Sunday, January 22, 2012


The best bagels recipe is, in my opinion, from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Developing flavor using a sponge and then a long retard in the fridge overnight is essential. Of course, I modify it to use sourdough starter as well as a little commercial yeast. Here is a picture of Jalapeño Cheese bagels I made recently. My colleagues at work love these!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pain a l'Ancienne

Pain a l'Ancienne involves mixing flour with ice cold water and then left in the refrigerator for a long period (8 - 48 hours) during the autolyse phase.  This long phase is meant to promote great flavor by allowing the starches to break down into sugars.  I followed the recipe that DonD provided on The Fresh Loaf. He recommends 24 hours in the fridge after adding salt and yeast.  I did it for 12 hours. Instead of using regular yeast, I used a quarter cup of a very active leaven from a Tartine Bread recipe.

It certainly works:

A very nice open crumb and an exceptional taste.  This one is a keeper. Many thanks DonD!

Sourdough Pancakes

One of the great benefits of keeping sourdough startes is the availability of discarded starter for sourdough pancakes.

Check out my blueberry version while cooking:

And the finished product:

I serve them with additional fresh blueberries and Grade B Maple Syrup. Yummy! BTW, try Trader Joe's Grade B Maple Syrup.  It's the best I've found in my area.

Tartine Olive Bread

Tartine Bread gives a variation on their country bread which adds olives, herbes de provence and lemon zest.  The aroma in the kitchen when baking this bread is something else. Bread, herbs and lemon combine for a sublime smell.  Note that I retard the dough after bulk fermentation in the fridge overnight to promote the sour taste.

Here's the finished product:

The crumb on this bread is pretty good:

There are not enough olives though.  It could do with twice what I added.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Tartine Baguette

OK.  So I protected the bread from the top element direct heat by putting a cookie sheet on the top shelf like so:

The heat can still get around the edges but no direct radiant hear any more. I think this idea was a good one. Note that instead of using cornmeal or rice flour, I'm using parchment paper. I find it more convenient.

Here's the final loaves:

Good oven spring but quite as open-crumb as I wanted:

I'll work on this aspect of the technique.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tartine Baguette

I just baked another bread recipe from my favorite book, Tartine Bread. I made their baguette recipe. I left the dough in the fridge overnight to retard and get a little bit of a sour flavor. The loaves took only 20 minutes to cook (versus 25 - 30 minutes in the recipe) which is making me think my oven is running a little hot. Either that or I should be shading the bread from the top element by putting a shelf in the top position and placing a cookie sheet on it. Maybe I'll try that next time.

Anyway, the results were outstanding if just a little darker than I like. The crust was lovely and crisp and the interior light and chewy. Just about to have a couple of slices with scrambled eggs (with crème fraiche), mushrooms and grape tomatoes. Yummy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tartine Bread

One of my favorite books is Tartine Bread. For me, reading this book is almost like meditation. The first chapter on baking basic country bread is an exposition of the bread making process with detailed descriptions of the ingredients, processes and techniques.  I shall report back on my results from using their recipes.