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Old 11-20-2010, 01:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Oregon
Baking Bread

I am an avid home baker. You name it, I bake it. There is really nothing I love more than giving people baked goods from scratch.

I received a KitchenAid Professional HD mixer (it's a Costco exclusive with 425 watts of mixing power, which means it stands up to stiff yeast doughs) for a wedding present, and so in recent months, I have turned my baking attention back to bread. I've baked so many different kinds of bread lately, but one recipe/method combo I am working on perfecting is ciabatta bread. Right now I have my third batch of ciabatta dough fermenting in the refrigerator. You can read more about my quest here: http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/blogs/s...-ciabatta.html

It got me to wondering: does anyone else out there in TFP-land really enjoy baking a good loaf of bread? Are there any tips or pointers you have to share about bread baking? What's your favorite part of baking a loaf of bread?

Personally, my favorite part is shaping the loaves. This is one of the things I truly love about baking an artisanal-style bread like ciabatta or French.

My no. 1 tip: ferment in the fridge. Obviously, a home baker does not have a retarder like a professional does, but the fridge accomplishes much the same thing. I do 3 rises in total for the ciabatta, and 2 of them happen in the fridge. It makes for a slower rise, but a better crumb and flavor in the bread.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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425 watts? You can practically send Marty back to the future with that kind of power!

I love baking breads and pastries, but I don't do it often because I tend not to eat as many grains as most people. One of my favorite things to make is sourdough, because it takes patience, skill, and it pays of like crazy.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I wanted to share my favorite recipe for crescent rolls before I have to turn in this book to the library. They say the dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days; the last time I made it, it sat in the fridge for longer, and it didn't seem to hurt the rolls any. They were still delicious. I don't use instant yeast because I can get active dry yeast in bulk; if you want to use ADY, add 25% more yeast (so 1 1/4 tsp). I've added some of my own notes to the text; I hope they help.

From: Baking Illustrated, by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated

Crescent Rolls
makes 16

You can make the dough up to 4 days ahead of time or even partially bake the rolls and freeze them for longer storage. To do this, begin baking the rolls as instructed, but let them bake at 350 for only 4 minutes until the tops and bottoms brown slightly. Remove them from the oven and let cool. Place the partially baked rolls in a single layer inside a ziplock and freeze. When you're ready to serve, defrost at room temperature and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 16 minutes. You can freeze the rolls for up to 1 month.

Dough
3/4 cup skim milk
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
4 cups lower-protein unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast (or 1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast)
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Egg wash
1 egg white
1 tsp. water

If using active dry yeast, simply proof the yeast in about 1/4 cup of the warm (105-115 degrees) milk called for in the recipe, and add during step 1.
1. For the dough: Heat the milk, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter is mostly melted and the misture is warm (about 110 degrees), about 1.5 minutes. Whisk to dissolve the sugar. Beat the eggs lightly in a medium bowl; add about a third of the warm milk mixture to the eggs, whisking to combine. When the bottom of the bowl feels warm, add the remaining milk mixture, whisking to combine.
2. Combine the flour and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix at lowest speed to blend, about 15 seconds. With the mixer running, add the milk and egg mixture in a steady stream; mix at low speed until a loose, shiny dough forms, (you may also see satiny webs as the dough moves in the bowl) about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat 1 minute; add the salt slowly and continue beating until stronger webs form, about 3 minutes longer. THe dough will remain loose rather than forming a neat, cohesive mass. Transfer the dough to a large lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough doubles in bulk and the surface feels tacky, about three hours.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Sprinkle the dough with flour (no more than 2 tbsp.) to prevent sticking and press down. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and form into a rough triangle. Transfer the rectangle to the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate over night.
4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough rectangle onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll and shape the crescent rolls.

Shaping the Rolls
1. Roll the dough to a 20x13 inch rectangle. Use a pizza wheel to trim the edges. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut into sixteen triangles.
2. Elongate each triangle of dough, stretching it another 2-3 inches in length.
3. Starting at the wide end, gently roll up each crescent, ending with the pointed tip on the bottom, and push the ends towards each other to form a crescent shape.

4, con't: Arrange the crescent rolls in 4 rolls on the parchment-lined baking sheet; wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
5. Remove the baking sheet with the rolls from the refrigerator, unwrap, and cover with an overturned large disposable roasting pan (snowy's note: I just unwrapped them, then loosely covered them with the plastic wrap I'd already used so as to not waste stuff; the point is to protect them from drafts and crap in your kitchen). Alternatively, place the baking sheet inside a large plastic bag. Let rise until crescents feel slightly tacky and soft and have lost their chill, 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position, adjust the other rack to the lowest position, and place an empty baking pan on it. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
6. For the egg wash: Whisk the egg white with the water in a small bowl until well combined. With a pastry brush, lightly dab the risen crescents with the egg wash. Transfer the baking sheet with the rolls to the lower middle oven rack, and working quickly, pour 1 cup hot tab water into the hot baking pan on the bottom rack (snowy's note: I keep my old enamel cast iron Dutch oven on the floor of my oven for precisely this purpose. Don't pour water on your oven door by accident--I've heard tell of people cracking the glass.) Close the door immediately and bake 10 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue baking until the tops and bottoms of the rolls are deep golden brown, about 12 to 16 minutes longer. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack, cool for 5 minutes, and serve warm.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I use a Black & Decker automatic bread maker, but I make possibly the world's greatest Oatmeal-molasses brown bread. It is an incredibly forgiving recipe.

For a single loaf:

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast (2 tsp slightly less)
1 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant)
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt (slightly less)
cup molasses (fancy, not blackstrap)
1 cups warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Enter ingredients in above order, select normal or timed baking cycle.

If not baking in a machine, mix ingredients and bake in a regular bread pan as with a normal loaf. Incredibly good bread.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There are few things on earth yummier than homemade bread. Alas, I don't make homemade bread.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I haven't made any bread yet but I have made some successful pizza dough and for Christmas this year I made fresh cinnamon rolls for the family. They turned out pretty good.

I don't have a stand mixer so I have to do all of the kneading by hand... it takes longer but it works. The best part is feeling the dough change in your hands from tough and breakable to soft and elastic. It's kind of magical.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I definitely think my experience hand-kneading earlier in life has given me knowledge to recognize when the dough is kneaded correctly in the stand mixer--not only in relation to gluten development, but in terms of how much flour has been added to the dough. I think it's really essential to hand-knead in order to know the dough well. The stand mixer is really a great convenience, though. I don't think I could make ciabatta, as runny as it is (think pancake batter), without a stand mixer.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've started my baking journey this weekend with focaccia bread and pizza dough. They came out great but I ran into a problem. I want to get to the point I don't buy bread in the store anymore, but slicing bread is a problem for a certain person in the house. She would rather have the bread already ready for sandwiches/toast/ect.

How do the bakers of TFP overcome the problem of someone not wanting to slice bread?
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Do you have a good bread knife? I assume you do

One thing we do is leave the bread out on the counter, on a cutting board, cut side down during the day. Is it really that hard to slice off some bread? Baking a slicing loaf (see sandwich breads, Joy of Cooking's Milk Bread) might help.

Homebaked bread will go staler faster if you preslice it.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was wondering about the pre-slicing it and yes I own a nice bread knife.

In hind sight, I should have worded my question better (I blame the bottle of rum I drank with smackre last night in chat).

Does the bread not go bad faster by leaving it out in the air like that? I've been storing mine in a tupperware container while not in use.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It's not been an issue for me. My bread seems to go bad at around the 4-day mark if left unwrapped, and by then, it's usually gone. It doesn't really stay around long enough to go stale. I use a plastic bag for storing the 2nd loaf of bread (my recipes usually turn out 2 loaves) until I'm ready to leave it out on the cutting board.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Pizza dough!

1 1/2 cups warm water, 100 to 110 degrees F, plus extra as needed
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Olive oil, for drizzling

Put the water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and stir until dissolved.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. With floured hands, knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drizzle the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place, until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Using a fist, deflate the dough in the center and cut it into 3 equal-sized pieces. Form the dough pieces into 3 balls and put into 3 oiled bowls. Cover each bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour. Remove the dough and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Source

I made this one about a week ago as a test so I can get it right for Superbowl Sunday (I hate football, but I love to cook for friends). It was good, but the olive oil I used was only of a medium quality and there seems to be too much flour. I'd use 4.5c flour and fine, real extra-virgin olive oil along with a bit more salt than the recipe calls for to get it just right.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Baking bread is fun . It's one of my usual Sunday activities, the bread usually lasts the whole week.

I tend to stick to one formula and fine tune it over time. It all starts with my baby:
yeast.jpg
This is my yeast culture that I feed every night.

So what I do is basically a sourdough bread, and I use 2/3 white flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour, which works out nicely. The whole process takes a while (making a sponge, letting it sit overnight, mixing in the morning and after a few rises cooking at night) but it regularly turns out quite well:

bread.jpg
(though in this case the very top got slightly burnt )

In fact, I'm baking some bread right now, usual recipe, though I've added a bunch of Lebanese olives to it.. Should turn out to be pretty good!
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Working on this recipe today. I didn't have dry milk powder, so in lieu of the half cup of water, I included another half cup milk (1%). Since there was a little more fat in the recipe because of that, I reduced the amount of butter by a quarter teaspoon or so. Instead of sugar, I used honey. I also included an autolyse after mixing the dough together. I'll post a picture of the finished product. The dough turned out exactly as described, so I think I'm on the right track. We'll see after the first rise.

from: 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread: King Arthur Flour

Moist, easy to slice, and 100% whole wheat — no, these are NOT contradictory phrases! This whole-wheat loaf is the ideal everyday bread, perfect for sandwiches, toast, and French toast or grilled cheese sandwiches. Read our blog about this bread, with additional photos, at Bakers' Banter.

Our guarantee: This bread will rise 3 1/2" to 4" tall at its center, and will have a moderately fine, even texture inside. It'll taste strongly of whole wheat...

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water*
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup orange juice
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3 3/4 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour

*Use 2 tablespoons less water in summer (or in a humid environment), 2 tablespoons more in winter (or in a dry climate).
Directions
1) Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, till it becomes puffy. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.

2) Combine the yeast/water with the remaining ingredients, and mix and knead—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—until you've made a cohesive dough. If you're using a stand mixer, knead at low speed for about 7 minutes. Note that 100% whole wheat dough will never become smooth and supple like dough made with all-purpose flour; it'll feel more like clay under your hands, and may appear a bit rough.

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise till it's expanded and looks somewhat puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Note that dough kneaded in a bread machine will rise faster and higher than bread kneaded in a mixer, which in turn will rise faster and higher than one kneaded by hand. So if you're kneading by hand, you may want to let the dough rise longer than 90 minutes.

4) Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Gently shape the dough into a smooth log, and settle it into the pan, smooth side up.

5) Tent the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise till it's crowned over the rim of the pan by about 3/4", about 75 minutes. Don't let it rise too high; it'll continue to rise as it bakes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350F.

6) Bake the bread for 10 minutes. Lightly tent it with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center registers 190F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.

7) Run a stick of butter over the top of the hot loaf, if desired, for a softer crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

---------- Post added at 11:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:39 AM ----------

And here's a link to one of my favorite bread-baking resources (besides the King Arthur Flour website): Serious Eats: Recipes: Tags: bread-baking
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:54 PM   #15 (permalink)
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So...didn't really like that recipe, and plan on sticking to my usual recipe for wheat bread in the future.

To make the following bread, you will want a bag of King Arthur Flour's White Whole Wheat Flour.

recipe adapted from the Joy of Cooking

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/4 cup water 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit
3 cups bread flour
3 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon salt

Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water; add to mixing bowl of stand mixer after 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups of warm water. Mix in 2 cups of the bread flour, 1 cup of the white whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, and butter on low speed using beater attachment. Gradually add remaining 3 cups of flour until dough is a shaggy mass. At this point, let the dough sit for 10 minutes. Change the beater attachment for the dough hook, scraping dough from beater. With dough hook, knead dough for 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to add some flour to the dough if it is too moist; the dough should be clearing the sides of the bowl. You will know you have added enough flour when you can firmly grasp the ball of dough and it comes away cleanly; it will still feel moist but not sticky.

By hand: Mix together ingredients as said above, with hands or wooden spoon, gradually adding flour until shaggy mass forms. Let rest for 10 minutes. Turn shaggy mass out on to countertop and bring dough into a ball. Begin kneading, adding additional flour as necessary, until dough reaches moist but not sticky as mentioned above. Knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.

Put dough into greased 8-cup measure. Dough will measure about 4 cups. Cover with greased plastic wrap and towel. The dough can either go into the fridge for a slow rise or be left out on the counter for a short rise. Either way, the dough is ready to be shaped when it has doubled in volume. When dough has doubled in volume, it should be folded before being shaped. To fold dough, cut dough into portions needed for shaping (4 equal pieces for mini boules, 2 pieces for larger boules or loaves). Take a piece of dough and slightly stretch it out into a rectangular shape. Fold the sides of the rectangle in toward each other, then fold the top and bottom of the rectangle together. Work the top and bottom edges of the rectangle together with the heels of your hands, rolling the piece of dough with your hands. Repeat the folding process several times; this will evenly distribute air bubbles from the first rise throughout the dough. Finally, shape the dough. To make a loaf, leave in the log shape reached as a result of the final folding and put into a greased loaf pan. To make a boule, shape into a ball, with the ends of the dough tucked into the bottom of the boule.

For the final rise, cover the loaf pans in the greased plastic wrap from the first rise and put a towel over them. If making boules, put the boules on parchment paper and cover with a floured flour-sack towel or piece of baker's canvas. Let the shaped loaves/boules rise for an hour or so. Preheat the oven to 450 before the rise finishes, and put a small baking pan or Dutch oven in the bottom of the oven to heat. Boil some water. Add a cup of the hot water to the hot baking pan or Dutch oven shortly before the bread goes into the oven.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350. The loaves are finished when they reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:32 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I'd been toying with the idea of buying a bread maker for years, and the prices seem to be much lower now.

Do the expert bakers feel that the bread maker is a waste of money? Do all breads require kneading? Or is the machine just a tool so you don't have to wait around for dough to rise? My current bread baking skills begin and end with frozen ready-to-bake Parker roll dough.
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:12 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Bread machines are are a great way for a novice baker to get into the bread making process. I started with a bread machine when I got into baking. I tried a few recipes and then started researching how to make the best bread with it. I then got into doughs (most of the newer ones have a "dough" setting that just makes the dough) and made different sized breads.

Then it died (mine was like 15 years old) so I started doing it by hand.

I'd go for it and I could pass along some great recipes for it.

*****

Expert Bakers sounds to much like pasty chef and I can't stand those fake kitchen workers. I'd kick my own ass if I ever refered to myself as a pasty chef.

//endbitterrantagainst"cakeshows"
//Ifuckinghatecakeshows
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Last edited by LordEden; 03-10-2011 at 06:14 AM..
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:13 AM   #18 (permalink)
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jewels, there are some no-knead recipes out there, but I love my KA stand mixer so much I haven't looked into them much. This recipe is probably the most famous:

from: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1 hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

----

As for the bread machine: I've never used one. I like the tactile aspect of working with bread. Even when using the stand mixer, I have to observe the dough, touch the dough, and see whether there's enough flour in the dough. I suspect if I ever had a bread machine, I'd want one just for making dough. Shaping the loaf is my favorite part. If it's something that will get you into making bread on your own, and make you comfortable doing it, then it may be worth pursuing.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:41 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info, snowy. I hadn't given much thought to the shaping and feeling, but I might enjoy that as I do making meat loaf or meatballs, or spice rubbing a roast or steak.

The NY Times recipe might be perfect for me to find out if I'm willing to put a little more into the process. I'm still pondering the machine though, Eden, as still like the idea of having it ready for me when I get home from work or when I wake up in the morning.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Location: Oregon
Working on some loaves of ciabatta using Craig Ponsford's recipe at the moment. I didn't have the rye flour, so I just subbed in more white whole wheat flour, and it seemed to work fine. Advice when making the biga: yes, it should be stiff, but make sure it's sufficiently hydrated and well-mixed. Mine wasn't at first, so I had to add more water and work it again...then it was fine.

Recipe:

CRAIG PONSFORD'S CIABATTA
originally from Craig Ponsford, obviously, but posted here (and elsewhere on the web): Lindsey's Luscious: Ciabatta!

Biga:
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 1/3 cups bread flour
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons rye flour
3/4 cups water

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, stir, and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. Mix the flours in the bowl of a stand mixer. Measure 1/2 teaspoon of the yeasted water into the flour mixture (throw the rest away—this is only to be able to measure 1/384 teaspoon of yeast). Then add the 3/4 cup water, chilled in the summer, warm in the winter. This dough will be very firm and resistant to kneading, but persevere! Add an extra tablespoon or two of water only if absolutely necessary. Place into an oiled container, cover and ferment overnight (18–24 hours) at room temperature. (Don’t be alarmed if it does nothing for at least ten hours. This is as it should be. It will eventually triple in volume and then flatten out, appearing to have the texture of lumpy oatmeal.)

Dough:
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
fermented biga

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle or dough hook. Mix on low speed until a rough dough is formed. Increase speed to medium and continue to work the dough until it is fairly smooth, about 5 minutes. (This is a very soft dough—add extra water if it is too firm.)

Place the dough into an oiled container large enough for the dough to double in bulk. Cover and ferment for 20 minutes. Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured bench, carefully stretch or press the dough out to double its size, and do a gentle turn by the folding method. Rest for another 20 minutes and repeat. You will do a turn at 20, 40, 60 and 80 minutes, and then let the dough finish proofing for another 70-100 minutes (a total proofing time, with turns, of 2 1/2 to 3 hours). You will be surprised at how much the dough firms up during this process!

Heavily flour a couche or tea towels. Flour the top of the dough and the work surface and turn the dough out. With a metal scraper, cut the dough approximately in half. Gently shape and stretch into rectangles, then loosely fold into thirds like a letter. Place ciabatte seam-side down on the couche or towels, sprinkle the tops with more flour and loosely cover. Let them proof until they are very soft and well-expanded, and barely spring back when gently pressed, about 45 minutes.

After shaping the dough, arrange a rack on the second-to-top shelf in the oven and place a baking stone on it (unglazed ceramic tiles work great, too!). Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When ciabatte are ready to bake, place a piece of parchment paper on a peel. Carefully flip the loaves onto the peel, seam side up, and stretch them very gently to make them rectangular. Dimple the dough all over with your fingertips, pressing all the way down to the paper (don’t worry—the bread will recover in the oven!). Slide the loaves on the paper onto the baking stone. Bake them until very dark brown, 35-40 minutes, rotating halfway through the bake time. Let cool on a rack.

The loaves are proofing on my counter:

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Old 04-03-2011, 08:55 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: Oregon
The finished product:



The crust up close:



They turned out beautifully, and it was so tasty that although I'd told myself I would give one away...I ate it.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:15 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Wow, Snowy! That looks delicious!!

Unfortunately I don't bake much, but I recently learned how to make beer bread, which I really like.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:17 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Thanks, Bacchanal!

My latest bread was my regular whole wheat recipe (see above) with a swirl of spent grains from brewing inside of it. I'm going to have to do some baking next week. My parents are coming to visit, and I want to have some ciabatta on hand.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:31 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Location: LI,NY
I was in a kitchen mood today, so Eden suggested I bake a bread. I have never done this before and surprisingly had all the ingredients in the recipe he gave me. Following this recipe from AllRecipes.com

Amish White Bread

Ingredients

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour ( I used 3 cups whole wheat flour, 3 cups all-purpose flour)

Directions

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
3. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
4. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes


I made this:


It actually tastes pretty good! Thanks, Eden!
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