The Best Bread Ever: Great Homemade Bread Using your Food Processor

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Press:Broadway Broadway Books; 1st edition (November 3, 1997)
Publication Date:1997-12-01
ISBN:9780767900324
Author Name:Charles Van Over
Language:English

Content

When Charlie van Over makes his bread, he breaks all the rules of classic bread baking.  He doesn't proof the yeast.  He uses cold water instead of warm.  He mixes the dough in a food processor for forty-five seconds instead of kneading it by hand.  He lets the dough rise in a cool place.  The results?  Perfect crusty-on-the-outside baguettes with texture, taste, and aroma.  Light brioche with buttery crisp crusts and fluffy, saffron interiors.  Chewy bagels with hardy, smooth crusts.  A rich walnut loaf studded with nuts and scented with the full flavor of whole wheat.  A homey cherry babka with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping.  How is this possible?Like many inventors, Charlie came across his technique by accident.  At a party for Carl Sontheimer, founder of Cuisinart, the company that first introduced the food processor to American home cooks, it was suggested to Charlie that he mix his dough in a food processor.  Thus began several years of experimentation and, finally, a foolproof method for making perfect bread every time.Now you can re-create Charlie van Over's great bread for yourself.  And what's even more amazing is that Charlie's is a hands-off, rather than a hands-on, method.  Once the dough is mixed in the food processor, there's no kneading.  Just place it in a bowl at room temperature to allow the flavors to develop.  Have to run out suddenly for a few hours?  No problem.  Just put the dough in the refrigerator until you're ready.  You won't have to keep baker's hours or become a professional to make wonderful bread at home.Once you've mastered the basic technique, the possibilities are endless.  Fougasse, Ciabatta, Semolina Bread, pizza, Danish Twists, and even sourdough Olive Rosemary Bread and Idaho Potato Rolls.  Have a favorite bread?  Charlie even explains how to convert any recipe to The Best Bread Ever method.The Best Bread Ever provides easy-to-follow instructions for more than sixty breads, step-by-step photographs, helpful advice for troubleshooting your food processor, rich color photographs of Charlie's bread, and recipes for using bread in bread puddings, soups, and other dishes.  As Jacques Pépin says in his foreword, "Get your ingredients and equipment together and follow Charlie's remarkable method.  You will never be without good bread again."  

From the Publisher

"This will give those unfortunate millions who do not live within whiffing distance of Charlie van Over's kitchen a taste of the real thing. 
For some years now I have been trading commodities such as wine, caviar, and rare spices from the East for a few crusts of his truly wonderful bread.
Everyone eats bread--but anyone who really cares about what they eat will want this book."--Morley Safer, 60 Minutes"I have been addicted to Charlie van Over's wondrous bread for twenty years and, as a restaurant critic, his baguettes have been the touchstone by which all others are judged."--Bryan Miller, former New York Times restaurant critic"Charlie van Over's bread technique has changed my life--making bread has become an easy, enjoyable routine, and my bread has become the best in town."--Mark Bittman, award-winning author of Fish

From the Inside Flap

When Charlie van Over makes his bread, he breaks all the rules of classic bread baking.  He doesn't proof the yeast.  He uses cold water instead of warm.  He mixes the dough in a food processor for forty-five seconds instead of kneading it by hand.  He lets the dough rise in a cool place.  The results?  Perfect crusty-on-the-outside baguettes with texture, taste, and aroma.  Light brioche with buttery crisp crusts and fluffy, saffron interiors.  Chewy bagels with hardy, smooth crusts.  A rich walnut loaf studded with nuts and scented with the full flavor of whole wheat.  A homey cherry babka with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping.  How is this possible?Like many inventors, Charlie came across his technique by accident.  At a party for Carl Sontheimer, founder of Cuisinart, the company that first introduced the food processor to American home cooks, it was suggested to Charlie that he mix his dough in a food processor.  Thus began several years of experimentation and, finally, a foolproof method for making perfect bread every time.Now you can re-create Charlie van Over's great bread for yourself.  And what's even more amazing is that Charlie's is a hands-off, rather than a hands-on, method.  Once the dough is mixed in the food processor, there's no kneading.  Just place it in a bowl at room temperature to allow the flavors to develop.  Have to run out suddenly for a few hours?  No problem.  Just put the dough in the refrigerator until you're ready.  You won't have to keep baker's hours or become a professional to make wonderful bread at home.Once you've mastered the basic technique, the possibilities are endless.  Fougasse, Ciabatta, Semolina Bread, pizza, Danish Twists, and even sourdough Olive Rosemary Bread and Idaho Potato Rolls.  Have a favorite bread?  Charlie even explains how to convert any recipe to The Best Bread Ever method.The Best Bread Ever provides easy-to-follow instructions for more than sixty breads, step-by-step photographs, helpful advice for troubleshooting your food processor, rich color photographs of Charlie's bread, and recipes for using bread in bread puddings, soups, and other dishes.  As Jacques Pépin says in his foreword, "Get your ingredients and equipment together and follow Charlie's remarkable method.  You will never be without good bread again."  

About the Author

Charles van Over is a chef, baker, and food consultant.  Charlie owned and operated the award-winning French bistro, Restaurant du Village, and a commercial bakery, Village Breads, both in Connecticut.  Charlie works as a consultant with bakeries and restaurants, perfecting their products, bakery design, and marketing methods.  As a teacher and spokesperson, Charlie has taught grilling across the United States for the Beef Industry Council.  

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Best Bread EverThree 14-inch loavesFermentation: 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature, 70°F to 72°FProofing: 35 to 40 minutes at room temperatureEach step in this recipe is designed to make you feel at ease mixing dough in the food processor.  If you've made bread by hand before, then you're accustomed to adding water to the flour as it mixes if the dough feels too firm or flour if the dough feels sticky.  When mixing dough in the food processor, you will achieve the same results by holding back a few tablespoons of the water at the beginning of the mixing, adding it if the dough appears to be crumbly or if it is not coming together into a ball in the bowl.  Depending on the brand and type of flour you are using, you may not need to add all of the water called for in the recipe.  Set out all of your ingredients and have extra flour and a small amount of cool water handy should you need to make adjustments.The first few times you mix this dough, stop the machine and feel the dough.  If it feels very soft and clings to your fingers, add a few tablespoons more flour then resume mixing the dough for the time remaining.  Once you have mixed this dough a few times, you'll probably end up throwing the entire amount of water in at the beginning.Unlike many bread doughs you may be familiar with, this dough does not always double in bulk.  In fact, it may seem downright sleepy as it quietly ferments.  Once the dough is formed into loaves, it becomes more active.  The loaves will puff and swell.The beauty of this dough is its versatility.  Use it to make baguettes or hearty peasant rolls.  Make this dough with bread flour as I do or with all-purpose flour for a lighter texture.  Once you become adept with this recipe, experiment by adding different blends of flours.The Lesson in Fermentation (page 56) explains how you can store unbaked loaves in the refrigerator to be baked when you have the time to do so.This recipe makes three long baguettes or the dough can be divided and formed into any of the shapes described in the section on forming bread (pages 35-42).If you are making baguettes in a home convection oven, try baking them in the convection mode without a pizza stone.  You may get better results.Unbleached bread flour: 500 grams or 1 pound or 3 1/3 to 4 cupsFine sea salt: 10 grams or 2 teaspoonsInstant yeast: 1 teaspoonWater: 315 grams or 10 ounces or 1 1/4 cupsCornmeal for the baking sheet1.  Place the flour, salt, and yeast in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Using an instant-read thermometer, adjust the water temperature so that the combined temperatures of the water and the flour give a base temperature of 130°F if using a Cuisinart or KitchenAid or 150°F if using a Braun.  (See page 33 for other models.)  With the machine running, pour all but 2 tablespoons of the water through the feed tube.  Process for 20 seconds, adding the remaining water if the dough seems crumbly and dry and does not come together into a ball during this time.  Continue mixing the dough another 25 seconds, for a total of 45 seconds.2.  Stop the machine and take the temperature of the dough with an instant-read thermometer, which should read between 75°F and 80°F.  If the temperature is lower than 75°F, process the dough for an additional 5 seconds.  If the temperature of the dough is still lower than 75°F, then process the dough for 5 seconds, up to twice more, until it reaches the desired temperature.  If the temperature is higher than 80°F, remove the thermometer, scrape the dough from the food processor into an ungreased bowl, and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.  Check the temperature of the dough after 5 minutes; the dough should be 80°F or cooler by that time.3.  Remove the dough from the processor and place it in a large ungreased bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to ferment for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature, about 70°F to 72°F.  It will increase in volume somewhat, but don't be concerned by how much.4.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  With a dough scraper or kitchen knife, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and shape them into rough balls.  Cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.5.  In preparation for the final proofing, spread a sheet of canvas or a heavy linen cloth on a counter or tabletop and sprinkle it lightly with flour.  (If using a baguette pan, spray it with vegetable cooking spray.)6.  Sift a fine coating of flour on the work surface.  Place one ball of dough on the surface and gently pat it down to an even thickness of 1 inch.  Do not attempt to deflate every air bubble.  Using the heels and palms of your hands, flatten the dough into a crude rectangle measuring about 4 x 5 inches and 1 inch thick.  Fold the long side farthest from you a little over 2/3 of the way toward you.  Using the heel of your hand, gently press the folded edge to seal the dough.  Pick up the dough and turn it 180 degrees.  Fold over the other long edge of the dough about 2/3 of the way, and seal with the palm of your hand.7.  To make a compact cylinder easy to roll into a baguette shape, use both hands to fold the log in half lengthwise.  This time, as you fold, press your thumbs gently inside the fold to create tension on the surface of the log.  Using your fingertips, press the edges together to seal the dough into a taut cylinder.  This will produce a visible seam running the length of the dough.8.  To roll the dough into a baguette shape, place both hands on the center of the log with your fingers spread apart.  Using light uniform pressure, gently roll the dough back and forth into a long snake.  Taking care not to stretch the dough, move your hands from the center of the dough to the ends as the loaf begins to lengthen to about 14 inches.  If the dough resists rolling, let it rest for 5 minutes before continuing.  Repeat steps 6 through 8 with the remaining dough.9.  Using both hands, gently transfer each baguette, seam side up, to the lightly floured cloth.  Fold the fabric up to form channels in which each loaf will rise.  (Place the baguettes close together so that they rise and don't spread out.) Sprinkle the loaves with flour and cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.  Let the baguettes proof for 30 to 45 minutes, until the dough increases by half its size.  It should feel soft but  still spring back slightly when poked with your finger.10.  One hour before baking, put the oven rack on the second shelf from the bottom of the oven and place the baking stone on the rack.  Place a small pan for water on the oven floor.  Preheat the oven to 475°F.11.  Uncover the loaves.  Place them seam side down on a peel or on the back of a baking sheet that has been lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Or place the loaves in greased and lightly floured baguette pans.  Sprinkle each loaf lightly with flour, and slash the tops several times diagonally with a razor blade.12.  Carefully pour about 1 cup of warm water into the pan on the oven floor.  Slide the baguettes from the peel or the back of the baking sheet onto the baking stone in the oven.  Or, place the baguette pan directly on the baking stone.  Reduce the heat to 450°F.13.  Bake the loaves for 2 minutes.  Open the oven and quickly pour another cup of water into the pan on the oven floor.  Continue baking for 20 to 22 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  Tap the bottom of the loaves; a hollow sound means they're done.  Or, insert an instant-read thermometer into the bread, and if the internal temperature is 205°F to 210°F, the bread is done.14.  Remove the bread from the oven and immediately place the loaves on a wire rack to cool completely before storing.Store the bread in a paper bag or loosely covered with a towel at room temperature.  The bread will remain fresh for up to two days at room temperature when covered with a towel.Basic Pizza DoughEnough dough for three 10-inch pizzas or foccacia, or 5 individual pizzasFermentation: 2 1/2 to 3 hours at room temperature, 70°F to 72°FRetardation: 4 to 36 hours in the refrigerator, 37°F to 45°FThis dough makes a pizza crust with the taste of bread and the character of pizza--equal parts crunchy and chewy.  I use it to make focaccia and breadsticks as well as schiacciata.  It is best when it has a long, slow rise.There is a widely held belief that the best pizza dough is made with high-gluten flour.  I disagree, as do the great Italian pizza makers of Naples, the birthplace of pizza.  They use a flour that has less gluten than our all-purpose flour.  For the food processor, use all-purpose for similar results.  This recipe hits a home run, so don't adulterate it with the most virgin of olive oils.After the dough ferments, it will be softer and stickier than when it was first mixed.  Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on your hands and work surface when rolling it out and shaping it.Unbleached all-purpose flour: 500 grams or 1 pound or 3 1/3 t...

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