urchin

Baking Breads

145 posts in this topic

I do agree with urchin that ingredients should be extremely limited. 4 max. TP try marinara with garlic/rosemary olive oil and salt. God I miss Melbourne.

Seconded for the limited. I go for simple too:

Tin of crushed tomatoes into a blender with some herbs

Super thin sliced pepperoni a good hard dry one with loads of pepper

Button Mushrooms

Mozzarella in cm thick slices

Cover pizza with tomato puree then the pepperoni then sliced mushrooms and the chunky slices of mozzarella bit of oil over the top.

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I do agree with urchin that ingredients should be extremely limited. 4 max. TP try marinara with garlic/rosemary olive oil and salt. God I miss Melbourne.

Living in the US convinced me that simpler was better with pizza. The more they added to the local pies, the greasier they seemed to get.

'Plain cheese' pizza introduced the idea (just sauce and cheese, not too much of either) and experimentation has confirmed it.

If one of the ingredients is fresh garlic, and another is olive oil, so much the better.

Unfortunately, I live with a philistine who insists no pizza is complete without pineapple. Feel free to pity me...

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Napoli was the inventor I'm unreliably informed urch. America commercialised the product. :pizza:

hmm... i thought it was a guy named Ray in NYC, and the price for a pepperoni slice and a coke was pegged to the price of a subway token. good incentive to walk :P

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Living in the US convinced me that simpler was better with pizza. The more they added to the local pies, the greasier they seemed to get.

'Plain cheese' pizza introduced the idea (just sauce and cheese, not too much of either) and experimentation has confirmed it.

If one of the ingredients is fresh garlic, and another is olive oil, so much the better.

Unfortunately, I live with a philistine who insists no pizza is complete without pineapple. Feel free to pity me...

I always order a margarita with double garlic when I order pizza. Seems to be the one type of pizza I can't replicate well.

I have a theory that when I can stop working I am going to just go to the local takeaway places I like the food of and offer to work for free for a few months simply so I can pick up the techniques and recipes. My cover story will be that I am writing an article and want to get the inside story. I doubt anyone would believe someone saying I want to work for free, if I am writing a story then it might just be believable enough.

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hmm... i thought it was a guy named Ray in NYC, and the price for a pepperoni slice and a coke was pegged to the price of a subway token. good incentive to walk :P

You got me wondering. So I went to the source of all truth. link :lamo:

If true the bit about the lava fired pizza oven is pretty wild.

The world's first pizzeria opened its doors in 1738. The Naples restaurant was called Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba. Its pizzas were cooked in an oven that used lava from nearby Mount Vesuvius.

I tried NY pizza. It was nice if a bit oily and huge. One slice was a meal.

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You got me wondering. So I went to the source of all truth. link :lamo:

If true the bit about the lava fired pizza oven is pretty wild.

I tried NY pizza. It was nice if a bit oily and huge. One slice was a meal.

It could be that the lava _when_cooled_ was used to make the oven.

Lava powered would be interesting.

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It could be that the lava _when_cooled_ was used to make the oven.

Ah yes, that makes sense now. For a while I thought you were suggesting that they sculpted the pizza oven from molten lava. :laugh: Funny how you read things sometimes. I always think of lava as molten. When it cools it forms rocks. So you talk about rocks rather than lava.

Lava powered would be interesting.

:beer: Would it what! :fear: You have no idea how many interesting scenarios I've come up with thinking of how a sculptured lava, lava fuelled pizza oven would work. From shovelling in lava to having a channel through which lava flowed. That sucker made a LOT of pizza. Forgive me I have a cold and am somewhat delirious. :doctor:

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Ah yes, that makes sense now. For a while I thought you were suggesting that they sculpted the pizza oven from molten lava. :laugh: Funny how you read things sometimes. I always think of lava as molten. When it cools it forms rocks. So you talk about rocks rather than lava.

:beer: Would it what! :fear: You have no idea how many interesting scenarios I've come up with thinking of how a sculptured lava, lava fuelled pizza oven would work. From shovelling in lava to having a channel through which lava flowed. That sucker made a LOT of pizza. Forgive me I have a cold and am somewhat delirious. :doctor:

If you like thinking thermodynamics you will go apesh*t if you browse around on the hardcore barbecue and pizza sites. Some of those guys are temp hungry.

I read a pizza site where a guy hacked his oven which had the self cleaning function and made it so you could open the door while it cleaned (from memory temps of about 400C).

One barbecue guy basically turned his grill into a series of bunsen burners. He like his steak cold in the middle and charred outside.

Probably shouldn't give you encouragement while you are messed up though, leads to big old booms!

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Pizza stones aren't worth sh*t in a standard oven IMO. Please stop gifting them to me.

The trick to a good pizza is a good base, and what a person likes in a base is pretty personal. I like a deep base. Others like a piece of paper under the topping. Horses for.. whatever.

First kneading is important for a good dough. More important than the recipe - which will be a variation on flour+water+yeast. Don't skimp on that first kneading. Then I like 3 hours rising time with one beat-down in the middle. I make pizza on Sunday for this reason.

The cooking here is done somewhere between 220 and flat out, on a middle shelf with the top grill full on until the pepperoni starts to sizzle. This depends on the oven I guess. I might build a pizza oven in the backyard this year, but we do pretty well without.

Toppings again, are personal. I'm not allowed to do my tuna/corn/broccoli now that I'm married so mine tend to be cappriciosa or thereabouts. But let's face it, it's a pizza. You can't really muck it up. My one hint is not to overdo cheese, and to replace most of the cheese most people use with fetta.

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as threatened, my attempt to make a decent loaf o french bread. the stuff that they try to pass off as baguettes in canberra are just dry, crumbly loaves of white bread in the shape of baguettes. no flavour, no contrasting textures - in short, nothing to make them worth the rather high prices charged.

i had no success at all with trying french breads till i started using the covered bbq (for the 250-300 degree temps) and a very, very wet dough.

the basic recipe i started with is here:

http://bakingdesserts.suite101.com/article.cfm/frenchbreadrecipe

but there are a lot of problems with the recipe as it stands. what i use now is:

4 cups flour

1.65 to 1.75 cups water

1 tsp salt

4 tsp yeast (its a lot of yeast, i know).

one thing - never ever forget to include the salt! i did this once and the result was nearly inedible. its amazing how much flavour such a small amount of salt adds...

if you are planning ahead (i.e., thinking of making it the next day and not the same day), i used a poolish and it helps. basically its just equal proportions water and flour with some yeast left to ferment at room temp. overnight - this is used as a starter for the bread when you start the next day. i used 1/4 cup water and flour and 1/4 tsp yeast (don't forget to subtract the amounts used for the poolish from the total ingredients)

next day break out the bread machine (for the dough cycle only) or mixer. this is a very wet dough so its extremely hard to mix/knead manually. two options at this stage - to autolyse or not to autolyse.

autolysing is basically just adding the water and flour, letting it mix up and sit for 20-30 mins before adding in the yeast and poolish. this, apparently, allows the water to be absorbed by the flour and reduces the amount of mixing/kneading required. if you are doing it by machine it doesn't really matter, i suppose, but if you are going to hand-knead it may be useful. the problem i have had with autolysing is that the poolish/yeast will not be properly mixed in (as most of the dough has already taken on a fairly substantial form by this stage). so i have stopped using it, but to each his/her own.

so you dump in all the ingredients, let the machine knead it for a while till the dough is smooth and sort of "satiny". it will still be very wet and sticky - that's fine.

at that point get two well oiled bowls (i break it into two separate bowls because my pizza stone can't handle overly large loaves), cover and let them rise till about double.

Now, the really difficult thing with this recipe is that the loaves are so wet they become very difficult to handle and they tend to just spread out when put in the oven. The secret to getting around this and increasing surface tension is folding.

You can see pictures and detailed descriptions here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/tentips_6_fold

basically instead of punching the dough down when it doubles you dump it onto a very well floured surface and fold as per the link above. Stretch out the bottom a bit, fold it up to middle, stretch out top a bit and fold to middle, repeat with right and left, then put it back into the bowl (the side with all the seams on it facing down) and let it rise again. do this twice - when it doubles first time and second time.

after the second rise and fold lay the bread on some floured (or corn-mealed) baking paper. make sure you have a good, solid shape with reasonably strong surface tension. the longer you let it rise after the second rise the weaker the surface tension will get and the more likely it will spread in the oven. so don't let it go too long.

You have, of course, had the baking stone heating in the oven at around 250 degrees or so for the past hour so once you are happy with the bread (maybe 20-40 mins after second rise) its time to bake. get a bread knife, wet it, and make 2-3 long, relatively deep slashes in the bread. some people recommend razor blades but i have found that a bread knife works best. the reason for the cuts, as i understand it, is that it lets the bread rise more evenly in the oven--preventing big bubbles, etc.

then pat the surface of the bread with cold water so it is nice and damp. also bring a glass of cold water out to the bbq with the bread.

again, the biggest difficult in baking bread for me is getting it onto the damned stone from the peel or baking paper. i am probably going to try just leaving it on the baking paper next time i bake. after the bread has been in the oven for 5-7 mins or so it should be solid enough to take the paper away without issue but i haven't tried it yet. the baking paper says its good for temps up to 250... but i go over 250 so we will have to see.

anyway, get the bread on the stone and then you have to create steam. if you have a metal grill (you know, the bit for grilling sausages) you can just pour the water (a bit slowly so you don't throw up a big cloud of ash--i did that once, it sucks) onto the grill so you get a nice cloud of steam developing, close the lid to the bbq and crank up the temperature. the reason for patting the bread with water and getting the steam going is so that the crust is crunchier - you get the nice kind of "blister" effect on the crust if you get enough moisture in the air at the beginning of the baking process

keep the temperature high for the first 5 mins or so, then reduce it to 200-250 range. keeping it too high for too long will mean you have a very thick, hard crust. i haven't perfected this part of the operation so i'm not all that clear on how soon and to what extent the temp should be dropped. too low and you get very dry bread...

when the bread looks like french bread should, in terms of colour, pop it out and put it on a rack to cool. eat and enjoy.

my experience is that it goes hard as a rock after a day or two, so eat soon.

the big issues with this process are:

*poolish seems to help if you have the time to plan ahead

*wet is good, though it makes handling the dough a huge pain the ass. but if you want those big ass holes in your bread, its got to be wet (at least, its the only way i've been able to produce them)

*folding is key. otherwise you just get a spread out blob and that is very disappointing. fold it as tightly as you can, i think.

*moisture and high initial temperature when baking.

anyway, that's how i've been doing it. maybe i will make some bread tomorrow - will upload pictures if i get anything that looks edible :P

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...

That is one of the more insane things I have seen. Congratulations. It actually makes me want to try making bread.

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That is one of the more insane things I have seen. Congratulations. It actually makes me want to try making bread.

hmmm... now you have me a bit concerned b/c it all seems perfectly normal to me. granted the wife does look at me funny when i plan a whole day around baking bread... but there is nothing like a really good loaf of bread. good, freshly baked bread, some cheese (perhaps some mayo) and some decent red wine = a good dinner for me.

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In retrospect, the phrase, "if you want those big ass holes in your bread" is somewhat less than felicitous... just another reason to use the preview function...

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In retrospect, the phrase, "if you want those big ass holes in your bread" is somewhat less than felicitous... just another reason to use the preview function...

Better in your bread than in your forum?

wait...

nope. The other one. Keep the big assholes out of my bread.

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then pat the surface of the bread with cold water so it is nice and damp. also bring a glass of cold water out to the bbq with the bread.

again, the biggest difficult in baking bread for me is getting it onto the damned stone from the peel or baking paper. i am probably going to try just leaving it on the baking paper next time i bake. after the bread has been in the oven for 5-7 mins or so it should be solid enough to take the paper away without issue but i haven't tried it yet. the baking paper says its good for temps up to 250... but i go over 250 so we will have to see.

anyway, get the bread on the stone and then you have to create steam. if you have a metal grill (you know, the bit for grilling sausages) you can just pour the water (a bit slowly so you don't throw up a big cloud of ash--i did that once, it sucks) onto the grill so you get a nice cloud of steam developing, close the lid to the bbq and crank up the temperature. the reason for patting the bread with water and getting the steam going is so that the crust is crunchier - you get the nice kind of "blister" effect on the crust if you get enough moisture in the air at the beginning of the baking process

Very interesting post, Urchin.

It took me years to work out my dough was too dry. I don't know why most sources insist on drier doughs - it seems like we are left to stumble over the truth, each baker alone. Tor's idea of voluntary apprenticeship would probably short-circuit this a bit, but who has the time?

I use a spray bottle of water to ensure that the surface of the dough is almost but not quite running with moisture when it goes in. Also, I have a kettle of boiling water which I pour into a large tray at the bottom of my oven at the same time. It's a fairly hazardous procedure due to the huge cloud of steam it generates, but it is worth it. Don't know how you could replicate it with your system (maybe a tray of water alongside the loaves?)

Home made bread doesn't last in the same way bought bread does. Come to that, french bread in France doesn't last long either, ordinary people seem to buy it at least once a day and the bolangeries are set up for frequent small purchases.

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I use a spray bottle of water to ensure that the surface of the dough is almost but not quite running with moisture when it goes in. Also, I have a kettle of boiling water which I pour into a large tray at the bottom of my oven at the same time. It's a fairly hazardous procedure due to the huge cloud of steam it generates, but it is worth it. Don't know how you could replicate it with your system (maybe a tray of water alongside the loaves?)

i want to use a spray bottle too but the only spray bottles i have have been used for cleaners or for garden fertilizers etc... probably not a smart idea to switch to using 'em for food.

actually i have no problem making the steam. i have the pizza stone sitting atop the metal hotplate section of the grill. i just pour cold water (with ice cubes if i have em) onto the front section of the hotplate. since the water is cold/ice it gives me enough time to get the lid closed before all the steam dissipates. not the ideal situation but...

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i want to use a spray bottle too but the only spray bottles i have have been used for cleaners or for garden fertilizers etc... probably not a smart idea to switch to using 'em for food.

actually i have no problem making the steam. i have the pizza stone sitting atop the metal hotplate section of the grill. i just pour cold water (with ice cubes if i have em) onto the front section of the hotplate. since the water is cold/ice it gives me enough time to get the lid closed before all the steam dissipates. not the ideal situation but...

Spray bottles are $1.49 from the supermarket. I have one just for baking, a nice shiny white one...

I'm not sure I could use the cold water/icecubes method, as it would drop the oven temperature too low for too long. ...Or at least I think it would, but it is a pretty hot oven.... hmm, maybe I should experiment - I am kind of sick of par-boiling myself.

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Spray bottles are $1.49 from the supermarket. I have one just for baking, a nice shiny white one...

I'm not sure I could use the cold water/icecubes method, as it would drop the oven temperature too low for too long. ...Or at least I think it would, but it is a pretty hot oven.... hmm, maybe I should experiment - I am kind of sick of par-boiling myself.

Why not grab a squeeze bottle and hook up a stainless spray tube to it so you could put it inside the barbecue via the smoke vent and spray down the bread with without opening the lid?

Any local manufacturing place would whack it together for a few buck to fit your barbecue lid perfectly or you could just experiment with hardware bits and bobs.

I was thinking of doing this for spraying the pork with apple juice. We egg people know that rule number one is "Do not open the lid".

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Why not grab a squeeze bottle and hook up a stainless spray tube to it so you could put it inside the barbecue via the smoke vent and spray down the bread with without opening the lid?

Any local manufacturing place would whack it together for a few buck to fit your barbecue lid perfectly or you could just experiment with hardware bits and bobs.

I was thinking of doing this for spraying the pork with apple juice. We egg people know that rule number one is "Do not open the lid".

Sounds like a whole new cooking technique. Spray on flavours. (Make a mess of your oven though - especially with any sugar content)

Now, the really difficult thing with this recipe is that the loaves are so wet they become very difficult to handle and they tend to just spread out when put in the oven. The secret to getting around this and increasing surface tension is folding.

You can see pictures and detailed descriptions here:

http://www.thefreshl.../tentips_6_fold

Another brilliant post Urchin. I especially liked the folding tip. Nothing to with bread making of course but when I make pasta I do about 4 folds on the number 1 setting of the machine before rolling flat to increase the tensile strength.

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...Make a mess of your oven though - especially with any sugar content...

Any decent barbecue is self cleaning, rark it up to million degrees and that crap burns right off.

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Any decent barbecue is self cleaning, rark it up to million degrees and that crap burns right off.

Unfortunately I am limited to the "Beefmaster 2000". It has a lean and always has had because during design they neglected to put in cross struts in the jarrah frame.

One of the few good points is as a very thick cast iron grill and griddle. Does steaks a treat and has pretty good temperatures but doesn't bake well.

Being very much a "keeping up with the Jone's" kinda guy (at least where cooking is concerned) I may need to further investigate the egg. Can it be used as a tandoor? Can it smoke? Slow cooking? Fit a turkey? If so I would be sorely tempted to upgrade. :)

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...Being very much a "keeping up with the Jone's" kinda guy (at least where cooking is concerned) I may need to further investigate the egg. Can it be used as a tandoor? Can it smoke? Slow cooking? Fit a turkey? If so I would be sorely tempted to upgrade. :)

As a tandoor yes a few people on the egg forums have done it.

http://thingelstad.com/big-green-egg-tandoor/

Smoking is what most people use it for, I did a whole pork shoulder at christmas. Some people smoke cheeses.

A turkey would be pretty easy I think. I have had 4 chickens in mine.

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Home made bread doesn't last in the same way bought bread does. Come to that, french bread in France doesn't last long either, ordinary people seem to buy it at least once a day and the bolangeries are set up for frequent small purchases.

It amazed me that in france they wonder around with a breadstick under the arm while walking the streets with only a piece of paper around the middle. I suppose this is more sustainable then putting it in bags just wrapping a piece of paper around the middle so your hands dont touch, but I would not be able to get over it brushing up against other people while I walked around.

Same thing baffles me in Hong Kong and other parts where they have food boiling right there on the sidewalk with no lid. In Australia you would risk someone spitting in it! I guess it is at boiling temperature so probably OK for hygeine?

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It amazed me that in france they wonder around with a breadstick under the arm while walking the streets with only a piece of paper around the middle. I suppose this is more sustainable then putting it in bags just wrapping a piece of paper around the middle so your hands dont touch, but I would not be able to get over it brushing up against other people while I walked around.

Same thing baffles me in Hong Kong and other parts where they have food boiling right there on the sidewalk with no lid. In Australia you would risk someone spitting in it! I guess it is at boiling temperature so probably OK for hygeine?

Just because you do not have the cultural conditioning to act in the manner which other societies consider to be normal behaviour doesn't mean they haven't figured it out :)

I don't think boiling / not boiling would be an issue. I suspect people on the street would beat the bejesus out of you if you did such a thing.

When was the last time you knocked an umbrella out of someones arms or threw a lit cigarette into a convertible? Comparable actions I reckon.

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