Sunday, September 26, 2010

#42: Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedoes

If you think that picture looks good then you'll be happy to know it tasted even better!  This bread was fun to make and the finished loaf was the icing on the cake.  You can see where the delicious extra sharp cheddar cheese oozed out of the scores on top and the cross-section view demonstrates the monstrous voids created by the cheese.  If you look close you may even be able to see the traces of fresh chives that increased the pleasure we all had in eating the bread (child #1 jokingly called it mold!).

This recipe incorporates a wild yeast barm but uses commercial yeast in the final dough.  When reading the recipe I didn't notice I was supposed to keep the potatoes unpeeled so now I have an excuse to try the recipe again.  That and the rest of the 2-lb block of Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese (child #2 wasn't too thrilled with the small sample I gave her while I was shaping the loaves but the other kiddies didn't mind).  I think I'll also try it with the medium cheddar that we usually buy and see if it tastes even better.

The dough was pretty wet and shaping the loaves was a little tricky.  The process involves spreading the dough into a 6 inch-by-9 inch rectangle, arranging slices of cheese on top, and then rolling into a torpedo shaped loaf.  The slashes on top needed to be deep enough to hit the first layer of cheese so it could ooze out.  I'm glad I had parchment paper there ready to catch the cheese instead of having the cheese or its oil slick ooze directly onto my baking stone.

Next I'll post my experience making Panettone, another hit with the family.  After that I have only three more breads in the challenge.  Over 90% of the way there!

Friday, September 24, 2010

#34: Pumpernickel Bread

What a cool name for a bread!  This bread's only flaw is that it called for rye flower in the sourdough starter.  Bummer.

However neither the dough nor final loaf proved as frustrating as my 100% Sourdough Rye attempt so it was a success.  While the final loaf was a little denser than I like, the taste was just fine.  And since the recipe called for four ounces of rye bread crumbs I was finally able to put the leftover 100% sourdough rye loaf to good use.*

Knowing I'm not a huge fan of rye, it probably won't surprise you to know that I did not spring for a special pumpernickel-grind rye flour (I don't even know where I would find such a flour without paying exorbitant shipping prices for something I loath) but the coarse crumbs from the rye bread approximated the desired texture.  I used cocoa powder and probably could have gotten a darker crumb with on of the alternates such as caramel color, but it was dark enough.  While this wasn't one of my favorite recipes but it also didn't rank among the worst either.  Somewhere in the middle.

Only five breads left in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge!

* Actually, when Rachel asked me what was going on with the rye loaf in the fridge, I told her it was undergoing a complex transition from fridge to trash can.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#28: Potato Rosemary Bread

This recipe was delightful.  I'm not sure what happened but despite having difficulty while preparing the dough, the loaves turned out surprisingly well.  The crust and crumb where both soft and slightly moist and the crust had lovely color.  The rosemary gave a nice tone to the bread and everyone who ate it had good things to say.

After mashing the boiled potatoes and measuring out the biga, I realized that I had more than enough for two batches of Potato Rosemary Bread (also called panmarino in Italy).  My overconfidence resulted in having four loaves ready to bake when I had only space for two in the oven.  The dough was a little wetter than it needed to be but led to the soft and airy crumb.  I also skipped the optional roasted garlic which gives me an excuse to make it again.

In the end, it was a good thing that I made two batches because then I was able to take a loaf to work and share.  Everyone gave it rave reviews.  I'll be making this bread again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

#36: Stollen

Although it's a festive bread, there's no law against making stollen in September.  Hey, it's how I celebrated the fall equinox. Or something like that.

This is actually my second time making stollen, the other time being last Christmas time before I started the BBA Challenge.  Since it had been so long ago and since the bread tastes so good, I decided to make it again.  When I made it last December, I didn't have any marzipan on hand so I used sliced almonds so this time I decided to spring for the marzipan and it was delicious.

Unlike most of Peter's recipes, this recipe takes only one day to make.  I substituted lemon and orange extract for the brandy and used dried fruit instead of the candied fruit mix, both suggestions from the grace notes.  Kneading the dough is a bit difficult, a lot like casatiello, mostly because the chunks are a bit abrasive on the hands.  The kids where very sad that I would only give them a slice before they headed to bed and when I got back from work on Monday, it was all gone.

Here is a picture of the stollen I made last December:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

#32: 100% Sourdough Rye Bread

I told my sister that I was going to title this entry "I hate rye flour" but decided later to keep the theme of using the recipe number and name.   But the truth is, I hate rye flour.  Perhaps it started when I was a youth with an innocent accident where I ground rye kernels instead of wheat berries while making a pancake breakfast for my family.  The resulting pancakes were green in color and had a distinctive, non-wheat flavor that didn't mix too well with maple syrup. 

Fast forward to this morning.  This recipe from Peter's book requires a very long fermentation period of 4 hours, followed by letting the dough rise several hours before baking.  If I started this after church, the bread wouldn't be done until after dinner.  So to speed things up and use the three hours of church to my advantage, I scurried to get it done before leaving for church.  Big mistake.  In my rush I forgot to mix in the soaker (I wondered why the dough was so hard to work) and it wasn't until it was too late that I realized my mistake.  Disgusted, I left the partially mixed dough on the counter and fled to church.

When I got home, the dough hadn't changed much, perhaps a bit dried out.  I realized that I would have to revisit the recipe to complete the Challenge so I decided to recover the dough and see where it took me.  I incorporated the soaker, as well as some normal bread flour (okay, it's not 100% rye but it wouldn't have been anyways since the sourdough barm wasn't either) and then added some more water and a bit of yeast to help out the dough.  I then let it sit a longer period of time before baking it per the recipe's instructions.  As you can see, the loaf turned out okay but as I broke into the loaf, I realized again that I DO NOT LIKE RYE.  The bread tasted okay, as far as rye goes, but this recipe is definitely not one of my proudest achievements.

By the way, did I mention I don't like rye?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

#37: Swedish Rye (Limpa)

Since Swedish Rye requires a sourdough barm, I'm not sure why Peter didn't include it on his section on sourdough.  This recipe involves some new spices that I've never baked with, including ground aniseeds and cardamom, as well as ground fennel.  The dough pre-dough sponge also involved some orange oil and molasses which invariably ends up giving a nice twist to the final loaf.  Despite calling for rye flour, the dough wasn't too difficult to work with and the final loaf had a very pleasant rise.  When we broke into the loaf, the tender crumb oozed with molasses goodness and the spices gave some nice after-tones.  My coworker's enjoyed the bread as did the family and this is a dough that I'd definitely consider making again.  Even with the rye flour (more on that in a later post).