Friday, March 2, 2012

...baking bread

Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to bake our bread. And I have been but I have come up with a couple of problems.

One of the things that I did when I made this decision was to buy a pullman pan locally from No Knead Bread to make the square shaped loaves similar to those from the shop. They fit in the toaster and the sandwich keepers better that way and I figured that this was the shape of loaf we are used to and more likely to continue to use.

The instructions for the pan is quite specific that the weight of dough that needs to be placed in the pan is 900gm in two 450gm balls in order for the volume of the dough to rise to the top of the pan at the proofing stage and fill out the square shape.

So the past month or so I have been on a mission to find a dough recipe that we like, has few if any 'extra' ingredients (other than flour, water and yeast) and yet has a nice crumb and crust.

So far I have tried a few recipes from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day books, a loaf from a Soups and Breads and some left over pre-mix I found in the cupboard from awhile ago.

I've also had a look at the recipes in the Bourke Street Bakery book and various other recipes from a lot of the other books on my recipe book shelf.

I like the recipes from Artisan Bread but I think that they work better as free form loaves - it might be me or it might be something about the technique that these books use but I find is really difficult to get them to rise to the top of the tin before baking. I found the recipe I used from the Soup book was quite dry but I think that was a lot to do with my altering the amount to try to get only 900g of dough for my two 450g balls.

I really like the idea of the Bourke Street recipes and I have made a number of things from this book successfully and have been able to enjoy the wares fresh from the shop when we lived in Sydney but as I won't need to bake everyday growing a sourdough starter seems to be an exercise in waste.

All this is a rather long winded way of asking - do you have any go to bread recipes or reference recipe books you could share?


Becky said...

I've used recipes from that book too. I agree that it's not really my favorite bread recipe, but it makes killer pizza, so I still make and use it often. My favorite recipe is one I make in my bread machine (dough cycle, then shaped). It's the bagette recipe from "The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook". I add tons of seeds to it (sesame and poppy at the beginning, pumpkin and sunflower at the very end), shape and bake, and it rarely lasts more than 10 minutes out of the oven. 3 cups flour, 1 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 TBS rye flour, 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast. You can also use whole wheat flour for half the flour.

Kristy said...

This was great - thanks!