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BEYOND A LOAF – small bread snacks, etc.

Here you will find a basic introduction to such wonderful varieties as

Artisan Bread                        Burger Buns                              Crackers

Pizza Crust                             Pretzels                                       Tortillas

 

ARTISAN BREAD

A no-knead, or stirred, bread. When you see long crusty baguettes, round rustic sour dough loaves, earthy dark, oval and submarine-shapes, you are looking at “artisan” breads. Just as its name suggests, the breads are “crafted” rather than mass produced. They look and often are hearty, with additional whole grains, seeds or even vegetables stirred in.

Artisan bread is a slow bread, made with much less yeast and  left to “grow” overnight.

Heather Heward loves to play in the world of artisan bread in the comfort of her own kitchen. She shares the following from My Bread by Jim Lahey.

SMALL BAGUETTES – yields 4 thin stick-shaped 18” loaves

3 c. flour                                ½ tsp. salt               ¾ tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. instant dry yeast                        ½ c. cool water

Additional flour for dusting                ¼ c. olive oil

¾ tsp coarse sea salt

1.In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, table salt, sugar and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12-18 hrs.

2.When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Fold the dough over itself two or three times and gently shape it into a somewhat flattened ball. Brush the surface of the dough with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. coarse salt.

3.Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Gently place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1-2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4.Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, with a rack in the center. Oil a 13x18x1 inch baking sheet

5.Cut the dough into quarters. Gently stretch each piece evenly into a stick shape approximately the length of the pan. Place on the pan, leaving at least 1 inch between the loaves. Brush with oil and sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp. salt.

6.Bake for 15-25 minutes until the crist is golden brown. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer the baguette to a rack to cool thoroughly.

BEAUTIFUL BURGER BUNS

FULL instructions and inspiration at  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2011/05/16/countdown-to-summer-beautiful-burger-buns/

  • 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast

*For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.

Topping

3 tablespoons melted butter

1) Mix and knead all of   the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft,   smooth dough.
2) Cover the dough, and   let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
3) Gently deflate the   dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball;   flatten to about 3″ across. Place the buns on a lightly greased or   parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until   noticeably puffy.
4) Brush the buns with   about half of the melted butter.
5) Bake the buns in a   preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the   oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a   satiny, buttery crust.
6) Cool the buns on a   rack.

CRACKERS, basic                         Preheat oven to 350 F

  • 1 ¾ c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ c. white flour
  • 6 T. oil – emulsify in blender with ¾ t. salt/seasoned salt

Mix flours. Combine oil, water and salt; add dry ingredients. Make smooth dough, then roll as thin as possible on ungreased cookie sheet (not more than 1/8 –inch thick). Mark with knife to size of crackers desired. (Mark well but do not cut through.) Prick each cracker a few times with fork. Sprinkle lightly with salt or seasoned salt as desired. Bake 30-35 minutes, until crisp and light brown. Remove from sheet and cut through marking.

 CRACKERS, rich

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 2 ½ T. sugar
  • 4 T. butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 6 T. cream (half & half will do)

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking pwd. and sugar. Cut in the butter. In  a separate bowl, whisk egg and cream together until smooth. Add to flour-butter mixture and stir until mixture forms a loose ball. Gather in your hands and squeeze together. Pat into an oval about 1 inch thick, roll in wax paper and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 F

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a circle 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick. Cut dough into rounds with 3-inch or smaller cutter. Repeat with remaining dough scraps. Unlike pie crust, this repeated rolling does not toughen cracker dough. Transfer rounds to lightly- greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Prick each round several times with a fork.

Bake crackers for 6 minutes. Turn crackers over and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until crackers are lightly browned. Remove crackers from oven and brush with melted butter. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Makes about 8 dozen 2 ½ inch round crackers

HONEY GRAHAM CRACKERS
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp salt
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp milk
Cinnamon & sugar mix
Mix first 4 ingredients together.  Cut in softened butter.  Mix in honey and milk.  Form into a ball.  (HaHa…I know…right?)  TRY to form into a ball and place on a large, greased, rectangular cookie sheet.  Roll out with a floured rolling pin. (I actually found it easier to press it out with my hands and then use the rolling pin to smooth it out,)  Cut into desired cracker sizes with a pizza cutter, using a sharp knife to finish the edges.  Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Prick each cracker with a fork.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

“TEST KITCHEN” feedback 🙂

The grahams were good! Here’s a few thoughts I had about them:

1. when all the ingredients are mixed together, it’d be impossible to get them to “form a ball” with a spoon. Just too crumbley. I went in with my hands, squeezing and mashing ’til it came together beautifully. I then greased my cookie sheet, spread it out as best as I could with my hands on the cookie sheet itself, then laid some plastic wrap over the top and rolled it out with a rolling pin.
2. I rolled them out to the thickness of store-bought graham crackers. BzzzWRONG. They puff up about 150% or so, so the edges were good, but the middles were too thick. Not too, too thick, but less crunchy for sure, and a little more “cakey”. Next time I’ll roll them thinner. 
       We made smores with them, so there was no need for extra sugar and cinnamon on them. It’s a fun snack to make with the kids, but with 1/2 a cup of butter, not exactly “healthy” 😉 
          Emily

PIZZA CRUSTpreheat that oven to 425 degrees Farenheit

Prepare baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper or a light sprinkling of cornmeal.

  1. 1 c. warm water
  2. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1 pkg. yeast (2-3 tsp)
  4. 1 t. salt
  5. 2 tsp sugar
  6. 1 tsp oregano
  7. 2 c. flour

Combine and stir ingredients 1-6 plus ½ c. flour in medium mixing bowl. Let rest while yeast activates.

Stir in remaining flour. Dough will be sticky. Let rise to twice the size.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead lightly, absorbing flour until dough is smooth and non-sticky. Let rest for 15 minutes. Roll into 12-14 inch circle. Fold in quarters and carefully move to pan or baking sheet.

Top with sauce,  cheese, toppings. Bake at 425 F for 17-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

BREADSTICKS (variation): Roll dough out into rectangle; cut 1-inch strips; fold length-wise; twist and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 R for 20 minutes or until brown and toasty. MMMMMM

PRETZELS, soft homemade

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2-3 cups warm water
3 tablespoon baking soda
melted butter, optional
kosher salt
Combine 1 cup water, yeast, sugar and flour in a large bowl. Mix with wooden spoon until most of the flour is incorporated. Finish mixing with hands – kneading until the dough is soft and springy (add flour as necessary but you don’t want a stiff dough). Cover with plastic wrap, loose so that the dough will rise.
Peel off plastic wrap and gently press dough into a ball. Divide into 8 equal parts and let dough rest for at least 5 minutes. Roll each ball into a long “snake” and twist into a pretzel shape and let rest 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Mix remaining water and baking soda in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add one pretzel at a time and boil for up to two minutes. Lay them on an oiled or silpat covered baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle on salt (if skipping the butter be sure to add salt right after so the salt sticks).
Bake for 10 minutes and serve hot.

FLOUR TORTILAS

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • Warm water

Blend first 3 ingredients together in med-large mixing bowl. Add enough water to make a good solid dough, just a little more doughy than a pie crust but not quite to a bread dough consistency. Cut dough into 12 -15 equal sections. Form each section into a ball and roll out into a circle (cover dough you aren’t working on so it doesn’t dry out) on a floured surface. Cook tortillas on a greased grill or a skillet on med-med high heat until some of the surface turns a light brown turning only once. Store cooked tortillas in paper towels in warm oven until serving time. Leftovers can be frozen or refrigerated for future use.

Helpful tips: Sometimes the tortillas form bubbles and puff up, that’s normal, don’t panic. I have mixed wheat flour with the white before, but I have found that if you mix too much wheat flour into it, it becomes too dry and is more like a cracker than a tortilla. I have also used butter instead of shortening, and it turns out fine, there is just a difference in taste and I prefer the shortening. More so than with store bought tortillas, these ones get really stiff when they have been refrigerated; they need to be warmed up a bit before reuse.

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