Make the perfect breads, doughs and pastries with the updated King Arthur Baking Company cookbook

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THERE IS A COOKING cliché that I hate: Cooking is an art, but baking is a science. To quote my father after he was reminded to be careful with his language: It’s horse feathers.

King Arthur Baking Company cookbooks excel at blending art and science to teach a solid understanding of ingredients and cooking principles. Their latest book, the revised version “The King Arthur Baking Company All-Purpose Baker’s Companion,” reflects the team’s expertise on ingredients and techniques. They know home bakers are known for our on-the-fly ingredient substitutions, improvised measurements, and “Have I ever added salt?” »Moments of distraction. They forgive us our trespasses and prepare us for success with their own recipes or others that we will use later.

Formatted as the world’s most user-friendly manual, there are minimal photos and a handful of technical illustrations; you’ll want to read all of the boxes and introductions, because that’s where education lies.

King Arthur is a sponsor of the WSU Breadlab, and the company’s in-person classes at the center of Skagit Valley will hopefully resume once such things are possible. But the book offers a varied program, covering tangzhong, sourdough, roti, corn tortillas, panettone, baguettes, croissants and no less than four variations of puff pastry.

The authors’ emphasis on measurement tools goes beyond the now standard call for using a scale, to include oven and instant-read thermometers. I’ve been baking bread for 20 years and swear by checking the internal temperature to know when it’s done (190 ° F for sandwich breads, 195 ° F for fortified pasta), but the authors also include a sufficiently precise table of internal temperatures for the cakes.

I also tried a trick to freeze scones or cookies for 30 minutes before baking, for better layers. Enough on; adding this step to my usual scone recipe created a more noble and tender result.

This English muffin toaster uses instant yeast and all-purpose flour for a low-effort bread that only requires one lift and takes less than 90 minutes from start to finish. Its open, craggy crumb makes spectacular toast, and it was the basis of the best homemade club sandwich ever. I suspect he’ll find his highest goal during peak BLT season this summer.

King Arthur English Muffin Toaster
Makes an 8½ inch loaf

3 cups (360 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (14g) of sugar
1½ teaspoons of salt
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon (10g) instant yeast
1 cup (227g) of milk
¼ cup (57 g) water
2 tablespoons (25g) vegetable oil or olive oil
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and instant yeast in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine milk, water and oil in a separate microwave-safe bowl and heat to between 120 ° F and 130 ° F. Make sure to mix the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will be hot enough (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable if it were bath water.
  2. Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat at high speed for 1 minute; the dough will be smooth and very soft. If you do not have a stand or electric mixer, beat by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and begins to become elastic.
  3. Lightly grease an 8½ by 4½ inch loaf pan and sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal. Pour the soft dough into the pan, smoothing it out as much as possible.
  4. Cover the mold and let the dough rise until it is barely crowned on the edge of the mold. When you look at the edge of the pan at eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t stick out, say, ¼ inch from the edge. It will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you have heated the liquid to the right temperature and your kitchen is not very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 ° F.
  5. Remove the lid and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown and internal temperature of 190 ° F.
  6. Take the bread out of the oven, and after 5 minutes, turn it out onto a wire rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing it.

Excerpt from “The King Arthur Baking Company All-Purpose Baker’s Companion”, revised and updated. Copyright © 2021, 2003 by The King Arthur Baking Company, Inc. Reproduced with permission from The Countryman Press, a division of WW Norton & Company. All rights reserved.


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