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What are your favorite bread recipes?

I have a wonderful boule bread recipe that I bake all the time. My family loves it and I enjoy the ease of making it. I'd like to expand my horizons as I am feeling the seasons change here in the Berkshires and I'm fantasizing about baking bread throughout fall and winter. I'm curious to learn new recipes that I might incorporate to my baking repertoire. Thank you!

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

asked 3 months ago
13 answers 937 views
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cv
added 3 months ago

Disclaimer: I am not a bread baker (apart from the occasional pizza).

Based on my travels, I can honestly say that most of my favorite breads were in Europe: specifically France, Germany, and Italy (yes, I know other countries, not just in Europe produce great breads).

Pain Poilane (a levain-style loaf) is famous in Paris and while I've found some commercial loaves in the USA that are close, they were never the same.

For sure, part of this is due to the fact that Europeans are using different flours than what American bread bakers use.

The Germans in particular have a fair number of loaves that have some percentage of rye flour. On one of my recent trips, I was in a museum bookshop and found some cookbooks, including some fabulous bread baking books. Unfortunately, I do not read German nor do I bake my bread (as mentioned earlier), so I did not purchase any of these books.

Of course, the Italians have a long tradition of bread baking. If I recall correctly, some bread loaves were found inside the ovens at the ruins of Pompeii. The baking tradition in Italy is so deep that on any given day of the year, it's probably some saint's feast day and some town in Italy is probably baking some special bread or (more likely) pastry specific to that holiday, a baked good that is that town's speciality.

I suggest you look beyond American borders for your inspirations. There's ***WAY*** more great bread abroad.

As I am not a baker, it'll be up to you to find recipes then source the proper ingredients (especially the flour). There are some Pain Poilane recipes on the Internet, some addressing the flour issue.

If I wanted to bake bread, the first loaf I would try to master would be Pain Poilane. The second would probably be one of the unsalted Tuscan breads (since they are pretty much impossible to find commercially in the USA). Then I would try some of the German breads. Oh, I would try to master the pretzel.

For an American bread, I would try to master the buttermilk biscuit. No recipe for that, just flour, buttermilk, and lard.

Good luck.

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cv
added 3 months ago

Oh, how could I forget the bagel? You can't get a really good bagel here in California, don't know what the problem is.

Don't know if you can find good bagels in the Berkshires, but you definitely cannot here on the SF Peninsula.

Appalling.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 3 months ago

I really love the way this bread turned out. I made a rather large loaf to serve with steamed clams and then for the next three days, I just pinched off enough dough to make enough bread for two.

https://food52.com/recipes...

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Trena Heinrich

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

added 3 months ago

Thank you Susan! This is very similar to the recipe for boule bread that I make in regular rotation. I agree it is delicious and a keeper for sure.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Mmmm, fresh bread!

My favourite is sourdough.
It's basically a variation on Nigella Lawson's recipe in her Domestic Goddess book... only I leave out the commercial yeast and let it rise longer. It's so forgiving if I forget about it for an hour or four, it's just there waiting for me.

Another great thing about it is that if cooled properly, it stays good on the counter for about two weeks (starting to get stale at about 10 days, moldy sometime after day 14). All it contains is flour, water and salt (plus more flour and water for the starter).

Although, now I see the one that Susan links to, I think I might just have to try that.

Where is your boule recipe from? Sounds delicious.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

It's probably online somewhere.
If you can't find it, your local library should have that book (and if they don't, then they should and feel free to tell them I said so). But be warned, once you borrow it from the library, you'll probably want your own copy.

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Trena Heinrich

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

added 3 months ago

Sourdough sounds delicious! I will search for Nigella Lawson's sourdough recipe on-line, thank you. Here's the boule recipe that I've used for years. http://www.artisanbreadinfive...

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Nancy

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added 3 months ago

Two wonderful breads in my usual rotation -
refrigerator raised potato bread from James Beard...the long rise at cool temp gives great texture, crumb. And the mashed potatoes in the dough add moisture.
Molly Yeh's challah gone a wry. Moist, delicious, easy. If you like rye bread, this is a winner.

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added 3 months ago

I am a southerner married to a Massachusetts Yankee, so I know a bit about the flavors y'all lean toward, so I say, anadama bread.

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added 3 months ago

One thing you might consider at this point is varying off the recipe you're comfortable with- small things like variations in the amount of hydration, amount and method of kneading, rising times and temperatures, as well as differences in types of flour, the shape it's baked in, temperature, steam/no steam- all kinds of stuff will make a difference in the final product, and it's hard to screw up completely; at the worst you can probably make bread crumbs from it. And you may get to where you don't feel the need for a recipe..

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added 3 months ago

My main everyday breads are 1) a variant of the Jim Lahey formula/method popularized by Mark Bittman and 2) Peter Reinhart's struan. The struan is enriched with buttermilk and honey and has oats, cornmeal, and other grains (wheat bran, cooked brown rice, bulgur, etc.) in a wheat-flour dough. It's an easy dough to work with, easily adapted to other cooked or soaked grains, and makes really exceptional toast. There are several slightly different recipes in Reinhart's books and paraphrases/adaptations of them online. Here's one:

http://www.thefreshloaf...

You can substitute whole wheat flour for part of the bread flour (I generally use 1/3 WW to 2/3 bread flour), in which case you'll need another ounce or so of liquid.

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added 3 months ago

I love that Peter Reinhart recipe; I second that recommendation! I make King Arthur Flour's Classic Sandwich Bread on a regular basis. I usually do half whole wheat.

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Trena Heinrich

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

added 3 months ago

Thank you, this looks delicious! I regularly bake a variant of the Jim Lahey bread too, however, I'm ready to learn some new recipes. I really appreciate you sharing one of your favorites with me.