English Muffin Loaf, Mike Avery style

Decided to make something today to try and use up some of the extra sourdough I have hanging around. So I hunted around and came across this recipe from Mike Avery’s SourdoughHome.com website.

We’re probably all familiar with English Muffins, whether bought from the bread shelf at the local grocery or, if you’re lucky, home made. And one of the big calling cards to an english muffin is the texture and the “nooks and crannies” you get by spitting them with a fork and toasting, then those little peaks and valleys crisp right up and manage to hold on to way more butter and/or jam.

Well, this isn’t like that.

But it’s close: instead of being individual rounds of bread cooked up on a griddle (yes, the “normal” english muffin is cooked on a stovetop, not baked) this one is formed into a loaf and baked, then sliced. Just like regular loaf bread.

We’ll discuss the taste and texture at the end. So let’s get our ingredients out and mix us up a batch.

EMB-MEP

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Corn Bread: Breakfast in a slice.

CBFancyShotCorn Bread: Breakfast in a slice.

This is recipe #10 (1/4 of the way there! [almost]) in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.

By now we know the drill: look up the recipe, translate the ounce weights to grams for better accuracy and get all our ingredients set up for the Mis en Place. So let’s get this show going.

Wait!! Before we get going, there’s the overnight soak we need to attend to. So our coarse (palenta style) cornmeal gets a bath of buttermilk and left on the counter until next day. Straight forward to not need photos, right? Good, cause I didn’t get any.

So one full sleep later…

The ubiquitous Mis en Place. Althought there are  a fair number of ingredients here, the process is really simple.

cbMEP

WAIT!! Hold on, we’re already ahead of ourselves. A step we did before getting all the ingredients ready and measured was to cook up our bacon, about 15-20 at 375ºF on a parchment covered baking sheet. Book says use two, but there was plenty of spare space on one sheet. I even used 10 ounces of bacon to not leave one lonely slice in the package (and get in deep doodoo for it too)

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin BreadMore cinnamon goodness!!

With this ninth recipe in the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, we’re making what is generally a “treat” style bread, or at least it was when I was growing up. Only very, very occasionally would we be lucky enough to see a loaf of raisin bread show up in the weekly groceries.

Having now made this loaf, I can’t tell you how simple it is to make and that there’s really no reason to not treat yourself a little more regularly. All it is really is mixing the ingredients, knead, rise, shape and pop into the oven. Ridiculously simple.

I decided to make just one loaf as I wasn’t really sure if we could get through two loaves before our next challenge bread comes up (corn bread). Well, duh! Why in the world did I think that? It’s half gone already. And it’s barely a few hours old.

OK, so get the book and make this!! Impress your friends, treat your family or yourself. It’s super simple and one hella lot cheaper than buying the same thing at the store (not counting on the fact it’s just not as good as home made)!

Here we go!!

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Cinnamon Buns… OF DEATH!! (A #BBA challenge recipe)

cinbunsdisplayThere were no objections to this latest The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge recipe.  Odd, that.

We’re now on recipe number eight, out of 43 as we work through the entire list of recipes. As already noted in a previous post, I skipped Challah and Ciabatta as I’d already made both of them before.

So here we are at the next one: Cinnamon Buns. OF DEATH!! Ok, that last bit I added myself, simply because, well, I’ll explain at the end although you may well guess before then.

As always, we’ll begin with the Mise en Place where we make certain ahead of time we have all the ingredients we’ll need measured and ready to use.

Oh, before we go on, a little clarification. One reason that’s often given to persuade people to use a scale over measuring everything in volumes (cups, teaspoons, etc.) is that if you use a good scale, it will have a “tare” function which basically just brings the scale readout back to zero. So if you started at zero, added a bowl, you’d tare back to zero then add, say, 174 grams of sugar, then you could tare again (go back to zero) and add 36 grams of water into the same bowl.

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Vermont Sourdough – Redux & Step-by-Step

Since I decided to skip the next two breads in the challenge, these being the challah (yet another egg bread and one I’ve done before)  and the Ciabatta (again, previously done) I decided it was time to get me some tasty sourdough. Since I was on my own that week (Punkin being off visiting the ‘rents for their 50th) I decided to spoil myself. I also decided I’d follow the pattern I’ve been doing for the last few weeks and do the step-by-step thing.

This Vermont Sourdough is now somewhat of a “classic” recipe and is from Jeffrey Hamelman’s tremendous book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. This is another book that should be “mandatory” in a bread enthusiast’s library. Aside from recipes, as with the BBA, the book is chock full of great info that teaches you more than simply “how to make this or that bread” but gives you the technical knowledge to help you learn what’s going on with your breads.

Be sure to click the image to order it from Amazon if you don’t already have a copy.

So here we go, grab a coffee or whatever and follow along.

First, the now mandatory “Mise en Place”:

vermont-mep

As you can see, the ingredients list here is pretty simple: flour, salt, water and some form of leavening, in this case, a shot of Audrey-2.

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