Tag Archives: yeast

Why I Don’t Like Bread Machines

One, I like to knead my own bread. Two, I like the smell of yeast rising and you can’t smell that in a machine. Three, they will fail on you. The last one is probably not true all of the time, but yesterday it was. I was trying to make the cheese bread recipe from my 4H book and it is a bread machine recipe. I assembled all of the ingredients together and put them in the machine. Then I closed the lid and pushed the magic start button. An hour later I checked it when the check timer went off. Guess what? The paddle on the bottom was not working and the bread was not mixed at all. So I started it back up again. Well, not mxing right the first time made for a squat loaf. I wouldn’t reccomend this recipe as it has an off taste. Not quite like bread but not like cheese, either. Only a few more 4H recipes to go!

~thechildcooks

Bread Machine Cheese Bread

For a 1 lb. Loaf

3/4 cup water

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups bread flour

1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons instant dry milk

1 1/2 tablespoons ssugar

1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Combine ingredients according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding cheese with the flour. Process on the basic white bread setting, normal to medium color.

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Complicated and the Not-So

Yesterday, I embarked on the most complicated bread recipe I have ever made. It all started as I was reading Baking with Julia and came across a recipe for mixed starter bread. After looking over the recipe, I told myself that it was way to complicated and moved on looking for something else to bake. I decided to make the pretzels out of my 4H book. I mixed the dough up and set it to rise. Then, as I was shaping the pretzels, I said what the heck and decided to take a walnut sized piece of the pretzel dough and make the mixed starter bread. After I finished making the pretzels, I started out on the first starter. I thought that I had done something wrong because it looked really weird, but went with it. At 8 last night I mixed the second starter and then realized that it had to rise for 4 hours, then be put in the refrigerator. Fun. Fast forward to this morning when I made the final dough, let it rise, shaped it then finally baked the bread. They turned out beautifully. I made three baguettes and a wheat stalk shaped loaf. Also today, I am making a marble cake(same recipe as earlier this week) to be decorated for a 4th of July cook out. I hope everyone has a good holiday weekend!

~thechildcooks

Mixed Starter Bread

Taken from La Cerise

Recipe originally from Steve Sullivan

The first-stage, or old-dough starter
– A walnut-sized (1/2 ounce, or 14g) piece of fully risen dough (pizza, or other white flour bread dough.)
– 1/4 cup (60g) warm water (105°F to 115°F, or 40-46°C)
– 2/3 cup (85-93g) unbleached all-purpose flour

Cut the dough into small bits, soak in the water five minutes to soften. Mix in the flour, first with a spoon then knead. You’re not trying to develop gluten, just incorporate all the ingredients.

Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place (between 80°F and 85°F or 27-29°C).

After 8 hours the starter dough should be bubbly, soft and sticky, and springy.

The second-stage starter
– The first-stage starter (above)
– 1/4 cup (60g) warm water (same temps as above)
– 3/4 cup (94-105g) unbleached all-purpose flour

Make this second sponge like the first. Rise for 4 hours in a warm environment (same temp as above). It should more than double.

After the rise, the sponge, when stretched, will show long, lacy strands of gluten and smell sweet and yeasty, even though no yeast has been added. Chill the risen sponge for at least 1 hour, but no more than 8 hours, before proceeding.

The final dough
– 1 1/4 cups (296g) cool water (about 78°F or 25°C)
– 1/2 tspn SAF instant yeast (not rapid rise) or 3/4 tspn active dry yeast
– The second-stage starter (above)
– 3 1/3 cups (416-466g) unbleached all-purpose flour
– 1 TB (12-13g) kosher salt

You are advised to use a stand mixer here. Put the water into the bowl of the mixer [hold back a little water to add at the same time as the salt later] sprinkle the yeast, and stir by hand to mix. Deflate the second stage starter, break it into pieces, add it to the bowl and allow it to soften for 5 min. Add the flour, pulse the machine on and off so the flour doesn’t fly out, mix on low-speed until flour is incorporated then let the dough rest for 10 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the water.

With the machine running at low-speed, add the left-over water and sprinkle the salt onto the dough. Increase speed to medium high and mix and knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes. The dough will be very soft and moist and may ride up the hook. Push the dough down periodically.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest in a warm place (between 80°F and 85°F or 27-29°C) for about 1 1/2 hours. The dough will probably double in bulk and it should have a network of bubbles visible under the surface.

Final rise. Fold the dough down on itself a few times, without punching down, in order to redistribute the yeast, then cover again and let rise for 45 minutes.

“After this last rise, you must shape and bake the dough. If you refrigerate the dough now, or do anything else to retard it, you will have a sourdough bread, which is not what this dough is meant to be.”

Shaping: Shape into loaves and let rise on heavily floured towels for 1 ½ hours.

Baking: If you have divided the dough into four baguettes (or mutant baguettes) as I did, preheat and prepare the oven with a baking stone and a heavy cast-iron skillet on the bottom of the oven. Shortly before baking pour a cup of water into the skillet and close the oven door. Bake the loaves on the stone for 20 minutes. Remove when the internal temperature is 200F and cool.

Pretzels

1 package active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

Coarse salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, the 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 45-60 minutes or until double.

Heat oven to 425F. Punch down dough and cut into 16 equal parts. Roll each piece into a 18 inch long rope. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Place on a greased baking sheet. brush pretzels with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake until pretzels are brown 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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Enough Said

I will graciously bestow unto you the recipe later.

~thechildcooks

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Back in the Kitchen, At Last!

I have been so very busy lately and haven’t been able to make it into the kitchen very often. I think in the last month, I have only made about 5 things. That is enough to go on your average hand! Unacceptable! Today, I change that. It came to my attention that one of the book that I have borrowed from the library is about to have to be returned. I flipped through it and remembered that I wanted to make one of the recipes inside: Cinnamon Raisin Bread. The book in question is Amy’s Bread by  Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree, so the recipe should be very reliable. I mixed up the biga last night and put it in the refrigerator to do its thing. This morning I started mixing it when I woke up at 8 and was done with baking by . I only put raisins in one of the loaves and cut them back to 1 cup. It feels so good to be back in the kitchen!

~thechildcooks

Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Biga Starter

Biga Starter

Makes 1 3/4 cups

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons very warm water

1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purposed flour

Mix water and yeast together and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour and vigorously stir with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape into a container and mark the time and height of the mixture on the side so you can measure how much it rises.

Let rise at room temperate for 6 to 8 hours. Or let it rise for 1 hour at room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. If using cold, use warm water in the recipe instead of cool water. Use before it deflates.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

1/4 cup very warm water

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 3/4 cups biga starter

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water(cool or warm, depending on your biga)

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons kosher salt

3 cups raisins(I used 1 cup in one loaf and left the other plain)

1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Combine the very warm water and yeast in a bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes.

Add the biga and water to the yeast mixture and mix with your fingers for 2 minutes, breaking up the starter. The mixture should look milky, chunky, and slightly foamy. Add the flour and the salt and mix with your fingers until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Fold the dough over onto itself and knead briefly in the bowl.

Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and supple, about 4 minutes. If it feels stiff our dry, add cool water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.

Return the dough to the lightly floured surface and knead it for 5 to 7 minutes. the dough will become silky and elastic. Do not knead extra flour into the dough.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover, rise at room temperature for 1 hour.

Turn dough in the mixing bow;. Gently deflate the dough with your fingertips, the fold the left side in and repeat with the right, fold the dough in half, gently pat it down and turn the dough seam face down.

Let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the dough is fully risen, an indentation made by your fingers poking the dough will not spring back.

With the dough is rising, place the raisins in a bowl and add warm water to just below the top of the raisins. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate the dough and pat into a 14×12 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 2 equal rectangles 7×12 inches. Sprinkle each pice with the cinnamon sugar mixture and the drained raisins. Spread evenly across the dough and press them in. Starting at the short side of the loaf, fold the dough tightly into a log without stretching the dough. Seal the seam tightly using your hands or pinching with your fingers.

Place each loaf seam side down in lightly oiled 9×5 pan and press them down to fill the pan. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Thirty minutes before baking preheat the oven to 450F and place a cast iron skillet and mini loaf pan on the lowest rack possible. Place an oven rack above with room for the loaves of bread. Have a spray bottle, kettle of water ready to be boiled and a metal 1 cup measure nearby.

5 to 10 minutes before the loaves are ready to bake, turn the water on to boil and place 2 to 3 ice cubes in the small loaf pan.

When the loaves are ready, quickly fill the 1 cup measure with boiling water and place the loaves in the oven, then mist them with water. Pour the water into the skillet and immediately close the oven door.

Bake for 15 minutes and reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake for 18 tp 25 minutes longer, until the crust is brown and the loaves sound hollow. Watch the oven carefully and cover with foil if the tops are browning  to fast.

Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a rack to cool. Let cool completely before slicing or the bread will fall apart. Keeps well for at least 2 days.

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Decorating Easter Eggs, or a Good Excuse for Challah

After seeing some really cool ideas for decorating Easter eggs other than the regular food coloring dye, I decided to blow out some eggs and dye them. Because I had decided that I wanted to use the eggs in baking, I washed them throughly and boiled all of the tools that I was using. After I was done, I was left with five pretty eggs and five eggs ready for baking.  Then, I realized that I had five eggs to use in preferably one recipe. I went searching, and found a recipe for something that I had wanted to make for awhile-challah. The recipe(on Smitten Kitchen) that I found took four eggs in the bread and one for the egg wash. The bread turned out beautifully and tastes amazing; the crust is golden and the braid, though simple, is pretty. I made only one of the two loaves today, the other one is residing in my freezer until Easter, when it will be baked for a family get together.  This is definitely a bread that you should make in the near future!

~thechildcooks

Best Challah (Egg Bread)
Adapted from Joan Nathan

Time: about 1 hour, plus 2 1/2 hours’ rising
Yield: 2 loaves

1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins per challah, if using, plumped in hot water and drained
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling.

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.

2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. (You can also use a mixer with a dough hook for both mixing and kneading, but be careful if using a standard size KitchenAid–it’s a bit much for it, though it can be done.)

3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

4. At this point, you can knead the raisins into the challah, if you’re using them, before forming the loaves. To make a 6-braid challah, either straight or circular, take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. For a straight loaf, tuck ends underneath. For a circular loaf, twist into a circle, pinching ends together. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.

5. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.

6. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.

7. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.

Note:

Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving onto the next step.

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My Summer Plans…

Emblem of the 4H organisation.

Image via Wikipedia

…include a lot of baking/ cake decorating. I know this for a 100% true fact because those are the projects that I am taking for 4-H. More Specifically, I will be making yeast breads in multiple manners, and trying out new cake decorating techniques. As part of the two projects, I will post some recipes and decorating tutorials here on thechildcooks. Since next week is my Spring Break, I hope to be doing some baking to get a jump-start on my projects; they are due in the middle to end of July, but it is never a bad thing to finish early. 

Also, if things go as planned, I may, hopefully, possibly be looking at having a bakery job. But the probability of that is slim, as people tend to not hire 14 year olds. Never the less, I have picked up an application and found some people to be my references. Another plus would be that the bakery is within running/ biking distance of my house. I figure the sooner I can start getting experience in the real food industry, the closer I am to my dream of one day owning a restaurant.  

‘Til my next baking adventure,

~thechildcooks

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English Muffins and Snow!!

Well, I did not make sourdough pancakes yesterday, but I did get to make something with my sourdough today. I made Sourdough English Muffins for the Red Star Yeast website. Some things that I would like to mention are you will end up using about 3 1/2 cups of flour, use plenty of cornmeal and when the recipe says grease something, grease it. If you follow those simple notes, you will probably end up with muffins a lot rounder than I did. Another note is that I used fast rising yeast and it took about 1 1/2 hours to rise the first time and then 30-45 minutes for the second rise. Now for the snow: today we already had school of for President’s Day, but the way the weather is around here, we probably wouldn’t have had it anyway. I am hoping for a we have a 2-hour delay tomorrow(!) because 6:00 a.m. comes too early. Tomorrow, I will post another batch of food-related products, until then-go make something!

~thechildcooks

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