Muffin variation ‘SomeBran’

And some bread…

The Muffin Variation

Ran out of All-Bran after deciding to make muffins this morning. Thought about making a half recipe, as that was as much as I had, but the recipe only has one egg. Solution, replace missing bran with a fraction of more flour. If you check the muffin recipe and use half as much bran, (so 2/3rds cup) and replace that with 1/2 cup of flour. (possibly a little less…) and that worked out pretty well.

After baking them I may have over done it a bit though. Possibly only 1/3rd of a cup would have done it. A future comparison is going to be what a somewhat more liquid batter gets you. I know with waffles a more liquid batter leads to a more crispy crust, but muffins are not in a griddle.

The raspberries were pleasantly tart and the walnuts added a nice texture.

The Bread Variation

The Bread recipe has been the variation I’ve been using the last week where the mix of flour is

  • 1/3rd Bread flour
  • 1/3rd All Purpose
  • 1/3rd cup Wheat Flour

all King Arthur. So a cup each (3 cups total) with the usual 1 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 tsp yeast and a tsp of salt.

This spent the night in the refrigerator under plastic wrap before I made an attempt at using the elliptical basket for shaping again.

A note about “pre shaping” and stuff

There’s a references to ‘pre shaping’ then shaping etc. and such in a lot of bread making videos. I’ve noticed that no one really explains what the point is. Some experiments shows me that it seems that the whole concept of pre-shaping and shaping is to let the skin of dough dry out a little bit in stages so that the shaping holds. The first time I tried to use one of the little wicker baskets to form a loaf the dough stuck everywhere. My mistake at the time was thinking that it had to rise a lot in the basket. This is not the case. The trick is to let the bread dry out a bit first, then drop it into the basket.

So this particular loaf spent the night in the fridge for a long ferment. Since I got up early this morning, I took it out of the fridge, rolled into the ball and let it rest on a floured cloth (that Jen recently bought me 🙂 ) for a little while still under plastic to keep the surface sticky. After it had come all back to room temperature and started to rise, I could “pre-shape”, that is stretch the dough into a tighter ball and have it all stick together. The trick is you want it pretty sticky until you start to form it. Once you start to form it into a good tight ball, you will need to rest it again, but then you want the surface to dry out a little bit. The trick is to get it to stay just wet enough to stick together just when you do the last shaping. But you want it to dry out enough so that when you put it in the basket it doesn’t stick. You’re still working with very little extra (if any) extra flour. it’s only when you do the final shaping, the surface having dried somewhat after the pre-shaping, that you add a bit of extra flour when it goes into the basket.

The last step is basically to roll it up and tuck the ends in, dust it with some flour (the bread and the basket,) then drop the bread, seam side up into the basket and let it rise a while longer. If you’re careful when you do the shaping steps, don’t punch all the air out, treat it delicately, you won’t have to let it sit in the basket for too long to get the shape. If you go back a paragraph or two and count the minutes, it’s a 1/2 hour to rise, another 15 minutes, then ‘preshaping’ and another 15-30 minutes or so, then forming, and putting in the basket for another 15-30 minutes. As I say, you don’t want to knock the air out during this process, otherwise it’ll take forever in the basket, and as you might expect it’ll be more likely to stick.

I now have a small sheet pan to bake with, so rather than using a dutch oven or anything else, I preheated the oven with the sheet pan in the oven. I turned the bread out of the basket onto a small sheet of parchment paper, slashed the loaf down the length of it and slid it into the oven onto the already hot sheet pan. That quick bit of heat under the loaf seems to be enough to get it to spring up a bit.

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