Grandma’s Yeast Sponge, Part 2

(copied from my old blog)

January 7, 2016

Making bread and rolls from the sponge

Preheat oven to 170*F, then shut it off for use as a proofing box.  To make a loaf of bread from the “finished” dough, I simply removed approximately half of the dough from the bowl, lightly kneaded it on my counter with just a slight dusting of flour, and formed it into a loaf-like shape.  I then placed it into a well-buttered loaf pan, with the ugliest side down.  Brush the loaf with melted butter, cover the pan with plastic film and put it in the oven.

Further ingredients for caramel rolls:

Filling

½ c. softened butter

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, I prefer freshly grated

¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup flour

Caramel

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup melted butter

¼ cup cream

Optional:  approximately ½ cup nuts of your choice

To make caramel rolls, dust counter top with flour.  Turn out dough and knead lightly, just to ensure that any large bubbles have been removed.  Use hands to form dough into a roughly flattened rectangle, and then use a rolling pin to further shape dough into a rectangle that is approximately 10 x 14 inches.  I usually flip the dough over a couple of times during the process, which seems to make it easier to roll it out.

Blend filling ingredients together until it is consistent throughout and forms a paste; spread on dough, making sure to leave a one-inch wide margin along one of the long sides of the rectangle.  Starting on side opposite of where you left the margin, roll up dough.  Use clear margin to pinch and seal the edge, roll so that pinched edge is down.  Allow to rest while preparing pan and caramel.

Coat inside of 9 x 13 inch pan with butter; blend caramel ingredients in pan, then spread evenly across the bottom.  If using nuts, sprinkle them evenly over caramel.

Using a sharp knife, cut dough into approximately one-inch thick circles.  Place in pan on top of caramel, leaving approximately one inch in between rolls.  Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter, cover with plastic film and put in oven with the bread loaf to rise for 30 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and preheat oven to 350*F.  Remove the plastic film from both pans; score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.  This allows the loaf to rise without the sides cracking.  Once oven is preheated, return the pans to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the tops of the bread and rolls are golden brown.  The loaf will sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle.

Turn the bread out of the pan onto a cooling rack and brush top and sides with melted butter.  I also like to brush the rolls with butter again, and then turn the pan of rolls into a larger pan, so that the caramel is on top.

 

It is tough to do, but allow the bread to cool at least 20 minutes before attempting to slice, otherwise it will crush and you will lose the “loft” of the bread.  The rolls should cool at least 10 minutes before attempting to eat – hot caramel will burn skin very deeply!

No-Knead Bread Attempts

My first attempt was a fly-by-night affair and ended rather bleh.  I removed half of the dough from the refrigerator, placed in a well-buttered bowl, and allowed it to come to room temperature.  I preheated my oven to 450*F and placed a square cake pan half full of just-boiling water in it.

I then lightly rolled and turned the dough on my well-floured counter and placed the dough into a well-buttered one quart casserole dish.  I baked it for approximately 50 minutes.

The result?  It looks good on the outside, but was still doughy, even after all that time in the oven.  It had not risen very well, the crust was very dense and hard.  Very disappointing, especially as it smelled SO good.

The second attempt at no-knead bread was made after I had done some research online.  I used the last portion of the bread dough, allowing it to come to room temperature, which took approximately an hour.  I again heated my oven to 450*F, but this time I put my covered casserole dish into the oven as soon as I turned it on.  Do NOT grease the casserole or it will burn!  Set your timer for 30 minutes.

Tear off an approximately square piece of parchment paper and lightly flour it.  Turn out the dough onto the parchment and roll and turn the dough to slightly smooth it out and form a rounded shape.  Allow to rest on the parchment until your timer goes off.

Remove casserole dish from the oven and remove the lid.  Gather parchment around the dough by bringing up the corners and place dough, parchment and all, into the casserole dish.  Use a scissors to cut the parchment paper down enough to place lid back on the casserole.  Return to oven and bake approximately 40-45 minutes until rapping on it sounds hollow.  Turn out onto a cooling rack, brush with butter, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

 

 
Fresh out of the oven with the parchment still around it

This loaf turned out perfectly and had good sourdough flavor without being overwhelming.  It rose nicely, even after having been stored in my spare refrigerator for 19 days.  If you keep your dough in your “regular” refrigerator, I recommend placing it in the bottom of the fridge and at the back – don’t forget it there! – so that it is exposed to less variations in temperature from the door opening in the course of the day.

 

If you try out this method, I’d love to hear your results.  If you find easier ways or have other end uses for the dough, I’d love to hear what they are.  I’m always searching for more yummy foods to cook, especially when they are bread!

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