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September 2013

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Slight hiatus in the Starving Artists' kitchen!

Sooooo...my next entry was going to be on bread...only the last 3 attempts haven't really been something I wanted to recommend! Edible, healthful I'm sure, but we're falling a tad short in the "delicious" category!

J. made Rocket Bread last night, which turned out to have a nice flavor, but I really don't want to suggest something that made both our smoke alarms in the vicinity go nuts in turn, created a blue haze all the way to my studio at the other end of the house, and made the house smell ick for hours. Let's just say it was, as he put it, a learning experience!

Tastes good, though...once you discard the burned bits and blow off the excess pockets of flour...

This is the recipe, but DO mind all the "be careful" advice, the pan and the oven are hot, hot, HOT. http://www.aresrocket.com/bread/

I used to have this WONDERFUL bread recipe, but I can't remember where it came from and don't know where it went, so I'm still searching...

So, sooooooooooon...

Meanwhile I'm poring over Jane Brody's Good Food Book, my original copy of The New Moosewood Cookbook, Joy of Cooking and anything else I can find in my old Hoover cabinet that might ring a bell!

Comments

(Anonymous)

Kate - Have a look at Crust and Crumb, by Peter Reinhart. It's a great book - a fun read, and you learn so much about the biology and chemistry of what goes on in bread, especially those using preferments (which is EASY). I've been making our bread for well over 30 years, using the same jar of preferment beasties, and it is so simple - a few minutes, several times in the course of 24 hours, and the bread is to die for. Crust and Crumb helped me understand what was happening all this time...
Consie
Thank you, Consie! I'm fascinated with the science and natural history of things, so this sounds right up my alley. (I don't even know what a preferment is! Is it like a sourdough starter?)

(Anonymous)

Yes, a sourdough starter (which is what my beasties are) is a kind of preferment. It's just that you give the yeast beasties a chance to take their time, work slowly (developing magnificent flavor), and it's (in my opinion) much easier to make the bread, especially when you work at home and can take a few minutes here and there during the day. My beasties especially like cool weather; my best bread is in winter. They work too fast in summer when it's hot...
I agree - the King Arthur cookbooks are great, and the whole grain baking one has lots of good stuff on using preferments.
Check 'em out - they are wonderful and fun.
Consie
REALLY, better in the winter?? I've been having trouble convincing things to rise enough...I'll check out the books!

Coincidence?

I was just coming along to recommend Reinhart's book on whole-grain bread baking :) Like his other book, it has the how and why in there, along with a bunch of great recipes.
The King Arthur Flour wholegrain baking book is also good :)

I LOVE fresh made bread...

Re: Coincidence?

Yest, Reinhart's books looked great...I got the one where he's baking for the monastery, too.

(Anonymous)

I used and loved Beard on Bread all through my twenties and early 30s. There's not a bad recipe in it. The illustrations are really nice, too. See if you can find it on Alibris or used through Amazon!
Xxoo,
Loracle
Hi Miss Loracle! I remember that book...I don't think I ever owned it, though it might be somewhere in that dread back room (it's storage now and I can't reach the bookcase!) I'm really loving the taste of J's bread, it just needs some fine tuning. And not smoking up the house! *G*
I have a practically no-fail Italian bread recipe if you want it.

(I say practically, because invariably *someone* will be able to make it fail.)
Jen, I'd LOVE it, thank you! And so sorry, LJ hasn't been sending me comments, so I missed this...
Not a problem! :)

Jen's Practically No-Fail Italian Bread

3 1/2 c. bread flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. water (or less or more, depending on your flour)
2 1/2 tsp. yeast


This makes one large loaf of bread or two small loaves. It is easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc., etc., I have made eight loaves at a time with this recipe.

Mix yeast together with 1/2 cup water in small bowl until yeast has dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt.

Add water & yeast mixture to flour mixture, and then add the rest of the water. Depending on how thirsty your flour is, you might have to add more water.

When the dough has come together (but is a bit sticky yet) knead for about 7-10 minutes (if you are doing it by hand) until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour if you need to as you go along.

The dough will be a nice pale color and should form into a ball easily. Place it in a large bowl and cover it with a towel to rise. Set it in a warm location for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

After rising, gently 'punch' it down and form it into whatever shape of loaf you are making. I have braided this bread, made freeform loaves, and put it into regular loaf pans.

Let rise, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the loaf is nicely risen. Sometimes I preheat my oven and let the bread rise on top of it.

You can brush the top of the loaf with egg yolk and sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on top, or melted butter would probably work too; I usually leave it plain but it will work either way. If it's a freeform loaf, I do recommend slashing the top or it might separate halfway down the loaf.

Bake in a hot oven 425 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes, or until the loaf is hollow sounding when thunked on the bottom.

You should probably let it cool before eating, but I've never been able to do that successfully! :)
That sounds wonderful, thank you! I understand slashing helps the bread to rise better, too...no idea why! And no, warm bread ROCKS, I can't wait either...

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Hey, you really need to try that bread Roz has been writing about. Email me if you want me to send you the getting started information!---Carol C.

Re: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Hi Carol! Yes, I'd love that, and I will, in case you don't see this. (I haven't been receiving my LJ notices of comments, and just now saw this...sorry!)