Tag Archives: Breadmaking

French Bread

24 Jan Pain Sur Poolish

Adding to my ever-increasing bread baking repertoire, this weekend I decided to try my hand at a French style loaf.  So again I consulted my sensei, Barry Harmon over at Artisan Bread Baking, prepared my oven for stone baking, and set about my craft.

I prepared the poolish on Friday night in a Tupperware container, covered it, and placed it inside my oven (oven not on!) so there would be no drafts to stunt the  fermentation. I found that doing this allowed me to get maximum growth during these winter months (my house is quite drafty!).  By Saturday morning, I had a nice pre-ferment to work with! The mixing, kneading, proofing, and folding went along as planned, it is more a matter of patience now than technique, I have a hard time waiting the necessary time for resting and proofing! I want to jump to the next step that I often find myself pacing back and forth to the kitchen!

I had no idea how to shape my loaf once I had the dough divided, so I happened upon a great instruction for shaping dough into a batard (thank God for the Internet) , then I simply stretched out the batard a bit to about 14 inches in length and let it rise again for another 2 hours. The baking is by far, my favorite part. I just love the smells wafting through my kitchen.  To me, nothing is more inviting to a home then the smell of fresh bread! This bread was a great addition to the Potato and Leek soup I made for Sunday dinner!

The Crumb

Take a look at the crumb!

Pain sur Poolish


  • 300 g. Bread Flour
  • 300 g. Water
  • 5 ml (1 tsp)  Dry Active Yeast


  • All the Poolish from above
  • 690 g. bread flour
  • 300 g. Water
  • 24 g Salt
  • 5 gr (2 tsp) Dry Active Yeast
  1. Make the poolish the night before, cover the container and let it sit on the counter overnight.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together with the dough hook for 2 minutes. Then let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

    First Mix

    First mix

  3. Mix again with the dough hook for 15 minutes.


    After Kneading

  4. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let ferment for 1 1/2 hours.

    Final Fermentation

    After Final fermentation

  5. Fold the dough (I used a Hammelman fold), then back in the bowl  to ferment for 30 minutes more.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (mine were about 680 grams each). Let the pieces rest, covered, on the counter for 10 minutes.


    More or less divided!

  7. Shape each piece into a batard.


    The Batard

  8. Let the loaves relax on a well-floured surface and covered by a damp towel, for 15 minutes.
  9. Gently stretch the loaves to a length of between 12 and 14 inches.
  10. Place the loaves on parchment paper and let them rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They should double.
  11. Slash the loaves along the length of the dough right down the center.

    The Slash

    Slashed down the center

  12. Heat the oven to 475F / 245C. Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven for steam and place the baking stone or tiles on the oven rack. (Let it preheat for about 45 minutes while your loaves are rising to get the stones to temperature)
  13. Bake, for 15 minutes, then turn the loaves and bake until done (about 30 minutes) or to an internal temperature of 200F / 93C  (the loaves will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom).

    After 15 minutes of baking

    After 15 minutes of baking

  14. Let the loaves cool on a wire rack.


    Cooling on the rack

Pain Sur Poolish

Final Product - Pain Sur Poolish

Italian Bread

9 Jan The Finished Product

There is bread, and there is fresh bread, then there is fresh homemade bread! I am completely and totally addicted to bread. Ever since I learned the techniques of using my Kitchen Aid mixer, I just cannot stop making bread on the weekend.  This weekend was no exception. My bread making adventures continued with Italian bread! This bread’s secret is the pre-ferment ( the poolish ) that I put together the night before and placed on my countertop. The pre-ferment gives the bread its flavor and helps out the texture. Using a pre-ferment gives you many of the benefits of a sourdough, but is a so much easier!

Oven Fresh Bread

Oven Fresh Homemade Bread

I again consulted my master artisan bread maker, Barry Harmon at Artisan Bread Baking, and decided to use the recipe for his standard Italian Boules. A boule, from the French for “ball”, is a traditional shape of French bread, but in this case I made it into Italian bread.  The original recipe called to use malt, but I could not source any malt in a hurry, so I just used sugar instead. This bread recipe took the better part of 4.5 hours to complete start to finish (not including the pre-ferment) and was so delicious that I nearly consumed one boule myself within a few hours of completion!

The finished product is a great accompaniment to any meal, although I would not really recommend it as sandwich bread due to its thick, deep crust.

The Finished Product
Fresh Italian Boules

Italian Boules



  • 200 g King Arthur Bread Flour
  • 200 g Water
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp.) Dry Active Yeast

Final Dough:

  • 890 g Bread Flour
  • 480 g Water
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp.) Dry Active Yeast
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp.) Salt
  • 225 ml (1/2 cup) Non-Fat Dry Milk
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp.) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp.) Sugar
  1. Make the poolish, cover it, and allow it to sit on the countertop for at least 24 hours at room temperature.


    The Poolish after 24 hours.

  2. After 24 hours put the poolish, water, sugar, yeast, oil, milk powder into the mixer bowl.
  3. Add half the flour and mix for two minutes using the paddle attachment.
  4. Switch to the dough hook and add the rest of the flour and mix for two minutes.
  5. Let dough rest, covered for 25 minutes (this is the autolyse).
  6. Add the salt and knead for 8 minutes.

    Post Kneading

    After Kneading, ready for first fermentation

  7. Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
  8. Perform a fold.

    First Fermentation

    After first fermentation

  9. Cover and ferment another hour.
  10. Perform a fold.

    Second Ferment

    After Second Fermentation

  11. Cover and ferment for 30 minutes.

    Final Fermentation

    After the Final Fermentation

  12. Shape into two equal loaves (mine was approx 880 grams each) place on parchment paper and rise for 50 minutes.

    Risen Boule

    Final Risen Boule

  13. Preheat the oven to 425F.

    The Oven

    My NON Commerical Oven with its $5 baking stone!

  14. Slash the loaves in three places across the top of each boule and place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  15. After 20 minutes, rotate the loaves to ensure equal baking and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 200F.
  16. For a deeper crust, turn of the oven and let the loaves sit in the cooling oven for 5 minutes.
The Crumb

The Crumb

Tortas DelGrosso

19 Dec Roasted Chicken Torta

If there is one absolute in America, it is that America Runs on Sandwiches. On average, Americans consume about 45 BILLION sandwiches per year! That is about 193 sandwiches per person! Given these statistics it would make perfect business sense to capitalize on this market and open a chain of small, casual restaurants that deal exclusively in Tortas; Tortas DelGrosso

A Torta is the Mexican version of the sandwich.  It is usually served on a deliciously fresh, crunchy roll called a Talera. It was first introduced to Mexico by the French in Puebla. But in Mexico City they are characterized by their complex variety that exceeds most other states within Mexico. As with most dishes in Mexico, each state or region has its own unique version of the Torta. From the ahogadas of Guadalajara, which are Tortas drowned in a spicy red chile sauce, to the Cemitas of Puebla, distinguished by the fluffy sesame seeded egg roll.

Of course, in the DelGrosso kitchen, if it is worth cooking, it is worth cooking from scratch. So, since I have never baked bread before, I did a little research on the fine art of making bread in a KitchenAid mixer and also on a recipe for Talera rolls. Fortunately, I was able to find some great resources.  I suggest making the rolls the day before, unless you have 2 ovens (which I do not!).

Pan Talera

Pan Talera

My first efforts in bread making went very well, although my second proof was not so well executed. I am an impatient person and I only allowed the rolls to rise for about 1 hour, instead of 2 hours on the second proof. Therefore, they were a bit flat and the crust was a little on the thick side.  They were still tasty rolls however!

Pan Talera

(Talera Rolls recipe adapted from Rocky Point Tides)

  • 8 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ oz active dried yeast
  • 2 ½ cups water

Directions (Using a KitchenAid standing mixer)

  1. Activate yeast by sprinkling into ¼ water that is between 105°-115° F and wait for it to start foaming (10 minutes).
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in your mixing bowl of you standing mixer.
  3. Once the yeast is activated, turn your mixer on 2 and add yeast and the water, mix until well mixed and the dough comes together, it will form a sticky dough. Do not continue to knead the dough.

    First Mix

    Just before the first proofing.

  4. Lift the mixing head and remove dough from hook if necessary.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let it sit in a warm, draft free place for 2 hours, in that time it should double in size.
  5. After two hours, uncover and put head down and turn on setting 2 and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. You may need to take the dough of the hook from time to time. You will know it has been kneaded enough when it takes on a smooth silky appearance.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floured board or work surface. Divide the dough into 20 equal sized balls.
  7. Brush each with vegetable oil and dust lightly with flour.
  8. Flatten each ball evenly with your hand to form an oblong or round shape about 1 inch thick.
  9. Lightly score the top lengthwise in two evenly spaced places using a very dull knife.
  10. Place the rolls on baking sheets and cover them and set in a warm place for another 2 hours, or until they have almost doubled in size once again.

    The proofing!

    More proofing needed!

  11. Bake them in a 360° oven until they are golden brown.  I set the timer for 20 minutes and then start checking them so they do not get too brown.

    The finished product

    The finished product!


Roasted Chicken Torta

  • 1 Torta Roll
  • 1 cup shreeded roasted chicken breast
  • ½ cup refried beans (frijoles de olla)
  • ½ cup Shredded Queso Oaxaca (or a Sliced Mozzarella cheese or a mild provolone)


  • Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • Avocado Slices
  • Slice Tomato
  • Sliced Onion
  1. Split the roll in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the soft interior bread.
  2. Spread the beans on the bottom half and the chipotle mayonnaise on the top half.
  3. Place the cheese on the bean side of the bread.
  4. Pile the roasted chicken on top of the cheese.
  5. Top with the onion, tomato, and the avocado slices.
  6. Cap the torta and cut in half with a serrated knife and enjoy!
Roasted Chicken Torta

Roasted Chicken Torta

Chipotle Mayonnaise

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 or 2 medium chipotles from a can
  • 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce from the can
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Put the yolk, mustard, and chiles in a blender or food processor and turn on the machine.
  2. While it’s running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream to create the emulsion.
  3. Add the lemon juice to finish off the emulsion.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.