Rosemary-Golden Raisin Bread, page 352, July 26, 2015

I was a little concerned when I saw the title of this, I imagined coming across rosemary leaves in a slice of bread and didn’t think I would like that.  After reading the recipe, those fears were laid to rest in the first step.

Magical step 1, in your food processor, combine 1 cup bread flour and 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.  Pulse to pulverize the rosemary. There, problem solved, the rosemary is so thoroughly chopped and blended with the flour, no needle like leaves will end up in the loaf. Other than the worry about large pieces of rosemary leaves, the flavor combination here sounds really good.  I can’t wait to get feedback on this loaf.

This is a loaf that starts in the bread machine, and then bakes in the oven. Into the pan of my bread machine, I added 2/3 cup water, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 large eggs,1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 cups bread flour, the bread flour/rosemary blend from the first step, 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  (No added gluten for this recipe, either.)  I then set the machine for the dough cycle and let it go to work.

While the machine was working on my dough, I prepared a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.  After the dough cycle completed, I used my dough scraper to turn the dough out onto my clean board.  (Now, the recipe doesn’t say anything about flouring the surface of the board to prevent sticking, but I did anyway.) I then patted the dough out and sprinkled the raisins on top.  Next I folded the dough over and kneaded the ball by hand to incorporate the raisins.  The dough was then shaped into a ball, brushed with a light coating of olive oil, and covered loosely with plastic wrap.    I left the dough to rise for 1 hour (until it was doubled in size.)

Twenty minutes before the rising time was up, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough had fully risen, I transferred it to my parchment lined baking sheet  and, using a sharp knife, slashed an X on the top.  I then put it on the center rack of my oven for 30 minutes. IMG_4367 I feel almost guilty trying to tell you all how good this smells.  Then I remember, I can’t eat it either, so I am torturing myself as well.  It just came out of the oven, and while it is not terribly pretty, it does smell fantastic.  The sweet raisin and savory rosemary blend nicely.  I will let you know what the tasters think later.

I cheated and shared a slice with mom, it was so good.  I picked out the raisins, and had a slice toasted with a bit of cottage cheese.  Yum.  Here are the comments from Becky’s co-workers:

“My favorite so far! Love it as is, but would be good with honey or jelly.”

“This bread would be amazing with honey”

“Really good!  Smells amazing would be good cooked like French toast.”

And from the staff at Oceanside Animal Hospital:

“Yum!”

“Would be great toast!”

“Good toast with butter and coffee in the AM!”

“I loved the hint of sweetness with Rosemary.  Would be lovely breakfast with jam.”

“Loved it! Very delicious”

“The best!  Wouldn’t change a thing.  My only complaint is I only got on piece.”

Alright then, this one is definitely a winner.

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Sourdough French Bread, page 278, June 21-23, 2015

It is time to bake myself another loaf of sourdough.  This sourdough french will start out in the bread machine, but finish in the oven.  This is a time-consuming loaf, so I actually started late last night, by taking 1/2 cup of my sourdough started out of the fridge. In a glass bowl, I added 3 cups of flour and 3 cups of water to the starter, I mixed everything together with my dough whisk and covered it with a cheesecloth to reactivate. IMG_423112 hours later, my starter has woken up and I have a nice active sponge.  I need 2 cups of the sponge for this loaf, so after I measure that out, I add another  cup each of flour and water to the remaining sponge to keep it active.  (I plan on baking another sourdough loaf when I am finished with this one, otherwise I would let it sleep again.) Into the pan on my bread machine, I put 1/2 cup water, 2 cups of my sourdough sponge, 2 teaspoons salt and 3 cups bread flour.  After making a well in the flour, I added 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast.  I set the machine on its dough cycle, and let it start.  The recipe recommends a 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour, total, but that the baker should start out with 3 cups and add more as needed.  The total amount used will vary depending on the consistency of your starter.  The author also states that at this point the dough will be firm, then get shiny and soften.  I slowly added more flour, until I was comfortable with the consistency of the dough. When the cycle ended, the dough had risen nicely.  The next step, according to the book, is to “Gently deflate the dough with your finger.”  Then I need to let the dough rest for another 3 hours in the machine.  The author then states, “If it is rising slowly, I have left it in there for up to 8 hours.”  Yikes, again, I will play it by ear.  I set myself a timer for 3 hour and will check it at that time. IMG_4234 I am glad I didn’t plan on the 8 hour rise.  The dough was already touching the top of my bread machine at 3 hours. Next, I turned the dough onto my floured board.  Here, the cookbook says to use a dough card to fold the edges to the center and create a round loaf.  There must be a method to this that I have yet to learn, I ended up using my hands to shape the loaf. I added about a tablespoon of flour, during this process, to keep it from sticking.  Then I spread a thick layer of flour on the work surface and turned the loaf to keep the smooth side face down in the flour.  I covered that with a clean tea towel and headed to the grocery store.  (At this point, the dough needs to rest for about an hour at room temperature, so this is the perfect time to run this errand.) Back from the grocery store, it is time to knead the dough into a tight round, deflating it again.  Next, I got out my handy banneton basket again. After heavily flouring it, I placed the dough, smooth side down, in the basket. (Oh dear, I just heard that spoken by the actor in Silence of the Lambs, “It puts the dough in the basket or it gets the hose again!”)  Oh well, at least I amuse myself. I tightly wrapped the entire banneton with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.  It is supposed to rise slowly, in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.  I will check it tomorrow morning and throughout the day as necessary. I let the dough rise in the refrigerator for about 15 hours.  Twenty minutes before baking, I began preheating the oven to 450 degrees.  While that was warming up, I lined a clean baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkled that with a little bit of cornmeal. Once the oven was heated, I gently moved the dough from the banneton to the prepared baking sheet.  Then, using a sharp knife, I cut a cross hatch design in the top of the loaf, about 1/4 inch deep.  I sprayed the outside of the loaf with a small amount of water and immediately put the loaf into the hot oven for 12 minutes. After the first 12 minutes were complete; I lowered the oven temperature to 375 degrees and allowed the bread to bake for another 25 minutes.  The cookbook says to give it 25-30 minutes or until the crust is brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap on it. Last step, before eating of course, is to cool the bread on to room temperature on a rack. IMG_4247

This loaf is not going to last long; it is delicious.  The crust is crisp and crunchy while the interior is sour and chewy.  It tastes wonderful; I had a large hunk with butter for lunch and will now have to plan a dinner that will go well with this tasty, tasty bread.

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.)