Pugliese – Italian Bread

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For my birthday in October I got Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible, and I have made a couple of breads from the book (which I highly recommend), but I don’t think I have blogged about them.

The Pugliese are the breads on the cover, they look gorgeous, so of course I had to try them. It is a very high water content bread, which makes it a bit tricky. Beranbaum’s method uses a stand mixer, but I have made it both with my hands and with dough hooks and a hand mixer.

In general, many of the recipes have very specific instructions that I think you can mess around with a bit if you try. She recommends specific flour brands, for instance, but I made this with generic Safeway Organic all-purpose flour and it worked fine.
I also couldn’t get the durum flour the recipe called for and had to get semolina, which is a coarser grind of durum wheat, and the recipe claims it will not work with that, but it did. If you can get durum flour, by all means use it! (I could not even find some on amazon.com, funny, since in Denmark it was right there in the local supermarket).

This, like many of the breads in the books, is a long process. The raising times are very long, which helps create flavor, but means you will have to use a half day or more – plus make the starter the day before. Also note that this uses a banneton to help with the final raise, I definitely recommend one for wet breads like this. And it makes it look pretty!

Original recipe from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I have multiplied the amount by 1.5, as thought the original bread was very small. Note that most of the pictures is for the smaller size, from first time I made it.

Ingredients, day 1:

  • 113 g all-purpose flour (4 oz)
  • 0.37 g active dry yeast
  • 90 ml water ( 6 tbsp )

Method, day 1:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water.

2. Add the flour and mix until smooth.

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3. Cover tightly and let proof overnight (12-24 hours). The first 3-6 hours should be a room temperature, then cooler. I found our garage, a little warmer than our refrigerator to be great. The volume of the starter should triple.

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Ingredients, day 2:

  • 107 g all-purpose flour (3.75 oz)
  • 107 g durum flour (3.75 oz)
  • 3 g active dry yeast
  • 177 ml water (3/4 cup)
  • rice flour for dusting

Method, day 2:

1. Try to leave the starter at room temperature for it to become room temperature, though if it is cool it is OK too.

2. Mix the water and yeast in a small bowl.

3. Add the water and yeast mixture to the starter.

4. Add the flours and the salt to you bowl.

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5. Mix, either with your hands/a whisk, dough hooks on a stand mixer or heavy duty hand mixer (be careful using a hand mixer. If it is not powerful enough you may end up burning out the motor).

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6. Keep mixing/kneading for 5 minutes or so, the dough should pull away from the bowl but still be very sticky.

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7. Dust your work surface with durum/semolina flour and have more flour ready. Place your dough on the flour and stretch it with both hands (flour your hands too).

8. Fold the dough over one third, and then the rest of it on top.

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9. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the fold.

10. Sprinkle more durum flour over and cover with oiled film. Let rest for 30 min.

11. Repeat the stretching, folding, turning and folding again. Durst with more flour, cover and rest another 30 min.

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12. Stretch, fold, turn and fold again. Place your dough an oiled bowl and cover tightly with film.

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13. Place the dough somewhere nice and warm to let it rise for 2 hours. I used a trick from Cook’s Illustrated: Place pan of boiling water in the bottom of your cold oven, and place your dough on a rack above. Close the oven (don’t turn it on). This create a moist, warm environment, and your oven is relatively sealed.

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14. Dust an 8 inch / 20 cm banneton with rice flour. (If you do not have one, simply place the bread on a parchment lined sheet. I sometimes see people suggesting a stand-in for the banneton by flouring a tea towel and line a colander – I have not had that work). I have tried with wheat flour too, rice flour gave a much better result.

15. Very gently, shape the risen dough into a round ball, and place seam side up in your banneton (or seam side down on a sheet). Cover with oiled film. Let rise for 1-1.5 hours.

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16. Preheat the oven to 500 F / 260 C, and place an empty sheet or pan on the lowest rack of the oven. Place a pizza stone, if you have one, on a rack just above. If you use a stone, let the oven stand at temperature for a while, so the stone is heated through.

17. Invert the bread out on a parchment lined sheet.

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18. Place the sheet on top of your pizza stone (or directly on the rack). Place about 1/2 cups / 1 dl of ice cubes in the pan below.

19. After 5 min, lower the temperature to 450 F / 230 C.

20. Bake the bread for 15-25 minutes more and take it out to cool on a wire rack.

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The bread is really delicious and moist, and I think it keeps OK too. It is great with soup but also as sandwich bread for lunch or even breakfast.

Challah

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One of my favorite breads are challah, and I usually bake it for holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving. Challah is a traditional enriched Jewish bread flavored with honey. Sweet and rich, it is great for special meals, breakfast or anytime.

It is often made without dairy to satisfy Jewish dietary restrictions so it can accompany meals with meat, but this recipe has butter in it for a soft moist crumb. Since I am not Jewish, I happily ate this with my turkey. The recipe is from On Baking, and the crumb turns out perfect every time I have made it.

I wanted to braid it with 6 strands instead of 3, so I found this great video instructions – check it out, it really explains it well. Thanks for posting that!

Ingredients: (original recipe from On Baking)

  • 92 ml honey ( 3 fl. oz)
  • 18 g salt (0.6 oz)
  • 840 g bread flour (1 lb, 12 oz)
  • 15 g active dry yeast (0.5 oz)
  • 60 ml hot water (90 F/ 32 C) (2 fl. oz)
  • 150 ml water, room temp (5 fl. oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 120 g butter, melted (4 oz)
  • Egg & milk/cream for egg wash

Method:

1. Mix the honey, salt and 240 g (8 oz) of flour in a mixing bowl.

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2. Dissolve the yeast in the hot water in a small bowl.

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3. Add the yeast mixture, the rest of the water the eggs and the butter to the bowl and stir until smooth.

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4. Mix in the rest of the flour, adding a little (about 60 g/ 2 oz) at a time. Mix well after each addition. At some point, switch to kneading.

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5. Knead the dough until elastic, about 5-10 minutes

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6. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 – 1.5 hours.

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7. Punch down the dough and divide into 2 parts

8. Divide each part into 6 strands (or as many as you want to braid). When making 6, I found it useful to weigh them to get them to be equal size.

9. Roll out 6 strands to rolls. They will contract a bit, so let them sit for 5- 10 min and rest.

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10. Meanwhile, cover the remaining 6 pieces of dough so it doesn’t dry out.

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11. Roll out the strands again, make them long and thin.

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12. Start braiding the bread. Push the dough strands together at the top and spread them in 3 and 3.

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13. Cross over the topmost strands all the way across.

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14. Take one of the top strands, and cross it over two strands. Then replace it with the strands second closest to the top on the other side. The first crossover might look a bit odd, that is ok. Gently tuck it under a bit when you get to the next one.

15. Repeat with the other side – topmost strand down in the middle (over 2) and the strand second closest to the top on the other side replaces it (ends up topmost).

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challah-1616. Keep going until the end, gently tucking the ends under the bread in the end.

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17. Place the bread on a parchment lined sheet, and repeat with the other half of the dough.

18. Again, roll the strands and let them relax, then reroll, to get long and even ones.

19. Brush both breads with an egg wash of egg and milk. Do a second layer over the first.

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20. Let the breads rise until doubled, about 45 min.

21. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C.

22. Bake about 40 min, until golden and hollow sounding.

23. Let cool on a wire rack.

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Whether you use a 3 strand braid or 4 or 6, this challah is so delicious. I love it with butter on top for extra richness, and it great for French toast too.

Oat Rolls

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This is a variation on the oat bread I have blogged about before. The recipe is excellent for rolls, and I enhanced them by added some honey, the sweetness works very well with the oats.

Ingredients:

  • 100 ml water ( 0.4 cups)
  • 500 ml milk ( 2.1 cups)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8.3 g active dry yeast (0.3 oz) or 25 g yeast cake (0.9 oz)
  • 150 g rolled oats (quick cook or traditional) ( 5.3 oz)
  • 150 g whole wheat flour (5.3 oz)
  • 500 g all purpose or bread flour (17.6 oz)
  • oats, milk to decorate

Method:

1. Heat the water and milk until lukewarm, about 30 C/ 90 F.

2. Dissolve the yeast in the liquid in a large bowl.

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3. Add the honey, oats, salt and whole grain flour and mix well.

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4. Add most of the bread flour and form a dough.

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5. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead it through (5 min), add more flour if necessary.

6. Put the dough in bowl and let it rise to double size, about 1 hour.

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7. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead well, until elastic.

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8. Let the dough rest for 15-20 min.

9. Divide the dough into quarters, and divide each quarter into 8 pieces.

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10. Form each piece into a ball and form a roll. Put on a parchment covered baking sheets (you will need 2 full sheets for 32 rolls).

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12. Let the rolls rise under a tea towel for about 45 min.

13. Preheat the oven to 395 F/ 200 C

14. Brush the rolls with milk and decorate with oats, pressing them into the rolls.

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15. Bake for about 20-25 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

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The honey is a great touch and I like these little rolls. They are small in size, but I think that is great  – if you prefer big buns you can make 16 bigger ones.

Croissants

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I have wanted to try and bake croissants for a long time, but I have held off since it is time consuming, and a bit intimidating. I thought I was going to try a couple of times before I was successful, but this is the first time I made these, and they turned out so good.

I looked at different recipes, and decided I was going to try the one from Tartine Bread, the book from Chad Robertson with recipes from his Tartine Bakery. I got the book last year, and while I have browsed it many times, I had yet to try baking anything from the book. It is a gorgeous book, and I do recommend it, Robertson has very interesting, almost spiritual, approach to baking.

These croissants are made with a bit of sourdough too, which was intriguing, but I have tasted the ones from Tartine the last time I was in San Francisco, and they were delicious. There was one problem though, and that was my sour dough had been somewhat neglected. I discarded most of it, fed it again, and it revived. I think I would ideally had an extra day to revive it, but there was still yeast activity in there. I do in general make it and maintain it a little different than the sourdough in the book, but it should not be an issue however you choose to handle your sour dough.

Ingredients: (original recipe from Tartine Bread (book 1))

Day 1, leaven:

  • 1 tbsp sour dough
  • 220 g all purpose flour
  • 220 ml water

Day 1, poolish:

  • 200 g all purpose flour
  • 200 ml water
  • 3 g active dry yeast

Day 2:

  • 450 ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • 300 g leaven (from above)
  • 400 g polish (from above)
  • 1 kg bread flour
  • 28 g salt
  • 85 g sugar
  • 10 g active dry yeast
  • 400 g unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg (for egg ash)
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream (for egg wash)

Method:

Day 1:

1. Make the poolish by mixing the flour, water and yeast in a bowl. Cover and let stand overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Place your sour dough in a different bowl and add the flour and water. Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature overnight.

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Day 2:

3. Mix the milk, leaven and poolish in a large bowl the next day. Save the remaining leaven as your sour dough starter, if desired.

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4. Add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, and mix until a dough begins to form. Let rest for 25-40 minutes.

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5. Fold the dough on top of itself, like a letter, and transfer to a bowl or proofing box and cover.croissant-7

6. Let the dough rise for 1.5 hours, where every 30 minutes you pull the bottom of the dough to the top, stretching and turning it over in the bowl. The entire dough should be stretched each time. The theory here is work the gluten without a lot of kneading.

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7. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag ( I used a heavy ziplock bag), and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

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8. When the time has almost passed, cut the butter into cubes and spread over a work surface. Dust with all-purpose flour.

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9. Bang the butter together using a rolling pin, until you have a cohesive mass. The flour should be worked into the butter, and help it have a softer consistency without getting warm. Form a 8″x12″ rectangle of the butter.

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10. Keep the butter cool while you roll out the dough. Take it out of the plastic bag, and roll it to a 12″ x 20″ rectangle.

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11. Place the butter on one end of the dough rectangle, so it covers 2/3 of it.

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12. Fold the unbuttered piece of dough over 1/2 the butter, then fold over the last piece of dough and butter.

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13. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out to a 12″ x 20″ rectangle again. Fold the dough over in thirds again, like folding a letter.

 

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14. Wrap the dough in parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. The dough should be cold, but the butter should not harden, so don’t keep it there longer. If you have to, leave the dough out of the fridge for 15 min or so before working on it

15. Roll the dough out to 12″ x 20″ again, and do the letter fold. refrigerate for an hour again.croissant-18

16. Do this once more – take out the dough, roll it out and fold it over.

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17. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. (If you want, the original recipes says you can wrap the dough in freezer proof wrap and leave for up to 3 days – let thaw overnight in the fridge before using).

18. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper. I used cookie sheets and they were too small – these are big croissants!

19. Roll the dough out to 18″ x 24″ and about 1/2″ thick.

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20. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, creating 2 long, thin, ones.

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21. Cut each rectangle into 4 parts, and cut each across to create 8 triangles.croissant-24

croissant-2522. Roll each triangle up and place on the prepared sheet.

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23. Repeat with the second part of the dough.

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24. You let these rise for 2 hours, or you can do as I did and cover with plastic wrap and retard in the fridge overnight – that way they are ready to be baked fresh for breakfast.

Day 3:

25. Take the croissants out of the refrigerator and preheat oven to 425 F.

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26. Mix an egg with a bit of cream to make an egg wash, and brush over the croissants.

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27. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and flakey.

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I was really happy with the taste and flakeyness of these, it was worth the work – though it was a lot of work, or waiting, at least. The portion is HUGE though, it makes 16 very big croissants. Next time I might try to half or even quarter it, and maybe make them a little smaller.

The croissants were fantastic right out of the oven, pretty good the next day, and OK the third. I don’t think they would have been good to keep longer. We happened to be invited to a small gathering the evening of the day I baked these, so I gave the rest away for people to eat the next day – there was no way we could have eaten all of these by ourselves!

Pizza Stone Naan

 

naan-10After getting my pizza stone, I had the idea that it might be useful to bake Naan on, being closer to mimicking a Tandoor than baking on a sheet. Of course I am not the only one with this idea, and found this great recipe and video instructions on Manjula’s Kitchen.

I love Indian food, and having an Indian grocer around the corner means that it is quite easy to experiment with. I made these Naan to both Channa Masala and Saag Paneer, and they were great meals.

Ingredients: (original recipe on Manjula’s Kitchen)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour (475 ml)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (175 ml)
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast (10 g fresh yeast cake)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2  1/2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • Nigella seeds for sprinkling (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, melted, for brushing (preferably clarified)

Method:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water.

2. Mix the flour, sugar salt and baking soda in a larger bowl.

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3. Add oil and yogurt to the dry ingredients and mix it together

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4. Add the water and yeast mixture and mix it in until a dough starts to form.

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5. Knead the dough until smooth, about 3-5 min. It is quite soft and sticky, that is OK.

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6. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise for 3-4 hours until almost doubled. If you prefer, you can every 30 min or so, stretch the dough by taking the bottom of the dough and pulling it on top (gently to not remove air form the dough). It helps for the gluten, and I find it very useful with a wetter dough like this one.

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7. Place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat to 500° F/ 260° C for at least 30 minutes.

8. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and divide into 6 parts.

9. Turn the oven to a high broil when you are ready to form the Naan.

10. Roll each piece of dough out to an oval or triangle.

11. If using, spread nigella seeds on top and use the rolling pin to roll them into the Naan.

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12. Place the Naan on your pizza stone, I could fit 3 at a time.

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13. Bake for 2-5 minutes, until risen and lightly browned.

14. Place on a wire rack and brush with melted butter or ghee (clarified butter).

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15. Repeat with the other Naan, letting the oven heat for about 5 min between each batch.

I think these are very tasty, easy, and beautiful, this is a great recipe.

4 Grain Bread

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My mom sent me this recipe, she originally clipped it from a Danish magazine. It is called ‘a bread that keeps’, and it really does keep well. I made it two times, and I think I have tweaked the recipe to where I like it.

It is started the day before you bake, making a quick ‘sourdough’ – but it still contain quite a bit of commercial yeast, and does not really have a typical sourdough taste, as you get with a fully developed sourdough. It is then made with buttermilk, which I think make it very moist.

The original recipe calls for 2 types of flour I can’t really get here in the US, sigtemel which is a mix of sifted rye and wheat flour with 30%-50% rye. I mixed bread flour and rye flour with about 60% rye, though the result is a little different, as I use whole grain dark rye flour – sigtemel is a white flour. Secondly, the recipe calls for 4-korns mel which literally means 4-grain flour, and that might be what it is. I don’t recall having seen it in stores, and the only thing I could find online was from Norway, where it indeed was a mix of wheat, rye, oat and barley flour. My mom, however, was convinced that it meant some flour with whole kernels in it – though she said she usually just makes it with sigtemel telling me ‘you know how fussy your dad is with whole kernels’. I’m pretty sure it would be a great bread to add some soaked wheat or rye kernels to, but I stuck to adding some whole grain barley and oat flour.

You can play a bit with the ratio, this is a bit of a dense bread because of all the non-wheat flours, they don’t have much (if any) gluten, so the bread does not become that fluffy.

I baked this on the pizza stone, and that worked really well, but you can bake it on a regular sheet with parchment paper just fine.

Ingredients: (original recipe from unknown Danish magazine)

Day 1:

  • 25 g yeast cake (8.3 g /0.3 oz active dry yeast)
  • 250 ml lukewarm water (1 cup)
  • 150 g bread flour (5.3 oz)
  • 100 g rye flour (3.5 oz)

Day 2:

  • 400 ml buttermilk (1.7 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coarse or kosher salt
  • 150 g oat flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g barley flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g rye flour (5.3 oz)
  • 325 g bread flour (11.5 g)

Method:

Day 1:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water

2. Add the initial bread and rye flour and mix well.

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3. Cover with film and let stand at room temperature for 12-14 hours.

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Day 2:

1. Mix the buttermilk with your dough.

2. Add salt and the barley, oat and rye flours and mix.

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3. Add most of the bread flour in 2-3 portions.

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4. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead well, add more bread flour if necessary. The dough is a little sticky, take care it doesn’t get too dry, but is should feel elastic and easy to work with in the end.

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5. Let the dough rise for about an hour.

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6. Form 2 breads (or one big one).

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7. Cover and let rest for 20-30 min. Preheat the oven to 200° C/ 395° F. Have your pizza stone in the oven if using one.

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8. Score the breads with a sharp knife, and brush with milk or egg as desired.

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9. Gently lift the breads onto your stone, or put your sheet in the oven.

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10. Bake for 20-30 minutes. 40-50 if you are only making one.

11. They should sound hollow when tapped when done, and be nicely golden on top. Take out and let cool on a wire rack.

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This bread freezes really well, and also keeps well. Even a week old I don’t feel a need to toast it, it is still moist and fresh.

Simple Focaccia

Foccacia-13I wanted to make some bread to go with a pasta dish, and I wanted to try and bake some bread on my pizza stone. A focaccia seemed to be a good choice.

Most focaccia recipes calls for the bread to be baked in a dish, but I was looking for one with a free form focaccia. I found one in my go-to book, Wenche Frølich’s Brød. I adapted it for the pizza stone, and it is simple to make, but this one does have a lot of resting, 4 hours total or so.

A focaccia is a very simple bread, flavored with salt and olive oil. I used Safeway’s O Organics brand olive oil, but I suspect you might get a better taste if you spring for a pricier, fancy olive oil. You can also add chopped herbs or sundried tomatoes to the dough for some extra flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 15 g yeast cake (5 g /0.2 oz dry yeast)
  • 175 ml lukewarm water (3/4 cup)
  • 275 g flour (9.7 oz)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25 ml olive oil (0.1 cup or 1 tbsp + 2 tsp)
  • flour or cornmeal for resting
  • extra salt and olive oil for baking

Method:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water

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2. Add flour and salt and mix well until a dough forms.

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3. Knead in the oil. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky, it should not feel dry tough.

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4. Turn the dough out on a work surface, and knead for 5-10 min.

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5. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with film. Let rest for 1.5 hour, until doubled in size.

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6. Form a large round bread on your work surface, it should be 25-30 cm in diameter.

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7. Spread some cornmeal or flour on a wooden board or pizza peel, cover with film and let rest for 30 min.

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8. Use your thumb to make small, deep grooves in the bread. Cover with film again and let rest for 2 hours.

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9. Preheat oven to 500° F/ 260° C, with your pizza stone in the middle of the oven. Let the stone heat for 30 min or so, if you can.

10. Brush the bread with olive oil and scatter salt over.

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11. Transfer the focaccia to the pizza stone, and immediately turn the heat down to 435°F / 225° C.

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12. Bake for 20-25 min, until golden.

13. Transfer to a rack when done, and eat while still warm.

I went a little overboard when brushing with oil, but it turned out well. I didn’t even have time to do a ‘nice’ picture of the focaccia, it was eaten fast, which is what you want. It does not keep that well, and goes dry fast.

Quick breakfast rolls – ‘Shower Buns’

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I am not sure exactly where the concepts comes from, but going on trips or vacations with friends back in Denmark we always had the concept of ‘shower buns’ – rolls that would rise or bake while you were in the shower in the morning, getting you freshly baked bread for breakfast.

Some recipes requires you to make the dough the night before, and then leave to rise over night in the fridge. This is definitely a nice approach, and you can probably modify most regular recopies with a little less yeast to accommodate for the slow, cold rise. I wanted one that was quick and easy to make at the spur of a moment, and found this one that is made right away. It has a lot of yeast, and only rises once. It also is a lightly enriched dough containing butter, so it gives a ‘luxury’ roll, perfect for Sunday mornings.

Ingredients: (original recipe in Danish)

  • 6 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 50 g yeast cake (17g dry yeast, or .6 oz)
  • 300 ml milk (1 1/4 cups)
  • 50 g butter, melted (1/2 stick)
  • 800-900 ml flour (3 1/3 -4 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Method:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and melt the butter.

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2. Add all the other ingredients and knead to form a dough.

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3. Divide into 12 pieces and form rolls.

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4. Set the rolls on a parchment covered sheet and let them rise under a moist towel.

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5. Preheat oven to 225 C/ F. If your oven is underneath your stove, you can place the sheet on top for some extra heat for rising.
6. Let the rolls rise for about 25 min – while you take your shower!

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7. Brush rolls with a egg and water mixture (egg wash) for extra shine. You can also use milk or water.
8. Bake for 12 min.

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Very fast, very easy and they are really best right out of the oven.

Hveder

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Hveder are Danish holidays rolls, literally ‘Wheats’ eaten at ‘General Prayer Day’ (Store Bededag). It is a holiday dating from 1686 as a collection of a number of minor Roman Catholic holidays which survived the Reformation (the transition of Denmark from a Roman Catholic country to a Protestant country), merged to one day. It is held on the 4th Friday after Easter, and is a bank holiday – everything is closed.

Most people in Denmark are not very avid church goers, but as Danish Protestantism is the state church, most people belong to it, and does some observations of the holidays, regardless of how much of the faith the choose to include in the celebrations.

When the holiday was introduced, work, travel, trade, gambling and play was forbidden, which meant bakeries was closed. Bakers would bake these rolls for people to buy Thursday evening for the next day. Today, most people eat them fresh Thursday evening as well as Friday morning, and they are great toasted.

The Hveder themselves were a specialty for a long while, and probably not common in the average population even when the holiday was introduced. Most people ate rye breads, as wheat did not grow well in most of Denmark due to the cold climate. It was only later more hardy species of wheat was introduced, and it was still an expensive specialty. Besides being made from wheat, the rolls also are made with butter, egg and milk, so they are an enriched bread, though not as much as challah or brioche.

This year, the Danish newspaper Politiken ran an online article (source of most of this information!) on them, with a bunch of recipes. I decided I should make some, even if the holiday had long past.

Ingredients: (Original in Danish from politiken.dk)

  • 500g bread flour* (17.6 oz, about 4.2 cups)
  • 100 ml milk (0.4 cups)
  • 100 ml water (0.4 cups)
  • 50g butter (about 1/2 stick)
  • 50g yeast cake (3 tsp active dry yeast)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tsp ground cardamom
  • milk for brushing

*Though you don’t normally use bread flour a lot in Denmark, it is well suited to these rolls, as they are meant to rise a lot.

Method:

1. Gently melt the butter and mix in the milk and water. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let stand until lukewarm ( 90-100 F / 32-37 C).

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2. Beat the egg together.

3. Add the yeast to the lukewarm butter, milk and water mixture and mix well until dissolved.

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4. Mix in the sugar, flour, salt, cardamom and egg.

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5. Transfer dough to a work surface and knead well, about 5 min or more. This dough does not have a high water content, so it will feel a little hard.

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6. Form a ball and place in the bowl, cover with film and let stand to rise until doubled, about 30 min.

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7. Punch down dough and knead well again.

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8. Spilt the dough into 12 equal pieces, and form small rolls from them.

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9. Place the rolls fairly close together on a baking sheet, they should be touching when they are done rising. I ended up with mine just a little too far apart. Let rise for 20-30 min more.

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These ended up a little too far apart

10. Preheat oven to 390 F/ 200 C. If your oven is part of your stove, it is great to let the rolls rise on top of your stove for some extra warmth.

11. Brush the rolls with milk.

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12. Transfer to oven and bake for 20 min, until risen and golden.

13. Let cool and break apart to eat. Toast well if you eat them the next day.

Someone couldn't wait

Someone couldn’t wait

I was happy with how these turned out, it is an easy luxury bread. They are traditionally a little more square, but they were well risen and delicious.

Sourdough bread – take 2

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As I wrote about earlier, I tried 5 & Spice’s recipe for sourdough bread and was partial successful. I updated how I maintained my sourdough and tried making it again the other day, this day with more success.

I had fed the sourdough starter the day before, and left it out that night. Next day it was nice, risen and ready to use. I mostly changed what I did on day 2, leaving it out much longer. The bread was not uniform as the original recipe, but with some large holes in it, I am not sure if it rose too long in the end, but it was much less dense and just as moist.

Here is the recipe again, for reference, and the steps I ended up doing, still very close to the original.

  • 200 g sourdough starter (1 cup)
  • 400 g bread flour (3 cups)
  • 8-10g salt (2 tsp)
  • 300 ml room temperature water (1 1/3 cup)

Method:

1. Stir together sourdough, flour, salt and water and mix well. It is pretty sticky. Turn the dough out on a working surface and see if it might need a little more flour, but be careful, it is a sticky dough at this point. (I know that where I store my flour it ends up having a high moisture content, so I usually need to add a little more flour than a recipe calls for).

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2. Stretch the dough to a rectangle, and then fold one end 1/3 over the piece, then again with the other end, so you end up with a 3 layer rectangle. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold again. You can’t really see the layers at this point, it is that sticky.

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3. Oil a clean bowl, and put the dough to rest in it and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it to rest for 1 hour.

4. Take the dough out and repeat the stretching and folding like before, 3 layers one way, 3 layers the other way. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for another hour.

5. Repeat the folding again, the dough should be less sticky now. Rest for another hour.

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6. Stretch and fold again and put the dough in a large, clean bowl. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and and rest overnight in the refrigerator.

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7. Take the dough out of the refrigerator the next day, about 2-4 hours before you want to bake. Now is a good time to pull a little of the dough from the top to put back in your starter, if you like to do put developed dough back in there. Be sure to close it up nicely. Let it stand to rise at room temperature for about 2-3 hours. It should be puffed up a little bit.

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8. Turn the dough out on your work surface, stretch it and form a round loaf.

9. Dust a cutting board with corn meal and place the loaf there. Let rest for another 1 hour or so. Score the top of the bread.

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10. Preheat your oven to 475 F/ C and put a Dutch oven in there.

11. When the oven is ready, take the Dutch oven out, and take off the lid. Careful, remember this is all really hot! Gently life the bread up and put into the Dutch oven and put the lid back on.

12. Bake with the lid on for 25 min, then take the lid off and bake for another 10 min.

13. Take the Dutch oven out, and carefully take the bread out ( I used grilling thongs). Remember, HOT!

14. Put the bread on a rack to cool

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I was pretty happy with this, and so was the family, it was perfect with some potato leek soup. It was not perfect, however, I might try some other sourdough recipes next to compare.

Soup and bread  - perfect toddler meal!

Soup and bread – perfect toddler meal!