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

 

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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!

Artisan Bread from your home oven!

Of all the items I enjoy baking, artisan bread is far and above the top of the list! The culinary program where I was enrolled offered many, wonderful courses and I learned a great deal from each one. But Artisan bread baking was my favorite. We used 20-quart mixers and rotating shelf ovens with a stone platform and the ovens had steam injection options. My home oven is, well, normal and does not have any of those features that produce a crackling crust and the wonderful chewy internal texture that are synonymous with artisan bread. I have spent many hours (and more than a few dollars) to turn my normal oven into the best artisan bread production center possible. I am pretty happy with the results so far, but am always on the lookout for a better upgrade.

Now that the craziness of the holidays is dying down I wanted to get back to baking some of my favorites. The first on the list is Ciabatta, Italy’s answer to the French Baguette. This bread, like many other artisan bread begins with a preferment (more later).

I want to take a moment to talk about lean bread dough. A lean dough is when a recipe only calls for flour, yeast, salt and water. Since there are so few ingredients each is vital to the finished product, as is the ratio in which they are combined. I am rather picky about my bread flour and often order it on the internet. One of my best go to product is King Arthur Flour, which is found in many grocery stores. The specialty flours I have to order, for this ciabatta I am using this blend.

 

This has 11.7% protein content, a good medium strength flour for this recipe.

 

 

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This stores for long periods of time, does not require dissolving and I use it interchangeably when recipes call for active yeast, I have found no need to convert measurements. For the salt, I like to use Kosher and, unless stated in the recipe, use temperature controlled water.

Back to the preferment!

If you have made french baguettes than you may be familiar with the poolish, which is made from equal parts flour and water and used within a short time frame, generally 2-3 hours. A biga is only 30% water to flour and requires a much longer fermentation time, generally 18 to 24 hours, depending on the ambient temperature. I started my biga at 6:00pm the night before by mixing 737g (13oz) bread flour, 199ml (6.6fl. oz.) 80°F water and a pinch (~1/8 t) instant yeast in my 6 quart stand mixer.

 

 

 

Once combined, the biga was left covered at room temperature until 2pm the next day.

 

 

 

By the end of fermentation the biga should have risen and begun to recede, and appear bubbly and airy. This took 20 hours in my rather cool kitchen!

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Now you are ready to mix the dough. You will need the rest of the flour, water, instant yeast and salt. The full recipe is at the end of the post.

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I combined the biga, water and salt with the dough hook attachment on my 6 quart kitchen aid set on low to begin mixing, then added the flour and yeast to form this wet, slack dough. Artisan dough is wet by definition, you do not want to add more flour at this point, resist the temptation! After the dough is combined, transfer to a large bowl to bulk ferment until doubled, ~ 30 min.

 

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I sprinkled a little flour around the outer edge of the bowl, to help with the transfer to the counter later and a little on the top to help prevent drying out. I covered the bowl with plastic and a tea towel and placed it in a draft free area.

 

 

 

Everything up to this point has been fairly standard bread making, until now. This is where traditional bread and artisan bread become quite different. If you were making a standard loaf you would add enough flour so you could pull out the dough and knead it until it held your final shape. The key to artisan bread is to retain as much hydration (water content) as possible. You will not be able to knead this dough, instead you will be doing a series of stretch and fold techniques.

First transfer the dough to a floured surface. I find that my plastic bowl scraper works best for this process.

 

 

The dough will feel like jelly and be quite sticky. Using floured hands, lift one end and stretch the dough as you fold it back over the midline.

 

 

Repeat with the other side. fold-1k

Now you have completed 1 fold. Rotate the dough 90° and begin fold #2

 

 

Then return the dough to the bowl for the second fermentation (another 30 minutes). You need to do one more stretch and fold after the second fermentation. Then it is time to shape your bread.

Each time you fold then rest the dough, it will begin to hold its shape better as the proteins align and strengthen.

 

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The bread is still too fragile for a rolling pin and you need to take care to avoid tearing it with your fingers. Working with the palms, stretch the dough into a rectangle.

 

I decided to make two full loaves and six buns.

 

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Using a bench scraper, I divided the dough through the middle, into two halves. I set one half aside for the buns, and split the other half, longitudinally, reshaped into rectangles and placed on a couche. A couche is a floured, cloth that allows the dough to proof and will be useful in transferring to the oven later.

 

 

 

The other half of the dough was also split longitudinally, then sectioned into three rolls each, yielding 6 rolls total and placed in the couche.

 

 

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The bread was covered with a tea towel and allowed to proof for another 45 min.

While the bread proofed, I turned my attention to the oven. In order to mimic the oven found in a professional bakery I had to purchase a home oven baking stone. I bought mine from Breadtopia.com another one of my favorite websites!

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I leave my stone in at all times to help it cure, but only use the surface directly for my bread baking. To mimic the steam environment, I purchased a smoker box from Home Depot and filled it with volcanic rock. I load the stone with my bread and pour a cup of cold water into the smoker box, then quickly close the oven door to keep the steam inside. Resist the urge to open the door in the first 10 to 15 minutes of baking to prevent the humidity from escaping!

Now it is finally time to transfer the bread to the oven. A few key tips and tools for this process! A baguette flipping board will come in handy, and again, I bought mine from Breadtopia.

Transfer the bread to the baguette board that has been dusted with flour.

 

 

Flip the bread onto a pizza peel or a sheet pan for loading on the pizza stone. Dusting the surface with semolina flour or cornmeal will allow the bread to slide off the surface onto the baking stone.

 

 

 

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The loaves will slide off the cornmeal dusted surface quite easily

The bread needs to bake for about 30 minutes or until desired color is achieved. I like my bread on the darker side.

 

 

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I hope you are inspired to try some artisan bread baking at home!

Ciabatta Bread

  • Servings: 4 loaves or 2 loaves and 6 large sandwich rolls
  • Difficulty: moderate to advanced
  • Print

This Ciabatta recipe produces a wonderful crusty exterior and a soft, chewy interior. This bread hold up well to saucy ingredients such as pulled pork or barbecue and pairs well with your wine and cheese tray.

Credit: Baking and Pastry textbook 

Ingredients

-Ciabatta  Makes 4 1/2 lbs of dough (2.02 kg)

For the Biga:

-13 oz or 368.5g Bread flour

-6.6 fl. oz. or 199ml water (60°F/16°C)

-a pinch of instant yeast

 

 

For the Final dough:

-1 lb 10.8oz or 0.76kg Bread flour

-1/4oz or 3.5 g Instant yeast

-22.6 fl. oz or 680ml water, temperature controlled to ~80°F/26°C)

-Biga from the day before

-1 oz or 28.5g salt 

Directions

  1. Prepare Biga the night before. combine flour, water and yeast and mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment for 3 minutes, or until combined thoroughly. Transfer to a container, cover and ferment at 75°F/24°C for 18 to 24 hours, until bigs has begun to recede; it should be airy and bubbly.
  2. Prepare the final dough. combine the flour and yeast and set aside. place the biga, water and salt in the mixer and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Then add the flour and yeast and continue to mix on low for 4 minutes and then medium speed for 1 minute. Dough should be combined by still slack and very wet.
  3. Bulk ferment in a tub or bowl until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Begin the stretch and folds by folding gently in half four times (it should feel like jelly). Ferment for another 30 minutes. Fold in half again, gently, two times. Allow to ferment for another 15 minutes.
  4. Place the dough onto a floured surface and, using the palms of your hands, gently stretch the dough into a rectangle. Be careful to avoid tearing the dough with your fingertips. Divide the dough into desired shapes and place onto a floured lined couche. Gently reshape as needed.
  5. Proof, covered, until the dough spring back slowly to the touch but does not collapse, 30-45 minutes. While the bread proofs, preheat the oven to 460°F/238°C. Lightly flour the top of the dough, flip each ciabatta over onto a floured transfer board and slide each one onto the floured peel.
  6. Load the ciabatta into the oven and add steam. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the ciabatta sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on racks.