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Standing in front of our open refrigerator door I noticed a partial tub of cream cheese we bought it for the granddaughters’ snack visit prior to the shelter-in-place order. As I stood there listening to the melodious door alarm-chime wondering what to do with it, I had an epiphany… bagels!! I haven’t made bagels in a couple of years and I was ready to try again. My first batch were ok, but not as good as what you can buy at a good bagel shop. Well, as time marches on my baking skills improve.

Bagels aren’t the easiest bread to make. It takes several proofs, rests and shaping over two days. Luckily, much of the time is consumed by proofing and resting the dough and not hands on activity. I now have some ET bagel topping so I made my favorite bagels as an extra treat.

The recipe I used last time, from ChefSteps, was good, but the resulting bagels were too small. This time I doubled the amount of dough in each bagel (from 65 g each to 130g.) This produced 8 larger bagels instead of 16 small ones.

The bagels are shaped by pressing a forefinger on one side of a dough ball and a thumb on the opposite then pushing straight through forming a hole. Next, insert two forefingers inside the hole and spin around gradually separating the fingers and enlarging the hole to 3 or 4 times the original. The resulting dough rings were about 4” diameter with a 2” hole. After the dough relaxes in the fridge the bagels were about 3 – 3.5” diameter with a 1” hole. NOTE: They will rise in the refrigerator overnight.

It turned out the hole wasn’t quite big enough and the center closed up on most of the bagels. For the next batch I will stretch the dough to a 5” diameter and 2.5” hole. I would like the final hole, after proofing to be 1.5”. NOTE: The bagels do a final rise in the oven and the hole closes in even more.

Bagels from ChefSteps

INGREDIENTS
• 350 g Water, plus more for boiling
• 650 g Bread flour, divided
• 3 g Active dry yeast
• 25 g Sugar, granulated, optional
• 25 g Diastatic malt powder
• 10 g Salt
• 25 g Molasses
• 10 g Baked baking soda

OPTIONAL
• 10 g ET bagel topping
• 10 g Black sesame seed
• 10 g Dried onion flakes
• 10 g Salt, Maldon flake
• 7 g Poppy seed
• 5 g Sesame seed
• 5 g Dried garlic flakes

METHOD

  1. In a stand mixer bowl, combine 350 g room temperature water, 250 g of the flour, and the active dry yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let the mixture proof at room temperature until it doubles in size and makes frothy bubbles that collapse when you tap the bowl on the countertop. This takes about two to three hours. (Look for a foam that resembles the one on a root beer float. If you don’t see this yet, just give the yeast a bit more time to work its magic.)
  2. In a bowl, combine the remaining 400 g of bread flour with 25 g sugar, 25 g diastatic malt powder, and 10 g salt.
  3. Use the stand mixer and the dough hook, set the mixer to lowest speed. Gradually spoon in the dry ingredients and let the dough mix until it becomes stretchy and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  5. Working quickly to keep the dough cool, divide it into 130 g portions and set them on a parchment paper lined pan. Keep the entire sheet covered with plastic wrap as you work, tucking each new portion underneath the plastic wrap to keep any crust from forming.
  6. First, form a dome. Make a circle with one hand, place a piece of portioned dough halfway inside it, and use one finger of your other hand to turn the dough while gradually pushing it through the circle tightening the dough as you work around the outside. You want to end up with a nice, taut dome.
  7. Next, turn that dome into a ball. Hold the dome with the concave underside facing up. Pinch the dough closed across the “bowl,” then roll the seam on the work surface until smooth. When you finish each piece, return it to its spot under the plastic wrap on the sheet pan.
  8. Cool the dough balls in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  9. Working with one ball at a time, use two fingers to pinch a hole through the center of the dough, turning it while you work. Once you break through the dough, turn it on its side (like a spinning wheel). Stick both of your index fingers through the hole from opposite directions, and spin them around each other, slowly stretching out the hole until you can fit three fingers through it. Return the shaped dough to its covered spot on the tray. (You might need a second tray.)
  10. Allow to proof at room temperature until a dough ring floats when set in a bowl of water. This will take about 20–40 minutes. (If the test ring sinks, proof a bit longer. The bagel I used for this test stuck to the parchment paper in the refrigerator overnight. Be careful.)
  11. Make sure the tray(s) are wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, and let them cool in the refrigerator overnight to allow flavors to develop.
  12. In a large pot over high heat, bring 5 L water, 25 g molasses, and 10 g baking soda to a roiling boil.
  13. Preheat the oven to 425 °F / 218 °C (Use convection if available)
  14. Working in batches, drop the bagels into the water and boil for 60 seconds, then flip them with a spider strainer or fork and boil for another 60 seconds. Transfer them with their smooth, rounded sides up, to a wire rack on a half-sheet pan.
  15. If you’re adding the seasoning mix—or your own choice of toppings—now’s the time to sprinkle it over the tops of the bagels.
  16. Transfer the bagels to a parchment paper–lined half-sheet pan and move it to the center rack of the preheated oven.
  17. Bake for seven minutes, spin the tray around to ensure even cooking, and continue baking until bagels have a nice, brown color—about seven more minutes.. To be sure they are done check the internal temperature is over 190 deg.

Whole (Wheat) Lotta Love

Great Led Zeppelin song – Whole Lotta Love

You may have noticed that I’ve been on a no-knead bread kick lately. Kneading dough isn’t a problem. My Kitchen-aide stand mixer and dough hook are very happy to knead the dough for me. What’s nice about this bread, aside from flavor, crumb, crust and appearance, is that it takes less that 10 minutes to mix the dough in the evening. It then ferments overnight, building all that great texture-generating gluten. In the morning simply form the dough into a ball and let it rest for an hour as the oven and Dutch Oven are heating, then bake for 30-45 minutes.

I found this recipe for a whole wheat no-knead bread a week ago and have made several loaves, giving most to friends, neighbors and family. I made two loaves today, one without seeds for my granddaughters, and one with for Fran and me. I use King Arthur’s Artisan Bread Topping which is a mixture of many seed varieties.

Made in a Dutch Oven, this bread has a great crust and excellent crumb and flavor. I find comments from each loaf, delivered while still warm, typically are, “You really outdid yourself with this loaf. It’s the best ever!” There is a feeling of satisfaction when, in these times, you are able to provide a simple, sensory respite for someone.

No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

INGREDIENTS

• 300 grams (2 1/4 cups) bread flour, plus more for the work surface
• 100 grams (3/4 cup) whole-wheat flour
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (table)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried instant yeast
• 300 grams (1 1/3 cups) cool water (55 to 65 degrees)
• Wheat bran or cornmeal, for dusting (may use additional flour)

METHOD

  1. Stir together the flours, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the water; use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit at room temperature until its surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Generously dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Use a rubber spatula or lightly floured hands to scrape the dough onto the parchment paper in one piece. Use your lightly floured hands to lift the edges of the dough up and in toward the center. Gently pinch the pulled-up dough together, cupping the edges in your hands as needed to nudge it into a round (don’t worry about making it a perfect circle.)
  3. If the dough feels sticky, dust the top lightly with more wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Place the plastic wrap used to cover the bowl of dough loosely over the dough. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it has almost doubled in size. When you gently poke the dough with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. About half an hour before you think the second rise is complete, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy Dutch oven or pot with a lid in the center of the rack. Preheat to 475 degrees.
  5. Use pot holders to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven, then lift off the lid.
  6. Uncover the dough. Quickly, but gently slit the top with a lame or sharp knife. If you are going to add seeds, spray the loaf with a light coating of water and sprinkle the seeds over the top. Pick up the four corners of the parchment paper and place into the pot. (Use caution — the pot and lid will be very hot.) Cover with the lid; bake (lower rack) for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid; continue baking until the loaf is a deep chestnut color but not burned, 15 to 30 minutes more. (If you are like me and want a more precise measure, the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread registers 200 to 210 degrees. I use the thermometer on every loaf.) Use the parchment paper to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly before serving or storing. Note: The oven temp is 475 degrees and if you remember Ray Bradbury’s book, you will never forget paper burns at Fahrenheit 451. It will be brown, black and crispy. Be gentle.

The Scarlet Pumpernickel

Actually, it’s brown, not scarlet, but it is pumpernickel. Day 5 of shelter-in-place saw the grilling of English muffins, an apple pie and finally a loaf of pumpernickel. Previously I made dark rye both with and without that nicer chewy, crunchy crust and white sandwich breads. The last time I made pumpernickel it didn’t go well, but with my recent success I decided to try again. Good move!!

This is a recipe from King Arthur Flour, my favorite Vermont baking source. This has great crumb, flavor and crust. Definitely a keeper.

Pumpernickel Bread – KAF

INGREDIENTS

• 4 cups (482g) AP flour
• 1 cup (96g) pumpernickel flour
• 3 tablespoons (21g) rye bread improver, optional
• 2 tablespoons (11g) black cocoa, for dark pumpernickel color
• 1 teaspoon Deli Rye Flavor, optional
• 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons instant yeast
• 1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (425g) lukewarm water

METHOD

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky.
  2. Let the dough rise in a lightly greased, covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours; it should become puffy.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface. Gently deflate it, and shape it into a ball.
  4. Place the shaped loaf onto a lightly-greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or into a Dutch oven and cover with the lid.
  5. Let the loaf rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s almost doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  7. Slash the loaf diagonally in several places.
  8. Bake the loaf for 35 to 45 minutes until it is crusty, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads 190°F to 200°F. If using a stoneware baker, remove the lid for the final 5 minutes of baking for a crusty top.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.

Tips from our Bakers
While both the rye dough improver and the rye flavor are optional, we recommend using them if you can. The dough improver helps to improve the loaf’s rise and texture, while the rye flavor adds authentic pumpernickel flavor.

Catch Her in the Rye

Day 2 of California’s Shelter-in-Place order and Bake #2 for “DeDe Bread.” Today I made two identical loaves of rye bread. One was delivered to my local family, and the other is currently being consumed by Quality Assurance Department.

Day 3’s plan is to make a replicate of today’s loaf plus a crusty loaf made in the Dutch Over. Before either loaf is delivered to likewise Shelter-in-Place friends and family the QA Department will be sampling a slice or two.

Homemade Rye Bread

INGREDIENTS
4 ½ tsp (16 g) packages active dry yeast
2 ½ cups warm water (just barely warm to the touch)
2/3 (225 g) cup molasses
2 tbl caraway seeds (optional)
1 tbl salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tbl Rye Bread Improver
2 cups rye flour
5 cups bread flour

METHOD

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the molasses. Put yeast mixture into a large metal bowl.
  2. Add the caraway seeds, salt, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, 2 cups of rye flour and then 2 cups of bread flour, mixing into the yeast mixture after each addition with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add more bread flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is not so sticky and it is too hard to mix it with the wooden spoon. At that point, spread a half cupful of flour onto a large, clean, flat surface and put the dough onto the surface.
  4. Knead the dough with a Kitchen-aide bench mixer using the dough hook. Add more bread flour in small amounts until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Once the sides of the bowl are fairly clean then knead 8 minutes.
  5. Let the dough rise: Spread some vegetable oil around a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it so it gets coated in the oil.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  7. Gently press down on the risen dough so some of its air is released. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, knead the dough a few turns and then divide it by cutting it in half with a sharp knife.
  8. Shape each half into loaf. Place dough loafs into either oiled 8×4-inch bread loaf pans, or onto a flat baking sheet or peel that has been sprinkled with corn meal, depending if you want to cook the loaves in pans or directly on a baking stone. Cover with plastic or a damp cloth.
  9. Let the loaves rise: Let the bread rise again, this time not doubling in volume, but rising by about half of its volume, about 30 to 45 minutes, half as long as the first rising. The dough should be peeking over the top of the loaf pan if using a loaf pan.
  10. If you are using a Dutch Oven or baking stone, place it in the oven and preheat oven to 350°F for at least half an hour before baking.
  11. If baking in a Dutch Oven pick the dough up by the corners of the parchment paper and place the dough and parchment paper into the Dutch Oven or directly on the baking stone. Score the loaves a few times on the top of the dough right before putting it in the oven. Be careful, the Dutch Oven or baking stone will be hot.
  12. Put loaves in the oven. If you have a mister, mist the dough with a little water the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until done. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.

Re-No Knead

After my childhood Neighbor and still friend, Martha read my No Knead bread post she messaged me her go-to no knead bread recipe, which I tried and thought was both easy and excellent. I subscribe to the Washington Post weekly Voraciously Baking Basics Newsletter and last week was their no knead bread.

There is no question this is the best no knead bread I have made. Full disclosure I used Martha’s short rise version which only requires a 4 hour rise. I should go back and try the over night 14 hour rise to be a fair comparison to WashPo’s, which did undergo a 14 hour rise.

Voraciously Baking Basics No Knead Bread

INGREDIENTS

Makes one 8-inch round loaf (8 to 10 slices)
Prep time: 20 mins, plus 14 hours rising time
Bake time: 55 to 60 mins

  • 3 cups (375 grams) flour, plus more for kneading the dough
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons uncooked grits (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseeds (optional) 
  • 1 1/3 cups (319 milliliters) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt, plus grits and flaxseeds (if using). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a shaggy, wet and sticky dough forms.
  2. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap — greased side facing inside the bowl — and leave at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 14 hours. The dough will rise and bubble and flatten across the top. 
  3. Toward the end of the rising time, place a 6-quart Dutch oven and lid on a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Generously flour a clean work surface and, using a rubber bench scraper or lightly greased silicone spatula, scoop the dough out of the bowl onto the counter. The dough will still be very wet and sticky, but there’s no need to knead it — just flour the top and sides to keep the outside of the dough dry enough to shape it into a roundish ball by pulling the edges to the center of the dough. You can use the bench scraper to assist in the folding.
  5. Flour a 14- to 16-inch piece of parchment paper. Cupping your hands around opposite sides of the dough, gently but decisively transfer the dough to the paper, fold-side down. Dust with more flour wherever sticky dough becomes exposed and loosely cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. The dough will have risen slightly and should bounce back when gently poked.
  6. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and set the lid aside. (I like to keep pot holders on the lid and handle of the Dutch oven to remind myself it’s very hot.) 
  7. Lift the towel off the bread and, using a serrated knife, slash two vents into the surface of the dough to make a big “X.”
  8. Holding two sides of the parchment paper, lower the paper and dough into the hot Dutch oven. Re-cover the pot and place in the oven. 
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown across the top and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and let cool in the Dutch oven for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing and serving. 
  10. The bread is best within 2 days of baking but will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Yes, Need Bread

While traveling last week I saw a recipe for no-knead bread and today was my first chance to try it. Actually, I started it last night and finished it in time for a sandwich for lunch today. That seemed appropriate as the recipe described it as sandwich bread.

Rather than kneading the dough, once mixed into a wet sticky mess, it is rested, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning shape it into an 8” long log and place into a lightly greased bread pan. Allow the dough to warm to room temperature and rise under a clean, flour dusted kitchen towel for two hours.

This recipe makes an enriched Pullman loaf, although I don’t actually have a Pullman Loaf Pan (a square bread pan with lid.) While the shape was off, the buttery flavor was excellent and it had the fine crumb a Pullman Loaf should exhibit. It made a wonderful turkey, tomato and home grown lettuce sandwich.

Bake at 375 deg F for about 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 200 deg F. Place on a cooling rack and coat the top with butter. Make your sandwich and sit back to watch the Tennessee vs Kansas City playoff game.

No Knead Sandwich Bread

INGREDIENTS
• 31⁄3 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface
• 11⁄2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
• 21⁄2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 11⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 1⁄4-oz. envelope)
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
• 13⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
• Cooking spray

METHOD
Stir together flour, milk, sugar, yeast, and 5 tablespoons of the melted butter in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until no dry spots remain. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let stand 20 minutes. Add salt and stir until dough is sticky and elastic, about 2 minutes. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator; chill for 8 hours or overnight.

Lightly coat an 81⁄2-by-41⁄2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Turn chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using lightly floured hands, shape dough into a rough oval. (Dough may be difficult to shape.) Fold short ends of oval in toward the center, pressing gently to seal. Working in the same direction as the previous fold, fold dough in half over itself, pressing gently to seal and form an 8-inch-long log.

Transfer dough, seam side down, to prepared loaf pan, gently encouraging it into the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Let rest in a warm place (like the top of the refrigerator) until dough has risen just over the lip of the pan, about 2 hours. During the final 30 minutes of resting, preheat oven to 375°F with oven rack in lower third.

Bake until bread is golden brown and a thermometer inserted in center of loaf registers 200°F, 40 to 45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after 30 minutes if bread is browning too quickly. Invert loaf onto a wire rack; turn right-side up and brush top with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Let cool completely before slicing.

Santa Bread Baby!

I saw a recipe and tutorial on Food.net last week and thought it would be fun to make and take to a Christmas party we are going to. This bread recipe is a little sweeter than my usual making it taste a little like a Danish pastry. Plus two eggs in 4 cups or 500g AP flour yields a Challah sort of flavor.

The Food.net video tutorial was a great help in cutting and arranging Santas parts. (Search for Food.net Santa Bread.

The instructions they provided were spot on. Follow them and you will have no problems.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • Two packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing and serving
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (see Cook’s Note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
  • 20 drops red gel food coloring
  • 2 large chocolate chips
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

METHOD

 

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it just begins to simmer, then remove from the heat and let cool to 115 degrees F. Stir in the yeast and let stand until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the sugar, butter and 2 of the eggs and stir until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium high and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a rimless baking sheet with parchment.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pinch off 1 golf ball-size piece of dough and roll it into a ball for the pompom of Santa’s hat. Pinch off 1 ping pong ball-size piece of dough and roll it into a ball for Santa’s nose. Cut off a 1-inch-wide, 9-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick strip and roll it into a smooth log for the brim of Santa’s hat. Cut another piece of dough into a roughly 2-inch-wide, 5-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick strip of dough. Snip evenly from the bottom (but not all the way up) and spread the strips out slightly to form a mustache.
  5. Roll out the remaining dough into an elongated diamond with the top triangle of the diamond double the length of the bottom triangle. Position the diamond on the prepared baking sheet with the top of the longer triangle hanging over the edge. Working on the shorter triangle, use scissors or a knife to cut 1/2-inch-wide strips of dough up toward the middle, stopping at the imaginary line where the top and bottom triangles meet. Pick up each strip of the beard and twist it, if you like, lying the twists down next to each other naturally so they look like a beard.
  6. Fold over the overhanging corner of dough so that it fits back within the edge of the baking sheet and position it slightly to the right to form the tip of Santa’s hat. Position the dough log across the top triangle where the tip of Santa’s hat ends and tuck the ends under the sides of the triangle; this is the brim of Santa’s hat. Position the golf ball-size ball of dough over the tip and against the brim and press lightly to adhere for the pompom of Santa’s hat. Arrange the mustache at the top of the beard, then position the ping pong ball-size ball of dough above the mustache to make Santa’s nose.
  7. Beat the remaining egg with the cream in a bowl to make an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of the dough, including the pompom and brim of the hat but not the body of the hat, with the plain egg wash, making sure to get into all the crevices of the shapes. Add the food coloring to the egg wash, stir to combine, then carefully brush the body of the hat with the red egg wash, being careful not to let it stain the pompom or brim.
  8. Bake until the bread is golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately set the chocolate chips proportionally on either side and slightly above Santa’s nose to form his eyes. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack. Using cut pieces of parchment paper or foil to shield Santa’s nose, face and the body of his hat, dust the beard, brim and pompom with confectioners’ sugar. Remove the paper and serve the bread while still warm with butter.