You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘bread’ tag.

100_1682In the past few weeks I  somehow located a couple of indispensable   ingredients to emulate  a fantastic batch of Corona de Pane Siciliana, yesterday:  ‘The Crown’, a typical Sicilian bread.  The ingredients in question?   A finely milled Semolina flour, officially designated  with ‘Tipo 00′, which is a hard wheat (high gluten) popular in Italian kitchens- including pasta production- but most especially for bread-making in Sicily.  Sometimes referred to as ‘Double Zero’ in English – governed under state agricultural standards – similar to an appellation.  And then- unbleached bread flour?- there are always happy surprises in this world.  This is one of them.

I finally found my 2.2# bag of Double Zero at Cossetta’s in St. Paul for $4.36.  The price is a bit steep for the weight, but I estimated that I can make eight loaves of excellent bread, saving about $40-45 at the cash register.  A commercial loaf of Semolina bread in Minneapolis last week was $4.99-5.99.  Mine cost about $1 of ingredients

The second ingredient I discovered was Gold Medal’s UNBLEACHED bread flour ($3.89 at Rainbow Foods, Uptown).  I have used and have loved bread flour over the years, because it does makes a discernible difference in raised breads.  But I tended not to use it because it is hard to find organic, or at the very least unbleached.   I will be going back to this product often, because I have tended to make a lot of my own bread for the past 35 years- plus, this unbleached flour gave a richer color -and I believe superior flavor- to the final loaf.  Together, these two ingredients alone contributed to a baking of Italian style bread that I could not  have imagined coming out of my oven.

Some other elements helped to make this successful:  Malt powder, fresh (compressed) yeast, a wooden bread peel and baking stone.  Also, this bread only has a first and second rising; no third rising!  However, if you administer a redundant 2nd rising, this bread turns out to be very forgiving. 🙂  In jazz there are no mistakes, there are only opportunities.

Here’s the basic recipe, which I adjusted only merely from The Italian Baker, by Carol Field ( 1985, Harper & Row)

2-1/2 tsp active dry yeast or 2/3 oz (18 grams) fresh yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 tsp malt powder (I used Carnation Instant Malted Milk), plus 1/2 tsp sugar

1 cup water, room temperature

about 2-1/2 cups fine semolina flour (tipo 00, or double zero)

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp unbleached bread flour

2 tsp salt

1/3 cup sesame seed (use raw white sesame seed)

I used a counter-top mixer (Kitchen Aid) with a kneading hook attachment, and it worked beautifully.  In the mixing bowl, crumble the fresh  (or dried) yeast into the warm water and add the malt powder & sugar.  Add the remaining cup of room temperature water, and let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast has proofed.  Add olive oil to the yeast & water.

After you know the yeast has started working, combine your flours, and slowly begin to incorporate at medium low speed in your mixer.  When all the flour is in, increase speed to medium and slowly add salt, and knead with the dough hook until it yields an admirable, satiny, soft, sturdy dough.  This took only about 5 minutes with my machine.  Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and allow to rise for approximately 1-1/2 hours.

Punch down and knead the dough very slightly and allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes.  Now it is time to shape your loaves.  Now you can form Mafalda, Corona, or Occhi di Santa Lucia.  Here is how to make the Corona.  Divide the dough in half, and pat out each roughly into the shape of a rectangle- I think mine were about 4″ X 8″.  Now take your bench knife (or a regular knife) and tri-sect the rectangle, cutting the dough about 1/3 of the way toward the center.  Spread slightly apart, so that it resembles a three-toed bear claw pastry.  making Sicilian Bread again :)

I sprinkled my work-surface with a scattering of sesame seeds and placed the loaves on them.  Then lightly mist the top of the loaves with water and cover well with the remaining 1/4 cup of sesame.  I used a baking peel, sprinkled with a good dusting of regular semolina flour (or cornmeal) – so I put my loaves on the peel, covered it with plastic wrap, and covered that with a light kitchen towel.  If you are baking them on a baking sheet, instead of a baking stone, then place your bread directly on the baking sheet, which has been sprinkled with semolina (or cornmeal).  Allow to rise for 1-1/2 hours, or until double.

Preheat your oven to 425F for 20 minutes, with or without a baking stone, mist your bread with water & place  in the oven, misting them with water every 3 minutes thereafter, for the first 10 minutes.  Lower heat to 400F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes.  Cool on baking rack, and wait until the bread is completely cool before slicing.

100_1680

click on any photo to enlarge.

N.B.  The original recipe calls for malt syrup, which I didn’t possess for this baking… so I punted.  I will shop soon at a home-brewers shop to source this uncommon ingredient.  I think of malt syrup as a softer, rich, complex ingredient, as opposed to the plain, hard sweetness of cane sucrose.

Advertisements

I have a favorite bread recipe that I’ve used for decades – and I don’t usually follow recipes when I bake bread – which can be once a week.  This requires a 1-hour first proofing before shaping into loaves, so it’s quick.  It keeps well, but disappears quickly, it’s so delicious.  This Wholegrain Wheat Bread recipe comes from Mildred Ellen Orton’s “Cooking with WHOLEGRAINS, THE Basic WHOLEGRAIN COOKBOOK, NEW REVISED EDITION WITH NEW RECIPES $1.95“, originally published in 1951.  Quite a trailblazer.

1-1/2 c warm water

2-1/4 tsp (1 pkg) dry yeast

2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 c powdered milk

4+ c whole wheat flour

1/4 c brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 liquid shortening

I have halved the original recipe, so this will make 1 loaf pan, or 2 round loaves.

Dissolve yeast in the water, along with 2 tsp brown sugar, and allow to stand while mixing dry ingredients.  Combine 4 cups flour, with powdered milk, 1/4 c brown sugar and salt.

Add half of the flour mixture to the water – and I use an electric stand-mixer – mix thoroughly.  Add liquid shortening (I use ordinary vegetable oil) and remaining flour mixture.  For some reason I have found that sometimes I need at least another cup of flour to make a workable dough – it will be quite soft, but that’s ok.  I usually let the dough-hook knead for about 10 minutes when all the flour has been added.

Allow this to rise for an hour, punch down & separate into 2 equal parts.  Fit the two small loaves into a 9 x 5 buttered bread pan and allow to rise for another 1/2 hour.  The loaves may be separated after they have baked.  Or you can bake them as free-standing round loaves.

Bring oven to 400F and bake the bread for 15 minutes, reducing the heat to 350F.  Continue baking for 25-30 minutes.  Remove bread from pans immediately and place on wire cooling racks.  Brush tops with butter.

This bread makes unbelievably magnificent toast!

Cookbook Gazette from my bookshelves

Native:

Northwest Native Harvest, Carol Batdorf.  A beautiful publication by Hancock House & full of Indigenous food ingredients and approaches to traditional food preparation

Colonial

I will repeat a reference to:  The Little House Cookbook, by Barbara M. Walker.  This writer & historian has contributed something very important to the story of American Food

Groundbreaking publications (19/20Centuries)

The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (am I repeating myself again?), Fannie Merritt Farmer

Classic American

I’m including The Tassajara Bread Book (Edward Espe Brown) on this list, and if you don’t somehow find a copy, I’ll be mad at you.  This is why god made Ebay.  Any old copy will do, but plan to wear it out.

Comprehensive  Cuisine

The New York Times International Cook Book (I have a 1971 Edition).  A treasure trove of lots of recipes, adapted for American kitchens, and probably popular at your local country club 40 years ago, for all the right reasons.  Very good.  I love Craig Claiborne.

Vegetarian

Fast Vegetarian Feasts, by Martha Rose Shulman (her dad a well-known writer) is a book I’ve worn down to a nub.  Lots of wonderful, creative, delicious and informed, do-able recipes.

Baking

A World of Breads, Dolores Casella, AND a bonus amazing volume, A World of Baking (1966 & 68).  These are 2 books that inspired me in high school to pay attention to baking- besides the women in my family.

World Food

Himalayan Mountain Cookery:  A Vegetarian Cookbook, Martha Ballentine (1976).  Spiral-bound, priceless)

Reference

The Rituals of Dinner, Margaret Visser (ever wonder why you’re should scoop your soup away from you?  or why you keep your knife-blade pointed toward you?  It’s polite.)  My friend Hortensia gave me this book nearly 20 years ago.

Desserts

Sweet Maria’s Italian Cookie Tray, A Cookbook, Maria Bruscino Sanchez.  So many of my cookbook finds have been in used book-stores.  This is one of them. Classic Italian cookie making.  Great Biscotti recipes.

Food Writers

American Food, Evan Jones.  Paperback, stunning, informative, comprehensive, delicious, historical.

Quirks

Wild Foods Field Guid Cookbook:  An illustrated guide to 70 wild plants and over 350 irresistible recipes for serving them them up, Billy Joe Tatum.

Okay.  I have reduced my cookbook entries to one per category.  But I’m going to do it again, since I promised I would.  There are more where these came from, and I would marry any one of these books- but that’s impractical.