Categories
bread recipes

Ruhlman’s Basic Bread (Dutch Oven Method)

I’ve avoided working with dough because I’ve had bad luck with it the past, but I think that’s going to change after my success making this basic bread recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s new book “Ratio.”

Cross section

Ruhlman’s Basic Bread Dough recipe is a lean dough, which means there’s no fat it in it, and has a ratio of 5 parts flour to 3 parts water. It can be shaped into almost any type of bread, from a basic boule to a baguette to ciabatta. Once you get the hang of making the basic bread, you can use it as a foundation for tons of other recipes, which Ruhlman also discusses in the book.

Since I’m a bread baking noob, I stuck with the basics, but one variation I wanted to try was Ruhlman’s Dutch oven method. Professional deck ovens use a system that injects steam into the oven to help develop a bread’s crispy crust. A covered Dutch oven replicates this effect by trapping the water vapor that’s released as the bread bakes. After mixing together the dough and letting it rise, I kneaded again to expel gas, shaped it into a boule and let it proof directly in a Dutch oven for an hour. Ruhlman prefers proofing directly in the Dutch oven because “you don’t disturb the structure you’ve created in the final rise and it results in bread with a light, airy crumb.”

Just before scoring and baking

Ruhlman recommends a 5.5-7.5 quart enamel cast iron Dutch oven in the book, but our trusty non-enameled Lodge Dutch oven worked great. Per the book, I left the lid on for the first 30 minutes and then removed it for the final 10 minutes it took to get to temperature (I pulled it when the internal temp was 204F).

Fresh out of the oven...

I probably should have let the bread sit for a while before cutting into it, but I just couldn’t wait. The crust was really crispy and the bread was steaming hot…and it was so good. Here’s a closeup of the crumb:

The Crumb

The next morning, I cut a few more pieces of bread and toasted them for breakfast. I topped them with Chez Pim’s Royal Mandarin and Ceylon Cinnamon marmalade…a great way to start the day.

Toasted with Pim's Royal Mandarin Ceylon Cinnamon marmalade

I must admit that I really didn’t know how to shape a proper boule until after I made this, but I will next time. All things considered, I’m still ecstatic about how my bread turned out and am eager to make more.

Categories
bakeries bread Filipino

Toasted Pan de Sal and Peanut Butter

My parents usually have a good supply pan de sal in the house, so I’ve been getting my fill of my favorite snack, toasted pan de sal and peanut butter.


Pan de Sal and Peanut Butter

Pan de sal is a Filipino bread roll that’s normally eaten at breakfast. Its name literally mean “salt bread” but it’s generally on the sweet side. The Filipino store near my parents gets their pan de sal from Valerio’s Bakery, which is pretty well known both in SoCal and the Bay Area.

I cut the bread in half and then to toast mine to the “medium” setting on the toaster oven so that it gets nice and crusty. This ensures that the outside of the pan de sal will have some crunch when you bite into it, but the rest of the roll should be soft, fluffy, and warm.

You can use any peanut butter you want, but I lean towards creamy because I love the sheen of the peanut butter as it starts to melt when it hits the hot bread.

So how do you like your pan de sal?