Friday, August 26, 2011

Meeting the Family's Bread Needs - Part 3

This will be a long post because of the clear instructions Kevin offers in his recipes. I will also include the links back to the original posts that helped teach him to be a bread baker. You will find the following recipes, with Kevin's tips: Pretzel Rolls, French Bread, Half Whole Wheat.

PRETZEL ROLLS (This is the bread that Kevin's girls shared with me at their first piano lesson of the summer. It gives that unmistakeable "pretzel-y" flavor on your tongue, caused by poaching in the soda water before baking.)

1 ½ (340 gr) cups warm water
1 T yeast
2 t sugar
4 ½ (663 gr) cups bread flour (original recipe called for unbleached all-purpose)
2 teaspoons salt (I use kosher)
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup baking soda
large saucepan of water (2 qts)
1 egg, lightly beaten
pretzel salt (again, I use kosher)
1. Mix yeast, water, sugar, flour, salt and butter with dough hook until dough is silky and not sticky.
2. Put dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel (not terry cloth) and let it rise until double (about 60 mins).
3. Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
4. Put parchment paper in two baking sheet pans.
5. Cut dough into 3 ounce portions.
6. Shape portions into balls or demi loafs. Be sure to pull the skin of the ball tight and seal seams.
7. Place formed rolls, seam side down, on the parchement paper. Leave at least 1 inch between each roll.
8. Space evenly on the prepared sheet pans, pinched seam side down, leaving at least 1” between each roll.
9. Cover with a tea towel or a light film of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.
10. Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.
11. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil.
12. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer.
13. Slip the rolls into the soda water, seam side down.
14. Poach for 30 seconds then turn rolls over
15. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a spider or slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down.
16. Repeat with the remaining rolls, leaving at least 1” between rolls for baking.
17. (I find this step optional) Make an eggwash and brush rolls all over.
18. Top each roll with a sprinkle of pretzel (or kosher) salt.
19. Slash each roll with a sharp knife. An X looks pretty on the balls; the demi loafs are pretty no matter how you do it.
20. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking – top to bottom, front to back – for even browning.
21. Cool on cooling rack. Seriously. Let them cool. Unless you don't want to. Dang these things are good. You just do what you need to do. I won't tell.


4 c (624 grams) bread flour, divided
2 t yeast
2 t salt
1 1/2 c (340 grams) warm water
1. Save back about a ¼ cup of bread flour. Put rest of flour in mixing bowl.
2. Add yeast to one side of the bowl, salt to the other.
3. Pour water and mix on low with the regular paddle until combined and shaggy.
4. Switch to kneading hook and mix for 2 minutes.
5. Let dough rest about 5 minutes. Adjust with a little flour or a little water.
6. Mix again for about 3 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead, adding flour as needed from the flour you had set aside. Dough should be smooth and firm.
7. Place dough in oiled bowl. Turn dough over to oil all sides of the dough. Cover and let rise until double, about 60 to 90 minutes.
8. At about an hour into the rising, move oven rack to the lowest shelf, preheat oven to 450 and place baking or pizza stone in oven for the preheat.
9. Once doubled, turn dough out on lightly floured counter. Stretch and fold back the far edge, then the right, the the front, then the left.
10. Divide dough in half. Form into loaves (I like boules or large, round loaves).
11. Take a baking sheet and turn it over. Place a rectangle of parchment paper on the inverted sheet and place loaves on the paper. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Let loaves rise until doubled.
12. Slash loaves as desired.
13. Slip loaves onto pizza/baking stone.
14. Bake 20-25 minutes. Internal temperature will be 195-205 when done.
15. Let bread cool on wire rack. The loaves won't be ready to eat until completely cooled. Loaves can be warmed up in oven if warm bread is desired.

Optional: You can create steam in the oven if you place a cast iron skillet on the floor of the oven when you start the preheat. When you put the loaves in, toss about 4-6 ice cubes in to the skillet and close the door quickly. Some cooks have tossed ice right on the oven floor, but I've also read this can warp the bottom of the oven. TAKE CARE to not get oven window wet as it might shatter.


1/4 (85 grams) cup honey
1T yeast (I use instant or bread machine yeast)
2 cups (454 grams) water
2 1/2 cups (376 grams) bread flour
2 1/2 cups (376 grams) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together honey, yeast, and water.

Add both flours and use kneading hook of mixer until just combined. The dough will be rough and shaggy. Cover and let it rest for 10-15 mins.

Add oil and salt. Knead on medium to medium low for about five minutes. The dough will be smooth and stretchy.

Form a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn dough in bowl to cover with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or damp tea towel (not terry cloth). Set aside until doubled (about an hour)

Halfway through the rise, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place baking stone(s) in the oven to preheat with the oven.

When dough is doubled, roll it out of bowl. Punch down dough by stretching the far edge out and fold over. Do the same on the left, front and right edges.

Divide dough in twain. Cover with plastic wrap (or two bowls) and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

Pat doughs out into circles and dimple with fingers to pop any large pockets of gas. Form into loaves for bread pans or free form of your choice. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or damp tea towels. Set aside until doubled.

Slash top if desired. Put loaves in oven. Reduce temperature to 350 immediately. Bake 40 mins or until instant read thermometer reads 200 to 205 degrees.

Remove from pan if applicable and set on cooling rack. Bread must be completely cooled before slicing (instant read around 80 degrees)


I want to close by thanking Kevin for taking the time to do this interview and being willing to share his knowledge. It was my pleasure to pick his brain and share the pickings with you. I'm proud of him and his baking accomplishments.

1 comment:

  1. Those pretzel rolls are lovely. I'm going to try them soon.


I write my posts imagining that I am already in the middle of a conversation with you. I hope you will comment and be a part of the conversation.