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  1. I couldn't agree more. After I broke my umpteenth Kitchenaid stand mixer, I swore I'd never buy another mixer again–and didn't for years. I grew a lot as a baker in the absence of one: I had to touch the dough, learn how it felt during different stages of development. The autolyse works very well and, especially for high hydration doughs like ciabatta, the "stretch and fold" method can build up the strength of a dough as much as a stand mixer can. It takes some practice and it's not as reliable or consistent as a machine, but it works. Buy Dan Lepard's The Art of Handmade Bread. He uses autolyse throughout. As the title suggests, no mixer is required.
  2. Oops, sorry. That means I have another cookbook to buy.
  3. Thanks Bud, but that's not exactly what I had in mind. It should be an enriched bread using egg, fat, milk, etc. for its flavour and baked at a low temp (350 F) to produce a thin crust and very tender crumb; see HungryC's description. I apologize for not being clear; I could have at least posted a photo. I suppose if I'd said "the bread used to make toast!", that might have been more clear. It's basically brioche with substantially less egg and butter. It so light and tender, no bread knife is required to slice it. Your recipe is more if an artisan white (68% overall hydration) made with a poolish preferment. I use a recipe similar to yours–Bernard Clayton's Pain Beaucaire–for dense sandwich batards, but it results in a crumb that's significantly more dense and has a thicker crust than what I'm interested in. You're steaming the oven too, so the crust will be thick and hard, not light and thin. It's good bread, I'm sure, and it has the added benefit of a preferment (which pulls flavour out of the flour (as opposed to enrichment, which adds flavour)), but it's not the sort of bread I had in mind when I opened the thread, but thanks!
  4. This is probably pushing the topic a bit, as they're already popular in the US, but I'd add English writer and chef Fuchsia Dunlop's books. Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking
  5. Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf. It's been republished in the states as The Art of Handmade Bread. The republished version has metric and volume weights and uses Fahrenheit. I'm not certain, but I think even the ingredients have been changed (or names of ingredients), much easier to source. I remember reading the original and asking, "What on earth is that ingredient?" or "Where am I going to find that flour?" Not so with the republished version.
  6. fooey

    Bread Slicers

    I just assumed that was implicit. I need to speak up for myself.
  7. I modified it some, so here's what I do. WHITE BREAD (makes 3 large loaves) This bread closely follows Peter Reinhart's White Bread, Variation 1, from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, p. 266. Deviations are: 1. by metric weight (not volume), 2. unbleached all-purpose flour (not bread flour), 3. mixer instructions only (no hand kneading), 4. butter only (not other fats recommended), 5. loaves only (not rolls, buns, etc.), 6. portions doubled (you can halve and make two smaller loaves, if you prefer), 7. added some of my technique, removed some of Peter's. DOUGH 1220 g unbleached all-purpose flour 15 g salt 75 g powdered milk (DMS) 85 g granulated sugar 13 g instant yeast (or 17 g active dry) 115 g eggs (2 large eggs), room temperature, slightly beaten 93 g butter, unsalted, melted or room temperature 750 g water EGG WASH 58 g egg (1 large egg) 5 g water INSTRUCTIONS Remove bowl from mixer. Add [flour, salt, milk powder, sugar, yeast] to mixer bowl. To evenly distribute dry ingredients, mix thoroughly with a hand whisk. Add [beaten egg, butter, water]. Mix all ingredients with a large spoon to form a rough dough ball. Return bowl to mixer. Mix on medium for 1 minute; then, if necessary, adjust flour and/or water to make a soft, supple dough that's tacky, but not sticky. How to tell the difference between “sticky” and “tacky”: Press your hand onto the dough and then lift it up. If dough pulls up with your hand and then releases (so your hand comes away clean), the dough is tacky. If you end up with dough stuck to your hand, it’s sticky. Mix for 8-10 minutes more, until dough clears the side of the mixer bowl, but sticks ever so slightly to the bottom of the mixer bowl. Dough is properly mixed when it reaches (26C/80F) and passes the windowpane test. Lightly coat very large bowl (6L/7qt) with oil. Transfer dough to oiled bowl, rolling dough around to coat with it oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temperature until doubled in size (1.5-2 hours). Remove dough from bowl and portion into three equal-sized loaves, about 800g each. Rest doughs for 20 minutes. Butter three (22cmx12cm / 8.5"x4.5") bread loaf pans. Shape each loaf for loaf pans. This is close enough.Brush tops of loaves with butter. Place pans in large plastic bag (I use a large garbage bag) for proofing. Proof until loaves double in size (60-90 minutes). 40 minutes into proofing, adjust oven rack to medium height and preheat oven to (220C/425F). Prepare egg wash by whisking egg and water in small bowl. When loaves are ready for the oven, brush tops with egg wash. Put loaves into oven, medium rack, spacing them as far from each other as possible. The tops (crowns) of the loaves will bulge outwards (about 1.5 times the width of the bread loaf pan), so they should not be too close to each other or too close to the oven wall, or they could stick. Immediately turn oven down to (180C/350F). Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pans 180 degrees. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the tops (crowns) are dark, golden brown. Internal temperature should be about (88C/190F). Remove pans from oven and immediately remove bread from pans, allowing them to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before serving. They freeze well, so if not eating same day, wrap in aluminum foil immediately after removing from pans and freeze (yes, wrap and freeze while still hot). Defrost at room temperature; do not reheat. Enjoy.
  8. Very good question! The (assumed) lack of quality ingredients, for one, that results in a machine-made chemical foodstuff that is bread in name only? I again note the profound evil that is the Chorleywood Bread Process.
  9. A friend who (supposedly) makes the best cakes–everyone loves them, fawns over these cakes at his dinner parties–tricks everyone, but not me: He's using boxed cake mixes, but homemade buttercreams, preserves, fillings, etc. It's only a matter of time before I dethrone him by drunkenly announcing to the guests, "Of course the cake is moist! There's a cup of vegetable oil in it. THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!"
  10. fooey

    Bread Slicers

    I can get good freehand slices the first loaf, but by the tenth, I have muffins or worse. By the tenth, I'm doing my best Jack Nicholson "Herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre's Johnnnnny" and slicing with a wood axe. I mean, really, who has the time for a bread knife? I want the toast and I want it now.
  11. fooey

    Bread Slicers

    That's fine for a few slicer, but I'm thinking for multiple loaves. Something tells me I'll probably end up with one a used commercial one off of Craigslist. I'll store it in the trunk of my car. There's enough space in the boot and it's weight should keep the car from skidding on the ice.
  12. fooey

    Bread Slicers

    That's my fantasy, you give that back now. This has potential, but so does this.
  13. fooey

    Bread Slicers

    I've considered that. I just don't know if it would work. Anyone else use a meat slicer to slice bread?
  14. I can't count the times I've bitten into a brownie at work and just loved it, only to learn that it was Betty Crocker Hershey's Triple Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix, the one they sell at Costco in giant box with 6 brownie pan's worth of fixings.
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