Family Italian by John Lanzafame


  • Full Title : Family Italian
  • Autor: John Lanzafame
  • Print Length: 
  • Publisher: Murdoch Books Pty Limited
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741965071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741965070
  • Download File Format: epub

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Book by Lanzafame, John

 

Book by Lanzafame, John

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Keywords

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ou to handle the dough slightly differently than we’ve had you do in the past, so Tips and Techniques (Chapter 4) and Ingredients (Chapter 2) are bigger and better than ever before.

We’ve incorporated some of our readers’ frequently asked questions that kept popping up on the website. All of the dough recipes are written with weight equivalents in addition to cup-measures for flour and other ingredients. The new electronic scales have really simplified weighing for folks who want to do it. It’s a timesaver, yields more consistent results, and there is no need to wash the measuring cups. And the dough recipes are set up so readers can customize the salt to their own palates.

Our goal in all of our Bread in Five Minutes a Day books has been to help home bakers make great daily breads and sweets but still have a life outside the kitchen. To all of you who helped us make this series happen, thank you. Together we’ve started a revolution—opening up hundreds of thousands of homes to the satisfaction and delights of homemade bread. And most important, we’ve had fun.

We want you to have fun baking, too. If you worry about the bread, it won’t taste as good. Happy Holidays, or just Tuesday!

1

INTRODUCTION

The Secret to Making Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Refrigerating Pre-Mixed Homemade Dough

The handmade bread that was available all over the country many generations ago wasn’t a rarefied delicacy. Everyone knew what it was and took it for granted. It was not a stylish addition to affluent lifestyles; it was a simple comfort food brought here by modest immigrants. Recipes were shared by grandmothers and grandfathers from one generation to the next. In the 1950s, that tradition was replaced by packaged breads that were quick and more convenient but lacked any flavor and the shared tradition of making bread from scratch.

Great breads, handmade by artisans, were still available, but they’d become part of the serious (and seriously expensive) food phenomenon that had swept the country. The bread bakery was no longer on every corner—now it was a destination. And nobody’s grandmother would ever have paid six dollars for a loaf of bread.

So we decided to do something about it. When Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day came out in 2007, it was our attempt to help people re-create the great ethnic and American breads of years past, in their own homes, without investing serious time in the process. Using our straightforward, fast, and easy recipes, anyone will be able to create artisan bread and pastry at home with minimal equipment.

But who has time to make bread every day? After years of experimentation, it turns out that we do, and with a method as fast as ours, you can too. We solved the time problem and produced top-quality artisan loaves without a bread machine. We worked out the master recipes during busy years of career transition and starting families (our now-adult kids delight in the pleasures of home-baked bread). Our lightning-fast method lets us find the time to bake great bread every day. We developed this method to recapture the daily artisan-bread experience without further crunching our limited time—and it works!

Traditional breads made the old-fashioned way need a lot of attention; they must be kneaded until resilient, set to rise, punched down, and allowed to rise again. Very few busy people can go through this every day, if ever. Even if your friends are all food fanatics, when was the last time you had homemade bread at a dinner party?

So we went to work. Over the years, we figured out how to subtract the various steps that make the classic technique so time-consuming, and identified a few that couldn’t be omitted. It all came down to one fortuitous discovery:

Pre-mixed, pre-risen, high-moisture dough keeps well in the refrigerator.

This is the linchpin of all our Bread in Five Minutes a Day books. By pre-mixing high-moisture dough (without kneading) and then storing it, we’ve made daily bread baking an easy activity; the only steps you do every day are shaping and baking. Other books have considered refrigerating dough, but only for a few days. Many others have omitted the kneading step. But none has tested the capacity of wet dough to be long-lived in your refrigerator. When dough is mixed with adequate liquid (this dough is wetter than most you may have worked with), it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days (or be frozen for even longer). And kneading this kind of dough adds little to the overall product; you just don’t have to do it. In fact, overhandling many of our stored dough recipes can limit the volume and rise that you get with our method. Having said that, in this book, you will see the word “knead” come up, but we promise it’s just for a few seconds, nothing laborious. With our egg and butter doughs, it gives the gluten more strength and encouragement to be “turned” a few times before shaping, which results in a lighter and higher loaf. Since many of these holiday breads are filled will all kinds of tasty additions, it is nice to have the extra lift and lightness. That, in a nutshell, is how you make artisan breads with only five minutes a day of active effort. In this book, there are some breads that take a few more minutes to achieve the full beauty of their traditional shapes, but they’re worth it.

A one- or two-week supply of dough is made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Measuring and mixing the dough takes less than fifteen minutes. Kneading, at least in the mixing process, as we’ve said, is not necessary. Every day, cut off a hunk of dough from the storage container and briefly shape it without kneading. Allow it to rest briefly on the counter, and then toss it in the oven. We don’t count the rest time (twenty minutes or more depending on the recipe) or baking time (usually about thirty minutes) in our five-minute-a-day calculation, since you can be doing something else while that’s happening. If you bake after dinner, the bread will stay fresh for use the next day (higher-moisture breads stay fresh longer), but the method is so convenient that you probably will find you can cut off some dough and bake a loaf every morning before your day starts (especially if you make flatbreads like pita).

Using high-moisture, pre-mixed, pre-risen dough makes most of the difficult, time-consuming, and demanding steps in traditional bread baking completely superfluous:

1. You don’t need to make dough every day to have fresh bread every day: Stored dough makes wonderful fresh loaves. Only the shaping and baking steps are done daily; the rest has been done in advance.

2. It doesn’t matter how you mix the dry and wet ingredients together: So long as the mixture is uniform, without any dry lumps of flour, it makes no difference whether you use a spoon, a Danish dough whisk, or a heavy-duty stand mixer. Choose based on your own convenience.

3. You don’t need to “proof” yeast: Traditional recipes require that yeast be dissolved in water with a little sugar and allowed to sit for five minutes to prove that bubbles can form and the yeast is alive. But modern yeast simply doesn’t fail if used before its expiration date and the baker remembers to use lukewarm, not hot, water. The high water content in our doughs further ensures that the yeast will fully hydrate and activate without a proofing step. Further storage gives it plenty of time to fully ferment the dough—our approach doesn’t need the head start.

4. The dough isn’t kneaded: It can be mixed and stored in the same large, lidded plastic container. No wooden board is required. There should be only one vessel to wash, plus a spoon (or a mixer). You’ll never tell the difference between breads made with kneaded and unkneaded high-moisture dough, so long as you mix to a basically uniform consistency. In our method, a very quick “cloaking and shaping” step substitutes for kneading (see Chapter 5, step 4) .

WHAT WE DON’T HAVE TO DO: STEPS FROM TRADITIONAL ARTISAN BAKING THAT WE OMITTED

1. Mix a new batch of dough every time we want to make bread.

2. “Proof” yeast.

3. Knead dough.

4. Rest and rise the loaves in a draft-free location—it doesn’t matter!

5. Fuss over doubling or tripling of dough volume.

6. Punch down and re-rise: Never punch down stored dough!

7. Poke rising loaves to be sure they’ve “proofed” by leaving indentations.

Now you know why it only takes five minutes a day, not including resting and baking time.

Given these simple principles, anyone can make artisan bread at home. We’ll talk about what you’ll need in Chapters 2 (Ingredients) and 3 (Equipment). You don’t need a professional baker’s kitchen. In Chapter 4, you’ll learn the tips and techniques that we’ve taken years to accumulate. Then, in Chapter 5, we’ll lay out the basics of our method, applying them to simple white dough and several delicious variations. Chapter 5’s master recipe is the model for the rest of our recipes. We suggest you read it first and bake some of its breads before trying anything else. You won’t regret it. And if you want more information, we’re on the Web at BreadIn5.com, where you’ll find instructional text, photographs, videos, and a community of other five-minute bakers. Other easy ways to keep in touch: follow us on Instagram at @Breadin5, Twitter at @ArtisanBreadin5, on Facebook at @BreadIn5, on Pinterest at BreadIn5, or on our YouTube channel, BreadIn5.

2

INGREDIENTS

Here’s a very practical guide to the ingredients we use to produce artisan loaves.

Flours and Grains

ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: This is the staple ingredient for most of the recipes in this book. All-purpose flour is a great choice for white flour because of its medium protein content. Most of the protein in it is highly elastic gluten, which allows bread dough to trap the carbon dioxide gas produced by yeast. Without gluten, bread wouldn’t rise. That’s why flours that contain only minimal gluten (like rye) need to be mixed with wheat flour to make a successful loaf. Traditional bread recipes stress the need to develop gluten through kneading, which turns out not to be essential if you make a wet dough.

With a protein content of about 10 percent in most national brands, all-purpose flour will have adequate gluten to create a satisfying “chew” and structure in the bread. Gluten is strengthened when the proteins align themselves into strands after water is added. This creates a network that traps gas bubbles and creates an airy interior crumb. These lined-up strands can be formed in two ways:

The dough can be kneaded: Not the way we like to spend our time. OR…

By using lots of water: The gluten strands become mobile enough to align themselves.

So creating a wet dough is the basis for all no-knead methods. It’s easy to consistently achieve this moisture level with U.S. all-purpose flour. We tested our recipes with Gold Medal brand all-purpose, but most standard supermarket all-purpose products will give similar results.

We prefer unbleached flours for their natural creamy color, as well as their lack of unnecessary chemicals.

FLOUR PROTEINS: Some all-purpose flours, such as King Arthur, Dakota Maid, and most Canadian all-purpose flours, have more protein—about 11.5 percent, rather than 10 percent. They work beautifully in the recipes in this book; although the dough may be drier than with Gold Medal all-purpose flour, it doesn’t make a big enough difference to matter.

Some flours have too little protein to make successful high-moisture dough—stay away from cake flour and pastry flour (around 8 percent protein). The dough just won’t have the structure to form a nice loaf of bread.

BREAD FLOUR: This white flour has about 12 percent protein. For some of the breads, we wanted even more structure to hold their decorative shape, so we recommend using this “strong” flour.

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR: Whole wheat flour contains the germ and bran of wheat, both of which are healthful and tasty. Together they add a slightly bitter, nutty flavor to bread that most people enjoy. The naturally occurring oils in wheat germ prevent formation of a crackling crust, so you’re going for a different type of loaf when you start increasing the proportion of whole wheat flour. In general, you can use any kind of whole wheat flour that’s available to you.

WHITE WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR: White whole wheat flour is 100 percent whole grain, but it’s ground from a white wheat berry rather than the usual “red” one. It’s pale-colored and mild-tasting, but it packs the same nutrition as regular whole wheat. It measures like regular whole wheat and can be used as a substitute for it. But don’t expect it to taste like white flour and don’t try to substitute it 1:1 for all-purpose or you’ll get a dry, dense dough that won’t store well at all.

STORING WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR: Oils in whole wheat flour can go rancid if stored for long periods at room temperature. So if you don’t use it often, store it in an airtight container in the freezer.

RYE FLOUR: In U.S. supermarkets, choices are usually limited to the high-bran high-protein varieties, like Hodgson Mill Stone-Ground Whole Grain Rye and Bob’s Red Mill Organic Stone-Ground Rye Flour. Whichever kind of rye you use, it must be paired with wheat flour, because it has little gluten and won’t rise well on its own.

SEMOLINA FLOUR: Semolina is a major component of some Italian and Middle Eastern breads, where it lends a beautiful yellow color and spectacular winey-sweet flavor. The best semolina for bread is the finely ground “durum” flour. It is available from Bob’s Red Mill (in groceries or online), or from mail-order sources like King Arthur Flour (see Sources). If you use flour labeled as “semolina” (commonly found in South Asian groceries), you’ll find that it’s usually a coarser grind and needs to be decreased in the recipes or the result can be an overly dry dough.

ORGANIC FLOURS: We don’t detect flavor or texture differences with organic flour, but if you like organic products, by all means use them (we often do). They’re not required, and they certainly cost more. One reason some people take up the bread-baking hobby is to be able to eat organic bread every day, as it is usually unavailable commercially or is prohibitively expensive. There are now a number of organic flour brands available in the supermarket, but the best selection remains at your local organic food co-op, where you can buy it in bulk.

POTATO FLOUR: Cooked and then dehydrated potatoes are ground to a powder to produce flour that helps create bread that has a smooth crumb and stays fresher longer. This flour should not be confused with potato starch, which is a much-whiter powder and has different baking and nutritional properties.

RICE FLOUR: White rice flour is used for its fine texture and its flavor. You’ll want to avoid using glutinous rice flour, which has different baking properties.

VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN (sometimes called “wheat gluten flour”): You can boost the strength, stretch, and structure of the whole wheat dough by adding this powdered extract of the wheat’s endosperm. Whole grain flours have more germ and bran, but less gluten, so we use one or two teaspoons vital wheat gluten per cup of whole grain flour in some of our breads to improve its performance and increase the storage life of the dough.

Water

Throughout the book, we call for lukewarm water. This means water that feels just a little warm to the touch; if you measured it with a thermometer, it would be no higher than 100°F (38°C). The truth is, we never use a thermometer and we’ve never had a yeast failure due to excessive temperature—but it can happen, so be careful.

About water sources: We find that the flavors of wheat and yeast overwhelm the contribution of water to bread’s flavor, so we use ordinary tap water run through a home water filter, but that’s only because it’s what we drink at home. Assuming your own tap water tastes good enough to drink, use it filtered or unfiltered; we can’t tell the difference in finished bread.

Eggs

All of the recipes in the book were tested with large eggs. The most important thing to know about the eggs is that they should be room temperature when mixed into your dough, or they will chill your dough and the rising time will need to be increased. If your eggs are not room temperature when you go to mix your dough, just stick them (in the shell) in a bowl of very warm (you should still be comfortable touching it) water for about 10 minutes.

Dairy and Nondairy Substitutes

MILK: We typically use whole milk in these doughs, because its added fat lends a richness to the bread. Lower-fat milks will also work. You can also substitute nondairy milk for any of the recipes (rice, almond, coconut, and soy). We recommend going with an unsweetened variety, since many of these breads are already sweet. If you can’t find an unsweetened milk substitute, just adjust the sweetener in the recipe by a tablespoon or two, depending on the milk.

SOFT CHEESE: Some of our European breads call for soft cheeses called quark and farmer’s cheese. They are considered “curd cheese,” like a cross between cottage cheese and cream cheese. If you can’t find quark or farmer’s cheese (which are sometimes hiding in the dairy case of your grocer), you can use cream cheese, whole milk ricotta, or even a combination of the two.

Fats

BUTTER: Butter is delicious. It is a staple in these breads. We tested the recipes with national brands that are found across the country, but if you can get your hands on a locally made butter, by all means use it. We always call for unsalted butter so that you can control the saltiness of your recipe. If you want to use a butter substitute, just be sure it is suitable for substituting one-for-one with butter. The flavor may be slightly different, but we’ve had good results with some butter substitutes.

COCONUT OIL: Though vegetable-based, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so melt it in a microwave or double boiler before using, just like butter. It works well as a substitute for other oils or butter in our recipes, and like other vegetable oils, it’s completely vegan. It lends a mild coconut flavor to enriched breads; our taste testers loved it.

GHEE: Ghee is butter that has been clarified and slightly toasted. It is a staple in Indian kitchens because of its wonderful flavor. Since the heat-sensitive milk solids are toasted and then strained off, ghee can be heated to a much higher temperature than regular butter. It can be found in many South Asian markets, but we prefer to make our own. The following recipe will yield 12 ounces (about 1⅔ cups): Melt 1 pound of unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. When it has completely melted, bring it to a boil and continue until it is frothy. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently, until the milk solids have settled to the bottom of the pot and are golden brown. Strain the ghee through a fine-mesh sieve. Allow it to cool completely, cover, and refrigerate. The ghee will last in the refrigerator for a month.

OILS: Vegetable oil—either blends or pure products made from soybean, safflower, sunflower, peanuts, canola, or corn—are rich in polyunsaturated fat. All work well in our recipes, and they’re nice, reasonably priced options. They don’t impart any particular flavor to baked breads.

Yeast

Use whatever yeast is readily available; with our approach you just won’t be able to tell the difference between the various national brands of yeast (though we tested our recipes with Red Star yeast), nor between packages labeled “granulated,” “active dry,” “instant,” “quick-rise,” or “bread machine.” Fresh cake yeast works fine as well (though you will have to increase the ye

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