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Flavorful Additions to Bittman Bread. What's yours?

I sprinkled Penzey's dried onion bits on the top of my last loaf before baking. I gave a piece to a friend and he proposed to me. Made a whole wheat ( 1 cup ww flour) loaf yesterday and added a handful of chopped up onion tops from the garden. Scallions would be great. Bittman has created a monster here. I have bread coming out my ears, bye bye South Beach!!!!! Welcome back bread! My friends are ecstatic !

I can't believe I can make such fab bread with my own two little hands.I'm gonna propose to myself!

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  1. I have a batch of rosemary semolina bread rising right now. (1/2 cup minced fresh rosemary and one cup semolina flour substituted for one cup of the AP flour). Once it is baked I will report back!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Greyhoundgrrl

      Expiring minds want to know ;-)

      How'd this turn out?

    2. Just took out of the oven a loaf of kalamata olive bread made with unbleached white flour. It's cooling, but looks and smells great. One before this was made 1/2 half a.p.flour and 1/2 organic wheat flour into which I tossed some sesame seeds.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jackie de

        Are these ingredients being added in the beginning mix?

      2. Yes, I mix them with the water and then just stir into flour mixture. I used the unbleached white flour this time, thanks to a tip from Father Kitchen. The bread was much better. Had a nice crackly crust, great bread texture and flavor. Next loaf I'm going to try cinnamon and raisons----or maybe dried cranberries.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jackie de

          Like jackie de, I thought of adding "sweet stuff" to this bread, but I'm not sure that the slighty sour taste of the bread would fit with sweets--? I don't suppose you can put sugar in this instead of salt?

          1. re: blue room

            Don't omit the salt! The bread will taste very flat. I actually made a raisin bread this way and it was quite good, but it was almost too crusty for a sweet loaf. I added two tablespoons of sugar and a bit of cinnamon, along with a handful of raisins. I thought of this at the last minute, so no measuring. I had a bit of a problem with the raisins sinking, so I added another small handful of flour.

            Next time, I'll do an egg wash to soften up the crust a bit.

        2. So I'm wondering...if you omit the salt is the end result a reasonable facsimile of Tuscan salt-free bread?

          1 Reply
          1. re: micki

            Probably. I HATE that salt-free bread in Tuscany. Looks and smells so great and tastes so disappointing. IMO the Bittman recipe itself needs more salt.

          2. What about waiting to incorporate the "add-ins" (raisins, olives, nuts, etc) until the folding stage after the 18 hour rise? Do you think that would solve the sinking problem?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sam Ottawa

              First time I heard about the bread sinking. Does anyone know why this has happened?
              Maybe Father Kitchen can anser this question for me.
              Thanking In Advance

              1. re: ggambuti

                I think phofiend's comment was about the raisins sinking within the loaf, not the bread itself sinking.

            2. Are Penzys dried onion bits the same as Penzy's toasted onions? I went onto their website, but they didn't have anything that was called "dried onions."

              2 Replies
                1. re: mdc

                  Actually, no. I just came back from their brick and mortar store with both. One package says "ONIONS WHITE MINCED" which are just dried and the other is "ONIONS TOASTED MINCED." I've used the toasted ones in the bread, and it was very good.

                2. Chopped fresh rosemary worked great. I also made a loaf of whole wheat (1/2 ww flour) and folded in raisins and chopped walnuts after the first rise. The raisins and nuts stayed well-distributed and the result was tasty, toasted with butter for breakfast - but the folding was difficult, with me trying to be gentle with the dough, and the resulting loaf was pretty ugly on top.

                  In his column this week Bittman says the best time to put in additions is in the mixing stage, so now I have a batch of dough with kalamata olives and rosemary rising, and it appears that the olives have not sunk to the bottom. (They're lighter than nuts, though).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dubedo

                    To follow up on an earlier discussion... did you toast your nuts first?

                    1. re: Sam Ottawa

                      Nope. I have a tendency to burn them when I do that, which is not tasty.

                  2. I have added manchego cheese to the dough before the second rise and more atop it toward the end of baking and it was fantastic.

                    1. I added sunflower seeds to a 2:1 AP/wholewheat batch last weekend. Yum. This weekend I'm trying toasted hazelnuts (husband is lobbying to add chocolate chunks -> Nutella bread).