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Archive for the ‘Breads (No Kneading)’ Category

Holiday Wreath Bread

Holiday Wreath Bread

I baked two loaves of these wreath breads to give to the boys’ teachers as Christmas gifts. Just like my other artisan breads, it is made using stored bread dough. You might find it hard to believe, but I spent less (active) time making on this bread than on cookies. It may look difficult but it’s real simple to cut the dough to create the wreath pattern.

 

Holiday Wreath Bread

Holiday Wreath Bread

Holiday Wreath Bread Recipe (makes 1 loaf)– original recipe from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day

Ingredients:
1 portion (1 lb) of basic artisan bread stored dough
flour for dusting

Method:

  1. On baking day take out chilled dough, sprinkle some flour on top of the dough then use one hand to pull up some dough (about size of grapefruit) while use the other hand to cut the dough with a pair of kitchen scissors. With dough in you hand, shape the dough into a ball or  ‘boule’ by gently pull stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in the bottom, giving it a quarter turn as you pull/stretch. Dust a little more flour to prevent dough sticks to you hand. This shaping process should not take more than 1 minute.
  2. Hold the dough ball with both hands, then use your fingers or thumbs to poke through the center of the dough. Use both hands to stretch the hole wide open so it’s triple width of the wall of the ring. If the dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten. Don’t fight with the dough. Be sure to dust work surface with flour to prevent dough from sticking.
  3. Place shaped dough on pizza peel lined with parchment paper, rest uncovered at room temperature for 1.5 hours or until the dough is no longer cold to the touch.
  4. 20 minutes before baking, place pizza stone on the middle rack and a shadow pan at the bottom rack. Then preheat oven temperature to 450°F.
  5. Before turning the dough into the oven, dust the top of the dough with flour generously and use your hand spread out flour evenly (this to to create a two tone pattern). Use a pair of kitchen scissors make a single snip on the dough at low shallow angle (maybe at 30° angle) to near bottom (take care not to cut the dough all the way through).  As you snip tilt the scissors outwards a little so the wreath points will show after baking.  Continue snipping the dough all around.
  6. Quickly and carefully slide the dough with parchment paper onto the pizza stone. Pour 1 cup of water into the shadow pan then quickly close the oven door.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the bread is golden and tap hollow at the bottom of bread (I always bake the bread on stone for 29 minutes, remove water pan, and  transfer the bread to the bottom rack and bake for 1 minute to crisp up the bottom crust). Remove bread  from oven and cool immediately on a rack. Dress up the bread with your favorite holiday ribbon.

Regina’s Note:

  • You can also a combination of herbs and/or seeds alternatively to sprinkle on the bread to create a different look. To make the toppings stick to the dough, brush the dough with some water before sprinkling.
Wreath Bread Making-- start with a 'ring'

Wreath Bread Making-- start with a 'ring'

Wreath Bread Making-- snip! snip!

Wreath Bread Making-- snip! snip!

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This is my 1st trial at Pain d’Epi (wheat stalk-shaped bread)– well the “wheat grains” look kinda funny but the bread was delicious. Because of all these cut edges, it is one of the most crusty bread out there. I made it to go with dinner and it was getting late, we couldn’t wait any longer for the bread to cool down completely– so we just broke apart each “grain” by hand when the bread was still quite warm. No worries about the damage of slicing a warm bread!

 

Pain d'Epi (Wheat Stalk Bread)

Pain d'Epi (Wheat Stalk Bread)

Pain d’Epi (Wheat Stalk-shaped bread) Recipe — original and full recipe from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes A Day (makes 1 loaf):

Ingredients:

1 portion (1 lb) of basic artisan bread stored dough

flour for dusting

Method:

  1. On baking day take out chilled dough, sprinkle some flour on top of the dough then use one hand to pull up some dough (about size of grapefruit) while use the other hand to cut the dough with a pair of kitchen scissors. With dough in you hand, gently pull stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in the bottom, giving it a quarter turn as you pull/stretch. Dust a little more flour to prevent dough sticks to you hand. This shaping process should not take more than 1 minute.
  2. Place the dough a floured surface and gently stretch it to a oval. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter fold– bring in one side and press it to the center. Bring in the other and press it to the center. Pinch to seal the edge.
  3. Gently stretch the dough into a long thin log. If the dough resists your stretching then let it rest for a moment to relax the gluten. Don’t fight with the dough. Place shaped dough on pizza peel lined with parchment paper, rest uncovered at room temperature for 1.5 hours.
  4. 20 minutes before baking, place pizza stone on the middle rack and a shadow pan at the bottom rack. Then preheat oven temperature to 450°F.
  5. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Start with one end, use a pair of kitchen scissors quickly cut the dough at 45° angle to near bottom (take care not to cut the dough all the way through) and tilt the cut portion on one side. Make the same cut and tilt it on the other side. Continue cutting and tilting dough on alternative side until you reach the other end of the “stalk”.
  6. Quickly and carefully slide the dough with parchment paper onto the pizza stone. Pour 1 cup of water into the shadow pan then quickly close the oven door.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the bread is golden and tap hollow at the bottom of bread (I always bake the bread on stone for 29 minutes, remove water pan, and  transfer the bread to the bottom rack and bake for 1 minute to crisp up the bottom crust). Remove bread  from oven and cool immediately on a rack. Cool completely before slicing.

 

Pain d'Epi (wheat stalk-shaped bread) before baking.

Pain d'Epi (wheat stalk-shaped bread) before baking.

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After my success with my basic artisan bread, I have decided to add flavors and started my “experiment”. Since I always love the combination of asiago cheese and bacon, I have to try it out this flavor– and it turns out delicious! And this is the best looking artisan loaf that I’ve made (sometimes I slit too deep and the breads look “exploded”, other times the loaves came out a little out of shape…)!

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf. Those big irregular holes indicates a good loaf.
Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Those big irregular holes indicates a good loaf.

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf  (makes 3 loaves)

Ingredients:

Basic Cheese Dough Mix:
6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour– use 1 cup measuring cup and a knife to sweep flat. DO NOT use large 2-cup measuring cup.
4 tbsp grated asiago cheese
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water

Sprinkles (for each loaf):
2 bacon strips– break into crumbs (see note below)
3 tbsp grated asiago cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Stir flour, salt and cheese to combine. Add lukewarm water and yeast into a 6-quart container, whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to the yeast water while stirring using a wooden spoon, until the dough is evenly moist. The dough will look very wet. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
  2. Cover loosely with a lid and let the dough rise at room temperature until the top collapse or flattens (it took me about 3 hours). Snap the lid on but pull up lid a little so the container is not air tight. Now the dough is ready put into the fridge (the dough is ready for baking after this initial rise but it’s easier to handle after chilling. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks).
  3. On baking day, sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel (so the dough rests without sticking to the peel). Take out chilled dough, sprinkle some flour on top of the dough then use one hand to pull up some dough (about size of grapefruit) while use the other hand to cut the dough with serrated knife. With dough in you hand, gently pull stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in the bottom, giving it a quarter turn as you pull/stretch. Dust a little more flour to prevent dough sticks to you hand. This shaping process should not take more than 1 minute.
  4. Dust a rolling pin and the board with some flour, gently roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Dust little more flour to prevent dough sticking.
  5. Sprinkle ground black pepper, asiago cheese and bacon crumbs on the dough. Then roll it up like a jelly roll. Fold up two ends on the seal side, and gently shape the dough to a long oval shape.
  6. Place shaped dough on pizza peel, rest uncovered at room temperature for no more than 2 hours (depending on the room temperature–see note below). 20 minutes before baking, place pizza stone on the middle rack and a shadow pan at the bottom rack. Then preheat oven temperature to 450°F.
  7. Dust the top of the dough with some flour (so the dough won’t stick to the knife when making slit on the top) and make two slits(1/4 inch deep) on the top. Quickly and carefully slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Pour 1 cup of water into the shadow pan then quickly close the oven door. (To prevent last minute ‘surprise’ of the dough sticking to the pizza peel and losing heat from the oven, I always move pizza peel back and forth to test slide the dough before open the oven door).
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread is golden and tap hollow at the bottom of bread. Remove bread  from oven and cool immediately on a rack. Cool completely before slicing (for a crusty bottom, bake bread on the stone for 28 minutes, then remove water pan and transfer bread to the bottom rack for another minutes).

Regina’s Note:

  • When we work on the dough, it will lose some of its air pockets trapped by the gluten (this is why the shaping should be quick and gentle). To compensate this, we let the dough rest for a longer time so the gluten can start working and trap more air, thus creating a light loaf with lots of big air pocket.
  • I used 2 bacon strips and the bacon is not very strong. If you want more bacon taste try 3 bacon strips.
  • You can also use cheddar or Parmesan cheese for a different flavor.

 

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: First, sprinkle ground black pepper and cheese...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf:... then sprinkle bacon crumbs. Opps, I almost forgot to take picture so I unrolled the dough a little...

 

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Shaping is done. The dough is now resting on pizza peel for no more than 2 hours.

Artisan Asiago Bacon Loaf: Shaping is done. The dough is now resting on pizza peel for no more than 2 hours.

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Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a bread cookbook that doesn’t have tons of pictures. The usual me definitely wont have much interest in it because I just love cookbooks that show lots of colorful pictures. Not only pictures give me the ‘Oh this looks delicious. I’m gonna try it!’ drive, but also serve as reference/guidance to see how well/bad our food turns out compared to the original version. BUT, this bread book caught my attention because of tons and tons of positive reviews. Upon reading I found out this book is written very clearly (this is especially important for artisan bread dummies like myself), and the authors offers lots of tips for baking a good loaf. I was thinking highlighting some important points but gave up, or else I would have to highlight pretty much the whole book!

Back to business, this book really lives up to its name– five minutes a day for a fresh loaf of artisan bread. This new approach is totally the opposite of the traditional methods. It doesn’t require starters nor kneading. This basic bread recipe calls for very few simple tools and ingredients. You don’t need experience in baking bread either to bake a beautiful loaf. If you’re interested in baking artisan breads and yet don’t want to spend whole day (or even days) making it, I recommend you get this book (or visit their website http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com)– I did and it turns out to be one of my best bread cookbooks!

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: dough after mixing

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: dough after mixing

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: dough after mixing

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: dough after mixing

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: dough after 2-hour rising at room temperature.

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: dough after 2-hour rising at room temperature

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: resting dough on pizza peel.

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: resting dough on pizza peel.

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: The bread must be cooled completely on rack after removing from the oven.

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: The bread must be cooled completely on rack after removing from the oven.

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: showing here is the crumb (interior of the bread).

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe: showing here is the crumb (interior of the bread).

 

Another artisan bread from same batch of dough.

Another artisan bread from same batch of dough.

I made this loaf to go with Thanksgiving meal-- same dough, different shapes, but all delicious!

I made this loaf to go with Thanksgiving meal-- same kind of dough, different shapes, but all delicious!

 

Artisan Bread Basic Recipe (yields 3 loaves)–full and original recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Ingredients:
6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour– use 1 cup measuring cup and a knife to sweep flat. DO NOT use large 2-cup measuring cup.
1 tbsp salt12/8/10 update:  should cut down to 2 tsp as I find the bread is a little salty to my liking.
1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water

Method:

  1. Stir salt into flour to combine. Add lukewarm water and yeast into a 6-quart container, whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to the yeast water while stirring using a wooden spoon, until the dough is evenly moist. The dough will look very wet. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
  2. Cover loosely with a lid and let the dough rise at room temperature until the top collapse or flat (it took me about 3 hours). Snap the lid on but pull up lid a little so the container is not air tight. Now the dough is ready put into the fridge (the dough is ready for baking after this initial rise but it’s easier to handle after chilling. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. As the dough gets old– especially almost 2 weeks old, the dough will smell sour and the bread will taste more like those of sourdough).
  3. On baking day, sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel (so the dough rests without sticking to the peel). Take out chilled dough, sprinkle some flour on top of the dough then use one hand to pull up some dough (about size of grapefruit) while use the other hand to cut the dough with serrated knife. With dough in you hand, gently pull stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in the bottom, giving it a quarter turn as you pull/stretch. Dust a little more flour to prevent dough sticks to you hand. This shaping process should not take more than 1 minute.
  4. Place shaped dough on pizza peel, rest uncovered at room temperature for 1 hour. 20 minutes before baking, place pizza stone on the middle rack and a shadow pan at the bottom rack. Then preheat oven temperature to 450°F.
  5. Dust the top of the dough with some flour (so the dough won’t stick to the knife when making slit on the top) and make some slits(1/4 inch deep) on the top. Quickly and carefully slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Pour 1 cup of water into the shadow pan then quickly close the oven door. (To prevent last minute ‘surprise’ of the dough sticking to the pizza peel and losing heat from the oven, I always move pizza peel back and forth to test slide the dough before open the oven door).
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread is golden and tap hollow at the bottom of bread. Remove bread  from oven and cool immediately on a rack. Cool completely before slicing.

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