Thursday, December 3, 2009

Couronne for Thanksgiving

This crown-shaped loaf is made with a chef starter, which is fermented for at least 2 days and up to a week; the longer it is left, the more it will develop the characteristic sourdough flavor.

For the Chef

1/4 tsp instant yeast
50 grams/1/2 cup bread flour
45 ml/3 Tbs water

For the 1st Refreshment

65 ml/4-1/2 Tbs water
115 grams/1 cup bread flour

For the Couronne Dough

240 ml/1 generous cup cold water
325 grams/scant 3 cups bread flour plus extra for dusting
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp rapid rise instant yeast

(Note: I adjusted this recipe to use my 50/50 poolish from the refrigerator.)
(Note: I adjusted this recipe to use 20 grams each of butter, sugar, and powdered buttermilk to provide a finer crumb for this meal.)

Prepare the Chef several days in advance. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl using a metal spoon, cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for several days.

Prepare the refreshment by breaking the crust on the chef and adding the water and flour for the refreshment. Mix thoroughly and recover with the plastic wrap. Leave on the counter for 2 days.

To make the dough, mix the refreshed chef with the cold water, then stir in the salt, sugar and yeast. Stir in the flour until the dough is together, then knead for 5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky. Turn out the dough from the mixer and knead into a ball. Grease a bowl and place the dough into the bowl, turning to cover the dough ball with oil, then cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured bench. Shape the dough into a flat round, then open the center and pull the dough into a large donut shape. The center should be 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Use a dish that will fit into the hole and grease it on the outside to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Cover your peel with parchment, then transfer the donut to the parchment. Place the greased dish in the hole and cover the whole thing with greased plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour or until almost doubled.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Prepare the oven for baking bread. I use tiles on the grid in the lower 1/3 of the oven or the pizza stone in the upper 1/3 of the oven. I use a cast iron frying pan in the bottom of the oven. I put one cup of hot water in the long nosed pitcher to add to the frying pan when the bread is placed in the oven.

When doubled, remove the plastic wrap, flour the surface of the couronne, and slash the dough 4 times around the donut. Slide the dough on the parchment into the oven onto the tiles or pizza stone (lower 1/3 of the oven), pour the water into the frying pan and close the oven door. Bake 35-40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.


Adapted from "The Bread and Bread Machine Bible," p386.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Duquesne Light Company Utility Bread

When our kids were small, my wife would make this bread all the time. It really tastes good. It makes good sandwiches and toasts well. The soy flour and milk powder add protein to the bread making it more healthful. The picture is of the 50% whole-wheat version. I had two slices of this bread toasted with jelly for breakfast and a couple of scrambled eggs. Not hungry all day! Here is the recipe:

Duquesne Light Company Utility Bread

Makes two 2 lb loaves.

3 cups warm water (675 g)
2 cakes yeast
2 Tbs honey or sugar
7 cups flour or more ( 1 kg) (warm flour if its cold)
3 Tbs wheat germ (13 g)
1/2 cup full fat soy flour (55 g)
3/4 cup skim milk powder (100 g)
4 tsp salt
2 Tbs salad oil

Combine water, yeast and sugar or honey. Let stand for five minutes.
Whisk together the wheat germ, soy flour, skim milk powder and salt with 3 cups of the flour.
Stir the yeast mixture and while stirring add the flour mixture.
Beat for two minutes with the electric mixer or 75 strokes.
Add the salad oil and 3 more cups of flour, reserving the last cup of flour.
Blend, then turn out onto a floured board, adding the last cup of flour or more as needed.
Knead thoroughly, about five minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, brush top with some butter, cover with clear plastic film and let rise until doubled.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Punch dough down, fold edges over and turn dough upside down and cover with the bowl.
Let rise another 20 minutes.
Turn onto the board, shape into 2 loaves, place in buttered (black) bread pans, cover and let rise until doubled.
Paint the tops of the loaves before baking with 2 Tbs of water with 1/2 tsp salt.
Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with seeds or oatmeal.
Slash the tops of the loaves once lengthwise.
Bake, 350 F, for 50 to 60 minutes. Use steam.*
If loaves begin to brown too soon, say in 15 or 20 minutes, reduce heat to 325 F.
Cool on a rack.

For 50-50 bread, substitute 3 cups of sifted whole wheat flour for 3 cups of white flour.

*Note: To use steam, I place a cast iron frying pan in the bottom of the oven. Then when putting the bread in the oven I pour one cup of hot water into the hot frying pan. I use a pitcher with a long spout to prevent steam burns. Be careful.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

John Andrews' Pancake Recipe

The following recipe is a favorite from many years of cooking in the Andrews kitchen. We use the KitchenAid mixer with the wire whisk to blend the dry ingredients when making this recipe. It can be handy and much quicker than sifting. This is quicker and easier than any other way we have tried.

I had a good recipe for buttermilk pancakes using powdered buttermilk. My father, Phil, had a good recipe for whole wheat buttermilk pancakes. He thought his was better than mine. I thought mine was really good. So we had a bake-off. His won! These are really good.

These pancakes have been used for years as the basis for the Boy Scout Valley Forge Council Troop 260 pancake breakfast in Concordville, Delaware County, Pennsylvania just outside Philadelphia.

One time at the Boy Scout pancake breakfast after it became popular because the pancakes were so good, we ran out of mix just before the end of the breakfast. One of the men from the troop went to the local grocery store and bought some boxes of Aunt Jemima pancake mix. We almost didn't use them, but one of the last people to eat asked for seconds and we sent out the Aunt Jemimas. She sent them back! "There was someting wrong with them," she said. We explained what happened and all had a good laugh.

Buttermilk Pancakes

This recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour as well as regular all-purpose flour for the tenderness that the low gluten flour can give. The dry ingredients are mixed and stored until ready to make pancakes. Then make the pancakes in any quantity using the dry mix, eggs, buttermilk, oil or melted butter and vanilla. Note: 1 cup = 16 Tbs.

To make the dry mix, blend the following in the Kitchenaid mixer bowl with the wire whisk:
4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbs baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs salt
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
Keep this mixture dry and cool and it will store for several months.

To make pancakes, mix these wet ingredients and add to the number of cups of dry ingredients shown in the table below.

Number of Servings 2 4 6 8
Cups of liquid buttermilk 3/4 1-1/2 2-1/4 3
Tablespoons of oil or melted butter 3 6 9 12
Eggs 1 2 3 4
tsp Vanilla 1/4 1/2 3/4 1
Cups of dry mix 1 2 3 4

Stir lightly to just moisten the dry ingredients. Mixture will be thick and lumpy. Drop by spoonfulls on a lightly greased griddle. Turn when the edges appear dry and the bubbles are about to break. Serve warm with butter and syrup and sausages, orange juice and coffee.

Try this. Make enough for 6 with 3 cups of mix, add 1-1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves to the dry mix and whisk it in with the wire whisk on the mixer. Use liquids for 6 servisngs plus 1/4 cup molasses. Bake over lower heat as these will burn easily. Serve with lemon sauce and cream cheese or sour cream.

For 124 lbs of pancake mix, use the mixer to mix together the following ingredients and store in plastic bags weighing 25 oz each. You might try to con a friendly baker into using his large mixer to do this for you. It will take a while, so be prepared to pay for the service. If you want to do it yourself, use double the recipe above for 8 servings. Mix in the mixing bowl and bag 25 oz into plastic bags. You will need a kitchen scale for weighing the bags.

     50 lbs white all-purpose flour
50 lbs whole wheat pastry flour
8 lbs sugar
3 lbs salt
5 lbs baking powder
2-1/2 lbs soda
5 lbs wheat germ
13 oz vanilla (Yes, mix this in with the dry ingredients!)
80 1-gal plastic bags

When ready to make pancakes for the pancake breakfast, use

      1 bag mix
8 eggs
2 quarts buttermilk
3/4 cup melted butter

Mix the ingredients in a pot until just moistened. Don't mix too much. Drop by spoonfuls onto a hot lightly greased griddle. I cut the batter out of the pot with a large spoon and lay it onto the griddle rather than plop it down. These are so thick it won't spread much after it is placed on the griddle. Never mash pancakes while cooking. Don't even look underneath or they get tough. Serve hot with syrup, sausage, juice and coffee or milk. Don't spill on the guests. Servers and cooks must be clean and work quietly.

This quantity will serve quite a few people, say 600 or so, but it is over 1000 servings. You should have about 124 lbs of dry mix or about 80 bags of mix, each of which will make enough for 16 servings, or 1280 servings. Hungry people will take advantage of the all-you-can-eat program, so servings are hard to guess.

Last updated on November 15, 2009 by John Andrews.
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© 1999 - 2009, John and Dixie Andrews, Farragut, Tennessee.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is the onion bread I made for New Years Day snacking. I used Vidalia onion dressing, dried onion flakes, and 66% whole wheat plus 34% bread flour. The recipe was written wrong so I had to fix it. The dough needed further adjustment, but the bread came out with a nice flavor.
The recipe was found by searching for onion bread. My sisters husbands father once had a neighborhood bakery and made a wonderful onion bread. They also made sandwiches for the lunch crowd. Fond memory of that. Anyway, the recipe came from Allinson's BakingMad web page. I sent them a note about the error in the recipe but never heard back.
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Stolen for Christmas 2008

This is one of the two stolens I made for Christmas. This was a first time for me. I think they came out pretty good. The recipe came from Check him out if you want to learn about baking goodies. No raisins, no currents, no dark nuts, just light colored candied fruit, sliced almonds and marzipan. A very soft dough.

Sourdough Bread for Thanksgiving

Here is the sourdough bread we had for Thanksgiving 2008.

French Bread with poolish

After making the buttermilk bread I made a simple French bread using the poolish. To make the poolish easier to make I use a recipe calculator to calculate the amount of poolish, water, flour, yeast and salt for the specific hydration and weight of the loaf. It seems to work OK. I got a big hole in the center of the loaf. This comes from wrapping a bubble of air into the loaf when forming it. Sorry, I will be more careful next time. The recipe is standard French bread from any book. So is the method. The only difference is the use of the 50/50 poolish living in my refrigerator. Here is what it looked like.

Buttermilk Bread

In October I made a loaf of buttermilk bread to take to Atlanta when we visited our two grandchildren. I wanted to try the poolish when making a soft white bread. I used powdered buttermilk for the bread and I think it came out OK. Here is a picture of the kids enjoying the bread with peanut butter and jelly. This shows that using aged dough does not always make a hard crusted bread with seeds on top.

So, here is the recipe. Remember, the poolish is 50/50 by weight flour and water, aged in the refrigerator for up to a week (or two). For a 2 lb loaf with 62 % hydration, use:
302 grams of poolish (allow it to warm to room temperature)
401 grams of flour
191 grams of warm water
6 grams of instant yeast
6 grams of salt
20 grams of butter
20 grams of sugar and
20 grams of buttermilk powder.

Mix the yeast and the salt with the warm water and add to the poolish. Stir well, then add the butter, sugar and buttermilk powder. Add the remaining flour and knead for 5 minutes using the mixer, or 10 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with clear plastic and let rise until doubled. Punch down, then knead for 3 minutes and let rest for 20 minutes. Form into a loaf and place into a greased bread pan. Let rise until doubled. Bake for 35 minutes or til done. Cool on a rack.