Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nancy Silverton's Focaccia

I have been baking Focaccia since I have read about it for the past 5 years. I have made all kinds, pretty bad ones, bad ones, okay ones but never really one that I wanted to keep eating. Then on Kitchn I came across Nancy Silverton's tips to make better Focaccias, which led me to the Masterclass and of course the recipe.

I wanted to try this one and see how it works out and to see for myself if it was really going to be that good as she was saying. The first time I made it, I forgot the preferment inside the fridge for a day. But when I left it outside, it bubbled. I mixed the dough up and let it rise twice and baked the focaccia, which was OUT of this world. I have never managed to make a bread which was so chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I never managed to make a bread with so many holes and so airy. Its my first and am a convert to preferments. :)

One of my favorite bread bloggers "Hefe und Mehr" is having a blog event because her blog is 5 years old and I want to send my bread to this event.

Rolls and rolls and rolls

Comparison of 3 different dinner roll recipes.

In the past 3 days I made bread from 3 different recipes and I want to record my observations.

First come the Parker House Rolls from Joy the Baker. I have had huge success with these rolls. I have made them at least 4 times in the past in various avatars. I made them plain, mixed in seeds, herbs, glazed with milk, topped with seeds and every time they shone. The only time they failed me was when my yeast was really really old. All they needed the next day was a minute in the microwave to become their softer selves. Given the amount of butter in these rolls, I think their softness is to be expected. So I needed to compare them with something else.

So this time I tried Buttermilk Honey Bread from Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible. I was expecting them to be normal buns but I didn't expect them to be so soft, so delicious and so fluffy. The oven rise I got out of them was tremendous. For a recipe which asks for 2 tablespoons butter for roughly 750g Flour, these were exceptionally fluffy. I added half the needed yeast as I had the entire day for them to rise. The author suggests that this is a versatile dough and can be used to make sweet or savory bread. I made some Snail shaped rolls with apple sauce and quince jam for my daughter and made Naan with the remaining dough. Both of them were very very tasty. The only negative that I can see is they are slightly on the sour side because of being almost entirely made with buttermilk. The tang comes through and I dont think it is a bad thing depending on what you are going to use it for. I have decided that I have finally found my burger bun.

After all these I wanted to make a sandwich bread, from my trusted recipe, Peter Reinhart's Light Wheat bread. But I haven't tried anything new from his book for a really long time. So I decided to make the Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread. So why am I comparing this with a dinner roll recipe, because I think this is the perfect dinner roll, if you omit the raisins, cinnamon and walnut, this tastes wonderful as a regular roll. The additions take it somewhere else but the basic recipe is still strong for other things as well.

Three winner recipes, each slightly different from each other. I need to make the rolls again so this time I can take photos. For this time I only managed the cinnamon bread.