
  12.  Place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes (I did 19 minutes).
  13.  Cover with kitchen towel for 15 minutes – I read this is supposed to help keep the bread rolls soft.
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Wet mixture
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Dry mixture
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Dough ball after kneading
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My not so even split of the dough into individual pieces
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Formed ball – then flattened.  I should have made sure the seam underneath was smooth because it cracked after baking
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Egg washed – just before going into oven
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Nice and brown
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Browned

Overall these came out okay.  I was hoping for wider and fluffier buns.  They turned out a bit dense and dry.  I baked them late at night (made them after work) and so left them out overnight to cool and that may have definitely contributed to the drying.  I made 2 of them for sandwiches for lunch today and noted that one of the buns did crumble and fall apart some.  I attribute that to the dryness.  I suspect another part of the denseness may be because I did not knead the dough enough initially to allow for proper gluten formation.  Another problem may be that I did not allow for proper rise times.  Our house typically is fairly cool and during winter time it is cooler, leading to a longer rise time (which I did not have because I have to sleep).

I’ll probably try something similar again in the future but maybe see if I can’t make it fluffier and less dense.

-StewsCat

Pizza dough comparison

Last month I tried a new pizza dough recipe.  A few months before that, I had read in Men’s Health about an easy pizza dough that did not require hours of preparation (I had been using a no-knead dough recipe that required an 18 hour rise (more details below).  I am always looking for both more efficient and tasty recipes for pizza dough.  My wife enjoys the one I had been making but I am all for tweaking and improving so I decided to try this new (to me) recipe.  I was fairly certain I had left the magazine in a spot in my treadmill room but lo and behold it wasn’t there.  I resorted to trying to google the same recipe and don’t know if it was the exact one I had read about initially but I went with it.

Quicker pizza dough ingredients:

  • 6 cups AP flour
  • 2 1/4 cups room temperature water (recipe called for cold water)
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  1.  Add 3 cups of flour and 1/2 tsp yeast to 2 1/4 cups of water in a large bowl and combine
  2. In a separate bowl, mix remaining 3 cups of flour with the salt.
  3. I then added in the flour mix to the flour-water combination (from step 1) and kneaded it within the bowl for about 5 minutes.
  4. I let the dough rest – covered – for 30 minutes.
  5. The dough was separated into 4 (relatively) parts and 3 of them saved in saran wrap and frozen for later use.
  6. I split the dough into 2 balls and made pizzas from them.

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What I liked about this dough recipe is that the dough had developed a decent structure.  It was amenable to the stretching process and I felt like I could manipulate it without it easily tearing.  The downside is that there wasn’t a lot of gluten/gas development within the dough (due to the short time of sitting).  This resulted in a pizza dough that was relatively flat upon baking.  It created a thin crispy crust – kind of like a cracker instead of bread.

Taste-wise the dough was not bad.  It was a decent pizza but the dough didn’t really stand out much.  It was more about the sauce and toppings.

In contrast to the above, the following week I made my more usual recipe for pizza.  This dough involves sitting overnight (more like 18 hours) at room temperature to give the dough time to work on itself.  This is a “no-knead” recipe so there isn’t a ton of work on the dough itself.

No-knead dough recipe

  • 350 g AP flour
  • 245 g warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 12 g salt
  1.  Mix 1 tsp acive dry east in 245 g of warm water and let sit for about 5 minutes
  2.  Combine flour and salt.
  3. Add water mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a cohesive wet dough is formed
  4. Let sit, covered, for 14-18 hours at room temperature
  5. I poured the dough out and made a rectangle and divided this dough into 3 relatively equal size balls.  One ball I wrapped in cling film and froze.  The remaining two I rolled into a ball shape and placed in a bowl and let that raise for 1-2 hours.
  6. I then used each dough and stretched it into pizza shape.

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As you can see from the above pictures, this time the dough’s crust had a decent rise on the outer rim.  The dough also had a more chewy texture compared to the quicker dough.  The flavor profile of the overnight dough also developed more, almost like a sourdough.  You could eat just the dough (without the topping) and it has its own taste (vs the quicker dough).

Verdict: Overnight no-knead dough.

For now I’ll continue with the no-knead dough.  I just need to remember to start it the day before I am going to make pizza.  I’m not always great at pre-planning but that is the goal.

-StewsCat

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Paris Baguette and Back to bread (whole wheat sandwich bread)

Paris Baguette and Back to bread (whole wheat sandwich bread)

A few weeks ago I ventured out to try some new things after a doctor visit.  I had fasted overnight and before the appointment so I could get some blood pulled.  However that left me hungry after my visit.  I decided to try one of our local coffee roasters that has cold brew coffee on nitro.

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First impression was that it looked like a beer.  It had a nice foamy head and was nice and chilled.  I must say that when taps use nitro, it certainly makes for a much smoother mouth feel of the liquid.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first cold brew coffee on nitro.  I got the coffee at Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters.  It’s a quaint little coffee shop that is no frills.

With my coffee in hand, I headed over to the relatively new Paris Baguette.   This chain recently moved up here to northern California after I guess it grew big in southern California.  This bakery reminds me of a Taiwanese bakery called 85 Degrees.  You walk in and grab a tray and all the bread/pastry products are out on trays or in cubbies.  You pick what you want and then take your tray to the register to pay and order drinks as well.  I ended up getting a buttered croissant, chocolate croissant, and a croissant with an italian sausage in the middle.  They were all delicious.

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———–

A few weekends ago the weather started cooperating with regards to baking.  I also had incentive to make some sandwich bread again.

The weather finally started cooperating again for me to do some baking.  This summer has been incredibly hot in Sacramento.  I saw a graphic from the news that in July, every single day was above average (and we had strings of 100+F days multiple times).  August is supposed to be the hottest time of the year too!  When you are in triple digits, the last thing you feel like doing is turning the oven on.

It has been a long time since I actually made bread that I had to go back and read through some old posts to remind myself of the process.  I followed the following for 50% whole wheat bread.

Ingredients:

  • 300 g whole wheat flour
  • 300 g bread flour
  • 150 g whole milk (had it on hand for a friend’s kid)
  • 300 g warm water
  • 18 g salt
  • 20 g honey
  • 10 g sugar (didn’t have enough sugar so added in some extra sugar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 g active dry yeast (I purchased the Red Star brand recently to try)

I was feeling a bit lazy so I just combined all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Using a spatula, I mixed everything so that it was all incorporated.

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I then covered it and let it sit for about an hour.  I found that one of my large plates actually fits almost perfectly over the opening of the mixing bowl I most commonly use.  This is nice so I don’t have to waste some cling film (plus I hate dealing with cling film).

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I removed the dough onto my counter after an hour and proceeded to knead the dough using the slap and fold method.  I did this for about 15 minutes until the dough started to come together.

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I then let the dough rise for another 1.5 hours or so.

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I didn’t take pictures but after the dough doubled, I proceeded with 3 stretch and folds with about 30 minutes rest.  After the last one, the dough was shaped into a log and placed into a buttered loaf pan.

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This was the first time I used our new oven to bake some bread.  I elected not to use the convection function for this first time.

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I started the bake at 425 F for the first 10 minutes and then dropped to 375 F for an additional ~25 minutes.  The bake took a lot longer than before but I’m not sure if it was due to the dough or the oven.  The outside of the bread turned out much darker than most of my previous bakes but I went with the internal temperature (200 F) to assess doneness.

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I had a decent crumb and the bread overall came out good.  We used it for sandwiches for work for the week.

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-StewsCat

Hot dog (hamburger) buns

Hot dog (hamburger) buns

For the 4th of July, we decided to do the ultra-traditional hamburgers and hot dogs.  I decided I’d like to try  my hand at making hot dog buns.  I had previously made some burger buns from a random recipe I found online.  I didn’t realize that you can use the same formula for both hot dog and hamburger buns.  This time I found another recipe on a random blog.  For the most part I followed the recipe that was laid out (since this was my first time making it).  I amended it due to the fact that I don’t have a stand mixer and therefore have to do all my mixing/kneading by hand.  The recipe called for letting the dough rest in the fridge for up to 24 hours so I made up the dough the night before July 4th.

Ingredients:

  • 500g All purpose flour
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter (can use butter as well)
  • extra oil to oil the bowl
  • 1 egg for the egg-wash

First I mixed up the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.

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In a separate container, I whisked together the milk, water, and egg to create a yellow liquid.

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I then combined the dry and wet ingredients and dumped it out onto the counter to do the slap and fold method of  kneading.  This was a fairly wet dough so the slap and fold method was probably my only shot at getting the dough kneaded to a proper stage.  After about 5 minutes of kneading, I then started to incorporate the butter in.  I had let cut the 2 Tbsp of butter into smaller pieces and let it come to room temperature.  This was a bit tricky as the butter would push out through the dough as I kneaded.  The butter started to warm up with my hands and the kneading causing the dough to become a bit oily but after about 10 minutes of kneading, the oiliness went away and the dough came together.  The dough ball was placed in a lightly oiled bowl and then refrigerated overnight.

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The morning of the 4th (after about 15-16 hours of rest) the dough had about doubled.

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I dumped this out onto a lightly floured countertop and rolled the dough out into about 16 inches by 7 inches.  I then split this up into 8 pieces (the recipe said to do 6 pieces if you were making hamburger buns).

I took each individual piece and folded it on itself and flattened it out into a rough rectangular shape.  I also made a few into round hamburger bun shapes.  Two of these I placed onto a small cookie sheet and put in the freezer.  You can take these out later and let them rise and then bake.  The remainder I placed onto a large parchment covered sheet pan to rise (around an hour).

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I set the oven to 350 F about 30 minutes prior to the end of the rise (1 hour).  Then I baked the hotdog buns for 25 minutes (the original recipe said 15-20 minutes but I think mine were a little bigger so took longer…also may be due to the difference in ovens).

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The inside turned out perfectly done.

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I grilled up some hot dogs for lunch.

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For dinner, we made some buffalo sliders with some corn.

Once it got dark, we walked over to a nearby park where you can watch a big fireworks display.  It was fairly crowded but we were still able to see fairly well.  The show lasted about 15 minutes.

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-StewsCat

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