Author Archives: Penny

About Penny

I'm a bit of a computer geek (when the mood suits me) and a bit of a food geek (that mood suits me more often). I live with my husband and our cat and dog in coastal New England, USA.

Whole Wheat Bread: BBA #41

I needed a Whole Wheat bread as we were out of sandwich bread and I didn’t feel like making another Struan at the moment. And preferably, the bread would use 100% whole grain, and didn’t use any dairy. Well, the Whole Wheat bread in Reinhart’s BBA fit the bill perfectly. OK, I know this is really going out of order for the challenge, but sometimes you have to be flexible!

Freshly mixed Whole Grain poolish

Freshly mixed Whole Grain poolish made of Rye, 7-Grain cereal, and whole wheat flour

I set up the Poolish and the Soaker last night. I didn’t have any coarsely ground whole wheat for the soaker, so I used about 2.5 ounces of whole ground rye, some 7-grain cereal from Bob’s Red Mill, and some regular King Arthur whole wheat (not white whole wheat). Continue reading

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Slip sliding away ….

Exploring Slider plug-ins. Lots of options, but looking for something that will just let me plug in a Gallery, be fast loading, responsive … oh, and Free is also good! Especially while I’m figuring out what I want.

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July 11, 2014 · 3:47 pm

Focaccia: BBA #13

I’ve been looking forward to doing the Focaccia. A couple of days before Bake Day, I prepped the Herb Oil: I warmed a cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to about 100 degrees (well, 110 degrees). Chopped a bunch of fresh Basil, Oregano, and Rosemary and added them to the oil. Added a spoonful of salt and some freshly ground pepper.

Day before Bake Day: I only had time to do the Poolish on Day 1, so that’s the version I did. For the poolish, I used bread flour. For the rest of the flour, I used All Purpose flour.

Focaccia Poolish

Focaccia Poolish

Bake Day: I mixed everything by hand. It was a very loose dough! I mixed the dough in the bowl using my hand like a dough hook for about 5 minutes. Frankly, it was too hot to keep it up, although I really felt the dough needed more development. I did some ‘slap and folds’ on the counter, but the dough was so slack, I’m not sure it was that effective. Somewhere in here, I realized I’d forgotten to add garlic to the Herb Oil!! Can’t make this without garlic in the oil! So pressed a couple of cloves and added them to the oil. An hour of steeping is better than nothing!

Kneaded Dough

Kneaded dough before Stretch and Folds

I decided to carry on with the dough and see how it went. After 30 minutes, I did a stretch and fold. And another in another 30 minutes. Then dusted and covered the dough to rise.

For the pan, all I had was a 10″ x 15″ stone pan. As the dough was going to have to rise in the pan, the pan was not going to have a chance to pre-heat. And since the focaccia was only going to be in the oven a short time, I was concerned that the bottom of the focaccia wasn’t going to have a chance to brown. (Turns out this was correct – the bottom of the focaccia didn’t brown.) So, I lined the pan with parchment and oiled it. Because the pan was smaller than the one recommended, I cut off about 1/3 of the dough and put that in the freezer for some future pizza.

Final Stretch & Fold

Final Stretch & Fold completed

After letting the dough rise, I moved it to the pan, spread Herb Oil on the top and dimpled it to spread it as much as it would. Hmm, not enough spread. I let it rest for 15 minutes, and eased it out some more. Repeated int another 15 minutes. It mostly work. The corners were a little sparse, but it was good enough. Added a bit more herb oil. All told, I probably used about 1/3 cup of the oil all together.

Focaccia Panning

Letting the dough relax so it can be eased out to fill the pan.

After heating the oven, I popped the focaccia in there. The kitchen started smelling like a pizza joint a few minutes later! I baked the bread for about 20 minutes.  wanted it to be nice and toasty on top. I had to hope that the bottom was going to toast. It didn’t. Oh well!


The baked Focaccia

The flavor was very good. The crumb was ok. I was hoping for a more open crumb, but I’ll blame that on the pan. Yeah, that sounds good!  Pics are below.



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Casatiello: BBA #5

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Brioche: BBA #4

This week is Brioche, which I’ve never made before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten it. Again, there are three choices to choose from:

  • Rich Man’s Brioche (over 70% butter as a percentage of the flour)
  • Middle Class Brioche (about 50% butter as a % of the flour)
  • Poor Man’s Brioche (about 23% butter)


I made the Middle Class Brioche. And I split the dough into some for Petites Brioches à Tête, and some for a loaf. I decided to make a cinnamon swirl out of the loaf dough. And that cinnamon swirl was some of the best cinnamon swirl bread I’ve ever had!

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