Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ain't no Challah back girl

This one... I am excited about and proud of. I went from making french bread and pretzels to making challah bread? =) So happy. I really like bread making, and I'm enjoying the way the house smells when I bake bread. Tasty! Mom is being a real trooper too, she doesn't complain (she can't have yeast) - she just asks to have a sniff and she's good.

This recipe is from "The Culinary Institue of America: Breakfasts & Brunches"

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 c water, warmed to 110 degrees
3 c bread flour
3 large egg yolks
1/4 c canola oil
1 tbl sugar
1 tsp salt
egg wash of 2 egg yolks whisked with 2 tbl heavy cream

1. Place yeast and water in the bowl of a mixer and stir until dissolved completely. Let the yeast proof until foamy (around 5 minutes). Add flour, egg yolks, oil, sugar and salt. Mix together on low speed using the dough hook (YAY I get to use my dough hook!!!) just until the dough begins to come together (it will look rather rough) about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and soft but not sticky - 5 minutes.
2. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead once or twice and gather it into a smooth ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size about 2 hours.
3. Fold dough gently over on itself in three or four places, turn the dough onto the lightly floured work surface and cut it into 3 equal pieces. Cover the pieces and let them rest until relaxed about 15 minutes.
4. Form each piece into a 12 inch long strand that are evenly tapered at the ends. Pinch the 3 strands together at one end and braid them together. To finish, pinch the loose ends together and tuck them under the loaf.
5. Place the loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet - brush dough lightly with egg wash and cover (lightly) and let rise until the dough springs back slowly to the touch without collapsing about 20 minutes. (The waiting is worth it - KEEP GOING!)

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
7. Lightly brush the dough with egg wash and bake until the loaf is golden brown and makes a hollow thump when tapped on the bottom, about 45 minutes.
8. Transfer the challah to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing and serving.

If you can manage it... let loaves of this bread go stale and make french toast.... It will be well worth it - but only if you can manage to let bread go stale after tasting it!

4.75 out of 5

Soft Pretzels - Fun with Yeast Part II

1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 cups flour (maybe more)
1 beaten egg
Coarse salt (optional so they say... I used Coarse Sea Salt)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar and flour, and mix. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Add a little more flour if it is too sticky. Let dough rise for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into 12 pieces. Roll pieces of dough into 16-inch ropes. To make pretzels, curve ends of each rope to make a circle; cross ends at top. Twist ends once and lay down over bottom of circle. Spray cookie sheet with baking spray. Arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush on egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

This one was a lot of fun. It was easy, it made me feel fancy to have pretzels that I twisted myself. =) I will most certainly make this again soon.

4 out of 5!

Foolproof French Bread Recipe

1 package dry yeast
2 c lukewarm water
4 c AP flour
1 tbl salt
2 tbl sugar

In a large bowl mix flour, salt and sugar together. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in water. Pour yeast mixture over other ingredients. Stir. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 4 hours.

Punch down, but do not knead. Place in a greased souffle dish. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Bread may need to be covered during the last 15 minutes if it browns to quickly. If you don't want a hard crust brush the loaf with butter after removing from the oven.

2.5 out of 5. It was ok - but lackluster. It really lacked something and I don't know what.... This was the first attempt at working with yeast though, so don't judge me too harshly - I will get better I swear!

Banana Rum Cream Pie

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 crackers
5 tbl unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp curry powder (Madras)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 c chilled heavy cream
4 tsp dark rum
4 firm ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have rack in middle position.
Stir together crumbs, butter, curry powder, cinnamon and 2 tbl brown sugar in a bowl with a fork until well combined. Reserve 1 tbl crumb mixture for garnish. Press remaining crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Then cool completely about 20 minutes

Beat together cream cheese, zest and remaining 6 tbl brown sugar in a bowl with electric mixer on high speed - until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Beat cream with rum in another bowl with clean baters at medium speed until it holds soft peaks. Gently stir in one third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream thoroughly (But gently please!)
Thinly slice banans and arrange evenly over bottom of crust. Spread all of the cream filling over the bananas then sprinkly reserved crumb mixture over the top. Chill pie, loosely covered for about 20 minutes.

This recipe is from the March 2007 issue of Gourmet
The curry really brings out all the flavors in the crust it makes it so good. I made this pie twice - once with cinnamon graham crackers, once with plain. I reduced the amount of cinnamon added to the crust to compensate - both were good. =)

4.5 out of 5.

Cheddar Drop Biscuits

The Stuff
4 c unbleached AP flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 c coarsely shredded medium sharp cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1 3/4 c cold buttermilk
3 tbl sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Have 2 12-cup muffin pans ready. Grease 20 of the cups and fill the unused cups with water. (to prevent warping)
Using a paddle attachment on your mixer, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter to the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or 2 knives cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 2 minutes. Add cheese and stir until just combined.

Add the egg and all but 2 tbl of the buttermilk. Mix until the dough forms a sticky mass. Stir harder and the mass will form a moise, sticky clump on the spoon and will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Drizzle in the remaining buttermilk into the bottom of the bowl to moisten the dry mixture that collects in the bottom. Mix until just combined - the dough will be very soft.

Using a rubber spatula, scare the dough out onto a lightly floured board. With floured fingers, fold dough over and gently kneed 6-8 strokes leaving the dough very soft and sticky as possible. Cut the dough in half, then divide each half into 10 equal portions. Place each in a prepared muffin cup and sprinkly lightly with sesame seeds. Bake about 25-30 minutes and let cool on racks. Serve warm.

2.5 out of 5. Not very exciting at all. Good, but not WOW! I'd try it with some different cheeses like a white cheddar?

Lemon Strawberry Cake Roll

Recipe from Cooking Live Show # CL8871

For Filling:
4 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
/2 stick unsalted butter
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 c well chilled heavy cream
1 pint small to medium strawberries

For the Cake:
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c AP flour
1/4 c cornstarch
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

For Lemon Syrup:
2 tbl sugar
1 tbl fresh lemon juice
1 tbl water

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1 tbl fresh lemon juice

To make the filling:
In a heavy saucpan combine the egg yolks, sugar, butter and lemon juice. Cook over medium low heat, stirring until the butter is melted and custard is thick enough to coat a spoon. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. (I will chase you down and throw peppercorns at you!) Transfer the custard to a bowl and stir in the lemon rind. Let the custard cool, cover with a buttered circle of waxed paper and chill. In a chilled bowl whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Cover that and chill. Remove the strawberry hulls and either quarter or halve the berries, depending on their size. Cover and chill.

Make the cake:
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a greased jelly roll pan with foil. Grease the foil and dush with flour - knock out excess. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg yolds, 1/4 c sugar, zest and vanilla until thick and pale and mixture forms ribbons when beaters are lifted. In a large bowl with clean beaters beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the remaining sugar and beat the whites until they hold stiff peaks. Stir 1/3 of the whites into the yolk to lighten it and fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Sift flour, salt and cornstarch over the batter and fold until batter is just combined. Spread batter evenly into the pan and bake in middle rack of oven for 6 to 9 minutes or until cake is LIGHTLY colored. Dust a kitchen towel generously with confectioner's sugar and invert cake onto it. Remove foil carefully from the cake. Starting with the long side, roll up cake loosely but gently in the towel and cool for 30 minutes.

Make the lemon syrup:
In a small saucepan combine 2 tbl sugar, 1 tbl fresh lemon juice and 1 tbl water and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Keep it warm.

Assemble the cake:
Stire half of the chilled whipped cream into the chilled lemon curd until mixture loosens up. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Unroll cake and carefully brush with half the warm syrup. Spread cake with lemon curd filling. Arrange halved strawberries over filling. Re-roll the cake. Transfer cake to a platter seam side down and brush with remaining syrup. Chill roll covered loosely for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Make lemon glaze:
In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 c confectioners' sugar and 1 tbl lemon juice to make a pourable glaze. Transfer glaze into a small resealable bag. Snip one corner to make a small hole. rim ends of cake diagonally and squeeze glaze decoratively over the cake.

Here's a slice!

A lot of dirty dishes, but interesting to try. I'd never made a roll cake before. Fun!
3.5 out of 5.... I might mix in some orange zest too just for fun.

Everyone loves beeeeeeeeeeeeer!

Beer Batter Bread
From the Williams-Sonoma Bread Book

The things
3 cups unbleached AP flour
3 tbl firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbl baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 bottle beer 12 fl oz, unopened and at room temp (I used Leinenkugel Red)
4 tbl unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing and serving

What to do, what to do
Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Stir togehter flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Open the beer and add it all at once. Stir until JUST COMBINED (about 20 strokes). The batter should be a bit lumpy. Pour into the loaf pan and drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake until the top is crusty and a toothpick comes out clean. 35-40 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temp.

If you want something quick this is great - but not the most impressive bread in the world... Easily pulled together though and quite good. =)
3 out of 5
Would love to try it with dark beer!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Wanna See My Buns?

Hot Cross Buns
makes 24

The Shtuff
1 cup milk
2 tbsp yeast
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs
5 cup flour
1 1/3 cup currants or raisins (I used currants)
1 egg white

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until warm, but not hot (110 degrees F if using a thermometer). Pour the warm milk in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over. Mix to dissolve and let that sit for 5 minutes.

Stirring constantly (And I mean until your arm falls right off) add the sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually mix in the flour - the dough will be sticky and wet. Continue kneading the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30-45 minutes

Knead agin until smooth and elastic about 3 minutes worth of kneading. Add your currants or raisins and knead until well mixed. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a buttered dish and cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the fridge. All excess moisture will be absorbed in the morning.

Let dough sit at room temp for a half-hour. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 24 pieces and shape each portion into a ball and place on a sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towl and let rise in a warm DRAFT-FREE place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

When buns have risen, take a knife and slash a cross shape on them. Brush them with the egg white and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 15 minutes more (or until they are golden brown). Transfer to a wire rack and then apply . . .

The Glaze Boss - The Glaze

1 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1-2 tbsp milk

Whisk ingredients together and apply in a cross pattern on the buns. Serve warm!

Note - - you may not wish to start off baking yeast breads when your mom has just started a yeast free diet. Some people will then call you a big jerk and your mom will cry off in a corner somewhere muttering about how "it smells like heaven".

You are inconsiderate, aren't you?!?

Next round, try the raisins instead - fresh currants are too juicy!

3.5 out of 5