p3: Cheesy White Loaf Bread

#23, Cheese-ish White Loaf

Garlic-Cheese-BreadI was requested to do some bread baking this past weekend to go with a Chicken Dumpling Soup family dinner. Didn’t feel like doing anything special, just a simple fresh baked, hot loaf Milk Bread would be AWESOME, so I never even thought I’d do a blog post on it. But then the idea got in my head to make it a bit different, try a little experiment if you will. See what happens if I add some cheese in the bread, both directly and sprinkled in before rolling. Sounds tasty, still fits the occasion, and IF it works out well enough then I have an excuse to do some writing. Clearly it didn’t backfire so immensely, so here I am. Didn’t use any special cheese, just some mass-produced shredded ‘monterey-like’ thing we keep in the fridge on hand, but it worked for now.

Recipe
2 tsp/0.22oz Yeast
1 5/8 cups/13oz Milk, Lukewarm
4¾ cup/21.5oz Bread Flour
1½ tsp/0.38oz Salt
¼ cup/1.33oz Powdered Milk
3¼ Tb/1.66oz Sugar
2 large Eggs
3¼ Tb/1.66oz Butter, room temp or melted
½-1 cup Shredded Cheese

Directions

  1. Bloom Yeast in the Milk at least 5 minutes, until soft a starting to lightly foam/bubble20160124_123020
  2. In a stand mixing bowl, mix together the Flour, Salt, Powdered Milk, and Sugar, followed by the yeasted milk, 1 Egg, and Butter20160124_123141
  3. With a paddle attachment, stir on low speed [may want to pulse initially] until it all comes together in a ball
  4. Switch to dough hook, increasing mixing speed to medium, letting it go for about 4-5 minutes until almost completely kneaded, adding any extra flour to make sure the dough clears the sides while sticking just slightly to the bottom of the bowl20160124_123718
  5. When it ALMOST clears the windowpane test, add in about half or more of your shredded cheese, letting it go until fully incorporated20160124_123947
  6. Transfer to lightly-oiled bowl, covering tight with plastic wrap and leaving to ferment 1½-2 hours, or until doubled in size20160124_141918
  7. Remove and shape into a nice, tight, smooth Boule. Mist lightly with spray oil, loosely cover, and let rest on the counter 20 minutes for glutens to relax and more fermentation20160124_142130
  8. Start to shape this into a loaf by pressing and pushing into a large, rectangular shape, pressing down with fingers to de-gas as one does so. Sprinkle thoroughly with most of the rest of your cheese20160124_144303
  9. Roll up, pressing the edge tightly with each turn to stretch the dough taught. Once rolled completely and tightly sealed, transfer to your loaf pan. Spray with oil, loosely cover, and proof one to one and a half hours or until doubled once more20160124_144502
  10. Preheat oven to 350F
  11. Vigorously beat your other egg with a teaspoon of water to make an Egg Wash. Brush this over the top of your risen dough, sprinkling with some more cheese to top20160124_154916
  12. Transfer to oven, baking about 35-45 minutes, turning halfway through, or until deep golden brown all around and gives a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom20160124_163605
  13. Leave to cool for an hour or more on a rack before slicing and serving as desired
  14. Enjoy

20160124_164145What Have I Learned This Time?

That my prediction of what would happen with the cheese-sprinkled-before-rolling technique was spot on; I figured there was a good chance it would create a little gap, so I’m glad I controlled the final amount like I did. That said, MORE CHEESE needed; it sadly didn’t come out as much as I wanted, so I need to add more INTO the dough. It seems like it could easily take more, as the final result even with the ¼-½  cup I had in there didn’t really affect the texture. Obviously a better, stronger flavored cheese would work better too.

There ARE notable results to forgetting the salt… which yes, I accidentally did here. Structure and quality wise it’s just as good, the same. But I did notice that the dough seemed to be ready with its fermenting/proofing periods earlier than stated. Not to mention the bread TASTED rather plain and ‘underseasoned.’ Still good of course, especially with butter and while warm.

20160124_163540Found a decent way to keep the bread warm for an extended period if needed [such as waiting for dinner]. Loose aluminum foil wrapping and inside the warm oven, actually didn’t negatively affect the product, at least not in any significant way that I noticed.

And finally, there actually IS such as a thing as too much dough in these recipes for my loaf pan; I probably should have cut a bit off for a separate bake like I usually do. Clearly one can see the overextending sides, which still baked up nice and well, but interestingly enough I found issues removing it from the pan for the first time. Some of it stuck to the sides and bottom, thus I didn’t care as much about cutting into it while still hot as the solidity was already ‘compromised,’ though questions still about as to how much this issue had to do with the cheese inside. Either way, good to know that I SHOULD ensure it keeps to the similar limit as I’ve randomly done before.

Any Thoughts?

The crust was awesome. Even after sitting it out for a while it stayed nice and crunchy. And the cheese sprinkled on top! Truthfully it was sort of right at the edge of ‘too much,’ and certainly wasn’t like ‘extra cheese’ and more like ‘cheezit/baked cheese cracker’ flavors, which is fun as a crust.

Does the Dough Like Me Yet?

Seems to prefer the comfortable ‘safe zone’ in this relationship and isn’t quite ready for kinky experimentation… YET.

p3: Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

img_6469-version-2#21, Cinnamon “Raisin” Walnut Bread

I’ve had the house to myself for a while, need some loaf bread around, and it’s the holiday season so I’ve got to make something at least semi-suitable. Well truthfully I just wanted to make something simple, like a loaf bread, that I could turn into a project article and didn’t feel like doing any of my past recipes. And as I’m flipping through the book, I come across a recipe that I had completely forgot to take under my wing; I planned on making it at an early point but had yet to get around to it. Considering the time of year and need for something a bit simple, it seemed right to make a big loaf of Cinnamon Walnut Raisin Bread for the house; good on its own and interestingly versatile in the sandwich game. Not to mention I DID just recently receive a bag of organically small-farmed walnuts… had to crack the damn things myself, took two days, but they were worth it!

Thoug20151206_114957h of course I don’t actually HAVE any raisins… which is why we improvise, there being quite the simple solution here. It WAS a good way to use up all the leftover dried fruit I had from my yearly fruitcake making. With luck, my mixture of dates, figs, dried apples and walnuts, matched with this homemade recipe, can put the many horrible memories of childhood daycare cinnamon bread ‘snack times’ to proper shame.

 

20151206_115043Recipe
3½ cups/16oz Bread Flour
4 tsp/0.66oz Sugar
1¼ tsp/0.31oz Salt
2 tsp/0.22oz Dry Yeast
1¼ tsp/0.16oz Cinnamon
1 Large Egg
2 Tb/1oz Butter, room temp
½ cup/4oz Buttermilk or Whole Milk, room temp
¾ cup/6oz Water, room temp
1½ cups/9oz Raisins or other Dried Fruit [chopped if large]
1 cup/4oz Toasted, Chopped Walnuts

Directions

  1. Stir Flour, Sugar, Salt, Yeast, and Cinnamon in stand mixer bowl20151206_115658
  2. Add Egg, Butter, Buttermilk, and Water, mixing on low until everything comes together in a moist lump20151206_120803
  3. Switch to a dough hook and mix on medium, adding flour as needed if dough is too sticky, until it starts to get soft and pliable20151206_121036
  4. When it seems close to done, about 6-7 minutes-ish, add in Walnuts and your Dried Fruit of choice, mixing until everything is fully incorporate and fully kneaded, 1-2 minutes20151206_121852
  5. Transfer to oiled bowl, covering with cling wrap and bulk fermenting at room temp up to 2 hours, or until doubled in size20151206_141824
  6. Divide dough in 2 equal pieces or use it all for a bigger loaf, dimpling down to briefly degas before shaping into a loaf as directed Here. Place the shaped dough into a thoroughly oil-misted loaf pan, loosely covering with plastic20151206_142228
  7. Proof 60-90 minutes, until nearly doubled in size and risen above the edge of the pan
  8. Heat oven to 350F, moving the loaf pans on a sheet tray for baking20151206_153341
  9. Cook for 20 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, and continue for a further 20-30 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding when bottom is thumped
  10. Remove from oven and pans, placing bread on cooling rack for at least an hour before eating
  11. Slice and enjoy!

20151206_212936

What Have I Learned This Time?

I think I’ve noticed a trend in the fruit+nut-filled breads, mainly in the definite need for one to fold in as much mix-ins and other flavorings as possible. Truly they’re the main performers, for in all cases I’ve found so far the bread ON ITS OWN, if tried fruit-free, has felt very much on the plain/boring, if not even under-seasoned side. In the future, I believe I can improve this by increasing the salt additions for flavor, really felt like it needed it here alongside more cinnamon, but it’s just an interesting pattern of note. Though I’d bet a proper Panettone might be pretty darn good on its own… but there ARE always exceptions to every situation. But the main thing I took from it is that, in these recipes from here on out, I want to try to maximize the workable amount of mix-ins to as high as I possibly can without ruining the composition. If anything, it’ll just be awesome loading them up with goodies.

I’m not sure if this counts in this area, but after looking through pictures, it seems as if many a cinnamon-bread has a distinctive swirl going through it. That wasn’t achieved here, and I’m wondering if that is best done through rolling it even tighter, to create more ‘layering,’ or if I should just try dusting it with cinnamon before shaping a-la Caramel Rolls. Hopefully I’ll get to try.

Any Thoughts?

Not really… though I did REALLY enjoy the distinctly crisp texture on the outside. Not sure if it was natural with the bread or if I ended up over-kneading it, but I liked it! Money’s on the sugar addition helping it out though.

And yes, before those who’ve read these posts before [rare as you may be], I did end up forgetting to take a couple pics after it was baked.

Does the Dough Like Me Yet?

It turned a bit ugly, but I think the fruit made sure the loaf bread is still sweet on me.

p3: Mini Light Wheat Loaves

#4, Light Wheat Bread (Mini-Loaves)

wheatSo I’m watching a relative’s house for a while, wasn’t actually sure if I wanted to do a bread this particular week, especially after spending my Sunday on French Onion Soup. But I still had a Monday completely free, and I could always use something for sandwiches and other fun uses; or just some hot bread out of the oven for craving munchies. Here’s the caveat: No Cuisinart to bring with me and use. So yes, if I do have tackle a bread recipe, it means facing down my arch nemesis… Hand Kneading. That slick, evil bastard… always mocking me in times past…

Well I’ll show him! I’ve learned some of his weaknesses and tricks to making this bastard bow down before my palms! How hard can it be now right?

Well I guess that probably depends on the recipe. Considering my change in environment, need to knead, lack of resources, and brief opportunity, I figured it best to start off with one of the more simplistic recipes that I could easily do within a day start to finish. I debated one of the brioche or something, but thus did I then fall upon the page for Light Wheat Bread. A straightforward guy to test myself with, plus it will be useful to have around the house (which is of course bereft of any bread products).

20150504_122847And there was a couple other benefits. We’ve had a thing of wheat flour in the cupboard for months that has needed using. Not to mention it finally forced me to go out and buy powdered milk, something I’ll probably need for a couple recipes, and which I have REALLY wanted around to try for ice cream (apparently there are a lot of good ones which use it, I’ve been wanting to see what the affects are).

For a fun little twist, and so my attempt on it wasn’t SO boring (besides the whole kneading thing), the place I’m staying at only had those tiny cornbread loaf tins. So I get to try my hands at making mini bread loaves! I’m sure they’ll end up quite useful, not to mention adorable. Just need a little adjustment of heat and time, from 350F for half an hour (huh, now I’m rereading the recipe and it was actually 45-60… damn) to 375F for 20 minutes, and that should do the trick.

Recipe
2½ cups/11.25 oz Bread Flour
1½ cups/6.75 oz Whole Wheat Flour
1½ Tb/0.75 oz Honey or Sugar
1½ tsp/.38 oz Salt
3 Tb/1 oz Powdered Milk
1½ tsp/0.17 oz Dry Yeast
2 Tb/1 oz Shortening or Butter, room temp
1¼ cups/10 oz Water, room temp

Directions

  1. Stir together Flours, Salt, Powdered Milk, Yeast, and Sugar (if using)20150504_123412
  2. Add Shortening, Water, and Honey (if using) 20150504_124033
  3. Stir until it all comes together in a mass, adding more water if flour still remains in bowl bottom. The dough should still be ‘soft and supple,’ mainly trying to avoid any stiff and tough feel20150504_124458
  4. Transfer to floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes, until slightly tacky, smoothish, firm, and can pass the windowpane test20150504_125138
  5. Lightly oil large bowl, and transfer dough, rolling to coat. Cover with plastic and let bulk ferment 1½ – 2 hours, until doubled in size20150504_125619
  6. Remove from bowl, divide into 3-4 pieces for each small loaf pan (or use whole dough for a larger 8½” x 4½”)20150504_143002
  7. Roll and/or shape into a ¾” rectangle and form into a Loaf (see Anadama for technique), transfer to loaf pan and mist with spray oil20150504_143248
  8. Cover plastic, let Proof 90 minutes, it should crest above the lip of the pan20150504_155302
  9. Preheat oven to 375F, rack on middle shelf
  10. Move bread in oven and bake 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees after 10 minutes depending on oven distribution20150504_162838
  11. When finished baking, immediately remove from loaf pan, let cool or slice immediately for warm chunks of bread to be buttered and sandwiched20150504_162353
  12. Enjoy

What Have I Learned This Time?

That it really DOES look better and nice when you get a loaf dough that rises above the pan like it’s supposed to.

20150505_105908The life of the bread extends much further once it’s cooled down; seriously, hot out of the oven, I chowed down almost an entire mini-loaf right there, taking off big ol slabs for butter and such. This morning, cool out of the bag, it was much easier to only take off thin slices for a perfect mini sandwich (oh, you thought I was talking about ‘expiration date’ shelf life things? How ridiculous, we all know fresh bread disappears MUCH faster by mouth than by mold and staleness in my presence). Speaking of which, it’s DEFINITELY awesome and perfect for those sandwiches.

Light wheat bread really isn’t wheaty at all, nowhere close to what I was hoping. I should try finding a darker wheat bread recipe at some point; still got all that extra wheat flour after all.

Any Thoughts?

There WAS part of it that felt a touch doughy/floury when eaten, though to be fair that WAS when I was taking big bites out of it. It IS a typical loaf bread after all, not meant to be eaten that way like my previous breads. Not to mention I actually feel any main undesirable effects that may have been there (if any) was probably due to specific recipe and ingredients vs execution this time around. Not that I think I did it perfect.

But ultimately I was very happy with how this turned out. I have passed the first kneading test! Wooooh!

20150504_163203

Does the Dough Like Me Yet?

It seems to appreciate my efforts at hand kneading, though it either mocks my flours, the recipe chosen, or simply my face.

p3: Anadama

#1, Anadama

Alright, my first recipe! I didn’t want to keep it too boring and simple, so no basic table bread for now, but I should probably also wait a little bit or so before tackling things with a bit more involvement like baguettes. And I recently made a version of brioche, so that style of bread is set off for at least another week. Luckily for me, the first recipe of the book found itself to be absolutely ideal for my needs. A mostly typical, simple fermentation loaf recipe, so an easier one to start with, but with a few little flavors and steps unique enough to make it interesting. Not to mention it has molasses, and I LOVE molasses.

anadSupposedly created by a Massachusetts man pissed off at his wife for leaving him, angrily muttering “Anna, damn ‘er!” while working some cornmeal and molassess, the only things she left behind, with flour and yeast. This, over time, turned into Anadama (apparently it’s the locals fault), a slightly darker table bread with just a hint of extra mealiness from the accompanying cornmeal. Normally, it’s made as a direct-dough (simple yeast starter to dough, rise and shape and proof and bake), but the book recipe soaks the cornmeal beforehand for particular effects (mentioned later).

Being my first recipe, I should note that, when possible, I always follow my initial measurement purely and exactly on weight as opposed to cup/spoon (only exception was the yeast, since that was so light). And though I’m leaving it out of the recipe, you should always keep Spray Oil (whether you have your own oil pump or use Pam) on hand for these recipes; apparently it’s used quite often in the final proof.

Recipe
1 cup/6 oz Cornmeal, Coarse Grind
1 cup/8 oz Water, Room Temp
4½ cups/20.25 oz Unbleached Bread Flour
2 tsp/0.22 oz Instant/Active Dry Yeast
1 cup/8 oz Water, Lukewarm (90-100F)
1½ tsp.0.38 oz Salt
6 Tb/4 oz Molasses
2 Tb/1 oz Shortening
Cornmeal for Dusting (Optional)

Directions

  1. Mix Cornmeal and first cup Water in small bowl, cover with tight lid of plastic wrap, and let sit overnight at room temperature.20150412_110214
  2. When ready to start, stir 2 cups (about 9oz ish) Flour, the Yeast, Lukewarm Water, and your Soaker in bowl.20150412_111030
  3. Cover with towel or plastic, let ferment 1 hour, until it starts to bubble.20150412_140057
  4. Add remaining Flour, Salt, Molasses, and Shortening, stirring with hand or mixing on Low speed in mixer until it forms a Ball. Add any extra water or flour as needed for this, making a soft, slightly sticky form.20150412_142423
  5. Mix on Medium Speed with dough hook or knead on floured surface until it turns into a firm, supple and pliable dough. This should take 6-8 minutes in Mixer and 10 minutes by Hand. Add flour as necessary during process to make sure it’s tacky but not sticky.20150412_145403
  6. Transfer to Lightly Oiled bowl, briefly rolling/turning around to coat with the oil. Cover plastic and bulk ferment about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.20150412_161508
  7. Remove onto floured surface, dividing and weighing on scale to fit the desired loaf pan: 16oz for 8”½x4½“, 24oz for 9”x5”, or in my case about 28oz(maybe more) for a 10”x5”.20150412_162156
  8. Shape dough as desired. For standard Loaf Form, flatten and fold dough so it forms a 5”x6-8” rectangle.20150412_162317
  9. Starting from the short end, starting rolling dough up one bit at a time, pinching the crease into the flat dough so as to help stretch it taught. Seal the final seam close with thumbs or back of your hand, and rock loaf to even it out. By now it should have widened an inch or two; make sure the ends aren’t tapered.20150412_162417
  10. Transfer to your lightly oiled Loaf Pan, mist the top with Spray Oil and loosely cover pan with plastic.20150412_162552
  11. Proof 60-90 minutes, until doubled or, ideally, crested fully above the top of the pans (which I’m now realizing mine may not have had enough dough to do, my bad).20150412_173355
  12. Preheat oven to 350F
  13. Mist top of your loaf/ves with Water and dust with Cornmeal if desired (by the way, I DID end up making a separate free-formed loaf with extra for fun, the one I scored). Transfer, on a sheet pan, into oven and bake 20 minutes.20150412_173336
  14. Rotate pan, bake additional 20-30 minutes, until loaves are golden, registerat least 185-190F in the center, and make a hollow sound when thumped on bottom.20150412_181548
  15. Remove immediately from pans and “cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.”20150412_181608
  16. OR you could stop being a square and slice the bread immediately to actually ENJOY its awesomeness hot and toasty right out of the oven, with butter of all things. I mean come on… don’t be a monster.

What Have I Learned This Time?

That there is such a thing as Over Kneading, I mean what the hell, and it’s super easy to go over into it without noticing if you haven’t added enough flour (even though the recipe amounts are being followed EXACTLY, I mean come on!). Oh, also, apparently I also need to not be afraid to let loose with the flour if I have ANY doubts from now on. I would imagine it’s a better option to have to add water to a dough that is obviously a bit too firm than let the machine go an extra 10 minutes on the CHANCE it just needs more kneading, risking over-kneading again.

20150412_110355I’ve learned to actually pay some damn attention EVERY instruction; apparently I put the molasses in one step too early… and I graduated from culinary school. Aren’t I just applying my degree and studies wonderously? Thankfully I don’t think that actually set anything back, so I was lucky this time!

Which means I also learned that I can get away with shit! Which is a VERY dangerous thing for me… let’s hope I can beat it out of myself soon.

That there’s such a thing as a Soaker method/technique and why it’s used; to break more sugars free from complex carbohydrates such as cornmeal and help improve the flavor.

Finally, I learned that two big loaves of fresh bread actually don’t stay around as long as I thought they would… so I guess I don’t have to worry about making too much! Especially when we can cut it thick, toast it, and top it with butter to enjoy the uniquely crispy-crunchy texture with hints of cornmeal. Mmmmmm mmm good.

20150412_181751Any Thoughts?

Interestingly, I could swear that something about this bread almost reminds me of this subtle aroma of onions… not that I mind. Eating it also reminds me of the flavor of those cheap, market pantry ‘wheat’ breads after toasting, which I basically lived off of for a time. Only, you know, much better… like the difference between Oscar Mayer Bologna and fine Mortadella. It is a shame the molasses flavor doesn’t come through as much as I crave, but I know it notably affected the palate… and it smelled so good and noticeable when working in the dough stages.

Does the Dough Like Me Yet?

Hell No, but I think it felt some pity for me later on and decided to finish up nicely.