Pain de Pandemic

How are you all?

I am working from home (miracle of miracles) part of the time. When going into the agency I am wearing a mask. Said mask is to last 5 shifts. I made a cloth mask to wear over it although contact with people is minimal, making being in the office a very grim place to be. But I am working and am not furloughed and am counting my blessings.

On weekends I bake. This past weekend I made a cake and Hubby and I ate it in two days. Not a good thing. Lunchtime on tele-working days has resulted in an apple pie and a chocolate snack cake over the past two weeks. Oh, and cookie dough. The problem with cookie dough is that I freeze rolls of it and then can slice and bake a dozen cookies each day, which I did, and we ate! Weekends have bread baking sessions. So when Hubby went out to the grocery store he bought plenty of flour.

Looking through my Fleischmann’s yeast cook-booklet I came across Verona Loaf.  At the time of this bake I had been running low on flour so wanted a recipe that did not call for 7-8 cups. Verona Loaf calls for half that. Although it says “loaf” it is made in rounds or boules. This recipe makes two. And is more than just flour, salt, water, and yeast.

  • 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3  cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (I use instant yeast so 2 teaspoons)
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup very warm tap water (120-130 degrees F)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup cold butter

In large bowl thoroughly mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, lemon peel, and yeast. Then add softened butter. Gradually add hot water to dry ingredients and mix at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs, vanilla and ½ cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough flour to make soft dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk about 45 minutes.

I am using my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. I use the dough hook throughout. I use speed 2 for medium although maybe that should be 4 which I use for high speed because 6 just seems too fast.

After the first rising comes the interesting part. This will now be laminated similar to puff pastry. First turn dough on floured board and roll dough to ½ inch thickness. Cut 2 tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces and place on center 1/3 of dough. Fold 1/3 of dough over butter. Now place the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter, also cut into small pieces, on top of the folded third. Bring remaining third of dough over to cover the butter. Now roll the dough into an 18 inch strip, fold in thirds, and wrap loosely in wax paper (or parchment) and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat rolling procedure and folding into thirds and refrigeration. Repeat twice. Next, on floured surface divide dough in half. Lightly knead each half and shape into a ball. Place in 2 greased 8-inch round pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 35 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. I have found that my oven requires the maximum bake time plus 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. (Sprinkle with sugar while warm. I’m not certain I did this last bit.)

This was a very tasty bread.

And more pains de pandemic:

Raisin white bread made with potato water!
Everyday mixed grain bread