Tag Archives: yeastbread

Walnut Raisin Bread

Wow, this bread is seriously good! When I showed it to my friend LazyEaterSF, she was like, “It looks like real bread.” It does, doesn’t it?

I found the recipe on Bakies blog and I believe the original is from British Larder. It’s a great recipe, though  I encountered some difficulties with the amounts, probably due to conversion to cups. Maybe my Recipe Converter app is off. Anyway, this always seems to happen when trying to convert measurements. The dry to liquid ingredients wasn’t right, so I ended up adding about 1 cup more water than was specified. Also, my dough took a lot more time to proof than was stated in the original. This is probably because I don’t have instant yeast and only have active dry at home. In any case, I let the dough proof overnight and then divided it into two and let it rise another 2 or so hours until doubled in size.

I did make a few ingredient changes: used all white flour instead of half wheat, but only because I didn’t have any wheat on hand. I also replaced half the original amount of walnuts with raisins.

*All changes – converted amounts and added ingredients are reflected in the recipe below.

One thing, no, two things I love about this recipe are 1) the poolish or starter or whatever you call it was fast acting  (not overnight) and 2) I could dump all the ingredients into my Kitchen Aid, including nuts and raisin, and leave everything to mix on its own. Super easy.

Apart from measurement conversion issues, the bread is everything I hoped it would be and more! So gorgeously golden and crisp on the outside and light, soft and airy on the inside. I love the additions of the raisins. They give such a nice sweetness to the bread.

Oh, yes, I am definitely making this again.

Enjoy!

Walnut Raisin Bread (converted and adapted from a recipe found on Bakies)

Makes 2 round loaves

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp table salt

3/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 Tbsp honey

2 1/2 cups warm water, divided

1/2 cup walnut halves

1/2 cup raisins

 

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water

3/4 cup cold water

METHOD

  1. Place yeast, 1/2 cup flour and honey in a small mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of the warm water, mix well, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot or until the mixture starts to bubble. (Mine took about an hour.)
  2. In the bowl of a mixer add the remaining flour, bubbling yeast mixture, walnuts, raisins, salt and the remaining warm water together. Attach the dough hook and mix the bread dough on slow speed for 10 minutes.
  3. Grease a large mixing bowl. Once the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the bread dough into a smooth ball. Place the smooth bread dough into the greased mixing bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to proof until the dough has risen to double in size. (I left it overnight.)
  4. Dust two baking sheets or pie pans with flour, set aside.
  5. Gently turn the bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two even halves.
  6. Roll each half into an evenly shaped smooth ball, place each ball onto your already floured trays or pie pans, cover gently with plastic wrap and leave to proof for the second time until nearly double in size.
  7. In the oven, move one of the racks to the very bottom and place an empty baking sheet on top. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  8. Once the dough has risen, brush the risen bread carefully with the egg wash and use a knife to make small cuts at the top of the risen bread. (I just cut a simple “x”.)
  9. Place the baking sheets or pie pans in the preheated oven and pour 3/4 cup of cold water directly into the pan at the bottom of the oven and shut the door quickly. The water will give a burst of steam that will help the loaves to puff and form a golden crust.
  10. After about 10-12 minutes, place a sheet of foil over the bread.
  11. Continue baking the loaves for 35-40 minutes, give the bread a tap at the bottom and if it sounds hollow it means the bread is done. Place the bread onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
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Hefeschnecken (Sweet Rolls with Hazelnut-Raisin Filling)

Alright, one recipe for you. (Blogging after being away for such a long time is hard!) Sugary, sticky, pull apart rolls filled with ground hazelnut, grated apple and raisins! In German they’re called “Hefeschnecken” which literally means “yeast snails”. Ick, I prefer my English title. 😀

By the way, the recipe I used is from my favorite Swiss cookbook, Tiptopf. I think it’s the one all the kids use when they learn to cook at school. It’s the best!

Enjoy!

Hefeschnecken (recipe from Tiptopf)

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Dough

300 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

60 g (2 tbsp) butter, at room temp.

20 g fresh (2 1/4 tsp active dry) yeast

100 ml milk

1 egg

Filling

3 tbsp apricot jam (I used plum)

150 g ground hazelnuts

3 tbsp sugar

1 apple, grated (with peel is fine)

1/2 cup raisins

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

4-6 tbsp milk or cream, at room temp.

Glaze

5 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp water

METHOD

For the dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter, mixing lightly with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Stir together yeast and milk. Allow to sit and “activate” for ca. 5 minutes. Then, whisk in the egg.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, pour in the wet ingredients and mix, gradually bringing the dry into the wet. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Then cover, put in a warm place and allow it to rest until doubled in size.
For the nut filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together ground nuts, sugar, raisins, grated apple, lemon zest and juice and milk or cream. Note: the filling should be moist, but not runny.
For assembly:
  1. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, 3 mm thick.
  2. Spread the apricot jam over the surface of the dough, followed by the nut filling. Then distribute the raisins evenly over the top.
  3. From one end of the dough, start rolling. Once rolled, hold the outermost dough layer in place and slice into 5 cm thick disks.
  4. Lay the disks cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the bottom half of a cold oven. Turn on the heat to 220 C and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly prepare the glaze.
For the Glaze
  1. When the rolls are about ready to come out of the oven, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and water until combined.
  2. With a pastry brush, spread evenly over the hot rolls.


Swiss Zuepfe

I’ve already posted about this incredible Swiss non-bread here. (I still think it’s bread, but in Switzerland, it’s just “Zuepfe”. Okay.) I’m just so proud…because it’s so preeeety! And seriously the only bread that works for me every single time. But here’s the recipe again, including U.S. measurements this time.

This was the perfect Thanksgiving bread.

Enjoy!

Swiss Zuepfe (recipe from TipTopf and also posted here)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

3 cups or 500 g all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 tsp active dry

1 1/3 cups or 300 ml lukewarm milk

1 egg lightly whisked, plus 1/2 an egg yolk

METHOD

  1. Warm the milk for 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes or until slightly frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Cut in the butter. Use your fingertips to work the butter and flour in together, creating a uniform mixture.
  4. Whisk together egg and egg yolk. Add half to your yeast and milk mixture; stir to combine.
  5. Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the liquids. Knead for 10 minutes (by hand or in your stand mixer) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Once dough has risen, place it onto a clean surface and cut in half. Roll the dough back and forth with your hands until you end up with two  equal-lengthed 18-inch strands. The middle of the strands should be thicker and the ends, thinner.
  8. Braid the dough. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate and let rise for 15 minutes. (This last proof is optional.)
  9. Then with remaining egg, brush two layers of egg onto the dough.
  10. Place braid in cold oven, set oven to 425 F / 220 C and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the bread, knocking on the bottom for doneness. It should sound hollow. Allow to cool, then slice and serve!

Bread: Whole Wheat or Half?

Can you tell the difference? I should’ve taken a closer shot of the first (whole wheat), but that aside, arrggg…night time pics. What a major pain in the blog! I’m still working out how to take good photos without having to set up some sort of makeshift studio. Maybe I’ll eventually be so good that I’ll be discovered by Food Network, and who will pay me just to bake and blog. THEN maybe I’d buy myself a monster DSLR and use artificial lighting.

A girl can dream, right?

And in the meantime, I’ll get back to the point of this post: bread, whole wheat or half-wheat/half-white to be exact. In Switzerland, you can buy “halbweissbrot”, which is I think 20-60% whole wheat flour and the rest, white. And then there’s “vollkornbrot”, which is basically all whole wheat. So I tried the recipe (from 4EveryKitchen), which is for a whole wheat french bread, twice. The first time, I followed the directions EXACTLY, but then ended up with a very dense loaf. The second time, however, I replaced half the whole wheat flour with all purpose and then replaced the bread machine yeast with active dry. And the result? Muuuuuch better. Perhaps my yeast was off the first try. Question: if I use all purpose flour, is extra gluten as called for in the original recipe really necessary? I don’t know—now that I think about it, perhaps not. Oh well, it worked all the same.

Because the halbweissbrot (half-white bread) is the one that turned out, I guess that’s the adapted recipe I’m going to post. Both loaves were tasty and full of hearty whole-wheat goodness, however, the half-white was just lighter and altogether prettier to look at. Again, it was probably a yeast issue, something I’ll have to investigate the next time I make this.

Btw, the directions are for the bread machine, but you can adjust to by hand or stand mixer, of course.

Enjoy!

Halbweissbrot / Half-White Bread (adapted from a recipe found on 4EveryKitchen)

printable recipe

Makes 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups, plus 1 tbsp buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp gluten (optional?)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp SAF instant yeast or 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp bread machine yeast (I actually used active dry)

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients IN ORDER into the bread machine. Select Dough setting and press start (ca. 1 hr 20 min).
  2. When the bread machine beeps at the end of the dough cycle, press STOP and unplug the machine. Open the lid and use your fingers to deflate the dough. Let the dough rise in the machine for another 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. This dough is very sticky, so when it’s ready to come out of the bread machine, just quickly tip it onto your prepared surface. Knead a few times and pat into a 12”x6” rectangle. Roll up from the long edge into a flat loaf and roll back and forth with your palms to make pointed ends. Fold the log of dough in half lengthwise and pinch seams to seal. Roll the dough back and forth again to make the loaf about 14” long. Cover gently with a damp dish towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, ca. 1 hour.
  4. Twenty minutes before baking, place a baking stone on the center rack of a cold oven and preheat to 450 F/230 C, then reduce to 400/200 C. (4EveryKitchen suggests leaving the oven on for 20 minutes before lowering the heat to 400 F/200 C.) Place an EMPTY cake pan or broiler tray out of the way of your stone.
  5. Holding kitchen shears at 45 degree angle, snip the surface 5 or 6 times down the length of the loaf, cutting no more than 1” deep.
  6. Sprinkle a little flour directly on your pizza/baking stone. Using a dough scraper or steel spatula to help you, slide the loaf onto the prepared stone. Just before shutting the door add 1 cup hot tap water to the hot empty baking pan. This will steam the oven and make a very crispy crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the surface is dark brown and sounds hollow when you tap the top.
  7. Remove and let it cool on a rack.

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

Oh, man—what a day of distraction! And not because today just happens to be Halloween .I started the day so well, too: drove my sister to work at 7:30 AM (on a Sunday), went for a little jog around the university, showered and was ready to be productive by 9:30. But, somehow, in between writing cover letters and revising resumes, I decided my iTunes playlist needed updating and that my photos needed editing. Fast forward to 2 PM, and I was still futzing around with iTunes. Some people waste countless hours on Facebook; as for me, no longer a part of the FB Community (OMG, drama), all I am left to waste the hours away with are email and iTunes.

At least I baked. That should count for something.

Rolls again. But wait, these are actually pretty good! I did (instead of working) as I usually do when searching for a recipe: I went to Tastespotting and did a quick “bread” search. After a few minutes browsing and ogling all the gorgeous photos, I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread from A Chow Life. I stuck to the recipe, except, because I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, I let my bread machine do all the kneading. The directions described below, however, use the original hand-method. Another thing I changed is that I used almonds instead of walnuts and replaced 1 tbsp of butter with olive oil. (I didn’t want to cut into a second stick of butter.) Finally, as evidenced in the pictures, I made rolls, not a loaf.

I like this. The flavor is warm and spicy from all the butter and cinnamon. The color is also amazing—hello, gorgeous cinnamon speckles. And, the wonderful aroma of sugar and spice and everything nice that takes over the kitchen during baking is seriously in itself almost reason enough to make this.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls (slightly adapted from A Chow Life)

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg (or 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/4 tsp, plus 3 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used almonds)

5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temp. (I used 4 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil)

1/2 cup water

1 cup raisins

METHOD

  1. Stir the yeast, warm water, and 1/4 tsp sugar together in a small bowl. Let the mixture stand in a warm location until the yeast starts foaming, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine the flours, remaining sugar, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir well. Stir the yeast mixture, butter, and 1/3 cup water into the flour mixture. Then stir in the raisins or work them in by hand. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl and turn the dough in it to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a kitchen town and let the dough rise in a warm location until it is doubled in bulk, 45 -60 minutes.
  5. Oil a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Punch the dough down and shape it into a loaf. Press the loaf into the prepared pan and, again, cover it loosely with a kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm place until it nearly fills the pan, 45-60 minutes. (Or, if making rolls, I cut and rolled the dough into 13 pieces, placed them on a floured baking sheet, covered and let proof also for about 1 hour.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread until the top is browned and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped with your finger, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack. (In my case, before baking, I brushed the roll tops with water. Then, I baked for about 28 minutes.)

Look at those speckles! So pretty!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Rolls

Just a quick post for these rolls I made for the students yesterday 😛 The recipe is from CookingBread.com. I like it: the bread, which I made into individual rolls, is tender, tears nicely and has a pleasantly warm flavoring due to the addition of milk, butter and olive oil to the dough. (They also keep longer this way, I think.) I took the liberty of adding a few diced prunes to the mix to cut through and compliment the richness of the dough. I made 16 average-sized rolls, but you can make more or less by changing the size.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Rolls (adapted from CookingBread.com)

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup runny honey

1 large egg, beaten

4 tsp instant yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup prunes, diced (optional)

METHOD

  1. Heat milk to lukewarm. Pour into a bowl add melted butter, olive oil, honey and beaten egg; mix all together until well blended. If using a bread machine, pour in now.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast; mix together and knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let proof for about 1 1/2 hours or till doubled in bulk. If using bread machine, add in dry ingredients and run dough cycle.
  3. Once proofed, pour out dough onto a flat surface and knead for a minute or two. If adding diced prunes, knead them in now.
  4. Cut dough in half and shape into loaves. Place into two greased 4.5×8.5 loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size. Or, you can do what I did, which is to form the dough into small rolls and place them side by side on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes if baking loaves or 25-28 minutes if baking rolls, or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. (I baked my rolls at 360 F for 26 minutes because my parents’ oven tends to under-heat.)

Trail Mix Bread

I’m housesitting for my parents right now. Part of my official housesitter duties includes taking care of the three exchange students my parents have living with them. It could have been a lot of work, but luckily, these kids (almost adults) are superstar students who need very little care from me. All I do is prepare two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. I actually kind of like doing it. I get up every morning to make breakfast, chat with them about school and their plans, and then during the day, I do my own thing. In the evening, I prepare whatever I feel like making, and so far, they’ve seemed pretty satisfied!

Today, I felt like baking bread. Outside is gray and quiet, which is not very motivating for getting things done. Baking—and baking for others—I’ve found is the best way to spend still days like these. The kids will appreciate it too, i.e. breakfast rolls!

I threw together this whole wheat bread with a delightful little mix of raisins, almonds, white chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Perfect for breakfast, and now that I think of it, ideal for taking along on a hike. It’s trail mix in bread form!  The recipe is one I found a while back on zestycook.com and is already a favorite because of the short ingredients list and simple method. I didn’t feel like futzing around with scales or complicated dough starters, so this recipe is exactly what I needed. The original used 2/3 cup each of raisins and walnuts; I skipped the walnuts and added white chocolate chips, coconut flakes and almonds in their place; I was also a little more generous in the amounts of each. (Why? Because those little “bits” you find in your morning bread are the best part!!)

Once you mix everything together and finish proofing (which I did in the bread machine), you can form the dough into the traditional loaf or you can do as I did and use your muffin tin. I was nervous about the bread sticking (the dough, at least mine, is pretty wet), but because I floured the tin before filling, sticking was very minimal. I thought this was a pretty genius idea on my part—scoop the dough into the tins and allow to finish proofing and bypass the messy, sticky part of shaping and moving the dough. Nice!

Golden, crunchy crust and sweet middle with lots of bits!! I WILL be making this again. Probably this week!

P.S. No pictures for now. I had a little theft incident in Lima (too scary to write about), which left me camera-less and also a little traumatized. This last week I ordered a new camera, which is supposed to arrive this week…

It’s here—my camera—and it’s pink!! Took a few pics of the last of the bread, and actually, it sttill tastes pretty good 🙂

Trail Mix Bread

recipe adapted from zestycook.com

INGREDIENTS

2 cups lukewarm water

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or one 1/4-oz. packet)

2 tbsp runny honey (I used clover)

2 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 to 2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 1/2, which is why my dough was wetter, but which turned out fine.)

2/ tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup almonds, slivered, roughly chopped or whatever

METHOD

  1. In your bread machine, add water, yeast and honey, followed by flours and salt. Run dough cycle. (If you’re doing this by hand, in a large bowl, mix together honey and 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water; then add the yeast, stirring to combine. Let sit until foaming, ca. 5 min. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups water. Then, in another large bowl, combine flours and salt and mix. Pour into bowl with liquid ingredients, stirring until well combined. On a floured surface, knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Add flour if necessary, but be careful not to make the dough too dry. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to proof for 1 1/2 hours.)
  2. Punch dough down, add remaining ingredients and run the dough cycle until you see that all bits are well combined, ca. 5 min. (Hand method: Punch dough down and turn out onto floured surface. Knead in remaining ingredients.)
  3. With a scoop or spatula, distribute dough evenly among muffin tins. (Hand method: Shape into 1 large loaf onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet.) Cover with a damp cloth and in a warm place, allow dough to proof until nearly doubled in size, ca. 30 min.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Bake bread for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 375 F and rotate bread 180 deg. Brush or spray the crust with water and, if making rolls, bake for another 15-20 minutes, or if making a loaf, bake for 30.
  5. Remove from the oven and place bread/rolls on a rack and allow to cool.

Cranberry Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary, Take 2

This is a nice, little bread recipe from Jamie Oliver. (I heart Jamie.) He’s all about chunks, gobs and heaping handfuls and tablespoons, which trigger all sorts of baking alarms in my head, but actually, everything always works out. Just as it did here with this bread. A cinch to make, I think it took me all of 20 minutes to put together, including kneading…way easier than my first version of this bread.

It’s a moist and flavorful bread. Definitely doesn’t have the developed crumb or taste you get from breads made with starters, but I still really enjoyed it.

Enjoy!

Cran-Rosemary Bread with Sunflower Seeds (recipe adapted from Jamie’s Kitchen via foodnetwork.com)

INGREDIENTS

Basic Bread Dough

1 oz (30 g) fresh yeast or 1x 37 g sachet of dried yeast

1 oz (30 g) honey or sugar

Just over 1 pint (625 ml) tepid water

Just over 2 pounds (1 kg) strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting (I substituted half of this with wheat bread flour)

1 oz (30 g) salt

Additional

Small handful fresh rosemary leaves

Good handful raisins

METHOD

Stage 1: Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in 1/2 the tepid water.

Stage 2: On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of 1 hand (Is this really necessary? Just use a fork), make circular movements from the center moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other 1/2 of the tepid water into the center and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities.)

Stage 3: Add in the rosemary and cranberries or raisins. Then begin kneading. This is the best bit, just rolling, pushing and folding the dough over and over for 5 minutes. This develops the gluten and the structure of the dough. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour.

Stage 4: Flour both your hands well, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Make it into a roundish shape and place it on a baking tray. Score it deeply with a knife allowing it to relax and proof with ease until it’s doubled in size. Ideally you want a warm, moist, draft-free place for the quickest proof, for example near a warm cooker or in the airing cupboard, and you could cover it with cling film if you want to speed things up. This proofing process improves the flavor and texture of the dough and should take around 40 minutes, depending on the conditions.

Stage 5: When the dough has doubled in size you need to knock the air out of it by bashing it around for a minute. Now you can shape it into whatever shape is required – round, flat, filled, trayed up, tinned up or whatever – and leave it to proof for a second time until it doubles in size again. The important thing is not to lose your confidence now. Don’t feel a need to rush through this, because the second proofing time will give you the lovely, delicate soft texture that we all love in fresh bread.

Stage 6: Now it’s time to cook your loaf. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven for about 25 minutes. You want to keep all the air inside it, so gently place it in the preheated oven and don’t knock it or slam the door. (I brushed mine with water before and mid-way through baking, in order to get a crunchier, more golden crust.) You can tell if your bread is cooked by tapping its bottom (if it’s in a tin you’ll have to take it out). If it sounds hollow it’s cooked, if it doesn’t then pop it back in for a little longer. Put it on a rack to cool before tucking in!

Lazy Isn’t Always Bad Bread

This just might be the bread I’ve been looking for: no bacteria-breeding, no kneading, and best of all, no sticky dough goo-gaa to clean up. Everything is mixed together in a bowl, left to slow-rise in the fridge overnight and then baked the next day. The recipe’s creator, JW (from JW’s blog via The Fresh Loaf), calls it “Lazy Bread”. Hmmm…just because it’s lazy doesn’t mean it’s bad.

“Lazy” in this case is actually pretty good: well-developed flavor, nice crumb and not to mention, very, very pretty! ❤

To be honest, it’s still not exactly how I envision my perfect loaf recipe to be, but it’s prettttty close. Actually, JW made a recent update: instead of letting the dough rest for 30 minutes before refrigerating, it is refrigerated immediately. Then, after slow-rising overnight, the dough sits out and is left to rise for another few hours at room temp. Apparently, this yields even better results. I’ll be trying this new way next time; I’ll also be folding in my fruit and nuts, instead of just sprinkling them on top. (I realize the sugar is going to react with the yeast, but since the dough rises for so long, I don’t think the effect should be too drastic.)

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Spelt Bread (adapted from a post on JW’s blog via The Fresh Loaf)

Makes 1 large loaf

INGREDIENTS

250 g lukewarm water (1/4 liter)

12.5 g fresh compressed yeast (or 5 g instant)

220 g whole wheat bread flour

110 g spelt flour

1 tsp salt

50 g sunflower seeds and raisins

olive oil

METHOD

  1. Stir together lukewarm water and yeast. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix together whole wheat and spelt flours; stir in the salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast-water. Using a fork, gradually stir the flour into the water, from the outside in. This should take about a minute. Lift up the dough, grease the bowl with a little olive oil, and put the dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before refrigerating for 30 minutes.
  4. After 8-16 hours (or overnight to a few days), take the dough from the refrigerator and gently scrape it onto a floured surface. (I used my Silpat.) Do not knead! Just use your hands to roughly shape the dough into loaf form, tucking under to build tension on the surface. Cover and let rest for another 45 minutes. (The dough will spread a little.)
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 250 C (480 F). Then, score the dough and moisten the surface with water. (I used a pastry brush to brush water over the entire surface.) Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and raisins, or whichever grains, seeds and/or dried fruit you want (I pushed the raisins into the dough to avoid burning during baking). Moisten again with water. (This is perhaps important in order to also avoid burning).
  6. Bake the dough on the center rack at 230 C (450 F) for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 200 C (390 F) and bake for another 15 minutes. Finally, turn off the heat completely and leave the bread to sit in the oven for another 3-5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temp. before slicing.

Cranberry Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary

I made this bread a week ago. It’s delicious; I love the flavor of the rosemary mixed with the sweet cranberries and the nuttiness from the sunflower seeds. However, it was a real pain in the butt to make. Then again, my family was here all last week visiting, which meant a lot of running back and forth between hotel, home and work for me, and which didn’t leave me with much time or energy for my baking.

In any case, I found a fairly straightforward recipe on Wild Yeast, which I was able to adapt quite easily. It requires a little prep beforehand, i.e. developing a poolish, and is actually a big, wet beast of a dough to work with. But it comes together in the end, I promise. I replaced the instant yeast with fresh compressed yeast. (I’ve looked for instant, but haven’t seen it anywhere). I also got rid of the soaker for no other reason than the fact that I don’t have whole flaxseeds.

I’m still on the look-out for a good go-to bread recipe that has that slow-rise flavor that good breads all seem to have, but that does not require me to breed and feed bacteria in my fridge for a week–not yet anyhow. I want something that will work every time, one that I can adapt for both salty and sweet, and one that I will eventually know by heart and hand, eliminating the need for a recipe. Alas, this is not it.

Still—it’s a tasty, little loaf: sweet, crunchy, and light—much like ciabatta but one loaded with good-for-you ingredients like whole wheat, cranberries, sunflower seeds and ground flaxseed.

Enjoy!

Sunflower Cranberry Orange Bread (recipe adapted from Wild Yeast)

YIELD

2.3 g (6 – 8 small loaves). The recipe can easily be halved.

TIME

  • Mix and ferment poolish: 12 hours
  • Mix final dough: 10 – 15 minutes
  • First fermentation: 2.5 hours, with folding after 1.5 hours
  • Divide: 5 minutes
  • Proof: 45 – 60 minutes at room temperature, or 1.5 hours in the refrigerator plus 45 minutes at room temp
  • Bake: 40 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 76F

INGREDIENTS

Poolish

215 g white flour

215 g water at about 70F

0.2 g instant yeast (or 0.5 g fresh compressed)

Final Dough

729 g white flour

43 g fine whole wheat flour

43 g flaxseed meal

43 g fine whole rye flour

755 g cool water (about 50 F)

All of the poolish

21 g salt

4 g instant yeast (or 10 fresh compressed)

129 g dried orange-flavored cranberries

103 g sunflower seeds (can be toasted for better flavor)

NOTE: If using fresh compressed yeast, dissolve in water first before adding to dry ingredients)

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, mix the poolish ingredients until just combined. Cover the bowl and let the poolish ferment at room temperature for about 12 hours. It is ready to use when the surface is creased, and pebbled with bubbles.
  2. Place the final dough flours, flaxseed meal, yeast, salt, poolish, and all but about 20% of the water, into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, about 4 or 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency at this point (similar to a basic French or sourdough bread).
  3. Continue mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This might take about 5 minutes, but will depend on your mixer.
  4. Add the remaining water (and even more, if needed) and continue mixing until it is all incorporated and you have a dough that feels very soft and stretchy, yet strong and springy.
  5. Add the sunflower seeds and cranberries and mix on low speed until they are evenly distributed through the dough.
  6. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled container.
  7. Ferment at room temperature for about 2.5 hours, folding the dough after 1.5 hours. Make sure the container is well oiled before returning the dough to it.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a very well floured counter.
  9. Working from the center towards the edges, very gently stretch the dough into a rectangle about 2 cm in height. Try to deflate the dough as little as possible.
  10. With a dough scraper, cut the dough into diamond-shaped or rectangular pieces. Gently lift these pieces to a floured couche, supporting the entire piece from underneath and keeping the floured side of the dough down. Again, be careful to deflate as little as possible.
  11. Cover the couche with plastic or slip it, on a board or sheet pan, into a large food-grade plastic bag.
  12. Proof for 45 – 60 minutes at room temperature, until the dough is very light and full of gas. Or place the loaves in the refrigerator for 1.5 hours, then at room temperature for another 45 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 440 F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  14. Prepare a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking stone, and put it on a board or sheet pan.
  15. Sprinkle the loaves lightly with flour and flip them gently onto the parchment-covered pan, so the heavily floured side is now up. Do not score the loaves.
  16. To bake, slide the loaves, parchment and all, onto the baking stone.
  17. Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 27 minutes or so without steam. Crack the oven door open during the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a golden brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for another 5 minutes, still with the door ajar.
  18. Cool on a wire rack. Wait until completely cool to cut and eat.