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 Graub√ľnden
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: