After one year and 104 recipes, I finished the Brooks Bakes Bread Project on March 27, 2012. You can still find me baking and cooking at my new blog, Tangled Up In Food.

Archives: August 2011

Pizza Caccia Nanza
August 28, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 28, 2011
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“The literal translation of ‘caccia nanza’…is ‘take out before.’  When bread was made in traditional Italian households a bit of dough was reserved to make a pizza.  The pizza was placed in the oven with the bread and obviously cooked more quickly.  It was ‘taken out before’ the bread, hence the name…This is the only garlic bread I have ever eaten in Italy.”
-Edward Giobbi, Italian Family Cooking, as quoted by James Beard, Beard on Bread

Pizza Caccia Nanza is a unique recipe in Beard on Bread: a flat loaf of bread flavored with garlic and rosemary.  I’ve been looking forward to baking it since I started my project, and finally got around to it yesterday.

Here are the ingredients:

Pizza Caccia Nanza Ingedients

The dough is a very basic white bread dough, with only flour, yeast, salt, and water.  After combining all of the ingredients (I had to add an extra teaspoon of water to make the dough hold together), I kneaded the dough and let it rise for one hour and 15 minutes.  Then I kneaded the dough again, and let it rise for an additional 45 minutes.

Next came the interesting part: instead of shaping the dough into a loaf, I rolled it out flat and made dozens of tiny indentations in it with the tip of a knife.  I had to place a sprig of rosemary into each indentation.  It was a tedious process.

Placing Rosemary in Pizza Caccia Nanza

After I finished with the rosemary, I cut two cloves of garlic into thin slivers and placed all of the slivers into the indentations as well.  By this point, I realized that  1) I could never work on an assembly line, and 2) the bread would have to be pretty tasty to be worth the effort.  I drizzled the finished loaf with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and it was ready for the oven.

Pizza Caccia Nanza Before Baking

After 15 minutes, the loaf was golden-brown.

Pizza Caccia Nanza

Before eating the bread, I had to remove all the rosemary and garlic that I had placed so carefully.  Luckily, the smell of fresh bread lured Mike downstairs and he helped me out.

Pizza Caccia Nanza

Then came the moment of truth: did all of the time and effort result in a delicious loaf?  The answer: definitely yes!  Pizza Caccia Nanza has a wonderful light, chewy texture, with a tender crust.  The flavors of rosemary and garlic blend together throughout the loaf, giving it a delightful flavor.  The highest praise came from Mike, as we polished off the loaf together.

“You know, this tastes like something that you would pay a lot of money for in a really expensive restaurant.”

Victory!

Portuguese Sweet Bread
August 25, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 25, 2011
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“This recipe makes a delicate, spongy bread that is a delight.  It has fine crumb and is excellent for breakfast or tea.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Mike and I have been busy enjoying some amazing Minnesota end-of-summer weather, so I am behind in posting.  On Tuesday, I made Portuguese Sweet Bread.

Here are the ingredients:

Portuguese Sweet Bread Ingredients

This recipe yields a very sticky dough.  I had to add quite a bit of extra flour while kneading, along with using a rubber scraper to get the dough unstuck from my kneading surface.  Despite the two packages of yeast, it took two hours of rising time for my dough to double in bulk.

Since I don’t have the 9-inch skillets called for in the recipe to bake round loaves, I used the alternative option and shaped the dough into loaves to fit in my 8 x 4 bread pans.  I made the mistake of trying to roll out my dough on an unfloured surface and had to repeat the process of scraping it up.  After another hour of rising, my loaves were ready to go in the oven.

Portuguese Sweet Bread After Second Rising

After only 25 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, the loaves had risen quite a bit and were nicely browned.

Portuguese Sweet Bread

Just as Beard claims, Portuguese Sweet Bread is a delight.  It has a delicate, buttery texture with a lightness from the milk and eggs.  Really, you can’t go too far wrong using a recipe with a cup of sugar and a stick of butter.

Bavarian Rye Bread
August 21, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 21, 2011
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“This quite unusual bread is from a very old German recipe.  Originally the dough was prepared at home and put into an airtight wooden keg for 18 to 24 hours.  Then it was formed into loaves and rushed to the local baker’s oven.  I have worked out a version that can be done from start to finish in your own kitchen.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Since I still had some rye flour left over from making Finnish Sour Rye Bread, I decided to try making Bavarian Rye Bread.

Here are the ingredients (all four of them):

Bavarian Rye Bread Ingredients

On Friday night, I mixed the mixed the rye flour, yeast, salt, and water together.  The resulting mixture looked like wet sand.  I tried to knead it with limited success, since the dough was the consistency of mud.  I gave up and placed the dough in a bowl, sealed it with plastic wrap, and then covered it with aluminum foil (an “airtight wooden keg” in my very own kitchen!)  Next, I let the dough sit for 16 hours.

On Saturday afternoon, I uncovered my dough to find…a slightly larger pile of wet sand.  Kneading number two went about as well as the first kneading.  I dumped the dough into an 8 x 4 loaf pan and let it rise for an hour.  I don’t think that it actually rose, since the sandy lump had the same texture and didn’t seem to have gotten any bigger, but I made the executive decision to bake my loaf anyway.

Bavarian Rye Bread Before Baking

After 40 minutes, I pulled my loaf from the oven.  It looked like a chunk of cement.

Bavarian Rye Bread

Luckily, the bread tastes much better than it looks.  It has an interesting texture–very dense and grainy–and a pleasant flavor.  Despite its unusual baking method and appearance, Bavarian Rye Bread was a decent loaf of rye bread.

Carl Goh’s Zucchini Bread
August 19, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 19, 2011
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“This rather unusual loaf has a very pleasant flavor, a little on the sweet side, and a distinctive texture.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Yesterday I bought some giant zucchinis at the farmer’s market and made Carl Goh’s Zucchini Bread.  Back in May, I spent almost 6 hours making Carl Goh’s Bread, with mediocre results.  His zucchini bread is the opposite: a minimumal amount of time that produces some delicious loaves.

Here are the ingredients:

Carl Goh's Zucchini Bread Ingredients

Any potential health benefits from the grated zucchini are completely negated by the cup of oil and two cups of sugar.

After I mixed the ingredients together, I poured the batter into two 9 x 5 pans lined with wax paper to prevent the loaves from sticking to the pan (thanks for the tip, Mom!)

Carl Goh's Zucchini Bread Before Baking

My loaves were ready after 50 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.

Carl Goh's Zucchini Bread

Carl Goh’s Zucchini Bread is amazing.  The vanilla, cinnamon, and walnuts were a perfect blend of flavors, while the zucchini made the bread incredibly moist.  Carl Goh has redeemed himself in my eyes with this recipe.

George Lang’s Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds
August 14, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 14, 2011
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“This fine example of gutsy Middle European peasant bread, from The Cuisine of Hungary, is baked free form, rises well, looks appetizing, and has a delicious ‘nose’.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

“I was too intimidated by the loaf of potato bread to cut into it, so I just ate some more Prune Bread.”
-Mike

“It’s a Frankenloaf!”
-Me

Since I still had 4 pounds of leftover potatoes, it was time to try another potato bread recipe.  This recipe is very different from Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes because it uses all white flour instead of mostly whole-wheat flour.

Here are the ingredients:

George Lang's Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds Ingredients

I boiled and mashed the potatoes beforehand to save some preparation time.  As I was attempting to knead my bread dough, I realized that I didn’t really mash them enough: there were little potato chunks poking out of my dough.  In the future, I should probably invest in a potato masher–or just use instant mashed potatoes.

George Lang’s Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds yields a fairly large loaf of bread.  Here it is after its second rising:

George Lang's Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds After Second Rising

The baking time for this recipe is 1 hour; I checked on my loaf at the 30 minute mark and realized that I was in for some trouble.

“Mike,” I said as I peered into the oven, “It’s a Frankenloaf!”

“What are you talking about?”

Then he joined me at the oven, to stare at the loaf of bread that had a strange bulge protruding like a tumor off its side, had expanded to fill the cookie sheet that it was baking on, and almost was touching the top of the oven.  Hands down, it’s the largest loaf of bread I’ve ever seen.  It was monstrous.

George Lang's Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that it is delicious: light and chewy, with the distinctive flavor of caraway seeds blending nicely with the moistness of the semi-mashed potatoes.  Because I don’t want to be eating George Lang’s Potato Bread with Caraway Seeds for the next two weeks, and also so the loaf doesn’t attack us as we sleep, I cut it into two pieces and froze one.  The half loaf fit in a gallon bag only after I had strategically hacked some pieces off the edges.

Prune Bread
August 14, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 14, 2011
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“Like all fruit breads, [Prune Bread] is moist and rather rich and sweet.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

The hardest part about making this bread was tracking down the ingredients.  After searching high and low for prunes, I discovered that thanks to some sort of public relations decision, prunes are now referred to as “Dried Plums.”  Next, I had to track down some sherry.  Mike and I are not big drinkers, so I didn’t have any sherry lying around the house.  I bought a bottle of sherry at the local liquor store that wasn’t ruinously expensive and popped the cork to see what it was all about.  I’m not sure if it was just the brand I purchased or if all sherry is this intense, but I think that you could get tipsy just from sniffing the fumes.  Well, I thought, this bread will certainly be interesting.

Here are the ingredients:

Prune Bread Ingredients

I diced the prunes and marinated them in sherry the night before.  If I thought the fumes out the bottle were strong, that was nothing compared to sherry fumes that have been stewing in a closed container with prunes for 24 hours.

The preparation was simple: all I had to do was mix the ingredients together.  Beard suggests using a round mold or souffle dish; since my souffle dish substitute (aka slow cooker liner) was busy cooking dinner, I just used a regular 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Prune Bread Before Baking

I set the timer for 50 minutes, but then didn’t hear it ring.  When I finally realized I should probably check on the bread, it was a little over-browned.

Prune Bread

Unfortunately, I don’t like the taste of Prune Bread at all.  I don’t mind prunes.   However, when chopped up, marinated in sherry, and baked into bread, prunes end up tasting like my food enemy, raisins.  The sherry, as far I could tell from my one slice, contributed nothing to the loaf besides turning the prunes into raisin impostors.  Mike is going to be eating this loaf.

Prune Bread

Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes
August 3, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 3, 2011
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“The potatoes help the bread to rise and give it a wonderful, moist texture.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

After a much-needed vacation to Colorado, I was ready to get back in the swing of things and bake some bread.  I had a nearly-full carton buttermilk in the fridge that was fast approaching its expiration date, so I decided to bake Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes solely because the recipe calls for 3 cups of buttermilk.

Here are the ingredients:

Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes Ingredients

The recipe calls for one pound of potatoes, or 2 medium potatoes.  I bought a 5 pound bag which happened to contain exactly 25 potatoes, so I used five small potatoes (I was much happier about the fact that I had an evenly divisible number of potatoes than I should have been–my inner math nerd).  The recipe also calls for 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt.  Since Beard’s recipes run on the salty side, I only used 1 tablespoon.

Since the Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes requires a whopping 10 cups of flour, it makes a lot of dough.  I wasn’t completely sure that it would all fit in my mixing bowl, so I mixed the ingredients in my stock pot.  I think that the mixing bowl probably would have had the capacity, but the flour would have ended up strewn about the kitchen as I stirred.

After some kneading, some rising, more kneading, being shaped into loaves, and then rising again, the bread was ready to go into the oven.  Since I have had problems with the bottom of my free-form loaves separating from the top, I used a slightly different shaping technique: I patted the dough into a circle and then gathered the edges together to form a ball.  I also spread a thick layer of cornmeal across the baking sheet.

Whole-Meal Bread After Second Rising

After 25 minutes, my bread was finished–and both loaves came off the cookie sheet in one piece!

Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes

Even though you’re supposed to thoroughly cool the bread before slicing, I couldn’t resist.  Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes is really an excellent whole-wheat bread.  It is incredibly moist with a nice wholesome flavor.  One tablespoon of salt was definitely adequate–I think that using more would have been overpowering.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s dinner of corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, cold cuts, and Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes!

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About the Baker
I'm a paralegal living and working in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Besides baking, blogging, and eating bread, I love knitting and enjoying the Minnesota outdoors. My husband, Mike, is the Brooks Bakes Bread website developer, bread photographer, and chief taste tester.
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