Goth Panda

February 25, 2016

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

It has been a while since I have posted about bread baking. I still do it fairly often, and the easiest way I have found to maintain the habit is using this recipe. It makes three loaves at a time, and I bake all three and then freeze them until needed. Since we usually don’t eat more than a loaf a week, if that, I can bake once every three weeks and never run out of bread. Not to mention that the recipe itself is easy and not at all time-consuming, and the bread is delicious.

No Knead Bread

Look at that crumb!

This recipe comes from my old standby, King Arthur Flour, and the ratios are perfect. This is especially important for no-knead bread. If you are kneading, you can use experience and judgment to know when you have the right mix of bread and water in the dough, but for no-kneads this is not easy to know because the dough is so wet. It is especially important to weigh out the ingredients with a scale – I usually weigh down to the gram in order to get the balance right. But the upside is the bread is perfect every time.

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

680 g lukewarm water (24 oz)
907 g unbleached all-purpose flour (32 oz)
14 g (1 tbsp) salt
14 g (1-1/2 tbsp) instant yeast

Directions

Measure out all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket. I use my largest dough-rising bucket.

Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. I do this with my dough whisk until it gets too tough to stir. At that point, I reach in and stir it with my hands, folding the dough over itself until there are no streaks of flour and everything is incorporated.

Cover the bowl or bucket (I just place the lid on the top but don’t snap it on), and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

After it’s been out for 2 hours, put the bowl or bucket in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. The longer it is refrigerated, the more it will taste like sourdough. I usually bake all the loaves at once, but you can bake them one at a time as long as you use all of the dough within seven days.

When you’re ready to bake, remove the bucket and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour to make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, and pull off a chunk of the dough. I like to make 3 loaves with this dough, and I weigh each dough ball in a greased bowl to be around 17 ounces each.

Roll the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball as best as you can. Do the same with the other two loaves.

Place parchment paper on a half sheet pan, and put the loaves on it. Sift a light coating of flour over the top to keep the dough moist.

Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the dough rests.

When you’re ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times.

The King Arthur Flour recipe has you add in a water tray for steaming the bread when you put it in the oven, but I usually skip that step. The steam tray will make the crust crispier, but I like it fine without.

Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s a deep, golden brown. I always check the internal temperature with my bread thermometer; you want it to be above 180 degrees.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Once it’s cool, I double-bag (bread bag and freezer bag) two loaves and put them in the freezer. The other loaf I leave out to eat, and put it in a plastic bag at room temperature.

May 31, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Bread

Cheese Bread

I am always on the lookout for a good cheese bread recipe. This one is a moist, delicious, savory quick bread. It is easy to make and delicious to eat. It disappeared quickly in my house.

Cheddar Cheese Bread

From the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook via The Quixotic Table

3 oz (1 c) Parmesan cheese grated on large holes of box grater (I used finely shredded Parm and that was probably a mistake, but it was still delicious.)
3 c AP flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 ounces (1 cup) extra-sharp cheddar cut into 1/2″ cubes
1-1/4 c whole milk
3/4 c sour cream
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 with a rack in the middle position. Spritz a 9 by 5″ loaf pan with vegetable oil spray and sprinkle half of the Parmesan evenly over the bottom.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and peppers together in a large bowl. Add the cubed cheese and toss in the flour to ensure it is well coated. Whisk milk, sour cream, butter, and egg in a separate bowl. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a rubber spatula until it is just combined, with no streaks of flour. The batter will be very thick, but do not over mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with rubber spatula. Evenly sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Bake 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan onto a cooling rack. Let the bread cool completely, for at least 1 hour.

March 25, 2013

Little Sally Lunns

Sally Lunn's Tea Shop

I visited the official Sally Lunn tea shop in Bath when we went to England. The buns they serve there are flat and fluffy, a little bigger than a standard hamburger roll. They were served with jam and clotted cream, and they were delicious.

Sally Lunn Bun

These buns are a little different, since they are baked in a muffin tin. They are slightly sweet, but not sweet enough to make jelly superfluous. King Arthur Flour suggests having them for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea. We ate them throughout the day yesterday, without butter and jelly even, and they were delicious.

The recipe is very easy and doesn’t take long. I opted to add vanilla instead of lemon, but I’d like to try the lemon option. I didn’t have the yeast formulated for sweet dough, but I let the dough rise longer and didn’t have any trouble with it.

The only problem I had was that the recipe only made 12 buns, instead of 24. I weighed the dough out to the recommended 70 g and everything. The buns were almost too big for the muffin cups, so I wonder if halving the weight and making them 35 g would be the right way to go in the future.

Little Sally Lunns

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 cup (8 oz) whole milk
6 tbsp (3 oz) butter
1/4 cup (1.75 oz) sugar
1/8 tsp lemon oil or 1 tbsp grated lemon rind (zest); or 2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups (14.75 oz) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 large eggs
1 tbsp instant yeast

Directions
1) Combine the milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and heat to lukewarm, stirring to melt the butter. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and let it cool until it’s below 120°F, about 15 minutes.

2) Add the lemon or vanilla, salt, 2 cups of the flour, the eggs, and yeast.

3) Beat the mixture on medium speed for about 3 minutes.

4) Add the remaining flour to the mixture and beat for about 3 minutes, until it becomes a soft, cohesive dough.

5) Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until almost doubled in bulk.

6) Lightly grease the cups of two standard muffin pans (24 cups total). [My note – as I said above, I only needed one pan.]

7) Divide the dough among the cups of the muffin pans. If you have a scale, fill each cup with about 70g (2 3/8 ounces) dough; the cups will be a bit more than half full. [My note – I might use less than 70g of dough per roll next time, to try to get more rolls.]

8) Cover the pans, and let the rolls rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until they’re puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

9) Bake the rolls until they’re golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of one reads at least 190°F, about 15 minutes.

10) Remove the rolls from the oven, and turn them out of the pan onto a rack. Wrap completely cooled rolls airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

December 17, 2012

Ciabatta Rolls

I have made these rolls many times since I first tried them over the summer. I was looking for something just like this – a flat roll for sandwiches and burgers – and this recipe is fantastic.

You have to start it the night before.

Starter

Dough Risen

Unlike other ciabatta dough I have worked with, this dough is not too sticky. It tends to stick to itself more than to your hands, which makes it much easier to divide and fold the rolls into the right shape.

Ciabatta Rolls

You dimple the dough slightly .

Dimpled

And then bake them.

Ciabatta Rolls

Ciabatta Rolls

from King Arthur Flour

Starter

1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) cool water
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough

all of the starter (from above)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) lukewarm water
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil

Directions

To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Cover the starter and let it rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 15 hours. It will become bubbly.

Place all of the dough ingredients, including the starter, into the bowl of your mixer, and beat at medium speed, using the flat beater, for 7 minutes. The dough will be very smooth, soft, shiny, and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl or other rising container, cover it, and let it rise for 2 hours, deflating it midway through.

Lightly grease your work surface, and two half-sheet baking pans (18″ x 13″) or similar large baking sheets. Grease your hands, as well.

Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly greased work surface.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces, about 80g (2 1/4 ounces) each. Round each into a ball. Gently stretch the balls into flattened disks, about 3 1/2″ wide.

Transfer the rolls to the baking sheets, leaving about 3″ between them.

Lightly cover the rolls with heavily oiled plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow them to rise for 2 to 3 hours, or until they’re showing some signs of puffiness. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Spritz the risen rolls with lukewarm water, and gently but firmly dimple each one with your fingers, making fairly deep pockets.

Immediately place the rolls into the oven. Bake them until they’re golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Slice crosswise, and add your favorite fillings. Store any leftovers, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

Yield: 12 rolls

I like to use these as alternatives to English Muffins for mini pizzas. Just slice them up, brush with olive oil, add sauce, cheese, and toppings, and bake for 10 or 15 minutes at 400 degrees. These ones below have sun-dried tomatoes added.

Ciabatta Rolls Sliced

Mini Pizzas

Mini Pizzas

December 12, 2012

American Sandwich Bread

Sandwich Bread

One of my goals after finishing the BBA Challenge was to stop buying bread and bake it instead. This isn’t a particularly hard goal, since we don’t eat all that much bread. One loaf a week in most cases works fine. And sometimes I make more and freeze it in case I can’t make it. I think we have only resorted to buying bread a few times over the past two years.

Sandwich Bread

One of my favorite breads to make is Baking Illustrated‘s American Sandwich Bread. It is a plain, white sandwich loaf, but it is on the sturdy side, meaning it is easier to slice and not too soft. I make the buttermilk version, which has an excellent flavor.

The recipe is engineered to produce a plain loaf of bread quickly, and the instructions have you rise the bread in a pre-heated oven, etc. etc. I never follow those instructions. If I have limited time to bake a loaf of bread, I usually put it in my bread machine on the dough setting and then bake it in the oven. I find that the even temperature of the bread machine rise cycle makes the second rise go quickly, so the whole process takes about three hours. One and a half hours on the dough cycle, 45 minutes for a second rise and preheat the oven, and 40 minutes baking at 350 degrees. The bread machine also works best in the winter, since I keep my house slightly colder than bread likes to rise in, so I can be waiting a long time for that first rise.

American Sandwich Bread

adapted from Baking Illustrated

Ingredients:

3 ¾ cups (18-3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk
1/3 cup (2.67 oz) warm water (about 110°)
2 tbsp. (1 oz) unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp. (63 g) honey
1 envelope (about 2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast

Directions:

Mix 3 ½ cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey and yeast in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from the hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time and up to ¼ cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled.

On a floured work surface, gently press the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With a long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size.

Place an oven rack at the middle position and heat the oven to 350°. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf reads 195°, 40-50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.