Posts Tagged ‘bread’

I’m baking today. I made a double batch of Sammich Bread so we would have two loaves of actual sandwich bread, and two loaves for experimentation. The extra loaves are a cinnamon walnut twist and a raisin bread with pear, cardamom, cinnamon and lemon syrup.*

The bread is currently in its second rise. I’m posting now because 

1) isn’t it nice to be on top of things? 


2) I’m pretty sure the raisin bread (at least) is going to go Not Entirely As Planned. Also, there’s no way I can get them all in the oven at the same time, which means rise times are probably going to be Not Ideal. Ah well! These things happen.

And if I post now I have a perfectly reasonable excuse not to include photos of said bread. Which may or may not look at all like I hoped:)

Me this morning. Only, not a dude.
Photo by Vaibhav Jadhav on Pexels.com

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* I cheated a little, as I made poached pears the other day and that sauce is so delicious. The pears went into a jar and the extra syrup is going into… everything else:) This flavor combination is highly recommended! In fact, here’s a photo of the pears. Which are delicious. Have I mentioned?

seriously good flavor combination

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Soothing Pain

I’m fortunate enough not to get headaches much, but last night I had a doozy. So headache plus poor sleep plus Tuesday (my least favorite day, you may recall) means that today is a bit of a slog.

Most of my time will be spent working, but I thought I’d take a few minutes for something soothing. And since I’m an English speaker with a penchant for bad Franglish jokes (sorry, French Canadian half of the family!), this bread-making video caught my attention.

Pain for pain, get it?

Told you my jokes were terrible!

In this episode, baker Mahmoud M’seddi welcomes us into his bakery in Paris’ 14th district where his award-winning baguettes come to life…

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I’m baking today. Remember that recipe I posted a couple of days ago? Yeah, that’s the one. Mr. Man is fresh out of sandwich bread and I like to bake, so it’s a win-win.

Bread is at once astonishingly simple (flour + water and optional leavening and heat, the end) and complex. Once you get past the basics, head onto the web and search for “baking bread,” you’ll find a million (no wait, 1.61 billion! seriously?) hits, plus an entire genre of cookbooks plus whole cultures (hello, France!) that revolve around this particular culinary marvel.

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I like bread. I like baking. I don’t love lots of nitpicky details.* That’s why I spend a non-zero amount of time trying to simplify my favorite recipes. I’m usually asking “What can I strip from this process and still have the result turn out well?” 

But. Our house is cold at night plus my flour spends most of its time in the freezer, and cold dough is sluggish dough. So today I’m going to highlight a little thing called “desired dough temperature.” (Yes, the acronym is unfortunate, but it’s still a useful concept.)

“…there’s a crucial facet of baking that can help us bakers increase consistency that isn’t always immediately apparent: the importance of dough temperature in baking.”

— The Importance of Dough Temperature in Baking | The Perfect Loaf**

The article linked above gets into the nitty gritty of what and why, if you’re up for a deep dive. Here’s a similar review from King Arthur, who I love***: 

Desired dough temperature | King Arthur Baking

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Geesh, so many footnotes today. Where was I? Right, how to produce consistent bread through temperature control. Ahem. 

Short version: balance ingredient and room temperatures so your dough is ~78F. The easiest way to do that is to tweak the temperature of your liquid to compensate for cold flour, say, or a cold room.

There’s a formula, which I dutifully wrote down, then thought, “Self, you know the internet worked this out already. There’s got to be a handy dough calculator just waiting for you!” And lo, there was. I’m sure there are lots of them, but this is the one I’ve been using:

Common Bread Baking Calculators | The Perfect Loaf

This is what my calculator looked like for this morning’s dough:

I used my mixer to knead the dough today and had to guess on the friction factor, but I came quite close to my target****:

And look, it’s time to shape the dough for its second rise. Happy baking!

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* I was never the kid who memorized every single dinosaur genus and species, or knew every baseball stat, or could rattle off the weather in my hometown in 1861. I suspect that particular period in a child’s life has to do with some confluence of brain expansion outpacing life expansion, but that’s just me guessing. Hmm… This is where I have a moment of deep introspection and realize, wait a minute, I was that kid. Not dinosaurs or sports, but Star Wars. And Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, I was never the sort of completist who had to love all things Star Wars (sorry Episodes I, II & III, you definitely do not complete me), so no judgements here.

** Aside: That Brød & Taylor proofer in this blog’s first picture? I want that. It’s pricey and a mostly single-use appliance and I don’t know that it’s quite big enough to hold all of our yogurt containers and as I’ve been telling myself for the past three years, I do not need it. And still it calls to me:)

*** Both as a mythical modern legend and a company. I liked T. H. White’s The Once and Future King and Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave as a kid. Although I try to ignore that business with Guinevere and Lancelot and Mordred and… ok, maybe I just like Merlin and Excalibur and the Round Table. Where (let’s bring it home) they would have enjoyed bread!

**** I probably should have stuck the probe in all the way (have I learned nothing from aliens?) but the dough ball was so nice I didn’t want to puncture it.

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