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Bread - Buns - Bagels

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Easy to make in the bread machine (on "dough" cycle).
This is more of a sourdough bread with San Francisco intentions. If you make it in New York, it is SF bread with NY roots. Etc. It is just plain good and gets better with each new batch. Nothing beats a classic sourdough bread and you will perfect your own with each new loaf. Use spring water and unbleached bread flour for best results and relax – this is not a quick bread (it takes a few days of time – not very much of it is hands on but it does take some rise and fermentation time) but it is a leisurely stroll into a fine loaf. You can try the first time with ½ teaspoon rapid rise yeast to speed things along but this method is about as pure as you get.  Check out the Basic Sourdough Starter for more on baking with sourdough bread, as well as (Almost Levain's) Chocolate Chunk Cookies. What you should know about this recipe is that you are first making a mini-dough that takes prepared sourdough starter. That dough is broken up into pieces and put in another starter (fresh flour and water). This is allow to ferment and then it goes into the final dough. Real sourdough bread is not for sissies or impatient people so beware! It is however, awesome. The real Gold Rush ended but the interest in the Californian inspired sourdough bread has never abated. Find out why.

This loaf needs to be started a day ahead.
If you like rye bread, take the time to track down fresh rye flour if you can.

This is the bread I make every other day for my own family. It is simple, tasteful and tasty and as good fresh, as it is a few days later (if it lasts that long!). It is a perfect sandwich bread or morning toast bread. It makes a huge, country loaf that just begs for a fresh pot of homemade soup to go with it. I prefer this baked just before supper or as an after school, ‘welcome home’ bread. There is no better perfume than a baked bread like this.

Cast iron is a favorite baking tool of mine. Perfect for pizza, beautiful for biscuits and definitely a killer for corn bread. This is a sweet recipe. Great with a cup of tea. Adjust to your liking for a savory version.

This dough makes great breadsticks too. Use your bread machine on Dough cycle for an easy, sensational pizza. This rises slowly and is ready when you are. A few hours earlier or later and either way, you will still get great pizza. More rise results in a thinner, crisper pizza; less rise is chewier, breadier, still rustic, amazing pizza. The starter can be new as 2 hours (called a sponge) or a mature starter you have on hand and have recently warmed up and fed. This makes one of the best crust pizzas ever - with a crust/dough that tastes as good as whatever you put on top of it. It is also great for focaccio. It all starts with Molini Pizzuti 00 Flour - a flour totally dedicated to great pizza or use ubleached all purpose.

These can be made a day ahead and left for a slow, cool rise in the fridge.
These are delicate and feathery but massive, gorgeous buns.In fact, they are better with a cool rise. You can also bake up a pan of these and freeze another batch, unrisen and unbaked. Let that batch rise overnight in the fridge and bake them off the next morning. Cinnamon buns are always decadent but these are pretty well queenly. It is that taste combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel (in caramel topping and the caramel or butterscotch chips) and butter than makes these almost sleazy good!

Bubka is pure heaven to me - because it strikes the right note of sweet and bready. It is also relatively easy to make - not as complicated as true Danish with its rolled in blocks of butter but certainly richer and moister than a sweet dough. I have a few bubkas in my first cookbook, A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking (Doubleday, l998) where it sits like a queen of the realm of Jewish baking. Here it takes on another role - the diva of the yeasted, sweet pastries. I often use my bread machine to make the dough - although I have to give the mixing a hand at first by using a rubber spatula, just to get the rich dough properly going.

The classic. Flakey, light, golden - these are pretty well culinary history but melt on the tongue like any good biscuit. Great with fried chicken, chili, or eggs-over-easy. Use a great wood biscuit bowl or flea market piece of crockery.

If you are out of buttermilk, use Saco buttermilk powder.

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