Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Bee Keeper's Pain de Mie #BBB

June is Pollinator month, and what better bread to bake than one infused with honey and delicately scented with a subtle floral tea? 

Bumblebee on lupine
Bumblebee on lupine

Plants for pollinators
Catmint, columbine, English and French lavender

No worries on this bread tasting like flowers, the very subtle floral notes just add a little je ne sais quoi that is completely delightful.  There are a number of options for this loaf, either a straight dough method with no pre-ferment, or a longer method with even more flavor and keeping quality.  I did choose the straight method from King Arthur this time, but absolutely had to incorporate the floral tea from the original method that was left out of the KA version.  For my floral tea, I brewed a mug with one bag of Tazo chamomile tea with rose, and an infuser with ½ tbsp of dried lavender buds for 5 minutes, then measured out the amount of that water that I needed.  My youngest kiddo happily drank the rest, she loves teas, and tried it as her very first milk tea.  The dough smelled beautiful, the bread smelled beautiful, and when toasted the next day, the whole kitchen smelled amazing!  Such a wonderful bread, we will definitely make it again.

This is a fantastic bread to try out, not very difficult, and you can make it as a regular loaf if you don't have a pullman pan with a lid.  It is also possible to stick a baking sheet with a heavy cast iron pan on other oven safe heavy item on top of a regular loaf pan to try for the square loaf shape.  I have been wanting a pullman pan for years, so I picked one up!  I highly recommend giving the loaf a try, we'd love for you to join us this month but it's so good, bookmark it for later anyway!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to our host kitchen by the 30th 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.

Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie
makes one 13x5-inch loaf or two 9x4-inch

Option #1: Adapted from the Bee Keeper’s Pain de Mie on the KAF site

Makes: one 13X5 pullman-size loaf and utilizes the straight dough method (meaning it doesn’t have an overnight preferment)

Ingredients: (Tanna’s adaptation)
200 g white whole wheat flour (I used sprouted spelt, freshly milled)
500 g All-Purpose Flour
25 g wheat bran (I used the bran sifted from the spelt, milled a little more finely)
2½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
227 g (227ml) lukewarm water
½ cup (113g) milk, at room temperature
3 tbsp (64g) honey
7 tbsp (99g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Directions: Follow the instructions found on the KAF web page.

I followed the basic directions on the KAF site, substituting the brewed tea for the water.  A half batch is just barely enough for the 9x4-inch pullman.  It did take some time for the dough to rise enough to fill where it was supposed to go.  A little more dough would probably have resulted in a tighter crumb, but we are totally not complaining, this was still wonderful bread.  I might make a full batch and use a little more in the pan and have an extra little loaf next time.  (Yes, Aparna scaled back by only a third and ended up with a perfect loaf for the 9x4 pan!)

Option #2: Adapted from Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip

Makes: two 9X5 pullman loaves (divide in half for one smaller pullman loaf) or make one 13×5 pullman loaf and one very small loaf)

410 g durum flour
410 g AP flour
352 g water
172 g wildflower tea (lavender)
17 g salt, fine
16 g yeast
123 g butter

410 g AP flour
246 g water
pinch yeast

170 g milk
35 g honey
4 g lavender
2 g chamomile flowers

172 grams wildflower tea
656 grams Biga (all above)
106 grams water
35 grams Honey
410 grams Durum flour or Bread flour
123 grams butter
17 grams salt, fine
16 grams instant dried yeast


Combine the flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Add tepid water (75-80°F). Mix briefly, then knead until a smooth dough forms.
Cover and set at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, it may only take 8-10 hours.

Combine milk, honey in a small pot.
Over low heat, warm the mixture so the honey mixes into the milk.
When there are small bubbles around the edges add the chamomile and lavender if using.
Turn off the heat.
Cover and allow to set at room temperature 12 to 16 hours.
Strain before using.
Warm the tea to 80° when ready to use.

Ending desired dough temperature: 80°.
Combine strained Tea, all the BIGA and the water (I added the milk and honey here).
Mix until the biga is broken up.
Add very soft butter, flour, salt and yeast.
Stir until the dough forms a shaggy mass.
Resist the urge to add more flour.

Cover and allow to rise for about 90 minutes.

Fold after 30 and 60 minutes; then leave untouched until divide.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces which will weight approximately 750 grams each. If you are making the larger (13×5-inch) pullman-size loaf, you will need approximately 1150 grams of dough. You will have about 350 grams left over for a smaller loaf.
Preshape as tubes. Cover and rest 15 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans, two 9×5 inch pullman pans or one 13×5 inch pullman pan and a smaller loaf pan.
Shape as pan loaves.
With the long side facing you, fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center and the top third over (like a business letter). Fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand.
Place in pans seam side down. Press dough into pans to evenly fill to all corners.

For loaf pans: Cover and proof until dough is about 1 to 1.5 inches above top of pan: about 60 – 90 minutes.
For pullman pans: Place the dough seam-down into the pan, and press it evenly into the corners. Put the lid on the pan and close all but an inch or so in order to monitor the loaf as it rises.
Allow the dough to rise until it’s just below the lip of the pan, 60 to 90 minutes. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, it may take less than 90 minutes for this proof. It only took my loaf about 45 minutes.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Close the lid of the pan completely, and put the pan in the oven.
Bake the bread for 20 then remove the lid and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. The loaf should be a deep golden brown on all sides. Adjust the baking time if you are making the extra small loaf.
Remove the loaf from the oven and, after 5 minutes, turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. Do not allow to cool in the pan as that will result in a soggy crust.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Iowa Blueberry "Corn" Pancakes #BreadBakers

It's time for our Bread Bakers challenge and this month's theme is corn!  Our host, Food Lust People Love, let us know the theme was open to yeast breads or quick breads, any pan or shape, and both sweet and savory options.  It did need to contain corn as a major element.  Either actual corn (fresh, frozen or freeze-dried; any color), or cornmeal or polenta would work. Or a combination!  My particular challenge is that my girls and I are corn sensitive, which kind of sucks.  My youngest especially loves corn, but too much and we pay the consequences.  So my recipe will offer a corn free alternative that gives almost indistinguishable results.  This was a recipe  I grew up with.  I remember having these all the time as a kid and I just love the mealy texture of these pancakes.  Depending on the coarseness of your grind, they can have a little crunch to them if you like.  Way back then we made them with corn meal, but nowadays I use millet meal.  It's a brilliant substitute for corn meal, making fantastic polenta and corn bread that anyone will think is the real thing.  I made corn muffins one Thanksgiving and my brother said he would not have known it was not corn if I hadn't said anything.  It just had a slightly more delicate flavor according to him.

The first time my kids tried these, they weren't sure about this new texture in a pancake, but they quickly decided they were very good!  Now the blueberries are optional, but both corn and millet go beautifully with blueberries.  The millet can be ground in a food processor or coffee grinder.  Millet is usually easy enough to find in the bulk section of many grocery stores, millet flour in the gluten free section, but millet meal, you pretty much have to make yourself.  I used to use a coffee grinder, now I use my Mockmill set fairly coarse.  I love these with real maple syrup, but I can also attest that ginger syrup is phenomenal on them as well. 

Iowa Blueberry "Corn" Pancakes
makes 20-24 4-inch pancakes

1½ cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
Fresh ground millet meal
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup millet meal (ground to a polenta or grits consistency, original corn recipe calls for ½ cup corn meal and polenta or grits works well) 

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (I use homemade kefir, nice and thick for thicker cakes)
2 tbsp melted butter, bacon fat, or oil

1½ cups blueberries (optional)

Stir together the flour, sugar, soda, salt and millet or corn grits.

Beat together the buttermilk or kefir, with the egg and melted butter in a glass measure.  Pour over dry ingredients.  Whisk until just blended.  Ladle a scant ¼ cup batter onto preheated griddle on medium (~355ºF).  Quickly place a few blueberries on top of each pancake.  (A little kitchen helper is a great advantage here!)

Turn when bubbles appear and edges are brown.

Cook about 1 minute longer.  Serve with butter and real maple syrup, some extra berries, or honey.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Be sure to check out our corny collaboration!


Saturday, May 30, 2020

100% Fresh Milled Whole Wheat Bread

This week I tried out a 100% whole wheat loaf made with freshly milled Edison wheat, a hard white spring wheat bred specifically for the Northwest maritime weather where I live.  It was developed in the Bread Lab at WSU and is a fantastic cultivar with a buttery flavor and beautiful golden color.  You can get it already ground into flour, or whole and I highly recommend giving it a try as it has wonderful flavor.

I am just thrilled with how it turned out and will have to give it a try with a portion of sprouted grains next time.

This bread has the most delicious aroma both during and after baking!  There isn't a huge amount of honey, but it has the most beautiful sweet smell.  That may be partly due to the variety of wheat.  I have used Edison wheat before that we grew and threshed in the local church garden and it has amazing flavor.  That was why I chose it for this loaf, knowing it was a good performer.  I also have lots of sprouted grains to mill, but wanted to test out this loaf with a regular wheat first.

100% Fresh Milled Whole Wheat Bread
makes 1 loaf

267g water (1c + 2tbsp)
30g oil, ghee, or softened butter (~ 2 tbsp)
40g honey (~2 tbsp)
8g sea salt (1½ tsp)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
30g milk powder (~3½ tbsp) (I use whole goat milk powder)
455g freshly milled wheat flour (~3 3/8 cups) (I used Edison wheat, which is a hard, white, spring wheat, and I sifted and reground the bran to be quite fine.)
5.5g instant yeast (1½ tsp)

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer or large bowl and knead on low or mix by hand until all ingredients are combined.  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Adjust dough if necessary by adding water by tbsp.  It should be between sticky and tacky and somewhat firm, but not stiff.  Knead just long enough to make a cohesive dough ball. 
Cover and let rise for 40 minutes.  Turn out dough and press out into a rectangle.  Fold in the short ends by thirds, press down and turn 90º and fold in the ends again.  Place back into bowl.  Repeat the 40 minute rise and fold twice more.

Let dough rest for 10 minutes.  Form into a loaf and place in a buttered 8x4" loaf pan.  Allow to rise until double, approximately 40-60 minutes.  Meanwhile preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place loaf in oven and turn down to 375ºF.  Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from pan and bake directly on the rack for another 5-10 minutes until internal temperature is at least 190ºF.  Remove from oven and cool on rack completely before slicing.

Although it can be hard to resist, you will get a better crumb, flavor, and keeping quality if you refrain from cutting into bread that is still warm.  Cutting too early can result in a sticky, gummy crumb and ironically, a dried out bread as well.  Bread can always be reheated after the starches have set, if a warm bread is desired.

This actually turned out to be a forgiving dough as the timing ended up being right when I needed to take my daughter to an appointment.  So I threw the rising loaf in the fridge and hoped for the best.  It still rose so much it flattened the top against the upper shelf and I had to gently reshape it somewhat.  But it puffed up nicely in the oven and there you go, lovely 100% whole wheat loaf.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Early American Cottage Loaf #BBB

This is the saga of the bread that prevailed.  The little loaf that could.  The dough that defied fate.  Okay, I'll stop, but truly, baking circumstances were colluding against me on this one.  And yet we still ended up with two very tasty loaves, albeit one slightly scorched on the bottom.

A slightly lopsided cottage loaf, owing to the spacious
Dutch oven and the uneven "oven" spring.

It tried to doff its cap.
 So on the first loaf, my oven died right in the middle of preheating!  I went to put in the loaf, already in the Dutch oven I was using and noticed that the little oven thermometer inside read minimum temp.  Good thing I noticed or I wouldn't have been able to easily save it 40 minutes later as I had preheated the Dutch oven on the stove top burner, which still worked.  So I frantically heated up the barbecue and shoved the Dutch oven in there.  I knew it would scorch the bottom a bit but was hoping the cast iron would provide a little protection.  (Actually it was a good thing I was trying out the new Dutch oven as I am certain a glass dish could have shattered on the barbecue.)  It seemed pessimistic on first glance, but after slicing, it was just fine.  Cut off that very thin edge of scorch and the bread was delicious! 

Oh my, that looks bad.
Hmm, maybe not as bad as I thought.
Well look at that, just superficial scorch!
The second time I fully intended on baking in the barbecue, even though we had our new oven by then.  But I also knew we were running low on propane.  I was watching the grill carefully and had already sent hubby to the store to replace the empty spare tank, just in case.  It was a good call, the flame ran out right at 375ºF.  The dough was starting to get over-risen at that point so I deflated and reformed the loaf so I could have the best possible results.  And here is how the setup and the resulting loaf looked:

The crust is actually quite soft, and I accidentally put out my burners when trying to add some steam at the beginning.  I figured it out when the temperature had gone down the next time I checked and had to quickly relight with a fwumph.  I originally intended on using my oblong clay baker, but soon found there was not room for it atop my setup.  So I switched to the pizza stone and did a regular oblong loaf.  I wonder if just the overturned sheet pan or the oven burner grill plates alone would be enough protection for the bottom of the Dutch oven or baker.  The point is to allow for heat circulation as well as limiting direct heat contact.  My friend actually makes cinnamon rolls, (cinnamon rolls!), using this method and a pyrex dish.  She uses the overturned half sheet pan and the burner plates.  The resulting breads, baked in the grill, take on an elusive and extremely pleasing hint of smokiness or savoriness from the grill.  Her boys actually prefer the hint of smoke in the barbecued cinnamon rolls and I now completely understand why.  This honey touched loaf is absolutely delightful with the hint of grill flavor.  The challenge of the barbecue is that it loses a lot of heat very quickly if you lift the lid, so you need to figure out the temperature settings ahead of time.  I wanted to just have one burner going to get some convection, but the temperature would not stay high enough, so I had to use both.  The loaf actually browned better in the Dutch oven, I assume as a result of more even heat from the cast iron conduction.

I used the yeast method for both of my loaves but there is also a sourdough adaptation provided.  This was a nice and quite happy dough to work with and I was more than happy to make it twice.  I actually would like to see how it turns into french toast.  It makes the lightest toast too, just delicious.  I love the touch of honey flavor.  Everybody is baking more right now, why don't you join us and try out this tasty loaf of bread?  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished loaf to our host kitchen by the 30th 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.

Early American Cottage Loaf
Makes one large loaf 
adapted from Red Star Yeast

Yeast Version:
1¼ cups water
2 TBSP oil (I used butter)
3 TBSP honey
2¼ cups (286 grams) bread flour (I used 300g King Arthur all purpose) 
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour (I used 135g freshly milled sprouted spelt flour) 
1½ tsp sea salt
2 TBSP wheat germ (I substituted sprouted amaranth that I ground at level 5 on the mockmill - about a farina consistency)
¼ cup (30 grams) oat or wheat bran (I used the bran from the milled spelt here)
¼ cup (30 grams) oatmeal (I used steel oats, milled coarse enough to flake them)
2 TBSP corn meal (I used freshly milled sprouted millet meal - level 10 on the mockmill gives a good corn meal level grind for me)
1½ tsp instant dried yeast (original recipe calls for 2¼ tsp active dried yeast)

Sourdough Version:
120 grams sourdough starter, fed & active (or create a levain the night before with a tablespoon of starter + 50 grams flour and and 50 grams water to equal 120 grams and let it ferment overnight)
220 grams water
27 grams oil
63 grams honey
226 grams all-purpose or bread flour
120 grams whole wheat flour
9 grams salt
14 grams wheat germ
30 grams rolled oats (old fashioned)
30 grams oat or wheat bran
15 grams corn meal

*The method is the same for both versions except you would add the sourdough with the wet ingredients and let it ferment longer.

In a mixer bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the dried yeast and salt.  Add the water, honey, and oil.  Knead until a cohesive mixture is formed.  Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead until the dough is elastic and just slightly tacky.

Cover and let rise 45 min to 1 hour.  Do a stretch and fold and let rise an additional hour or until doubled.  (It usually takes less time to double after the first rise.)

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and press down to degas. Cut off 1/3 of the dough.  Let the dough relax for 10 minutes.  You can divide the dough by weight or just estimate.

Shape each section into a round ball. Place larger ball in a greased 2½ quart casserole or soufflé dish. Using a sharp knife or lame, cut a cross, about 1½ inches across, in the top of the larger piece of dough.  Brush the surface with water and then place the smaller piece of dough on top. Press through the center of both pieces of dough using the handle of a wooden spoon or your finger.  (That is the traditional cottage loaf form, but this bread is delicious in any shape you choose.) Check out the host kitchen's post for excellent step by step pictures to form the traditional cottage loaf.

Cover and let rise until an indentation remains after lightly touching dough. 

Second loaf, standard oblong shape.

Just before baking, stick handle of wooden spoon or finger to refresh the hole. Using a sharp knife or lame, make 8 long slashes around the top and 12 smaller slashes around the bottom of the loaf.

Bake in preheated 375°F oven 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from dish and cool on rack.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Black Pepper Rye Bread #BreadBakers

Can you believe it is time for the May #BreadBaker's bake?  The days just seem to flow into each other right now.  Our theme this month is rye breads, hosted by Karen's Kitchen Stories.  I was fortunate enough to have both rye flour and rye berries on hand as I understand there are some shortages of rye flour in various areas.  Interesting, as rye has a definitive flavor that not everyone appreciates as well as being a little more tricky to work with as it has a weaker gluten structure.  I learned to love rye at Denny's of all places.  I started getting the rye toast option and never looked back.  Of course that is a very light version of rye the likely has only a small portion of rye flour.  I do prefer a lighter rye loaf to a dense, all rye bread like you might find in Europe, though I did just find a bauernbrot recipe that is just over 50% rye that looks really tasty!  This dough smells delightful, with its spicy coffee infusion.

The recipe I made comes from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet cookbook.  This link (not an affiliate link) is the UK version and I actually do not recommend the American published version, as they converted all the weights to volumetric measurements and allegedly screwed up many of the recipes in the process.  I ordered the original UK publication for that reason and still have two dozen recipes bookmarked to try!  We have enjoyed other recipes from Dan as well.  I remember in particular a fabulous garlic bread...
Now upon reading this recipe in preparation for baking, I was surprised to find that it uses a tangzhong method to make the dough, though it doesn't call it out as such.  The description does however state a very moist and soft light rye bread, which is of course what tangzhong would lend to the results.  Now that I have tried this one, I also want to try his Deli bread, which has mashed potato and onion in it, and mashed potato also adds a lovely soft, springy texture to bread.  Sigh, this will have to wait until my new oven arrives, as the old one very inconveniently died in the middle of preheating for another loaf.

Black Pepper Rye
makes 1 loaf

325ml regular black coffee
150g rye flour (I ground mine fresh)
2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 tsp anise, fennel, or caraway seeds (I used caraway, yum)
1 tsp fast action yeast (I used instant yeast)
325g strong white flour, plus extra for shaping (I used all purpose)
1½ tsp fine salt
oil for kneading (I did not use this)
beaten egg and poppy seeds to finish (of course I could not find my poppy seeds, so used more caraway)

Mix the coffee and half the rye flour (75g), along with the pepper and seeds in a saucepan.  Whisk while heating until the mixture is thick and just reaching boiling.  Quickly remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl to cool down to just warm.  Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the yeast, mixing well, then add the rest of the rye flour, the white flour, and the salt.  Mix until a smooth dough is achieved.  (Whether because of my fresh ground rye, or using all purpose instead of bread flour, my dough needed more flour to achieve a suitable and not totally sticky dough.)  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead dough for 10 seconds on a lightly oiled surface.  (I simply did folds within the mixer bowl for my dough, using a bench scraper.)  Cover and repeat this process twice more, every 10 minutes, and then let rest for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Dust the dough with a little flour and pat out into a 20cm square, then roll up tightly.  Place seam-side down on the parchment, cover and let rise by half, around 45 minutes.  (Mine took much longer.)  Heat the oven to 230ºC/210ºC fan/ 450ºF.  Brush the top with an egg wash, (I like to use a whole beaten egg, thinned with a tbsp of water), cut six diagonal slashes across the top, and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  Bake for 40 minutes or until done.

Today, the Bread Bakers, hosted by Karen's Kitchen Stories, have baked breads with rye.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Dalgona "Coffee" - A Coffee Free Version

You may have seen one of the latest internet beverage sensations, the Dalgona Coffee, somewhere on YouTube, or Instagram, or floating around the web.  This popular Korean coffee drink is an impressive looking, but super easy concoction made with... instant coffee.  That's right, good old coffee crystals.  Now I do love coffee flavored things, but caffeine and I don't really get along very well.  So I wondered if I could make a Dalgona coffee work with something else.

I have seen YouTube creators try it with cocoa powder and matcha powder, neither of which works, but they did at least yield a tasty syrup.  But the appealing part about a Dalgona coffee is that the thick, silky foam floats on top of the drink, making for that interesting presentation before being stirred into the drink to consume.

Anyway, I really wanted to try it out with a coffee substitute.  I keep Pero on hand for caffeine free coffee flavor and I was fairly certain that it would work as well as instant coffee crystals.  I don't know whether it is the spray drying process, the acidity of the coffee crystals in reaction with the sugar, or what makes this foam possible, but it's cool and yes, it definitely works with Pero!  And it's super easy!  I might have some other coffee substitutes hiding in the pantry, if they are instant, I will try them out too to see if they work as well.

Dalgona "Coffee" Foam with Pero
serves 2

2 tbsp Pero instant beverage powder
2 tbsp sugar (I used light brown muscovado for this experiment, but any granular sugar should work)
2 tbsp hot water

14 oz. milk (I am told hot or cold works)
 Ice (optional)

Combine the pero, sugar, and hot water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  (A hand mixer and bowl will work as well.)  Whisk lightly to combine, then mix and increase speed slowly to high and whip until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. This will take a few minutes.
It will drip eventually but has soft peaks
Put ice, if desired, into two glasses, then fill each glass with 7oz milk, hot or cold. Top with dollops of the whipped coffee, and then swirl the tops with the back of a spoon for a pattern, or leave a little twist for visual appeal.  Mix the two layers together before drinking. 
These would be lovely with a sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon as well.  The foam is fairly strong tasting, so it does need to be mixed in before drinking the beverage.  Another little fun thing about this drink is that it starts with the milk on the bottom and the dark coffee foam on top, but if you let it sit for a moment after stirring, you get the cappuccino effect of coffee on the bottom with light foam on the top.  My eldest teen loves coffee drinks and she was not willing to give back the first test glass that I brought to her for a sip.  I guess that means it was a winner!  And I don't have to worry about her having caffeine before bed time.  Just a nice, coffee flavored treat!
Add spoon,
One or two stirs,
All stirred up,

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Kürtőskalács or Chimney Cakes #BBB

Oh wow, I really hope y'all have some flour available, because this bake is a real treat!  Kürtőskalács, or Chimney Cakes are a kind of Hungarian sweet yeast pastry cooked on a spit and were the choice of our host this month, My Diverse Kitchen.  According to Aparna, "Kalács means sweet pastry. These Chimney Cakes are more specific to Transylvania in Hungary and Szeklerland, the Hungarian-speaking region of Romania. They’re also known as Cozonac Secuiesc in Romania. Kürtőskalács can be found in other parts of Eorope. German-Saxons call this pastry Schornstein Kuchen. A variation that is baked without the caramelized sugar glaze is made the Czech Republic and Slovakia called Trdelník. It’s called Kurtoszkalacz in Poland."  Be sure to check out her post to hear more history on these awesome pastries.  Traditionally, each strip or rope is wrapped around a wooden dowel, brushed over with melted butter and rolled in granulated sugar. The dough encased dowels are turned and slow roasted over charcoal or in a specialized rotisserie machine until they turn crisp and a shiny golden brown. These treats can be further sprinkled with cinnamon, finely chopped nuts, chocolate, sprinkles, or a variety of toppings.  The pastries are typically eaten hollow, but the middle of the pastry can be filled with whipped cream if desired. The pastry is unraveled into strips and eaten. It is crunchy on the outside and soft and cake-like on the inside. They were originally made for special holidays and celebrations but today, are enjoyed as an everyday treat. You can find them in shops, on street corners, and at carnivals and fairs.

Oh my goodness, these are so good.  Golden and crispy sweet on the outside, delightfully soft in the middle.  If you like the middle parts of a cinnamon roll for their softness, you will likely love these.  My youngest preferred a plain sugar coating, while the rest of the family chose the cinnamon sugar option.  And I can now attest that these pastries reheat fantastically with just a 10-15 second burst in the microwave.  Oh, and the dough is beautifully soft too.

You will be seeing some innovative ways that our Bread Baking Babes came up with molds on which to form the chimneys.  Aparna used conical kulfi molds that worked beautifully!  I saved some tall, narrow soda cans to cover with foil, then I found an old rolling pin that could have been set to hang over the edges of a long pan or roaster.  Then I decided to take the easy way out.  I ordered a trdelnik form.  Ha!  Worked like a charm!  Though I did stuff the inside with parchment paper to insulate the middle a bit.  These wonderful pastries are normally formed on a wooden spit, like a rolling pin with extra long handles.  There is no heat on the inside, so they stay super soft and fluffy in the middle.  So I did my best to reduce the conduction of heat on the inside.  It must have worked because these were wonderfully soft and fluffy in the middle.  The very outside edges did get slightly more done on the inside, so I'm glad I stuffed the molds.  The other thing about this mold is that the cakes are baked horizontally and you are supposed to rotate them by a third, three times during the baking time.  The silicone ends have marks to show a perfect third rotation, I, II, and III.  If using an upright mold, you won't have to worry about rotating.  The traditional chimney cakes are baked in a rotisserie style baker made just for that purpose and rotate constantly.

We tried a plain sugar coating and a cinnamon sugar coating before baking, as well as brushing a plain sugar cake with butter after baking and then rolling in cinnamon sugar.  Both are good, the sugaring before baking yields a less messy end product, whereas rolling in sugar after baking gives a treat more reminiscent of fair food.  Nice and sugary and messy.  Unless you want that extra mess and decadence, these are just lovely sticking to coating before baking.  I would suggest splitting one with someone and honestly there are three good servings in each of my chimneys, but I certainly won't tell anyone if you happen to demolish an entire chimney yourself, in one sitting.

Now I assume the name chimney cakes came about because there is a cloud of steam released when the cakes are first removed from their molds.  It continues for just a minute until it cools sufficiently.  I did manage to catch some of it:

You simply must try out this delicious recipe!  Well, you don't have to, but you'll seriously be missing out if you don't.  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 our host kitchen by the 30th 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.

Kürtőskalács or Chimney Cakes
makes ~4 chimneys or about 12 servings

2¾ cup all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp instant yeast (I used active dry yeast)
1/8 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
70 g melted butter
¾ - 1 cup milk (70-80ºF) (I think I only used the ¾ cup amount)
more melted butter for brushing  (a generous 2 tbsp was sufficient for all four of my cakes)
sugar for sprinkling, or cinnamon sugar, or shredded coconut, or finely chopped nuts or anything else you would like to use to coat your Chimney Cakes
Molds to shape the chimney cakes

I started my dough with a sponge since I was worried about my yeast.  So I started my sponge with ½ cup of the flour, 1 tbsp of the sugar, the yeast, and ¼ cup of the milk.  I also added a spoonful of sourdough starter for good measure!  I let that proof for about 30 minutes until it was puffy.

Place the flour, yeast, sugar, egg, salt and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. (I added the remaining ingredients to my sponge at this point.)  Add about half the milk and start kneading. Add more milk as required and knead dough until it is soft, smooth and elastic.

Shape dough into a ball and place back in bowl.  Cover and let rise for about 2 hours until it is double in size.

Deflate the dough and divide into two. Work with one portion at a time. Lightly dust your working surface with flour. Roll the dough out into a rectangle just under ½ cm thick. Cut into 1 cm wide strips lengthwise. (Based on the recipe amounts included in my mold directions, I figured I would have the right amount of dough to make four cakes.  The space in between the silicone caps is about 7" and it calls for making a rope of dough about 1 meter long.  So I aimed for that and rolled each quarter of dough out into ropes long enough to fit my mold.)

Directions for my trdelnik mold.

Tightly wrap the dough strips around the mold without gaps between strips, slightly stretching the dough to keep it thin, and tucking under the edges to seal. Lightly roll the wrapped mold on the counter to seal the edges of the strips/rope together.

Brush the surface of the dough lightly with melted butter. Dredge with sugar or cinnamon sugar to coat completely.  Place upright on a baking tray.  (If using a hollow mold, I recommend stuffing it with parchment or something to reduce the heat conduction to the inside.  Something oven safe, of course.)

Bake them at 190ºC (375ºF) for about 20 to 25 minutes till done, (21 for me), golden brown and sugar has caramelized. (If using a horizontal setup like a rolling pin, you will need to rotate the cakes periodically during baking.)  Take out of the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes. Using the blunt edge of a knife, slide the pastry off the molds.  (I let mine sit for a couple minutes, took one cap off and gave the cakes a good knock straight down onto the counter.  The chimneys released very well and let out their steam.)  Let them cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

The pastry should be crunchy on the caramelized sugar outside and soft on the inside. Serve warm with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.  Try to share.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes