Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Straight Baguettes for Bread Baking Day #52

The theme for Bread Baking Day (BBD) #52 is French Breads. I’m glad Cindy of CindyStarblog chose this theme because I’ve had these baguettes on my list to bake for several weeks. I wanted to continue my baguette-making journey and this provided another opportunity… not that I need any motivation to bake bread.

I’ve been out-of-town on business so my issue was finding the time to actually make them. I finally got the opportunity to bake bread this weekend. It felt so good.


These straight baguettes are really easy. They can be made the same day. It usually takes about 5 hours from start to finish. They don’t even require an overnight poolish or Pâte Fermentée. If you want to serve baguettes for dinner, and have a few hours, this could be a good option.

I started making these baguettes Sunday afternoon, but ran out of steam before I could finish so I retarded the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, I let the dough warm up to room temperature for a couple of hours and then shaped, proofed and baked the baguettes.

I suppose officially this version wouldn’t be considered a straight baguette, but this process worked better with my schedule and energy level.


Straight Baguettes

Adapted from: The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by The French Culinary Institute

Makes: 2 Baguettes


  • 383 g (~3 cups) bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 284 g (~1 1/4 cups) water
  • 2 g (3/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 7 g (1 tsp) salt



1. Mix the bread flour and water until thoroughly blended.  You can use an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low speed, but this dough really doesn’t need a mixer.  I used a Danish dough whisk.

2. Let the dough autolyse (rest) for 15 minutes. Then add the salt and yeast and mix until thoroughly blended. The resting period helps the gluten structure start to develop. If necessary, add a little extra water to help dissolve the salt and yeast.

3. Scrap dough into the bowl. Don’t add any additional flour, just scrap the wet dough (using a dough scraper or a wooden spoon) into a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

4. Fold the Dough. Uncover the dough, fold it, then cover it back with plastic wrap and let it rest another 20 minutes. Repeat this process and let the dough rest an additional 20 minutes.

5. Final Fold. Uncover the dough again and fold it, then cover it with plastic, but this time let it bulk ferment for 2 hours. I let mine bulk ferment for about an hour or so, then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.

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6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. about an hour before you plan to bake the baguettes.  If you are using a baking stone, place it in the oven to preheat along with a steam pan underneath.  I decided to use my baguette pan for these loaves so I didn’t use the baking stone, just the steam pan.

7. Form the dough into rough logs. Uncover the dough and form 2 logs on a lightly floured, clean work surface.  Mist them lightly with spray oil and cover them with plastic wrap.  Let them rest for 15 minutes.

8. Shape the logs into batards. Begin by gently pressing on the dough to degas it. Shape it into a rough rectangle.

Fold the top of the dough down and seal it with you fingers to degas it somewhat. Then fold the lower section of the dough up and seal it with your fingers. You’ll end up with a rough batard-shaped loaf.  This is the seam side up view.

9. Shape into Baguettes. Turn the dough seam side down and using cupped hands, roll the dough back and forth from the middle out, to extend the dough into the shape of a baguette.

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10. Proof the Loaves. Place the loaves seam side down on a baker’s couche or baguette pan. Cover again with plastic wrap and let them proof for 30 minutes.

11. Score the Loaves. Uncover the dough, then use a lame or razor to score the loaves for baguettes. I made the French cut version, where you make about 4 or 5 vertical, but slightly angled slashes in the dough starting at the top left of the loaf and ending at the bottom right.  The slashes should overlap about an inch or so.

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12. Bake the Loaves. Add 1 cup of ice to the steam pan in the preheated oven and immediately transfer the loaves onto a baking stone (if using) or place the baguette pan in the oven. Spritz the loaves with water and close the oven door. Repeat the spritzing a couple more times during the first few minutes, then close the door. Let the loaves bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden-brown and the sides are firm when you touch them.

13. Cool the Loaves. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

14. Slice and Enjoy!

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This bread has been YeastSpotted.

I was pleased with the results and the flavor of these baguettes. I heard them crackle when I took them out of the oven and let them cool on the wire rack. I didn’t taste them until the next day, but they tasted good not blah like I expected from a baguette without a preferment. I had them with some organic butter. Yum!


Happy Baking!



Bread Baking Day #52 - French Bread (last day of submission August 1st, 2012)



Thanks to Cindy for hosting Bread Baking Day #52

BreadBakingDay was created by Zorra of http://kochtopf.twoday.net/stories/4124192/

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Sourdough Einkorn Bread

This is my first attempt at sourdough bread made completely with einkorn flour. This bread is not made with just any sourdough starter, mind you, it is made with an einkorn sourdough starter. The process is similar to the process used for the Whole Grain Spelt Levain

I began experimenting with einkorn in early 2011. I became interested in this grain because I love history, especially the history of wheat. I thought it would be so romantic to learn about and bake bread with the original wheat.  It is. I’ve become enamored with this ancient grain.



My journey is taking me into areas I would never have imagined a few years ago.  I want to find out what happened to make wheat so intolerant. It wasn’t always that way, was it? I mean, bread is considered the staff of life… so what happened along the way? 

I intend to find out. I’m not ready to give up on wheat…modern wheat maybe, or more importantly, modern methods of harvesting and milling the wheat that destroy the nutritional properties and prevent the grains from germinating on the stalk, but not wheat as it was intended to be. I have a lot to learn and understand about this and other ancient grains and their nutritional properties, but I’m fascinated by what I’ve found so far. I’ll try to share more as I begin to learn and understand. For now, I hope you enjoy this Sourdough Einkorn Bread.


Sourdough Einkorn Bread

Adapted from: Spelt Levain Loaf from May 2012 Issue of Saveur Magazine

Makes: 1 Loaf

It takes 10 days to build the Einkorn levain (or starter), but it doesn’t require very much hands on time each day. Just feed the starter each day and let the mixture rest until the next day. On the 10th day, create a sourdough culture and let it rest for 8 to 24 hours until you are ready to bake the bread. After you’ve created the starter, keep it going to use in other breads.


  • ~ 7 1/2 cups Einkorn flour, plus additional for dusting
  • ~ 3 cups filtered tap water, warm (115 degrees F.)
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp. (1 3/4 oz) honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (3/8 oz) kosher salt
  • spray oil for greasing the bowl



Here is the process and measurements I used. It was really hot in Atlanta when I started the process so I adjusted the amount of water/flour depending on the humidity that day. I also stirred the levain a couple of times throughout the 24-hour rest period because the mixture seemed to get dry on top before it was time to feed it again.


Day 1:  Create the Starter. In a large bowl, combine 2/3 cup einkorn flour, 1/3 cup water and yeast and stir until it becomes a smooth paste. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.



Day 2: Feed the starter.  Add 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon einkorn flour and 4 tablespoons water. Stir the mixture, recover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.



Day 3: Feed the starter.  Add 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons einkorn flour and 2 tablespoons water.  Stir the mixture, recover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.



Days 4 & 5: Feed the starter.  Add 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon einkorn flour and 2 tablespoons water. Stir the mixture, recover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.



Days 6 & 7: Feed the starter.  Add 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon einkorn flour and 3 tablespoons water. Stir the mixture, recover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.



Day 8: Feed the starter. Add 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon einkorn flour and 4 tablespoons water. Stir the mixture, recover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.



Day 9: Feed the starter. Add 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon einkorn flour and 2 tablespoons water. Stir the mixture, recover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.



Day 10: Create the Sourdough Culture. Take 1/4 cup starter and place it in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup water and 1 cup einkorn flour.  Mix with a Danish dough whisk until smooth. This will be your sourdough culture.  Let the culture sit for 8-24 hours, until you are ready to bake. Place the remaining starter in a mason jar and put it in the refrigerator to use as your new einkorn starter.



Day 11:

Mix the Dough. Remove the plastic wrap and add about 3 1/2 cups Einkorn flour, 1/2 cup + 1 –2 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons honey and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and mix with a Danish dough whisk until a dough forms and all the flour is absorbed.



Knead the Dough. The next step is to transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface to knead it. The dough was a sticky mess so instead of adding too much flour during the kneading process, I covered the dough with plastic wrap sprayed with olive oil and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.  During this time, the flour absorbs the water and the gluten structure starts to develop.



Bulk Fermentation: After the autolyse (rest period), knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic and place it in an oiled bowl.



Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough proof until it is doubled in size, about 2 1/2 - 3 hours.



Shape the Loaf: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and flatten it into a rough round.



Fold the top and bottom edges toward the middle, like a letter, to evenly distribute the air pockets and help the bread rise evenly in the pan.  Pinch the seams together.



Final Proof: Place the dough seam side down in a greased 8” x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2” loaf pan. Recover with plastic and let it sit again until doubled in size, about 2-3 more hours.



The dough is supposed to reach the top of the pan; however, I let the loaf proof for about 5 hours and it never reached the top of the pan.  I decided it was time to bake it.



Prepare the Loaf for Baking: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly dust the top of the loaf with more einkorn flour and score it using a razor (lame) or serrated knife.  I used a lame. It was a bit tricky since the dough didn’t rise all of the way to the top.



Bake the loaf until nicely brown, about 30-40 minutes.  Let it cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.



This is a slightly dense, but very tasty loaf. It has a unique and tangy flavor from the sourdough. I like it!


Happy Baking!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Try this easy little bread recipe

The Bread Baking Babes are staying cool this month making an easy little bread. It’s been so hot, I haven’t felt like baking bread. I’ve been making jam and soups instead. I was starting to go through bread withdrawals. Sara of I Like to Cook came to the rescue with this easy little bread that doesn’t require much hands on time or heat up the kitchen too much. She adapted the recipe from 101 Cookbooks.

This easy little bread with spelt tastes great! The original version is made with equal parts all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and rolled oats, but I mixed things up a bit and used whole spelt flour instead of the whole wheat flour and spelt flakes instead of rolled oats. I left it a little too long in the proofing stage so it collapsed a bit on top when baked, but otherwise it turned out just fine. 



Easy Little Bread Recipe made with spelt

Adapted from: 101 Cookbooks

Makes: 1 Loaf


  • 300 ml warm water (105-115F)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 150 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 140 g whole spelt flour
  • 75 g spelt flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing



1. In a large bowl, mix the flours, spelt flakes, instant yeast, and salt.



2. Stir the honey into the warm water, then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir very well.



3. Brush an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter or grease with spray or oil. Spread the dough in the pan.



4. Cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.



I ran an errand while the dough was proofing so it proofed for an hour instead of 30 minutes. It rose really well in the pan, but not so much in the oven.



5. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. 



6. Remove from the oven and turn the bread out of the pan quickly, if using a nonstick pan. I used a glass pan so I let the loaf sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing it to the cooling rack. Brush the loaf with melted butter. Then let it cool on a wire rack. Serve warm, slathered with butter.



As the other Babes have mentioned, this bread may not be much to look at, but it sure tastes good. The spelt gives it a slightly nutty flavor.  Yum!

Happy Baking!


Friday, 13 July 2012

Spicy Peach Butter -- smooth and easy!

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding more and more reasons to put away the fruit of the harvest from my garden and from local farms.

I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta and back then we weren’t into canning so much, but my mom did can some fruits and vegetables. These days, she’s into canning and freezing the bounty from her beautiful gardens. I get my gardening inspiration from her.  It was my Grandmother, from South Georgia, that canned a good bit while we were growing up. Although I did not learn the art from her, it must’ve rubbed off on me. It’s in my veins now and once the bug hits you, there’s no turning back.

I’m glad the bug hit me. Homemade jams taste so good and definitely enhance the bread experience. This Spicy Peach Butter is a delicious reminder of summer. It goes down really easy.



I got some Georgia Loring peaches when we visited a farm last week. Loring peaches are freestone peaches, the perfect peach for canning. They taste great, and are really easy to work with.



To prepare the peaches for canning, I referred to the method in Sherry Brooks Vinton’s book “Put ‘em Up!”  Basically, you take a really ripe peach and blanch it to remove the peel, cut it in half and remove the pit, and then smash it with your hand.  You don’t even have to cut it up.  Just blanch it, peel it, pit it, smash it, boil it, can it!  It’s that easy!


Spicy Peach Butter

Adapted from: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and Put ‘em Up! by Sherry Brooks Vinton

Makes: About 8 or 9 cups (Half-Pints)


  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 9 pounds peaches
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg



Step 1: Place the water and the lemon juice in a large nonreactive pot. Then prepare an ice-water bath by placing ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl or you can use a clean and sterilized sink.

Step 2: Fill another large pot with water and bring it to boil. Carefully drop 2 peaches at time into the boiling water and blanch them for 30 seconds to loosen the skins.



Step 3: Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the water and place them in the ice-water bath.  Repeat the process with the remaining peaches. Let them drain in a colander.



Step 4: Peel the peaches, which should be really easy now that they been blanched, then cut them in half and remove the pit. 





Take the peach and smash it with your hand, then add it to the large pot with the lemon juice mixture.  Repeat this process with the rest of the peaches.



Step 5: Bring the peach mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the peaches are soft, about 10 minutes or so. 



Step 6: Cool the mixture slightly, then puree with a stick blender. The Ball Book of Canning recommends that you don’t liquefy the mixture when you puree it, but I got carried away so my mixture was liquefied.  I wondered if this would keep it from reaching the gel stage, but it did okay.



Step 7: Place the pureed mixture back in the pot and add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Simmer this mixture over medium-low heat until it thickens.  This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour or so. I placed a dollop on a plate that had been placed in the freezer to check if the gel was set. If the butter doesn’t spread around it’s perimeter, then it is ready.



Step 8: Remove the butter from the heat and ladle into clean, sterilized, hot half-pint jars.  Leave 1/4 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles if necessary with a bubble remover and headspace tool. Wipe the edges clean. Center lid on jar.  Then screw the band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. 





Step 9:  Place the jars in the canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes in altitudes up to 1,000 feet.


If you live in a higher altitude or need more detailed instructions on water-bath canning, please refer to the instructions at the National Center for Home Preservation.


Step 10: Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove the jars, and let them sit on the counter for 24 hours to cool and ensure they are sealed correctly. You should hear the lids pop if they are sealed properly. Place the sealed jars in a cool, dry place for storage for up to a year.  If any of the jars do not seal properly, place them in the refrigerator. They will last for a couple of months in the refrigerator.



I ended up with more jam than would fit in the 7 jars I had sterilized so I filled 2 extra jars that didn’t go in the boiling-water bath. They went in the refrigerator after they cooled down and posed for this photo.



I love the way this peach butter tastes and the texture is, well buttery… smooth and easy!

Happy Canning!