Instant-Potato Bread, page 66, August 23, 2017

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I am craving a hearty, simple loaf of bread and came upon this recipe as I perused the cookbook.  I usually like potato breads, and have everything on hand, so this is the winner.   The author comments that she used to avoid the use of instant potato flakes in her bread baking until being introduced to this recipe.  Now she always keeps a box of instant mashed potatoes on hand.

One thing mentioned in the recipe description is that potatoes stimulate yeast. As a result this tends to be a high-domed loaf of bread.  I’ve had one or two issues in the past with bread rising too much and hitting the top of my machine, and will be sure to keep an eye on this.  Another note about working with the potato flakes is that they will quickly absorb liquid. To avoid  a dry dough ball, be sure to add the flour to the liquid ingredients first.  This separation ensures that the potatoes will not soak up too much of your liquid ingredients while you’re measuring and adding the flour.

Into my bread machine pan I added 1 1/2 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of instant buttermilk.  (If you are using fresh buttermilk, change measurements to 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup buttermilk.) Next, I added 2 tablespoons, each, of olive oil and dark honey.  Following the author’s suggestion, I next added 3 cups of bread flour, followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten, 1/2 cup instant potato flakes and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

I am using the basic cycle and medium crust setting.  The cookbook mentions that the dough ball, when tested, should be nicely formed, slightly sticky and stiff.  The stickiness it to be expected so there is no need to add additional flour.  ( The potato flakes will continue soaking up moisture during the rises.)

There is another note in the cookbook that I would like to share.

“This loaf can be baked on the Quick Yeast Bread cycle since the potatoes encourage the yeast.  (See your manufacturer’s manual for guidelines for adjusting the quantity of yeast when using this cycle.)”

As a reminder, the above quote is referring to the “Quick YEAST Bread” cycle, which is not the same as a “Quick Bread” cycle.

The loaf cratered again, but that didn’t affect the flavor.  This bread has a dense, moist interior with a crunchy golden crust.  Flavor-wise, it nicely combines honey sweet with buttermilk tang.

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Peasant Bread, Page 199, August 7, 2017

This loaf is referred to in the cookbook as “a simple country bread.”  Instead of butter, this recipe uses olive oil as the fat element, so it is considered a “lean” bread.   Ms. Hensperger notes that the final product will vary slightly depending on the type of olive oil you use.  French is acidic and fruity, Spanish, smooth with an olive flavor, Greek is thick and robust while Italian is fruity and clean.  I am varying the recipe a bit more by using a rosemary-infused Greek olive oil I have on hand.

Into the bread pan, I placed the following:

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 1/4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon gluten

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

The dark crust and French bread settings are recommended.  However, it is noted that you can use the basic cycle provided you stop the machine after the second knead, unplug it, and start the cycle again, which will allow the addition knead required for French breads.  The dough ball should be smooth, slightly moist and springy.

Once the cycle was completed, I immediately removed the loaf to a wire rack and let it cool.

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This loaf baked up nicely with a golden crust and rounded top.  I didn’t notice a strong rosemary flavor or scent, but I did appreciate the flavor imparted by the olive oil itself.  This recipe produced a chewy, delicious and flavorful bread.  I may try it in the future with another variety of olive oil, just to see if I can discern a difference.  If any of you try making this, let me know what olive oil you use, and how it turns out.

Pain D’Ail, page 343, August 3, 2017

“There are five elements: earth, water, air, fire and garlic.” — Louis Diat

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This recipe uses freshly peeled garlic, but if you prefer a more subdued flavor, you can used roasted garlic.  I had some fresh garlic I wanted to use and thought this loaf sounded delicious.  According to the cookbook, it is good served with roasted meats and rice casseroles.  I look forward to trying it with pasta as well.

The first step was to set 3 tablespoons unsalted butter aside to soften.  When the butter was ready, I peeled 4 garlic cloves and pressed them directly into the butter.  Then I mashed them together, well.

The prepared garlic butter went into the bread machine pan first, followed by 1 1/2 cups water and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt.

Next, I added 4 cups bread flour, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.  I made a small well in the top of the dry ingredients, into which I added 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

This loaf requires a “medium” crust setting and the “French” bread cycle.

WOW!

I may have met my version of ambrosia here.  This loaf is incredible.  Just enough garlic to be present but in no way overwhelming.  After tasting this, I may try making it again with roasted garlic, just to see how that turns out.  I can’t imagine it could be an improvement though.  This is really tasty.  The crust has a nice crunch to it and the bread itself is soft and just slightly chewy.  Great served warm with a little butter, but I plan on serving it for dinner tonight with some pasta bolognese.  This bread just cries out for sopping up the remaining sauce from a pasta bowl.

So, so good.   So, so garlicky.  So, so going to make this one again sometime.

Teff Honey Bread, page 165, July 5, 2017

My parents are coming up today to spend my birthday with me so I decided to make them a loaf of bread.  This bread is made with Teff flour; Teff (t’ef) is known as the tiniest grain in the world and is very high in fiber, iron, manganese and calcium.  This grain is a common staple in Ethiopian cooking.  I am really interested to hear from them how this tastes.   When searching for information on the taste of Teff, I found the following descriptions:  Interesting, Toasted, Earthy, Malt, Cocoa, and Nutty.  I hope they like it actually, because I have quite a bit of Teff flour left over and have no idea what else I will use it for.

I am making a 2-pound loaf today.  I placed the ingredients into the bread machine in the following order:

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons salt

3 1/4 cups bread flour

3/4 cup Teff flour (can use ivory or dark, I bought the Bob’s Red Mill brand and it doesn’t specify if it is ivory or dark, so I am going to assume dark.)

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons gluten

1 tablespoon SAF yeast

This is not a recipe that should be used with the delay timer.  As there are no milk or eggs in it, my assumption is that the Teff Flour should not get damp too soon.  This calls for the “Dark” crust setting and the “Basic” cycle.  I set my machine and am now ready to get back to the business of preparing for company.

I just called mom and asked for their thoughts on this loaf.  She said it was a bit dry, eaten plain, but they found that toasting it makes it better.  It has a chewy texture and the Teff itself has a texture similar to corn meal with a nutty flavor.  I didn’t get any photos before sending it away with them, but it was a lovely dark brown color.

 

Tomato Bread, page 346, June 29, 2017

I have always been a tomato fan, and ate them like apples when I was little.  This recipe looks intriguing and thought it would be a nice summer-time loaf.   My mouth is already watering thinking of cheese or bacon and avocado sandwiches, or even croutons made using this bread.

This is a loaf that can be made using the machine’s delay timer, but I am opting to make it using the basic program.  I am also making a couple changes to the recipe, because it calls for a small amount of whole wheat flour which I don’t eat, and the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes I have on hand contain garlic and herbs.  (I think the garlic and herbs will only add to the loaf, so I am unworried about that change.  I know that whole wheat flour is slightly lower in protein than bread flour, so I hope that substitution in this small an amount won’t negatively affect the finished product.  In the recipe below, I will list what I put in the pan, with the actual recipe ingredients in parentheses.

I put the ingredients into my bread machine in the following order:

3 tablespoons imported Italian tomato paste (the cookbook states that you can use standard canned tomato paste if the Italian is unavailable, but that the Italian can sometimes be found “stashed at the deli counter.” I found mine online.)

854693000102-mutti-double-concentrated-tomato-paste-in-tube.jpg1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, with their oil (Here is where I used tomatoes with garlic and herbs.  I also realized, as I am typing this, that the recipe calls for 1/3 cueae59e68-092c-4053-8558-7f435da98265_1.cebd291101106a824433ed896ace135e.jpegp, not 1/2 cup.  Hmmm, I really need to get my act together here.)

 

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 1/4 cups bread flour (Here, the recipe calls for 2 3/4 cups bread flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)

1 1/2 tablespoons gluten

2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

I then set my crust on medium and started the “Basic” cycle on my bread machine.

Well then, I just snuck a peek at the dough and it is a lovely red color and smells like tomato soup.  Let’s just hope my changes (and accidents) don’t cause any problems.

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As you can see from the photo, this loaf is intensely red.  The tomato flavor is just as intense as the color (good if, like me, you love tomatoes.)  I do wonder if it would have been a little milder had I got the amount for the sun-dried tomatoes correct. The bread is moist and delicious with a crunchy crust and bright bites of sun-dried tomato throughout.

Just a note, and I know this will seem trivial based on the fact that I got the measurement wrong anyway, but the “with their oil” direction regarding those tomatoes drove me a little nuts.  How much oil from the jar was I supposed to include?  Did this just mean I was supposed to NOT rinse the tomatoes, but forgo  purposefully including the oil from the jar?  Should I have made sure to get a lot of oil?  I spooned tomatoes and oil into my measuring cup, but was unsure if I had the proportions correct.  As with most bread I bake, as long as it tastes good, which this does, I am calling it a win.

Sourdough Tomato Bread with Feta, page 295, August 10, 2015

After all the loaves I baked over the past couple of weeks, I decided another sourdough was in order.  I am imagining this bread served warm with melted garlic butter, or dipped in olive oil.

I took my sourdough starter out of the fridge last night to wake it up.  I made my sponge and let it rest, covered, at room temperature until this evening when it was bubbly and active.

This recipe calls for “3/4 cup chopped canned tomatoes with ‘some’ liquid.”  I really hate when something is vague like that.  I know the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients in bread is so important, so I will try to keep an eye on the dough, adding more liquid or flour if necessary.

Into the bread machine pan, I placed 3/4 cup sourdough starter, the (partially) drained tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 cups bread flour, 2/3 cup crumbled feta and 1 1/4 teaspoon SAF yeast.  This bread uses the basic cycle and dark crust settings on my bread machine.

The author mentions that you can substitute crumbled fresh goat cheese for the feta, if you prefer.  Feta is too strong for some people so that can be a deciding factor.  As far as health benefits, feta has slightly less saturated fat than soft goat cheese but twice the sodium.

Well, it looked fine while it was mixing, kneading and rising, so I didn’t add anything else to the dough.  It rose beautifully and now I am just waiting for it to finish baking and hoping it won’t crater on me again.  It smells lovely, I have always been a fan of tomatoes and feta, can’t wait to try this bread.

IMG_4591This is such a pretty loaf of bread.  It is a lovely pale orange color and has small bits of tomato throughout.  The smell is significantly more tomato than feta, but both flavors come through very well.  Tender and slightly chewy with a crispy crust, this bread reminds me a bit of tomato soup in aroma and flavor.  As such, I am guessing it would make an excellent toasted cheese sandwich.  The only downside is that there isn’t much “sour” flavor from the sourdough.  That is just a matter of personal taste, though.  I suppose if I used an older starter, that had more time to ferment, I would have found a more powerful sour flavor.