Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mary and Vincent's Bread

©2014 John Houser III
Today is a snowy day in Baltimore and I have the day off. I was making cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for my wife and son when I ran across a recipe in A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price for herb bread that looked intriguing. The original thing that caught my eye was that the bread called for powdered ginger to be mixed in with dough ingredients but that it also called for "powdered chicken stock" (AKA chicken bouillon) which basically replaces the regular salt with a flavored salt. 

I was so enamored with the recipe that I immediately started on the bread (not to worry, my wife and kid were out playing and wouldn't be back for a while, they got their soup and sandwiches when they came in from the cold).

 I had to adjust the recipe to fit what I had in my pantry because I do not have powdered chicken stock but I do have chicken stock base with is reduced down chicken stock that when mixed with water becomes a descent substitute fro real chicken stock. I unashamedly use the stuff and fuck you for judging me. 

©2014 John Houser III
I also had to figure out a weight for the flour because using "3 cups" of flour will get you a different bread every time. The flour might be packed tighter of looser depending on how hard or light you scoop it so I picked a weight used for the recipe. Luckily for me (and you) it turned out a beautiful product. This way the recipe will be consistent every time it is baked. I also used bread pans that were lined with parchment paper for easier release (instead of greasing them). 

©2014 John Houser III
The resulting bread is a soft and luxurious loaf  that has a tight crumb, is great for sandwiches (I wish I'd have had it for the grilled cheeses) and has a faintly earthy and herb-y scent and flavor. The crust is even and thick with a fantastic crunch. Roast beef or smoked turkey would be perfect for it. 

I only have pictures of the final product because I never had any plans to put this recipe up but it was so damn easy, delicious and lovely that I felt the need to post it up. 

©2014 John Houser III

A slather of soft butter and a sprinkling of  Maldon salt and fresh ground black pepper made for a great snack. My son ate three large slices, crust and all (well.... he ate most of the crust). When I dipped the bread, just plainly buttered, into a big bowl of chili I wondered why I ever used cornbread. 


The recipe is after the jump. 

©2014 John Houser III

Rouxde Cooking School's version of Mary and Vincent Price's Herb Bread

Yield- Two loaves of bread

This recipe breaks into three component parts: a yeast mixture used for jump starting the yeast, a phase one of dough production and then a phase two. The way the recipe is originally written is sort of confusing so I thought that writing it out in three parts would make it  bit more manageable. 

Yeast Mixture

1/2 cup (4 ounces, 113.4 grams) lukewarm water (I used 95° F water)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 ounce (14 grams) active dry yeast

Phase one of dough production:

16 ounces, (453.6 grams) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
15 ounces (425.3 grams) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons chicken stock base

Phase two of dough production:

1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon dry summer savory
1 teaspoon dry rosemary
4 ounces (113.4 grams) softened butter
22 ounces (623.7 grams) all purpose flour

In a small bowl stir together the water, sugar, ground ginger and yeast. make sure that the sugar and the yeast have been completely dissolved. Set aside and star working on the phase one of dough production. It will start to get foamy while you work. Be sure to not let is overflow out of the bowl you put it in (as I've done dozens of times).

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a regular large bowl if you're doing this by hand) mix the water, sugar, flour and stock base. Using the dough hook attachment, stir on second speed until you have a thick slurry (use a spoon if doing this by hand). 

Add the yeast mixture to phase one of the dough production and mix to combine. 

With the mixer on second speed, add the thyme, summer savory, rosemary and butter. Slowly add in the flour and wait until the mixture is combined into a solid ball of dough. From this point continue to mix on second speed for eight minutes. If you are doing this by hand (you poor bastard) just mix everything with a spoon until it comes together and then kneed for ten minutes. Your dough should be elastic and supple feeling at the end. 

Form your dough into a ball and rub a little melted butter on the outside to coat it. I just smooshed a pat of butter between my hands (that's a technical term) and greased the outside of the ball with it. Return your dough ball to the bowl. 

Cover your bowl with a kitchen towel (nothing made of terry cloth) and let it sit in a warm spot for an hour. You dough will double in size. 

Punch down your dough and cut into two equal (by weight) dough balls. If you do not have a scale (and why wouldn't you) just eyeball it as best you can. 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Make sure you have one rack in the middle position and the other as low as you can get it. 

Shape your balls into loaves by flattening out your dough balls into long ovals and then folding each wing of the oval in on the main body (like swaddling a baby or wrapping a burrito in aluminum foil). Place each loaf into a lined (or greased) loaf pan, cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise again. They should have risen an inch or so over the loaf pan after about an hour. 

Place a metal pan with 16 ounces of  boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven. This is to create steam to let the bread rise better before it sets in the baking process. You can skip this step if you would like (I did not). 

Slice the tops of the loaves length-wise with a sharp knife or razor to help with expansion. 

Position the two bread pans on the middle rack and give equidistant space on all sides of the pans. 

Bake for 50 minutes; switching the pans after 25 minutes to promote even browning on all sides. 

Pull the pans out of the oven and remove the loaves. Place the loaves on a wire rack to cool. 

Eat as soon as you want. I let my loaves cool almost completely but they are still warm enough to melt butter. 



PRiley said...

Glad to see you posted a new recipe! I'm a fan of reading them, but, have to admit I'm too scared to try them. Ha!

Unknown said...

Yeah!! Cooking is very interesting. I am a chef and cooking from last 5 years. I cook many types of food every day. But even then, I try keep finding new online cooking recipes. I liked your cooking recipes also a lot.