Sunday, October 23

Bread Making Kneading By Hand

Once the dough rests, the gluten relaxes making it easier to knead. See how nuch smoother it is?

There is no better place to start bread making than by kneading your dough by hand.  It gives you a real feel for the transformation that takes place when wheat flour and water are combined. Even if you use a stand mixer or food processor to mix your bread dough or even if you try the no-knead method, you will learn a great deal about bread making from kneading by hand at least once. Here


Measuring Flour by Volume

Measuring flour by volume

Weigh your ingredients. That’s what baker’s do.  Weighing is the only way to get consistent results.   An electronic scale is easy to use, relatively cheap and durable. But if you must use measuring cups, here are a few essentials when measuring flour by volume. Use dry measuring cups for dry ingredients like flour and sugar. Reserve the clear glass or plastic measuring cups for liquids. A one-cup household measuring cup holds from 3 ½ to


Sunday, October 16

Irish Wheaten Bread

Irish Wheaten Bread

Irish Wheaten Bread is the simplest bread you can make. It is addicting and absolutely delicious, a fact made obvious when I baked the loaf pictured here. (We can’t stop eating it.)  The flavor of the whole wheat flour gives it an unexpected sweetness.   Although the texture is somewhat crumbly, the loaf slices neatly. This is Bread Makes the Meal Project Week One so I am going to spend a little time explaining the steps in


Friday, October 14

Working with Wheat Flour – Flour Absorption

Flour absorption in two kinds of lfour

Different brands and types of flour absorb different amounts of water. If you use bread flour in place of all-purpose flour, or if you add stone ground whole wheat to your dough, you have to be prepared to adjust the amount of water you use when making bread.  When you are working with wheat flour, you’d be wise to become familiar with the concept of flour absorption. The absorbency of flour varies from grain to


Tips for Using an Emile Henry Baking Cloche

Bread from Emile Henry Bread Cloche

There’s a very quick learning curve when baking with the Emile Henry Baking cloche. I’ve found a few tricks to getting the best results. Here are some of my tips: • Use the right amount of dough to fill up the cloche without crowding. I bake 2 to 2 ¼-pounds of bread dough in my Emile Henry Bread Cloche. That is a batch of bread dough made from approximately 4 to 5 cups of flour. This


Bread Makes the Meal Recipe Contest

Bread Makes the Meal

The recipe contest has ended but I will continue to post new bread recipes from time to time.  And more exciting thing to come. This fall baking season, I’m launching a month long celebration of baking bread at home­—Bread Makes the Meal.  Each week, for the next five weeks, I will share some of my favorite recipes, tips and tricks to entice you to make bread at home.  (Here’s the recipe for Week One, Irish


Think Like a Baker – Wheat Flour for Bread Baking

Varieties of Wheat Grown in Vermont

Learning a little about wheat flour will help you with your bread baking. Wheat flour is made from wheat berries, the small seeds from which the next crop of wheat is grown. The berries are milled into fine flour. Each tiny wheat berry is composed of the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Bran is the tough outer coating that protects the wheat berry in a hard shell. There are several layers to the bran


Think Like a Baker – Steam in the Oven

Think like a baker -Loaf burnished and golden from steam in the oven

Steam in the oven during the first few minutes of baking bread has many benefits. The moist steam reinvigorates the yeast in the dough. Steam gives bread dough time to expand: the added moisture keeps the dough from drying out before it has time to rise. Steam also produces bread with a thin, chewy crust and seductive shine, what you see in the loaf of country wheat bread pictured here. Breads baked without steam may


Monday, October 10

Clam, Shrimp and Sausage Stew with White Beans

Clam, Sausage and White Bean Stew

Toss a few hard shell clams in a pot with some wine and garlic and you’ve got dinner.  Dress it up with hot sausage, white beans and a chunk of bread and you have a meal. We make this Clam, Shrimp and Sausage Stew with White Beans after a trip to the fish market where we buy small hard-shell clams, which are the sweetest and easy to eat in one bite. You’ll find the widest


Sunday, October 09

Lamb and Butternut Squash Curry

Lamb and Butternut Squash Curry

When we have friends to dinner, we often prepare the main course ahead. This gives us plenty of time to enjoy visiting. For night like this, we tap into our repertoire of long simmered dishes; sturdy stews are the little black dress of entertaining at home. Slightly sweet butternut squash and coconut milk balance the rich flavors of lamb in this lamb and butternut squash curry, perfect for the chillier nights of early fall. Make the


"Let no man fancy he knows how to dine
Till he has learnt how taste and taste combine."

-Horace, Satires, 2.4

They're here!