Carrot Bread with Crystallized Ginger, page 353 April 29, 2015

The other bread I am making for this weekend’s tea party is a carrot bread with crystallized ginger.  This one I will be making exclusively using the bread machine.  One nice thing about this bread is that there is no need to add sugar.  The carrots themselves are sweet enough and the bits of crystallized ginger will also add a hint of sweetness.  According to the recipe, the ginger will “melt into the bread and burst with flavor in your mouth.”  Sounds good, doesn’t it? Ingredients for this bread include fat free milk, pureed carrots, eggs, unsalted butter, bread flour, crystallized ginger, gluten, salt and yeast.  The recipe allows for the option of using baby food strained carrots, or pureeing your own.  Using a jar of baby food would be convenient, but because I can’t digest a lot of vegetables, I like to puree my own and keep them on hand for adding to soups, stews, sauces, meatloaves, and more.  I have no shortage of pureed vegetables on hand.  Because of that, this recipe has me thinking of other combinations I can try in the future, pureed broccoli and cheddar bread, spinach with bacon and nutmeg.  I am sure the possible combinations are endless and I will have plenty of time to come up with more. It looks like it is rising well, and what a pretty color! IMG_3799 Oh crumb (pun intended,) I’ve got another crater loaf.  It is still a really lovely color, though and smells just like fresh carrots. IMG_3800 IMG_3803 IMG_3804 As you can see from the pictures, even November thinks it is pretty in spite of the crater top.  (Please take note, she is on the windowsill behind the table, not ON the table.)  At least my friends at the tea party will appreciate the effort.  They love me for my sparkling wit and not my baking chops.  (Although I am certainly working on that.) Again, because I won’t be slicing into this until the party this weekend, I will have to update the post later with everyone’s opinion.

This was really delicious.  The carrot bread itself is tasty enough, but the sweet surprise bits of crystallized ginger put this one over the top.  One guest used “delicate” to describe it while another asked for the recipe.  (It’s coming, Melissa.)  This went well with our tea and a little butter.  I seem to remember seeing someone try it with the orange curd as well.

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Maple Oatmeal Bread – page 436, April 29, 2015

I am getting together with a group of friends this weekend for a tea party and found a couple recipes for loaves that I think will go nicely with our theme.  The first being this maple oatmeal bread.  Doesn’t that just sound like it needs to be served with a cuppa?

Since I am making two different loaves for the party, I am starting this loaf in the bread machine, but will finish it off in the oven.  That way I will be able to manage two loaves today, and be able to use my banneton for the first time.  I hope this recipe works in it.

A banneton, if you don’t know, is a wicker or wood basket used to proof artisan loaves of bread during the final rise.  The dough is then removed from the banneton, slashed and baked.  A few tips, if you are using a banneton:  it needs to be kept dry and well-floured.  You don’t want your dough sticking toUntitled the basket after the rise.  It will still bake fine, but you will lose the design, and likely part of your dough.  When cleaning your banneton, use a brush to remove leftover flour, but do not immerse in water to wash.

Ingredients for this loaf are buttermilk, maple syrup, unsalted butter, bread flour, rolled oats, gluten, salt and yeast.  I am using buttermilk powder so I placed my ingredients in the bread machine in the following order: Water, maple syrup, butter, flour, oats, gluten, salt, buttermilk powder and yeast.  The recipe says this is not a suitable loaf for using your machine’s delay timer, this is because of the buttermilk.

My machine has a dough cycle that also works for making pasta dough.  Another nice feature is that the regular bread cycles also alert you when the dough has finished its first rise, in case you change your mind and decide you want to shape and bake the bread yourself after you have started the machine.

The dough cycle just finished.  I placed the dough onto a lightly floureIMG_3795d board and shaped it into a boule.  This is basically just stretching the dough across the top and tucking underneath to make a ball.  Now the dough ball needs to rest for 5 minutes or so.

While the dough is resting, I will prepare the banneton.  The banneton needs to be well floured before baking and because I am baking an oatmeal bread, I have decided to sprinkle a few oats onto the bottom of the basket.IMG_3794

After the dough has rested, it needs to be reshaped.  Same method applies as before, stretch and tuck the dough until you have a nicely shaped ball.  Place the dough into the banneton, smooth side down.  Pinch together the ends of the ball.  Sprinkle lightly with flour and cover with a clean, soft cloth.  Leave the banneton in a warm area and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

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After the final rise, I needed to preheat the oven and baking stone while turning the dough out of the banneton.  I also placed the bottom of my broiler pan in the oven to allow steam to circulate while my bread bakes.

I have seen a couple ideas for turning the dough out of the banneton.  As I am preheating the baking stone, turning it directly onto the stone might cause me to burn my fingers.  Other suggestions include using a pizza peel (which I don’t have) or turning it onto parchment paper and then transferring it to the baking stone.

I turned the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper on my board and then needed to cut slashes into the top of the loaf.  This didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, I don’t think my knife was sharp enough to make a clean cut.

I didn’t think to get a photo at this point, but I will certainly have pictures of the final result.

I then transferred the boule to the baking stone, turned on my timer and now I wait.  It already smells great.  I realized that I am really torturing myself today, as I am baking two kinds of bread and not planning to use them for a couple days.  This lovely smell will just have to tease me.

The loaf came out dark, I could try and play it off like that was my intention,Image-1 but no.  Because I was converting the recipe from bread machine, to oven boule, I must have misjudged the temperature.  I simply had the oven too hot.  The loaf is hardly black, though, and still looks and smells tasty, so I think it will work well for this weekend’s party.  I will have to come back here to update this post after it has been tasted.

The crust was just so burnt, I wasn’t comfortable serving it for the party.  I did however have my sister try some with me.  The bread itself was chewy and sweet, really delicious.  I used some to make french toast for breakfast and it was perfect (after I trimmed off that overdone crust, of course.)

Swedish Rye page 136 April 23, 2015

I decided to try my first Rye Bread recipe.  In addition, I am also using the delay timer on my bread machine for the first time.  It is a day of firsts here. The Swedish Rye Bread recipe is on page 136.  Instead of the standard Caraway, this loaf is seasoned with Fennel Seeds and Dried Orange Peel.  I can’t wait to taste it.  The author’s notes mention this is a great bread to serve with a thick split pea soup.  I am hoping it will still taste good with corned beef and Swiss cheese. I loaded everything into the machine about 11:00 pm, with the delay timer set so that the loaf should be ready for lunch tomorrow.  Because of lessons learned on my last loaf, I was very careful with my measurements this time.  First into the pan, I added the liquid ingredients, followed by the salt.  Then came the flour, gluten, brown sugar and seasonings.  Last came the yeast.  When using the delay timer on your bread machine, be especially careful that the liquid ingredients and the salt will not come into contact with the yeast until the machine starts to mix the ingredients.  The liquid will cause the yeast to activate too soon, and the salt will slow fermentation of the yeast.

The bread came out of the machine about twenty minutes ago.  This one rose beautifully.

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It has a lovely brown crust and smells incredible.  The use of fennel and orange peel as opposed to caraway has resulted in a sweeter tasting and smelling loaf of rye bread.  I hesitate a little when I say “sweet” because this is by no means a dessert type bread, it is just less savory in flavor than your standard rye.

It sliced easily, I tried making sure the steam rising from the loaf appeared in this picture, but I don’t think I succeeded.

IMG_3679The crust is crunchy while the bread itself is moist and slightly chewy.  The change in flavor from a standard rye is really nice.

While I really like this bread, if you are a deli rye purist, this may not be for you.  However, if you are up for something a little different, this is a really good loaf.

You can find the recipe on page 136 of Beth Hensperger’s, “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook.”

Happy Baking!

Country White Bread page 48, April 8, 2015

Today is the first day of my experiment (project is a better word.)  I am making all the recipes in Beth Hensperger’s “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook.”  Bread, white flour bread at least, is one of the things I can eat without causing my Crohn’s symptoms to act up. I know I will have to time this to make any whole grain/nutty type loaves when I have company coming, so I can send it home with them.  I am excited to start this out, though.  Lord   knows, I love me some fresh baked bread.  Obviously, I am not on the gluten-free bandwagon.  (People with Celiac Disease, you have my sincerest sympathy, the rest of you, get a grip.)  The house is going to smell incredible; I only wish I could share that with you. I won’t wax poetic too much, I promise, but for today, I want to include the following:

I am using an Oster model 5838 bread machine. The purists out there may be rolling their eyes at me for not baking my bread by hand, but we have this incredible (and easy to clean) technology available, and I want to see what I can make happen with that.  There may be times along this route that I use my machine to make the dough, but then shape by hand and bake in the oven.  For the most part, this will be almost exclusively using the bread machine, though.  Oh dear, it already smells great.  The cookbook provides instructions for making each recipe as a 1 ½ or 2 pound loaf.  I will be sticking to the 1 ½ pound loaves, provided this is mostly for my consumption here at home, and I want to avoid waste. (Although leftover bread crumbs tossed in the yard will please local birds, and my birdwatching kitties.) Back to today’s recipe; the recipes in this book call for the addition of vital wheat gluten.  I am using Bob’s Red Mill brand gluten.  Gluten is not usually a required addition for bread baking at home, the gluten naturally found in flour is enough, but the author recommends adding it to help the loaves rise and “yield a better loaf.”  If you plan to do a lot of baking, you can store your gluten in the cupboard, in an airtight container, however, it will keep better in the fridge or freezer.  Other ingredients include water, light olive oil, sugar, bread flour, instant potato flakes, nonfat dry milk, salt and yeast. Her recipes calls for SAF or bread machine yeast.  I will be using SAF in the future, but today I am using up the last of my Fleishmann’s

Well, this is not an auspicious start, lol.  I just peeked in the window on top of the machine and there is a good chance I will end up with “crater bread.”  That is when the top of the loaf is sunken.  I could either scrap this entry and start again tomorrow, or own up to my less than perfect loaf and look for possible reasons.  As it turns out, the main reason for a crater loaf is too much liquid in the recipe.  I own the mistake completely.Country White Bread  I have always been more of a “that looks about right” girl when it comes to measuring my ingredients.  I think if I really want to bake a great loaf of bread, I need to be precise.  Baking is a science and I can’t forget that.  I am not done yet, my top may have sunk, but my optimism has not. The house still smells awesome and the bread hasn’t finished baking yet.

Other than the sunken top, this bread turned out great.  It tastes incredible.  The crust is slightly crunchy and the texture of the bread has just a little chew.  I had a slice warm from the machine with a little butter, then put a slice in the toaster and had it with spiced apple butter.  It is not overly salty or sweet, just your standard white bread.  I am thinking of grilled shFirst Slicearp cheddar cheese on Country White with tomato soup for dinner; maybe some French Toast for breakfast tomorrow. . .