Friday, March 22, 2013

An Assembly Line… for Basic Bread

Sometimes I think I must be crazy… I actually asked if I could do this, yes asked!!

You see, today I baked 10 loaves of fresh bread (actually 20 half-loaves) for some college students to have for dinner - they're putting on a concert at our church.  So I donated my time/skills to making bread… and it took all day, and I loved it, but now I'm too pooped to go to the concert so I'm at home blogging instead… yep, crazy alright!!

Actually, I've been sick, today is the first day I've actually felt good in about a week & a half - good thing, because I'd have hated to have to wear one of those medical masks while working in my (very warm) kitchen all day.

Blah, Blah, Blah… yep, I know, get to the pictures & the recipe already… so here goes…

Ziploc bags with measured quantities of Bread Flour, Salt, & Sugar - done yesterday, the only thing I did ahead.  Later I numbered the bags, in the order the batches were started, so that I could keep things straight - it was very helpful!

There she is, the hero of the day, my very heavily used KitchenAid mixer… you see I only have 1, and so I could only do 1 batch at a time.  In the picture here one of my batches is in it's autolyse phase, which lasts about 1/2 hour, so about every 1/2 hour I was starting a new batch….

Here are my first 4 batches, 1 & 2 are proofing, 3 & 4 are rising… see how I used those numbered Ziplocs?

Here is one of my batches ready to go in the oven...

Here that same batch is cooling after being baked...

I was also asked to slice the bread...

Here you see the first 5 batches - 10 half-loaves - wrapped in foil after slicing...

I knew I had been successful when batches 9 & 10 were in my ovens - good thing I've got double ovens... otherwise, I'd have had to make some of the bread before today… I prefer it as fresh as possible…

So that's the pictures, here's the recipe - this is not the same as my Artisan Bread, that bread is more dense with a crust that is quite chewy…  This bread is much softer inside, and has a lighter crusty crust...

  20 oz Bread Flour
  2 tsp Table Salt
  2 tsp Sugar
  1 cup Hot Water (as hot as you can get it from your tap)
  1/2 cup Hot Skim Milk (I microwave for 1 minute in my tiny microwave)
  1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  2 tsp Olive Oil

You will also need:
  Spray Olive Oil
  Large (7 cup) sealing plastic container (Ziploc ones work great)
  Additional Bread Flour for forming
  Parchment Paper
  Baking Stone / Pizza Stone (not necessary, but helps)
  Ground Sea Salt (I have a salt grinder I leave on my counter)

In the bowl of a stand mixer (instructions based on my Kitchenaid model, you can hand mix & knead if you're so inclined) place: Bread Flour, Salt, and Sugar - hand mix these together to combine, then create a bowl-shaped space in the middle for the wet ingredients.  

Put hot Water & Milk in the bowl-shaped space, sprinkle the surface of the liquid with the Yeast, allow Yeast to dissolve (about a minute).

Add Olive Oil, then mix all the ingredients together using the mixing paddle on the mixer on the slowest speed, for about 10-15 seconds.  Remove the mixing paddle & replace with the dough hook.  Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes (autolyse).

Knead the dough using the stand mixer, I set my model to about 2-3 (a low setting) and let it knead for about 3 minutes.

Spray the plastic container & inside of lid with Olive Oil, remove the dough from the mixer and put it in the container, press down, spray the top of the dough with Olive Oil, close the container and wrap it in a tea towel.  Let the dough rise in the container in a warm area (I like 72F) for about an hour, or until the dough is touching the lid - you will need to burp the container a couple times, you may also hear it "pop" if it burps itself.

Turn out the dough onto a well floured board, knead lightly and form into a loaf, place the loaf on parchment paper, spray with Olive Oil, cover with a tea towel and let it proof for an hour.  At the start of the proofing put your baking stone in the oven and set the oven to 375F, this will give plenty of time for the stone to come up to temp.

Cut slits into the top of the loaf, spray with Olive Oil, sprinkle with freshly ground Sea Salt, place in oven (still on the parchment paper) and bake for 45 minutes.

Once baked remove to a cooling rack and let cool at least a half hour before cutting into the loaf.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some overdue reorganizing...

Hi friends, I hope that you're finding some good ideas for light food selections here… I'm not posting as much these days because I'm not coming up with much that's new - I've got things pretty much under control for myself.  That said I will continue to post, but probably not as often as I have in the past.

I did do something today that may be helpful, I know it will be helpful for me… I did some re-organizing, especially in the Dinner tab, but I added lots of photos in the various tabs… check them out, I think you'll find them easier to navigate - I know I will.

I'm starting a home-based business, and when I first started this blog I was thinking I would be creating a cookbook… but things have changed and I've gone a completely different direction.  If you're curious check out my blog named An Artful Romp (… I hope to have items for sale sometime in the near future - actually I have a few items ready already, but I'm finishing with setting up the "business" end of things :)

So, I'm going to be busy with my new business, but I'm going to keep my blogs (I have 5 - I think my Son has decided I've gone over the edge), the links to those blogs are on the right (if you're on a full-sized web page).

Until the next crazy food idea :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Sunny Start on a Cloudy Winter morning...

I know it's not Winter for everyone out there, but here in Minnesota we have a couple feet of snow on the ground & things are just starting to melt… don't get me wrong, we'll still get more snow yet this year, its just that we will have days warm enough to melt snow (at times).

My breakfast...

This morning it was cloudy, so I made a point of starting my day on a Sunny note… ok, enough of being silly… today I had some of my Cheesy Eggs (sometimes I call them Creamy Eggs), but I decided to top them with a good Salsa (Tequila Lime Salsa from Robert Rothschild Farms)… YUM!!  Add some Orange Wedges and I almost thought I was back home in Southern California (oops!  my roots are showing!)…

Then what happened?  Why the Sun came out of course!!  (disclaimer: Sun coming out not guaranteed by consuming this breakfast)

Hope you had a Sunny Day!!