Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Peter Reinhart's Kaisers

I've been baking bread for the last 5 years at least. I'm talking a lot of bread, like a lot of bread to the point I don't buy it anymore. I bought Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice 3 years ago and it changed everything.

It took the bread  I was making and elevated it into something fantastic, and that's an understatement. The biggest thing I noticed comparing the 1 day recipes I made previously to his 2 - 3 day recipes was the crumb of the bread and most importantly the flavour. It is decadent, tender (depending on the bread) and far superior. That being said there is a recipe in the book that takes only 1 day, for buns or loaves and it fares just as well as the 3 day stuff.

The recipes are quite exact, giving ingredient measurements in weight, divided dough in weight, and what the temperature of the kneaded dough AND final product out of the oven should be, my kinda thing (although metric would be nice!). Hands on time is minimal even though the bread can take a few days. Want to up your sandwich or burgers?  Make these kaisers, trust me. They are soft but strong enough to stand up to even a pulled pork sandwich, with sauce, and not fall apart.

A note on shaping, yes these are not your traditional kaiser shape. You definitely can shape them like a kaiser if you want, using the knot method or a kaiser stamp. This time I just did them straight up, shaping them into a boule. 

Peter Reinhart's Kaisers
days to make: 2
Makes 6 large or 9 smaller kaisers

Pate Fermente
  • 5 oz (1 1/8 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz (1 1/8 cups) bread flour
  • .19 oz (3/4 tsp) salt
  • .055 oz (1/2 tsp) instant yeast
  • 6-7 oz (3/4 cup to 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) water, room temperature (I find 6.1 oz to be perfect)
  • 8 oz (1 1/2 cups) pate fermente
  • 10 oz (2 1/4 cup) bread flour
  • .2 oz (3/4 tsp plus a pinch) salt
  • .17 oz (1 tsp) diastatic barley malt powder OR
  • .33 oz (1 1/2 tsp) barley malt syrup
  • .11 oz (1 tsp) instant yeast
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • .75 oz (1 1/2 tbs) vegetable oil or shortening, melted
  • 5-6 oz (10 tbsp - 3/4 cup) lukewarm water, 90-100F
  • poppy or sesame seeds for topping (I have a jar in the freezer with 2 tbsp each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, dehydrated onion and sea salt, for 'everything topping'.)
  • semolina or cornmeal for dusting.
Day 1:

To make the pate fermente. Stir together the flours, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer (or a regular bowl). Add 3/4 cup of the water stirring until everything comes together into a ball or mix on low speed for 1 minute with the paddle attachment. Adjust the flour or water so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 6 minutes by hand, or 4 minutes by dough hook. It should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky with an internal temperature of 77-81F.

Lightly oil a bowl and shape the dough into a boule and turn it to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment at room temperature for 1 hour or until it nearly swells to about 1.5 times it's size. Remove from bowl and knead it lightly to degas. Return it to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (You can keep this in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it in an airtight bag for up to 3 months).

Day 2:

Take the pate ferment out of the fridge 1 hour before you make the dough. Cut it into about 10 pieces with a bench scraper and cover it with plastic wrap to take off the chill for one hour. 

Stir together the flour, salt, malt powder/syrup and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the pate fermente, egg, oil and 10 tbsp of water. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment for 1 minute or until the ingredients form a ball. If there is still some loose flour, add the remaining 2 tbsp of water.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes, adding flour if needed to make the dough soft and supple. The internal temperature should be 77-81F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough, rolling to coat to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.

Proof at room temperature (I like to use my oven, turned off of course) for 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. If the dough doubles before the 2 hours have elapsed, remove it, knead it lightly and return it to the bowl and continue fermenting for 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl, and divide it into 6 to 9 pieces (4 oz for large rolls, 2 2/3 for small. I do 3.5 oz and find that the perfect size). Form the pieces in boules/rolls. Mist the rolls lightly with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap, let the dough sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line the baking sheets with silpat/parchment and dust with semolina or cornmeal.

Prepare the rolls by cutting them with a kaiser cutter or using the knotted technique (or leave as rolls).
Proof the rolls for 45 minutes at room temperature, if you've used a kaiser cutter or knotted them, flip them over and proof for another 30 minutes. If you've left as rolls continue to next step.

Preheat oven to 425F with the rack in the middle shelf. Uncover the rolls and prepare them for baking. If you want seeds on your rolls, brush on an egg wash and sprinkle the topping on. If you don't want seeds just mist them with water.

Place the pan in the oven , spray the walls with water and close the door. After 10 minutes, rotate the pan and lower the oven to 400F. Continue baking until the are medium golden brown and register approximately 200F in the centre. This will take 15 - 20 minutes longer, in my oven it takes around 5.

Remove the rolls, transfer to a rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

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