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Category Archive for 'Techniques'

Brioche Nanterre

Brioche Nanterre – Perfect for a Picnic! Cooler evenings, lengthening shadows and the slightest hint of crimson on the maple trees can mean only one thing… autumn in New England is rapidly approaching!  While some here may view the onset of autumn with trepidation, being the harbinger of the New England winter which can oftentimes be quite brutal, to me autumn is a season […]

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Diadèmes Learning or creating new bread shapes has always been great fun for me. Yes, my goal is to always bake bread with a seductive aroma, flavor and texture, but as someone obsessed with trying to bake the best possible bread that I can at home, visual appeal is also a big part of the […]

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Ciabatta Here in the U.S., ciabatta has become the quintessential Italian bread. Characterized by a crisp, flour-dusted crust, a holey interior and a rustic, “slipper-like” shape, ciabatta is ideal for dipping into any one of a number of wonderfully aromatic, herb-infused olive oils.  When sliced horizontally, it also makes great sandwiches, the holey crumb providing […]

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Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia There’s something about focaccia that I can’t quite put my finger on.  People who would normally just pass around the breadbasket at the dinner table without partaking, lunge hungrily at pieces of focaccia when included as part of the breadbasket fare.  Perhaps it’s the delicious unctuousness of the surface craters filled with fragrant rosemary oil.  Or maybe […]

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Scoring and Steaming

When properly performed, the techniques of scoring and steaming both serve to improve the quality and esthetics of the finished bread.  Scoring provides a place for the controlled expansion of the loaf during the oven spring phase of baking, thus contributing to the lightness of crumb and visual attractiveness of the loaf.  Steaming during the first few minutes of baking […]

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Alternate Batard Shaping

With an oval form whose length can be anywhere between that of a baguette (60-70 cm) and a boulot (20-25 cm) [ref: The Taste of Bread, p 74], the batard along with the boule are perhaps the two most commonly used shapes for free-form breads.  The batard gets its oval form through a classically two stage shaping […]

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New York-Style Pizza

NY-Style Pizza Whether it be the crisp, light crust of an authentic Neapolitan, the thick, focaccia-like crust of a Sicilian or the crunchy, chewy crust of a New York-style, pizza is one of the few foods that is almost universally loved.  As a “breadie”, I judge the quality of a pizza by its crust; the texture of the crust […]

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Starting a Starter

An Active Starter While bread leavened with baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is an integral part of any baker’s repertoire, that repertoire would be incomplete without the complex flavors that can only come from naturally leavened bread.  Known as sourdough bread here in the U.S., this type of bread relies on the wild yeast and bacteria naturally present on the grain to provide both leavening […]

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread If I had to choose one bread whose aroma while baking consistently makes my mouth water, it would have to be cinnamon raisin bread. Unlike baguettes or pan de campagne, which are made from lean doughs (i.e., doughs with little or no fat), cinnamon raisin bread is made from a rich dough. […]

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Pain de Campagne

Pain de Campagne Pain de campagne, or “country bread”, is bread baked in the style of the rustic loaves found throughout the French countryside.  There really is no one correct way to bake a pain de campagne loaf; the formulae are as varied as the traditional ways of shaping the loaves.  Pain de campagne can be made […]

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