Beyond Bread

"I eat bread, therefore, I am." – Anthony Bourdain

“No Knead” Ciabatta

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Using the “no-knead” method, popularized by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, I went for a ciabatta this weekend.  There were a few adjustments I made to the recipe:

  1. I used 2/3 bread flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour, instead of 100% bread Flour.
  2. To develop the strength of the dough a bit, I used the “stretch-and-fold” technique several times throughout the 19-hour fermentation period.

Overall, I was pleased with the results.  The crumb had a nice open structure, with uneven holes throughout.  The crust was a bit thinner than I expected, and was hoping for a bit more oven spring.

For anyone looking to get into baking bread, this is a GREAT recipe to start with.  You can find the original no knead recipe here.

Ciabbata cooling down

Ciabbata cooling down

The crumb

The crumb

...and some more crumb

...and some more crumb

Written by mrosen814

October 11, 2009 at 9:49 am

Posted in Ciabatta

Results from the Baguette “Test”

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For the most part, I was pleased with the results.  

The day before I baked, I made the sponge, mixed, scaled, and formed the dough into the classic baguette shape.  I put in a lot of effort in creating as much surface tension as I could, otherwise, the finished product could be quite flat and blob-like.  I threw the shaped dough in the fridge, and forgot about it until the next morning.

After the loaves were finished baking the following morning, I was happy with the shape, color, and most of all, the nutty aroma that comes along with freshly baked french bread.  The texture of the crust worked for me as well.  However, the crumb needs to be improved, as it was missing that light airy quality that is so essential for baguettes.  I will tweak this recipe next weekend and try to go for that cloud-like baguette crumb I am after.

 

Fresh from the over: homemade baguettes

Fresh from the oven: homemade baguettes

Written by mrosen814

September 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Baguette, Experiment

Time to Experiment

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Time, or the lack there of, is a major issue for home bread bakers.  There is no doubt that more loaves of homemade bread would be produced if the process wasn’t so time consuming.  The scheduling involved with some bread recipes can be very challenging.

My goal as a home baker, is to have my finished dough ready to pop into the oven first thing in the morning, while getting a proper night’s sleep.  With bagels, I think this time table works really well.  I make the sponge, mix the dough, scale, and shape the night before, and the morning of, take the soon-to-be-bagels right from the fridge to the boiling water and bake.

Tonight, I will try the same process with traditional baguettes.  I’ll also be experimenting with an European style bread flour order from King Arthur Flour.

Results and photos to follow!

Shaping a baguette

Shaping a baguette

Written by mrosen814

September 26, 2009 at 8:17 am

Posted in Bagels, Baguette, Experiment

Kids bake too!

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After chatting with a friend about the idea of starting a small baking school, she gave me the idea of designating 1-2 classes per month for parents and their kids.  I think this is a great idea! I used to teach kids cooking classes at an after school program a few years back, and the kids LOVED getting into the food.  Moving forward, Beyond Bread: A Baking School, will reach out to adults and children alike, focused on the art of baking both quick and yeast breads.

Feel free to contact me to get involved: michael.rosen@live.com

…or check out my Facebook page.

Rolling out some dough

Rolling out some dough

Written by mrosen814

September 22, 2009 at 10:08 am

Posted in Baking School

Rosen’s Bagels

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With a bit more time to focus on bread, I have been refining weekend over weekend my bagel recipe.  Here is a photo from my most recent bagel bake:

Freshly baked homemade bagels

Freshly baked homemade bagels

I’ve rolled these bagels with my new favorite rolling technique.  This involves rolling each 4.5 ounce piece of dough into an 8-inch log.  Then wrapping that log around the hand, and rolling to seal.  This works really well, and shapes the bagels beautifully I think.

The primary criticism I get when people taste these bagels is that the crust is a bit “tough.”  I am still trying to figure out what exactly that means, and how can I make a more pleasing crusty texture.

Written by mrosen814

September 22, 2009 at 12:50 am

Posted in Bagels

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Beyond Bread: A Baking School

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I’ve decided to share my bread baking hobby with anyone willing to learn.   To date, I am unable to find affordable bread baking classes in the Los Angeles area; enter Beyond Bread. :)

Here’s the deal.  Each class we’ll explore and dissect all aspects of a specific type of bread.  Then, we’ll work our way through the recipe and enjoy the fruits of our labor at the end of the session.

We’re all about a hands-on bread baking experience coupled with a relaxed learning environment.

Classes are limited in size to allow everyone to get right into the dough.

As of now, classes will be held 1-2 times per month. Prices are $30 per person for adult classes and $40 for kid’s classes (1 parent + 1 child) that will include:

  • Drinks and delicious snacks
  • Step-by-step bread baking instruction
  • All materials and products
  • Bread to take home
  • A cool kitchen to learn about everything bread!

Feel free to contact me for more info: michael.rosen@live.com

Check out my Facebook page here.

Inside a Baguette

Inside a Baguette

Written by mrosen814

September 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Posted in Baking School

Rosh Hashanah Challah

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This past weekend was the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year).  As with many Jewish holidays, the focus is largely around, “what are we going to eat?”  On the Jewish new year, it is customary to eat a round challah, as it symbolizes the circle of life and the cycle of a new year.  So, I opted for baking the challah this year, and was really happy with the results; not too sweet and just the right amount of richness.  From start to finish, the process took approximately 24-hours…well worth it. :)

Rosh Hashanah challah straight out of the oven

Rosh Hashanah challah straight out of the oven

The mosit challah crumb

The mosit challah crumb

Written by mrosen814

September 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Challah

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