Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 15th Bread Braid with HBin5

It is the start of our Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day assignments! We were to do a full Master Recipe on Pages 53-59. With that dough we were to make
1 "regular" loaf,
1 Epi or Wreath shaped bread ( pgs 71-73), &
1 batch of crackers (pgs 233-234).
We can make substitutions, but need to share that with the group in our blogs.
The first substitution I made was swapping the measurements of the white whole wheat flour for the all purpose flour. As I have mentioned before in my blogs, Ken doesn't like whole wheat, in fact he equates it to sandpaper! So unless I don't plan to give him any of the bread I lighten up on the whole wheat. I used:
2 c of WWW( white whole wheat) and 2 c of WW (whole wheat),
3 and 1/2 c AP (all purpose) flours.
I also increased the kosher salt from 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp,
added 1/4 honey.
I'm anxious to see how everyone did, especially with their crackers!
For the regular loaf I flattened out my dough and sprinkled it with a cinnamon and splenda mixture, and cran raisins. Then I rolled it up like a log, pinched the seam and ends to seal them and set them in a loaf pan to rise. That loaf came out looking great as you can see in the picture below and best of all Ken loves it! Matter of fact he ate 4 slices and didn't know it had whole wheat in it! LOL.

Next I tackled the Epi. While this is a shape to make me sigh with delight, I had not attempted it previously. Being a bit nervous about it, I looked up the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day website to see if they had more pictures on how to do it. I wasn't seeing any that really helped so next I viewed a video on YouTube to get a better idea of how it's done. Then I made my basic baguette shape as seen below.

I have had problems before with my baguettes spreading too much, even when making the envelope shape first. Usually I flatten out the dough and then roll it tightly which works better. But this time I decided to try supporting the sides like I've seen in the King Arthur Baking book that I have. In KAB book they show that the shape is formed by placing the formed dough onto a floured towel that has a stiffness to it, then folding a section of the towel up on each side to support the baguette. I didn't have any of that material type towel, so I used a rolling pin on one side and my loaf pan (with the cran-raisin dough in it) on the other side.

Once the dough rose enough I made the scissor cuts at a very shallow angle as the instructions say and the video showed. I was a little concerned that the shape wouldn't come out right, so reshaped a few ends with my fingers. Just before baking I sprinkled sesame seeds and poppy seads on one of the loaves, but left the other plain just to see how they came out.

I was extremely pleased with the results! The only thing I would say is the next time I make them I will make the baguette bigger, I'd like to have all loaves with full size "leaf-buns" instead of half size.

Finally I started on the crackers. I've made crackers many times, but usually with dough that is stiffer. First I tried rolling out the dough on the floured counter. I sprinkled the dough with Penzey's Southwest seasoning. When I went to remove the cracker sections of dough I ran into a problem. The dough stretched completely out of shape! I tried removing the dough with the dough scraper and that was even worse.

I was having more and more trouble with losing the shapes, so I finally just scraped up all the dough and kneaded it together for a minute. I formed it into a round boule and flattened it out. Then I sprinkled it with a four cheese Mexican cheese blend, rolled it into a log and set it aside to rise. When baked it came out very good with just enough flavor from the Penzey's Southwest seasoning!

I tried once more with the crackers. This time I rolled out the dough onto a silicon mat, sprinkled the same seasoning on and then using my dough scraper I cut it into squares. I transferred the entire mat into the oven and placed it on my baking stone. I had rolled the dough as thin as I could and docked it all over with a fork, but you can see how the crackers still puffed up. I found that most of the "crackers" were not to my liking. They were too puffed up. Even after cooling for 1/2 day I found I still didn't like the puffiness and ended up throwing half the batch out and only keeping the really crisp ones.

As I've stated before, I love to share my baking and cooking with friends, neighbors and associates. In this case I took down the biggest loaf of Epi to Carla. She works at our favorite Batteries Plus and has helped us with batteries on a number of our techy devices. Most recently she had one of the guys replace the batteries in my Scooba. While talking to her that time I explained I really needed the Scooba working to help clean the kitchen floor after my baking exploits. We talked about breads and I found out that Carla loves whole wheat bread! To make sure the Scooba worked before I picked it up, they ran it over part of the floor in the shop. That was all it took to convince her she should get one for her mother in the near future!

She loved the Epi as you can see by her smile in the picture!


  1. That was my fear with the crackers, as well, and as I was running out of time, I made pretzels instead. I agree with you about the epi - I'll make it again, but will probably make it twice the size! Great job - so pretty!

  2. Your breads look delicious! I like the combinations you chose. I bet Carla did like the Epi. That was very nice!

  3. I love how you made a loaf of sweet and one savory. I hadn't even considered doing something sweet, and yours looks like it was very tasty.

  4. Love the cheese stuffed bread! Great idea to sprinkle the cheese and then just roll it up and it baked wonderfully!

  5. I love the stuffed loaf with cheese. I bet that was delicious. Your epi looks really good too!

  6. That is so great of you to share your bread with people.

  7. Now I'm sad I didnt make an epi. I'm liking that cheese bread alot too. Great job on everything!

  8. Your epi turned out great! I had some trouble with the crackers when I transferred them also. I needed to use much more flour to keep then from sticking and stretching.

  9. Wow you sure did a great job and lots of variety!!! I haven't made a epi yet but love your idea of a fuller one. Thanks for the tip...

  10. oh my gosh! this looks FANTASTIC!!! I MUST try the cheese one!!!

  11. were busy!! everything looks so good. I too had issues with the crackers. they either puffed up and were dough like or they were too crispy. I think my favorite here is your cheese boule! YUM!

  12. your epi turned out beautiful! and i LOVE that cheese bread, great idea!

  13. Great job with the epi! Looks so pretty! I bet your friend was excited to receive it. I had issues with the crackers, too. They weren't as crisp as I would have liked.

  14. Hi Ezzzie,

    My hubby would love that cinnamon loaf!

    I had the same experience with the crackers.

  15. Your epi is beautiful. I didn't have luck with the crackers. The trash can "ate" them!

  16. All of your bread looks great! Beautiful!

  17. You got so creative with your breads, Ezzie! Great way to experiment with the dough.