Bread Making

At last a Kiwi Vogels Bread that actually works.

Vogels-like Bread Adapted from Jim Lahey’s recipe.
Many of us have long searched for a recipe for a Vogels-like bread and Jacqueline recently adapted Jim Lahey’s no knead white bread to come up with a loaf that is just like vogels, moist and chewy with a great crust. It is baked in a pre heated cast iron dutch oven with a lid, but a pyrex or ceramic container can also be used. No kneading, just mix up ingredients and let time do the kneading for you. Only requires a few minutes hands on time, but requires forward planning as can take up to 22 hours before ready to bake.
Prep time:   15 minutes
Cook time:   45 minutes
Servings:   2x 750gm loaves

4 ½ cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ cup rolled oats
½ cup kibbled wheat
¼ cup kibbled rye
2 Tbsp Quinoa
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 Tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp oat bran
3 Tbsp wheatgerm
3 Tbsp bran
2 tbsp gluten
2 Tbsp skim milk powder
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
2 ½ teaspoons salt
3 1/3 cups cool water (may need 3½ cups water)
1 tsp wine vinegar

1. The night before you want to bake the bread place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well…
Add the water and vinegar to the dry ingredients and mix well until a shaggy dough forms.
Leave covered with glad wrap on bench for 12 hours or longer if cold weather (may need 18 hours)
The dough needs to have bubbles forming on the top when ready.

2. The next morning if weather is cool and I want to speed up the process I heat the oven to 50 deg C, turn oven off and place the dough in bowl into the oven to continue rising.
When the dough is ready ( all bubbly on top) lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough out on to it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. No kneading necessary. Dust dough with more flour and place the dough seam side down into a large bowl. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours. (When dough is ready,it will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.)

4. Half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 230 deg C and place a 4 ½ Litre cast iron dutch oven with lid in to heat for that half hour. Can also place a cast iron frypan or plate on the rack below the dutch oven. (It keeps the oven hot and prevents bottom of loaf from over browning)
A ceramic or pyrex casserole container may be used instead of cast iron.

5. When dough no longer springs back, tip dough gently into the hot dutch oven container, seam side up, put lid on container and place in oven. (I use a silicone spatula to ease the dough from the sides of the bowl cleanly as I tip it into the bowl)

6. Bake 35 minutes then remove lid and bake a further 15 minutes to brown top. Remove from oven, tip bread onto a rack, cover with a tea towel and leave to cool. Slice when cool..

My latest bread making direction is in the area of 100 whole bread made in the traditional way. The kids bought me Peter Reinhart’s book Whole Grain Breads for fathers day so I am busy working my way through it. I must say even though it takes a couple of days to make a loaf the results are well worth the effort.


Making 100% whole wheat bread isn't quite as simple as making white bread. Enter Peter Reinhart. This man has written quite a bit on bread baking, and has come up with a fabulous method for delaying fermentation and allowing great flavors to develop. I thoroughly enjoyed his Oat Bran Broom Bread, but I've had my eye on his Power Bread for a long time. It has a great mix of seeds, and also uses a raisin puree for a hint of sweetness. The only problem is that I rarely remember to get the process started in time because it takes 2-3 days. All of his breads require two days because two parts of the dough (the soaker and biga) have to sit overnight, but the Power Bread has a pre-soaker, which must be made at least 8 hours before you can make the soaker. Yes, I know this sounds complicated, but it's totally worth it. Trust me.

This is the first time that I've measured all of my ingredients by weight. I know, I know, that's the better way to do it when baking, but for some reason I was resistant. But,
Michael Ruhlman (in his latest book, "Ratio") has recently convinced me that this is the way to go. How did he do it? He emphasized that weighing your ingredients results in fewer dirty measuring cups/spoons because you can add everything directly to your bowl on your scale, zeroing it in between ingredients. I've included the volume measurements, too, but I have to admit that I've been converted, and I suggest you give it a shot.

Power bread (adapted from Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads")


71 g (or 2.5 oz or 6.5 Tbsp) raisins
14 g (or 0.5 oz or 1.5 Tbsp) flaxseeds
170 g (or 6 oz or 3/4 cup) water

Mix all pre-soaker ingredients together in a small bowl, cover, and let sit at room temp for 8-24 hours.

All of pre-soaker
170 g (or 6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) whole white wheat flour
14 g (or 0.5 oz or 2 Tbsp) apple fiber (or oat bran)
4 g (or 0.14 oz or 1/2 tsp) salt

Puree the pre-soaker in a blender, and mix with the remaining soaker ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir for about a minute, until everything is thoroughly combined and it forms a ball. Cover the bowl and leave at room temp for 12-24 hours (or, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, but let sit at room temp for 2 hours before mixing the final dough). Go ahead and make the biga now.

170 g (or 6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) whole white wheat flour
1 g (or 0.03 oz or 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
142 g (or 5 oz or 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp) milk (or buttermilk or yogurt) at room temp

Mix all of the biga ingredients together in a large bowl. Wet your hands, and knead for 2 min. Then let it rest for 5 min and knead again for 1 min. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours to 3 days. Two hours before you're ready to mix the final dough, let the biga sit at room temp for 2 hours.

Final dough
All of soaker (at room temp)
All of biga (at room temp)
56.5 g (or 2 oz or 6 Tbsp) sunflower seeds
56.5 g (or 2 oz or 7 Tbsp) whole white wheat flour
28.5 g (or 1 oz or 3 Tbsp) sesame seeds
4 g (or 0.14 oz or 1/2 tsp) salt
7 g (or 0.25 oz or 2.25 tsp) instant yeast
21 g (or 0.75 oz or 1.5 Tbsp) honey (or agave nectar)

Cut the soaker and the biga into 12 pieces each. Grind the sunflower seeds into flour in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder (gently pulse or it will turn into sunflower seed butter, not flour). Mix ground seeds with remaining ingredients, including the soaker and biga pieces. Knead the mixture with wet hands for 2 min, or until everything is thoroughly mixed. Dough should be slightly sticky; if it's very tacky, add more flour; if it's very dry and not sticky, add more water.

Dust your counter (or whatever you're using) with flour, and roll the dough around in it. Knead it for 3 min with wet hands, and adjust flour and water if needed (I ended up adding at least 1/2 cup more whole white wheat flour because mine was extremely tacky). Let the dough rest for 5 min, and then knead for another minute. At this point your dough should pass the
windowpane test (basically, you should be able to stretch a small piece of it into a very thin membrane without it breaking). If not, knead more until it can pass the test (I kneaded for about 5 more min). Then form your dough into a ball, place it into a lightly oiled bowl, roll it around in the oil, and let it sit covered at room temp for 45-60 min (until it's about 1.5 times its original size).

Lightly flour your counter again, and form your dough into a 9" square. Then fold one side over and roll your dough lengthwise to smooth the seam and form a loaf-shaped object. Put the dough into a lightly oiled loaf pan, cover, and let it sit at room temp for 45-60 min (until it's 1.5 times its original size).

Preheat the oven and a steam pan (an empty metal pan on the bottom oven rack) to 425. Put bread in the oven, pour 1 cup hot water into steam pan, and reduce oven temp to 350. Bake for 20 min. Then remove steam pan, rotate bread 180 degrees, and bake for another 30 min (or until loaf is brown, has an internal temp of at least 195, and has a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely before slicing.

This is the best bread I've ever made. Hands down. The dough has a lot of great texture from the seeds, and a great hint of sweetness from the raisins. It's not so sweet that it would be a problem using it for a sandwich, though (which is apparently never a problem for Paula Deen, who
puts her hamburgers between two doughnuts). I am in love with this bread, and it was totally worth the time.

I stored this bread in the freezer, as I always do. I slice it and put it in a freezer bag, then I toast it when I'm ready to eat it (or let it thaw for a couple of hours if I pack it for lunch). This method works fabulously, and it tastes fresh for weeks. I highly doubt that this bread will last for weeks, though. The above report is courtesy of

Thai Cooking

On a recent trip to Thailand a group of us attended a great cooking class in Chaing Rai.It was taken by a Thai national who had spend a couple of years in the UK and half a dozen in Holland. The day started with a trip to the market to select all the ingredients and then off to cook the meals and sample the results. I have included a few photos and some of recipes. It really was a magic day.

This is the class of Nov 2011