Tag Archives: bread

When you need a Dutch Crunch and Boudin’s isn’t open…

Dutch crunch topping during the 15 minute rising timeOn a recent visit to San Francisco, I met a delightful little loaf of bread at Boudin‘s. It was called Dutch Crunch and, as the name insinuates, it had a wonderful thick crunchy crust. Not just a thick crust, but a particular crust I’ve seen nowhere else. I decided to stop at the bakery before my flight home so I could take some with me. But alas, the bakery was not open that early on a Sunday. That led to a frantic search online and everything you see below.

Dutch Crunch originates in the Netherlands and is called Tiger Bread there. Any loaf or bun can become a Dutch Crunch simply by making this topping and drizzling the thick batter over the ready to bake bread. If you search online, you can find lots of specific directions for it.

Dutch Crunch Topping

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups rice flour

Mix together, let rise for 15 minutes, drizzle over your bread, and bake the bread as usual. The rise is very quick so make sure you keep an eye on if it you aren’t using a large bowl. Enjoy your crunchy bread!

See the bubbles of the Dutch Crunch topping
See the bubbles of the Dutch Crunch topping
After the topping is stirred down after the 15 minute rising down to half!

After the topping is stirred down after the rising.

Plain old buns with the dutch crunch topping drizzled on

Plain old buns with the dutch crunch topping drizzled on

Dutch Crunch masterpiece Dutch crunch buns


The Bakery Review: Tre Mari Bakery

I go to bakeries. A lot of bakeries. In fact, I never walk past bakeries without going in. And when the bakery is situated part way along 4 hour walk, it’s simply survival instinct to go inside even if it’s only for a quick smell. I have come to the realization that it is my duty to share my knowledge with you and ensure that you find and visit the best bakeries out there.

Among the five or so bakeries I visited today, the Tre Marie on St. Clair Avenue West was certainly a highlight. In fact, I think it’s one of the better bakeries I’ve visited in Toronto. It’s quite large and on one side,  it includes a seating area for folks wanting lunch. Around to the other side, it has a huge section of bread behind which you can peak into the bakery and see everything happening. I’m a huge fan of bread and to feel the corn meal under my shoes was awesome. Bread that doesn’t spill its toppings all over the floor just isn’t real bread.

The best part for me, of course, was the sweet baking – fancy desserts, tons of pretty little cookies, one of a kind gorgeous cakes, and so much more. I ended up buying two things I’ve never seen before. One looked like a giant slice of calamari dipped in icing  and it turned out to be a light crunchy (6 inch wide!) cookie. The second item turned out to be layers and layers of philo covering a yum cream filling.

Great selection, great service, home atmosphere. Yum. It’s on my visit again list!

Buttertart and Nanaimo Bar Statistics: Annie’s Dream Bakery #MRX

As fun as statistics are, there really are very few jobs where you can apply those skills. Unless you want to be a math or statistics teacher, it’s good to have a fall back plan. And if I had my way and unlimited funds, Annie’s Bread Corner would be a flourishing little business right now.
I’ve visited a ton of bakeries and pastry shops in many different cities and have figured out exactly what my quaint little bakery would be. The focus would be on fresh, out of the oven, warm baked goods. Tall loaves of olive bread, oatmeal bread, and sourdough bread as well as buttertarts, nanaimo bars, and scones would fill up my shop with tantalizing smells.

Of course, you can’t run a successful business unless you manage it well and that’s where my classical education in psychology and statistics comes into play.

  • I would calculate the frequency of inquiries and purchases for each product by time, day, week, and month
  • I would conduct test/control, randomly ordered tests on different times and days of the week determine whether the buttertarts should be made with pecans or hazelnuts
  • I would run regression analyses to determine which products create the highest total sales per individual shopper
  • I would run cluster analyses to determine which products sell better together than alone
  • Most importantly, all potential customers would be required to fill out a demographic profile, including their taste and smell likes and dislikes before being allowed to view, purchase, or smell any items in the store (the entrance will be hermetically sealed)

Now that I think about it, if statistics are this important to a tiny little bakery, I probably won’t have any time to bake. Help please?

Lazy Bread

After getting my KitchenAid, I was eager to start making bread again. I quite liked the idea of not having to cover the entire kitchen in flour. And, I always got so bored with kneading that I quit before I really should have. So when the time came for kneading, I plopped the dough in and set that baby running. Unfortunately, I found that the motor still seamed to strain. I knew that batter bread would never have that problem so the scientist in me implemented an appropriate research design. After a few trials, I discovered that you really can turn any bread recipe into a batter bread recipe. Here’s all I do:
Instead of gradually working in all the flour, simply add half of the flour. Then, let your mixer beat that for however long you like – 5, 10 minutes. Make sure that the consistency is gooey thick and that you can see the gluten doing its thing. Once you’re happy with the amount of kneading that’s taken place, just add the rest of the flour. You need to ensure you add all the rest of the flour at once or else you might end up with uneven kneading that’s hard to undo. Also, you might want to use slightly less flour than the recipe says just to make sure you get a really nice light loaf.
After that, just follow the recipe as usual. Ta da! Let me know how your experiment works out!

Bread – My Current Favourite Recipe

This is the simplest bread recipe I’ve ever come across. I searched and searched and searched for a recipe that would yield the dense, sour bread I’d had in restaurants. I tried potato bread, egg bread, sour dough bread. I tried this one out of shear desperation and was happily rewarded!

No-Knead Bread
Published: November 8, 2006, New York Times
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

3 cups all-purpose

1 5/8 cups water

¼ teaspoon yeast (either kind)
1¼ teaspoons salt

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough 18 hours
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Jiggle the bowl to collapse the rise.
3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.
4. Dump onto pizza stone or into loaf pan. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, until loaf is browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

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