Tag Archives: sourdough

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.

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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.

[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"]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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Artos: #BBA Challenge Bread No. 2

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Recipe number two in the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge series is “Artos: Greek Celebration Breads“. In the preamble, Peter Reinhart tells how this is a holiday and festival bread that cover multiple variations.

The basic recipe is easily turned into “Christpsomos”, a Christmas loaf, by the simple additions of raisins, cranberries and walnuts or into “Lambropsomo”, an Easter loaf, by adding raisins, dried apricots and almond slivers a, braiding and nestling red-dyed hard boiled eggs. There are numerous local and not-so-local variations on this basic spiced bread.

I went with the christopsomos version since I did happen to have raising and cranberries, although I passed on the walnuts since we’re not big fans here.

So here we go, the step-by-step evolution of my first Artos bread…

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Updates and Sourdough Bagel Recipe tweak

I’ve made a couple of changes to the recipe for Sourdough Bagels, primarily I’ve added an ingredient list for making an even dozen as well as rephrasing a few of the comments to make some of the steps a little more clear. Hop over to the recipe here if you haven’t seen it yet.

They’re still awesome bagels. If anyone has given them a try or has questions, please don’t hesitate to comment (on that page).

Just so you know, I haven’t been ignoring the blog. I have been baking bread but because I’m really repeating a couple of the recipes I’ve found successful, I haven’t updated the blog in the last while. As well, several of the loaves I’ve made are tester recipes from Peter Reinhart’s upcoming book and of course, I can’t talk about or show pictures of them. The book is expected to come out later this year.  No, I’m not claiming special status, there are some 500 people putting the recipes through their paces to make them as clear and logical as possible, so I’m just one of VERY many. But that is one reason I have not been updating as often as I’d like.

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The Waste Conundrum

On bread discussion boards where people talk about their sourdough starters, invariably you will see posts written by people who are concerned about the amount of flour or old starter they end up tossing away, especially during the creating-the-starter phase. There seems to be much fretting and worrying that so much product is simply going to waste.

In this post, I’d like to address a few ideas concerning waste in the starter which, hopefully, will spark some discussion and help resolve some of the concern.

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Sourdough Bagels Recipe

Now that I’ve made Mike Avery’s Sourdough Bagels a few times over, (below is my slightly modified version of that recipe) I’m very happy with the results. These sourdough bagels are coming out nice and golden with a dense and slightly chewy crumb, a good crust and terrific flavour.

BBA bagels (commercial yeast)

I’ve done one round of the Bagel recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice as well (these are the ones in the photo above) and although they came out looking great and tasting very nice indeed, I found I was missing the interesting flavour “tone” that the sourdough gave when using the Mike Avery recipe. It was also good to give a try to a recipe that many people have used and to make a definite comparison.

Hands down winner: the Sourdough Bagels.

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Exploring Bagels

I thought I’d give a try to making bagels since it is something we tend to get fairly regularly and you-know-who seems to forgo the wonder-bread like qualities that tends to be lacking in the other loaves I’ve made.

The bagels you see below are made following the sourdough bagel recipe found on the recipe page here; the original recipe was from Mike Avery’s SourdoughHome.com.

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