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Monday, 16 July 2012

Easy Little Bread – if you follow the recipe (BBB July 2012)

go directly to the recipe

BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Easy Little Bread based on a recipe in “Gran’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker” by Natalie Oldfield; no-knead bread; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and Bake Your Own Bread; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB)
July 2012

Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy….

Easy Little Bread (BBB) When Sara mentioned that she was choosing something easy for this month, I cheered. Not that I’m afraid of difficult bread (oh, wait. I AM afraid of difficult bread… never mind…). And then I went to see a photo of the chosen bread displayed Heidi’s website “101 Cookbooks”.

[Q]uite frankly, it’s the least interesting looking bread you’ve ever set eyes on. But at this particular moment, there isn’t anything on this earth that would taste better. […] Serve warm, slathered with butter.

-Heidi, 101 Cookbooks, Easy Little Bread Recipe

Yikes!! Heidi isn’t kidding about the looks. Her photo of Easy Little Bread looks as flat as a pancake!

But the advantage – aside from the fact that both Heidi and Sara assure us that it tastes great – is that it looks as if it’s basically a quick bread. I can make it for breakfast!

There’s just one catch. With butter being forbidden these days, what will I slather the bread with?

Easy Little Bread Diary:

Friday 6 July 08:45: I just looked more closely at the recipe and saw that this is essentially a batter bread. There’s no way that it’s going to be light and lofty. So I’m steeling myself, trying to think how I can sell the shape of this bread so that T (and I) won’t freak out.

Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well. Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place […] to rise.
 
-BBB Easy Little Bread recipe

Maybe I should pour it into muffin tins. Yes!! That’s what I’ll do. I’ll take the “little” part quite literally and make several easy little breads!

But. It’s going to be poisonously hot today. It’s already 25C in the kitchen with everything turned off. It’s definitely not the time to be turning the oven on.

There’s still plenty of time. Yes, that’s it! Tomorrow… I’ll bake Easy Little Bread(s) tomorrow!

09:43: I’m just reviewing the recipe again…

set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.
 
-BBB Easy Little Bread recipe

To rise how much? To double?? To just begin rising? And if it’s left for more than 30 minutes, what then?

Why am I suddenly reminded of my childhood? This is like when I asked Mum how much [choose an ingredient – any ingredient]. “Some” would be her infuriating answer. And how much is “some”? Apparently, it’s “Oh you know. Enough”.

Saturday, 14 July 2012 08:18: It did cool off. But did I take advantage of the break in the heat to make the Easy Little Bread? You must be joking!! Of course not. There was still tons of time until the BBB deadline! (I made sandwich bread, plain fougasse and poppy seed fougasse….)

But here it is fast approachign now. And it’s going to be poisonously hot again this weekend. I’m not wild about turning on the oven. I wonder if I could bake this bread in the barbecue….

And then I saw Tanna’s comment after she made the bread.

Perhaps I’m just ruined to the flavor that the slow rise gives bread. […] By itself, it didn’t seem to have much flavor – I’d add maybe a nut or sunflower seeds, even rosemary or some other herb.
 
-Tanna, BBB notes

This is exactly what I feared when reading the recipe – not enough time for the flavours to develop. But Tanna is brilliant! What a good idea to add another little something to the bread – I’m now thinking about throwing in some raisins or chopped dates and maybe a bit of cinnamon.

(One of the only times that I absolutely adored eating oatmeal porridge was when my Godmother made it on their woodfire stove at the cottage. She added dates to the oatmeal and made the porridge correctly by starting it the night before and leaving it on the stove all night. The next morning, we polished it off with brown sugar. Is my memory playing tricks, or did we sprinkle on cinnamon and slop cream rather than milk into our bowls too?)

But isn’t it interesting? I’m still not racing into the kitchen to make this “easy” bread. :lalala:

08:26: I just had a thought!! What about if I mix the dough the night before and put in a quarter the amount of yeast and let the bread rise in the fridge overnight and bake it the next morning? Maybe that would allow the flavours to develop!

I’ll take a look at some “no-knead” bread recipes to see what they do…

Very interesting!! The King Arthur recipe looks virtually the same as the BBB easy bread recipe. But what I really interested to see is that, according to Jennifer McGavin, the Five Minutes a Day bread tasted slightly flatter than the Lahey loaf. The biggest difference (that I got from skimming the recipes) is that the Lahey loaf uses considerably less yeast.

So. That’s what I’m going to do. I’ll mix the dough tonight, add WAY less yeast, stick it into the fridge overnight and bake it early tomorrow morning before it gets insanely hot.

Wish me luck!! (I think I might need it.)

Sunday, 15 July 2012 07:18: It was revoltingly warm and humid last night. Although it did drop down from 31C to 22C – but it’s already 24 now!!

In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well. Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter.
 
-Sara, BBB easy little bread recipe

Did I mention the need for luck? Duh… I forgot to mix the dough last night. So I just did it now.

I almost pretended that I forgot that tomorrow is the BBB posting day. I almost pretended that I was too busy to make the BBB bread this month. But how could I? It’s so ridiculously simple and takes such a short time.

I have to tell the truth. I’m really worried that this is going to be really B-flat bread. Exactly the sort of bread I don’t want to be making after my recent failure with Tartine bread. I’m not sure I can take being demoralized any further. :lalala:

So. Now that I’ve said that, maybe the bread will really surprise me. It will turn out to be the best thing since (do I dare to use that overworked idiom again? Why, yes, I think I do!) sliced bread.

I made just half the recipe, adding raisins and a pinch of cinnamon (I drastically reduced the yeast – in this heat, the dough is going to rise in no time anyway) and I’m imagining that I might be able to bake the bread in the toaster oven rather than heating up the big oven.

And it was very difficult not to knead. I LIKE kneading! :stomp: Rather than stirring it well, I hand-mixed the slop in the bowl. Ah, that felt better! I really do like to feel the dough on my hands and wonder how I’m going to get it off and back into the bowl!

Easy Little Bread (BBB) Then, deciding to take the “little” in “easy little bread” very literally, I oiled (another time, I’d use butter as the BBB recipe suggests) four little pyrex bowls. And I spooned the rough dough into them, worrying all the while about how much the dough hadn’t been kneaded.

To account for the lower amount of yeast, I’ve set the timer for an hour rather than the 30 minutes suggested in the BBB recipe.

Augh!!! I just remembered! I was going to add chopped dates, not raisins!

Once again, wish me luck. Clearly, I really do need it!

10:29 The bread has risen enough (I hope) so I just turned on the toaster oven to preheat it. It is now 26C inside and out. And humid. (Remind me that I really do prefer this oozy warmth to it being 15C inside and -15C outside.)

10:57 Oh oh!! There is zero oven pop and the bread doesn’t look like it’s even half baked yet.

Sigh. I’m doomed.

11:09 Oh oh oh!! Still no sign of baking. I guess the thermostat on our toaster oven must be way off. I turned the heat up and set the timer for another 10 minutes.

Yup, doomed….

10:57 “Easy Little Bread”, eh?

Well. It’s little! AND it’s ready in time for breakfast! (brunch??)

But easy? Not for me. I’d much rather take the tiny amount of time required to knead. No-knead bread is really hard (for me, anyway)!

Easy Little Bread (BBB) I had a little difficulty getting one of the easy little breads out of its container. (See?? It’s just not easy for me!) In retrospect, I should have lined the bowls with parchment paper. Then the bread would have slipped right out.

In my dogged way, I still think that actually kneading the dough would improve the bread. And that way it could be baked free-form, making it easy easy easy to remove and serve.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that actually following the recipe would achieve the same results. :lalala:

Here is July’s BBB Easy Little Bread recipe. And here is what I did to it:

Easy Little Breads
based on 101 Cookbooks’ take on a recipe in “Gran’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker” by Natalie Oldfield

makes 4 small breads

  • 150 ml lukewarm water
  • 0.5 tsp (0.6 gm) active dry yeast ¹
  • 0.5 Tbsp (10 gm) runny honey
  • 0.5 c (67 gm) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 c (70 gm) whole wheat flour
  • 0.5 c (50 gm) rolled oats
  • 0.75 tsp (4.5 gm) fine seasalt
  • handful Thompson raisins
  • pinch cinnamon
  • butter, melted, for brushing
  1. Put yeast into the bottom of a largish bowl. Pour the warm water overtop and whisk until the yeast dissolves. Whisk in the honey. Set aside while you get the other ingredients out.
  2. Generously oil the container(s) you will use. (I used 4 small pyrex bowls). Set aside.
  3. Add rolled oats, flours, raisins, cinnamon and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Get annoyed that it’s too hard to stir and plunge your hands in to quickly knead the dry ingredients in.
  4. Spoon the dough into the greased containers to half to two thirds full and cover with a clean tea towel. Cover that with a plastic bag and set in a warm place to rise to double. ²
  5. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 20 to 30 minutes until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. I finish things up by leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat – to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn’t steam in the pan. ³

Serve warm.

Notes:

1.) Yeast: The BBB recipe calls for 2.25 tsp (8gm) active dry yeast. When I cut the recipe in half, I decided to reduce the amount of yeast by much more to encourage a longer rise.

2.) Rising time: With the correct amount of yeast, it should take about 30 minutes for the dough to rise.

3.) Removal of bread: In retrospect, I’m thinking that using parchment paper to line the baking container rather than oil or butter would make quick removal easier.

Easy Little Bread (BBB) We ate the bread warm with honey and thinly sliced aged cheddar and/or goat’s cheese. One of us followed the BBB recipe instructions and slathered his bread with butter. Another one of us wanted to do the same thing. :stomp:

Surprisingly, the bread tasted better than I thought it would. Much better. Sure, it was a bit on the tough side but I must admit it was really quite good. Maybe not the best thing since sliced bread but darn close. And if I could have had it with butter, it would have been great.

I’m very glad I added raisins. Dates would have been even more fun (one of these days I might manage to remember a proposed alteration for more than 5 minutes).

Thank you for the stretch, Sara! I’m very glad to have made no-knead bread at last.

Bread Baking Babes
Bread Baking Babes: July 2012 - Easy Little Bread

Sara (I Like to Cook) is the host of July 2012’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

This is, as the title indicates, an easy little bread […] [B]esides being easy it has a wonderful texture and taste. I invite you to interpret, add, change the recipe as you would like.

One thing I noted from making this a couple of months ago was that an 8 cup loaf pan seemed a bit too big.

We know that you too will WANT to bake this bread!! And if you follow the recipe and add the correct amount of yeast, I bet it will be easy to make too. To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake Easy Little Bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turned out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 May 2012. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ Easy Little Bread:

YeastSpotting
Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event hosted by Heather (girlichef), Michelle (Delectable Musings) and Connie (My Discovery of Bread)

that encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

BYOB Badge For more information about BYOB, please read the following:

 

Easy Little Bread (BBB)
 

edit 17 July 2012: To honor Julia Child’s 100th birthday, the BBBabes will be posting about the August bread one day early, to coincide with Julia Child’s birthday on 15 August 2012. Please come bake with us!

BBB invitation 15 August 2012
 

  1. Comment by Heather @girlichef — 16 July 2012 @ 10:46 EST

    I’m not gonna lie – you did NOT make that seem easy at all ;P . However, it does intrigue and I think I’m going to try joining in this month…it’s been too long! Thanks so much for sharing your endeavors with BYOB this month, as well (and for the suggestions – I must pick my add-ins).

  2. Comment by MyKitchenInHalfCups — 16 July 2012 @ 10:53 EST

    Eey gads Elizabeth your minute by minute machinations are so wonderful!
    Actually in this case with all the heavy whole grains it probably needs all that yeast.
    I do think it was brilliant to add some raisins.

  3. Comment by Natashya — 16 July 2012 @ 11:33 EST

    Great idea to do little bowls! And honey with sharp cheddar on it… mmmmm!
    Yep, parchment is the cure for so many things.

  4. Comment by Michelle K. — 16 July 2012 @ 11:56 EST

    What a huge undertaking just for some easy little bread! I think the bowls look great despite being hard to get things out of them. Thank you for sharing this with BYOB.

  5. Comment by Elle — 16 July 2012 @ 20:46 EST

    As usual your tale of creation is delightful! Great idea to put in the raisins and to make ‘em truly little breads. Might have to make this one again just so I can try parchment lined Pyrex small bowls filled with the batter and some add-ins. What to try? Dried cherries? Herbs instead? Asiago cheese and roasted garlic? hmmmmm

  6. Comment by Joanne — 17 July 2012 @ 07:03 EST

    What a cute loaf! All the better that it’s easy. :)

  7. Comment by Katie — 19 July 2012 @ 14:11 EST

    I see myself in this epic…. Why do we always know better? LOL

    Soon, will you be back to dairy?

    We had a warm day this week… but only one.

  8. Comment by ejm — 21 July 2012 @ 09:54 EST

    Then I’ve done my job well, Heather! :-D I can’t wait to see your bread and hear that it really is ridiculously easy to make. As for addins, what about pepitas and/or raisins?

    Tanna, I hadn’t thought about the fact that the rolled oats might interfere with the yeast development. But I’m still not convinced that if I had poured the batter into a loaf tin, it wouldn’t have produced pretty much the same result as everyone else’s – it just would have had to rise for longer.

    Natashya, I should have put the honey and sharp cheddar right into the bread!

    Michelle, it didn’t actually take that long. I think the writeup was more time-consuming than the bread making.

    Elle, the raisins really were good. But I bet dates would be even better. Oooh, dried cherries would be good too!

    Joanne, if only it had been easy for me! I really don’t know how I managed to make it so difficult!

    Katie, why do we know better? Because we have experience :lalala: Yes, I’ll be back to dairy very soon (yay!). Sorry to hear that you had only one warm day this week. We’ve had 2 beautiful days this week after about 4 poisonously hot ones. Now, why can’t we share the warmth?! We would happily have given some of the heat to you so we could all have reasonable weather.

    -Elizabeth

  9. Comment by Ágnes Molnár — 30 July 2012 @ 04:08 EST

    The “Easy little bread”
    Szeretetrehangoltan: Könnyű kis kenyér (Easy Little Bread)
    Have nice day Elizabeth!

    Wow!! What loft you got, Ágnes!

 

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