Saturday, December 16, 2017

Festive Champagne Babas with the BBB

It's almost the end of 2017, and what better way to ring in the New Year or celebrate the Holidays, than with champagne?  Or whatever bubbly you prefer of course!  Join the BBB in making Champagne Babas:  These delightful yeast cakes are a spin off the traditional Rum Baba.  So of course you may choose another liquor or dessert wine or even flavor with a light colored fruit juice (like pineapple juice) for an alcohol free option.  These can be made as one large Baba, (think panettone mold size), or as 12 individual sized Babas.  In my case I made six due to the pans I had available, but truly, you have to split one of that size with someone else, so if you don't want to share, try for the twelve!  I did have a cast iron popover pan that would probably have been the perfect size, but it only baked six and I had never used it before, so I opted for the more familiar mini bundt pan to use when baking mine.  I also suspect that a popover pan might be slightly narrower at the bottom than a Baba mold.  But as you can see, the cakes will nicely fill whatever mold you may have so long as they aren't filled more than halfway, as the dough rises quite a bit!

Bread flour is recommended for this dough because it is very batter like and needs to be worked well to activate the gluten properly.  That said, I used King Arthur all purpose and they turned out lovely.  I believe that American all purpose flours generally have a higher protein content than European all purpose, so they may be closer to bread flour in practical use.  So I would say a strong flour, or a well worked all purpose flour will do.  And as we said, you may choose champagne or another sparkling wine, spirit, or juice for the syrup.  It does not call for that much, only around half a cup volume, 120g, split between 12 Babas equates to ~two teaspoons alcohol per Baba.  And if you simmer the syrup, the alcohol content is reduced.  (Alcohol is reduced to 85% if simply added to boiling syrup and removed from heat, and reduced to 40% if simmered 15 minutes, though that will thicken the syrup and water would need to be added.)  I used half Prosecco and half Limoncello and the flavor was amazing!  Don't be afraid of the amount of syrup you are adding to the cakes, they soak it up without getting soggy, and since the dough is not a sweet dough, the final level of sweetness is appropriate for a cake.

This is an easy, yet impressive recipe, I highly recommend trying it out! My kids thought these were fabulous.  We'd love for you to bake some Babas and share your results with us!  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished bread to the host kitchen (notitievanlien (at) gmail (dot) com) 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.

Champagne Babas
makes one large Baba, 6 mini, or 12 individual Babas
100g water
1 tsp instant dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
100g bread flour

180g bread flour
½ tsp fine salt
¼ tsp instant dry yeast
1½ tsp vanilla sugar
3 large eggs
90g melted butter, slightly cooled

soaking syrup:
150g sugar
150g water
120g champagne (or Asti Spumante or fruit juice)

200g apricot jam (or use a sugar glaze)

Mix all the sponge ingredients together in a large bowl (the same bowl you will be using to knead the dough).  Sprinkle the 180g bread flour for the dough over the sponge so that it is fully covered and leave it to rest for about an hour.

After an hour add the salt, ¼ tsp dry yeast, vanilla sugar and eggs.  (This time is flexible, I got distracted and it was close to 105 minutes for me!)  Start to mix the dough.  Use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer.  When the dough comes together after a few minutes, add the cooled, melted butter and keep working it.  This dough is somewhat batter-like, but be sure to get some gluten developed to ensure a good rise.

For one large Baba:

Place dough in the mold.  You can use a loaf tin or a tall, round baking form like a paper Panettone mold (13.4cm x 9.5cm), filled about half way up.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until 2-3 cm below the rim of the mold. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350-360ºF).

Bake for about 45-55 minutes until golden brown on top.  If the bread browns too soon, cover the top with a sheet of foil.  To check the bread for doneness with a thermometer, it should read about 93ºC (~200ºF) in the center.

Take out of the oven and remove from tin.  Place on a deep dish and poke the bread with a long wooden skewer all over from top to bottom. Brush the syrup all over it, getting as much as possible inside the bread.  This will take some time. Collect the syrup from the plate and keep pouring and brushing it, until it has all been absorbed in the bread.  If the bread is not completely soaked, you can make some extra syrup to brush on when serving.

For 6 or 12 small babas:

Grease a tray with 6 medium to 12 small cavities (containing about 75ml for small or 150ml for medium) and divide the dough among them. The dough should not be filling more than half of the mold.  Cover with plastic and allow to rise until almost to the rim.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350-360ºF).

Place in the oven and bake for about 15-18 minutes.  The babas should be nicely golden on top. Check  the bread with a thermometer, it should be about 93ºC (~200ºF) when done.

Take the babas out of the oven and remove from their molds.  Place them in a wide shallow dish in one layer.  Pour the champagne syrup over the babas.  Continue turning the babas one by one on all sides, including top and bottom, until the syrup is completely absorbed. You can also brush over the tops with a pastry brush.  I did poke my medium sized babas with a small metal skewer.

Topping and serving:

Heat the apricot jam in a small pan and bring to a light boil, adding a little water if it is too thick. Brush or pour over the top of the baba(s).  You can also opt for a simple sugar glaze. This topping will help keep the moisture in.  If you eat the babas on the baking day, you can skip the topping.  (But it tastes fabulous, so I recommend it!)

To serve as for a traditional rum baba, and for an extra festive feel, garnish with whipped cream and fresh fruit or jam.  The baba is best eaten on the day that it’s baked but may be kept in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for a few days.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

I added a little extra jam in the center of my baba since there was a well in the mini bundt.

Enjoy these rich and scrumptious dessert breads with friends!

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes:

Approximate nutrition for one half mini bundt or one single Baba:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bake with Us - English Muffins for Breakfast with the BBB

Nooks and crannies!  That is what most people who love English muffins are really after.  The English muffin is a craggy, toasted, crunchy bite that holds plenty of butter or topping, or egg, whatever you choose to put on or into it.  They look somewhat like crumpets, but were called "toaster crumpets" because they were meant to be split and toasted.  And while they are called "English" muffins, it is mostly to differentiate them from traditional cupcake shaped muffins.  They were supposedly created in the United States by an English immigrant named Samuel Thomas.  He opened a bakery in New York in 1880 and sold the muffins, pre-cut or "fork-split," to give a rougher surface for toasting.  They have remained a popular alternative to toast ever since.  I can't wait to try out one for Eggs Benedict!

These were tender enough to just finger split them, but you can see it dented in the sides a bit.  So I went and fork started the rest of them.  They are still barely hanging together, but will separate nicely when I want to toast them, while still retaining that nice rough surface.  Never split an English muffin with a knife.  Totally defeats their whole reason for being.

I found that my griddle ranged from 285-355ºF while it was set to 325-335ºF.  I tested with an infrared thermometer laser and it makes sense given the cycling of the heating elements.  At that setting, the 8 minutes per side timing worked out perfectly.  Next time, I would be more careful to end up with 12 muffins instead of the 9 the I ended up with.  It is harder to get larger muffins done in the middle without over-browning the tops and bottoms.  Remember, they still have to be toasted.  I must try a sourdough version as I have made the sourdough English muffins from WildYeast and they were fabulous as well.

This is a totally easy bake with very little hands on time.  Pop them in the fridge and they are ready to grill up in the morning.  There is some planning ahead as they need a few hours for the first rise, then the overnight refrigerator rest.  We'd love for you to try it out and share your results with us!  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished bread to the host kitchen 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.

English Muffins
from Serious Eats, Stella Parks
Makes twelve 3½-inch muffins
Active Time:20 minutes - Total Time:16 to 30 hours

 10 oz. bread flour (2 cups; 285g) I used all-purpose
 5 oz. whole wheat flour (1 cup; 140g) I used 70 sprouted einkorn and 80g light spelt
 2¾ teaspoons (11g) kosher salt; for table salt, use the same weight or half as much by volume
 1¼ teaspoons (4g) instant dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
 12 oz. cold milk (1½ cups; 340g), high hydration for lots of nooks and crannies I used ~325g to account for different hydration of spelt and einkorn
 3½ oz. honey (1/4 cup; 100g)  I used ~90g and would cut it in half next time
 1 large egg white, cold
 5 ounces fine cornmeal (1 cup; 145g) this is necessary to prevent sticking and over-browning during cooking.  I used millet meal that I ground in a coffee maker
· Roughly 1 oz. bacon fat, unsalted butter, non-dairy margarine, or oil (2 tablespoons; 30g), for griddling  I found that I needed only a wipe with a greased napkin on my non-stick griddle.

For the dough:
In a large bowl, mix flours, salt, and yeast together.  Add milk, honey, and egg white, and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until spongy, light, and more than doubled.  This will take around 4 to 5 hours at 70°F. (Timing is flexible depending on your schedule.) I started mine two nights before, stuck it in the fridge, then let it rise the next day, formed and chilled again overnight.

Spread a thick layer of cornmeal or semolina over a rimmed baking sheet.  With a large spoon, scoop out twelve 2-2/3 oz. (75g) portions of dough; it's okay to do this by eye, just try to get twelve and not less.  You can pinch the blobs here and there to tidy their shape. Sprinkle with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 42 hours.  I got the shape rounded and then flipped them over to coat evenly.

Preheat an electric grill to 325°F or warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When evenly hot, add half the butter and melt; griddle muffins in batches until their bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook as before. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then split the muffins by working your thumbs around the edges to pull them open a little at a time, or start the edges with a fork. Toast before serving, top with butter and jam or honey, or make Eggs Benedict or Florentine, or a breakfast muffin.  Store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week at room temperature (or 1 month in the fridge).

My first test muffins, perhaps a bit dark on the top.

Enjoy homemade English muffins with us!  Share your results!


The rest of the Bread Baking Babes:
Approximate nutrition for one muffin:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Seasonal Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread with the BBB

This month we have a nice seasonal bread for fall: Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread!  It's not super pumpkin flavored, just enough to give it some lovely color and a nice soft crumb that still holds up to spreading semi-firm butter.  It would actually make great sandwiches and I think fabulous french toast.  But we have been enjoying it fresh with butter.  Next, butter and jam.

I went with volumes instead of weights this time because I was pressed for time and also used more squash (I used butternut instead of pumpkin because it needed to be used up), and millet flour instead of corn, because of our corn allergy.  But check out the other babes' posts and you will see weight conversions if you prefer that method.  I also used maple syrup instead of molasses, because it seemed appropriate to pair with pumpkin and fall.  I used less though since maple is quite sweet.  Oh and I also happily found that heating up the water in my hot water dispenser to boiling, then adding to cold from the fridge buttermilk, gave me a perfect 109ºF mixture.  I divided the dough in half and then made 6 rolls and one mini loaf out of one half, and tried out the other half in my clay baker.

This is a really delightful bread which my girls are quickly demolishing.  We'd love for you to try it out and share your results with us!  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished bread to the host kitchen 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 most of the Babes' baking results during that time.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread
Yield:  2 or 3 loaves or 24 dinner rolls

 tablespoons active dry yeast (1½ packets) I used 1 tbsp + ¾ tsp instant yeast
Pinch of sugar left this out
1 cup warm water (105˚ to 115˚F)
1 cup warm buttermilk (105˚ to 115˚F)
5 tablespoons melted butter or oil
1/3 cup light molasses I used ¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup pumpkin purée (either canned or homemade) I used butternut purée
1 tablespoon salt I scanted this measurement
1 cup fine- or medium-grind yellow cornmeal I substituted millet flour
1 cup medium rye flour light rye
4 ½ to 4 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour 1 cup first clear flour, 3 ¾ cups all purpose

In a large bowl, combine warm water, sugar, buttermilk, melted butter/oil, molasses, yeast, and pumpkin purée.  Add in salt, cornmeal, and rye flour, and beat for a few minutes until smooth.
Add the all-purpose flour or bread flour ½ cup at a time, until a soft dough is achieved.  Knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, either by hand or with a dough hook.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until double, about 1½ to 2 hours, depending on your kitchen temperature.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 or 3 equal round portions.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 45 minutes.
To make dinner rolls, divide the dough into 24 equal portions and shape as desired.
Place on a parchment-lined baking pan or baking dish, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 20 minutes.  You can also place in refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.
Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375˚While the oven is heating, brush the tops with melted butter.  (I brushed my mini loaf and rolls with a mixture of egg yolk, ½ egg white, and milk).
Bake on the center rack of the oven until golden brown:  40-45 minutes for larger loaves or 15 to 18 minutes for rolls and mini loaves.  Remove from oven and let cool on rack until completely cool before slicing.
(adapted from Bread for All Seasons by Beth Hensperger)

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes:

Approximate nutrition for 1 roll :

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Crockpot Picnic Beans

I have had this recipe so long, I can't remember where it came from, but I love that it is so easy!  I just have it penned on a notepad sheet with no title or directions.  Probably adapted it to suit my needs.  Just throw it all together and plug it in.  Summer is technically over, picnic season is about done, but we're still having little heat waves here and there and doing baked beans in a crock pot means I don't have to heat up the kitchen with my oven or waste a burner.  The longer it cooks, the better they get - just stir every 30 minutes to an hour until it gets where you want it.  I started mine in the morning and let it go on low until we got close to dinner time, then turned it up to make sure they were ready, then back down to hold.  Wait, that sounds confusing.  Well, it just means the recipe will work, whatever timing you need it to.  Need them faster, cook on high for an hour or so.  Able to wait, cook on low for four hours or more.  Bacon is optional if you want them vegetarian.

The beans you can choose are flexible, if you don't like butter beans, try something else.  I prefer baby butter beans when I can find them, but used the big ones this time.  (Butter beans are actually the same as lima, shhhhh, don't tell.  Just get the creamy colored, canned ones.)  I use pinto beans for my other can, and you can also find cans of mixed tricolor or calico beans, which I have also used before.  Anything you would use in a baked bean recipe would work.

The most difficult thing for us is finding a good tasting BBQ sauce that does not have corn syrup or corn starch in it.  I actually found one this time and it was fabulous!  Lillie's Q Barbeque Sauce in Smoky Memphis Style Sweet.  See if you can find it locally, I found it at Haggen's in the Pacific Northwest.  Hubby is hard to please when it comes to BBQ, having lived in the South for quite a few years.  This one more than passed muster.

The recipe can be halved, just go for four cans of beans.  I used the slow cooker function of my instant pot, which was already out, rather than go get the crock pot out.

Crockpot Picnic Baked Beans
Serves 10 (can be doubled)

2 cans (15oz each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 oz each) Black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) Baby Butter beans (or just Butter beans), rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) Pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups BBQ sauce
1½ cups salsa (I used picante sauce, medium)
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp hot pepper sauce
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Add all ingredients to slow cooker.  Stir gently to combine.  Cover and cook on low for 2-4 hours, or on high for 1-2 hours.  Cook until heated through and flavors are combined, or until desired consistency is reached.  The longer the beans cook, the more sauce they will absorb and the beans will start to break down and get creamy.  It's up to you how much you want to let this happen.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BBB makes a Swiss Rye Ring

This month our host kitchen has shared with us a nice rye bread.  I do like rye, though I usually make it as a blend, not a 100% rye loaf.  And I could have sworn I had dark rye somewhere, but I didn't feel like unloading the freezer, where it was most likely to be, so used only light rye for this bread.  It's pretty cool that our host, Bread Experience, got to take a rye baking workshop with the author of this recipe.  The rye ring involves a three stage process, but don't get scared, it's mostly hands off.  There is a rye sponge, a wheat poolish, and the final dough.  It takes about 13-15 hours from start to finish but most of that time is spent on the overnight sponge and poolish.  I actually chose to use the day time to rest my sponge and poolish and was going to bake that night.  Well, I forgot to start at 7pm and when I remembered at 10pm I didn't want to stay up.  So I made the final dough and retarded it in the fridge overnight.  Then I set it out in the morning to bake after I got the kids to school.  I really like how the bread turned out, even though I suspect I should have given it at least another half hour to proof.  It did almost double in the 85 minutes I gave it but there was not much in the way of oven spring for the ring.  The dough had definitely doubled overnight but was also cold.  Regardless, it baked up with a nice crackly top and a tight and chewy crumb, reminiscent of a sourdough.  I thought I could detect just the slightest hint of tang in the bread.  We all liked it very much, first with butter, then with butter and jam.  Delicious.  The kids have been snacking on it all next day too.

Now, if you don’t have a rye sourdough starter, you have a few options: 1) you can use the regular wheat starter you have (although it won’t be totally authentic); 2) take some of your regular starter and feed it with rye flour for a few days to create a rye starter from your regular sourdough starter, (this is what I did); or 3) develop a new rye sourdough from scratch, (some of the babes tried this with, umm, mixed results.)  I keep my starters at less than 100% hydration, I like to do this because it slows it down and I don't have to feed it quite as often.  It's more forgiving that way in my opinion.  You have to be careful not to fold so much that the gluten starts to tear.  Just so it feels a bit more bouncy and firm.  Once it got to that stage, I rolled my pieces under my loosely cupped hand on the counter, dinner roll style.  My shape was not the traditional one piece ring that way.  I'd love to try it in a clay baker to see if I can get better rise out of it.  Letting it warm up more would help too!

We had many different versions of the loaf between the babes, depending on starters and what flours were readily available.  I had intended on mixing my dark and light rye flours to make the medium, but couldn't find the dark, so went with all light.  I did order the first clear flour though.  Some babes used high extraction flour instead, I think a bread flour or strong all purpose would work fine too.  Rye is low gluten so anything to help the structure!  I folded my pieces four times before shaping so they would have good gluten strands around the outside.

So if you're feeling adventuresome and ready for fall baking, (at least it's fall here), we'd love for you to try it out and share your results with us!  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished bread to the host kitchen 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 most of the Babes' baking results during that time.

Swiss Rye Ring/Brasciadela/Kantonsbrot Graubünden
Makes 2 rings

Rye Sponge:
Medium rye flour 300 g 10.60 oz  (I used white rye)
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 200 g 7.05 oz
Rye sour culture 20g 0.70oz

Wheat Poolish:
First clear flour 200g 7.05oz
Cold water 200g 7.05oz
Instant yeast 8g 0.30oz

Final Dough:
Rye sponge 520g 18.3oz
Wheat poolish 408g 14.40oz
Medium rye flour 110g 3.88oz (I used all white rye)
White rye flour 210g 7.41g
First clear flour 82g 2.89oz
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 170g 6.00oz
Salt 20g 0.71oz

The night or morning before you plan to bake, combine the rye sponge ingredients by hand into a stiff dough.  Cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until doubled in volume 10-12 hours. Then mix the poolish ingredients by hand, cover and refrigerate 10-12 hours.

In the mixer, combine the sponge, poolish, and remaining ingredients and use the dough hook at low speed to mix into a stiff, slightly sticky dough that leaves the sides of the bowl and gathers around the hook, 6-8 minutes. (I brought the dough together, then let it rest for 10 minutes to hydrate before kneading for another few minutes.  Then I set it to proof overnight in the fridge.)  Cover the dough and ferment at room temperature until doubled in volume, 60-75 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into two pieces weighing about 26 oz./750 g each. Form each piece into an oblong about 18 inches/45 cm long and 2 inches/5 cm in diameter. (I recommend adding some folds before shaping to align and strengthen the gluten structure.)  Shape each into a ring, wetting the ends to seal, and place on a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or parchment-lined sheet pan. 
(I made my ring out of smaller rolls instead of one large ring.)
Cover and proof at room temperature until the breads have visibly expanded and surface shows cracks or broken bubbles.  (Mine were almost doubled but no cracks or bubbles.)

Preheat the oven to 480°F/250°C with the baking rack/stone in the middle and a steam pan on a lower shelf.  Dock the surface of each loaf thoroughly and evenly to a depth of at least ¼”/0.6 cm. with a fork, chopstick or docking wheel.  (I used the tip of my thermapen because it is ½" long, perfect for docking.)

Bake with steam 15 minutes, then remove the steam pan, reduce the temperature to 410°F/210°C and bake until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, about 30 minutes.  (For my oven and shape, this loaf was done in 22 minutes.)  Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.


The rest of the Bread Baking Babes:

Nutrition for one half of a bun if you shape it the way I did:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tutmanik - Bulgarian Cheese Bread with the BBB

For this month, our host kitchen gives us a recipe from Bulgaria; a savory cheese bread.  She found the recipe in Jane Mason's cookbook, The Book of Buns.  This was a nice dough to work with, some of the babes found that it needed more liquid than called for to be workable, but I did not find that the case.  I did reduce the flour by 10g, but that's hardly anything.  I used the rest periods recommended in the book, as well as an additional 5 minutes rest after the first mix.  I think that helped with the initial dryness of the dough.  After incorporating the butter, it became deliciously smooth and supple.  It smelled absolutely divine while baking.  For the filling, I used a French sheep's milk feta as the closest I could get to the Bulgarian style.
Sirene is a Feta style brined cheese made in South-Eastern Europe, particularly popular in Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece and also in Israel. It is also known as “white brine sirene” or Bulgarian Feta.
Also added some goat cheese crumbles to get enough, though I found with my shaping method, I did not need the full amount of filling.  We checked the garden and decided to add some lime thyme, which smelled delicious!  I wish I would have had more than a tbsp though, the feta is pretty assertive.

The shaping in the book is much simpler than this, multiple layers of dough and filling in a square or round pan.  You can also find various shaping methods online.  Here is the video for the curled twist form that I used.  Delicious served warm, as an accompaniment to a meal.

We'd love for you to try it out and share your results with us!  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do.  Just send a picture or your post of your finished bread to the host kitchen 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 most of the Babes' baking results during that time.

from Jane Mason's "Tootmanik s Gotovo Testo"
makes 9 large or 16 small buns

450 g (3 2/3 cups) all purpose flour
2 g (1 1/8 tsp) instant yeast
250 g (1 cup) milk, scalded and cooled
9 g (2 ¼ tsp) salt
100 g (6 ½ tbsp) butter, softened

1 egg
200 g (8 oz) feta cheese, crumbled (Bulgarian feta if you can find it)
50 g (3 tbsp) butter melted and cooled
paprika, fresh ground pepper, optional
fresh herb(s), optional

glaze: 1 egg and 1 tsp water

Measure the flour into a bowl or stand mixer.  Press a well into the flour and sprinkle with the yeast.  Pour the milk into the well and cover with the edges of the flour.  Let rest for an hour.

Add the salt and gather everything into a rough ball in the bowl.  Knead on the counter for 10 minutes or with a dough hook for 5 minutes.  Once the flour is mostly incorporated, let it rest for a few minutes to hydrate, then knead for another minute or so.  Add the softened butter in slowly and knead for another 10 minutes until smooth, supple, and shiny.  (My dough was still slightly shaggy when I started adding the butter.)  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let rest for 2 hours.

Mix the egg, feta, and optional herbs in a bowl and set aside.  Melt the 50g butter and let cool.  (I used 25g very soft butter to spread instead of melting it for my shaping method.)  Place the dough on an unfloured surface.

Divide dough into 9 equal pieces.  Let rest for 10 minutes under a towel.  Grease and line a 9in. square pan.

Flour the surface and roll one piece into approximately 22x22cm or 8.5x8.5in square.  Brush with melted butter.  Repeat this with a second piece of dough, place it on top of the first and brush again with butter.  Take a third piece and roll it out as before.  Place it on the stack but do not brush with butter.  Move the stack to the prepared pan by rolling it up onto a rolling pin.  Center in the pan and now brush it with butter and half of the filling mixture.

Repeat this process with three more pieces of dough and the remaining filling.

Roll out and butter the final three pieces of dough, leaving the top sheet un-buttered.  Place on the stack in the pan.

Push down the edges of the dough very well all around the filling to seal it in.  Cover and let rest for an hour.

Preheat oven to 230ºC (450ºF).  Just before baking brush dough with a little melted butter and paprika, or use the egg glaze.  Place in the oven and turn down heat to 200ºC (400ºF).  Bake for about 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.  Cut into squares while warm, but not hot.  Serve with a salad or soup.


The rest of the Bread Baking Babes:

Here is the approximate nutrition for 1 square or wedge when cut into 16 pieces.  That's half of a single swirl for my shape of tutmanik.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

BBB Velvety Bean Bread Roundup

We had a few bakers try out our Bean Bread recipe for July, and they did a great job!  Just days after the recipe was posted, Shirley, formerly of Flourishen Test Kitchen blog, had her beautiful loaf baked, and it was a second try!  Both versions are shown on her blog and she has some good tips on the bread there.

Ever Open Sauce

Next, Gilad submitted results, saying the bread was easy to make and had a lovely crumb.  It certainly did, look at that crumb!  Gilad actually tried out the bread a second time as well, substituting chick peas for the white beans, just to see how it would work!  We love to see experiments like that.

Gilad Ayalon Vegan

And finally, Marcin submitted this version using rosemary, chleb fasolowy z rozmarynem.  A beautiful Bean Bread with rosemary.

Grahamka, weka i kajzerka...

Thank you so much, buddies, for baking along with us.  Great job on your breads!

That's it for July, stay tuned on the 16th for the next recipe and challenge.  You can also find the posts of many of the Babes for each month on the Facebook group!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Velvety Bean Bread with the BBB

My turn to host this month!  Join the Bread Baking Babes and bake up a unique little loaf that is high in protein but a little lower in gluten than normal.  I was intrigued by the description of this bread.  Nice brown crust, velvet smooth, fine moist crumb.  It makes very small loaves, so an 8x4" pan or smaller will do and you could probably fit the whole recipe in one larger loaf pan.  Because of the more delicate protein structure, it will over rise easily in a warm kitchen and indeed took much less time to prove for me than the recipe stated.  My first batch rose up to an inch over the edge of the pan and I could tell it was over risen.  So it totally deflated when I slashed it.  Still tasted great, but had a close crumb at the bottom as a result though still velvety and soft.  Fortunately I was able to try again with the rest of the beans I cooked.  You couldn't really see my chives after baking, but you could taste them.  The loaf pictured is a plain version.  You will see loaves with different kinds of beans that were available if you check out the rest of the Babe's results, as well as those that made one larger instead of two very small loaves.  I might try it one more time with canned beans, maybe cannelini beans (white kidney) because they are easier to find than navy beans.  This is a lovely little bread and we would love for you to bake along with us!  Just bake your version of this bread by July 30th and send me a note with your results and a picture or link to your post at eleyana(AT)aol(DOT)com with Buddy Bread in the subject line and I will include you in our buddy round up at the beginning of next month and send you a Buddy badge graphic to keep and/or add to your post.  You don't have to have a blog to participate, a picture is fine!
(I recommend a food processor rather than a blender to get the beans smooth.  If you only have a blender, I suggest using some of the 1 cup water in the recipe to facilitate blending, otherwise it will be difficult to keep the beans moving.  Actually, it would help in the food processor as well.)

And here's a great little article on the different white beans:

4 Types of White Beans: What’s the Difference?

Velvety Bean Bread
Gram weights are from the Dutch version of the book

2 tsp (7 g) active dry yeast
1 cup (250 g) lukewarm water
2 cups (200g) drained cooked or canned navy beans, room temp (I soaked and cooked mine)
1 cup (130 g) whole wheat flour (I used sprouted spelt)
1 tbsp (~13.7 g) olive oil
1 tbsp (17 ~10 g) salt (I used less with my salt.  I recommend 1 tsp for a loaf this size.)
2 tbsp (~6 g) chopped chives (optional)
~ 2 cups (±320 g) all-purpose flour (I used 300g)

Dissolve yeast in water.  Process beans until smooth, transfer to a large bowl or stand mixer.  Stir yeast mixture into beans.  Add the whole wheat flour and stir for one minute, in one direction, to develop the dough.  Add the oil, salt, and chives if using, and stir them in.  Add 1 cup of the all purpose flour and stir in.  Add the remaining flour and knead in with a dough hook, or work in and knead by hand for about 5 minutes, until smooth.

Place dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise for 3 hours, until almost doubled in volume.  (There should be about 2.5 pounds of dough.)

Turn out dough and divide in half.  Butter two 8x4" pans.  Form each portion of dough into a loaf and place seam side down in the pans.  The directions say to let rise for 2½ hours.  That was WAY too long for my kitchen.  The above loaf was baked after 1 hour.  You'll have to watch the dough for proper rise.  Check at 1 hour and continue to proof if needed.
Preheat oven to 400ºF, have a spray bottle or small cup of water ready for steam.  Slash each loaf lengthwise , place in oven and bake for 5 minutes, adding steam every couple minutes with the sprayer or cup.  Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375ºF and bake for 25 minutes until rich brown with a matte finish.  Turn the loaves out and check for doneness. Finish cooling on a wire rack before slicing. 

Approximate nutrition per ½" slice when making two small loaves:
(That's about 15 slices per loaf for an 8x4" pan)
The rest of the Bread Baking Babes:

Friday, July 7, 2017

Shortcuts, mixes and experiments - Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

This week I decided to do some experimentation.  I had some old recipes from both my Grandmother and Great Grandmother that were very similar and I actually had a vague recollection of eating them as well.  You may have had or seen a recipe like this yourself, either in an old recipe box or in a magazine clipping from decades ago.  Great Grandma's recipe was call World Concern Cake and consisted of 5 ingredients and no directions.  It was rhubarb, sugar, strawberry jello mix, miniature marshmallows, and yellow cake mix.  Well, there was optional nuts on top.  Grandma's recipe was called Shortcut Shortcake and pretty similar except it actually had a scratch cake built in.  But it still called for the marshmallows and dry jello mix.  Basically what these are is a shortcut cobbler, not quite a self-saucing dessert as I believe they call it across the pond.  Actually, the type where you just sprinkle on the dry cake mix and jello and top with water or melted butter ends up more like a streusel or crunch topping.  I chose to go with the cobbler-like option.  Well, of course you can remake it as a regular cobbler, but where's the fun in that?  I wanted to see if I could come up with a pretty close version, without using store bought cake mix OR jello.  Cake mix is easy to make at home.  And looking at the recipe for Grandma's scratch filling, it's almost exactly the proportions for half of my favorite yellow cake mix recipe.  (I love having my Great Grandmother's writing on the rhubarb cake recipe, that was back when penmanship was a whole class!)

The challenge was going to be the dry jello mix.  I looked online, couldn't find any references for a dry jello mix.  Pudding mix, yes, jello, no.  Plenty of prepared scratch jello made with juice and gelatin.  But that's easy.  So recently I noticed Jell-O brand had come out with a new offering called Simply Good in their gelatin dessert mix options.  Natural Flavors, no artificial dyes, flavors or preservatives.  That's really cool, and I could have used one of those.  But again, where's the fun in that?  I did buy some, and my girls love them made up for just plain jello desserts, but what they did give me were some very good proportions to test out.  72g sugar per package of four servings, 4g protein.  That told me approximately how much sugar and gelatin to use.  (Four grams gelatin was not enough to give a firm set to the gel, I should have followed my instincts for teaspoons per cup of water, but it wasn't that pertinent to the recipe.)  Then, "adipic acid (for tartness)", well that can be citric acid that I have on hand.  I tested out different amounts and ½ tsp per batch seemed to do well.  Then it listed dried fruit juices for flavor and color.  That's where the times and technologies make things fun nowadays.  I was able to order freeze dried fruit juice powders in a few flavors.  Powdered freeze dried fruit would have worked in a pinch but I wanted to see if I could make a plain jello with this stuff too, just for kicks.  The fruit juice powders would mix up nice and clear.

As for the mini marshmallows, what to do about those...  Both recipes called for them in different amounts.  I could have used homemade marshmallow fluff, I even have some purchased tubs made with tapioca syrup instead of corn syrup for my kids.  Making marshmallows and cutting up mini was an option as well, but what were they really in the recipe for?  I thought probably just more sweetening and thickening for the cobbler filling.  So I actually decided to omit them and added 2 more grams of gelatin in their place.  One thing that reinforced this notion, is that the first recipe had 3 cups of mini marshmallows and a 3oz pkg of jello.  The second had only 1 cup mini marshmallows, but a 6oz pkg of jello.  Still essentially equivalent amounts of sugar and gelatin.  I also figured that since this cake basically turns itself upside down while baking, you don't have any loft from the marshmallows, since they would melt into the dessert as it bakes and flips itself.  So I feel safe enough without them.

And now, after consulting with my mom, who remembers the recipe better, the marshmallows simply come up to make a very sticky glaze on the top of the cake, like a self-frosting thing.  Well, I would much rather either do a sugar crunch sprinkle or a powdered sugar glaze than a super sticky frosting.  Sorry Grandmas.  I will take that liberty with the original recipe.

If you want to try it out, here is some of what I did, combined with the original recipes.  Go ahead and use store bought jello by all means!  But it really did turn out lovely with the dried fruit juice jello.  And it totally did not need anything but whipped cream on the top!  YUM.

Mixed Up Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Makes 1 9x13" pan

5 cups frozen strawberries and rhubarb, thawed (I ended up using a small pkg of frozen rhubarb and slicing up some frozen strawberries to make it up to five cups.  About 50/50)
½ cup sugar
1 6oz pkg Strawberry jello (I used about 6g gelatin, ½ tsp citric acid, about 2 tbsp juice powder, and 144g sugar)  Just go for the Simply Good Jello, this was a fun experiment for me.
1 box yellow cake mix (Since the proportions were so close, I used the homemade cake mix with the eggs and milk that my Grandmother listed)
3 eggs
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF. 

Grease a 9x13" pan and set aside.  Combine fruit, sugar and jello mix in a bowl and set aside.

Combine cake mix, eggs, and milk in a bowl and beat together for 2-3 minutes.  Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Spoon the fruit and jello mixture gently on top of the batter, evenly spacing the fruit.  Pour any remaining liquid in the bowl over the top as well.

Bake for 40-60 minutes until done in the middle.  Test with a toothpick or cake tester.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.  Best enjoyed warm, with whipped cream on top, this cobbler reheats beautifully.  The edges are more likely to have some nice, delicious sauce underneath which will set slightly when cold.  Refrigerate leftovers.