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  • Elliot's carrot is not as sweet as he'd like

    Posted on August 31st, 2009 ben No comments

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  • Owen might like these some day

    Posted on August 31st, 2009 ben No comments

    I gave Owen a bagel bottom to gum. He seemed interested for a while, and then got distracted. DSC_1061

  • Best Bread Yet

    Posted on August 28th, 2009 ben No comments

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    I just baked the best bread I have ever made. If you want to raise the level of your bread, I highly recommend this recipe and the book from which it came, Nancy Silverton’s Bread from the La Brea Bakery [amazon link]. It’s freaky how good this bread is when it’s fresh.

    This is a condensed version of the recipe. Email me if you have specific questions about problems you’re having with it or things which you don’t understand.

    Sourdough White Bread a la Nancy Silverton

    2 X 2-pound loaves
    Start around 24 hours before you want to bake

    12 oz starter (*)
    2 lb 2 oz bread flour (plus enough to make the dough clean the bowl)
    1 lb 2 oz 70-degree water
    4 1/2 tsp salt

    •    Mix everything except salt
    •    Wait 20 min
    •    Knead the salt into the dough for 5 min or more
    •    Place in covered bowl
    Fold the dough after 1, 2, and 3 hours
    •    Cut dough in half, deflate, preshape
    •    Wait 15 min
    •    Form a boule, put into well-floured banneton smooth-side down (**)
    •    Cover with plastic wrap
    •    Wait 1 hour
    •    Sprinkle with flour, cover again, and refrigerate 8-24 hours
    •    Remove from fridge, remove plastic wrap, cover with cloth
    •    Wait 3 hours or until dough is properly proofed (soft, does not spring back when indented)
    •    Move to floured peel and dock. Deeper cuts if underproofed, shallower if overproofed.
    •    Put into 500-degree oven on preheated stone and add steam. Turn oven down to 450
    •    Bake 20 minutes with steam, 25 without (or until done)

    (*) You want a very active starter. Silverton suggests feeding starters three times a day, and believes starter is at its most active 8-12 hours after being fed. I have had success using starter fed 4 hours before use. I feed my starter with one part flour to one part water, by weight.
    (**) You can also use a linen-lined bowl or basket which has been impregnated with flour. Don’t use a cloth with a lot of furry fibers. Choose a form which will allow the dough to double and not spread out too much. You want the dough to rise up more than out.