Saturday, May 29, 2010

Swirly White and Green Bread

Green and White!


Nice Shape!

Marbled Buns!

I wanted to try a different technique to the way I normally make a bread loaf. I found a book at a public library book sale called 'Artisan Baking Across America' by Maggie Glezer. This book has been very helpful in showing me some new techniques and also stories about various bakers and bakeries across North America. Normally I would just place the risen bread dough into the loaf pan without shaping it much before baking it. Instead I first flattened the dough out (after it had risen for an hour) into a large rectangle folded the dough so it was the length of the pan, then finally rolled it up. The result was a loaf that was quite uniform and familiar to a loaf that I would buy at the grocery store for making regular sandwiches.

Of course I just had to add a twist to the recipe! For quite awhile now I have been considering a bag of pea flour that I saw at the grocery store and what it would be like to use it for bread making. I imagined since the flour was green in colour, the bread would also be green in colour. But after reading the label I had the feeling it would not be as green as I was imagining it to be. So I also bought some green food dye to be on the safe side!

I followed a white bread recipe but included the pea flour and green food dye into half of the recipe. It was neat to work with dough that had such an unusual colour. After folding up the white and green doughs according to the length of the loaf pan I placed the green dough on top of the white dough. Then I trimmed the edges to produce a long rectangles that fit over each other perfectly. Once rolled it produces a nice swirly pattern with a green centre. With the leftover dough from trimming I made several small marbled buns.
Note: I don't have any pictures of the bread after it was sliced because I can't seem to find my card reader. But I assure you, it is quite white green and swirly!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adventures in bread making.

A couple of months ago I was very fortunate to find an automatic bread maker sitting next to a dumpster next to a mattress and a few old TVs. I decided to take the brad maker home and was thrilled to see that it worked great! I had made pies and cakes before so making bread seemed like a good idea.
I found a bread machine recipe book at the library and started to make various types of bread and dough. I started simple by making a loaf of whole wheat bread. It turned out pretty good, but a little short. Some other loaves I tried can out really short, heavy/dense. I learned that I needed to adjust the recipes to account for the levels of elevation and humidity which affects how well the yeast will work. Edmonton is a fairly dry area and an elevation of 668 m above sea level. I solved my problem by adding more water and slightly more yeast than what the recipe called for. Some loaves had too much yeast and exploded out of the machine, but eventually I found the right balance.

I found the bread maker easy to use. Most recipes just needed me to add the ingredients in a certain order (ususally liquids then solids, then yeast last) turn the machine on with the right settings and wait, or even forget, for a few hours.

Bread loaves were OK but I wanted more. So I started to make crescent rolls. They took the same amount of time but more effort on my part. I made the dough in the machine then let it rise a bit, shape it, rise some more and bake them. More work, but they tasted amazing! Next batch I made, I added a layer of Alfredo pesto that my roommate had made for a pasta dish and had leftovers of. Yum yum yum.

The next step for me was to make bread without the machine using a recipe I got from a friend. It's allot more enjoyable because of all the mixing that kneads to be done (pun totally intended!) and also getting the yeast just right. I love the shapes of the loaves handmade bread can produce. Bread is not meant to have a hole in the bottom of it! My first attempt produced two short loaves, but I am excited to keep trying, and see what I can make.