September 16, 2008

Atwater's Bakery in the News!

Although the Atwater's businesses are not located in the Catonsville Area. Many Catonsville residents regularly visit their stores. Recently, The Baltimore Sun Local Catonsville Resident Ned Atwater in this Article. The article was written by Jill Robin and was published in the You & Taste Section. Congrats Ned & La!

Late this summer, one of the top food books on dangled an enticing promise: ArtisanBread in Five Minutes a Day.The book's popularity is testament to how people love fresh bread but loathe the idea of losing a day to bake it.Bread intimidates. The time commitment is a huge part of that, but people also fear the mess or think they'll need an expensive mixer or an advanced yeast degree.And yet, they're drawn to it because, ironically, home-baked bread represents, like almost nothing else, the essence of simple living.

Tips for great bread
• 72 to 78 degrees is optimum room temperature to make bread. Drafts and drastic temperature change can damage dough.
• Flour or water your hands to work the dough.
• If you poke the dough and it springs back, it's not ready to bake. If it stays indented, it's ready.
• This same dough recipe can become the base of a flatbread pizza if, at the final stage, you stretch and flatten it instead of shaping it into a loaf. Baker Ned Atwater recommends topping it with roasted onions, garlic and goat cheese.
• Cover dough as it sits to keep it moist. Dry dough can develop a skin that can keep the dough from fully expanding as it bakes.
• Personalize the bread by marking it on top with a very sharp knife before you put it in the oven.
• Using a pizza stone when baking will give the bread more volume.
• Underbaked bread is harder to digest. Fully cooked bread also stays fresh longer.

At King Arthur Flour's baking hot line, company spokeswoman Allison Furbish says staffers have noticed increasing calls recently from first-time bread bakers and people returning to bread-making after a long time.The company thinks it's the faltering economy driving this craving for homespun comfort. The hot line also buzzed after the 2001 terrorist attacks.Bread: so basic, yet so complicated.It doesn't have to be.Ned Atwater can create a warm, crusty, wholesome loaf with six common ingredients and equipment no fancier than a bowl.He doesn't promise home-baked goodness in five minutes, but he can make it happen in less than six hours, about half the time it takes to bake typical artisan bread."It's something anyone could do with a little time and patience," says the owner of Atwater's bakery in Belvedere Square and other Baltimore locations. "Some people don't think it's worth it. I certainly think it is."As one of Atwater's mentors told him, anyone can take caviar and filet mignon and make a fancy dinner. But to make something impressive from simple ingredients - that's art."It's very satisfying to take something as simple as flour, add water and end up with something as wonderful as bread," he says.And his Country Wheat Bread recipe asks for little more than that.Atwater mixes all-purpose and wheat flours with salt and dry yeast - he likes SAF's granulated yeast but says any instant yeast should work. He adds honey and water. Dough done.The rest is a matter of watching the clock and giving the dough space to work its magic.As dough rests, it's actually working hard, bubbling and expanding, transforming from sticky and gooey to soft and pliant.To knead the dough, a step that occurs twice in the recipe, Atwater wets or flours his hands, lifts the dough and then folds it over - keeping the dough in the bowl. He lifts and folds, lifts and folds, lifts and folds, about seven times or until the gas bubbles have disappeared.When it's time to shape the loaves, Atwater cuts the dough in half. He stretches and pulls one ball into a long, flat oval, quickly folds it into thirds, then folds that three more times into a stumpy rectangle, which he drops into a lightly oiled loaf pan. He makes a boule with the other half, stretching and folding like before, but working the dough into a round. Any shape works.When the time comes, Atwater pulls the loaf from the oven. The crust, baked to a deep, caramel color, crackles as he cuts into it to reveal a soft, airy inside and releases that warm, tantalizing, dreamy aroma that could only mean freshly baked bread.

Atwater's Country Wheat Bread
(makes 2 loaves with 8 to 10 slices each)3 cups all-purpose flour3 cups whole-wheat flour1 tablespoon salt1 tablespoon dry yeast3 cups room-temperature water2 tablespoons honeyIn a big bowl, stir dry ingredients together.In a separate bowl, stir together the water and honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly. The dough will be sticky.Cover the dough in the bowl and let it rest for 1 hour.Wet your hands with water (or dust them with flour) and fold the dough 7 times. Re-cover it and let it rest for 1 hour.Cut the dough in half. Shape each half into a shape of your choice. You can either put the shaped dough into a baking pan or rest it on a cookie sheet. Cover it with a damp towel and let rest for 1 hour.Bake in a 450-degree oven for about 40 minutes. The crust should be a rich, dark brown and should sound solid when tapped.Courtesy of Ned AtwaterPer serving (based on 20 servings): 137 calories, 5 grams protein, 1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 350 milligrams


Anonymous said...

Darn you Craig! I thought for a moment that Ned was coming to the neighborhood! Oh well... at least he has a place close to my shop.As you know his bread and soups rock! said...

Great post! By the way, I saw you on television last weekend, in a short segment about Catonsville. I really enjoyed it, and thought it did a nice job showcasing our neighborhood and all of the new things that are happening on Frederick Road. (It would be neat to have a link to that clip!)

Also, I am helping the Woman's Club of Catonsville to develop a web presence at - only one page is up so far, but we are working on adding more content soon. If you know of anyone who would like to learn about the club or what we do, feel free to send them my way and I will help them get in touch with the right people. Thanks!

On the Lighter Side!