Sally’s Baking Addiction: September, 2019 Challenge: Homemade Cheese Bread

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Well, this is different! I usually do not post my baking challenge experience until the last day of the month 😂 But this September is a little special. We are leaving soon for Greece 🇬🇷 ! We won’t be back until the first week in October, so I had to be a little faster with my baking this month!

Fortunately, this was a bread challenge, and aligned well with our family, the cooler weather and the Seahawks home opener🏈

Sally’s version of this homemade cheese bread is extra soft, as it is an enriched dough, made with buttermilk, egg and butter (and lots of cheese🧀).

The first step was to mix warm buttermilk, warm water, sugar and instant yeast.

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This was left for 5 minutes to activate the instant yeast, then 1 cup of bread flour was added, along with the butter, egg and salt. Sally used garlic powder in her recipe but I did not since I was paring this with chicken chili for dinner 😋

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The rest of the bread flour went into the mixing bowl, which was fitted with a dough hook.

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I let the mixer do the work of kneading the dough. I do have to say that this was a wonderful bread dough to work with😊 It was soft and pliable and came together easily!

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I formed it into a ball and placed it in a greased bowl so it could prove. It needed to double in size, which took almost two hours in my cool, Fall kitchen.

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Before proving

 

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Tucked in for the 2 hour rest

The dough was punched down, and rolled into a 9 X 15 inch rectangle

And this is where the cheese come into play 🧀 2 cups total! I chose to use sharp, white cheddar and smoked cheddar (1 cup each).

 

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The cheese was pressed into the rectangle

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This was where the processes gets messy! Starting with the long side, the dough is rolled into a log

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If you have ever made a babka loaf, then you are familiar with this part. I have blogged about this before here. The log is cut, longitudinally and then wrapped around itself.

I needed both my hands for this, so I was not able to take my own pics. But, fortunately Sally had some great shots of this process!

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From Sally’s Baking Addiction Site

Here is how mine looked

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The loaf was placed into a greased 9 X 5 inch loaf pan and left to prove for a second time.

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The loaf was brushed with melted butter and chopped parsley.

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And into a 350F oven for 50 minutes

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Very easy! And, more importantly, delicious 😍

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And it went great with the chicken chili that night!

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Another excellent Sally recipe 👩🏻‍🍳

Cinnamon Apple Babka

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As you well know by now, I do love to bake bread! I have been wanting to try a babka for some time and finally got around to developing this one. This is a bread that is slightly sweet and you can amp it up with more filling but we like a little less fruit and more of that bread flavor! I had a lot of apples after a recent Costco trip so I have been working them into every dish possible! This recipe can easily make two loaves, and I have included those options in the recipe located at the bottom of this post. Today, however, I decided to make a large, braided loaf and have also included that option, should you feel the need to have an enormous sweet bread centerpiece for your table!

This enriched dough begins with the making of a sponge, which is just water, yeast and sugar that has time to allow for the yeast to activate. Start by combining the yeast, brown sugar and temperature controlled water and let is sit for 30 minutes.

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After blooming the surface will have small bubbles and there will be a yeasty aroma

Next add the flour, oil, salt, egg yolks and eggs to the sponge.

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Knead the dough until a smooth, but slightly sticky ball forms and place in a lightly greased, large bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

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While the dough is rising, prepare the cinnamon and apple filling. Whisk together the cinnamon, sugar and flour in a small bowl and set aside. The most important part of preparing the apples is to extract as much moisture as possible so that your dough will not be soggy. I did this by peeling, coring and grating the apples then placing them in a double lined paper towel and squeezing the water from the apples. There is a surprising amount of water that will drain out. I did this in small batches and cheesecloth would work well, but I didn’t have any on hand, so paper towels it had to be! Place the dried apple pieces into a bowl and immediately add the lemon zest and lemon juice, tossing to coat. Then add in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Set aside until the dough is ready.

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Now comes the tricky part of shaping and filling the bread. I will refer you to this excellent tutorial from King Arthur Flour on how to shape babkas. This site has all the options that I mention in the recipe with step by step instructions and pictures. At this point you need to decide if you want two loaves or one braided loaf. In either case you begin the same way, divide the risen dough into two equal portions.

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Roll one portion out to about 9″ X 18″ and spread half the cinnamon apple filling over the rectangle, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the perimeter. Start with the long side and roll into a log shape, much like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls. Pinch the bottom seam and the ends shut to contain the fillings. Repeat with the second portion of dough.

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At this point you may opt to make two loaves using the classic twist, or the sliced braid methods discussed on the King Arthur site and my recipe write up, I will discuss the process for making the single, braided loaf.

Begin by slicing the log lengthwise to form 4 “ropes”.

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Working with the filling side up, make a plus sign with the intersection at the middle of each rope. Then repeat with the other two strips to form a second plus sign that interlocks with the first one.

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Working clockwise, fold every other strip over the neighboring end, then repeat with the ends that extend but go in the opposite direction (counterclockwise) this time. Here is the  King Arthur photos for reference (they use their chocolate babka).

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You will have some ends left over, just tuck them under the loaf. Place the loaf onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover and allow to proof for another 45 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and baked thorough the center.

While the bread cools mix the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, cinnamon extract, vanilla seeds and slowly adding enough milk or water to create a drizzling consistency. When the bead has cooled completely, drizzle with the glaze.

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I know that there are a lot of steps for this but it is so worth it! If you are not up for the braid, then try the simple loaf shapes highlighted on the King Arthur site and let me know what you think! Happy baking!

cinnamon apple babka recipe

 

Hot Cross Buns, It must be Spring!

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I love this particular Hot Cross Bun recipe. It is a little more complex than others that I have seen, with a few extra steps, but it is hard to argue with the results! Like most other formulas out there, this one uses the straight dough method for the rolls themselves, and similar instructions for combining the batch of cross dough, but it is the spiced bun glaze that really sets this recipe apart from the pack.

This recipe is from a culinary cookbook, I have mentioned in the past that culinary texts are written differently than standard cookbooks or recipes in general. I have adapted this and made a few changes but the format will be by weight and volume for the most part.  One additional step done here is to condition the dried fruit. This step requires a 2 hour, minimum rest, so plan ahead! However, after that step the recipe moves along smoothly since it is a straight dough method, everything goes in together and combined quickly.

The flour, butter, sugar, yeast, milk powder, salt, vanilla paste, eggs and spices are combined first then the temperature controlled water is added. Once the dough has pulled together and is soft and pliable the dried fruits are added.

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The dough is allowed to rise, covered on the bench until doubled in size (about 30 minutes)

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It is then degassed and folded into thirds, allowed to rest again for 15 minutes. This lets the dough relax and is easier to portion and shape. The recipe calls for 3 1/2 oz portions to be rounded and panned 5 rows by 6 rows for a total of 30, rather large, buns!

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yes, I do weigh them-this one was a little big and had to have a pinch removed!

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The rolls are covered and allowed to proof until doubled which takes about an hour

While the rolls proofed I made the cross dough which is applied right before they go in the oven. The cross dough is pastry flour, butter and milk which is combined and mixed until smooth.

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The cross dough was put into a disposable pastry bag that had been fitted with a plain tip.

This was piped onto the individual rolls to form the cross pattern.

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The pan went into a 375°F preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the desired color was achieved. This particular cross dough is not sweet. As I said before it is just flour, butter and milk. Many other recipes use cream cheese or other flavored icing and apply it at the end of the baking process. This recipe uses a lemon, ginger simple syrup to give the rolls flavor and shine.

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This bun glaze is water, sugar, ground ginger, lemon juice, lemon zest and cream of tartar. It should be made ahead of time and chilled before applying to the hot rolls.

As soon as the rolls come out of the oven the glaze is generously applied.

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They are shiny, sweet, sticky, fruity and delicious! The extra steps are worth it!

 

 

Russian Black Bread

Back in September my husband and I were traveling through Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We stopped at a small cafe, I can’t remember the name now, and had lunch. It was memorable for two reasons, it was the first time we experienced Turkish coffee, which was amazing! We definitely want to do that again. And, we had sandwiches made on this incredibly flavorful pumpernickel bread. My hubby exclaimed, to a bit of my surprise, that he loves pumpernickel bread so, of course, I said “I will make you some when we get back home.” That was six months ago! Now, it does not take half a year to make this bread, you really only need about three hours. But life got busy, as it often does, we were traveling quite a bit and I wanted to take the time to research a bit about the proper flour to use for the best flavor. I settled on King Arthur’s pumpernickel flour blend. King Arthur is often my go to flour source, and I placed an online order for one of their 3 pound bags.

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My next quest was to find a recipe that looked amazing and was simple enough to use in my home kitchen. A number of formulas I found were more suited to industrial kitchens and large production output. I just wanted one or two loaves. I found this recipe for Russian Black Bread on the King Arthur website. It appeared that it would be extremely flavorful from the list of ingredients that included 1 cup of pumpernickel flour, 2 cups of bread flour, molasses, brown sugar, fennel seeds, dark cocoa powder and instant espresso! I had to try this one!

This recipe is for one loaf and I decided to make two loaves, a regular bread loaf and a boule. I did not double the formula but instead chose to make two separate recipes. I did this because bread baking is not like making cookies or cakes. The flour is not incorporated all at once. A portion is held out and slowly added during the kneading process and may or may not be necessary. The dough has to be checked multiple times throughout the incorporation stage and adjusted accordingly. Also, shaping a boule is different than shaping a loaf so I wanted these events to be independent of one another.

The dough is straight forward, you add all the ingredients and withhold 1 cup of bread flour for the kneading steps.

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I added all the ingredients, with the addition of the temperature controlled water as the last step. I should note that I did not have black cocoa powder as was called for in the recipe, instead I substituted dark cocoa powder, so my bread is not as black as the original recipe-still tasted wonderful!

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Using a dough whisk, it all came together into a soft ball

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The dough was turned out onto a countertop that was dusted with a portion of the final cup of flour and kneaded by hand for ~7 minutes until about 2/3 c of the reserved flour was incorporated

I repeated this process for the second loaf. The dough was allowed to ferment for 80 minutes until it doubled in size.

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Once the bread had doubled in volume it was time to shape and pan the dough. I used a conventional 9 X 5 rectangular pan and a brotform basket to shape and pattern the boule. One key element to using a brotform is to make sure the bowl is heavily floured so that the proofed loaf will release onto the baking stone or pan. I used the pumpernickel flour for dusting.

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Both loaves were shaped and allowed to proof for an additional 90 minutes. Afterward, they were scored.

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I made four, deep, angular cuts on the loaf and the pan went into the oven, centered directly on the rack.

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For the boule, I turned the brotform bowl out onto a baking pan that was dusted with semolina flour. This made the loaf easy to slide off onto the baking stone which was on the oven rack and preheated. I made circular cuts around the pattern made by the bowl structure.

The loaves baked at 375°F for 35 minutes, until they sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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I used a pizza peel to remove the boule from the oven and both loaves were allowed to cool on a baking rack

Then it was time to take some pictures and eat!

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My favorite way to eat this bread is a sandwich with ham, mustard, spinach, swiss and cheddar cheese!

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Enjoy this one!

Russian Black Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf, 16 slices
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Fennel seeds and vinegar combine to give this bread its distinctive, pumpernickel flavor

Credit:King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

-1 1/8 cups temperature controlled water, 80-100°F

-2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

-1 cup pumpernickel or rye flour, plus more for dusting

-1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

-2 Tablespoons molasses

-1 Tablespoon brown sugar

-3 Tablespoons black cocoa

-1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee powder

-1/4 to 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, to taste

-1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast

-2 1/2 cups Bread flour, divided

Directions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 cup of the bread flour. Mix until a sticky dough begins to form.
  2. Mix in the remaining cup of flour and knead for 7 minutes, or until the dough becomes soft and elastic, but may still be somewhat sticky to the touch. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. After the first rise, shape the dough into an oblong loaf. Place in a greased 9″ x 5″ or 10″ x 5″ bread pan, cover with greased plastic, and let rise until almost doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes. Alternatively shape the dough into a round form and place in a heavily floured brotform basket and allow to proof to make a boule loaf. 
  4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F. When the dough has almost doubled, brush or spray the top with water, dust with pumpernickel or rye flour, and score (slash) the top.
  5. Bake the bread for about 35 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you thump the bottom, or the inside measures 205°F on a digital thermometer. Remove the loaf from the oven and cool it on a rack before slicing.
  6. Store bread well wrapped at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Irish Soda Bread Time !

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We are an Irish family and, as I have said before, a family that loves bread. So, of course it would not be right for this holiday to pass without some fresh baked soda bread piping hot out of the oven. Our favorite recipe is from Ina Garten and, although it is not traditional, it is really, really good! We like it so much that I make this recipe several times throughout the year. Even though I will spend an entire day to make artisan breads, and love doing so, there are times when we want a quick, delicious bread for a weeknight meal and this one does the trick.

Like all bread recipes this one starts with flour, 4 cups, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, salt and sugar. If you are watching your sugar intake you do not need to add any, or just downsize from the 4 tablespoons listed in the formula. Honestly, you don’t really need to add any if you do not wish too as there is plenty of flavor and sweetness from the orange zest and currants.

4 tablespoons of cold butter are incorporated, which again is not traditional, but does give the bread a scone like texture (if you add the sugar then you really get the scone/bread hybrid taste!)

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Now it’s time for the wet ingredients which include the leavening activator in the form of buttermilk. The acid from this addition will activate the soda and, along with the heat of the oven hitting that cold butter,  provide the rise in your bread.

Ina’s recipe calls for 1 cup of currants, but I have used cranberries or raisins in the past and both were great, especially the combination of orange zest and cranberries. Although here too I have made substitutions and used lemon zest when my home was devoid of oranges-also delicious!

The dough comes together nicely, although it is a bit sticky, but once you turn it out onto the floured surface and knead it a few times the bread becomes easier to work with. I used my lame to make fairly deep cuts on the surface before placing it in the oven at 375°F.

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The bread is done if it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom surface, and it needs to cool on a rack for ~10 minutes.

Be patient, if you cut into it while it is still too hot it will be crumbly-remember that scone like quality? Best way to serve it is how ever you like it!

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My favorite way to eat it!

Do try this recipe! It is very easy and worth the short time it takes to pull it together!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Next bread up for me is Black Russian Rye Bread!

 

 

 

Baking Bread on the road with Jen

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I spent many years attempting to teach myself how to cook and bake. I did not come from one of those culinary families where recipes were handed down with care and everyone gathered around the table for special occasions. Ours was more of a “fend for yourself for meals and Pizza Hut is on speed dial” kind of clan. As a result, I didn’t learn my way around a kitchen until I had a family of my own. I read cookbooks, researched various cooking and baking techniques and watched a whole lot of Food Network programs!  Eventually I decided to attend culinary school, a few years ago, and I met some really great friends while honing my few skills. One such friend is Jen, a snowbird from Seattle who spends the first four months of the year in Scottsdale, Arizona. We both share a great love of bread baking and when I knew I’d be in Chandler for two weeks we made plans to spend time at her condo baking something! That something turned out to be hamburger buns she needed to feed a crew of people invading her condo for 10 days during spring training. So, I grabbed my camera and drove 40 minutes to Scottsdale and we dove in!

Just one word about this dough. I have posted bread recipes before and talked about lean doughs. This is the first bread formula that I have shared that is an enriched dough. Meaning that there is more than just flour, water, salt and yeast involved. Butter, eggs, milk power and sugar are included and these additions will make the final product tender and soft, while retaining its structure.  There is also the option to make white, wheat or a combination of both. We opted for 60% bread flour/40% wheat flour to give the rolls a nice texture and a nutty flavor (and slightly more nutritional value).

Another point worth mentioning is that this recipe is from a culinary text book, and they are written differently than standard cookbooks that are meant for home cooking. Times are not listed for fermenting, proofing or baking. As the reader is supposed to be a chef in training they are expected to just know when the dough is done with these processes. So, you will need to use your experience to guide you more than a set time. Additionally, weight is used as opposed to measurements and if you have not been using a scale for your bread baking I would urge you to try it out now, this is a very simple recipe and you will have greater success with that method.

We started by weighing out the bread and wheat flours, salt, milk powder, sugar and instant yeast and mixing to combine. Then we added the eggs, butter and temperature controlled water. This was mixed with a dough hook for 6-8 minutes until the dough was soft, tacky but not sticky.

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We transferred this to an oiled bowl, covered and allowed to double in volume. This took about 80 minutes in a kitchen in Arizona, next to a warm oven.

 

 

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After the dough had doubled it was punched down and portioned into 4.5 oz servings, shaped into rolls and flattened slightly to avoid the dinner roll, round shape. Remember we are looking for hamburger buns.

 

 

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8 rolls per pan, on a non stick silicon liner

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Use flour when flattening the rolls, the dough is a little sticky

The pans are covered and allowed to proof. You will know when they are ready to bake when you press the bun with a finger and it does not spring back. They get a final egg wash (we used 1 egg mixed with a little water to thin it) and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

The pans went into the oven at 350°F until they were the golden brown color we wanted. About 20 minutes in Jen’s oven.

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We had a great time visiting, walking around in the Arizona sun while the dough fermented and eating rolls! I hope you give these a try, they are great for sandwiches, they can hold up to your barbecue fillings and, of course, hamburgers!

Wheat Hamburger Buns               yield: 18   5 1/2 oz rolls

25.8 oz             Bread flour

17.2 oz              Whole Wheat flour

0.76 oz             Salt

2.66 oz             Milk Powder

3.32 oz             Sugar

0.44 oz             Instant Yeast

3.3 oz (two)     Eggs

3.32 oz              Butter, at room temp

26 to 28 oz      Water, 90-100°F

egg wash

sesame seeds, white or black, if using

 

Procedure

  1. Mix together four, salt, powdered milk, sugar and yeast in a 6-quart stand mixer.
  2. Add eggs, butter, water and mix with a paddle attachment unit the flour absorbes the liquid and the dough forms a ball. If dough looks stiff and dry, add more water until it looks soft and supple.
  3. Switch to the dough hook and mix 6-8 minutes. Dough should look soft and tacky but not sticky. Dough should clean the sides but stick a bit to the bottom of the mixing bowl.
  4. Ferment until double. Punch down and potion into rolls. Shape and push down the top slightly. Proof, then egg wash, sprinkle with seeds if desired.
  5. Bake at 350°F until golden brown. Cool completely before slicing.

 

Dutch Oven Bread

When I first saw this recipe for a boule made in a dutch oven I immediately thought of my son when he was little. He was in cub scouts for three years and each summer we would go to camp where the boys would shoot arrows, go on hikes and bake bread over the camp fire. I use the term bread loosely in this narrative because it was composed of flour, water and salt, mixed quickly and placed in the embers of the fire. Forty five minutes later there was something in the pot that looked like hard tack and tasted like paper. The boys loved it, probably because it was slathered in butter and jam, and because they made it themselves. It was a great experience for them but barely counted as bread baking. Having raised my own son I realize that there was no possible way a 7 year old is going to sit still and appreciate a discussion on yeast fermentation producing CO2 as a leavening agent and lactic acid for flavor. They were far more interested in running around and poking each other with the sticks they were not supposed to collect on the nature hike.

This recipe was far and away a huge improvement over those scout days! It includes yeast and allows for about 5 hours of proofing to develop a wonderful flavor. Homemade Dutch Oven Bread is a lean dough so it only has flour, salt, yeast and water.

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600 grams of AP flour is mixed with 1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt

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2 cups of 100 degree F

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1 packet of active dry yeast is rehydrated in the 2 cups of temperature controlled water

A well is made in the center of the flour and salt and mixed until a shaggy dough forms.

The dough is covered and set in a draft free place for 1.5 to 2 hours.

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I usually cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then place a tea towel over the bowl.

The dough was punched down and allowed to proof for another 1.5 to 2 hours. After the second rising, the dough was removed and shaped into the boule form and placed in an oiled bowl and allowed to rise for an additional hour. While the dough proofed, a 6 quart Dutch oven was preheated at 450°F for 45 minutes. At the end of the fermentation period the boule was placed into the hot Dutch oven, covered for 30 min. After 30 minutes the cover is removed and the bread bakes for an additional 15 minutes to develop the top crust.

This bread had that artisanal  quality of crusty exterior and the toothsome internal quality that we look for when we want a great bread product. I was very happy with the result and do recommend this recipe. It was easy, well written and definitely worth the time!

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I hope you give this one a try!