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Tag Archive: bread

Furbo’s Breadpot Sourdough

December 15, 2017 Leave your thoughts Print this page

Hey, I’m Abby’s dad, aka “Furbo,” and one of Abby’s early cooking co-conspirators. While we’ve made many tasty dishes together, there certainly have been a few fails over the years. The ginormous misshapen Whoopie Pies were not our shining moment. I feel privileged that she has allowed me to guest post here (I think I am the first).

Furbo is a name Abby stuck me with when she was obsessed with Furbies. At this point, Furbies were long out of favor (my daughter is trend setter, not a follower). I eventually found a Furby baby on eBay to satisfy her obession. Many years later, I’m still proudly Furbo.

In my free time, I dabble in bread baking. I am not an uber serious baker (e.g. I don’t weigh my ingredients nor am I very precise) and I make no claims about my technique other than I can reliably make a crusty loaf with a good crumb. The internet is filled with bread enthusiasts and purists who I respect, but I am not one of them. I loved reading 52 Loaves (William Adams 52-day journey to making the perfect loaf), but while I have smuggled sourdough through airport security more than once (like Adams), I am not fanatical.

My sourdough starter is the descendant of my father-in-law John’s, which was created at his summer home in Amagansett, NY in 1965. Carissa’s Breads in East Hampton, uses a version of the same starter. If you like what you see here and are interested in starter, comment and I would be happy to hook you up.

John still bakes regularly. When Abby was little, he used to send her loaves of bread in the mail (slices with butter were a regular breakfast item). Seven years ago he encouraged me to get into the game and sent me home with a container of sourdough, which I’ve been feeding ever since. Abby and I named him “Louie.” Today, he now has an offspring at our second home in Florida, which we probably need to name Houghie or Dewey.

A few years ago, John sent me a beautiful clay breadpot from ceramic artist Judith Moskin. This was the big difference maker for me. Commercial bakers inject steam into their ovens, and while it is possible to use ice or other techniques to do the same, the home bread baker is always at a disadvantage. Enter the breadpot. With a few spritzes of water and a hot oven, it produces an exquisite crust and a good crumb. Judy’s pots are amazing, but expensive, and I’ve broken parts of them over the years. I’ve found a much less expensive alternative from Superstone, their Bread Dome Baker.

John encouraged me to experiment, and has remarked many times to me about how incredibly forgiving bread baking can be. His tutelage, as well as his willingness to share his baking wisdom, is what brings me to this post.

This year, we were delighted to have several of Abby’s friends for Thanksgiving dinner. Over our meal, Abby’s dear friend Natalie conveyed a request from her Mom (DeeDee), my Facebook friend, who has seen the bread porn I occasionally post. She wondered if I could tell her how to use sourdough starter.

Being a bit of an Zymology evangelist, I decided to instead send her a “child” of my starter in the mail. I also turned her onto my secret, the breadpot (pictured at the top of this post). I assured her that with the right ingredients and a breadpot she too could make a good crusty loaf. So this is for DeeDee (as well as Madison and Natalie).

Here are some visual highlights to help guide you. First off, “Louie,” who I feed once a week, but otherwise keep in the refrigerator. He is incredibly tolerant and has lived through power outages and occasional periods where I neglect him.

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The aforementioned “breadpot.” This one has a glazed interior, and is said to be good for cooking other stuff like chicken or tagine. Other than wiping it out occasionally, I don’t clean it.

Superstone Bread Dome Baker

My rubbermaid container that I use for proofing. This is totally optional.

Stretching the Dough

The banneton basket gives the finished bread a nice professional ridged look. Definitely optional, but a good touch.

Proofing Basket Banneton

John only keeps his “dome” on for the first 10 minutes of baking. To make my bread crustier, I leave the top on for 30 minutes.

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Furbo’s Breadpot Sourdough Boule

Ingredients

Prep Time
10 min to make dough
60-90 min rise
5 min fold/stretch
60-90 min rise
2 min to shape loaf
60 min final proof

Cooking Time
30 min with top on
15 min with top off

Total Time 3 - 4 hours (most inactive)
Yield 1 medium sized loaf

3 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour †

3  teaspoons of Instant Yeast ‡

2 teaspoons salt

1 dollop sourdough starter (about 1/2 – 1 cup)  ‡‡

1 1/4 cup warm water

Extra flour for kneading (and the proofing basket)

Cornmeal for the breadpot

Directions

Bring your sourdough starter to room temperature, either early the day of baking, or the day before.

In a 5 quart mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Stir to combine. Purist will do this without yeast, but I’m not a pure 🙂

Dollop the sourdough into the bowl and combine with the dry ingredients and stir. The consistency will be dry and flakey.

Slowly begin pouring the warm water into the bowl and using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon work the water into the dry ingredients. Depending on temperature and humidity, you may not need all of the water, so go slowly until the dough becomes tacky, but not too pasty. This will require some experimentation, and don’t be afraid to add more flour if it gets too pasty. Use your hands to finish kneading the dough into a ball, making sure to scrape bits of flour off the sides of the bowl until it is nearly all incorporated into the dough.

Lightly spray a lidded rectangular proofing container with neutral cooking spray and transfer the dough to it. I use a 24 cup Rubbermaid container, but you can skip this step and proof in a bowl, or on your flour dusted countertop with a towel on top of the dough. Make sure the container is out of direct light (and at room temperature) and put it aside to proof for 60-90 minutes.

After the first rise (the dough will typically double), lightly dust it with flour and fold it into itself from both sides. Then stretch it out. Put the top back on and put it aside for another 60-90 minutes.

Dust your counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Now form a round shaped loaf with your hands. If you don’t have a banneton proofing basket, cover the loaf with a tea towel and let sit for the final step before baking. If you have a banneton proofing basket, lightly dust it with flour. Transfer the loaf to it and cover with a tea towel. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and while the oven comes up to temperature let the dough finish its shaping.

Dust the bottom of your bread pot with corn meal, or cut a circular round out of parchment for the bottom of the pot. Turn the loaf into the breadpot and make sure its centered at the bottom. With the bread in the pot, use a sharp knife to make 3 or more slashes in the top of the loaf. Using a spray bottle on mist setting, spritz the top a few times. Turn the oven down to 450 degrees and transfer the bread pot to the oven. Set the timer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid of the breadpot and return it to the oven. The bread is ready when the internal temperature is ~206 degrees.

Remove the bread from the breadpot and turn it out onto a wire rack and let it cool for 15-30 minutes (longer is better, but I will admit to ignoring this). Once the bread is cool store it in a paper bag.

 

Bakers Notes
† I like King Arthur. Also, I sometimes I substitute 1 cup of Whole Wheat

‡ 1 packet of Fleischmann’s RapidRise works fine, but I prefer Saf-Instant

‡‡ Get some from a friend (me included). By some online. Or create your own.



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On Love and Garlic Knots

November 5, 2017 Leave your thoughts Print this page

Every autumn as the leaves start to change, a sudden itch to bake pops into my mental periphery. I find myself daydreaming in class about French pastries and cinnamon, fantasizing about the ways I could reinvent chocolate chip cookies or braid a loaf of challah. As my friends can tell you, this is the season where the communal Tupperware container makes frequent appearances, gracing its audience with piles of brownies and cake slices. To me at least, fall and baking go hand-in-hand, and no autumnal meal would be complete without a sweet or bread-y sidekick.

As I stand in my kitchen stirring a caramel sauce or kneading dough, my mind turns reflective. In these repetitive motions, I think. A lot. And every fall, for some reason, I think about love.

Maybe it was because fall was the season when I first literally fell from someone. It was seventh grade, when I had the poofiest hair and biggest chutzpah you’d ever seen. I had a huge crush on this kid in a few of my classes, and one day, I decided to call him up and ask him to hang out. (Spoiler: he said yes, but to this day, it was truly one of the most awkward nights of my life.)

Honestly? Mistake. What was I thinking?! I was twelve and already a loud, ballsy feminist. The world of teenage boys was certainly not ready for adolescent Abby, who was ready for a mature man while still wearing peace sign scarves from Justice. Even though I commend my younger self for being so confident, I do wish I had waited. Because my very sensitive little heart got very disheartened when things didn’t go as planned.

After that, my love life was basically nonexistent until senior year, when I tried to give “romance” another try. I let myself be vulnerable and was honest with my emotions — which was kinda badass, I guess. But I got really, really badly hurt. It was the wrong time, and I picked the wrong person.

I got to college thinking things would be different. Boys would be more mature! Someone out there would be looking for an independent, quirky, strong-willed woman like myself! And I laugh. I’m sure people are out there, they gotta be. But so far, I have been disappointed. Young people are so into hookup culture, and I, as a closeted 40-something, am not. College students can be so wishy-washy and last-minute about things and people and plans. And even though it’s 2017 — where women should be able to ask out men (or other women!) without it being weird — initiating and being forward has never gone well for the potato. Ugh.

Part of it is patience. I’ve just gotta let go and let love find me. And sure, I can be all yoga-y about it and say, “I am a complete individual on my own, I do not need anyone to complete me. What you seek is surely seeking you, don’t be attached to ideas or people. Let the universe take you where it shall.” But you know what? That’s not really how I feel most of the time.

How do I feel? I feel frustrated. I feel frustrated that I still scare people away because I have opinions and personality and spunk. I feel frustrated that people still don’t respect my time. I feel frustrated how seemingly little people can seem to care. I feel frustrated that all of that — the inconsistency, the blasé spontaneity, the forgetfulness — is somehow okay. I feel frustrated that this is the same trope I’ve been experiencing since the first time I ever asked someone out seven years ago.

And you know what? It’s okay for your feelings about life and love to not be tied up in a perfect little box with a ribbon on top. It’s okay to be angry and frustrated and salty with the way societal norms are. It’s okay to want love and want to be loved and cry about it not being there in the way you want. It’s okay to have emotions, even “negative” ones.

So I guess that’s why I turn to carbohydrates. Because quite frankly, carbohydrates never fail to satisfy the romantic love I crave.

Apologies for the rant. I am truly an optimistic, upbeat person 90-95% of the time. But I think it’s important to share that 5-10% of pessimism, saltiness and frustration, because our multifaceted nature only makes us more endearingly human.

Anyway, to me, there is nothing more tender than biting into a fresh cookie, biscuit or roll. That doughiness, that warmth, that butteriness just melts all of the frustration away. One cannot possibly be sad whilst eating a homemade baked good: that is a scientific fact.

So, when I was feeling sad and nervous and anxious and disheartened last week, I made garlic knots. Because garlic can cure anything, I’m convinced.

I had such a fun time making these for my friends. My favorite part was tying them, because look at how cute they are! And each one is a little different. I find it simply adorable.

These are certainly a labor of love, but that’s my favorite part about baking. The more care you put into it, the more love you taste when you bite into that finished product. And having hot, crispy, chewy garlic knots last weekend was worth every second I put into making them.

Some notes! Please use bread flour. Bread flour means chewy, crispy garlic knots. Just get your butt over to Whole Foods and do it. And use lots of garlic. I actually adapted my recipe from the first time I made it to include more garlic. You wouldn’t want to make out with a vampire, anyway. (Sorry, I was never into Edward Cullen.)

Bony African feet! (Bon appétit in meme slang.)

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Garlic Knots

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 16 garlic knots

FOR THE KNOTS:

1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)

2 tbsp EVOO

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

4 cups of bread flour

FOR THE GARLIC DRIZZLE:

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else the yeast will die! Stir together with a spoon and let sit until the yeast are nice and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir together with a spoon or the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Keep adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is thick. Knead with your hands on a well-floured work space or with the dough hook in the stand mixer until smooth and not sticky, about ten minutes. If the dough still clings to your fingers or palms after kneading, add more flour, 2 tbsp or so at a time, until it stops sticking. If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes smoother.

Lightly oil a clean bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.

Once doubled, put the dough on a well-floured work space. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut each piece into four quarters, trying to keep each piece the same size. If you have a kitchen scale, use it! Simply weigh the whole dough ball and divide by 16 to determine your individual roll mass. If not, no worries, just eyeball it the best you can.

Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up, take a dough ball and, on a well-floured work space, roll it into a rope about 7-8 inches long. Tie it just as you would a knot. If you have excess dough after tying the knot, tuck it under the formed roll. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Place back on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steep while the rolls rise.

Once the rolls have finished their final rise, lightly brush them with half of the garlic/parsley butter. Let bake until golden brown on the outside, about 18-20 minutes.

Brush with the remaining half of the garlic/parsley butter upon exiting the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve immediately.


We’ll see when love will find me. But until then, I have garlic knots and some incredibly kickass friends to keep me company.


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Garlic Knots

November 4, 2017 Print this page

Feeling knotty? Then make these simply scrumptious garlic knots! You’ll never need to go to your local shady pizzeria again.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 16 garlic knots

FOR THE KNOTS:

1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)

2 tbsp EVOO

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

4 cups of bread flour

FOR THE GARLIC DRIZZLE:

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else the yeast will die! Stir together with a spoon and let sit until the yeast are nice and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir together with a spoon or the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Keep adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is thick. Knead with your hands on a well-floured work space or with the dough hook in the stand mixer until smooth and not sticky, about ten minutes. If the dough still clings to your fingers or palms after kneading, add more flour, 2 tbsp or so at a time, until it stops sticking. If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes smoother.

Lightly oil a clean bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.

Once doubled, put the dough on a well-floured work space. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut each piece into four quarters, trying to keep each piece the same size. If you have a kitchen scale, use it! Simply weigh the whole dough ball and divide by 16 to determine your individual roll mass. If not, no worries, just eyeball it the best you can.

Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up, take a dough ball and, on a well-floured work space, roll it into a rope about 7-8 inches long. Tie it just as you would a knot. If you have excess dough after tying the knot, tuck it under the formed roll. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Place back on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steep while the rolls rise.

Once the rolls have finished their final rise, lightly brush them with half of the garlic/parsley butter. Let bake until golden brown on the outside, about 18-20 minutes.

Brush with the remaining half of the garlic/parsley butter upon exiting the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve immediately.


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Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut + Chocolate Chips

May 13, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello everybody! The adventures of a soon-to-be-senior in high school continue, featuring some food, some homework, and lots of tests. This chica just survived her third AP test, word.

What’s new with me? Well, for one, I went to San Francisco to visit some colleges…

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…and while I decided that I think I want to shoot for a really good school on the East Coast first (it’s a secret which one–shh), I had so much fun visiting the West Coast. They also have excellent ice cream out there: pictured above is a scoop of smoked sea salt chocolate and Vietnamese coffee from Humphry Slocombe.

I also got asked to prom (no, not by a cat or a sweet potato), which took place last Friday. I had so much fun dressing up and hanging out with my friends and my date!

 

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I’ve known my friend Jeromy for twelve years now, and let’s just say we’ve come a long way.

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…actually, I think the only differences are that he is now about a foot taller than me, and we changed who was wearing the vest.

Anyway, I was recently inspired to bake some banana bread, since Jeromy and I had a long conversation at a diner after prom about the wonderful ways of bananas. I decided to throw in some coconut and chocolate chips, too, because both of us love those foods. 🙂

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I forgot how much I love making banana bread. It’s so simple to prepare, yet so pretty when you take it out of the oven, and so comforting when you take a bite. The only reason I don’t make it more often is that we never have any extra bananas at my house, considering I’m basically at monkey status when it comes to banana eating…

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Want to know how simple this is? Well, it involves mashing bananas (which I find way too much enjoyment in)…

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…toasting coconut…

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…mixing a bunch of things together in a bowl (there’s no better way to describe that)…

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…then baking and slicing and EATING!

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YASS.

By the way, this banana bread recipe is adapted from the one from Flour Bakery in Boston. I updated it with a healthy twist, because healthy twists are kinda my jam.

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Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut + Chocolate Chips

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 1 loaf

1 2/3 cup of organic whole wheat flour, spelt flour, or your favorite gluten-free mix

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup of refined coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

4 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup of almond milk (I love using toasted coconut almond milk)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1-1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, toasted

1/2-3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease well with coconut oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk well and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully whisk in the oil, then add the mashed banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.

Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold with a spatula. Once no specks of flour remain, add the toasted coconut and mini chocolate chips and fold to incorporate.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, using a spatula to help you out. Then, place the loaf pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 1 hour.

Let the banana bread cool in the pan for at least an hour (preferably two), then transfer the bread from the pan to a cooling rack to come to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or slice and freeze for later consumption.


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So, how do you feel about bananas? (Interesting question, I know, but I have answered so many questions in the past ten days that I need something straightforward.) Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

Also, some words of advice before I go: when given a photo booth, go HAM. No, not literal ham. Proof is below.

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Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut + Chocolate Chips

May 13, 2015 Print this page

Bananas. Coconut. Chocolate. Are we on vacation in some warm, tropical place already? Oh well, we’re not…but this banana bread is still delicious and makes an awesome breakfast or snack.

Adapted from Flour’s Famous Banana Bread recipe 🙂

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 1 loaf

1 2/3 cup of organic whole wheat flour, spelt flour, or your favorite gluten-free mix

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup of refined coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

4 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup of almond milk (I love using toasted coconut almond milk)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1-1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, toasted

1/2-3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease well with coconut oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk well and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully whisk in the oil, then add the mashed banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.

Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold with a spatula. Once no specks of flour remain, add the toasted coconut and mini chocolate chips and fold to incorporate.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, using a spatula to help you out. Then, place the loaf pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 1 hour.

Let the banana bread cool in the pan for at least an hour (preferably two), then transfer the bread from the pan to a cooling rack to come to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or slice and freeze for later consumption.


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