Monday, December 2, 2013

Little Loaves - One dough recipe, different fillings and toppings

You know I'm always baking bread, right? It seems like there's always a loaf in some stage of progress - either rising, baking, cooling, being reformulated, or being written about.

So, when I got a mini loaf pan from Good Cook with 4 wells for loaf-like things ... well, the first thing I thought of was bread. But what kind?

Well, with four wells, I decided to make four different little loaves.

The dough is the same for all of them, but then I had some fun. One loaf is plain, one has a black olive swirl, one has a mild giardiniera swirl, and one has a cheese swirl.

And then I added toppings. Partially so I could tell what was inside each loaf after they were baked and before I sliced.

Four Little Loaves

For the dough:

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup diced cheese
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup mild giardiniera

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Toasted sesame seeds
Poppy seeds
Cheese powder
Rice Flour

Combine all of the bread ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead until smooth and elastic. Meanwhile, let the olives and giardiniera drain to remove as much liquid as possible.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.

Flour your work surface, spray the wells of the pan with baking spray, and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Turn out the dough and divide it into four roughly equal pieces. It's perfectly fine if they're not completely even, but try for about the same size.

Start with the unfilled loaf. Form it into a square about 5x5. Roll it up into a log, seal the seam and pinch the ends shut. Place it in one of the wells of the loaf pan, seam-side down.

Form the second piece of dough into a rectangle about 5x7 inches. Sprinkle the cheese over the dough, leaving about 1/2 uncovered on one of the short sides.

Roll the dough up, jellyroll-style, starting at the short end opposite the uncovered end. Pinch the seam and ends shut and place the loaf in the pan seam-side down. Brush the loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Form the next loaf the same way, filling with olives and sprinkling with poppy seeds. For the fourth loaf, fill with the giardiniera and sprinkle with cheese powder. Dust all the loaves with rice flour - thos helps keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough as it rises.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap or place the whole pan in a large plastic bag and tie the end shut.

Set aside until the dough feels puffy, it has risen at least an inch over the top of the pans (the loaves might not rise equally), and if you poke it with a fingertip, the dent remains or fills in slowly - 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees until the loaves are nicely browned, about 25 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the pan and let them cool completely on a rack.

I received the mini loaf pan and other supplies from Good Cook as part of their Kitchen Experts program.