Old-Fashioned Potato Bread, Pg. 65, September 15, 2018

Time for another loaf of white bread and I happened to have a potato left over, so I thought this was the obvious choice.  The potato breads I’ve baked previously have always called for instant potato flakes, this one starts with an actual potato. Ms. Hensperger actually states she think this is the best bread for sandwiches.

Besides . . . potatoes are kind of great.

Finally-a-diagram-describing-all-the-most-choice-potato-cutsThe first step for this loaf was to prepare the potato.  I took one medium russet potato, peeled it, and cut in into chunks.  I then placed the chunks in a small saucepan with 3/4 cup water.  I brought this to a boil, reduced the heat to low, covered the pan and allowed the potatoes to simmer for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes were up, I mashed the potatoes and cooking water together. (You can also puree them, if you prefer.)  The potato/water mash was then poured into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and I added enough water to make a total of 1 1/3 cups.  The mash was then set aside to come to room temperature.

After the mash reached room temperature, I put my ingredients in the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 1/3 cups room temperature potato/water Mash

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons gluten

1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast

This loaf made use of the basic/white cycle and the medium crust designation on my machine.

tater This is a really tasty loaf of bread, the potato flavor is present, but hardly overwhelming.  It rose perfectly and has a chewy crust.  It toasts well and holds together nicely.

The author was right, this is a really nice sandwich loaf.

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Sunflower Pumpernickel Rye, page 142, September 9, 2018

My folks are headed home tomorrow, so I thought I would make a loaf for them to take when they leave.  I like baking with whole grains, nuts and seeds for others because I cannot eat those kinds of things myself and still want to try out the recipe.   So Pumpernickel it is. . .

Ms. Hensperger notes that this is a great loaf to spread with cheese and use for tomato and red onion sandwiches, but it also pairs well with all sorts of wursts and mustards.

The ingredients went into the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 1/3 cup water

3 1/2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup medium (you can also use dark) rye flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1 1/2 tablespoons gluten

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

I then started the whole wheat/medium crust cycle on my bread machine.  When the machine beeped between kneads 1 and 2, I added 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds.

pumpernickel

Well, this loaf baked up tall and lovely, and smelled heavenly.  I could really smell the notes of cocoa and coffee during the baking process and afterward.  Mom and dad each had a slice before the loaf had cooled completely, mom with butter and dad with peanut butter.

The flavor and texture were both a hit.  Mom especially liked the slight crunch from the sunflower seeds throughout the loaf.

Soft Pretzels, Page 144, September 8, 2018

With family visiting this weekend, I thought these would be great for nibbling on and also a fun group project.

I placed the following in the bread machine pan:

1/2 cup water

1 cup nonfat milk (the recipe doesn’t specify fat content for the milk, nonfat is what I used.)

4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon malt powder (you can substitute sugar, but the flavor added by the malt powder really can’t be beat.)pretzel day

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

 

 

Once in the bread machine pan, I set the program for the “Dough” cycle and let it get started.

While the machine was making the dough, I lined 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Once the machine beeped indicating the end of the cycle, I turned the dough out onto a lightly floured work area.  I then divided the dough into 12 equal portions.  Now was the time to bring in my reinforcements.

Mom, Becky and I each started shaping our pretzels.  With the palms, we shaped each portion into a 20″ rope.  Then, holding the ends of the rope, we twisted the ends together, brought the twisted  end up and over the loop, attaching it to the bottom center.  It was definitely a learning experience.  I can honestly say that some of them came out looking like pretzels.

Once shaped, the rolls were placed on the prepared baking sheets and allowed to rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the pretzels were resting, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, made an egg glaze and prepared a water/baking soda bath.  (You can skip the water/soda bath if you prefer soft breadlike pretzels.)

The egg glaze was made by beating 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of water.

The bath was prepared by boiling 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a large deep pan

When the pretzels are done resting, I used a large spatula  to carefully lift a risen pretzel and lower it into the boiling water.  You can boil 2 pretzels at once.  Leaving the water at a low rolling boil, I boiled each pretzel for between 45 and 60 seconds, flipping is over halfway though the time.  Once each pretzel was puffy, I removed it from the bath using a slotted spoon, and allowed the excess water to drip back into the pan before placing the boiled roll back on the prepared baking sheet.

I brushed each pretzel with the egg glaze and sprinkled with a little coarse kosher sea salt.  The pretzels were baked, one pan at a time, in the center of the oven for about 18 minutes (the recipes says 16-20).

The pretzels were placed on a rack to cool.  They can be eaten warm or stored (covered in a single layer of tin foil) at room temperature for up to 3 days.  I honestly don’t think we will need to be storing many of these, they are too good.  Becky (my sister) brought some cheese sauce so we all sat around dipping warm pretzels in cheese.  I really doubt there will be any left tomorrow.

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They are delicious, chewy, slightly salty with the outer texture I expect from soft pretzels.  I doubt I would have liked them quite as much without the water bath.  Admittedly, they don’t look a whole lot like pretzels, but they are delicious.  I also imagine, because they are shaped more like rolls than pretzels, they would make great sandwich buns.

Another keeper, I may be making this one whenever I have company coming.

 

Crescia Al Formaggio, page 373, September 6, 2018

This is going to be a busy weekend here in Long Beach.  The annual “Rod Run to the End of the World” car show and cruise is scheduled.  My parents are coming down and dad is bringing one of his cars for the show.  My sister is also planning to come down and other relatives will be in town as well.  I thought this was the perfect time for a simple eating loaf of bread.

The recipe says that this is:

“A great picnic bread eaten out of hand with cold meats and fruit.”

I think that sounds just about perfect for nibbling at on the deck as we watch the classic cars cruise by.

The recipe further states that you can vary the taste of this bread by varying the cheese you use for it.  The ingredient list calls for Asiago or Locatelli, but I am using Parmesan because it is another hard grating cheese and  I happen to have it on hand.

Into my bread machine, went these ingredients (in order):

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon room temperature water

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/4 cups bread flour

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons gluten

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

 

I set the machine for the Basic cycle and a medium crust.

The machine is a little noisy. Because I bought it used, that may just be something I have to deal with.  It is still baking beautifully, so I will gladly deal with some noise.

This loaf baked up tall and beautiful and smells wonderful.

Formaggio

This is a really tasty loaf of bread, I made beef stew for dinner and served slices of this with butter.  It was delicious.  Just enough parmesan flavor, slightly chewy crust, with a tender interior.  I think this would make great garlic toast served with pasta, or even toasted slices with tapenade.  This recipe is certainly a keeper.  (And I am loving the results with the new bread machine.)