dianeduane: (New DD Av)
Possibly the most photogenic bread I've ever baked

To the right: Possibly the most photogenic bread I’ve ever baked on Flickr.

This is the bread I make when I need plain white bread for everyday sandwich or toast purposes. It has a lovely crumb and is a substantial bread, not an airy-fairy "pan loaf" of the type too damn common in British and Irish supermarkets. (Which is not to mean that it’s one of those loaves you make that refuses to rise and which you therefore desperately characterize as “substantial” so people will think you meant it to come out that way.)

The basic recipe came from the website of Bäckerei Sieber in Au, a town in Canton St. Gallen in Switzerland. The recipe itself is for Tessinerbrot or “bread from Ticino”; down in that southern canton the Roman breadmaking techniques have persisted unusually tenaciously. Since Roman bread had a deserved reputation for being very high-end indeed -- a reputation which Spanish-bred bakers brought to it -- this is a good thing.

The peculiarity about this recipe (from the home baker’s point of view, anyway) is that the recipe manages its ingredients by mass rather than volume. This is how professional bakers do things, though, at least in Switzerland: it seems to get around the problem of how much moisture your local flour is in a mood to absorb today. One caveat: this dough tends toward the wet and sticky end of the bread dough spectrum, so it’s really easier made in a mixer with a dough hook.  Also, I sometimes bake this using the bake-it-in-a-preheated-pot technique which derives from the famous Lahey no-knead bread recipe. Pot baking produces a good high rise with little work, and with a really nice crust. (Though sometimes the old-fashioned loaf pan technique produces very superior results, as above. The Bread Fairy was really sitting on my shoulder that day.)

This recipe makes one big loaf. I’ve baked this in anything from a Romertopf to a single US-style loaf pan to a 3-liter lidded casserole of enamelled cast iron. This recipe branches several times: think of it as a Choose-Your-Own-Bread story.

The ingredients:

Read more... )
dianeduane: (New DD Av)
I was making bread the other day and suddenly found a finger in it.

...Cognitively speaking. (Not a real finger, don't panic....) But writers' brains are such strange places sometimes. Here's today's example.

My short-term memory is a constant joke around here. You can (as happened this morning) tell me that the weather station's batteries are kaput and can't be charged in the normal battery recharger, meaning they have to be put into one of the more technologically challenged ones... and I will still, two hours later, look at the weather station and remark, "Oh look, its batteries have finally gone south" -- to the sound of ironic laughter from Himself Upstairs. (And I'll then recall the whole previous conversation perfectly well, but will have mislaid it between times.) Some of this is Not Paying Attention, but other aspects of it are just Sixtyish Brain Fail.

However. Ask me for a quote from a book I read forty years ago, and no problem, there it is. As you shall hear...

So I'm working with this recipe from Raymond Blanc for the first time, because the other evening I went to sleep with the TV running (I sometimes do) and it was showing an episode of Blanc's "Kitchen Secrets" series from last year, the one about bread. Now, bread is a passion with me. (A master post about this will turn up in a day or three so I don't keep losing some of the links I keep looking for.) Bad bread is everywhere -- I can't think of another place where Sturgeon's Law applies so rigorously; in bread's case it's because of the pestilent ubiquity of something called the Chorleywood Bread Process. (More about this in another post, but originally this process was devised as a way to make decent bread in large quantities from the soft wheats that are all that will grow in the British Isles. It uses yeast as a flavoring rather than as a way to develop the bread naturally: gluten is developed in this process by violent physical agitation and the addition of ever-increasing types and amounts of additives. Ick.)
Read more... )

May 2017

14151617 181920


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 24th, 2017 09:35 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios