Storing bread: What’s the best way?

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We try to make only enough bread to eat on the same day, but if you have leftovers, the best way to store homemade bread is unwrapped and cut-side down on a non-porous surface like a plate, at room temperature (not in the refrigerator).  This preserves the crust a little more than if you put it into a plastic bag, which softens the crust very quickly.  The exception is pita bread, which is soft-crusted in the first place and is great in a plastic bag–but wait till it cools before bagging.

How long can you store bread this way? Maybe 24 hours. You can extend that a little if you put it in a plastic bag (refrigeration optional), and it’s often OK for toasting a day or two later.

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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Cornell Bread (and announcing our 3rd book: Artisan Pizza+Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day…)

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(… and a recipe for pitas from so-called “Cornell” dough).  Our third book will be officially released on October 25, 2011, but it’s now available for Pre-Order on Amazon! To view the book’s cover, which is now finalized, click here. It will have pizza and flatbreads from all over the world—plus, the recipes will be complemented with soup, salad, and dip recipes so that these pizzas and flatbreads become the basis of an entire five-minute meal.  As in all our books, the idea is to do all the mixing once, but serve many times from a big batch.  That’s a perfect fit for soups and dips (and you can get a salad ready while your bread’s in the oven).

Turns out that you can make great flatbreads (like the pitas above) using a modification of our Whole Grain Master Recipe (that original appears in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day).  The modification was inspired by “Cornell Bread,” a bread baked from soy-enriched dough originally developed as a vegetarian protein source during World War II.  Many of you have asked us about whether our recipes work with some soy flour— they do…          Return to FAQs page, or scroll down for more on Cornell Pitas…

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Nutritional Information for Whole Wheat Flaxseed Bread (or any other recipe in our book)

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Many of you have asked about nutritional information… you can use the SparkRecipe calculator, at http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp, to calculate nutritional content for any of our recipes. The USDA Nutrient Database , at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ is also useful.

And to calculate your daily calorie requirement try WebMD’s site: http://www.webmd.com/diet/food-fitness-planner/ 

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How’d That Fresh-Ground Whole Wheat Store? Report at 15 Days

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Back on November 11, I posted about my experiences with fresh-ground whole wheat, and I promised I’d come back and let you know how the dough stored.  Short answer:  pretty well.  I baked off some of the dough on day 10 of the batch-life, and it did beautifully.  Here, pictured above, is the same batch on day 15, which is a day longer than we usually recommend.  I had a feeling that it was going to be OK when I took the jar out of the fridge (remember, don’t screw the top down if you store dough in jars– gas is still being produced and this could cause a hazard).  You can still see some decent hole structure:

in-jar

So, I’m liking this fresh-ground wheat.  Very curious as to all your experiences with it.

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Thanksgiving Stuffing from Homemade Bread (and, announcing 10 winners of Bob’s Red Mill products)

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(photo by Mark Luinenburg)

We’re spending Thanksgiving with friends this year, and our family is doing the stuffing and bread for a table for 25.  Sounds like a job for a household where they bake bread twice a day anyway…

I’m making the stuffing from basic boules, ball-shaped breads as above.  You can use any lean dough you like, including whole-grain dough from the new book.  Tomorrow I’ll be using the Peasant Bread from our first book, which is basically the white-flour Master Recipe, swapping out 1 cup of whole-grain rye for 1 cup of all-purpose flour.

Breads for the table are going to be a mix of seeded and unseeded rye breads, very rustic, maybe Anadama bread from the new book.  All we’ll need is the belt-buckles on our hats.

Before we talk about the stuffing recipe, I need to announce the ten winners of the Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten giveaway. If you’re one of these folks, please supply your mailing address so that Bob’s Red Mill can ship your prize:

Marta Lynn

Rosalie from New Mexico

Darlene (MamasNutHouse)

Cat (@catsee)

Lynn B (BeeHive5)

Becky (SabbathSupper)

Joan Vibert

Kristie Larsen

Elizabeth (eyow)

Ranee (Arabian Knits)

Two other Thanksgiving recipes from our “library” are:

Thanksgiving Buns and Other Helpful Holiday Hints

Thanksgiving Cranberry Corn Bread

OK, let’s make some stuffing… Continue reading

Thanks Peter!

Peter Reinhart is the dean of American bread bakers, possibly the best in the world.  He teaches baking at Johnson & Wales University in Providence RI, has written six books on bread baking, and has won the James Beard and IACP Cookbook of the Year awards.  On any given day, he’s flying around the world spreading the gospel of great bread– Peter’s an international authority on my favorite subject.

So I was pleased to see his latest book, Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, which was released on October 27, 2009.  Here was a world authority giving his take on super-fast bread (he doesn’t store his dough so it’s very different than what we do in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day).   Peter acknowledged our books and the quality of our results in his own book.  Here’s what he had to say in Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day:

Page 7:  “… when I first read the instructions for the master hearth bread recipe in a recently published book, I immediately assumed, based on my understanding of dough science, that it contained way too much yeast to work as promised.  How could it possibly last in the refrigerator for even one day without overfermenting while the yeast gobbled up all the released sugar?  How could it possibly create a tasty, moist, and creamy loaf (what some describe as the custard-like quality found in great breads)?  Yet, when I made the recipe, it worked and didn’t overferment.  Sure, I saw areas where the recipe could be tweaked and improved upon, but this didn’t diminish my astonishment at how greatly it exceeded my expectations. Although I have yet to find a scientific, chemical, or biological reason to explain why it works, the results forced me to reconsider all of the premises I once held sacrosanct…”

In case anyone’s wondering if Peter’s really talking about our method, turn to page 204 of his book, where he acknowledges our first book by name, as a resource, and again mentions our “excellent results.”

Thanks Peter!

Using Fresh-Ground Whole Wheat Flour (and some highlights from our book tour)

scoopers-of-flour

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The flour on the left (the browner, coarser one) is an organic fresh-ground whole wheat.  On the right, the commercial whole wheat flour is obviously finer-ground and lighter in color (it’s the Dakota Maid brand, a very consistent and tasty product).  So many of you have asked about grinding your own wheat to make whole grain breads, that I decided to try it myself.

OK, I didn’t really grind it myself, I sourced fresh-ground wheat from Sunrise Flour Mill at the Mill City Farmer’s Market, next to the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis.  After Zoe and I did an event and booksigning there, Marty Glanville of Sunrise Flour came by to say hello.  She gave me a great home made whole grain bread to try, made from her fresh-ground whole wheat, and I was sold.  The flavor is, well, very fresh.

It’s not an absolute requirement for whole wheat bread, but here’s a little on my first experiments with this great flour.  Considering how different the fresh-ground product looked compared with commercial whole wheat, I was surprised at how easily this stuff was able to be used in our Master Recipe– with no changes.  After some whole wheat talk, a little about the West Coast leg of our book tour (Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco).   Continue reading

Apple, Ham, and Blue Cheese Tart, plus: the secret to getting really thin crust (and a visit to White Pine Orchard for apple-picking)

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Apples in a savory tart/pizza?  Absolutely!  One typical combo in a savory fruit tart is blue cheese and pear, but this is the Upper Midwest in October, and our friend Keith Kozub runs the world’s finest organic apple orchard:  White Pine Orchard, near River Falls, Wisconsin.  We went apple-picking with friends and ended up with what seemed like bushels of apples.  This will be the first of many new apple recipes, and it was a chance to play with a better way to get a really thin crust for this kind of tart or pizza… Continue reading

Sweet Provençal Flatbread with Anise Seeds

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In our first book, we covered the classic European baking tradition, and that meant lots and lots of bread from France, a country where I love to eat anything, but especially bread.  Sweet Provencal Flatbread with Anise Seeds is a marvelous example of a bread that is  so versatile that it can be split to make great sandwiches today, and then dunked, stale, into strong cafe au lait tomorrow morning.  You can mix a whole batch with the sugar, orange zest, and anise seeds, or roll a little of those three into a plain dough to make just a pound’s worth (see end of post). Continue reading

Fresh-picked Strawberry Danish

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fresh-strawberries

The secret of great fruit tarts and danishes?  Great fruit, of course.  If you have great stuff, it’s not all that complicated.  Take out some stored dough, and just a little more effort gets you a great dessert.  My family and some friends had visited Sam Kedem Nursery Garden, near Hastings, Minnesota, where we’d heard they had perfect strawberries ready for picking (they’re on to raspberries now).  So we were well stocked with great strawberries. 

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