Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Breads: The Italian Loaf

This time I decided I wanted to make an old world time of bread. Like the loaves people carry when they walk home from the European bakeries.  I found this recipe for Italian loaves in  Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-By-Step Cook Book and I decided that was the recipe I was going to try.It was published in 1978. Slightly outdated since it is 2014, but baking hasn't changed that much. This was the result.
They were beautiful, so I definitely felt I was doing something right.
Here is the recipe directly from the book.
There is one change I made. I had a container of active dry yeast not packages. So 2 packages of active dry yeast is equal to 4 and 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. I discovered this thanks to a little research on the web.
With all the problems I had with yeast and temperature, I have discovered that you can usually tell if the yeast is work if the dough sticks to something but comes off cleanly (this is after all the flour has been added, even if it is slightly sticky, it will come off cleanly).
As you can see from the recipe there are a couple of ways you can fashion this recipe. I just followed the top of half of the recipe. It is nice and simple.
There is my beautiful loaf of bread. Cut open and ready to be munched on.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

English Muffin Toasting Bread

I started a journey of bread when I baked my first loaf of bread. I may have had to make the same loaf about eight times to reach perfection with the yeast but I finally accomplished it. This time I decided I wanted to make an English muffin loaf because I love English muffins. The best bread is sometimes the one that goes into the toaster. It was a lot of fun making the Homemade Cinnamon Bread, so I wanted to have more of the experience.
So I decided to make Bright Eyed Bakers version of the English Muffin Toasting Bread. It was very easy to make and excellent toasted with butter.
This bread only required one rising.
It was very easy.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homemade Cinnamon Bread

Here is the bread I made. I made this bread eight times now. I have gotten a lot of practice. I followed the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Homemade Cinnamon Bread. I have never made bread using a mixer, with a paddle and mixer. 
A long time ago I had made dough by hand with a regular mixer, then kneaded the dough by hand. 
I feel bad because I messed up on the most important part - when I mixed in the yeast with the milk and the butter the mixer wasn't between 120-130 F. When I made the dough before, the yeast, was either almost there, not quite, or almost dead, although I had one loaf that I was johnny on the spot without a thermometer. This loaf I was much smarter because I pulled out a thermometer a tested the temperature of the milk and butter before adding the yeast because it was so important. 
You know, this bread is twice as good as Pepperidge Farm's Homemade Cinnamon Bread, as well as twice as big, and I am sure less then half the price. I can feel proud because I put hours of labor and made it by hand. 
My Boyfriend was thrilled and the next day we had French toast
And it was something to do on a cold and snowy day.
Snow in Clinton, Ct. #clintonct via caseygoduti
Snow in Clinton, Ct. #clintonct via caseygoduti
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