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
Add 3 cups of flour and 1/2 tsp yeast to 2 1/4 cups of water in a large bowl and combine
In a separate bowl, mix remaining 3 cups of flour with the salt.
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.
I let the dough rest – covered – for 30 minutes.
The dough was separated into 4 (relatively) parts and 3 of them saved in saran wrap and frozen for later use.
I split the dough into 2 balls and made pizzas from them.
Last week for our work potluck I decided to bring bread since it was easy for me to do and something homemade. I had already done a trial run on some honey wheat dinner rolls but also wanted a backup. On my fb feed I saw a posting from King Arthur about how 2016 was the year of no-knead bread. Now originally when I started my baking endeavors, I started with the no-knead variety just due to the ease of it. The following link came up the weekend before the potluck. I really like that you can make this ahead of time and toss it in the fridge for up to 7 days without doing any additional work. My scale also was on the fritz – which I figured out appears to be due to low battery.
3.5 cups AP flour
1.5 cup water
1/2 Tbsp salt
~2.2 tsp active dry yeast
Basically I mixed up all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. After covering it with some saran wrap, I let it sit out on the counter for about 2 hours before putting it into the fridge.
I made up this mixture on Sunday and pulled it out of the fridge on Tuesday evening to make for a Wednesday lunch potluck. I like how simple the recipe is because after removing it from the fridge, I layed the dough out on my well floured countertop and shaped the dough (no kneading, no stretch and fold, no additional manipulations). Since my scale was not working, I eyeballed the size of each roll.
Each roll was dusted with some flour. I covered the rolls and let it sit at room temperature for about 1-1.5 hours to allow it to rise/proof. After this time, I checked the roll by depressing a finger into the dough. The dough sprung back about halfway. During the proofing, I preheated the oven to 450 F. The recipe calls for using a pan in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Rather than fussing with this and tossing in water into a hot oven, I elected to just use my water bottle sprayer.
Once the dough was ready, I took a knife and made some slash marks on top of each roll. I placed the parchment lined cookie sheet of dough into the oven and sprayed the inside with 5-6 spritzes of water before closing the oven door. Initially I let the bread bake for 10 minutes, then opened the door and quickly spritzed some more water into it. I then let it bake for an additional ~13-15 minutes.
As you can see, there were some creases that opened up on the sides of the dough. This was most likely due to my not tightly rolling the dough balls into a cohesive ball. Nevertheless I think it gave them a more homemade feel. My coworkers raved and said the bread rolls were good – I didn’t end up getting to try one.
I also attempted to re-create the honey wheat rolls. However, as described above my scale wasn’t working properly, I had to eyeball the ingredients with volume (measuring cups) rather than weight. I also tweaked it slightly and so when I had my wife pull it out and start the stretch and fold process (as I had previously done: here), the dough did not come together like I had hoped. It remained a very moist gloopy mess that you could not form. In an attempt to salvage it, I put the wet dough into my loaf pan to see if it would at least attempt a rise. Luckily the dough actually did rise somewhat (maybe 1 inch in the pan) and I tossed it into the oven and hoped for the best. Overall it didn’t get the oven spring that you’d normally see but it baked well and actually had decent crumb. Wasn’t my best effort but was still good.
I’m excited to see what I will continue to try doing in 2017!
Since I’m starting to feel more comfortable with bread making, I decided I should try my hand at making something that is a little healthier. We had switched from buying bread to me making tortillas for wraps for our lunches (less dense, less calories). Somewhere along the way I started to get interested in making bread and I want to try to keep this new hobby as healthy as possible. I most definitely will not stop making other white breads and such, just thought I should try to do some healthy breads.
100% Whole wheat bread – 240 g
Water – 240 g
Instant yeast – 2 g
100% Whole wheat bread – 480 g
Water – 480 g
Olive oil – 50 g
Honey – 75 g
Instant yeast – 3 g
Salt – 3 tsp
I must have done something wrong with my conversions because this created an almost 100% hydration dough. And it all just went downhill from there.
After sitting overnight
The poolish came out fine as above. However, I then mixed up the poolish and the above remaining ingredients. As I was doing this, I was thinking to myself that this hydration was a bit high. I let the dough do its normal rest and then did the stretch and fold method for 3 minutes, then let it rest. I repeated the stretch and fold method at 25 minute intervals but the dough just did not seem to be coming together, it remained a very moist and weak structure.
I finally gave up on it developing any sort of strength and form. I elected to throw it into my breadpan and see what would happen. As expected, it didn’t turn out great. There was no good proofing and oven spring and it came out as an inedible brick.
Moist mess in the bread pan
Dense and not good flavoring
The above happened on Saturday. I worked Sunday and so to make myself feel better I whipped up a quick white bread boule (I did add a little whole wheat flour into it).
This bread had the following formula:
170 g bread flour
170 g water
1/4 tsp (2g) instant yeast
100 g bread flour + 30 g whole wheat flour
180 g water
10 g salt
3 g instant yeast
I mixed the poolish (overnight in fridge) with the remaining mixture and then let it sit for 30 minutes to allow some autlyse (let the flour absorb all the water). I then followed the Richard Bertinet slap and fold. I feel like I’m getting a better hold of this kneading method as the dough started to form up and come together after only about 10-12 minutes of kneading. I formed it into a ball and then let it bulk ferment for about 1.5 hours. It’s been warm here and the bread probably didn’t need to ferment that long but I also needed to fit my long run in so I let it go a little longer. I did 2 stretch and folds with 10 minutes between them. By now the dough had developed good gluten and structure. I was able to form the dough into a nice boule and did the drag method on the counter to create a nicely tensioned top portion of dough. I then placed it into a well floured cloth in a bowl to let it proof. After about 1 hour of proofing, I tossed it into my pre-heated dutch oven (450 F) and covered it. I let it cook for 20 minutes covered then removed the lid and turned the heat to 425 F and let it go another 20 minutes. By then it had a nice brown crust and I checked its internal temp (~195F).
Overall I’m happy that I seem to have the basics down. Now I just need to work some more on the whole wheat stuff. I think that tweaking the hydration level will probably allow me to create a better product next time. I should have paid attention that I was creating an essentially 100% hydration dough.
For dinner I also did pizza and I’m getting better at developing pizza dough that isn’t too loose. I think one problem I’ve been having in the past is that I let the dough go way past what it should (over-proofing). Before I had just been blindly following someone’s recommendation on the Jim Lahey No-knead but now I actually am listening more to the dough.
Thought I’d try another recipe from the Weekend Bakery. This time it is their no knead brioche.
250 g AP flour
100 g butter, melted
70 g water, room temperature
2 eggs (~110 g) – surprisingly I weighed my eggs and they were each 55 g (makes me wonder if they weigh eggs to separate em out into the various sizes they sell in the supermarket)
50 g honey (recipe said runny honey, I just used the honey I squeezed outta my container)
5 g salt
3 g yeast (my scale is a bit finicky so I may have somewhere between 3-4 g in my recipe)
I started by mixing together the eggs, honey, water, salt, and melted butter. Whisked it for about 30-60 seconds. Then I added the yeast+flour mixture and mixed it until it was homogenous.
Then I let it sit for 2 hours.
I did a stretch and fold 3-4 times. The dough was fairly well together so I placed the entire thing in a bowl, covered it with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for about 48 hours. Now you have the option of dividing the dough into 6 balls to create 1 loaf, or you can do petite brioches. Since I didn’t have time to let a full loaf proof for 2-3 hours, I decided to make 6 small petite brioches. So I divided the dough into 6 pieces and formed them into balls. These were placed in my muffin tin that I greased with butter.
To let it proof, I just tossed the whole tray into my microwave (so I wouldn’t have to fuss with putting something to cover them and possibly getting them to stick). The site I was basing the recipe off of said to let them proof for 30 minutes. I found that it took about 50 minutes to proof to my liking.
I had pre-heated my oven to 375F. I baked it for 7 minutes at this temperature
Then I dropped the temperature to 320F and kept on going (the site said 8 minutes but they weren’t golden brown at that time so I kept them in). I probably baked it for a total of about 30-45 minutes.
I glazed the top with some melted butter and set them on a cooling rack.
They came out delicious. Good structure on inside, very buttery. Wife approved.