Monday, September 26, 2011

BBA #33: Poilane-Style Miche

The thirty-third bread of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is a poilane-style miche. This bread is a version of the most famous bread baker in the world- Lionel Poilane's miche. I was awed reading the account of Poilane's apprentices who not only mix and bake their bread but also stack their own firewood, stoke their own fires and bake without a thermostat on the oven. He teaches them to bake by feel.
This bread is too large for the mixer using 7 cups of whole wheat flour in addition to the 3 cups of starter. It was an interesting experience to try and mix it all by hand. This was the first bread I've baked by hand kneading the whole thing myself.
Boy is that a work out! Y'know I had been blaming my intense yoga class for my sore arms this week but may is was the bread kneading.
I was tempted to form and score the bread as instructed and take a picture akin to the cover of the book. (See Phyl's pic.) But, it was the start of football season and I was preparing a massive loaf!
Yes, a football. That's appropriate. Oh, how much I'd love a lame in my stocking this Christmas. (hint, hint!!)
Poilane thinks the bread is best on day two or three. Reinhart likes the bread 3 hours after baking. I have to agree with Reinhart. I love soft warm bread right out of the oven. This bread is hearty and dense with a delicious full flavor. It would be perfect with a hearty winter soup for dinner.

Sadly, we could not get to the whole loaf. Be sure to have all your friends and neighbors over when you bake this bread! It's massive!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Salt Dough Handprint and Footprint Keepsakes

It's about time I finally blogged about these great little handprints and footprints we made. I saw this fantastic idea on The Imagination Tree, a new blog I'm enjoying for art projects for the preschool age. These keepsakes were the girls' gift to daddy for Father's Day this year. They were super easy and a ton of fun. Both girls loved the process of making and decorating them.
Salt Dough Recipe: 
1 cup of salt
1 cup of flour
About 1/2 of water

Mix until it becomes a dough.
The dough should feel much like playdoh.
Find a bowl or plate that is large enough for the hand or foot. Press the dough onto the plate. The side you're pressing on is the backside. Then carefully peel the dough off the dish and flip over. This side should be nice and smooth.

Have the child press their hand or foot onto the dough. The best part of this dough is that if you mess up, you can just remold the dough again and again!

Bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours.
Painting time!

Oh so cute!
Charlotte, 3 1/2; Penelope 19 months
Yep, almost the same size feet.
Charlotte and Penelope
Almost the same size hands too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBA #32: 100% Sourdough Rye Bread

Epic failure alert!!!

The thirty-second bread of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is 100% sourdough rye bread. This bread is a three time failure for me and I give up!!

My first attempt at this bread resulted in unrising dough. I had used dark rye flour though instead of white rye flour because that's all I could find in the bulk section. I was quite disheartened and even let my dough rise for an additional 8 hours but it had no umph.

For my second attempt I bought some light rye flour from Bob Mills but halved the recipe because those little packages are spendy! The dough did rise but the resulting bread was flat (like the bread above) and gummy. The texture was extremely off putting.

I had enough light rye flour leftover to attempt the bread one last time. I re-read Reinharts instructions carefully and noted he warned to not over knead or the bread would become gummy. I tried. I failed. The resulting bread was flat again (why??!!) and less gummy but still gummy. The flavor was decent but I couldn't decide if the overall flavor was being carried by the caraway seeds in the bread or if the bread actually tasted good. Regardless, the bread was still a flop.

Unlike with the sourdough bread, I have no need to perfect this bread. I'm letting it go and moving on.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Modern Baker: Molded Chocolate-Filled Napoleons

This will be the last recipe I do for the puff pastry section of the The Modern Baker cookbook. My fellow Modern Bakers will continue baking away so check out their recipes!

This recipe was a failure for me. Let me be clear though, the failure is due to baker error not recipe error. The first error: The puff pastry was not flaky it was dense like pie crust. I'm not sure what I did wrong here. I made the spinach and feta turnovers out with the other half of the puff pastry and those turned out quite flaky so I must have done something wrong during the baking of the baked pastry layer. (**Note: I now know. The recipe states that you should fold the dough into thirds to move it to the baking pan. I did this but then didn't unfold it. My dough was three sheets thick and so ended up very dense instead of light and flaky.)

 I'm glad I tried the baked pasty layer, but it wasn't my favorite process. (Oh how funny, I've told my daughter she can say "it's not my favorite" instead of "I don't like it" or "yucky" at the dinner table. Guess I'm following my own parenting. So, yeah, I didn't like the baked puff pastry process. I'm not sure why. It just didn't give me that baking rush when baking other things.)
The second error: the mousse did not turn out quite right. I was preparing the meringue when I realized I needed the chocolate melted and cooled for the next step. I popped it in the microwave to melt and then the fridge for a quick cool down. It cooled too much and when I then tried to fold it into the meringue it didn't stir in very nicely. The chocolate stayed slightly chunky, almost like little shaved chocolate pieces. It made the final mousse grainy with chocolate pieces.

I assembled the dessert and let it set for 6 hours before digging in for a taste. The flavor was good, but as stated before, the crust was thick and not flaky and the mousse grainy instead of smooth.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker's site months ago. Joy has also started a podcast I've listened to a couple of times and she said this is one of people's favorite recipes from her blog. Phyl also made it the Bread of the Month bread for July Artisan Bread Baker's group on Facebook. All signs were pointing that it was time to make this bread!
I mixed the dough and rolled it out as best I could to a 12x20 rectangle. Before it rises the dough is very sticky. I was worried about how wet the dough was but the recipe states the dough should be very wet. I was skeptical I'd return to useable dough, but it rose perfectly and was roll-able.
I sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar, cut the strips, and cut the strips into squares.
My stacking into the pan was not very pretty. It looks pretty simple but it's actually a bit hard to keep all the cinnamon sugar goodness with the dough and set the stacks into the pan nicely. I didn't worry too much about it but after baking I appreciated how taking the time to stack nicely helps a lot with a pretty final product.
The bread was delicious, although I was surprised it didn't blow me away. I'm really glad I made it but I'm not sure I'd do it again. You know, maybe what I'm missing is the icing. This bread is much like a cinnamon roll but without the icing. Yes, that's what it needs- more sugar.
Get the recipe here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

GameDay Jello Salad - Go Ducks!

 Today is the kickoff of football season!
Go Ducks!!

GameDay Jello Salad

1 6oz box of green jello
2 3oz boxes of yellow jello
1 lb of cool whip

1. Prepare one yellow mousse jello. Mousse Jello: Combine 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and yellow jello. Stir until dissolved. Mix in about 1/3 of the cool whip. Place in freezer for 20-30 minutes.

2. Prepare green jello. When the yellow layer is firm add half of the green jello. Return to freezer until set.

3. Prepare second yellow jello as described in step 1. Set.

4. Add remaining green jello and set.

5. Top with last 1/3 of cool whip.

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