Breadbaking, and knife winners!

March 14, 2011

Editor’s Note 1: I wrote this last night and meant to download pics to go with it. I didn’t get the pics downloaded. I’ll add them tonight, if I think of it.

Editor’s Note 2: After due consideration and sniffing at the folded-up bits of paper, and looking at me quizzically, Lucy Lu has picked RMJ as the winner of the paring knife set. RoseMary, let me have your address and I’ll ship ’em out to you!

Miz Scarlett at work.

I love Miz Scarlett. Even the failure I had today was not her fault; she performed admirably.

I have been breadbaking. I’ve made hoagie rolls, and I’ve made three loaves of wheat bread. Three loaves, because the first one was the aforementioned failure, and looking back on it, I’m pretty positive I know where I went wrong. Three loaves, because the second recipe made two loaves. So there you are. With yesterday’s baking, that makes five loaves of bread and eight hoagie buns. I’m saying Miz Scarlett is earning her keep.

The hoagie rolls I have not sampled, but they appear to have the proper consistency of a hard-crusty outside, the better to contain the insides. I haven’t sliced one, so I’m not sure about the insides. I have, though, decided that the rolls as they stand are probably too small. Next time, I’ll try making about four rolls, which would be a good size for a dinner sandwich. These will not be too great at holding meatballs and Philly cheesesteak, but we’ll make them work.

Here’s the recipe, lifted from a blog I found while googling recipes for hoagie rolls:

1-1/8 cup water (about 70 degrees F)
1-5/8 tsp Salt
3-3/8 tsp Sugar
1-2/3 Tbl Olive Oil
16 oz Strong Bread Flour or Hi-Gluten Flour
2-1/2 tsp Yeast

Mix the ingredients until smooth and well-blended. Scale the dough into 3.5 oz balls. Allow them to rest for 20-30 minutes then roll them into a thin sheet about 1/4 inch thick. Roll each sheet (jelly roll fashion) to form long slender loaves. (Note: That seemed like an unconcsionable amount of unnecessary work to me, so I rolled them out into about six-inch-long ropes, the size of a decent sized cigar.) Place loaves onto a baking sheet with the seam side down. Keep them 2 inches apart so they do not touch during the next rise.

Place the tray of formed loaves in a warm oven (ideal is 100 degrees with 75% humidity). I usually place a bowl of water in the lower oven to keep things humid. Allow the loaves to rise for 45 to 60 minutes.

Once risen, use a razor to make a 1/4 inch deep slit on the top of the loaves and mist them lightly with water. Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees or until they turn brown.

Remove them from the oven and cool them on wire screens or racks. The rolls last only a day or two before becoming stale. They are great for Italian hoagies or Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches.

I would have liked to seen these rise a little bit more; instead of putting them in the warm oven, I put them on top of the oven in which the failed yeast bread was baking. And I skipped the misting step. I plan on freezing them to subvert the “get stale fast” problem.

The failed yeast bread failed, I think, because I put too much flour in it. I made it by the King Arthur 100 percent whole wheat sandwich bread recipe, and when I finished, the dough was really more of a batter. So I added flour. I added too much flour. And then I read the Q&A at the bottom of the recipe and it says “adding too much flour can result in heavy, leaden bread.”

They do not lie. That stuff could’ve been used as a lethal weapon. Put it in a sock and you could knock someone out with it. I pitched it.

The replacement recipe created a nice, wet dough, not a batter like the other one. Five or six minutes of work by Miz Scarlett had it smoothed out, if still a bit sticky. But it rose up tremendously, and once I oiled my hands, didn’t stick too badly as I divided it and shaped it and popped into my brand new Circulon loaf pans. It rose up tremendously again, and has made a nice, soft, light loaf that I think will do wonderfully for NS’s sandwiches. It will likely become my go-to sandwich bread recipe.

I have yet to make pizza dough (there is a calzone in my future this week, I believe), and I was going to make hamburger buns, but I sorta-kinda ran out of time. I was even going to attempt English muffins. Next weekend. One must have some goals out there.

My ultimate goal is to bake at home all the bread we eat. Sandwich bread, burger buns, hoagie rolls, pizza crust, sweet breads, savory breads. Maybe even challah. (I will reserve the right to buy the occasional loaf of challah to make French toast). I want to make foccacia and ciabatta. Baguettes and boules. And so on.

So if you and y’mama ‘n ’em got any good bread recipes, send ’em on.


3 Responses to “Breadbaking, and knife winners!”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    I will reserve the right to buy the occasional loaf of challah to make French toast…

    Piker. If my first ex can make challah that her synagogue raves over, you are more than equal to the task. Mizz Scarlett expects nothing less. 🙂

  2. kate Says:

    I don’t have any recipe offerings. But, recently I had some kinda hard (might have been because it was on the “used bread” rack), cranberry, crusty bread. I really liked it. So much so, I bought a later loaf on the “new bread” shelf for 90 cents more!!!

  3. RMJ Says:

    Woo Hoo!! Thank you Lucy Lu. That great sniffing nose of yours knew I needed some paring knives. Oh and thank you too Kay!!

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