My recent baking projects have included what has become my go to sourdough bread recipe, cathead biscuits, and finally Japanese milk bread. A few weeks back I posted about Japanese Chocolate Milk Bread, and while it was very good I did not think it would make a good base for french toast.

Recent Project #1 – Sourdough bread

After tinkering with several recipes I’ve decided to stick with this one for Pain de Compagne from Maura Brickman on the King Arthur Baking Company web site. I added a fourth stretch and fold versus three to improve the strength of the dough.

sourdough ingredients
Flour, water, salt, and starter

After a long proofing at room temperature, the dough is divided and shaped into boules. Next it is placed in flour dusted and linen lined bannetons for an overnight proofing in the refrigerator.

sourdough bannetons
Sourdough shaped and placed into bannetons

After good success using my Lodge cast iron dutch oven, I went back to just the “baking stone and ice cubes in a pan” method of baking bread. Those loaves had little oven spring and were far too dense. Back to the dutch oven! After placing the dough in the preheated dutch oven, I spritz it liberally with water to create steam. With the lid on for the first 20 minutes of baking the moisture results in a nice crust. Currently I am limited to one at a time but the Lodge combo cooker is said to also work well so I might pick one up.

The finished product cooling on a wire rack

Recent Project #2 – Cathead Biscuits

These have been a big hit with guests, and the weekend of November 27th was no exception. While I didn’t reduce the recipe, I did use a ten-inch cast iron pan and cut the biscuits slightly smaller for a total of eight. I gave the unused baked ones to Vonnie at Lovedays, and the unbaked went into the freezer for future use.

sifting flour for cathead biscuits
Always sift the flour to ensure thorough mixing of the dry ingredients.
cathead biscuits baking projects
A well floured cutter is essential, as well as going straight down with no twisting during the cutting.
cathead biscuits
Fresh out of the oven and brushed with melted butter
Gravy ingredients
Gravy fixin’s!

Recent Project #3 – Japanese Milk Bread

This time I was using a guide and recipe from Healthy Nibbles, and it turned out magnificently!

Japanese milk bread dough
Dough ready for first proofing
Japanese milk bread
After shaping and proofing in loaf pans, and ready for the oven

The shaping technique is different from others I have used, but resulted in a perfect crumb.

recent baking projects
Cooling on rack
Japanese milk bread recent baking projects
Very nice texture

One reason for trying this recipe was to use it for French Toast, and it did not disappoint. Previously I had made a brioche, which is also an enriched bread, but this milk bread was far superior for french toast. The photo below is from my first trial of it for dinner one night last week. It also makes wonderful toast.

recent baking projects Japanese milk bread
Japanese milk bread French Toast

Come book a stay with us and try one of these or other baked goodies that I serve for guests! More baking projects to come.