CARROT AND SESAME SANDWICH LOAF

From the one and only Dan Lepard, a loaf to satisfy your cravings for a hearty sandwich bread, with the slightly nutty flavor of sesame seeds and a very subtle sweetness from grated carrots in the crumb.  Very easy to make, very easy to love…    You can find the full recipe on The Guardian site, by clicking here.

loaf
Here’s a little virtual tour of the process, starting with a quick preparation of your loaf pan.  You might be surprised to learn that I am a complete disaster when it comes to using scissors. I cannot make a straight cut to save my life.  So I was proud of my job here, although truth be told, it took me almost 15 minutes to do this.

prepbowl

You weigh your ingredients, and make a nice, smooth round of dough…
weighingdough
Thanks to the use of Rapid Rise Yeast (which is unusual for me, I normally go for the regular kind), you will end up with a shaped loaf that will threaten to escape its container, so make sure not to leave the house to run a few errands as the dough rises…  😉
risingslashed

The carrots are very evident in the dough, but they get baked into the crumb in a wonderful way. They won’t disappear, but you won’t feel any harsh bits of carrots as you bite into the bread.  A very soft crumb, with a nice crunchy top given by the sesame seeds.  Make sure to follow Dan’s tip on adding them: wet the surface of the slashed dough with a little water so that the seeds can stick better.  He used black sesame seeds, for quite a dramatic look.  I could swear I had black sesame seeds somewhere, but I could not find them, so I used regular, white seeds.
crumb

And I share with you a favorite lunch option: an open-faced sandwich made with  this bread, slightly toasted, some smoked ham, and cottage cheese with enough salt and black pepper to make it all shine…  Perfection, if you ask me!

sandwich

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Border Grill Margaritas

TWO YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

THREE YEARS AGO: Vermont Sourdough

HONEY-OAT PAIN DE MIE

Simple pleasures make me happy: a new cookbook to read in bed before falling asleep, a new pair of earrings (another obsession of mine), a new cooking gadget, like this gorgeous item I succumbed to last week.  It’s a beautiful pan to make sandwich bread, that kind that looks like store-bought, but tastes  two orders of magnitude better.  I bought it with one specific recipe in mind, and in record-breaking speed, the dough was mixed 24 hours after the package from King Arthur arrived.

HONEY-OAT PAIN DE MIE
(from King Arthur)

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
2 + 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup + 2 Tbs lukewarm water

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer, and mix until it comes together in a shaggy mass. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then knead for 8 to 10 minutes on second speed (you can also knead by hand until smooth, it will take longer).

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or in an 8-cup measure (so you can track its progress as it rises), and let it rise for 90 minutes. It should be noticeably risen, but not necessarily double in bulk. Mine definitely doubled after 90 minutes, take a look by clicking here.

Gently shape the dough into a 9″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9″ pain de mie (pullman) pan, pressing it gently to flatten. Cover the pan with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s about 1 inch from the top of the lid. This should take 60 to 90 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap, close the lid, and bake the bread in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes.  Carefully remove the lid (wear mittens), and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the surface.  If you want, you can remove the bread from the pan and bake it for another 5 minutes to get a crispier crust.   Internal temperature should be at least 190 F.

Remove the bread from the oven, allow it to completely cool before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Two important pointers for success:

1. Use a recipe that was written for your pan’s dimensions, so that the dough will rise to its full capacity during baking.  For instance, this recipe is for a 9 inch long Pullman pan. They all have similar widths, by the way.

2. When placing the shaped loaf inside the pan, allow it to rise until it is 1 inch from the top, as the recipe states.  I was a bit impatient (big surprise! ;-))  and also worried about the dough overflowing, so I cut the final rise a bit short.  By doing so, my bread was not fully squared, as the top edges never touched the lid.   It didn’t compromise the taste or texture of the crumb, but the shape was slightly off.

This bread is absolutely delicious, the oats don’t make it hard or crunchy, it is a perfect bread for simple sandwiches, and also great to slice and bake as home-made Melba type toasts.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…

ONE YEAR AGO: Carrot and Leek Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmiggiana 101

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CRACKED-WHEAT SANDWICH BREAD

My original idea was to do a sourdough cracked-wheat bread, I had the recipe printed out, and my starter going. Woke up on Saturday bright and early, in great spirits to attack the preparation. Surprise number 1: recipe called for a whole-wheat starter. Mine wasn’t. Surprise number 2: recipe suggested an overnight fermentation in the fridge before baking, but I absolutely had to start and finish the bread on the same day.   Not sure how many times in my life I’ve made the mistake of NOT reading a recipe carefully enough before baking day, and/or before shopping for ingredients  (sigh). Plan B had to be set in place, and quickly.  I found a recipe for cracked-wheat bread with a very interesting technique: spreading a dry mixture of flour, sugar and yeast over a fermenting “sponge”, forming a sort of a protective blanket over it.  All of a sudden my Saturday was bright again, and the best was that the bread turned out fantastic!


CRACKED-WHEAT SANDWICH BREAD
(adapted from The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum)

To make the sponge:
1/2 cup bread flour (78 g)
1/2 cup  whole wheat flour (72 g)
3/4 tsp instant yeast (2.4 g)
1/2 tbsp sugar (6.2 g)
1 tbsp nonfat dry milk (8 g)
1 tbsp agave nectar (20 g)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp  water at around 80F (266 g)

Flour mixture for topping the sponge:
2 cups bread flour (312 g)
1/2 tbsp sugar (6.2 g)
1/4 tsp instant yeast (0.8 g)

For the final dough:
1/2 cup cracked-wheat
1/2 cup  boiling water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 + 3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp melted butter

In a medium bowl combine the sponge ingredients and whisk until very smooth, about 2 minutes, trying to incorporate as much air as possible as you stir.

 In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour mixture ingredients. Sprinkle on top of the sponge to cover it completely. DO NOT MIX TOGETHER. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 1-4 hours at room temperature. The longer you allow it to ferment, the better. I fermented mine for 2 hours.

Place the cracked-wheat in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the water until all the water is absorbed, about 1 hour.

With your stand mixer, add the bulghur  and the oil  to the bowl and then add the dough and starter. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for a couple of minutes, until no dry bits remain, but do not overmix.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed for 12  minutes. The dough should be very elastic  but still slightly moist.

Scrape the dough into a  greased container. Lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours (mine took 90 minutes).  Scrape the dough onto a floured surface and press down very gently to form a rectangle, don’t try to get all the air out of it. Give it a business letter fold, turn it 90 degrees and do another business letter type fold. Smooth the edges and return the folded dough to the bowl.  Cover, and rise until doubled, 1 to 1.5 hours (mine took only 45 minutes).

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape it as a loaf.  Place into oiled loaf pan. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise until the center is about 1 inch higher than the rim of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for 30 minutes before baking. Place oven rack at the lowest shelf and place baking stone on top. Place a sheet pan on the floor of the oven and  have some ice cubes handy.

Once the dough has risen, brush the top with the melted butter, then cut a 1/2″ deep slash down the middle of the dough. Quickly set the load pan on the baking stone. Take a 1/2 cup of ice cubes and quickly throw them onto the sheet pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown and the internal temperature is 200 F.  Remove pan from oven, remove bread from pan and set on wire rack. Brush with remaining melted butter. Let it cool completely (yeah, right… 😉 before eating.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Cracked-wheat (an ingredient similar, but not exactly the same as bulghur, for a nice explanation click here), gives this bread a perfect texture, and just the right amount of ‘grain-feel’.  You can substitute bulghur if you have trouble finding cracked wheat.

It is a very easy dough to handle, as most of the kneading is done with a mixer. It would be possible to knead by hand, but it would take a lot longer and you must develop the gluten fully to get the right texture – go for the Kitchen Aid, is my advice.   It is fun to make, the photos below show the sipping of the fermenting sponge after 1.5 hours, the addition of cracked-wheat, and the amazing first rise, probably due to the temperature in our home these days.

If you make this bread during warm weather, as soon as you shape the dough  start heating your oven, because mine took only 35 minutes to fully rise. You don’t want to risk overproofing, so that the bread will still rise during baking. Catch it around this stage, brush it with butter, slash the top and place it in the oven.

Sandwiches with cheese, ham, lettuce, a light touch of mustard were absolute heavenly!

I’m submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting event…  Nice to be able to join that party after what seemed like too long a break!  😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Au Revoir, My Bewitching Kitchen (hard to  believe it’s been one year already!)

TWO YEARS AGO: Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

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SOUR CREAM SANDWICH BREAD

A simple but delightful sandwich bread, made with white flour, commercial yeast, and a bit of sour cream to provide a mildly tangy note, and a moist and tender crumb.   If you are baking under challenging conditions (that is, in a small oven), watch out for quite  an impressive oven spring: the bread might touch the heating element on top and… you don’t want that to happen.  Protect it with aluminum foil if needed.     The recipe comes from the one and only Dan Lepard, you can find it here.

SOURCREAM SANDWICH BREAD
(from Dan Lepard, published at The Guardian)

General method:
Sour cream is mixed with water, a little salt and sugar, and yeast.  Bread flour is added to form a sticky dough.

Dan uses minimal kneading, just 10 seconds every 10 minutes over half an hour, then the dough rises for 1 hour.

After shaping as a loaf, place in a pan and allow it to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.  The bread is baked in a 390F oven for about 45 minutes.

(for the detailed recipe, and printable version, click here)

Comments:  This is a great  recipe for those times in which you want a simple loaf for day-to-day sandwiches.  A slice, slightly toasted, with cottage cheese, salt and pepper, is a perfect way to start the day, next to a steaming cup of green tea.  Or, if you prefer to play on my husband’s team, make it a thin spread of blackberry preserves,.  Either way, Dan Lepard came up with yet another winner!

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Pasta with Zucchini Strands and Shrimp

A GOLDEN SANDWICH BREAD

The past couple years of sourdough baking turned me into a wild yeast purist, to the point that using commercial yeast feels like cheating. So, it’s time for a confession: I cheated last weekend and used commercial yeast to bake my bread. However, instead of penance, I got a beautiful, golden loaf to enjoy the rest of the week! 😉

SEMOLINA SANDWICH LOAF
(from Daniel Leader, Local Breads)

300 grams water (1 + 1/2 cups)   at 70 to 78  F
5 grams instant yeast (1 tsp)
500 grams fine semolina (durum) flour (3 + 1/4 cup)
15 grams granulated sugar (1 Tbs)
50 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
10 grams sea salt (1 + 1/2 tsp)

Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast, flour, sugar, olive oil and salt and stir just until a rough dough forms.

Use the dough hook and mix the dough on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid type mixer) until it is very smooth and elastic, about 9 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container, cover and leave to rise at room temperature until it doubles (1.5  to 2 hours).

Optional: go for a run during this time and come back to find out that 1 hour and 10 minutes later your dough is about to walk out the door to greet you).


Grease a loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2) with oil. Lightly dust the counter with semolina flour, place the dough on it, and shape it as a loaf. Insert it into the pan, with the seam side down. Dust the top lightly with semolina flour, and cover the pan. Let the loaf rise at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) until it crowns just above the rim of the pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (my loaf got there in only 45 minutes – must be the phase of the moon 😉

Bake in a 375 F oven until the loaf pulls away from the sides of the pan, and the crust is golden brown – 35 to 45 minutes.

Carefully remove the bread from the pan, and cool it over a rack for at least one hour before slicing it. Marvel at the beautiful, golden crumb, and…..

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I highly recommend this recipe if you are new to bread making.  The dough handles very well, and has impressive oven spring, baking into a gorgeous loaf that rises way above the pan. The semolina flour allows the  bread to last slightly longer than most homemade breads would – just store it at room temperature, inside a paper bag. Slightly toasted slices are delicious as part of a sandwich or just spread with jam or butter.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting… make sure you stop by on Friday to see her weekly collection of breads.

ONE YEAR AGO: Tomato Confit with Arugula and Zucchini

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