Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ciambella Mandorlata - A Celebration Bread with the BBB


This month, in honor of Easter, our host kitchen has chosen for us to bake Ciambella Mandorlata; an Italian Easter bread that originates in Bologna in the Emilia Romagna region.  This lovely bread, usually shaped in a ring, has a soft, brioche-like texture and is decorated with a delightfully crunchy and sweet spiced almond topping.  The ring shape is supposed to represent the unity of the family and though often baked for Easter, it is also enjoyed throughout the year as a breakfast bread.


We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  This is a wonderful bread to share with family or friends on a special occasion, or just make a regular breakfast special. You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to My Diverse Kitchen by the 29th of this month. 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.


Ciambella Mandorlata
adapted from Ultimate Bread
makes one loaf

For the dough:
2 tsp dry yeast (Mine is getting old and I used almost 2¾ tsp) 
½ cup lukewarm milk
4½ cups bread flour (I used 250g freshly ground and sifted sprouted spelt, and about 365g all purpose flour)
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar (scant)
grated zest of 3 lemons (I used Meyer lemons)
9 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (I only used 8 tbsp, one stick)
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup water (I used ¼ cup for my dough and flour)
I also added: 
½ tsp orange flower water
1 tsp mahleb
¼ tsp cardamom

For the topping:
4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp sugar
¾ cup blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped (I used sliced almonds)
1 egg yolk
I also added 1 tsp lemon zest to the topping as well


Sprinkle the yeast over the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.  Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl.  Add to yeast mixture along with eggs and butter.  Add the water by tablespoons, as needed to form a soft, sticky dough.  Knead on medium speed until smooth, springy, and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Scrape down the sides and form the dough into a ball.  Return to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel.  Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 4 hours.  (Three hours for my kitchen).  Deflate the dough, then cover again and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 16-inch (18") long rope.  Twist the two dough ropes together.  (I find that you get better definition in the "twist" if you lightly flour the ropes and just cross and place the pieces over each other, the same as if braiding a three strand, rather than actually twisting.)  Place the twist on a buttered baking sheet.  Form it into a ring by bringing the two ends of the rope together.  Match and pinch the edges of the pieces together to seal.  Cover and proof until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.  (I did put a glass in the middle to keep the center hole open, and stretched it out a bit after an hour.)

To make the topping mix the cinnamon, sugar, almonds, and egg yolk in a bowl.  Use a rubber spatula to spread the mixture evenly over the top of the ring. (I heated up a slurry of cornstarch and water until it gelled and added just a small spoonful to the topping because I felt it needed a bit more binding.  The rest I used to brush on the loaf with a pastry brush before adding the topping and it helped it stick beautifully!)


Bake at 200ºC (400ºF) in a preheated oven for 45 minutes, until golden and hollow sounding when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.  (We recommend baking for 10 minutes at 400ºF and turning down the heat to 375º to finish the loaf.  Tent with foil if the topping is browning too quickly.)


The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



 Approximate nutrition for one slice of bread:





Saturday, March 16, 2019

The BBB Bake up some Moroccan Ksra


Since Moroccan tagine happens to be one of my daughter's favorite dishes, when I found this bread that is traditionally served with tagine, I knew I wanted to try it out.  It is a flatbread with anise seed and in this version, barley flour or rolled barley.   (If you don't like anise you could always sub fennel or caraway I would guess.)  I expect it will be great with any stew or soup type dinner.  I couldn't find my rolled barley in the freezer, so I ground some pearl barley into flour.  If you can't find barley, you can always use whole wheat flour, rye or semolina.  I have seen this bread often topped with sesame seeds before baking, and it can be made on the grill as well.  You just have to be careful of hot spots and turn the flame down low while grilling and flip often. I think perhaps for my grill, preheat on medium instead of high.   I made my dough 3 days before I ended up using it and it will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator.  My grilled batch dough was 7-8 days old.  As it only needs a 30 minute rest before baking, this makes it a convenient flatbread to serve with dinner!  This batch makes two 7-8" wide, fairly thick rounds that are cut into wedges to serve.  You don't have to chill it first, but as it is somewhat sticky, it is definitely easier to work with after chilling.



We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  This is a wonderful bread to quickly bake up to go with any meal. You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to me at eleyana (AT) aol (DOT) com, along with a photo and your baking experience by Mar. 31st 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.

(Oh yes, I tried this bread as a sourdough and it worked just fine, but what was even better, I made half the dough into the flatbread and then a few days later decided to make the remaining half into sourdough waffles...  Seriously the best waffles EVER.  Lighter than air, melt in your mouth, tender and crispy.  And they reheated fabulously as well.  Two thumbs up from all family members, so a very versatile dough to say the least!  Another Babe did a proper sourdough conversion formula, but I just used the quick and simple rule to adapt recipes to sourdough: Substitute 1 cup of starter for each package of yeast, and then subtract about ½ cup of water and ¾ cup of flour from the recipe to compensate for the water and flour in the starter.)

Ksra (Moroccan Anise and Barley Flatbread)
from the New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes two 7-8" rounds

340g (1½ cups) Lukewarm water (100ºF or less)
5g (1½ tsp) dry yeast
8.5-12.5g (1½-1¾ tsp) kosher salt
3.5g (1½ tsp) whole anise seeds
45g (6 tbsp) barley flour or 35g (6 tbsp) rolled barley
407.5g (2¾ c + 2 tbsp) all purpose flour (I used half sprouted flour 50/50 spelt and kamut blend)

To make the dough:

Mix together the yeast, salt, anise and water in a large bowl or container.  Stir in the remaining ingredients with a large wooden spoon, dough whisk, or in a mixer with the paddle.  Mix until the flour is incorporated fully.

Cover and rest until the dough has fully risen and collapsed back down a bit, about 2 hours.  (I put mine straight in the fridge and didn't use it for three days!)

You may use the dough after the initial rise but it's easier to work with cold.  Dough will keep up to 10 days in the fridge.

To bake:

Divide the dough in half, dust with flour, and shape each portion into a ball by stretching the sides down to the bottom of the ball and folding under.  You may also work with only one portion of dough if you like, the other will keep in the fridge for another day.

Flatten each ball into a ¾" thick round and let rest on a parchment lined or cornmeal dusted pizza peel for 20-30 minutes.  Optional to sprinkle with sesame seeds or more anise seed.  Press lightly to help the seeds stick, or use an egg white wash to really hold them on!  Also optional to poke the dough with a skewer in a few places prior to baking.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450ºF.  Place a baking stone near the middle of the oven and a metal pan or broiler tray on an unused oven rack and heat a cup of water to use for steam while baking.  (If you do not have a baking stone, you can use an inverted baking sheet, a cast iron pan, a pizza pan, or the grill on med-high!)  (If you use a grill, you will need to flip the dough periodically.)

Slide rested loaf directly onto hot stone.  Pour 1 cup of hot water into the metal pan or tray for steam and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes until richly browned and firm.


Don't let the cat steal it!  (He really wanted some.)

Allow to cool before cutting into wedges to serve.



Grilled Ksra

Baked Ksra

We enjoyed our first baked Ksra with kheema nariyal saag (beef curry and spinach), and after a week in the fridge for the other half of the dough, grilled up another flatbread to have with tagine.  The flavor of the sesame seeds was wonderful and smokey after grilling and the anise flavor had developed a little more.  Be careful to heat the grill well, but grill over a low flame and flip often, watching out for hot spots.  There will be large bubbles developing, it's very fun to grill this bread.  It is brilliant warm, with butter, and I used it for poached egg on toast as well.  Yum.



Fabulous for soaking up sauces!

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



Approximate nutrition for one wedge of flatbread made using half wholemeal flour and cutting each flatbread into eight wedges:




















BONUS RECIPE:

In case you're wondering about those fabulous waffles, here is what I did.  And I expect it would work with the standard recipe just as well as the sourdough version I made though I would recommend the dough be a couple days old for best flavor.  You don't need any more flour, the batter comes together right from the dough.

½ recipe Ksra dough, either sourdough or rested two days in the fridge.
¾ cup milk (I used cashew milk this time)
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 scant tbsp sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup)
¼ cup oil or melted butter

Preheat a waffle iron.

Combine dough and milk in a bowl, breaking up dough into small pieces and stirring to incorporate.  Don't over mix, just until most of the pieces of dough are broken down into the batter.  Stir in the egg, baking powder, soda and sweetener, and then the melted butter or oil.  Pour ¼ cupfuls onto a standard waffle iron and cook until golden brown.

Makes about 16 waffles.

Enjoy with berries, whipped cream, syrup, powdered sugar, or your favorite toppings.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Happy Pi Day! Chocolate Pecan Chiffon Cream Pie


Happy Pi Day!  March 14th is a great excuse to invent a pie and this one is for you chocolate lovers.  This pie was inspired by a little dessert recipe clipped out of a 1938 newspaper.  In a nutshell, it's a chiffon recipe.  That's it, just a chiffon puff in a dish.  Well I instantly knew I wanted to transform it into a pie, I love making chiffon pies.  I upgraded the recipe a bit and reduced the sugar significantly, wow!  Usually chiffon pies call for folding whipped egg whites into a chilled filling.  This means either using the raw egg whites from the eggs in the recipe, or using using pasteurized or powdered whites and saving the fresh ones for something else or even throwing them out.  I used to go with the powdered option, but this time I tried a different method; making a swiss meringue to pasteurize the egg whites, not have anything go to waste, and still ward off the food safety police.  Add a little melt in your mouth whipped ganache layer, some whipped cream, and you have a light and creamy, yet seriously decadent dessert that will satisfy any sweet tooth.  You can make it 12-14 servings, but really one of 14 slices will still leave you fully satisfied if you don't scarf it down too fast!


Chocolate Pecan Chiffon Cream Pie
14 servings

Ganache:
½ cup cream
1 cup good semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1 tsp vanilla
small pinch sea salt

Filling and topping:
1 tbsp gelatin
2 tbsp Kahlua (coffee or water may be substituted)
¾ cup sugar, divided
4 eggs, separated
1¾ cups whole milk
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cream of tartar
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream, divided
¼ tsp gelatin (optional)
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 (10-inch) pie shell, baked and cooled (use your favorite recipe or even store bought)
½ cup roughly chopped pecan pieces, toasted
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted (for garnish)
12-14 pecan halves for garnish

Set aside your pre-baked pie shell.
 
To make the ganache layer:

Place chocolate chips into a heat safe bowl and set aside.  Pour cream into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Do not boil.  Pour cream over chocolate and allow mixture to sit for 2 to 3 minutes.  Once chocolate has melted, add vanilla and salt and stir together until it incorporates into a smooth ganache.  Place into a bowl and let cool in the fridge for 1 hour or until you can spoon some out and it keeps its form.   Remove from refrigerator and spoon about ¾ of the ganache into a bowl.  Reserve the remaining ¼ portion for garnish.  Whip the chilled ganache with a mixer until light and fluffy and almost doubled in volume, 2-4 minutes.  Make sure not to over-whip the ganache or it will become grainy.   Spread evenly in the bottom of the baked pie shell.

For the chiffon cream filling:

Combine ¼ cup sugar and gelatin in a 2 Qt saucepan.  Blend egg yolks and milk together and add to sugar mixture along with chocolate.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and mixture boils.  Remove from heat and stir in salt, Kahlua, vanilla and ½ cup roughly chopped pecans.  Chill in the refrigerator or an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and mounds up slightly when dropped from a spoon.  
Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and ½ cup sugar in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture slightly, to break up the egg whites.  Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water on the stove.  Heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the egg white mixture is hot to the touch and has reached 145º F (63º C) on an instant-read thermometer.  Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and whip with an electric mixer until the meringue forms medium-stiff glossy peaks.  Cool to room temperature and fold into custard.  Whip 1 cup heavy cream until stiff.  Fold into mixture.  Pile into the cooled pie shell, spreading over ganache layer.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped pecans.  Heat the reserved ganache in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or until melted again.  Spoon into a sandwich bag and snip off a tiny portion of the tip.  Pipe in swirls over the top of the pie or you may simply drizzle the melted ganache with a spoon.  Refrigerate while you make the topping.

For the topping:

Whip the remaining cup of cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  (Stabilize with ¼ tsp gelatin dissolved in a bit of heated cream if desired.  Add at the soft peak stage.)  Scoop or pipe onto the edge of the pie as desired.  Place whole pecans on each of the swirls of whipped cream, or even spaced around the edge.  Refrigerate for a few hours to fully set.



Approximate damage nutrition for one 14th slice:



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

Dough:
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

      Starter:
      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: