Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fresh Bread and Pie

I tried Reinheart's soft sandwich bread out of Artisan Bread Everyday yesterday, and I have to say that I was very pleased with the results. The dough is rather easy to make and took me only 20 minutes the night before to mix up. The recipe makes two loaves, and since there are only the two of us, I debated cutting the recipe in half. I decided on making the full recipe and trying to freeze half of it after the overnight fermentation. I will let you know the results of this experiment when I need to make sandwich bread again in the coming weeks. The dough the next day was velvety and soft feeling. It was just a great feeling dough.

I segmented into the two loaves, rounded one and placed it into the oiled zipper bag and froze it just like I have done with the lean bread from this book. The other loaf was shaped, placed into the greased tin and left to rise for two and a half hours. I slipped the risen loaf into the oven for 40 minutes, the shortest cook time, and found this beautiful golden brown bread. The crust on the top was just right. I have to say that the gold touch pans from Williams-Sonoma really do a wonderful job with bread and the crispness of the crust around the full loaf.

When I cut it open, I found this beautiful crumb with just the right amount of bubbles in the dough for lightness. It is a more dense bread than store bought to be sure, but it is also velvety and moist. The texture is soft yet firm enough that it does not collapse into a compressed mess. What did I put on this too too decedent bread? Why peanut butter and homemade jelly of course! I know, it seems so unclassy for this royal sandwich bread, but it was what I was craving. Now to just find myself a perfect bread box, so my bread can last a bit longer. Currently it is wrapped up in waxed paper in an attempt to keep it decent for the next few days. I had it for toast this morning, and while the interior is still wonderful, the crust is starting to lose a bit of its crunch.

After bread baking, I went on a quest to find more lemons as I had run out. I needed them to start the next project, apple pie filling. I processed more apples into the dehydrator and then I was off to the races getting the pie filling made. I have to recommend the v slicer or a mandolin if you are thinking of doing apple pie filling or dehydrating mass quantities of apple slices. It really does make fast work out of the slicing, and it also ensures that your slices are all the same perfect size.

Once the slices were treated against browning, they had to be blanched for a little bit to facilitate the canning process by bringing them to a hot temperature. Next the goopy filling that goes between the apple slices was made. I followed the recipe from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and I think this is another winner out of that book. The Clear Jel really makes it all work well. After the goop was made, in went the apple slices and a quick boil was reached. Then packing them into the jars and into the canner for processing.

I found that this recipe ran a bit short on its estimate of yield. I only got five full pints and a scant sixth when the recipe says it makes seven pints. Perhaps my half circle slices were too large to measure out the 12 cups as exactly as they did in the recipe. No matter as I am sure this will not be my only batch of apple pie filling this year. I am sure once we go apple and grape picking this fall that more will be made.

I can my pie filling into pints rather than quarts because a quart perfectly fills our mini pie pan. This pie was made last night out of the scant pint that was left over. It had just too much air space in the jar to reasonably store it, so I used it right away! Hey, no one is complaining here!

I had some requests for the apple jelly and apple butter recipes that I used for yesterday's blog posting. I will post them tomorrow in the blog. Check back to get those recipes then. Today is a really busy day as it is the first day back for me at 826 Valencia for after school tutoring. I still have some canning I am going to try to get done before I leave for that as well as getting my dance class clothing ready and the house straightened up a bit. I promise wholeheartedly to post those recipes tomorrow.

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