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trfl

Feedback on new 'low entry barrier' bread kit

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I will come back tomorrow with more detailed answers for the technical questions. In the meanwhile, a couple of shots of the bottom of the loaf. The first two  are made with the final product (hence the correct shape). This is the same loaf that is sliced in the gallery on our website. So you can see the browning on bottom is quite close to that of the top.

The third image is from an earlier prototype (of different shape). The loaf is normal no-knead loaf. You can again see the browning on the bottom.

The perforated mesh gives a nice dotted structure similar to professional tray baked baguettes and loaves. This does not affect the release of the loaf.

And lastly, a crumb shot from the older prototype made with our method without second raise. The picture is not good enough for 'marketing' but I am sure folks on this forum can see beyond the stained chopping board :)

 

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An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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And one last image showing crumb and crust baked in earlier prototype of LoafNest. This was not a no-knead bread but traditional bread baked in our baker.

DSC_5997_scaled.JPG

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An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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I think it looks like an interesting concept. The name troubles me slightly because of the word "Nest".  At first glance I thought it was somehow to interface wirelessly with the nest system of house monitoring and management. Is it possible that the name will confuse other potential buyers, or (worse yet) draw unwelcome attention from the Nest company? (So far I haven't thought of a better name. :) )


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

 Is it possible that the name will confuse other potential buyers, or (worse yet) draw unwelcome attention from the Nest company? (So far I haven't thought of a better name. :) )

Google owns Nest, so it's quite possible that some sort of cease-and-desist would be forthcoming. 

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Could this be adapted to a baguette shape?  After having made some loaves in a dutch oven lately, I'm thinking that that size would be more useful day-to-day.

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12 hours ago, trfl said:

I am sure, in the end, we all want more people to eat better and healthier bread 

 

How does your product achieve this? Or do you simply mean better than mass produced bread?

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15 hours ago, Duvel said:

Nice idea.

 

Are you expecting the fermentation / the final proof to take place in the inliner ? If so, does the perforation affect the shape - as most no-knead breads have high hydration I'd expect some sort of "migration". How does the final loaf look like ? The perforation part is a bit hard to see on the pictures.

 

If the inliner doubles as a fermentation / proofing container you may consider adding a second one to the set, given the long fermentation times of NKB ...

 

In our current implementation, we are not expecting any fermentation/proof to take place within the liner. We did try that in an earlier version but since we then had to use a non-perforated liner, the browning and crunchiness of the bottom was affected. It was 'OK' but we were not satisfied with that. In fact this was our first thought since we even wanted to eliminate the 'pour' step and just place the liner with dough into the casserole. But the results we achieved were not upto what we wanted to make.

 

High hydration dough (85+ %) does indeed migrated a little bit into the holes. But since there is casserole stopping the migration immediately and since the dough there is solidified in seconds, it ends up giving those nice bumped pattern I tried to show in an earlier picture.


An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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15 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

I've never made no-knead bread and would not be a customer, but here's my 2 cents -

 

The offset handles drive me nuts.  I realize that's probably so you can get a grip on them when they are hot and you're using bulky hot pads or oven mitts, but visually I want them to line up.  I can't handle those handles!

 

I don't love baking in silicone.  I like silpats for certain sticky or delicate things and silicone molds for frozen desserts, but dislike silicone cake pans because thy don't brown the same as metal.  Does perforated silicone brown better?  I'd want to see the bottom of that loaf.

 

I'm a pastry chef, not a bread baker, but I'm skeptical of your claim that the punch down is unnecessary. I'd want to see side-by-side photos of the crumb.

 

Do the top and bottom nest for storage?

 

The domed lid seems like a great way to collect burning hot steam.  Is that shape going to be any more dangerous to the user than a traditional flat lid?  And if it is good for steaming but not burning fingers, that makes me wonder if a metal rack or another insert would make it multi-functional.  Of course, I never steam food either, and that might be too small to be practical for much. but that's what comes to mind.

 

Good luck!

Offset handles may take some getting used to, but they do work really well. We designed them so that you are forced to hold all the 4 handles for a higher stability and safety. The handles are not that large (~1.5 inch / 4cm) so can fit easily into each hand. But I respect your personal preference. It is the Coke v/s Pepsi or as in this forum, blue v/s brown thing :)

 

Indeed, normally silicone is a very good insulator and the bottom of loaves needs much do be desired. But perforated silicone is a complete different story. Firstly, the liner still leaves still ~60% area uncovered. This allows for much better radiative, conductive and convective heating. Secondly, the perforation allows allows surface moisture to escape that helps to achieve higher temperature as well as good browning. These liners are used in professional/industrial kitchens specifically for bread baking. We are trying to bring it to home kitchen.

 

I posted a crumb picture earlier in the thread. I don't have a side-by-side but I am sure you agree it is a nice crumb.

 

The top and bottom do nest but not all the way since cast iron is quite thick. Also, I would not do it to avoid accidentally scratching/chipping the enamel. On the positive side, we do use it as a bread box to store left over bread. It is beautiful enough (we think) to keep on the counter.

 

You can use it as a normal casserole to steam or braise but I would do that without the liner because the liner is meant to be only for the bread. The 'sealing' without liner is still good enough like a normal casserole. The top of the casserole is designed with condensation groves (you can see it one of the pictures in the gallery on our website) that prevent  all the condensation to drip back in one place. Due to the elongated shape, it may be hard to find a suitable stove-top that can fit nicely. We use with a induction stove that has a feature to combine two small heaters into one big heater. You can also use it in an oven. It works as you would expect a normal enameled cast iron to work. At this moment, we don't have a metal rack planned, but I do like the idea. May be in future?

 

There is no worse steam collection due to the shape compared to other dutch ovens. The burn risk depends on the temperature (which is same as any other Dutch oven method) and amount of steam which is smaller in our case since the loaf will occupy most of the available space near the end.

 

Thanks a lot for all the questions, comments and ideas.

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An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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13 hours ago, kayb said:

I like it a lot and will be inclined toward participating in the Kickstarter and/or being an early purchaser. I love the blue. The offset handles will take some getting used to, but they make sense. I'd also be thinking in terms of multi-use (I don't like having single-use anything in the kitchen, beyond my coffeemaker). 

 

I can also see a need for the ability to purchase extra liners. I've never done much baking with silicone, but I can't imagine it would be as durable as the pot itself.

 

Anxiously awaiting availability!

Thanks for the encouragement! Hope you signed up on the newsletter to get the earliest deal.

 

Offset handles were indeed a deliberate design choice for better safety and unique design identity. The casserole is multi-usable like any other casserole (as long as you have a heat source that fits) for example for braising. The liner is intended for bread making only though.

 

The silicone liners are rated to last 1000 uses and normally last longer if properly cared for. They don't require special maintenance, just was it in a dishwasher and keep them dry and away from mechanical abuse.

We will of course make separate liners available (for example on Amazon) if the Kickstarter campaign is successful.


An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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12 hours ago, Smithy said:

I think it looks like an interesting concept. The name troubles me slightly because of the word "Nest".  At first glance I thought it was somehow to interface wirelessly with the nest system of house monitoring and management. Is it possible that the name will confuse other potential buyers, or (worse yet) draw unwelcome attention from the Nest company? (So far I haven't thought of a better name. :) )

 

10 hours ago, chromedome said:

Google owns Nest, so it's quite possible that some sort of cease-and-desist would be forthcoming. 

We chose LoafNest for the reason that the liner does look a bit like a bird's nest and we wanted to give a connotation of a bread loaf 'hatching' out of it.

 

Luckily for us, (from my understanding), trade marks don't work like that. We would be in trouble if a consumer who went to buy a thermostat ends up buying a bread baker instead :). I am simplifying a bit, but that is the intent behind the law. Moreover, we call it LoafNest as one word. Of course, if google came knocking on our doors, we will just change the name because we can not afford the lawyers and they sure can. We think the chance is astronomically low though.

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An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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10 hours ago, IndyRob said:

Could this be adapted to a baguette shape?  After having made some loaves in a dutch oven lately, I'm thinking that that size would be more useful day-to-day.

Yes, baguette, dinner role or mini-ciabatta (or other similar breads) are a possibility. If we succeed in our Kickstarter campaign, they surely on our pipeline. Thanks for the suggestion!


An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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9 hours ago, keychris said:

 

How does your product achieve this? Or do you simply mean better than mass produced bread?

By better we mean more flavorful, more tasty, more textured bread. Most supermarket bread (at least here in Europe) tastes like cotton.

 

By healthy we mean more appropriate levels of salt and lack of preservatives/additives and having the knowledge of what goes into the bread. For example in the Netherlands, where we live, a recent study found illegal amounts of salt in 'artisan' bread from many bakery chains. [Source]

 

By reducing the barrier to bread baking at home, we believe we help people to achieve better taste and health. Of course, the knowledge of knowing what you eat is invaluable for a healthy lifestyle mindset.

 

By the way, we estimate our loaf costs about 75 cents (ingredients and electricity/gas) whereas an equivalent loaf will cost 2.25 (Supermarket premium bread) to 5.00 Euro (boutique artisan bakery). So, we believe it is also quite economical in the long run.


Edited by trfl Typo bred->bread (log)
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An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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Thanks for the reply :) I'm not your target market then, I haven't bought commercial bread for almost a decade, for exactly the reasons you mention. Except the cotton taste. I would go with cardboard xD

I'll check out your kickstarter when it goes live though!


Edited by keychris (log)

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I'm not what you would call a bread maker by any stretch of the imagination, but I do make bread in my bread machine quite a lot.  Still I am finding this thread wonderful and fascinating, to be part of an ongoing process in developing a new and better commercial product.  It's a first for me.  I wish I had more to contribute, but I am enjoying it a lot.  Thanks trfl.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I can see the advantage of offset handles if they were ALL offset.   I have a roaster with offset handles that just barely fits in my oven. if the handles were at the ends, it would not fit.

Several manufacturers have adapted to the new, "compact" ovens and produced various ovenware with handles placed like this so the vessels will fit into smaller oven.  

 

Your concept is odd and awkward as shown.  I have arthritis in my hands - as do a lot of bakers I know - attempting to grip both sets of handles for people like me, or woman with small hands, would be impossible - and hazardous.

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.25.27 AM.png

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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@andiesenji I agree. That handle arrangement looks very awkward. I'd probably just use the handles on the lower half and rely on the rim of the lid to keep it in place. It is odd

 

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I do understand and empathize with the apprehensions about offset handles. After all, they are a new idea and it is hard to guess if it works for you or not when you have nothing similar to compare against. Only way to know for sure is to use one. We have been using our prototypes for a few months now baking almost every day. We really do not find any issues. Of course, we have normal physical abilities and I can not judge how hard or easy it is going to be for someone with arthritis. We will keep a keen ear on the feedback of the first version.

 

There is a good reason behind those offset handle:

* Our lid is taller and heavier than a normal casserole lid. Since the bread raises to almost double its initial height, we had to make it taller and hence heavier.

* We need to be able to remove the lid easily when the pan is hot (to place the liner and pour the dough) and put it back again. This step is done wearing gloves or mitts. So, if the handles are lined up, the space between top and bottom handle needs to be quite a lot to allow for thick finger+mits to get into the gap.

* If we want to provide such a gap on our product (which is overall about 15cm/6inch) tall, we would end up with a funny looking casserole. Also, there are difficulties in manufacturing handles far away from the rim in cast iron. That is why you almost always see handles on the rim for cast iron. It is possible, but difficult and leads to inferior quality [For enameled sheet iron, like the one in the picture by andiesenji, that is much easier because they are made in a different way].

 

So, with all these constraints, we came up with offset handles so that both sets of handles can stay on the rim but can still allow easy lid removal and putting it back while wearing thick gloves.

 

I hope I have better explained the background behind offset handles.

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An enthusiastic food lover and product developer. Early in 2018, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a bread making product LoafNest now avaiable on Amazon .  I am on eGullet to spar on ideas for making cooking and baking easier and more robust through well designed high quality products.

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19 hours ago, trfl said:

I do understand and empathize with the apprehensions about offset handles. After all, they are a new idea and it is hard to guess if it works for you or not when you have nothing similar to compare against. Only way to know for sure is to use one. We have been using our prototypes for a few months now baking almost every day. We really do not find any issues. Of course, we have normal physical abilities and I can not judge how hard or easy it is going to be for someone with arthritis. We will keep a keen ear on the feedback of the first version.

 

There is a good reason behind those offset handle:

* Our lid is taller and heavier than a normal casserole lid. Since the bread raises to almost double its initial height, we had to make it taller and hence heavier.

* We need to be able to remove the lid easily when the pan is hot (to place the liner and pour the dough) and put it back again. This step is done wearing gloves or mitts. So, if the handles are lined up, the space between top and bottom handle needs to be quite a lot to allow for thick finger+mits to get into the gap.

* If we want to provide such a gap on our product (which is overall about 15cm/6inch) tall, we would end up with a funny looking casserole. Also, there are difficulties in manufacturing handles far away from the rim in cast iron. That is why you almost always see handles on the rim for cast iron. It is possible, but difficult and leads to inferior quality [For enameled sheet iron, like the one in the picture by andiesenji, that is much easier because they are made in a different way].

 

So, with all these constraints, we came up with offset handles so that both sets of handles can stay on the rim but can still allow easy lid removal and putting it back while wearing thick gloves.

 

I hope I have better explained the background behind offset handles.

 

There is a simple solution used by manufacturers of covered glass casseroles way back in the 1920s.  A  half inch "lug" on the top handle which made it easy to lift the tops off with a thick pad.  I also had an antique copper fish poacher with a similar extension on the lid handles.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

@Darienne Blue is a food color only in Dr Seuss.

 

it's GREEN eggs and ham, not blue :P

 

And just what is that blue goo that they like to chewy chew :/ 


Edited by keychris (log)
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On 1/3/2018 at 9:51 AM, gfweb said:

 Blue is not a food color.

 

When we were kids requesting birthday cake colors, my mom outright refused to do blue  frosting. She grew up in a copper mining town and the color reminded her of the toxic tailings.... “blue is the color of poison “, end of discussion.


"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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On 1/5/2018 at 1:19 AM, trfl said:

I do understand and empathize with the apprehensions about offset handles. After all, they are a new idea and it is hard to guess if it works for you or not when you have nothing similar to compare against. Only way to know for sure is to use one. We have been using our prototypes for a few months now baking almost every day. We really do not find any issues. Of course, we have normal physical abilities and I can not judge how hard or easy it is going to be for someone with arthritis. We will keep a keen ear on the feedback of the first version.

 

There is a good reason behind those offset handle:

* Our lid is taller and heavier than a normal casserole lid. Since the bread raises to almost double its initial height, we had to make it taller and hence heavier.

* We need to be able to remove the lid easily when the pan is hot (to place the liner and pour the dough) and put it back again. This step is done wearing gloves or mitts. So, if the handles are lined up, the space between top and bottom handle needs to be quite a lot to allow for thick finger+mits to get into the gap.

* If we want to provide such a gap on our product (which is overall about 15cm/6inch) tall, we would end up with a funny looking casserole. Also, there are difficulties in manufacturing handles far away from the rim in cast iron. That is why you almost always see handles on the rim for cast iron. It is possible, but difficult and leads to inferior quality [For enameled sheet iron, like the one in the picture by andiesenji, that is much easier because they are made in a different way].

 

So, with all these constraints, we came up with offset handles so that both sets of handles can stay on the rim but can still allow easy lid removal and putting it back while wearing thick gloves.

 

I hope I have better explained the background behind offset handles.

 

That's all well and good, I'm just the kind of person who will straighten a crooked painting on someone else's wall.  My cookbooks are alphabetical by author and I've been known to alphabetize my spice rack as well.  It would bug me too much to look at because I'd constantly have the urge to line up the handles.  But if it works, and you can convince other people, more power to you!

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LOL Have you ever seen the movie "The Accidental Tourist," with William Hurt and Geena Davis? He's a very uptight travel writer (who actually hates travelling) and she's the free-spirited dog groomer who inexplicably falls in love with him.

 

In one scene she's helping his equally buttoned-up siblings (Kathleen Turner and David Ogden Stiers) put away the groceries, and is confounded to learn that they organize the dry goods alphabetically. She holds up a box of macaroni and asks them if it goes under P for Pasta or M for Macaroni, and is greeted by an uncomfortable and incredulous few moments of silence before Kathleen Turner says pointedly that it's E, for Elbow macaroni. :P

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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      Place the naans on the baking sheet bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown.
      Peshawari Naan
      In this delightfully sinful recipe, the naan dough is stuffed with dried nuts and raisins and baked. Serve this warm right out of the oven for the best taste.
      1 recipe prepared plain naan dough
      For the stuffing:
      • 1 tablespoon cashews (crushed)
      • 1 tablespoon almonds (crushed)
      • 1+1 tablespoons pistachios (crushed)
      • 1 tablespoon raisins
      • 1 teaspoon cilantro leaves, minced
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • 1 tablespoon Milk Mawa Powder (Dried whole milk powder)

      • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
      • 3 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter
      Prepare the Naan dough.

      While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.
      Set aside 1 tablespoon of pistachios and the raisins. In a mixing bowl combine all the other filling ingredients. Add a few tablespoons of water to bind them together to form a lumpy consistency.
      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly oil or flour your hands.
      Take one portion of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Add a tablespoon of the filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour.

      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Garnish with the reserved pistachios and raisins.

      Continue until you have made 8 naans.
      Brush each naan with clarified butter. Place the naans on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown.
      Serve hot.

      Onion Kulcha
      We present this recipe by popular demand. Here the naan is stuffed with a spiced onion mix and baked to perfection.
      1 recipe prepared plain naan dough
      For the stuffing:
      • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
      • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
      • 1 tablespoon Chaat Masala (www.namaste.com)
      • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
      • Salt to taste
      • 3 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter
      • 2 teaspoons cilantro, minced for garnish
      • small boiled potato, grated (optional)
      Prepare the naan dough.

      While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

      First, using the palms of your hands, squeeze out all the water from the chopped onions. If the onions still appear to be watery, add a small boiled grated potato to your filling. This will prevent the filling from spilling out of the kulcha.
      In a mixing bowl combine all the filling to form a lumpy consistency.

      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly oil or flour your hands.
      Take one portion of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.

      Add a tablespoon of the filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour.

      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.

      Dip your fingers in water and moisten the surface of the kulcha very lightly. Sprinkle with a few minced cilantro leaves. Continue until you have made 8 kulchas.

      Place the kulchas on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown.
      Serve hot.


      Ande Ka Paratha
      This is a unique addition to your recipe collection. A mild and flaky bread, it is a small kid’s favorite at our home.
      Makes 8 parathas
      • 2 cups Indian atta flour (whole-wheat flour)
      • 1½ teaspoons table salt
      • 2+2 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter
      • Water as needed
      • 8 eggs
      In a bowl combine the flour, salt and two tablespoons of clarified butter. Slowly begin to add the water, kneading the flour as you go. Make a dough, kneading for at least 10 minutes. The final dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky or else it will not roll out well.


      Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.

      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the prepared floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Now fold the dough over itself.

      Take the folded dough and roll it around itself into a spiral.

      Tuck the end under.

      Do this for all eight dough balls. (This folding and rolling will make the paratha very flaky.)

      Now flatten the spiral and roll again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.


      Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and remove from heat. Put the paratha aside on a warm plate.

      Grease the same griddle a bit and break an egg on it. Cook the egg sunny side up. Place the cooked side of the paratha on the egg. Press down gently to break the yolk. Let it cook for a minute. Brush the top of the paratha with butter, flip carefully and cook for another minute or two until the paratha is no longer raw.


      Remove the paratha from the griddle and place on a serving platter. Cover with a paper towel. Continue until all the parathas are cooked.
      Serve hot.

      Indian Bread Stuffed With Spicy Potatoes (Aloo Ka Paratha)
      This filled paratha is a very popular North Indian bread, served traditionally with homemade white butter and Indian pickles of your choice.
      • 2 cups Indian atta flour (whole-wheat flour)
      • 4 tablespoons semolina
      • 1½ teaspoons table salt
      • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • Water as needed
      • 3 medium potatoes, peeled
      • 2 Serrano green chilies, seeded and finely minced
      • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
      • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
      • 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
      • 4 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • A few tablespoons flour for dusting
      In a bowl combine the wheat flour, semolina flour, salt and two tablespoons of clarified butter. Slowly begin to add the water, kneading the flour as you go. Make a dough, kneading for at least 10 minutes. The final dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky, or else it will not roll out well.
      Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
      While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.
      Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover for about 15 minutes. Drain.



      Put the potatoes in a bowl and mash them well with a fork. Add the green chilies, cilantro, ginger root, and chaat masala and mix well. Set this filling aside to cool.
      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the prepared floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Lightly brush the surface with the clarified butter. Add a tablespoon of the potato filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour.



      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.


      Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes.

      Remove the paratha from the griddle and place on a serving platter. Cover with a paper towel. Continue until all the parathas are cooked.

      Sheermal
      A sweet bread, it is one of the few Indian breads that uses yeast. Keep the dough in a warm place to ensure that it rises. You can increase the amount of sugar if you like a sweeter taste.

      • 1 packet dry yeast
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • ¼ cup water
      • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
      • ¼ teaspoon salt
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
      • 2 eggs (separate 1 egg and set the yolk aside) beat the whole egg and the white together
      • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • Extra flour for dusting
      • Pitted cherries/raisins for garnish
      Mix yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Set aside until frothy, about 5 - 10 minutes.
      Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the clarified butter, egg and yeast mixture. Knead until a smooth dough is formed. (You may need more warm water.) Set aside to rise until the dough doubles in size.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour.
      Knead the dough again on the floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide it into 6 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
      Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a disc. Continue until you have made 6 discs.
      Beat the reserved egg yolk and brush a little on each sheermal. Place a few cherries on the sheermal for garnish. Place the discs on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

      Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

      Tandoori Roti
      We wanted to show how the tandoor is used to prepare breads. These pictures are of a special roti or bread, called Tandoori Roti, being prepared in the hot tandoor or clay oven.
      The basic recipe entails preparing a dough of whole-wheat flour. (See the paratha dough prepared earlier.) The flattened rolled out discs are then cooked in the tandoor until the dark spots begin appearing on the surface of the bread.




      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
    • By eGCI Team
      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
      Sourdough Bread
      by Jack Lang (jackal10)
      Acknowledgements
      Dan Lepard, for inspiration and and contribution.
      Charles Lang, whose hands are in the photographs.
      Brendel Lang for the painting.
      The Members of the eGCI team for considerable labour and expertise.
      Samuel Lloyd Kinsey (slkinsey) my fellow instructor.
      Jill Grey, my partner, for putting up with the mess.
      Introduction

      The object of this lesson is to teach you to bake better bread— bread that will be the envy of your non-baking friends—bread so good that people will wonder where it came from!
      The recipe is archived here.
      Why sourdough? Because it tastes better. This is the real stuff; not some machine-made pap. You will make bread you just can’t stop eating, and that will spoil you for mass-produced bought bread. Once you have mastered basic white bread, you (or we) can go on to whatever variations you like or request. This is daily bread, fragrant with tastes of the yeast and the grain, and with a crisp crackling crust. Perfect on its own, or with good butter, or jam, or cheese and maybe a ripe tomato. It keeps (in a paper bag, not in the fridge) for close to a week, although you may need to toast it toward the end of the week. Toasted it makes magnificent bruschetta. You can bake weekly, or less often as the bread freezes well.
      This recipe and technique may seem straightforward, but it contains the results of years of experimentation and optimisation. We’ll make plain, white bread. Once you have mastered that, you can go on to fancier loaves. However (unless you really need the bran) you will come back to this basic bread just because it is so good and so pure.
      Bread comes in many shapes.

      English bread shapes

      European bread shapes
      This lesson will teach the basic French boule or flattened ball shape. We will also look at baguettes. But you can make any shape you fancy. The same dough works well in a tin, too.
      You can find more technical details regarding the history of sourdough bread and the composition of the starter by clicking this link. Reading this background history and science is not essential, but very helpful. It will give some insight into why as well as the how.
      Where to get your starter
      You basically have three options –
      1. Buy a starter off the web or from a local artisanal bakery. One place is here.
      2. Order the eGullet starter.
      You can obtain the special egullet starter by sending a PM to jackal10 with your snail-mail address. The starter will be sent out free, although the cost of the starter and postage is about $10. Please donate at least that much to your favourite charity, and we would appreciate it if you could include the name of the charity and the amount in your PM.
      Your egullet starter was collected originally in the vineyards of California, but has travelled extensively since. It produces a light, mild bread. When it arrives, it will look like raw dough in a plastic bag

      How your starter will look when you unpack it.
      You can leave it in the fridge until you are ready, or better, turn it into your own starter. To do this, add one cup of flour and 1 cup of water and mix to a smooth batter. You can do this by hand or in a food processor. Put the batter into a basin, cover and leave in a warm (80-85F/27-29C) place for 4-8 hours, or until you see bubbles on the surface. Ideally refresh it a couple of times, and you are ready. You can store the starter in a jar in the fridge.
      3. Make your own.
      You can make your own starter and harvest the local wild yeasts with some patience. The key is the remarkable stability of the yeast-lacto bacillus pairing. If you keep almost any fermentable mixture of flour and water at about the right temperature, and when it begins to bubble, feed (refresh) it regularly, you will get the right bugs.
      Some people add grapes with bloom on them (yeasts live on the surface), rye (high in enzymes), or other things, but that is mostly superstition.
      How to roll your own starter
      a) Mix 1 cup flour and 1 cup water to a smooth batter.
      b) Cover and leave in a warm (85F/29C) place until it starts to bubble (12 hours or so but it can take several days). Don’t worry about off smells or colours at this stage. Skim any obvious muck.
      c) Refresh it by adding another ½ cup of flour and ½ cup of water and stir. If the volume gets too much for your container, throw some away. Cover the rest and put it back into a warm place.
      d) Repeat the last step for 4 times at 8-12 hour intervals. The starter should be active, and smell wholesome.
      Starters can be kept in a closed jar in the refrigerator for months. They may separate into two layers, but just stir them together before use. They will, of course, keep best if used and refreshed regularly. If the starter seems sluggish, refresh it a couple of times (step c above) before use.
      Starter doesn’t freeze well, but can be dried for a reserve supply. If you need to ship it, make some into a lasagna sheet, or stiff dough.
      For best results always use the same flour, so the bugs can get used to it. Some people keep separate starters for white, rye and for wholemeal (whole wheat). I use white unbleached flour, which has added Vitamin C as an improver. As mentioned above, if your flour does not already have Vitamin C in it, you can add 1/2tsp Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) but it is not critical.
      Recovering a sick starter
      If your starter smells off (cheesy or of peardrops), or has gone sluggish you can recover it by following the procedure for a new starter above, but inoculate the initial flour and water mix with a tablespoon or two of the old starter.
      Practical Section
      A typical bread-making timetable is
      Day 1:
      09:00: Refresh starter
      - Starter ferments -
      13:00: Make dough
      13:15: Dough kneaded (by hand)
      -Amylisation-
      13:45: Add Salt
      14:00 Finished dough
      - Bulk fermentation-
      16:00: Shape
      -Retard overnight –
      Day 2
      Pre-heat oven, and bake for 40 minutes.
      Ingredients for 1 loaf or four baguettes.
      To refresh the starter:
      1 c sourdough starter
      1 c Strong white bread flour
      1 c water
      For the dough:
      1 c refreshed sourdough starter
      3 c Strong white bread flour.
      1 c water (you may need more -- see below)
      2 tsp salt
      The dough in the illustration is ordinary unbleached supermarket (Tesco) strong white bread flour, 11.7g protein, with ½ cup of spelt flour added for flavour. This supermarket adds Vitamin C and amalyse to their bread flour. Different flours may adsorb different amounts of water. This flour needs a bit more water. The object is to make a very soft dough -- one that has only just stopped being a batter and just holds together.
      Sourdough Bread Instructions
      A. Refresh the Starter
      1. Mix together 1 cup starter, 1 cup strong flour and 1 cup of water. It should be the consistency of very thick cream.

      Starter just mixed.
      3. Cover, and allow to stand in a warm (85F/29C) place for 4 hours.

      Starter after 4 hours.
      After 4 hours or so, it should be bubbly. Temperature is fairly critical, as discussed above. Any hotter than 85F/29C and you start to kill the yeast; any colder and it will not be as sour and will take longer to rise.
      What we are making here is a sponge starter or poolish. Starters (pre-ferments) can be roughly divided by hydration into wet, batter-like pre-ferments, often called poolish from their origin and dry, dough-like pre-ferments, often called biga, as the technique is typical of Italian bread. Some bakers call a poolish a sponge; others use sponge to refer to all pre-ferments.
      B. Make the Dough
      Assemble Ingredients as listed above.

      The storage jar with the rest of the starter is at the back right, ready to go back into the fridge for next time.
      The easiest way is to whizz together refreshed starter, flour and water (but not the salt yet) in a food processor for 20 sec.
      Alternatively mix them in a large bowl:

      Ready to mix

      Dough after mixing.
      Should make a softish dough. The wetter the dough the bigger the holes in the final bread. Different flours need different amounts of water – add more water or flour to get the right consistency. You may need to add up to another ½ cup of flour so that it just stops being a batter and holds together as a dough. On the other hand if it is too stiff then add more water. Plenty of loose flour will stop it sticking too much.
      If you are making the dough by hand then knead for 10 minutes by the clock.

      Be rough with it. Lose your temper with it. Take out your frustrations on it. Slam it about. When it is properly kneaded it should feel resilient to the touch. It has been described as feeling like an earlobe, but I describe it like feeling a soft breast or buttock. You should be able to take a pinch of dough and stretch it so thin you can see through it – called the “windowpane test”.

      When kneaded the dough will stretch without breaking
      You cannot over-knead by hand. It is possible (but quite difficult) to over-knead if you are using a mixer or a food processor, as the dough can get too hot, and if worked too long and hard the gluten will begin to break down.

      Finished Dough
      Gather it together, and wipe a little oil over the surface to stop it sticking, cover it and leave it in a warm place for 30 mins.

      Resting
      This pause, before the salt is added, is for several reasons:
      - It lets the enzymes do their stuff. They begin breaking down starches into sugars to feed the yeast to make a better crust colour. Salt tends to retard this reaction.
      - It lets the dough (and you) rest and relax after the exertions of kneading.
      - It allows the flour to complete its hydration, High levels of salt can interfere with this.
      - It allows time for you to prepare your “banneton” to receive the finished dough. See Preparing Your Banneton below.
      After 30 mins add the salt and whiz for another 20 sec, or knead for another 10 mins. Oil, cover, and leave for 2 hours or so in a warm (85F/29C) place. The exact time is not critical – anything from about 90 minutes to 3 hours will work. Temperature is more critical than time.

      Rested Dough
      The dough will have expanded a bit. Don’t worry about whether it has doubled or not. A lot of nonsense is written in some cookbooks, resulting in much overproved dough. The dough will also have got a bit softer and wetter.
      Turn out onto a floured board.

      Dusting the board with flour
      Now handle gently - don't knock all the air out. The time for rough handling is over. Take the sides and fold to the centre.

      Folding the dough
      Folding the dough like this (you can also fold top to bottom as well) gently stretches the gluten and the bubbles forming in the bread. Dan Lepard's technique for his wonderful bread is to repeat this folding operation every hour for up to 5 hours during an extended bulk fermentation phase, resting the dough between times. When the dough is ready for shaping bubbles are clearly visible if you cut a small slit
      in the top of the dough with a sharp knife.
      Turn the dough over and shape into a ball. As you shape it try and stretch the surface a bit so it is taut.

      Shaping the dough
      Put it upside down (on its stretched, taut surface) into a cloth lined basket (called a banneton). The top of the dough in the banneton will be the bottom of the finished loaf.
      Preparing Your Banneton
      Traditionally, bannetons are made of cane or wicker, lined with linen, but you can improvise from a basin or a basket and a tea-towel or a piece of muslin. Ideally they are porous, so the outside dries slightly to help in crust development.

      Dough in the banneton
      Don’t worry if the top surface of the dough in the banneton is uneven: it will even itself out. Put into the fridge, covered with a cloth, overnight.

      In the fridge
      The dough is soft and needs the support of the basket. You could bake it after letting it rise for a hour or so, but its easier to handle, and gives a better crust if you keep it in the fridge (retardation) for between 8 and 24 hours. The cold will practically stop the fermentation, and so timing is not critical, and it gives you back control in that you can bake the dough when you want, rather than when the fermentation dictates.
      I’m lucky enough to have a brick bread oven that has a brick floor that holds the heat. The shell of this one I imported from France, from a company called Four Grandmere. If you are inspired to build your own, Dan Wing’s and Tom Jaine’s books are given in the references

      My oven

      Inside the oven
      You can approximate a similar environment in a domestic oven by putting a pizza stone or a layer of quarry tiles or engineering bricks on the lowest shelf to provide bottom heat.
      You are aiming for 440F/230C or even 500F/260C, as hot as most domestic ovens can manage. Heat the oven at least an hour before you want to bake to allow time to stabilise, and for the heat to soak into the tiles or equivalent. (If you have a wood fired oven you will need to light the fire about four hours before baking.)

      My oven heating up
      If you have an oven thermometer, check the temperature of the oven. You are strongly advised to do this as oven thermostats are surprisingly inaccurate.

      Thermometer
      When ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge. Some advise letting the dough return to room temperature --a couple of hours or so, but I find I it better and easier to cook these very soft doughs straight from the fridge. The cold dough is stiffer, handles easier and spreads less.

      The dough from the fridge
      Again, don’t worry that it does not seem to have expanded much. Most of the expansion will be in the oven (called oven-spring). This will result in a lighter and better-shaped loaf than if the expansion is from proofing when some of the gas may leak out.

      When ready to bake, turn the dough out onto a baking sheet and remove the cloth. (For the wood fired oven we use a peel, lightly dusted with dry polenta meal so the dough does not stick.)

      Slash the top firmly with a very sharp knife. Professional bakers use a razor blade on a stick, called a “lame”. Slash quickly and decisively – it is a slash not a cut. Don’t mess the dough about. Spray the knife blade with cooking spray to prevent it from tearing the dough.

      The slashes allow the dough to rise in a defined way, and lessen the resistance to expansion by making weak points in the crust. In ancient times the pattern of slashes identified whose bread it was in the communal oven.
      Here a slightly careless slash has caught the dough on one side, so the finished loaf will be a bit uneven and rustic.

      Into the oven:

      Just loaded:

      20 minutes later, and halfway through the bake. Most of the expansion has happened. Our loaf is the one on the left.

      The pattern on the rye bread on the front right is created by using a banneton made from coiled cane. No cloth is used in that sort of banneton. Bannetons can be obtained from any good baking supplier. The ones shown come from Four Grandmere and the San Francisco Baking Institute.

      Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until it is a good colour. You might need to rotate it after 30 mins.
      Let the bread cool to warm before you slice it. Hard to resist the temptation to slice into the loaf too soon, but it needs time to finish cooking and for the structure to firm up as it cools.

      I like an open texture, as it gives more room for the butter. The crust is a little thick as the bread was slightly over baked.

      That completes the basic bread lesson.

      Variations on the basic recipe/technique
      I’d advise practicing plain white bread before trying variations. When you get that right you can get fancier. You might not get it completely to your satisfaction the first time, but as you go on your baking will improve. There are infinite variations possible.
      Crust Variations:
      My brother prefers a flour dusted crust. These were the other loaves in the bake:

      To get this effect, lightly dust the banneton and the top of the dough with flour before putting in the dough.

      The legs in the top of the picture are my sister-in-law, painting the scene. I’m the one sitting down; my brother is loading the oven.

      The dough is slashed in a feather pattern. To achieve this, make alternate slashes from each side of the loaf to just over halfway across. This pattern was tought to us by Ian Duffy, then of the San Fransisco Baking Institute.

      This is a loaf with 25% rye flour.
      For a shiny, thinner crust, put an empty pan in the bottom of the oven and pour a cup of boiling water into it after you have put the bread in the oven (be careful of the hot steam), and shut the door quickly. The idea is to provide a burst of steam, which gelatinises the outside of the dough. Professional ovens have steam injection for this purpose. Alternatively (but not as good) you can paint the bread with water before it goes in the oven, or use a garden sprayer. (Be careful not to get cold water on the oven light or it might shatter.) The baguettes below are made like this.
      Other crust variations you can try:
      Brush with milk or cream
      Brush with egg glaze (egg yolk+milk)
      Toppings (stick on with egg-wash or water):
      Porridge oats (oatmeal)
      Muesli
      Poppy seeds
      Sesame seeds
      Grated cheese


      Flavours and additions
      Add with the salt, but you might want to chop them and then hand-knead them in – the food processor chops them a bit too fine
      Onions (soften in butter first),
      Hazelnuts, walnuts
      Olives,
      Sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed?)
      Caraway seeds
      Dill weed
      Raisins
      Smarties or M&Ms
      Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
      Flour variants: I’d recommend replacing only 1/3-1/2 of the plain strong white flour with:
      Wholemeal (whole wheat) (will not rise as much)
      Granary (has added malt)
      Rye flour (makes a sticky dough)
      For dark rye add 1 Tbs black treacle (molasses). Some like caraway seeds as well.
      Spelt (ancient wheat) (Poilane is reputed to use 1/5th Spelt. This was the example bread).
      “Mighty White” (steamed, corned grains)
      For a sweet bread: add sugar and butter with the fruit. Saffron for Easter.
      Baguettes
      Baguettes, that typical French loaf, are long thin loaves made with a soft, white dough. Because they are thin, they are baked at a higher temperature but for less time. The dough is delicate, and needs supporting continuously during proof and baking. You can get special pans for this. I’ve now thrown away my tin baguette pans (the ones in these pictures) and instead use a silpat baguette form (from www.demarle.com). You can just see it in the crust variation photo. Much easier and no sticking.
      To Make Baguettes from the Finished Dough
      Divide the dough into four, at the shaping stage:

      Roll and stretch into long cylinders, tucking the end in neatly. Cover, put into a large plastic bag, like a dustbin liner so that they do not dry out too much, and put in the fridge overnight. Next day take them out, and slash the tops.

      Put them in the hottest oven you can, and throw half a cup water into a pan or onto the oven floor. Beware of the hot steam!

      Bake until golden, say 30 mins

      Let cool on a rack. Enjoy with cheese and a glass of wine, or maybe some good soup.

      References
      Dan Lepard Baking with Passion - Dan Lepard - A great book. Website: www.danlepard.com.
      Joe Ortiz The Village Baker ISBN 0-89815-489-8 wonderfully evocative.
      Bread Builders. Hearth loaves and Masonry Ovens - Daniel Wing and Alan Scott. The definitive book on building and using brick bread ovens.
      The Bread Baker's Apprentice - Peter Reinhart
      Breads from the La Brea Bakery - Nancy Silverton
      Elizabeth David English Bread and Yeast Cookery ISBN 0-14-046791 is, like all her books, masterly for its time.
      Tom Jaine, Building a Wood Fired Oven for Bread and Pizza. Prospect Books ISBN 0907325
      Web resources
      www.danlepard.com
      www.fourgrandmere.com (Click on the Union Jack to get the English version).
      www.sfbi.com
      www.demarle.com
      www.sourdoughhome.com
      http://samartha.net
      www.sourdo.com
      www.faqs.org SLKinsey is a contributor- a good resource.
      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
    • By Terrasanct
      Hi all, haven't been here for years, not since about the time Bourdain was stuck in Lebanon.  It's been a while.  But I knew it was the best place to ask a food question.  On a trip to Seattle a year or so ago, we stopped at the Starbucks reserve at the headquarters.  They sell Princi baked goods.  There were so many things I couldn't figure out what to get, so I got a big round loaf of bread and a package of three huge crackers.  The crackers were just so good, and we've been getting them on every trip.  Since the apocalypse and everything, no traveling and lots of baking.  I ordered some overpriced semolina, thinking those huge crackers must be semolina based.  The crackers I baked were very good, but not quite the quality I was hoping for.
       
      So here are the things I could do differently--I only have regular olive oil right now, not extra virgin.  That might make a difference in the richness. The recipe calls for half semolina, maybe a higher percentage would be better?  I was able to roll out really thin, so that's not a problem.
       
      If anyone is familiar with those crackers and how they are made, I'd appreciate it.  Maybe I'll stick around this time.
    • By JoNorvelleWalker
      Ankarsrum, the Swedish mixer of many names: Electrolux Assistent, DLX, Verona, Magic Mill...
       

       
       
      I understand a few eGullet folks have these, or have had.  Mine came this afternoon.  From what I've read, mixing procedure with the Ankarsrum is different from mixing with planetary stand mixers.  At the moment I need advice specifically with whether I should use the dough hook (with or without the scraper arm) or the roller attachment for my bread.
       
      The Ankarsrum manual says to use the dough hook for dough with between 1 and 1.5 liters of liquid ingredients.  OK.  My usual dough recipe uses 410 g of water.  Rose Levy Beranbaum in The Bread Bible says to use the dough hook when mixing less than 4 pounds of dough.  Which if my math is correct is about 750 g of water (math is not my thing).  Beranbaum adds "For larger amounts, use the roller and scraper."
       
      Yet most bread recipes in the Ankarsrum recipe booklet that call for the dough hook use about a liter of liquid.  The recipes that call for the roller use less liquid, 400-600 ml.  Beranbaum is usually right but I'm wondering if she's wrong?
       
      Thoughts or suggestions?
       
       
      P.S.  Sparkling Gold was not my first color choice.  Sparkling Gold was perhaps not my thirteenth color choice.  But Sparkling Gold was 10 percent off.  Besides, the gold color matches the gold lettering on the bowl and dials.  Now I feel better.
       
       
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