Saturday, June 20, 2009

Time Off

Hey all, Brandon back to talk to you more about bread. I have been away for a while. My Wife and I split up late last year so I have not been concentrated on bread baking for a while. I have been getting things straight with my personal life. Just trying to do what is best for the kids. I feel a little more settled now, so I think its time to start back up. I am going to make a batch of Yeast Rolls today, I will take some pics and put up instruction and the recipe/formula for you to follow.

- Brandon

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2nd Place is a First

Hey all, CBB (Chesterfield Bread Baker) here again. Its been a while and I have been up to a whole lot of things. Recently I submitted my Pizza Hut Pan clone recipe to the Chesterfield County Cookbook. Hopefully it goes over really well. Im going to put a tutorial with a ton of pictures on the step by step process on here. I have taken the pics, but I just need to put them in an easy format maybe video or something.

Last week my wife Ashley mentioned that the County Fair was coming back to town this week. She said "Why don't you enter something?". So I thought about it and decided to enter my Yeast Rolls. I made two different batches of them. The first was Sourdough, which took 16 hours to rise at room temperature. Ashley hated them because she can't stand sourdough. However they went over well with my mother/father in law and my peeps at work. The second batch was just the regular, no starter just good ole yeast, rolls. I entered (ash did it for me, I had to work) the regular rolls into the fair. Yesterday we all went to the fair and checked for the winners. Out of the 5 "roll" entries I placed second! That is really good. I have never really been in a competition for making food, it is exciting. Now next year I think that I am going to enter my Sourdough rolls from my special starter that I keep in the fridge. That is a year away though. Next week I have to go pick up my ribbon but here is a picture for shiggles anyways.

Stay tuned for more recipes and updates

- The Chesterfield Bread Baker

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Biscuit Bliss

I love bread, I seriously effin love the stuff. I swear Bread & Cheese are the greatest foods ever invented/discovered. Since I started my bread adventure last year I have come across many different recipes and such. Some I liked and some I hated. One day I was at Cracker Barrel with the family and was enjoying their biscuits. They are very light and fluffy and very addictive. So I set out on a quest to clone or improve on them. I looked at various websites and found copy cat recipes. I tried a few but they did not come out anywhere close to Cracker Barrel's little wonders. So I just decided to look on their website and see if they said anything about the recipe. They did give some hints to the recipe. It says they use Crisco and White Lily Self Rising Flour. Bingo! I set out to the grocery store and picked up some White Lily Self Rising flour. They have a recipe on the back of the bag that I decided to try. The Biscuits turned out just like Cracker Barrel's. They were light but not overpowering. I brushed them with melted butter and enjoyed them one day. However there was one small problem. I always want to tweak a recipe. So I decided to change it up a little. I desire a more buttery taste in my Biscuits. So I changed some stuff in the recipe. I used Butter Flavored Crisco instead of Regular Crisco and double the amounts to make thicker biscuits. Below is a copy of the recipe.

Buttermilk Biscuits

4 cups (460g) White Lily Self Rising Flour
1 1/2 cups (300g) Buttermilk
1/2 cup (100g) Butter Flavored Shortening

Preheat the oven to 500F.

Cut shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk a little at time while mixing gently (DO NO OVER MIX, GLUTEN IS BAD FOR THIS RECIPE!). Once the dough starts to come together then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead twice. Roll the dough to about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut into biscuit shapes or whatever you desire. Place in an aluminum cake pan (put as many into the pan as you can) and place in the middle rack of your over for 8-10 minutes or until the biscuits just start to brown. Remove the biscuits and brush very generously with melted butter. Serve immediately

I hope anyone who uses this recipe enjoys it. Have fun!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What Rises from the Ashes

Hello all, Brandon here, back again to let you know what I have been up to. In my last blog I talked about making pastry, mainly danishes. Well I found everything I needed to make them and gave it a shot. I was on my second turn (folding the dough) and when I went to put it in the fridge and the dough slipped out of my hands and hit the floor. The butter was everywhere, needless to say I was quite pissed. Since I did not have anymore butter to make another batch I put the project on the back burner. Next time I go grocery shopping then I can try this again, but just being more careful :-)

So I still wanted to bake something in the following days, but what? Thank god for Ashley who gives me ideas left and right. She was saying how much she wanted a Pizza Hut Pan pizza. So I decided to use the recipe and techniques I rememebered from my days at the Hut. The dry ingredients at the Hut were pre packaged. We just added the exact amount of water to it. So I had to break down what I thought they were. I will list the recipe later after I tweak it.

I combined all these ingredients in my mixer and kneaded till I got a smooth ball. I cut the dough into two equal pieces and then rolled them to a 9 inch circle. I then coated two 10" aluminum cake pans with vegetable oil. I placed the flattened dough into the pans and sprayed the edge with non-stick spray. I covered the pans and let them rise in a 120F oven (Pizza Hut uses a proofer, but the oven was the closest thing I had) for 1 1/2 hours. After they had risen I placed the pans in the fridge and let them rest for 4 hours (we did this at the Hut as well it was called "Retardation"). About 1 hour before I removed the dough from the fridge I preheated the oven to 450F. I took the pans out and sauced, cheesed and topped the pizzas. They baked in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Now it did not brown as much as I would have like it. I do think the hut used so much corn meal. They might have used milk power in the dough to make it brown up more. Next time I make the pizzas I will tweak the recipe and post it up and how to make it step-by-step (day by day, nevermind). Just keep your eyes peeled!

- The Chesterfield Bread Baker

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Delicious Danish

Why do I enjoy this baking thing? Maybe its that satisfaction of watching people enjoy something you have created. That goes for all walks of life. It seems that the longer you take to do something (however not in all cases) the better the pay off is. This brings me to my new adventure into the world of Pastry. In bringing food to work for my peeps to try, several people have asked me if I had ever made any danishes. I mostly stay on the bread side, but a danish is just a sweet bread dough not really a cake. I have read about pastry dough and its complexity of layers. I spotted a book at BAMM (Books a Million) titled Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft. It looked really good, and had a lot of techniques and such. However its $70 and that is a little steep for now. So the internet will have to do! I am looking all over the web for a good Danish Pastry Dough Recipe to try. I will update this blog as soon I attempt pastry for the first time. Stand by!

Friday, March 21, 2008


I swear nothing is better than a great bagel. Since I started my bread adventure last fall, I have been curious about making bagels. Recently I have been attempting several methods and recipes. Out of all the recipes I tried only one worked well for taste. King Arthur Flour's Test Kitchen posted this recipe.

The reason why this recipe tastes so good is because it employs the use of a starter. Starters are usually made ahead of time. This recipe calls for almost equal parts of water and flour to be mixed with a pinch of yeast in a small bowl and let sit overnight covered. The yeast will start to eat the flour and break it down into sugars (not the sugar you are used to). The dough is not sweet but it gives it a great taste. I make the starter when I get home from work, which is usually after 11:30. It will sit all night till about 9 a.m. when I make the rest of the dough. This recipe also calls for non-diastatic malt powder. I had no clue what this stuff was, but I poked around the web and found out that it is an ingredient in home beer brewing. The info also said that if you have a local brewery around you that they would stock it. Well I don't have one of those, but there is a store called "The Weekend Brewer" just 3 miles up the road in Chester. They stock all the supplies to make homemade wine, beer, spirits, soda, whatever. So I went in the store and spoke with the owner (who is very very very passionate about his work). He said that bakeries buy his malt powder all the time just for bagels. So I was sold right there. He sold me 1 lb of Amber Malt for around $4 after tax. So if you have a local brewery or shop that sells brewing supplies then just call them and ask for this stuff. Worst case scenario you can buy it online but it will cost your more, plus shipping.

Back to the baking part. So I used this stuff in the recipe finally. In my Kitchenaid Pro Mixer Bowl (with Dough Hook in place) I combined flour, yeast, water, malt powder, salt, and the starter. Set it on speed 2 for 10 minutes and voila! The dough was perfect, it was soft and supple and tacky. I let that sucker rise for 1.5 hours at room temp. Then weighed it out and split it into 8 rounded pieces. I let them rise again for 30 minutes (covered with plastic wrap) sitting on the counter. Then I poked my finger through them one by one and gave them a twirl to make a 1.5 inch hole in the center. I placed them on two parchment lined baking sheets (parchment paper is great, buy some it will save you so much time and cleanup, Williams-Sonoma has some, Pampered Chef does also). I let them rise again (still covered with plastic wrap) for 45 minutes. Meanwhile I had my electric fryer out and placed a cooling rack inside of it with about 1 inch of water (the height of the water was just below the rack). I cranked it to 300F to get it to boil. I also pre-heated the oven t0 400F. When the bagels were done rising again, I placed 4 at a time on the rack in the frying pan and covered it. The boiling water created a lot of steam which cooked the outside of each bagel. This gave it that signature texture. The steaming process is only done for 90 seconds. After which I place the bagels back on the baking sheets and repeated with the remaining bagels. When this is all complete they go in the oven for 20 minutes. They will puff up even more in the oven and will get nice and brown. After they have baked then I pull the bagels out and let them cool off for about 1 hour.

Side Note: So many people will grab bread right out of the oven, butter it and then consume. That is fine if you are making quick dinner rolls or a pizza. However, if you took the time to put flavor in the dough (i.e. the starter) then you will want the bread to cool so you can enjoy the work of the yeast breaking down the flour. Now I have nothing against slicing your bagels and putting them in a toaster. That is just awesome.

In closing I have come to a conclusion that making bagels at home is easier and cheaper in the long run. You also get a satisfaction from doing it. You start with several different ingredients that on there own taste kinda odd. After this whole process you are left with something delicious. I call than effin Zen!

- The Chesterfield Bread Baker

Monday, March 17, 2008

Change of Plans

I know I said that the next adventure was to be tortilla making, but something else has come up. I decided to work on yeasted doughs for a little while longer. Tortillas can wait for a little while so that I can try different things. Tuesday night I am going to make Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (by Peter Reinharts Recipe in American Pie). I picked up some 10-inch cake pans and am ready to go! Also I have great news!!! Yesterday on QVC they had a special on a Kitchenaid Professional Mixer 5 quart 450 watts (12 cups flour power) for $272 (retail at $450). So Rash bought me one, she is great. It will be here next Monday and I am ready to rock with it. I really want to use it for lower hydration doughs that require intense kneading. Like Bagels for instance. I made some today (Cinnamon Raisin in fact). They were ok, but it was hard to develop the gluten with my hands. It took 20 minutes, but a mixer could produce a quicker and more even result. I will have to try many of my bread recipes in the mixer. Granted I will still make pizza dough by hand because it is just fun. I will post my review of this mixer after about 1 month of use. So for those of you who read this blog then just. Stay Tuned!