Category Archives: Yeast Breads

My growing collection of trials with commercial yeast breads.

Hot Cross Buns! First MellowBakers bread

Well, here we go, the very first bread in the MellowBakers.com group bake!

Having run to the store the day before to pick up candied lemon peel, I was all ready today to get this bread started up. The whole recipe, which is from Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes, should take about 4.5 hours or so from start to finish – or until the buns are set out to cool.[easyazon-image-link asin="0471168572" alt="Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OV5EvTM6L._SL160_.jpg" align="right" width="130" height="160"]

If you don’t count the big mistake I made along the way, that is. I’ll get to that as we go along.

So as always, we’ll begin with the Mis en Place which is supposed to help avoid problems.

If you’d like to make this bread too, a recipe based on the Hamelman Bread recipe has been devised and posted by Susan on the WildYeastBlog.com so hop over there and print out a copy. Hers is slightly different but you should be able to follow what I’m doing here even if you use that recipe.

For those visiting the blog for the first time, you may like to know that almost all smaller photos (except headers) usually link to a larger version. Larger photos may not; hover your mouse over each pic to see if it will lead to a larger, more detailed version.

Continue reading

Roasted Onion & Asiago Cheese Miche

Here it is, the final bread in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and also the last bread in the BBA Challenge which began back in May of 2009. Is it really almost a year ago? Wow. Well, about 43 weeks in all since the idea was to make one bread every week and this is bread #43. Granted, I did NOT make every single recipe, a few were for certain not going to be enjoyed in our household and it was better to skip than to throw away a partially eaten loaf. Still, the bulk of them were done and we’ve found some nice breads as well as a couple of duds we’ll not be getting back to.

None the less, we’re now looking at making another cheesy bread, this time a three day extravaganza, according to the book. Day one: mix the sourdough sponge and allow to proof for 8 hours. The mixing part took about 4 minutes so this isn’t exactly a difficult or time consuming step. The sponge is basically just sourdough starter, water and flour. I made this up very early in the morning and had it proofed 8 hours later that day. Here the recipe says to chill it until tomorrow, then let it sit an hour to warm back up. I decided to skip that chilling part since the dough was going to again chill overnight in the final proof stage so flavour development would still occur while I shaved a day off the full run. Since this is a heavily cheesed and onioned loaf, I don’t think the dough flavour will suffer.

So later that same day, I’ve got my ingredients ready and I’m heading into step two, mixing the dough and bulk proofing.

Day two is supposed to be preparing the roasted onions then mixing the dough and refrigerating overnight. Day three  is finishing the loaf’s toppings, final proofing and baking in the hearth oven.

Continue reading

Potato, Cheddar & Chives Bread

Here we are at the 42nd recipe in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice with only one more to go in the BBA Challenge. This is, I’m hoping, a good counterbalance to the previous White Bread that was a bit lackluster and will help to close up the Challenge with a bit of a bang.

This recipe, as well as the next and final one, is a cheese laden bread and looks to have definite character. This is not bread for peanut butter and jam sandwiches – well, maybe it is – but will decidedly want to be paired with more robust spreads and topping such as deli meats or served with a stew.

This is an enriched bread and takes only one day to make, as long as you’ve got your sourdough starter ready. I fed my starter early in the morning and, using the excess, built up the required 300g in one go; it was ready to go in just a couple of hours.

Continue reading

BBA White Bread

White bread. “Bailed fog”. Home version of Wonder Bread. Basically, the antithesis of flavourful, textured and nuanced artisanal breads. Enriched soft bread, thin of crust, fluffy and unexceptional of crumb. Had to get to this at some point, right?

OK, so sliced white bread is not entirely “evil” after all, it’s the standard backdrop for grilled cheese sammidges, open faced hot turkey sandwich and the like. To be honest, I don’t “hate” white sliced bread, I simply don’t find it very interesting, it’s mostly flavourless unless it gets toasted, it’s basically just an uninteresting thing to put other things onto. It’s got little character save for it having “no character” and really doesn’t bring anyhing particularly notable to the table. It’s only filler or background, to put it simply, it doesn’t step anywhere near the front of the stage.

This home made version, on the other hand, is going to have less unpronounceable words than the bagged variety (sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate or calcium propionate, anyone?). And it’s as close to Punkin’s favoured sliced bread as we will get… we hope. Continue reading

Vienna Bread with Dutch Crunch Topping

Merrily skipping over a couple more breads that I seriously doubt would get eaten in our house, we now land on The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge bread #39 (of 43): Vienna Bread with an option to add Dutch Crunch. Since I recall getting the occasional Dutch Crunch covered bread at some point in my childhood, possibly just as a very occasional lark, I decided to give that a try here.

What is Dutch Crunch?

It’s a sort of slightly sweet topping that’s spread on top of a bread dough, which then bakes up a little crunchy and crispy and can give the loaf a nifty visual effect, as seen at left here. In this case it’s basically rice flour, a bit of bread flour, a little yeast, salt, sugar, veg oil and water. Simple really. And this is just one variation, there are many.

This is a two day bread, the first day being taken up mixing a Pâte Fermentée which we’ve done a few times already so I won’t repeat the process now. This pre-ferment is pretty much like a normal yeast dough except it’s made in advance and allowed to “age” overnight in the refrigerator in order to slow the yeast and allow the wheat flavours to develop as the yeast ferments the dough.

I made this first thing in the morning and since it’s supposed to refrigerate overnight, I let it sit in the fridge for 8 hours and pulled it out in the early evening. Presto, the 2 day bread is now a 1 day bread… if you’re OK with baking right up to midnight. Which I am.

Continue reading

Sourdough Pumpernickel

Here we are at bread No. 34 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Sourdough Pumpernickel. The header image is the same as the prevous entry since it features both the lighter New York Deli and the Pumpernickel breads. These are what we should be hoping to see once we’re done baking.

This was a pretty simple bread, all in all, nothing terribly tricky or fancy to do, the most unusual thing here is the use of cocoa powder to boost the dark colour of the bread. Otherwise, there’s nothing in the process we haven’t already done many times. So let’s have a go at this 10th-to-last recipe in this BBA Challenge.

Continue reading

Potato Rosemary Bread, redux

63-_PotRose-headIf you ever want to make your house smell absolutely awesome, make this bread. Even during the dough building process, this was absolutely wonderful. While baking, it’s to die for.

And that’s just the aroma.

This is my second run at this bread, the first happening a fair while back, before I got into the whole documenting step-by-step thing. You can read that older post here.

I’ve also skipped ahead a few breads as far as The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge goes; no big impressive reason except I had some extra mashed potatoes from dinner yesterday and decided to just hop over Poolish Baguettes #26 and Portuguese Sweet Bread #27. We’ll get to those next.

So let’s get the show on the road here…

Continue reading