Saturday, February 16, 2019

A BBB Bake from the Heart - Chelsea Buns

Raise your hand if you have binge-watched every single episode and special of the Great British Baking Show/Great British Bake-Off.  Yeah, we have.  My kids know the names of every single contestant.  We even got the Kransekake molds to make one of the Christmas special recipes.  Another of which was a Chelsea Bun Christmas Tree.  Now can someone from across the pond explain the difference between a chelsea bun and a cinnamon roll?  Is it that they are made with an unsweetened dough instead of sweet dough?  Honestly, I prefer it that way, why have a sweet dough if you have a sweet filling as well?  At any rate, it is the 11th Anniversary of the Bread Baking Babes!  Wow!  So for this month, we are making Chelsea buns in a shape.  Being February, some of us have chosen a heart.  You can use a shaped pan to make these of course, or try it free form.  A heart is slightly less conducive to the bun shape than a tree.  Here is a little expectation vs. reality on how mine turned out.  Here is closer to how wanted it to look, per my limited Photoshop skills:

And here is how it actually turned out:

Not bad for free form bun shape made with half sprouted, fresh ground flour, but still more of an inverted triangle than a heart.  And I was hoping for more of a red filling, but dried tart cherries are a fairly ruddy red-brown.  Maybe fresh raspberries next time!  That's okay though, they were delicious buns and certainly baked with love.  I loved the flavor of these buns!  So bright and tart from the tart cherries and cranberries I used, lightly sweetened, and then the nice drizzle of powdered sugar icing.  Just enough to give it plenty of sweetness.  And I love to melt butter over my warm cinnamon rolls or chelsea buns!  Yum. 

We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  This is a special treat to make for family or guests.  And the dough holds beautifully in the fridge.  Will you go savory or sweet?  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished buns with your chosen filling to the host kitchen, along with a photo and your baking experience by Feb 28th and be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line.  You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Shaped Chelsea Buns
Makes about 15 buns

800 g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting  (I used 400g all purpose flour, 200g sprouted spelt, 100g sprouted kamut, 50g spelt, 50g sprouted einkorn, all fresh ground except AP flour)
1 tbsp salt
15 g fast-acting yeast
400 ml milk
(¼ cup orange juice, added for my flour blend)
60 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 eggs

Filling options:

Mincemeat filling:
411 g jar mincemeat
1 apple, finely diced
1 pear, finely diced
finely grated zest of 1 orange
75 g pistachio nuts, chopped
100 g candied peel
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
25 g unsalted butter, melted

To finish:
3 tbsp apricot jam
200 g icing sugar, sifted
finely grated zest of 1 orange
15 glace cherries
40 g candied peel
25 g pistachio nibs

Mix the mincemeat with the diced apple, pear, orange zest, candied peel, pistachio nuts and cinnamon.  Brush the rolled dough all over with the melted butter. Then spread the mincemeat mixture over the dough leaving a 2cm border. Roll the opposite long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, until the roll is complete and tight. Trim the ends to neaten.
Turkey stuffing filling (for a 500g flour batch of buns):
280g/10oz cranberry sauce
300g/10½oz leftover turkey, shredded
200g/7oz leftover sage and onion stuffing

Spread dough with cranberry sauce, then sprinkle with stuffing and leftover turkey and roll as normal.

Traditional filling:
25g/1oz unsalted butter, melted
1 orange, zest only, grated
75g/2½oz soft brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g/3½oz dried cranberries
100g/3½oz sultanas
100g/3½oz dried apricots, chopped

To finish:
1 heaped tbsp apricot jam
200g/7oz icing sugar, sifted
1 orange, zest only, grated

Brush rolled out dough all over with the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the orange zest over the buttered surface, followed by the sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit.

The filling I used - Cherry cranberry filling:

½ c. dried tart cherries
½ c. dried cranberries
¼ c. orange juice
2 tbsp + 2 tsp lemon juice
3 scant tbsp sugar

For the Icing Glaze:
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter -- soft , room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp whole milk

Combine dried fruit, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are softened and liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool, transfer mixture to a food processor and process until a puree forms. Cover and set aside at room temperature. 

In a small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth, adding the milk one tablespoon at a time until icing is thin enough to easily spread.  Drizzle over rolls with a fork or place the icing in a quart size zip-type bag and press toward a bottom corner.  Snip the corner with a pair of scissors and squeeze the icing out of the bag to pipe onto the warm rolls.

Spread rolled out dough all over with a thin layer of softened butter if desired.  Evenly spread a layer of cherry filling over the dough.  You will have slightly more than you need, don't make it too thick or it will ooze out during baking.

For the dough:

Place the flour and salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Pour into the flour mixture, add the eggs and stir thoroughly to create a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for five minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Or knead in a stand mixer on low for 5 minutes.

Cover dough and leave to rise for one hour or until doubled in size.

I stuck mine in the fridge and ended up using it two days later! Worked great.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a rectangle about 20in x 14in.

Add desired filling.

Tack down the long side of the dough rectangle nearest to you by pressing it down onto the work surface with your thumb. Roll the opposite long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, until the roll is complete and tight. With a sharp knife cut into thick rounds - about 4cm/1¾in.  (I like using unflavored dental floss to cut my rolls.)

Grease a deep roasting tin or baking tray thoroughly with butter or line with parchment.

Place the buns, cut side up, into the greased baking tray leaving about 1cm/½in of space between each one. You want them to be close enough so that when they complete their rise and bake, they will bake with their sides touching. They can then be pulled apart and have a lovely soft edge.

    Leave to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.

    Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

    When the buns are ready, put them in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden-brown. Check after 15 minutes or so and cover the buns with foil if they are getting too brown.

    Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool slightly before transferring them from the tin to a cooling rack.

    For a sweet bun topping, melt the jam in a small saucepan with a splash of water until smooth. Brush the jam over the buns to glaze and allow to cool.  Mix together the icing sugar, orange zest and two tablespoons water. Drizzle the icing over the cooled buns and allow to set before serving.

    For a savory filling, omit the sweet toppings.

    The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

    Approximate nutrition for one iced bun as I made them:

      Wednesday, January 16, 2019

      The BBB Bake Sweet Potato Onion Bread - aka Elbow-Lick Sandwich Bread

      "Stubborn, Kirk, stubborn..."  I have an old quote from the original Star Trek series going through my head.  (Bonus points if you know who said it.)  That was me for this recipe.  I just couldn't quite do it as written, not even for a first try.  Now the interesting name comes from a sinfully messy and equally amazing looking tomato sandwich that is meant to be made with this bread.  It has a roasted corn dressing that could compete with one of those old fast food commercials.  You know, the ones marketed specifically to males where the construction workers are waiting for all the burger sauce to slop down on the hot chick's décolletage?  Any guy will probably remember the franchise name.
      I decided from the get go I was not going to use as much water as called for, and after seeing how sloppy the dough was after kneading for a good time on high, I added in another 50g of fresh ground sprouted kamut.  That tamed it down to just really sticky, but still starting to clean the sides of the bowl.  And the was before adding in the caramelized onions. I folded those in carefully and used the same method as I do for sourdough sandwich bread, which is a 3-4 hour proof with folds on the hours, though I did do the initial folding in of the onions at the specified 20 minute intervals.  Then shape and proof for another three hours.  I had meant to add to powdered vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to help with the rise, but I forgot and so didn't get as much oven spring as I had hoped.

      I used a portion of first clear flour, it was my strongest flour on hand.  I only used two onions and caramelized them fairly dark golden.  I would not use any more than that, probably only 1½ next time, and get them nice and dark.  Delightful flavor.  I baked to internal temp of 210º and didn't even think of cutting until completely cooled.  The bread was dense and moist but not heavy.  Honestly, I originally thought I would not make it again, but then I tried it with Boursin.  Oh, yes.  That creamy, tangy, herbed cheese was the perfect complement to the toasted bread.  Much more so than butter.  And it made a delicious cucumber sandwich for breakfast.  So, yes, I might make it again, but I'd use butternut squash and less onions and reduce the hydration as I did this time.

      We would love for you to join in as a buddy baker this month! These donuts make your kitchen smell so deliciously buttery and lightly spiced, a great holiday treat or any time of the year! You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to blog from OUR kitchen (contact link at end of her post), along with a photo and your baking experience by Jan. 29th and be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line. You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

      Elbow Lick Sandwich Bread
      based on the recipe for Sweet Potato Onion Bread in "Deep Run Roots" by Vivian Howard, reduced for 1 loaf

      spoonful (10ml or so) active natural wheat starter at 100% hydration (OR 0.5gm (1/8 tsp) active dry yeast)
      60gm (60ml) water, body temperature
      60gm (118ml) 100% whole wheat flour (I used first clear flour)

      Sweet Potato
      1 five-inch-long orange sweet potato (about)

      Caramelized Onions
      375gm (2.5 large) onions, diced (I used 2)
      7gm (1.5 tsp) sunflower oil
      3gm Kosher salt (0.5 tsp table salt)

      Final Dough
      232gm (400ml) bread flour, OR 225gm unbleached all-purpose + 7gm vital wheat gluten (I used 100g first clear flour, 140g all purpose, and 50g fresh ground sprouted kamut)
      5gm (10ml) wheat germ (oat bran)
      200gm (200ml) water at body temperature, divided (hold back about 18gm for mixing in the salt) (I used 150ml + 18g)
      All of the Starter from above
      7gm (5 ml) honey
      9gm Kosher salt (1.5 tsp table salt) + 18 gm (18ml) from above
      120 ml (~100gm) roasted sweet potato puree
      All of the caramelized onions from above

      The Night Before Baking:

      Put the starter (or active dry yeast, if you're using that) and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon and stir the flour in well. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight.

      Sweet potato: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut the ends off of the sweet potato and place it whole on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until tender and juices are starting to run out and caramelize. This should take about 45 minutes.  When the potatoes are done, their skins will separate slightly from the flesh and they should pierce easily with a knife or fork.  Peel off the skin, it should slide right off, and move the flesh into a bowl.  Mash well.  Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside in a cool place until the next morning.

      Onions:  Heat oil for onions in a cast iron or heavy frying pan. Add the onions and salt and caramelize the onions over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown. This will take 30-40 minutes. Set aside in a cool place until the next morning. 

      The Day of Baking:
      When the starter is puffy, (a small forkful of the it will float in a small bowl of room temperature water when it is ready), you can go ahead and mix the dough.  If the starter does not float, stir in a little more whole wheat flour and water using even amounts by weight, and cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float. (If you used active dry yeast for the starter, you can safely skip the floating test.)  Put the flour, wheat germ, all but 18ml water, starter, honey, and sweet potato puree into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer.  Mix these ingredients to make a rough dough.  Cover the bowl and let rest for about 40 minutes.

      In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 18gm (18 ml) water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough and mix until salt water is incorporated.  Cover and leave to rest for about 20 minutes.

      Stretch and fold the dough to add in the onions: Put a quarter of onions on top of the dough and turn it by folding the dough into the center.  Let sit 20 minutes.  Repeat at 20 minute intervals until all the onions are in the dough.  The dough will feel progressively smoother after each fold.  Cover and leave on the counter (or in a cold oven with the light on for cold kitchens). Once all the onions are added, leave the dough for a couple of hours to allow to double.  A good way to tell if the dough is reading to shape is to run your index finger under water, then poke a hole in the center of the dough. If the hole disappears immediately, the dough still need to rise. If there is a slight whooshing sound and the hole remains in place, the dough has probably over-risen. If the hole very very gradually begins to close, the dough is ready to shape.

      To use a brot-form: Put rice flour into a brotform and distribute it as evenly as possible.  A fine coating of water first with a mister or spray bottle will help achieve the perfect, even coating of rice flour.  If you don't have a brot-form, you can line a bowl, basket or sieve with parchment paper or use a liberally rice floured tea towel.  (Do shake the towel out well before laundering!)  If you do not have rice flour, you can use any other kind of flour, rice just works very well to release the risen dough compared to gluten-full wheat flour.

      To shape the loaf: Scatter a dusting of wheat flour on the counter and gently out the dough onto it. Using wet hands, stretch the dough into a longish rectangle, then fold it like a letter, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there.  Continue folding until the dough is shaped in a ball, being careful not to tear the dough.  Cover with a clean tea towel and let the ball rest for about 20 minutes.

      Without tearing the skin, tighten the ball further.  Place it seam side UP in the well floured (rice) brot-form.  Sprinkle some more wheat germ evenly over the top of the bread. Loosely wrap the shaped loaf with a clean tea towel and enclose the whole thing inside a plastic bag and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on for 3 or 4 hours (until it has about doubled and there are bubbles).   The recipe originator shapes her bread into rounds with holes in the center:
      Shape [the dough] into a round. Let [it] rest for 10 minutes. [...]Line [a baking sheet] with parchment and dust with flour. Stick your finger through the center of [the dough ball]. [...] Stretch it slightly to form a little hole. Transfer that dough round to the baking sheet and continue to carefully stretch the center into a 3-inch hole. Your bread round at this point will look like a giant flat doughnut." - Vivian Howard, Deep Run Roots, Chapter 14: Sweet Potato | Sweet Potato Onion Bread
      To bake: To know when it's time to bake, run your index finger under water and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread with the plastic bag and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on.  If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, for the round loaf, put combo cooker (or a cast-iron frying pan and stainless steel bowl) into the oven and preheat all to 400F.

      When the oven is preheated about fifteen minutes later, put a square of parchment paper on the counter (the paper should be large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the frying pan). Overturn the shaped bread onto the parchment paper (the bran covered part will now be on the bottom). Using a lame (or scissors, or serrated knife), score the bread. Take the pan and bowl out of the oven (wear oven mitts!!) and place the frying pan on the stove (to prevent burning your countertop...). Transfer the bread to the middle of the frying pan and immediately put the lid of the combo-cooker (or stainless steel bowl) over the top like a hat. Put everything into the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn the oven down to 375F.  Bake for 40-50 minutes in all, removing the hat half-way through baking. Turn the oven down to 350F when you remove the hat. The bread is done when the crust is a deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  I baked on a baking stone at 415ºF for 15 minutes with steam and adding more steam every 5 minutes, then for 15 minutes at 390ºF for 15 minutes, then another 10 minutes or so at 375ºF until the center was 290ºF.  When the loaf tested done, I turned it upside down onto a bunched tea towel for 10-15 minutes to cool, then finished cooling right side up.

      Cooling is imperative:  When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating; the bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400ºF for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly. 

      Host kitchen notes:
      :: brotform: If you do not have a brotform, you can use Jim Lahey's method for proofing the shaped loaf: he coats a parchment covered cookie sheet with bran, than shapes his loaf into a ball and places it seam side down onto the bran. He scatters a little more bran on top before covering the shaped loaf loosely with a clean tea towel. He lets it sit at room temperature that way until it has almost doubled in size. Or, you can use Vivian Howard's idea to place the bread on a flour covered parchment papered cookie sheet....
      :: cooking container: If you're lucky enough to have Le Creuset or a cast-iron combo cooker, of course, you should use that. But if you don't, do use your cast-iron pan and cover the bread with an overturned stainless steel mixing bowl for the first half of baking. The dome creates a steam chamber that encourages oven spring.
      :: oven temperature and baking times: Howard suggests preheating the oven to 450ºF and baking for a total of about 30 minutes at 450F.  Because of the presence of honey and sweet potato, and fear of scorching, the host kitchen lowered the oven temperature.

      The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

      Approximate nutrition for one slice of bread (~70g):

      Sunday, December 16, 2018

      Baked Currant Donuts with the BBB

      Soft, light, tender, and ... baked.  These donuts are lighter than a bun though more bread-like than a fried donut.  But since they are yeast risen, they are closer than the batter baked donuts leavened with baking powder.  And they are brilliant, eaten warm.  The dough is beautifully silky, somewhat like a brioche.  I used slightly less butter than it calls for since that was what I had on hand and I prefer a less rich brioche anyway.  I also used cashew milk since I was out of regular milk.  I dried the currants very well before mixing with the dough and only added one extra tbsp flour to mix them in and maintain a soft and silky dough.

      We would love for you to join in as a buddy baker this month! These donuts make your kitchen smell so deliciously buttery and lightly spiced, a great holiday treat or any time of the year!  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished donuts to Feeding My Enthusiasms at plachman at sonic dot net along with a photo and your baking experience by Dec. 29th and be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line.  You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

      Baked Currant Donuts
      adapted from a recipe by Robert Jorin, of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY
      1 cup dried currants (144g)
      1 packet active dry yeast (7g) (I used 2 tsp instant yeast)
      2 tbsp warm water(30g) (I omitted since I used instant yeast)
      granulated sugar (I tried both powdered and granulated, preferred powdered)
      3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)
      ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (~2g)
      ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (~1g)
      ¾ cup milk, warmed (173g) (I used cashew milk)
      1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
      1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted butter (113g + 57g) (I used 6 tbsp butter (85g) in the dough)
      2 tsp kosher salt (I used 1½ tsp because I used salted butter)

      In a medium bowl, cover currants with hot water and let stand until softened, 20 minutes.
      In a small bowl, stir yeast with the 2 tbsp warm water and a pinch of sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.  (If using instant yeast, you can skip this step and add yeast with the flour.)

      In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon with ¼ cup of sugar.  Add milk, egg, egg yolk and half of softened butter.  Beat with a dough hook at low speed for 3 minutes.  Beat in yeast mixture, then salt.  Beat dough on medium speed until soft and silky, about 8 minutes.  The dough should start to pull cleanly away from bowl.

      While the machine is running, add remaining softened butter to dough by the half tbsp, beating at low speed between additions until incorporated.

      Drain currants and press out any excess water with paper toweling.  Add to dough and beat in at low speed.

      Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down, form into a ball again, and return to bowl.  Cover and let stand until billowy, about 1 hour. (The second rise was much more lively for me.)

      Line two large baking sheets with parchment or foil.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange six balls on each prepared baking sheet, smooth side up.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

      With lightly floured hands, press each ball into a flat, 4-inch disc. Use a 1¼ inch round cutter to cut out the center hole of each disc returning the holes to the baking sheets.  There will be six donuts and six donut holes on each sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour until risen slightly.

      Preheat oven to 400º F.  Position racks in upper and lower thirds.  (I sprayed one batch of my donuts with coconut oil baking spray before baking and they turned out softer than the ones I did not spray.)  Bake donuts and holes for 20-25 minutes, switching pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time.  (Mine turned out better at 375º.)  Donuts are done when they are golden and puffy and when the internal temperature at thickest part registers 200º F.

      Spread sugar in a shallow bowl.  Brush hot donuts and holes on both sides with melted butter and dredge them in sugar.  Transfer to a serving dish and serve at once.  (I actually did the shake and bake method with the powdered sugar, tossing them in a ziptop bag with the sugar.  For the fine sugar, I held the donut over the bowl and sprinkled the sugar over with my fingers to coat evenly.)

      The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

      Approximate nutrition for one donut:

      Friday, November 16, 2018

      Bread Baking Babes Boil and Bake Bagels

      I kind of went crazy on this challenge and made four different flavors!  Pumpernickel, Oatmeal Orange, Cinnamon Raisin, and Spiced Pumpkin.  Originally I was only going to do one loaf, because I thought a bagel loaf sounded interesting, but after seeing the optional flavor changes and realizing I could cut down the recipe to one egg for each flavor...  Well, I went there.  Turned out seven bagels per flavor, which was perfect.  We got to test one and send the rest to work where they were very happily gobbled up.  It was helpful to be able to share, which is why I chose the traditional bagel shape rather than the loaf.  (My youngest actually claimed all the oatmeal bagels, they didn't make it to work.  And since that first batch was in an oven I deemed too hot, I'm thrilled she loved them so much!) And since we have not been having potatoes on hand recently, I fiddled around with that aspect too.  

      Why do we use potato water?  For the starch.  It adds chewiness and moisture and enhances keeping quality.  A good all around dough conditioner.  I have potato starch...  So what did I do?  I looked up starch in russet potatoes and tried to figure out how much might go into the potato water during cooking.  Depends on how long you cook of course, but I decided to try 15g and it was quite viscous.  Much more so than regular potato water, but I went with it.  I just simmered the starch and water slurry just until the starch went translucent and thickened.  Worked beautifully.  The freshly baked bagels were light and soft but still chewy like a bagel should be.  They firmed up upon cooling to proper bagel-ness, but not too hard!  They actually remind me of a bialy since they are softer than the traditional stiff bagel dough.

      I also fiddled with the boiling times because I remembered the last time we made bagels.  That was definitely for that recipe and not this one.  I think these bagels get the majority of their rise during the boil, though mine never sank at all and I did 90 seconds on each side to even it out.  I also tried doing the traditional shape where you roll the dough into a snake and seal the ends together.  That worked well for the other recipe but not this one, with the longer time in the water.  So I went for the "poke a hole in the middle and stretch it out" method.  Definitely worked better!

      We would love for you to join in as a buddy baker this month! Try a new flavor of bagel or even a bagel loaf!  (I still think that sounds cool.)  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished bagels or loaf to Bake My Day! at bakemyday {at} gmail {dot} com by Dec. 1st and be sure to put BBBuddy in the subject line.  You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

      Egg Bagels
      From Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible
      (Makes about 30 bagels or 3 9x5" loaves)

      1 or 2 large russet potato (~¾lb/340g ¾) (reserve the potato water for this recipe and save the spuds for something else!)
      2½ cups (500g) water
      2 tbsp (24g) active dry yeast (yes, you can get away with less)
      1½ tbsp (18.75g) sugar, plus more for the boiling water as needed (While bagels benefit from a touch of sweet, you can of course use less)
      1½ tbsp (27g) salt, plus more for the boiling water as needed (I only used 24g and it was plenty!)
      7-7½ cups (875-938g) unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour (I needed more all purpose flour, probably closer to 950-980g equivalent)
      ¼ cup (56g) oil
      4 large eggs (200g)

      Egg Glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

      Sesame/poppy seeds for garnish, optional

      Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks, boil in 2½ cups water until tender. Drain but reserve 2 cups of the potato water! Let cool until lukewarm. Use potato for other purposes.

      In a large bowl using a whisk or the work bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine yeast, 1½ tbs sugar, 1½ tbs salt and 2 cups of the flour.  Add potato water and oil.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup of the flour and the eggs and beat again for 2 minutes.  Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time until a soft dough forms that just clears the side of the bowl.  Switch to a wooden spoon when necessary if mixing by hand.  (Because I was doing quarter recipes, I just combined everything except the oil, mixed until shaggy, then mixed in the oil and kneaded for 5 minutes with the dough hook.)

      If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and springy, about 5 minutes.  Only dust with enough flour to prevent sticking.  For machine kneading, switch out the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 4-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and springy. 

      Place dough in a large container, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk 1-1½ hours.

      To form bagels: gently deflate the dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into quarters.  Then each quarter into 6-8 equal portions.  (I weighed each ¼ batch of dough and divided into 7 bagels.)  Shape each portion into a smooth round.  Flatten with your palm and poke a floured finger through the middle of the ball.  Stretch the hole with your finger to make it about 1 inch in diameter.  Spin the dough around your finger.  (Like a bagel hula hoop!)  The hole will shrink slightly when you stop.   Repeat with all bagels.

      They will need no further rise at this point.

      Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).  (This ended up being too hot for my first batch and I got better results at 375°F (190°C).  Line two baking sheets with parchment. Meanwhile bring a large pot (3-4 Qt) of water to a boil.  Add 2tbs of salt or sugar to the boiling water depending on the flavor you want the crust to have.  (I used sugar and a tsp of malted barley syrup.)  Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle low boil.

      With a slotted spatula, lower 3-4 bagels at a time into the gently boiling water.  They will drop to the bottom and then rise to the surface.  (Mine didn't sink, there's a lot of happy yeast in these!)  As they come to the surface, turn each bagel and boil it 3 minutes on the other side.  This goes very quickly, if you are making the entire batch of bagels, use a second pot of boiling water.  (One benefit of a quarter batch, only needed one pot!)

      Remove the bagels from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place each 1" apart on the prepared baking sheets.  When all the bagels have been boiled, brush with the glaze and sprinkle with seeds if desired.  Place bagels in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until deep golden.  Transfer immediately to a cooling rack.

      To form and bake a bagel loaf: Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equal portions. Form into rectangular loaves and place into three greased 9x5" loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until just level with the tops of the pans, (these loaves will rise a lot in the oven) about 40 minutes.

      Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C)

      Brush the tops with egg glaze and using kitchen shears, carefully snip the top of the dough about ½” deep at 2” intervals down the center of the loaf. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until crusty, golden brown and the top sounds hollow when tapped with your finger, 40-45 minutes. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing. 

      Look at Karen's beautiful bagel loaf!

      Karen's Bagel Loaf

      Flavor options:

      # Make these whole wheat by subbing 3 cups for an equal portion of the unbleached flour

      # Orange Oatmeal:  Substitute 1½ cup oatmeal for an equal portion of the unbleached flour, add 1 tbsp grated orange zest and 2 tbsp honey (these needed more flour for me!)

      # Cinnamon Raisin:  Increase the sugar to ¼ cup.  Add 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground mace or nutmeg and ½ tsp ground cardamom with the flour in the initial mixing.  Add 1½ cups golden or dark raisins during mixing.  This dough may be formed into a loaf and topped with sesame seeds.

      # Pumpernickel Bagels:  Substitute 2 cups medium or dark rye flour for an equal portion of the unbleached flour.  (I used light rye that I had on hand).  Add ¼ cup molasses, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa and 1 tbsp powdered instant coffee.  (I used espresso powder, in half the amount.)  Glaze the tops and sprinkle with caraway seeds.

      # Onion bagels:  Saute 1 finely chopped onion in 4 tbsp butter until softened.  Halfway through baking glaze the bagel tops and spread 2 tsp of onion mixture over each bagel.  Finish baking.

      (My own flavor addition was spiced pumpkin with pepitas used on top after glazing.)   Substitute 1 cup of pumpkin puree for 1 cup of the water, increase sugar to 1/4-1/3 cup, and add 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp allspice, and 1 tsp cloves during the initial mixing.  Top with pepitas after glazing.  (Optional.)

      The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

       Approximate nutrition per bagel for original recipe yielding 30 bagels:

      Monday, October 29, 2018

      "Coffee" Chip Muffins, Sugar free and low carb

      If you have been missing baked goods while on a low carb or keto kick, give these muffins a try! They are so tender and tasty, I have had them for breakfast, lunch and dinner on occasion. They are tender and delicious and freeze and reheat supremely well.  Even the kids love them.  They like the chocolate chip topped muffins, but I prefer the nut streusel.  And since I am mostly making them for me, that was the entirety of the last batch I made. 

      Xanthan gum in entirely optional, but I recommend cooling completely and reheating if not using any.  The muffins will hold together much better that way.  A teaspoon of flaxseed meal is another substitute for xanthan gum, but I have not tried it yet.  
      • Keep your flax seeds whole and either chilled or frozen, and grind them on demand for best flavor and to avoid rancidity.  Ground flax should smell delightfully nutty and pleasant.  If not, it is no longer good and should be replaced.
      These muffins are very filling and satisfy for hours.  Feel free to use instant coffee or a smaller amount of espresso powder instead of the Pero.

      Coffee Chip Muffins
      makes 12

      200g (2 cups) almond flour (fine grind)
      14g (2 tbsp) coconut flour
      ¼ tsp salt
      1/3 cup monkfruit erythritol sweetener or swerve
      2 tsp baking powder
      2 tbsp Pero (or instant coffee or other coffee substitute)
      ½ tsp cinnamon
      ½ tsp xanthan gum (optional)
      ¼ cup butter, melted
      ¼ cup avocado oil
      3 eggs, lightly beaten
      1 tsp vanilla
      1/3 cup milk
      ½ cup + 2 tbsp sugar free chocolate chips, divided (such as Lily's stevia sweetened chips)
      ¼ cup chopped pecans + 1 tbsp granulated sweetener (1/3 cup if you want all the muffins to have the streusel)

      Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Whisk together the flours, salt, sweetener, baking powder, Pero, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla, and milk and stir until well combined.  Gently stir in ½ cup of the chocolate chips.  Scoop the batter into greased or lined muffin tins.  I prefer to lightly grease my paper liners when baking with low carb recipes.  Sprinkle half the muffins with the remaining 2 tbsp chocolate chips, and half with the pecan/sugar mixture.  Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes.

      Enjoy!  (Approximately 6.5 - 7g erythritol per muffin.)

      Tuesday, October 16, 2018

      The BBB Steam up some Bao

      Our challenge bread for this month is a classic, light and fluffy dim sum bread known as a Bao bun, or Gua Bao.  To be quite honest, straight out of the steamer basket, they smell like Wonder bread!  But so much better.  They are typically filled with some sort of barbecued pork and picked vegetable mixture.  I think they would be absolutely wonderful that way and do check out the other posts to see versions like that.  I muddied the waters and crossed borders by using a Moroccan Tagine inspired filling.  And it was delicious too!  These buns are seriously soft, light, fluffy, and a pleasure to snack on.  I did make a few changes because, having had steamed buns before, I know I prefer them less sweet.  So I went with just a slightly different recipe.  Not too different, just less sugar, a pinch of salt, and the addition of some rice vinegar, which I find very appropriate for a Char Sui filling.

      We would love for you to join in as a buddy baker this month! You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished buns to Karen's Kitchen Stories by the 29th of this month. You will receive a Bread Baking Buddy graphic to keep or add to your post, and be included in our Buddy round up at the end of the month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

      Just a tip, if you happen to order a steamer just for a recipe like this, give it a run through before you use it the first time to actually steam something.  The bamboo will have a strong aroma the first time!  So before using for the first time: Wash all pieces with hot soapy water, rinse well and then soak in hot water for 30 minutes. After soaking, steam all baskets and lid for about 30 minutes (while empty).

      Steamed Bao Buns
      (original recipe) makes 9-10 buns

      2 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
      ½ teaspoon baking powder
      1/3 cup (70 grams) sugar
      4 grams instant or active dry yeast
      ½ cup (120 grams) water, about 100 degrees
      1 teaspoon neutral oil

      The altered recipe I used: 
      also makes 9-10 buns

      260g all purpose flour
      1 tbsp fine sugar
      ½ tsp instant yeast
      ¼ tsp salt
      25 ml milk (1 tbsp + 2 tsp)
      110 ml water
      ½ tbsp sun-coco oil
      ½ tbsp rice vinegar
      ½ tsp baking powder

      Mix together 260g plain flour, yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and ¼ tsp salt in a large bowl.

      Add 25ml milk, ½ tbsp sunflower oil, ½ tbsp rice vinegar and 100ml water to the flour. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed.

      On a lightly floured work surface, knead for 10-15 mins or until smooth.  (You may, of course, use a mixer.)  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover to rise for 30-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

      Cut out 10 parchment squares to line the steamer basket.  Lettuce leaves may also be used to prevent sticking.

      Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and punch it down.  Flatten dough with your hands, sprinkle over the ½ tsp baking powder and knead in for 5 mins to combine.

      Divide the dough into 9 or 10 pieces of about 50 grams each.

      Roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 mins.

      Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick.  Fold the dough in half lengthwise, and place on a parchment square.

      Transfer buns to a baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for about 30-45 mins, or until puffy and increased in size.

      Bring a pan or wok of water to a steady boil (just slightly more than simmering) and fit your pan or wok with a steamer, bamboo basket, or steaming rack just above the water. Place the buns in the steamer, cover, and steam for 12 minutes. (you may need to do this in batches).  Four was okay for mine, five was too crowded, three would have been ideal.  The top level seemed to steam better than the bottom due to less crowding.  TIP: turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes in the steamer before uncovering to prevent wrinkly buns!

      Cool slightly, then fill with your desired filling and enjoy!

      You can freeze leftover buns. They may either be thawed and re-steamed for 3 minutes, or wrap one in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.  Delicious!

      The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

      Approximate nutrition per plain bun for a yield of nine buns: