Week 77: Hard Rolls

These versatile rolls are a nice alternative to squishy dinner rolls, are great for sandwiches, and are also good for breakfast with butter and jam. Another fine recipe from one of my favorite bakers, John Kirkwood.

Below are the ingredients. Measure them all out beforehand, and then you can bake along with him. I suggest watching the video all the way through before you get started. This makes 6 rolls.

  • 340 warm water
  • 4g yeast (1 tsp)
  • 6g sugar (1 tsp)
  • 500g bread flour (or 400g bread, 100g whole wheat)
  • 8g salt (1 tsp)

Week 72: Pizza Dough III

This is a very, very wet dough, so use it whenever you’re making pizza bianca, pizza without sauce. It’s tricky to make, but also a fun, and a great addition to your pizza repertoire! There are a few versions of it online, and most seem to be inspired by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, but the methods are kind of complicated, so my version is below, with photos. My favorite topping is potatoes and I’ve included instructions for that; another great topping would be caramelized onions, blue cheese and figs.

  • 130g bread flour (1-1/2 cups)
  • 130g all purpose flour (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 285g room temp water (1-1/4 cups)
  • olive oil
  1. Combine flours, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. On low speed, slowly pour in the water, mixing until ingredients are combined
  3. Increase to medium high, and mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. It’s very wet, but it’ll start to come together.
  1. Scrape down sides of bowl to combine all the bits. Cover, and let rise 2 to 4 hours, until bubbly and doubled in size. (Rise time depends on temperature of your kitchen
  • 2 Yukon gold (or red new) potatoes, thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you’ve got one)
  • 1 small onion, halved, then sliced and separated
  • 1~2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Salt, pepper, chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Meanwhile, prep the potatoes and onion: Once sliced, combine potatoes, onions, slat and pepper (and crushed red chili flakes) with1 tablespoon olive oil, and mix to coat.
  2. After an hour, go ahead an preheat the oven to 440 degrees.
  3. Once the dough has risen sufficiently, pour it into a very lightly greased baking sheet. Too much oil, and it’ll just slip and slide.
  4. Spread the dough out with your hands (don’t pull the sides, just push it around). If it springs back, just give it a rest for awhile and try again.
  1. Evenly layer potatoes over the surface of the dough up to the very edge, and decorate with rosemary sprigs. or about 1 inch from the edge if you desire a crust on your pizza.
  2. Do a final dusting of salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake about 30 minutes, until sides and bottom is golden brown.

Week 69: Artisan Cinnamon Raisin

Here is a bread that everyone can make, because it doesn’t call for any fancy equipment (no stand mixer, no Dutch oven), and measurements are by volume, so you don’t even need a scale. All you need is time, because it does call for proofing overnight.

The recipe comes our way via the artisanbreadwithstev YouTube channel. Steve’s video instruction is straightforward and simple and gives everyone the ability to successfully bake beautiful loaves. I’ve listed the ingredients below so that you can have them at the ready while you follow along with the video.

  • 16 oz tap water
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/4 tsp yeast
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3-1/2 c bread flour
  • 1 cup raisins

I baked mine in a Dutch oven, but next time I’ll use his method of creating a Dutch oven out of two loaf pans. For breads like this, I actually prefer them to be baked in a loaf pan because then slices are uniform.

Week 68: Rustic Ciabatta

ITALY, by way of NEW ORLEANS: It took me a long time to find a recipe for a ciabatta that was not made with 100% white flour. and that actually worked (whole wheat can be tricky to work with). This is from Bellgarde Bakery in New Orleans, whose mission is to “connect community and ecology through gastronomy”. All of their grains are identity preserved and single origin, and they use olive oil sourced from San Antonio, and salt from Avery Island.

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Week 62: Low-Knead Bread

I don’t know what I enjoy more: eating bread or baking bread. But sometimes, when I set out to make it because I really want to eat it, I run into a problem with timing. Oftentimes, there’s a long stretch of time between starting the process to consuming the bread. Most artisan loaves aren’t ready on the same day as you prepare the dough because they require an overnight rise, and if you don’t get around to starting until late in the day, there’s not enough time for all of the steps.

Last week I tested a work-around that produces a delicious, satisfying, impressive loaf in 5 hours from start to finish. It’s as beautiful as a sourdough, but a lot less complicated, and not as time-consuming. It’s easy like the no-knead method, but incorporates a bit of “stretch & fold” kneading (see #2 Kneading During Proofing video here) to speed up the process of strengthening the gluten, thereby avoiding the overnight soak, i.e. autolyse*.

Back in 2006, the New York Times published Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, which revolutionized bread baking. Two years later, Cook’s Illustrated introduced us to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s version, Almost No-Knead Bread. And just last month, in May of 2021, he gave us No-Knead Bread, Revisited, which is what I’ve based mine on. I didn’t use vinegar, added some honey, substituted whole wheat and rye for some of the white flour, cut the time down by 30 minutes and used a Dutch oven to bake.

Rest times are 1 hour + 1.5 hours + 1 hour, so perfect if you work from home, and doable if you work away from home because you can make it in the evening, pop it in the fridge after the final rise, then bake the next day.

STEP 1: Make dough

  • 300g bread or all-purpose flour (or substitute 50g with whole wheat or rye, or 25g of both)
  • 7g salt
  • 3g yeast
  1. Measure dry ingredients in a bowl and mix (I use a whisk) to combine.
  • 225g warm water
  • 11g honey
  1. Add honey to water and stir to combine
  2. Mix honey water into dry ingredients, using the handle of a wooden spoon, or your hand. Make sure there are no dry bits.
  3. Cover and rest 1 hour

STEP 2: Knead & Proof

  1. Keeping dough in the bowl, do a round of stretch and folds, then cover and let rest 30 minutes. See kneading during proofing, and shaping videos here. (#1 stretch + fold | 30 minutes rest total so far)
  2. Repeat this two more times. Each time you can pull the dough out a little longer, but not too much so that it tears. Only do four stretch and folds each round. (1.5 minute rest so far)
  3. Do one more stretch + fold, then leave to rest for 1 hour.

STEP 3: Final rise

  1. Carefully remove dough to a lightly floured surface, without deflating it.
  2. Pull sides to shape into a tight ball, then turn over, and with cupped hands, tighten surface some more.
  3. Place in lined and floured proofing basket seam side up and cover
  4. Proof 1 hour or until finger test, and preheat oven to 500. It’s better to be under proofed than over proofed, so check often:
    1. Dough is under proofed when you poke a finger in it and is springs back quickly
    2. Dough is proofed when you poke a finger in it and it springs back slowly
    3. Dough is over proofed if you poke a finger in it and it doesn’t spring back.
  5. Cover with parchment, then a cutting board and turn over
  6. Slowly remove basket and score. Score round loaves symetircally and mostly on the top, so they rise up, not out
  7. Bake, covered, at 475 for 25 minutes
  8. Remove cover and bake for 10 minutes.
    1. Put a cookie sheet on the lowest rack to redirect the heat so the bottom doesn’t burn
  9. Let cool completely before slicing

Week 59: French Sourdough

FRANCE: Pain de Campagne is a multi-grain French sourdough, made with white, whole wheat and rye flours. Back in the day, French villagers would bake very large loaves in communal ovens, which could feed the family for weeks. Some say scoring was a way to identify your loaf.

This recipe follows Maura Brickman’s method for Pain de Campagne introduced on King Arthur’s website (see video link below) whereby you can use your starter straight from the fridge. You don’t have to feed it the night before, and you don’t have to create a levain with an active starter. This removes two steps from a very long process.

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Week 58: Same Day Sourdough

Baking a sourdough loaf is a two-day affair, because there are so many stages in the prepping and proofing. I set out to find if it was possible to a.) make a loaf in one day, and b.) be 100% satisfied with the result. And, I’m here to tell you that there is! This is a method for baking a sourdough loaf with no overnight rise, and if you get started early enough, (8:00 AM) you’ll have a warm loaf to bring to the dinner table.

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Week 57: Sour Sourdough

Sourdough not sour enough? Try this shorter, less complicated method of making sourdough, that gets a sour boost from citric acid, which is what’s produced as your starter matures. It’s got a nice rise, sturdy crisp crust, and a chewy interior. It doesn’t have the extreme open crumb, but honestly, I find that annoying if I’m trying to make a sandwich, so that suits me just fine. I used all bread flour, but you can substitute some rye and/or whole wheat (see ratios below for a Pain de Campagne) without any adverse effects. My starter is made with rye flour, so there is already some whole grain mixed in.

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Week 56: Sourdough

If you do a Google search for sourdough recipes, you’ll get 25,600,000 results. There is a ton of information — and misinformation — to sift through. I tested five different methods and this version, from Full Proof Baking’s Kristen Dennis was the clear winner. Although it is time consuming, and a little tricky, the instructions are very detailed and the steps are demonstrated on the video, linked below. This is an all day affair — a perfect loaf for #bakingwhileworking.

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