Baking Newfi Bread at Home – See it on 207!

If you missed the airing of the most recent 207 show, or don’t live in the area, no worries, you can see it here.  This one is about Newfi Bread, a boat and family favorite for sure.  It’s a very easy yeast bread recipe which has a slight twist with the addition of molasses which gives the bread a tangy sweetness and turns the bread a warm, dark caramel color.

This recipe is not mine, but one passed down through the fleet and probably even before that.  Someone more detailed about history might have a better take on the origins.  I was always told that Newfi stands for Newfoundland and that this is a traditional bread from northeastern North America.  Dee Carstophen published a version of it in her cookbook, “Windjammer Cooking” and it’s also published in one of my cookbook, “At Home, At Sea: Recipes from a Maine Windjammer“.

No matter the origins, bread making, especially yeast breads, is one of those calming, rhythmic tasks that allow for an ease in the mind while the body works.  I understand completely.  At first I thought that the task of making bread would come and go quickly in our nation’s interest.  Bread making, while simple, is not always easy and sometimes it takes time for successes to feel confident.  But I was wrong!  Even yesterday when I went to the grocery store, the flour section was completely bare.  Never, in all my years of buying huge bags of flour for the Riggin have I seen such a run on a staple ingredient.  I’m baffled.  I’m entertained.  I’m kinda proud.  And also, dudes, save some flour for the rest of us!  And when you are all done with this hobby, send me your half used 50# bags of flour.  I’ll send ya a fresh baked loaf in return.

Newfi Bread      
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (plus extra for the bread pans)
2/3 cup molasses

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add more water if needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, cover, and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 2, 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, form 2 loaves, and place them in the bread pans. Cover and allow to rise again until doubled. Place the pans in the oven, throw a cup of water over hot stones set in a pan in the bottom of the oven to generate steam and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until an internal-read thermometer registers 190°F.

Makes 2 loaves or 18 rolls

Variation
Rolls – After the dough has been combined, kneaded, and risen once, divide the dough into 24 equal pieces.  Roll into balls and transfer to a baking sheet.  Follow rising and baking instructions as above.  Reduce baking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

Annie
Hang in there everyone!

Cooking with Annie: Episode 1 – Crusty Peasant Bread

It seems just right that my first foray into the YouTube world would be about yeast bread.  Especially at this time of uncertainty when cooking and baking at home feels and is one of the most comforting things we can do – nurturing for the maker and those on the receiving end.  There is so much right now that causes concern or worse, and yet, I find myself looking for and appreciating the little things even more than usual.  The big things are BIG!  And out of my control.  What I focus on and bring my attention to, however, is in my realm of control (to a greater or lesser extent depending on if I’ve just spent any time on the internet), and therefore, what I can do something about.

As I, like many of you, am also home with my family, I’m noticing that we are settling into a rhythm and a routine.  The first several days were a bit rough with all of us emotionally and physically bumping into each other a bit.  Now, although our house, just like the boat, is small, we seem to be finding a good balance between together and alone, even in the same space.  This piece feels familiar, as on the boat, this sort of mental distance is needed at times even when we are all in the same cabin, nearly right on top of each other.  I am also grateful for cooking and baking right now.  There’s something so primal about being able to feed your family – both the actual doing of it and the ability to have actual food on the table.  What a blessing.  Never have I loved being outside more.  In Maine right now, the wind is howling and it’s been raining off and on for two days, but I just don’t care.  I dress in my foulies (foul-weather gear that we use on the Riggin) and step out to breathe fresh air and somehow it’s never been more precious.  I’m sure many of you feel some of the same things I am.

And that gets me to, “Why a video series right now?”  Well, there’s so much I can’t do.  I’m not a medical professional.  As our business is travel, money couldn’t be tighter, so donating to one or more of the many worthy causes is not on the list.  But cooking?  That I can do.  So if there’s something you are struggling with or something that you’d love to see me make, let me know.  It’s my hope that these videos can be a way of connecting even though we aren’t together on the deck of the Riggin just yet.

I chose the Crusty Peasant Bread recipe because it’s one I use again and again on the Riggin and at home.  It’s on page 140 of At Home, At Sea: Recipes from a Maine Windjammer 2nd Edition.  All of the variations are there too.  Now, just to switch things up, as I do, I used a technique to make the bread which doesn’t involve kneading, but instead involves turning the dough several times.  Please forgive our first attempt at using the video function on the camera.  Toward the end we ran out of battery.  We’ll get better as we go along!

Crusty Peasant Bread
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
cornmeal for dusting

Turning Method (as shown in the video)
Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved water if needed. Turn the dough 10 to 15 times, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.  Repeat 3 to 4 more times, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Kneading Method
Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved water if needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, divide the dough into the number of loaves you plan to make, and shape them into French-style loaves. Dust a baking sheet with corn meal and place the loaves onto the sheet. Cover and allow to rise again. When the loaves have nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on each loaf with a very sharp knife. Place the pans in the oven, throw a cup of water over hot stones set in a pan in the bottom of the oven to generate steam and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until an internal-read thermometer registers 190°F.

Makes 2 large or 4 small loaves

Variations
Caramelized Onion Bread – When shaping the dough, divide and shape the dough into 4 rectangles.  Add 1 cup of caramelized onion to the surface of each rectangle and roll up into a log.  Pinch the ends and place onto a baking sheet.  Rise and bake as above.
Roasted Red Pepper and Rosemary Bread – Add 2 cups roasted red peppers and 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary to the dough.
Kalamata Olive and Roasted Garlic – Add 1 1/2 cups pitted Kalamata olives and 1/2 cup roasted garlic cloves to the dough.

Stay safe, be calm, be kind
Annie

Multi-Grain Flaxseed Sandwich Bread

Okay, King Arthur, you got me good.  Your catalog just arrived in the mail today and I HAD to make your Golden Grains Bread.

Of course, anyone who knows me well is aware that actually following a recipe is next to impossible for me.  I can’t resist making a recipe my own.  Soooo, now I need to say, “thank you,” King Arthur, for the inspiration for this wonderful sandwich bread.

Multi Grain Flax Seed Sandwich Bread

Multi-Grain Flaxseed Sandwich Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour (of course I like King Arthur the best)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups warm water

Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add the water and mix until the dough forms a ball.  Knead by hand or with a dough hook until the ball is soft and smooth.  The dough will be just a tiny bit sticky, so add a little flour as needed.  Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease two, 9″ x 5″ bread pans.  Form the dough into two equal loaves and transfer to the prepared pans.  Cover and let rise again for another hour or until the bread is at least 1-inch over the edge of the bread pan.

Make 3 diagonal slashes on the surface of the bread.  Transfer the pans to the oven and add steam in whatever way works for you.  (I have a pan of rocks on the bottom of my oven that acts as a sauna when I pour water in it.)  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until an internal read thermometer registers 190 degrees.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 2 loaves

Annie
Houses that smell like baking bread are also the best!