Punching dough, or the lack there of

I’m still on the fence about this recipe. On the one hand, it made a nice sourdough-like bread. On the other, I didn’t get to punch dough. Yeah, I actually like kneading bread. Also, without the kneading, the timing/pace of making bread really changed. Maybe its just that I learned on breads which use kneading and got used to planning doing other stuff around that rhythm. But letting the dough rise for 6 hours is kind of awkward. 6 hours isn’t an overnight rise, so I cannot start it the night before and bake the next day. Maybe if it rose in the refrigerator? and finished up on the counter? Anyway, I also find 6 hours an awkward amount of time to do other things around, if I’m running errands outside the house. Or you know, hanging out with friends. Pretty much, I’d need to be in the house all Saturday. Or Sunday. ‘Cause that’s when I’d have time.

But… really nice sourdough taste. Also no bread shaping (which is nice). And a nice round loaf.

I have a feeling this one is getting copied out but will mostly sit unused in our binders.

No-Knead Bread

Originally from TheKitchn.com
Makes 1 loaf
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 28; Bread: 0 recipes left

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups barely warm water
  • Olive or canola oil
  1. Add the flour to a bowl; add the yeast and salt, then stir thoroughly.
  2. Pour in the water and stir thoroughly. The dough should look shaggy and a bit rough. Lightly oil the top of the dough with olive or canola oil, then turn over the dough and oil the other side. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a towel. Set in a warm corner and allow to rise for 6 – 8 hours, at which time it should look wet, bubbly, and stretched.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly oiled countertop; fold the dough over itself once. Recover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.
  4. About 20 minutes before the dough finishes rising (about 40 minutes after set out to rise), place an oven-safe Dutch oven or pot in the oven and turn the oven on to 450°F.
  5. Once the dough has risen, shape it into a round ball – at this point, you can slash or cut an X in the top of the ball. Now drop it quickly into the Dutch oven, place the lid back on and place the pot back in the oven.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue backing for 15 – 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Slice and serve.
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In which I learn that ‘no, really, even applesauce isn’t infinitely expandable’

So, I promised y’all an applesauce recipe back on the 10th – here it is.

I was late to the applesauce thing, not really liking it until… oh college. See, as a kid, I declined to learn to swallow pills until much later than pharmaceutical companies assume will happen, so my mom had to mix my antibiotics into applesauce up until I was … about 8 or so. But it was the completely smooth, kinda tasteless, kinda watery, utterly bland but shelf-stable Mott’s applesauce. Hey, if you like Mott’s, cool, glad you’ve got your brand. It just didn’t work for me. Probably ’cause all the good stuff is in the stuff I’m missing receptors to detect. But you know, in addition to the not tasting aspects, was all the bitterness of medical pills. So, yeah. Yech.

Homemade applesauce on the other hand is awesome – as chunky or smooth as you like (or care to put work into), you can vary the apple varieties, vary the spices, and it takes much less time than I thought before hand. The recipe I currently use expands pretty easily. BUT, not when I do this

Apple-pile

This particular attempt involved tripling the recipe, using large apples, resulting in the mound you see above. It took more time than usual to cook down and I’m still not entirely sure everything was heated through, at least to the same degree as apples from a different … strata in the pot. Lesson learned, however much I’m scaling this recipe up or down, make sure the apple pile fits properly in the pot – i.e. there’s some pot leftover!

A few notes before we start with the actual recipe though: Potato mashers will work to mash your cooked apples and are good for the building of arm muscles. Immersion blenders will make short work of all your mashing needs, but pay attention – you may end up with smoother applesauce than you wanted otherwise.

Homemade Apple Sauce

Adapted from The Craftinomicon

  • 5 medium to large apples, of any 3 varieties (proportions between the different varieties are best left as an exercise/experiment to the cook and their taste)
  • 2-4 tbsp cranberry-apple juice
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Peel, core & roughly dice the apples; add to an appropriately sized stock pot or Dutch oven. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to distribute roughly evenly.
  2. Cook over medium heat until apples are fairly soft, about 15 minutes. Mash to desired consistency with a potato masher or immersion blender; alternatively, transfer contents to a blender or food processor and process to desired smoothness. A potato masher will result in the largest chunks. Return apples to heat for an additional 5-10 minutes, or heated through. Add extra juice as it cooks, if the applesauce appears too dry.

Bread a la Two Ovens

Recipe Count – 41 left
Section Count – Bread: All done. No More. Is complete. For now.

I like bread.

Being a kitchen chemist, bread is something I’m fairly good at making (at least I think so; no complaints from Adam anyway) – my thought process and approach just fits with how baking works. Which is not say I haven’t made bricks instead of bread before. Using too hot water (killed the yeast), not paying enough attention to my substitutions and the math needed (gluten content changing -> not enough/too much yeast), and so on. All that said, Dutch Oven Bread is one of the easier bread recipes I’ve made. Not necessarily the fastest, but definitely easy. Possibly a good one to use for a first go at baking bread.

Dutch Oven Bread

Adapted from Ruhlman’s Twenty

  • 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (do NOT use whole wheat flour if it’s not pastry flour. Use all-purpose flour instead)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • olive oil

Yep, that’s it. That’s all the ingredients you need. I don’t know about you, but that’s stuff I just keep lying around in the pantry.

  1. In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, water, yeast, and salt. Alternatively, use a big bowl and mix well – it’s just easier with a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. When it looks smooth, pull a small piece off and try stretching it. If it stretches to the point of transparency, it’s ready.
    Mixed
  2. Cover the bowl with a pot lid, kitchen towel, or plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size and does not spring back when poked with a finger. Should take 2-4 hours. My favorite place to leave rising dough is on top of a running clothes dryer – the dryer keeps the air warmer than the rest of the house. Helps that our dryer is in a smallish enclosed area.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface (wooden cutting boards are great for this) and knead for a bit. Shape roughly into a ball, cover with a towel, and let stand for 10 minutes or so.
  4. Shape dough into a tight ball (the tighter the better) by rolling it between your palms on the work surface.
    Pre-rise
  5. Coat the bottom and sides of your large Dutch oven (or other heavy oven-proof pot) [5 1/2 quarts/5.2 liters or larger please] with olive or vegetable oil. Put the dough in the center of the pot, cover with the lid, and allow to rise again for 30-60 minutes (less for warm areas, more for cold).
    Post-rise
  6. Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.
  7. Rub olive oil gently over the top of the dough and then score an X in the bread with a sharp knife. This allows the dough to expand freely while cooking. Also, looks pretty. If you like, sprinkle the dough with kosher salt. Cover the pot and put in the oven.
    X'd
  8. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F/190°C, and continue baking until the bread is browned and cooked through, roughly 15 minutes. If you have a digital thermometer, the internal temperature of the bread should be around 200°F/95°C when done.
  9. Allow bread to rest on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. This is one of those steps that I found really counter-intuitive as I was learning to make bread. Wouldn’t you want to eat hot fresh bread right out of the oven? Trust me, allowing the bread to rest and redistribute moisture evenly, actually does make it taste better.

This one is kind of a rustic bread, except cooked in a Dutch oven (a really big pot – yeah, I don’t know why they’re called that. Should probably research that) instead of on an oven rack. Produced a dense, but not chewy, crumb – went well with Adam’s soups and stews as our dinner bread. We used it for sandwiches (peanut butter/almond butter and jelly), which was tasty but made for some funny looking sandwich slices. Being of a round shape and all.
Bread