urchin

Baking Breads

145 posts in this topic

well i made the bread and took pictures but can't find the damned adapter to plug the camera into the computer. oh well, i'm sure it will turn up eventually.

in any event, though it tasted damned good, it spread out despite the folding. i am definitely going to have to go out and get me some bread baking molds. it will kill a lot of birds with one stone. will solve the "oven ooze" problem while also fixing the problem of transferring bread from peel to stone. however, i should say that leaving the bread on baking paper when transferring to stone and then pulling the paper out about 5 minutes into the bake was eminently successful. the problem, of course, is that you lose a lot of heat when pulling the paper out, but if it bursts into flame then you have the opposite problem.

i don't know why they make all the bread molds non-stick though... when baked the bread won't stick anyway and i don't like little flakes of mysterious substances finding their way into my food if i can help it...

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i don't know why they make all the bread molds non-stick though... when baked the bread won't stick anyway and i don't like little flakes of mysterious substances finding their way into my food if i can help it...

The crust doesn't taste as good, either. yeah, I know it shouldn't make any difference... but it does.

They are handy for breadsticks, though - and those molds you can get w/out the non-stick lining.

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Well I went looking for baguette molds and there are nowhere to be found. well, almost nowhere. apparently the essential ingredient has them but they want somewhere on the order of $70 for em! for perforated aluminum, i don't think so. so i have been working on folding more and more effectively, and reducing rise times - that seems to have worked and i can get pretty presentable loaves now.

In recent attempts i've reduced the amount of yeast to 3 tsp without any negative effects and increased the amount of salt (i never actually measure out the salt (ours invariably gets sticky so there's no pouring it into the measuring spoon) before but the bread seemed lacking in flavour so i just doubled the amount i was using before and its a big improvement).

Anyway, here's the product of yesterday's baking.

The "poolish" (1/4 cup water 1/4 cup flour 1/4 tsp yeast left to sit at room temp for 12 hours) I know, it's not very appetizing, but it speeds up the rise and apparently adds more flavour. I admit i haven't tried not using it yet so it may not make a big difference, but since it only takes 30 seconds to prepare before going to bed...:

DSC04536.jpg

The dough, after mixing/kneading in the bread machine - its should be so wet and sticky that kneading by hand is virtually impossible (i've done it, but its not pretty):

DSC04538.jpg

The dough after the first rise. Maybe about 40 minutes or so later? It's still very wet and will stick to everything, so make sure you flour the surface generously.

DSC04539.jpg

The first fold - this was a pretty messy fold, but you just pull the bottom bit of the dough toward you (without tearing it) and fold it up to the middle Do the same with top, right and left. I folded twice (this picture is the first fold) before letting it rise the second time.

DSC04540.jpg

After the second rise (another 30-40 mins) fold it again (tightly!) cut it in half and shape the loaves (mainly by further folding). pinch the seams. and get them in the hot oven. I didn't let them rise after cutting and shaping because they were pretty inflated as they were and the longer it rises the more it will lose its shape. plus this way you get the bread faster. pat with water, make some slashes in the top and into the oven (450-500 deg F) with the steam bath. about 20 minutes later:

DSC04542.jpg

My biggest limitation now is the grill i am using to bake them in. It is hooded but not sealed--there is a big gap at the back so you have keep the gas going full blast the whole time. this not only leads to using up a lot of gas, but it means that the top is a lot cooler than the bottom. the result being that the bread is a little wetter than it ought to be (or the bottom is a lot darker than you want it to be), but still its better than what i have been able to get at the local bakeries.

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My biggest limitation now is the grill i am using to bake them in. It is hooded but not sealed--there is a big gap at the back so you have keep the gas going full blast the whole time. this not only leads to using up a lot of gas, but it means that the top is a lot cooler than the bottom. the result being that the bread is a little wetter than it ought to be (or the bottom is a lot darker than you want it to be), but still its better than what i have been able to get at the local bakeries.

That is some excellent looking bread.

For the gap maybe buy some fibreglass tape? Flexible and mildly heat resistent. At least it limits heat loss to transferal rather than air vent.

This bread is in canberra right? Might have to make plans for fixing something for someone down there. I'll bring the meat slicer and ham for croque monsieur.

A case of wine would probably be about right. Hope you have a couch.

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Well I went looking for baguette molds and there are nowhere to be found. well, almost nowhere. apparently the essential ingredient has them but they want somewhere on the order of $70 for em! for perforated aluminum...

Essential ingredient are a ripoff. I buy a bit of stuff from a catering supplier in Fyshwick. I think it was A C and R catering supplies. I've bought knives and saucepans and a cool thing italian butchers use to flatten veal. Like a meat hammer but just a heavy stainless steel disk (4 in diameter and 1 in thick) with just a handle at the centre back of the disk. Give em a ring first but worth a look even if you don't find the moulds. Plenty a kitchen porn and tors slicer i'll wager.

That bread looks fantastic. Like the Vietnamese rolls they make those roast pork salad rolls out of. Yum.

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Thanks for the compliments I was so blatantly fishing for. I am rather proud of these loaves - they are the best I have been able to produce. I think I have finally gotten to the point where I understand the process enough to know the proper consistencies, etc at each stage of the process, which is important as humidity and temperature play a big factor. Well, I want to think that anyway. If I can replicate the results next bake I will know it wasn't a fluke.

Yep the bread is in Canberra and I reckon a case of wine would be plenty to buy space on our sofa bed. Dunno what the missus will think though. Try to schedule the fixing for early Sept when the wife and kiddies are all in Japan.

Will check out fibreglass tape. Will depend on how heat resistant it is, I suppose - the thing gets pretty damned hot. Still I am leaning toward buying the backyard, gas-fired pizza oven at bunnings. $500 (+$200 for the stand). i doubt i will have an oven in the kitchen hot enough to bake indoors for a while.

Thanks for the catering supplies link - i will check them out when I am feeling wealthier than usual. the kitchen shop i did go to (the one in belconnen westfield) told me that the only retail shop they knew that had em was essential ingredient, that it was a rip-off and that i would better off trying my luck in fyshwick. i was quite impressed at how well-informed she was for someone who appeared to be a standard shopping mall retail staffer... i was expecting a blank look of incomprehension when i mentioned baguette moulds...

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Will check out fibreglass tape. Will depend on how heat resistant it is, I suppose - the thing gets pretty damned hot. Still I am leaning toward buying the backyard, gas-fired pizza oven at bunnings. $500 (+$200 for the stand). i doubt i will have an oven in the kitchen hot enough to bake indoors for a while.

Fibreglass was a drunken suggestion, poking around shows there are better ideas.

Have a look at http://htcsafetyproducts.com.au/motorsport.htm they have an aluminium one up to 800C Fibreglass only does 300C on that page.

If you are going to the trouble (and cool factor) of an outside pizza over isn't wood / charcoal kind of a required feature? From what I have read and watched building one is not overly difficult.

And if you get bored of pizza they do look like a good possum house as well.

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Fibreglass was a drunken suggestion, poking around shows there are better ideas.

Have a look at http://htcsafetyprod.../motorsport.htm they have an aluminium one up to 800C Fibreglass only does 300C on that page.

If you are going to the trouble (and cool factor) of an outside pizza over isn't wood / charcoal kind of a required feature? From what I have read and watched building one is not overly difficult.

And if you get bored of pizza they do look like a good possum house as well.

thanks for the link.

i did think about the wood fired oven bit - they have kits that the wife could probably slap together without too much difficulty (i would be relegated to carrying stuff around and wiping the sweat off her brow with a small towel as that's about all i'm good for in such situations... and with a bad back i can't even move stuff very well). but...

1. we are renting so i want it to be portable

2. the hassle factor of having to get the wood fire going would probably mean less baking

3. couldn't use it on total fire ban days (whereas gas is usually ok)

when we buy a place i might make a wood fired oven for times when i am feeling particularly ambitious, but for a quick pizza on weekday... the gas oven would be pretty easy. turn it on full blast 30 mins before you start shaping the dough and by the time you are have your pizza done... lazy bastard that i am i need the ideal to be balanced with a hefty dose of the practical or it just becomes too much trouble. if it stops becoming fun to do, then the whole point of is gone.

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My biggest limitation now is the grill i am using to bake them in. It is hooded but not sealed--there is a big gap at the back so you have keep the gas going full blast the whole time. this not only leads to using up a lot of gas, but it means that the top is a lot cooler than the bottom. the result being that the bread is a little wetter than it ought to be (or the bottom is a lot darker than you want it to be), but still its better than what i have been able to get at the local bakeries.

Seriously impressive crackle on the crust there, urch!

I have had much better luck getting kitchen gear from wholesalers. The price is better and the staff knowledge is better, too. Maybe wait until you have a business trip to Sydney or Melbourne. There are some good restaurant outfitters in Melbourne which stock all sorts of interesting gear. I don't know anything about Sydney but I imagine they would have an even better range, although actually getting to the stores might be a pain.

About the grill, I can't visualise 'unsealed' part very well but I tend to fix gaps in hot things (pot lids, catering gear, ovens etc with (drumroll...) alfoil... Cheap and it does the job. Might work for you?

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Made an herb bread today - i was a bit worried but it turned out well - would be really good with olive oil or goat cheese (of course everything goes well with goat cheese).

I made a very wet dough (~70% hydration - i.e., water/liquid = 70% of the weight of the flour)

overall i aimed for 550g flour, 365ml water and 20 ml olive oil. if you like a heavier more flavourful bread you might want to increase the olive oil and decrease the water.

poolish: 100g water, 100g flour 1/2 tsp yeast, pinch of sugar (figured id try feeding the yeast, got a bigger rise in the poolish).

add remaining flour and water (450g and 265 ml respectively) and the olive oil (20 ml more or less), i dumped in 3 tsp yeast (why the hell not) and then added:

~10g chopped fresh basil (hard to measure chopped fresh basil but put in as much as you like)

2/3 tbsp dried oregano

3 cloves garlic pressed

salt (1 tsp-ish)

1/2 tsp sugar (dunno why, it just seemed the garlic was a bit strong)

run the dough cycle till you have nice consistent mixture. i don't let it run the full dough cycle as it heats it, lets it rise, mixes it to deflate, etc. - i want to control that bit myself. so i just run the first 6 minutes or so of the dough cycle (when most of the kneading takes place) stop it, reset and run it again. did that about three times and dumped it into a lightly oiled bowl.

let it double and do the folding. be aware this is a very wet mix and it is very hard to handle - sticks to every damned thing. flour your work surface well. fold it twice and back in the bowl. i did this 3 times in total and then shaped. when shaping be sure to build up as much surface tension as you can (by semi-folding as you shape).

where i made my mistake on this loaf is that i thought it would be so weak it would spread in the oven so i didn't slash the loaves. i thought it might be better to keep as much of the steam inside as possible. turns out i got a huge pop in the oven and the crusts tore. still it tastes good so i'm not fussed, but in the future i will slash (use the bread knife coated in water.

my big innovation this round, besides herbs, was covering. basically, instead of steaming the oven (and causing the temp to drop as well as being a pain to do in general) i put a big roasting pan in the grill when i was heating the stone. put the bread on the stone and then put the roasting tin over the bread (upside down, obviously). the idea is that the steam from the bread will be enough to get the crispy, blistered crust. so i gave it a go - didn't bother spraying the bread or steaming the oven.

and, as it turns out, it works pretty well. next time i will mist the bread before putting it in but i got a really nice crust without the steaming. left the roasting pan on for abt 15 mins and then take it off. i think this is how i will be doing my bread from now on.

will attach a photo of the finished product when i'm feeling a bit more energetic. today was a busy day - bread then pizza... and then wine. lots of wine.

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...an herb...

Silly american. Just because you choose not to pronounce the consonant doesn't make it go away!

Still, pics == cool and sounds good.

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Silly american. Just because you choose not to pronounce the consonant doesn't make it go away!

Still, pics == cool and sounds good.

I think pics is the way. From now on I will post pictures where I can. urchin has shown the way with this thread.

Xmas 2009 roast pork stuffed with pistachios.

post-106-12739242403211_thumb.jpg

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I think pics is the way. From now on I will post pictures where I can. urchin has shown the way with this thread.

Xmas 2009 roast pork stuffed with pistachios.

post-106-12739242403211_thumb.jpg

wow! just... wow! what an amazing looking roast. remind me not to refuse an invitation to your place for xmas dinner.

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wow! just... wow! what an amazing looking roast. remind me not to refuse an invitation to your place for xmas dinner.

Keep talking that sweetly and you likely to get an invite before xmas. :) I think the bread lies firmly in your court though. Respect.

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as promised - the herb bread. we are having it tonight with chicken pot pie - might slice and grill in olive oil or something like that... anyway would be good with soups and the like.

pity i didn't slash it - that's what caused the crust to pull up. a bit of extra flour on the top didn't help the visual appearance either but it was damned stick and i got a bit carried away with the flour. might go for a lower water ratio next time but then you don't get the big airy crumb.

HerbBread1.jpg

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Bagels!

I love a good bagel, tried making them a couple years back and ended up with something with a higher specific gravity than lead--that put me off them for a while but i decided to give it another go as a good bagel in canberra is as elusive (and fresh) as a thylacine. the nice thing (one of them) is that they don't require nearly as much rising time as bread.

the recipe is basically stolen from the fresh loaf website but reduced to make 4-5 good sized bagels. list o' ingredients:

2.25 c flour (1/4 cup gluten flour)

.75 c warm water

7.5 ml sugar

7.5 ml tbsp veg. oil

5 ml tsp honey

5 ml tsp salt

7.5 ml tbsp yeast

the original recipe had flour measures in volume rather than weight--not ideal but what can you do. just scoop/pour the flour into the measuring cup and don't pack it at all and you should be fine. i used replaced 1/4 cup of the regular flour with gluten flour and i think that helped make it a bit chewier. though i haven't tried it without the gluten flour so maybe it won't matter?

i would also recommend making a starter (1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water, half the yeast or so, put in a bowl, mixed slightly and left to sit--covered--overnight at room temp.) as that will add more flavour to the bagels. just don't forget to subtract the ingredients included in the starter from the total.

mix up the dry ingredients, pour in water, starter if you made one, veg. oil and set the bread maker/mixer/hands to kneading. i let the bread machine do the hard work (till i had a coherent dough) and then hand kneaded for about 5 mins.

cut the dough into 4-5 pieces, roll em into balls and let them rise, covered, for about 20 minutes (depending on how warm it is in your house. in canberra... it might take longer. i put em in the oven at 40 degrees).

now comes shaping. this is where i screwed up my first batch. basically i underestimated how much they would rise in the oven and ended up with bagel-flavoured muffins. good, but weird.

i recommend rolling them out into a long, thin rope. make a circle with said rope and pinch the ends together so they stick (brushing the ends with water might help). make sure the hole in the middle is at least twice/three times as big as you expect the final hole to be. i actually found this to be the hardest part of the whole process. the house was a bit cold and the dough was not being cooperative. i aimed for the thickness of a whiteboard marker or a little less.

after shaping them, cover and let rise for 10 minutes. while they are rising, get a pot of water boiling. when the water is hot, drop the honey in the water. other recipes say that you should use malt syrup or malt powder. i couldn't find either of those but honey worked pretty well. also get your oven preheated to about 230 degrees.

when the bagels have risen for 10 mins or so, and the water is boiling, drop them in the water (1-2 at a time) and boil for roughly 30-45 secs per side. they will swell a little and get a little wrinkly. you will have to flip them over to make sure both sides are boiled as, unless something has gone very badly wrong, they will be floating.

take them out of the water and put on a rack so that the water can drip off. when you finish boiling them, while they are still a bit damp, you want to top them if that is your thing. i love a good sesame bagel, so get a bowl, some sesame seeds, and coat away. i suggest being generous with the seeds.

after that, just pop them on some baking paper and from there into a pan and from there into the oven. about 10-15 minutes or so should do it--just watch them and when they reach the right colour you are done.

eat with a generous serving of cream cheese. smoked salmon and capers optional.

they are excellent eaten almost immediately, quite good the next day (especially if toasted). after that they start to calcify... good for breadcrumbs i imagine, but not much else...

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...other recipes say that you should use malt syrup or malt powder. i couldn't find either of those but honey worked pretty well...

I reckon if you look in the supermarket near the milo / horlicks etc you'll find your malt syrup (assuming it is basically malt extract) I have a tin for the occasional warming malty drink or malting up a milkshake.

Malt powder is easy to get at a homebrew shop.

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Bagels!

I love a good bagel, tried making them a couple years back and ended up with something with a higher specific gravity than lead--that put me off them for a while but i decided to give it another go as a good bagel in canberra is as elusive (and fresh) as a thylacine. the nice thing (one of them) is that they don't require nearly as much rising time as bread.

the recipe is basically stolen from the fresh loaf website but reduced to make 4-5 good sized bagels. list o' ingredients:

2.25 c flour (1/4 cup gluten flour)

.75 c warm water

7.5 ml sugar

7.5 ml tbsp veg. oil

5 ml tsp honey

5 ml tsp salt

7.5 ml tbsp yeast

the original recipe had flour measures in volume rather than weight--not ideal but what can you do. just scoop/pour the flour into the measuring cup and don't pack it at all and you should be fine. i used replaced 1/4 cup of the regular flour with gluten flour and i think that helped make it a bit chewier. though i haven't tried it without the gluten flour so maybe it won't matter?

i would also recommend making a starter (1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water, half the yeast or so, put in a bowl, mixed slightly and left to sit--covered--overnight at room temp.) as that will add more flavour to the bagels. just don't forget to subtract the ingredients included in the starter from the total.

mix up the dry ingredients, pour in water, starter if you made one, veg. oil and set the bread maker/mixer/hands to kneading. i let the bread machine do the hard work (till i had a coherent dough) and then hand kneaded for about 5 mins.

cut the dough into 4-5 pieces, roll em into balls and let them rise, covered, for about 20 minutes (depending on how warm it is in your house. in canberra... it might take longer. i put em in the oven at 40 degrees).

now comes shaping. this is where i screwed up my first batch. basically i underestimated how much they would rise in the oven and ended up with bagel-flavoured muffins. good, but weird.

i recommend rolling them out into a long, thin rope. make a circle with said rope and pinch the ends together so they stick (brushing the ends with water might help). make sure the hole in the middle is at least twice/three times as big as you expect the final hole to be. i actually found this to be the hardest part of the whole process. the house was a bit cold and the dough was not being cooperative. i aimed for the thickness of a whiteboard marker or a little less.

after shaping them, cover and let rise for 10 minutes. while they are rising, get a pot of water boiling. when the water is hot, drop the honey in the water. other recipes say that you should use malt syrup or malt powder. i couldn't find either of those but honey worked pretty well. also get your oven preheated to about 230 degrees.

when the bagels have risen for 10 mins or so, and the water is boiling, drop them in the water (1-2 at a time) and boil for roughly 30-45 secs per side. they will swell a little and get a little wrinkly. you will have to flip them over to make sure both sides are boiled as, unless something has gone very badly wrong, they will be floating.

take them out of the water and put on a rack so that the water can drip off. when you finish boiling them, while they are still a bit damp, you want to top them if that is your thing. i love a good sesame bagel, so get a bowl, some sesame seeds, and coat away. i suggest being generous with the seeds.

after that, just pop them on some baking paper and from there into a pan and from there into the oven. about 10-15 minutes or so should do it--just watch them and when they reach the right colour you are done.

eat with a generous serving of cream cheese. smoked salmon and capers optional.

they are excellent eaten almost immediately, quite good the next day (especially if toasted). after that they start to calcify... good for breadcrumbs i imagine, but not much else...

If you are reading this now it's because I have been poisoned...

I am going to try this recipe maybe as early as this w/e. The bagel must be very closely related to the pretzel. They both have variations that include lye water. Stay tuned for the headline "Man rushed to hospital after burning out own gizzards". I am going to try the lye. Someone has to be the first.

Speaking of extreme foods, is anyone else watching that masterchef show? They had the "molecular gastronomy" theme on last night. ^_^ Chefs as alchemists. All test tubes, powders and foams.

Ms clown worked with a chap in canberra that makes icecream (He is also a chocolatier :) ) in his "shed" ( a fully certified food lab - and he is a devotee of "El Bulli", dined there last year for his birthday) and sells to local restaurants. (Pulp Kitchen, Fyshwick markets cooking school) For those in Canberra he will make any kind of icecream you can imagine. If you have a suggestion please speak up. I am happy to place an order. I put this same challenge to my work colleagues and "Prune and armagnac" was faithfully reproduced from a place in Paris. I have had ginger, aniseed, truffle, chistmas pudding and brandy, pistachio and vodka (tor, your version sounds pretty good too, but this guy has the best fridge, snap freezer -50c in < 3 minutes - really holds the air) I will ask if I can take some pics and if so will post them. It is truly awesome.

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i didn't see any bagel recipes with lye (didn't look very far tho...) but let me know how it works out--better you than me! of course you will be using food grade lye and not the crap they use to clean out rocket engines or whatever it is that regular lye is used for... all in all i will settle for honey or malt syrup/powder (thanks for the tip tor--couldnt' find any in the baking section but apparently i was looking in the wrong place).i admit i do watch masterchef despite the fact that i find some of the people on the show annoying as hell... the molecular gastronomy thing.. well i've never tried it so i shouldn't knock it but it doesn't look like "proper" eating to me. i want something i can really dig into. if you bring me a dish that consists of a spoon-sized serving i don't think i would be all that happy, even if that spoonful tasted superb.ah well, poor skye, that's what she gets for having a hippie name i s'pose.

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Here's the bagels via the recipe above. 4 good sized sesame bagels. well, only three of em now...

They probably sat in the oven about 1 minute too long but tasted good nonetheless.

bagels.jpg

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They look yummo Urchin. :drool:

From my time in Canada where the bagel is a staple I thought they were fantastic with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

Tim's is as Canadian a symbol as a maple leaf... http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/menu/bagels.html

Brekkie Bagel? http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/menu/breakfast-sandwich.html

What about a franchise? http://www.greatcanadianbagel.com/indexh.html

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Here's the bagels via the recipe above. 4 good sized sesame bagels. well, only three of em now...

They probably sat in the oven about 1 minute too long but tasted good nonetheless.

bagels.jpg

:drool: :drool: :drool: :drool: (One drool for each bagel)

They look great. I won't get a chance to cook this weekend as unfortunately work beckons. :(

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been a while since i have updated this thread - one good recipe link for pita bread (sooooooo easy & infinitely better than store bought) and one tip for baking baguettes.

the tip first - when baking baguettes, when they are done, leave them in the oven (with the door ajar/propped open) for a good 10-15 minutes first. this will prevent the steam from condensing on the crust, in turn giving you a nice crispy, crunchy (but not tough) crust. i tried it last weekend--made a huge difference.

second the pita bread recipe is just taken from the fresh loaf.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pitabread

i have nothing really to add to this. except make sure its thin, make sure your oven is nice and hot (250c minimum, 300 is better). don't overcook em. we had greek tonight and it was a huge hit. i will never be buying pitas again (they are always so dry). you don't need a starter, if you keep the dough in a warm place while its rising you only need about 90 mins. the only tricky bit is getting a nice hot oven/bbq. and even if they don't pillow up like in the pictures, they are still really good.

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Had my first go at bread using the Kamado. Pizza actually. Bit of a disaster all told. I can categorically state that 400 degrees centigrade is to hot for cooking pizza. Unless you like your pizza with my all new patented charcoal crusttm and raw on top. urchin has nothing to fear for now. :sadwalk:

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