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#1 monavano

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 04:22 PM

Thanks Don for letting me start this topic.
I've never seen myself as a baker, but in the past oh, two years or so, I have been baking everything from biscotti to bread. I know that I've learned so much from the DR community with regards to cooking, so this forum is sure to provide insight for me and others.
This weekend, I make Almost No Knead Bread from Cook's Illustrated (subscription needed, but you can find the recipe via Google). Friday evening, I spent a whole 5 minutes making the dough. It sat covered on the counter overnight. Saturday morning, before I headed out to the markets, I kneaded it 10-15 times and allowed it to rise a second time. When I got back home, I blasted my oven to 500 degrees, along with my Lodge dutch oven.
The bread was lifted into the dutch oven via parchment paper, and then covered. Once in the oven (now at 425 degrees), it baked for 30 minutes with the lid on, and then another 20 minutes with the lid off, until the inside reached 210 degrees.
The bread is pretty amazing, considering how little you do to it. A bit of beer gives it nice flavor, and the crust is the best part, I think.
So there you go, I'm a bread baker! Who knew?



#2 goodeats

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 04:33 PM

Beautiful pictures, as always monavano! Thank you for starting a wonderful thread.

This morning, I baked banana bread right before work. Since I don't have a mixer right now, everything was made in the blender, which was interesting. Thankfully, the end product still tasted pretty good.

Any way you can give lessons?? I have trouble with dough rises....
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#3 Pat

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 04:40 PM

That bread looks gorgeous, Monavano. I was making no-knead bread a lot for a while but haven't made it in some time. It always tastes great but never looks as good as that.

In the past several days, I've baked banana walnut bread, raisin bran muffins, and (as I type) onion hamburger rolls.

#4 monavano

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 05:04 PM

Beautiful pictures, as always monavano! Thank you for starting a wonderful thread.

This morning, I baked banana bread right before work. Since I don't have a mixer right now, everything was made in the blender, which was interesting. Thankfully, the end product still tasted pretty good.

Any way you can give lessons?? I have trouble with dough rises....

I was a little nervous about the dough on Sat. morning. It rose, but looked craggy and dry. Once I picked it up to knead it, I felt much better. It was soft, moist and pliable. The second rise was pretty small.
I also used about 1/3 bleached AP flour, since I didn't have enough unbleached AP flour, as the recipe calls for.
Next time, I'll use all unbleached flour and perhaps a stronger lager for flavor. I used a bit of Heineken, as I had a can of it in the fridge for quite some time now.
Funny that you and Pat mention banana bread. I've been wanting to make banana bread, and banana bread pudding with a butter rum sauce since enjoying a delicious dessert at Tallulah last week.

#5 Al the Pal

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 09:20 PM

Wow. I'm a novice baker and can't compete with that beautiful bread. but here goes, today I made a chocolate chocolate chip coconut bundt cake. the cake came out fine but the glaze was a bit runny. Next time will have to add less water. This is my 5th bundt cake. I use every occasion as an excuse to make a bundt cake ever since purchasing the bundt cake pan. My new years resolutions are to become a bundt cake queen and to lose weight. Two very conflicting NY resolutions!!!

#6 Pool Boy

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 10:13 AM

My wife and I made Angel Food Cake for the first time this past weekend. Served it up with some black raspberries that we still had in the freezer from picking at Larriland last summer. Delicious!

Great thread, and wonderful bread pictures!

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#7 Pat

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 02:12 PM

Funny that you and Pat mention banana bread. I've been wanting to make banana bread, and banana bread pudding with a butter rum sauce since enjoying a delicious dessert at Tallulah last week.

It seems that banana bread was the fourth most often googled recipe of 2009

#8 monavano

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 02:32 PM

It seems that banana bread was the fourth most often googled recipe of 2009

Actually, it was a pumpkin bread pudding (oops), but what I said about banana bread. I need to get bananas already so they can age a bit.

#9 porcupine

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 03:16 PM

Plain shortbread
Burrebrede (spiced shortbread)
Ginger Crunch (ginger shortbread with syrupy ginger topping)
Caramel Crumb Bars (with a shortbread base)
Cherry pie, a tart shell, and pie crust cookies all in the freezer to be baked at a later date

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#10 Xochitl10

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 07:45 AM

I've been availing myself of bread therapy at every available opportunity, including between conference calls. Most recently, I've made potato-chive bread, a black olive focaccia, and basic white bread (using Nigella Lawson's recipe). I'm hoping to make cupcakes this weekend (buttermilk cake with orange icing), and probably another loaf or two of bread.

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#11 squidsdc

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:57 PM

I've been availing myself of bread therapy at every available opportunity, including between conference calls. Most recently, I've made potato-chive bread, a black olive focaccia, and basic white bread (using Nigella Lawson's recipe). I'm hoping to make cupcakes this weekend (buttermilk cake with orange icing), and probably another loaf or two of bread.

If you need an impartial taste taster I'm available :angry: (Especially the cupcakes heh heh)

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#12 bettyjoan

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:12 AM

On Sunday, I made the absolute best blueberry muffins ever. As in, "I have never felt this way about a muffin before" good. The recipe came from America's Test Kitchen, and basically they advocated 1) making a blueberry jam to swirl into the batter at the end, so you get tons of blueberry flavor without weighing the muffin down; and 2) a VERY precise number of strokes when mixing/folding, so as not to overmix the batter and cause the end product to be dense and gummy. Their suggestions were pretty anal retentive, but they worked--seriously, these muffins were out of this world.

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#13 lperry

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:58 AM

Cranberry nut bread from the recipe on the back of the old Ocean Spray cranberry bag, with frozen cranberries and butter subbed in for shortening. The recipe card is so old, that I typed it on my Dad's manual typewriter. :angry: Based on my handwritten notes, I was probably ten or so. At any rate, this bread is fabulous and has soft texture with a crispy crust.

#14 mdt

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 01:31 PM

From the CIA's Baking at Home I made the Devil's Fudge Cake.

#15 Xochitl10

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:28 PM

I finally got around to making the buttermilk cupcakes with orange buttercream icing. The cupcake recipe came from Nigella Lawson's "How to Be a Domestic Goddess," and is a keeper. It's nice and moist, and not too sweet. I am less thrilled with the orange buttercream, which is a basic beaten butter/sugar icing with orange juice and grated orange zest. I was hoping something more orangey, and the flavor of this icing was quite subtle.

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#16 squidsdc

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:54 PM

Well, it's what I baked earlier today...a very tasty version of banana bread. I had thumbed through a recent acquisition, America'sTest Kitchen's Light and Healthy Cookbook, and while a recipe caught my eye I hadn't made a decision to make it until I spied a bag of overripe bananas on a trip last weekend to Super H Mart. I was pleased with the result, and would definitely make it again. The recipe calls for only a small amount oil, 2 oz of fat-free cream cheese, and pre-roasting of the bananas to carmelize the sugars (and therefore reduce the amount of added sugar needed.) At first bite I thought it wasn't as sweet a bread as I have been used to, but when I put it in the toaster oven to warm up the sweetness was brought out. This was the first recipe I tried from this cookbook and it was a success.

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#17 bettyjoan

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 08:51 AM

Tried to bake beer bread in my breadmaker last night. It tasted good, and the inside was a better texture than any loaf I've tried thus far, but the exterior was COVERED in raw flour. Any idea what I could have done wrong? I don't think I used too much flour, but I supposed it's always possible that I got distracted and my measurements were off.

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#18 LowellR

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:49 PM

Tried to bake beer bread in my breadmaker last night. It tasted good, and the inside was a better texture than any loaf I've tried thus far, but the exterior was COVERED in raw flour. Any idea what I could have done wrong? I don't think I used too much flour, but I supposed it's always possible that I got distracted and my measurements were off.

The only thing I can think of is somehow the flour got itself encapsulated in the liquid (kind of the way you end up getting lumps in gravy made with flour), that the breadmaker's kneading action wasn't strong enough to work them out, and that they ended up (maybe by centrifugal force?) on the outside of the loaf. Of course, I have know idea how THAT scenario may have happened. If you didn't pre-mix the flour and liquid before pouring it into the bread machine, you might try that next time. . .

#19 LowellR

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:53 PM

And last night I made the Cook's Illustrated ciabatta recipe, with a couple of embellishments. It's a great dough, 1/3 biga that ferments for 24 hours, which gives it a really good depth of flavor. Then it gets very little manipulation (rise for an hour, give it a few turns and rise for half an hour (twice), after which you shape it into loaves and let it rise one more time), so it gets fairly big holes. It requires little attention during the "baking" and has become my new go-to loaf.

#20 Mrs. B

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:57 PM

Just prepped my first ever batch of classic dinner rolls, didn't read the part about the butter and the eggs being at room temperature :angry: . I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Also I'm not sure a warm non-drafty place exists in my house today.

#21 lperry

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 05:02 PM

^ I'm making bread today too, and the rises have taken longer than usual. Even though it's the wrong time of year, I cleaned out some magazines over the weekend and was smitten with the picture of honey-apple challah in an old Martha Stewart magazine. It's on its last rise before I put it in the oven for dinner. We may not eat anything else. :angry:

#22 monavano

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 05:35 PM

And last night I made the Cook's Illustrated ciabatta recipe, with a couple of embellishments. It's a great dough, 1/3 biga that ferments for 24 hours, which gives it a really good depth of flavor. Then it gets very little manipulation (rise for an hour, give it a few turns and rise for half an hour (twice), after which you shape it into loaves and let it rise one more time), so it gets fairly big holes. It requires little attention during the "baking" and has become my new go-to loaf.

I'm wondering if I can use 1% milk instead of whole milk for this. I'd like to use up what I have vs. going out just for milk. Thoughts?

#23 lperry

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:01 PM

I'm wondering if I can use 1% milk instead of whole milk for this. I'd like to use up what I have vs. going out just for milk. Thoughts?

It will be fine. The texture might be slightly different, but it will be a very slight difference. If you are worried, add in a pat of melted butter to up the fat content.

#24 monavano

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:11 PM

It will be fine. The texture might be slightly different, but it will be a very slight difference. If you are worried, add in a pat of melted butter to up the fat content.

Thank you. I have some heavy cream on hand too, so perhaps I'll do 1/2 1% and 1/2 cream. Looking forward to trying this recipe.

#25 monavano

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:24 PM

And last night I made the Cook's Illustrated ciabatta recipe, with a couple of embellishments. It's a great dough, 1/3 biga that ferments for 24 hours, which gives it a really good depth of flavor. Then it gets very little manipulation (rise for an hour, give it a few turns and rise for half an hour (twice), after which you shape it into loaves and let it rise one more time), so it gets fairly big holes. It requires little attention during the "baking" and has become my new go-to loaf.

Next question before I get started. Can I use Active Dry Yeast for this recipe? I used the Active Dry for the Almost No Knead Bread above. Thanks!

#26 lperry

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 09:28 PM

Next question before I get started. Can I use Active Dry Yeast for this recipe? I used the Active Dry for the Almost No Knead Bread above. Thanks!

I just saw this (sorry). I am not familiar with the recipe, but if it calls for 1/3 biga as a starter, fresh yeast will not give the same result. You will be better off using a recipe that uses yeast alone as a leavener. If you already started, you will probably get a nice loaf of bread, it just won't have the texture and flavor of one made with the dough starter.

On a different note, the challah was fantastic, although mine was a bit lumpier than their picture. I used about half whole wheat flour, and wished I had put in more apples. Here is a link if anyone wants to try it. It works fine in the KA mixer with a dough hook.

#27 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:11 PM

Just prepped my first ever batch of classic dinner rolls, didn't read the part about the butter and the eggs being at room temperature :angry: . I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Also I'm not sure a warm non-drafty place exists in my house today.

I have been anxious to bake bread but I think our house is too cold to do it this winter...

I baked cupcakes this evening and need to frost them before taking the little guy to school in the morning.

Planning corn muffins and brownies during the day tomorrow as part of a meal to take to a friend who recently lost her husband.

#28 mdt

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 08:14 AM

I have been anxious to bake bread but I think our house is too cold to do it this winter...

I baked cupcakes this evening and need to frost them before taking the little guy to school in the morning.

Planning corn muffins and brownies during the day tomorrow as part of a meal to take to a friend who recently lost her husband.

Unless you live without heat the cooler temps will only make the rising times longer. You can make a quick proofing 'box' using a large trash bag. Put the dough and a bowl of very hot water in the bag and close it up. In time you will figure out the best temp for the water to keep the bag around 80F.

And speaking of baking, over the weekend I made a batch of croissants. It had been a too long since the last time I made a laminated dough. Since it was as easy as I remembered danish will be next on the list.

#29 LowellR

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:01 AM

I'm wondering if I can use 1% milk instead of whole milk for this. I'd like to use up what I have vs. going out just for milk. Thoughts?

I actually usually just use skim and it turns out fine (by "fine," I mean it seems to serve the desired purpose of keeping the holes to a reasonable size. I once made a batch without milk and the "holes" were so large that I ended up with essentially one hole - a loaf that was more or less solid on the bottom (with minimal holes) with the top crust standing off significantly. With the skim milk, the holes are more evenly distributed.) I once used 2% milk and didn't get results any different from the skim.

Which is the long way of saying "yes."

#30 LowellR

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:02 AM

Next question before I get started. Can I use Active Dry Yeast for this recipe? I used the Active Dry for the Almost No Knead Bread above. Thanks!

Yes; that's what I use.

#31 LowellR

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:05 AM

I just saw this (sorry). I am not familiar with the recipe, but if it calls for 1/3 biga as a starter, fresh yeast will not give the same result. You will be better off using a recipe that uses yeast alone as a leavener. If you already started, you will probably get a nice loaf of bread, it just won't have the texture and flavor of one made with the dough starter.

Good point. I don't think monavano was contemplating skipping the biga step, but if so, I should qualify my "yes" to mean that you can use active dry yeast to make the biga and then to supplement the biga when you make the dough, but you shouldn't skip the bioa step and use soley active dry yeast.

And sorry I haven't figured out how to reply to multiple posts in one response. . .

#32 leleboo

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:06 AM

And sorry I haven't figured out how to reply to multiple posts in one response. . .

{Hit the "Multiquote" button on all the posts you want to reply to, then hit "Add Reply" and it will bring them all into the reply box.}

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#33 LowellR

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:08 AM

Unless you live without heat the cooler temps will only make the rising times longer.

And the extended rising time will only enhance the flavor of the bread. In fact, some recepies call for an extended (12-24 hour) rise in the refrigerator rather than on the counter in order to develop more complex flavors.

#34 goodeats

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:42 AM

Planning corn muffins and brownies during the day tomorrow as part of a meal to take to a friend who recently lost her husband.


Oh no! Sending warm, comfort thoughts to your friend.

To stay on topic - failed cookies. How does one do that?! <- A: Never bake multitasking.
Taste. Feel. Be comforted.

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#35 mame11

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 07:42 PM

Oh no! Sending warm, comfort thoughts to your friend.

To stay on topic - failed cookies. How does one do that?! <- A: Never bake multitasking.

The first time I made cheese straws, I forgot the flour. I ended up with a tray of melted cheese and butter.

Right now, biscotti. But the oven wasn't at the right temp so i upped it. It's not calibrated and went up 50 degrees higher than it should have. hoping I haven't lost the batch.

#36 monavano

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 07:57 AM

Good point. I don't think monavano was contemplating skipping the biga step, but if so, I should qualify my "yes" to mean that you can use active dry yeast to make the biga and then to supplement the biga when you make the dough, but you shouldn't skip the bioa step and use soley active dry yeast.
And sorry I haven't figured out how to reply to multiple posts in one response. . .

Cook's Illustrated Ciabatta

I used the active dry yeast and made the biga.

Good morning biga!
The dough was sticky and wet, as promised. I allowed it to rest under my countertop lights each time and got the dough a bit closer to the heat by propping it up on top of another bowl. I also gave it a bit more time to rise and develop.
Posted Image

Loaves.

Crust and crumb.


The biga developed nice taste and I really like the pull and chew of the bread.
Also, the video with this recipe really saved me with its "how to" guidance.


{Hit the "Multiquote" button on all the posts you want to reply to, then hit "Add Reply" and it will bring them all into the reply box.}

Thanks-I've been scratching my head over this.

#37 LowellR

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 10:29 AM

[
Loaves.
Posted Image

Crust and crumb.
Posted Image


That is EXACTLY what my loaves look like - inside and out - when I bake mine. I originally thought that this fact shouldn't be odd, but then realized why it is - I have an identical cooling rack. . .

I don't see an icon for Twighlight Zone music.

#38 monavano

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 10:35 AM

That is EXACTLY what my loaves look like - inside and out - when I bake mine. I originally thought that this fact shouldn't be odd, but then realized why it is - I have an identical cooling rack. . .

I don't see an icon for Twighlight Zone music.

They really did look like a cute pair of slippers!
I'm glad you had similar results; I must be on the right track. While not quite like Eve's ciabatta, I was pleased and encouraged to explore more bread baking.
Next up: sour dough bread from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

#39 LowellR

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 10:42 AM

Next up: sour dough bread from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Please let me know how it goes. I've enjoyed reading the Bread Baker's Apprentice but have been scared off by his frequent reference - and rigid adherence - to specific temperatures. I'm just not that precise.

#40 V.H.

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 01:06 PM

Unless you live without heat the cooler temps will only make the rising times longer. You can make a quick proofing 'box' using a large trash bag. Put the dough and a bowl of very hot water in the bag and close it up. In time you will figure out the best temp for the water to keep the bag around 80F.

And speaking of baking, over the weekend I made a batch of croissants. It had been a too long since the last time I made a laminated dough. Since it was as easy as I remembered danish will be next on the list.

You can also proof in the microwave or oven. I just nuke 2 cups of water in a pyrex measuring cup and leave it in the microwave or oven with my dough with the power off. I've also had success putting dough in a turned off oven with just the light on to provide a little extra warmth.

#41 RaisaB

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 05:23 PM

It's not bread but I am baking Ina's Gartens Coconut Cake with a few modifications.... I also have some bread from "Healthy Bread in 15 minutes a day" ready to go....but I am not too hopeful for that.

#42 mdt

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 08:20 PM

This morning it was poppy seed bagels. Tomorrow is SF style sourdough bread.

#43 DanCole42

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 08:41 PM

English muffins in preparation for a morning toasting
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MORBO: The challenger's ugly food has shown us that even hideous things can be sweet on the inside.

#44 mdt

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 09:59 AM

English muffins in preparation for a morning toasting

Does your recipe require the use of crumpet rings to make them?

#45 mame11

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:32 AM

Chocolate biscotti and butter cookies to deliver to friends during the post-snowpocalypse recovery.

#46 Xochitl10

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 08:38 PM

This weekend, I made the Rustic Italian Bread from "Baking Illustrated." It's a good loaf, but I think not quite right. I'm not sure I kneaded it or let it rise long enough. The dough was still pourable when it came time to turn it and to shape it (I would never have gotten it onto the parchment-covered baking sheet without Azami's assistance). It has a more open crumb than I expected, but the flavor is good and the crust is very crisp (another clue to the wrongness: I didn't have to spritz the loaf with water to get a crisp-ass crust). I'll probably make it again as another weekend project to try to get it "right".

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#47 dcdavidm

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:25 PM

NYTimes-Bittman-Sullivan no-knead bread, augmented with some whole wheat flour and flax seeds. Actually gave it a minute or two of kneading before forming loaf, though. Nice loaf.

#48 goodeats

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 11:30 PM

About to make some lemon curd for lemon curd pies, with a kick of some sort tbd. The lemons goes along with news I was just dealt with - I need to stop getting lemons.
Taste. Feel. Be comforted.

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#49 KMango

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 11:34 PM

About to make some lemon curd for lemon curd pies, with a kick of some sort tbd. The lemons goes along with news I was just dealt with - I need to stop getting lemons.

Hey, no scurvy!

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#50 Rovers2000

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:34 AM

I've dug into some of Peter Reinhart's stuff (from his newer book Artisian Breads Every Day) over the last few days of being stuck in my house. I was really happy with how the pizza dough turned out. Never having tried the cold rise process, I've been impressed with its results. I have another batch of dough in the fridge now that I will probably let go for another 24 hours (it just hit its 1st day in the fridge) to see what that does to the taste.

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