Week 81: Signature Loaf

This is the perfect go-to bread for any occasion. It’s easy enough to be a weekly bake, and makes an impressive contribution to a shared meal. It’s got multiple grains and seeds for flavor, milk and butter for texture, and the overnight fermentation gives both the flavor and the texture an additional boost. If you’re looking for a single grain loaf, with a similar result, check out Week 62’s Low-Knead Bread. You won’t be disappointed!

Step 1: Make pre-ferment (overnight rest)

  • 340g room temp water
  • 3g yeast
  • 180g bread flour
  • 50g rye flour
  1. Mix the sponge ingredients with the handle of a wooden spoon until flour is thoroughly combined with the water.
  2. Cover, and let rest at room temperature, covered, for at least 4 hours, but preferabley overnight.

Step 2: Make dough (2 hour rest)

  • 12g salt
  • 4g sugar
  • 180g bread flour
  • 90g whole wheat flour
  • 30g dry whole milk powder
  • 30g softened butter (2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp each sesame, flax, hemp and chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup multi-grain cereal mix
  1. Combine the flours, sugar, salt and sesame seeds/multi-grain cereal mix into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
  2. Empty the biga into the bowl, scraping the sides tof the biga bowl to get it all.
  3. Mix until incorporated, with the handle of a wooden spoon, (or your hand, squeezing the dough between your fingers).
  4. Once it’s all mixed together, place bowl in machine, and knead with dough hook for 5 minutes on speed #2, adding the butter, one little chunck at a time.
  5. Stop to scrape down the sides and the dough hook. Make sure there’s no dry bits on the bottom.
  6. Knead for 5 more minutes, still on #2, until it is sticking to itself more than the bowl. It won’t totally clean off the sides of the bowl and be all stuck on the hook like some doughs.
  1. Scrape down sides with a bowl scraper, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Turn out until a lightly oiled surface. Flatten out a bit, then fold sides over on itself towards the middle to form a circle. Turn over and shape into a ball.
  1. Place the dough in a greased bowl, seam side down, cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  2. Turn out until a lightly oiled surface. Flatten out a bit, Do two envelope folds/ First fold top third down, then bottom third over that. Then fold the left third over, and the right third over that.
  1. Return dough to the greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place 1-2 hours (if you kitchen is colder than 72 degrees, warm up an EMPTY microwave, then store it there), until doubled in size.

Step 3: Shape dough (1 hour rest)

  1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled countertop, and gently press into a square.
  2. Flatten out a bit, then fold sides over on itself towards the middle to form a circle. Turn over and shape into a ball.
  3. Cup it with your hands and rotate, pulling the sides down a bit to make the surface taut.
  4. Then slide a bit to make the surface taut. See video for shaping dough on the Tips page.
  5. Lightly dust the surface, and smooth with your hand.
  6. Place dough ball, seam side down, into a lined banetton (or a bowl lined with a tea towel) that’s been dusted with flour. Pinch seams together to tighten.
  1. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes to an hour. It will continue to rise in the oven, so this second rise does not need to be for as long as the first. Better to be slightly under-proofed, than over-proofed.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat over to 475 degrees, with a Dutch oven inside, and have at the ready a parchment paper sling.

Step 4: Bake dough

  1. Place a the parchment sling on top of the basket/bowl, and flip it over.
  2. Remove bowl from dough, scape off any excessive amounts of flour, and score.
  3. Remove pan from oven, and place dough inside. Cover and put in oven.
  4. Turn oven down to 450 degrees.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes, uncover and back 5 more, until crust is dark golden, and internal temperature is 190-200 degrees.
  6. Remove from pot, then place in turned off oven with door open so it can cool down in a dry place.
  7. Cool completely before slicing.

Week 79: Old Fashioned Country Loaf

This is a large, heavy loaf that will satisfy you for a few days, and it makes a great contribution for a weekend getaway with friends and family. You can throw the ingredients together in the evening before bedtime, then bake it the next day, or start it it first thing in the morning, then bake in the evening. Made with whole grains (white, whole wheat and rye), it is definitely a bread to make again and again.

  • 480g bread flour
  • 1/4 c vital wheat gluten
  • 135g old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 75g whole wheat flour
  • 40g rye flour
  • 10g sugar
  • 12g salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 5 Tbsp (70g) butter, softened
  • 510g water

Step 1: (Day 1) Make dough

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Mix to incorporate on the lowest speed, scraping down the sides to get the dry bits in, then mix for one minute on the fastest speed (it’s very fast!).
  3. Cover bowl and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 8 hours, or up to 12.

Step 2 (Next day): Knead and shape

  1. Remove to a lightly floured work surface
  2. Sprinkle flour around the circle, then lift sides and scape the flour under.
  3. Pull sides out a bit to form a rectangle.
  4. Gently life the ride side, stretch it out a bit, then fold it over to the center.
  5. Repeat with the left side.
  6. Stretch the top end up and out a bit, then roll down. You don’t want to squish the air out, but you want it to be stable.
  7. Pull out the top end to fold over the side then tuck it under. See “How to shape a batard” video on the Tips page.
  1. Create a taught surface by cupping the dough with your hands and rotating it around while tucking under the sides.
  2. Flour a lined banatonne and place the dough in, seam side up. (I made the first version, pictured below, in a round basket, but the second time around I used an oval shape for easier slicing.
  3. Let rise 1~2 hours, or overnight in the fridge.
  • Cut a sling out of parchment paper. It’s a heavy dough, so I do a double sling.
  • Lay the sling down on top of the dough, then put a cutting board on top of that.
  • Flip, then remove the basket
  • very heavy very large need a sturdy sling
  • Baking times for Dutch ovens:
    • Use a cookie sheet on the bottom rack to deflect heat
    • If you don’t put it in cold, then bake at 475 for 25 minutes, take off top, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes more, or until it reaches 205 degrees.
    • From the fridge: Bake at 425 for 35 minutes covered, then 10 – 15 uncovered.
  • If kitchen really hot overnight: ferment it three hours and them put it in the fridge overnight.
  • Day of: Ferment 8 hours
  • Or you could increase the yeast a bit. This would shorten the rise time, and have only a slight affect on flavor and texture. I think if you use 1 teaspoon yeast (instead of 1/2 teaspoon) the first rise could be shortened to 4-5 hours. The second rise will also go quicker as well.
  • This recipe should fill two standard loaf pans, (8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″) and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the interior registers 190°F on an instant thermometer. Annabelle@KAF  375 degrees tent foil over the top during the first part of baking
  • make this in my 4.5 qt cast iron dutch oven. I let it rise for 12 hours at room temperature. then work it on a floured board and transfer it to a bowl lined with floured parchment paper for one hour. I preheat the oven to 450 degrees for about an hour. At the half hour mark I place the Dutch oven in the oven to preheat. Be careful pulling it outRead more about review stating I make this
  • as it is very hot. I transfer the dough to the dutch oven place the lid back on and bake for 25 minutes. I then remove the lid and bake an additional 12 minutes. I came up with these times though trial and error along with advice from King Arthur helpline. it comes lightly brown and crusty
  •  baked it in a 10″ dutch oven (50 min with lid on and 15 min with lid off — perfect!). I let it rise the first time about 18 hours at room temp
  • Or you could increase the yeast a bit. This would shorten the rise time, and have only a slight affect on flavor and texture. I think if you use 1 teaspoon yeast (instead of 1/2 teaspoon) the first rise could be shortened to 4-5 hours. The second rise will also go quicker as well.
  • 1 Tbs (15g) less water, halved the sugar, added to a preheated empty pot instead of cold start (parchment “sling” works great). The second time dough was easier to handle and bread had much betterRead more about review stating So good and so
  • oven spring, with an airier crumb.
  • The second thing you can try is to preheat your Dutch oven base (if the manufacturer says that’s OK) with the oven

https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/no-knead-oat-bread-recipe

 oven once it came to 205. This is a hit with the whole family and will definitely make again!

Week 70: No Knead Black Bread

This is an absolutley delicious bread, and easy to make. Even though it’s got a long list of ingredients, and is best made a couple of days prior to consuming it, don’t let that stop you from adding this to your repertoire! We serve this on Christmas Day because it it makes for an easy breakfast that blurs into lunch. It’s delicious with sweet or savory toppings: grava lax, smoked trout, egg salad, and fruit jams. And what at treat it is to watch Nigella Lawson, England’s very own domestic goddess, bake bread!

I’ve listed the ingredients below so that you can measure everything out ahead of time, and then follow along with the video. (I didn’t include the acitvated charcol, or the nigella seeds because I can’t find them). Also, the 2-lb pan she references is the same as a 9″x5″ loaf pan.

  • 400ml stout (14oz)
  • 1 egg white (save yolk for brushing on top just before baking)
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 300g dark rye flour
  • 300g bread flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 4 tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp yeast
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • oil to grease pan

You can mix the dough, in the evening, then let it rest overnight, shape it the next day, then bake after the 2-hr rest. Or, mix it in the morning, let it rest all day, then shape it and refrigerate overnight. Pop it into the oven first thing in the morning (directly from the fridge, no need to do the 2-hr rise). Either way, it would benefit from not being cut open for another day, but it’s hard to wait for this one!

I would also score the top so that it splits evenly as it bakes.

Here’s a link to the written recipe, and below is the video. If you’re not familiar with Nigella Lawson, go ahead and open the link and read the recipe through, and be prepared to fall in love with the language she uses to describe and instruct. I also want to highlight this tip that she adds at the end: “Any leftover bread can be blitzed in the processor into fabulous black breadcrumbs. I keep them in the freezer to use whenever I want to add an aniseed crunch. They are particularly good sprinkled over a tomato salad.”

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 66: Pane Francese

ITALY: Looks like a baguettte, but tastes like a ciabatta – what could be more perfect? This Italian “French bread” has a creamy chewy interior, a dark exterior, and gets its flavor boost from two overnight fermentations, and an addition of milk and olive oil in the dough.

I could only find a few verisons of this bread, and they varied widely. I tested three (all from cookbooks: The Italian Baker, Bread Illustrated, and Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread), then concluded that although they each had some great points, they also came with some tricky and/or non-authentic steps. So, I did a fourth test using what I’d learned from the first three and came up with this method below, which worked out really well.

I found Kingdom Bread’s instructional video to be really useful, and recommend watching it to get an idea of what the process will be (linked below as well). You’ll need a tea towel, and a spray bottle before you get started.

STEP 1: Make the biga (pre-ferment)

  • 300g white flour
  • 1/8 tsp yeast
  • 300g water 
  1. Mix biga ingredients in medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. I use two chopsticks, then scrape the sides of the bowl down with a dough scraper.
  2. Cover and let rest overnight for 10-13 hours.

STEP 2: Make dough (next day)

  • 450g white flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp (heaping) yeast
  • 235g whole milk
  • 70g extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Measure the flour, salt, and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Pour some of the milk around the sides of the biga, then scrape the sides inward to help release it from the bowl.
  3. Turn the biga out into the stand mixer, using a dough scraper it it doesn’t slide out easily.
  4. Add the olive oil and the rest of the milk.
  5. Mix, with dough hook attachment, for 4 minutes on speed #1, and then for 5~6 minutes on speed #2.

STEP 3: Rock & Roll kneading

  1. Lightly oil work surface and hands.
  2. Slide dough of the dough hook, and then empty dough out onto the lightly oiled work surface
  3. Gently press dough into a rectangular shape, then do 10 “roll and folds” (video instruction below). It might seem tricky at first, but keep going. You will eventually get there!
  4. Tuck in sides with your hands, then place in an oiled bowl, seam side down.
  5. Cover and let rest 1 hour

STEP 4: Envelope kneading & two 1-hour rests

  1. Lightly oil hands, and a rectangular baking pan
  2. Very lightly flour the countertop
  3. Turn dough out onto the countertop, using your dough scraper if neccessary, seam side up
  4. Pick up sides and gently pull out to achieve a rectangul measuring about 12″ x 20″. Pick up the top wide side, stretch it out, then fold it 1/3rd of the way down. Do the same with the bottom third: pick it up, stretch it out, then fold it up over the top. Like an letter for an envelope.
  5. Now fold the sides in. Pick up the left side, stretch it out, and fold it over 1/3rd of the way, then pick up the right side, stretch it out and fold it over.
  6. Cup your hands, around the dough, and rotate dough while tucking the sides under .
  7. Place the dough, seam-side down, in the baking pan, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest 1 hour
  8. Lightly oil countertop and hands
  9. Repeat steps #3 – 8.

STEP 5: Shaping

  1. Line the 9″ x 13″ baking pan with a tea towel that’s been dusted with flour
  2. Lightly dust the work surface and your hands with flour.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and let it spread, then gently form it into an 8 x 13″ rectangle, by pressing to expand it, and stretching out the sides.
  4. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, each measuring about 2″ x 13″.
  5. Place first log, cut side down, onto the dusted tea towel, tent a portion to form a divider, then place the next one in. Repeat until thtey are all in, cut side down.
  6. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Place the covered pan in the fridge and chill for at least 12 hours.

STEP 6: Bake! (next day)

  1. Preheat the oven to 550° (it’s okay to just heat it to 500 if that’s as high as your oven goes)
  2. When hot, place a pan on the bottom rack, then add boiling water.
  3. Bring oven back up to 550 degrees and place an inverted baking sheet onto the middle rack
  4. Grab the edges of the tea towel and gently lift the loaves out of the pan.
  5. Spread the towel out flat.
  6. Use a bread board, (or piece of cardboard) gently flip the loaves off the towel onto a bread board (piece of cardboard), then flip onto a bread peel that’s been lined with parchment paper.
  7. Slide the loaves onto the inverted baking sheet.
  8. Lower oven temp to 450.
  9. Bake about 25 minutes until dark golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
  10. Cool on wire rack – do not cut into them until they’ve cooled!!
  11. Let the bread cool completely before slicing and eating, at least 4 hours but preferably 8 to 24 hours.

Week 64: Everything Bagel Bread

Want the savory punch of a bagel without the time-consuming process of either baking them yourself or going out to get some? Then this bread is for you – delicious, easy and satisfying. It does require an overnight rest, but after that, you don’t need to spend much time on it at all. The Everything Bagel seasoning is mixed into the dough in addition to being sprinkled on top, making it the perfect foil for some avocado toast. This is one of my favorite breads so far!

I found this on Leite’s Cuisine, one of my top ten food blogs. It’s been around since 1999, and has thousands of tested, well-written recipes, from hundreds of professional contributors. All bread recipes are written in both US and Metric measurements, which is super convenient.

Click here for the recipe. Trader Joe’s makes a good seasoning mix, but if you can’t find it, Leite’s Cuisine’s recipe is below:

  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp dried minced onion
  • 4 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt or coarse salt

If you want to try your hand at bagels, we made them during Week 51. Recipe and lots of tips here.

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.

Continue reading “Week 56: Sourdough”