Sunday, April 26, 2009

Secret Spice Rub

Well, not so secret. From Bruce Aidells, famous for poultry sausage, this one is on the back of the Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt box. Like I said, not so secret.
  • 1/3 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground fennel
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
Combine ingredients in jar. Seal and shake well. Store for up to 3 months.

Good for meats or poultry.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Grandma's Bread #11

#10 was the best so far (perfect texture, great flavor), so hopefully #11 will be at least as good. I'm doubling the recipe this time, because uncle Gus wants some for easter.

Grandma's Bread #11 - April 10, 2009

Makes 2 loaves

1-1/4 cups water
2 cups buttermilk
1-1/3 cup rye flour

6-1/4 cup AP wheat flour
2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup honey
3-1/2 + 1/8 tsp table salt

1. Over medium-low heat, warm buttermilk and water, stirring occasionally, just until it curdles and remove from heat. Stir in all rye flour, cover tightly and leave at room temperature overnight (at least 12 hours).

2. Into dough mixture, add white flour, yeast, honey. Mix on speed "2" for 2 minutes, until the dough is uniform. It will look like a thick, uniform batter at this point. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. NOW ADD THE SALT ALL AT ONCE. Mix using dough hook (or beater attachment) set to "2" (low speed). You may need to clean the dough hook once in a while. Dough will be very thick and sticky; it will never clear the sides of the bowl, more like a thick wet will not stop sticking! This is why the stand mixer is so handy. Total kneading time is 7 minutes. You will see some gluten strands forming in the dough towards the end.

6. Grease two bread pans with butter, and dust them with white flour. Using a wooden spoon or stiff bowl scraper, turn out the sticky dough onto a very well floured board. Form into a single round; dough will be very soft but with a well-floured board, won't be very sticky and will form a smooth surface. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces, shape dough into loaves (they will feel pretty soft, not quite baby's bottom but close) and place in bread pans. Press down on dough to get loaf to expand across the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and towel, and leave in warm place to rise for 2.5 hours.

7. Cover tightly with oiled plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or 7-8 hours (maximum of 24 hours).

8. Cover loaves with a towel, and let rise again at room temp (~74F) for 2 hours.

9. Preheat oven to 450, adjust racks to put bread on 2nd to lowest rack, and put an empty broiler pan at the bottom. Slash loaves down the center with a serrated knife or a sharp razor blade, and place bread pans on rack in the oven. Add 1 cup hot water to pan to steam and close door. Bake at 450 for 40 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped; they will look dark chocolate brown (almost black!) on top. Alternately, should be done somewhere around 190-210 degrees.

10. Take bread from oven, remove from pans, and brush tops with butter. Let cool on rack, uncovered, for at least 30 min; will still be warm 2 hours later.

11. Store in large Ziploc freezer bags when cool; this will help promote a soft crust.


I baked 4 loaves using this recipe; however, 2 loaves skipped steps 7-8; the remaining two followed the recipe exactly.

The ones that skipped 7-8 (i.e., no refrigerated proofing) ended up with a result exactly like #10, but the bottom crust didn't brown as much. The rise, crumb, etc. were, for all intents and purposes, the same. Good oven spring, good flavor, good crumb, no sogginess.

The ones that I followed steps 7-8 were a whole different animal. I refrigerated for 24 hours, let rise again for 2 hours after coming out of the fridge. They didn't rise that much, but the texture and flavor was totally different: more mellow flavor; larger holes and better chew (more like my sourdough); not as much oven spring (seem to have barely risen); darker crust all around (top+bottom); crust was more thin and "crackery" like my best sourdough. I think I may like this one even better than the full #11, but it's not traditional.

Here's a photo, overnight #11 is LEFT, short rise is RIGHT:

Notes/Next time:
  • Doubling the recipe doesn't work with a standard mixer; you have to do 2 separate batches. Split the buttermilk mixture into 2 separate containers; knead separately.