Panini

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RECIPE: I like the recipes in the Bourke Street Bakery book because they provide a lot of detailed instructions. There’s three steps to making panini: preparing the ‘ferment’, making the olive oil dough, and then shaping the panini themselves.

COMPONENTS: I made the ferment the night before. Now that I’ve made the full recipe, I’ve reserved some of the dough in the freezer as the ferment for the next batch. I learnt something new about yeast. I have instant dried yeast in stock because that’s what you use in the bread maker. Bourke Street Bakery said their recipes won’t work with the instant yeast because it proves too quickly, but it did seem to work this time. I’ll have to look into sourcing active dried yeast. I also learnt how to ‘knock down’ the bread while it was proving (for this recipe you do it twice during the 1.5 hour prove). The method was to spread the dough out to a rectangle and fold a third in from each end twice – a bit like laminating puff pastry. I cut the panini larger than recommended. The recipe was meant to make 30 and I got 20. I actually wouldn’t make them smaller – even at the size I cut them they were a good dinner roll size. I was worried at the time of putting them into the oven that they had over-proved, because I stuck a finger in one and the dough didn’t spring back at all. After the final half hour prove they hadn’t puffed up at all. Somehow, after spraying water in the oven and leaving a tin with steaming water in the bottom, they puffed up perfectly.

IMPRESSIONS: I can’t believe I pulled this one off because there were so many points where I was sure it hadn’t worked. They sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom, had nice air holes inside and seemed to be the same texture as the ones we buy, so I’m very happy.

Recipe fromĀ Bourke Street Bakery

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Bagels

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RECIPE: I decided to try homemade bagels after buying a disappointing packet of bagels from the supermarket over the weekend. When we travelled in Alaska a while back, we fell in love with fresh bagels, but they’re not common in Australia. Yes, I stuffed up and somehow ended up with flat bagels even though the dough rose beautifully, but this is a nice easy recipe that someone (me) could bake, when they really have no skill with anything involving yeast. It’s also nice to be able to cook a bread-equivalent in only two hours.

COMPONENTS: Preparing the dough all went exactly as the recipe said it would. The yeast bubbled up nicely and the dough doubled in size just as it was meant to. When creating the rings, the recipe said to leave a two-inch hole in the middle, so I was expecting it to close up a little, but it didn’t, so some of my bagels have a large hole. I’d seen a trick on TV of spinning the bagel on your finger to get an even hole, and this worked pretty well. I followed all the recommended times, so I’m not sure how you get nice plump bagels like you see in the shops. I suspect I didn’t knead the dough for long enough or vigorously enough.

ASSEMBLY: The dough is sticky, so they stuck to my fingers a bit when I was trying to drop them in the boiling water. I ended up flouring my hands generously so that wouldn’t happen. They transferred easily to the baking tray and baked well.

IMPRESSION: Even though they looked a bit flat and lumpy, my bagels tasted yummy and weren’t dense or dry – way better than the bought ones available in the supermarket. I liked how quick and easy they were to make. Another one I’m going to have to try again to see if I can get it right.

Recipe fromĀ Genius Kitchen