Thursday, November 10, 2011

Four Ingredients...Endless Opportunities

Fathom this for a moment: with only four ingredients, three of which you have sitting in your cupboard, you can create at least 300 different items. Then take those items and add in two to three more ingredients that are also just occupying space in you fridge, and voilia! 65845645 flavor combinations each resulting in some so unique and amazing there will be no way you can turn it down. Lets talk bread.

Challah Bread

A lean bread, such as Ciabatta or a Baguette, is made of only flour, yeast, water, and salt. There are so many different ways to combine these ingredients, so many techniques, shapes, cuts, folds...Ciabatta is essentially the same thing as a baguette, except that a portion of the flour, yeast and water is allowed to grow and ferment overnight, referred to as a Biga. A soft dough is just a lean dough with the addition of milk, eggs, and sugar. Examples include Challah, Soft Dinner Rolls, Italian Bread and Foccocia. 

"How do I make bread?" you ask. Well, its quite simple, and cheap. the only thing you need is a bit of time.

Start by measuring out everything you need for your recipe so you aren't caught off guard when you start assembling the dough.

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl with the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. This is important so that the salt doesn't come in direct contact with the yeast and kill it. I like to use the instant yeast.

Next add the liquids, not above 115 degrees,  and mix with a dough hook attachment for roughly six minutes to develop the gluten. The dough should be smooth and have all of the flour incorporated.

Dump the well mixed dough into a bowl and cover. Place in a warm, damp area for about thirty to forty five minutes.

Take it out and fold it over itself. Return to the bowl and proof again.

On a clean dry surface, turn out the dough and weigh into predetermined pieces. Then pre-shape them, which essentially means, kinda shape them the way you want the final product to be. 

Cover and allow to rest for fifteen minutes on the bench.

Form into the final shape, place on a parchment lined sheet tray and proof, in a warm damp spot.

Ready to Bake Challah Bread

Some breads require egg wash while other require a small slit cut in the top, so follow the pre-baking instructions. Bake and enjoy!

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