Monday, September 16, 2019

The BBB go Wild with Pull Apart Bread


Pull apart bread, aside from being a fun and impressive looking tear and share, is quite versatile because you can choose any filling you desire, sweet or savory!  I had many options in mind, but the final decision when the question was posed to my eldest was an unequivocal vote for savory.  Our recipe this month was a sourdough recipe, but there are plenty of commercial yeast recipes out there as well.  As it happens, I ended up having to do a combination of sourdough and a tiny bit of yeast because an emergency involving bee stings postponed my baking plans and I ended up doing a last minute bake last night.  So my recipe differs slightly from the original source, but we babes tend to forge our own paths every time anyway.  I know at least one Babe only had the chance to bake with regular yeast this month.  It's all good.  Bread just wants to be bread.


I do love how my dough turned out, it felt lovely and was easy to work with, so I would definitely do it this way again.  And I am quite happy with our choice of filling.  Caramelized onions make the house smell delicious.  Terrible having to wait for the light of day to break into this loaf after taking pictures, because it was just begging to be devoured instantly.  So many flavors of recipes for pull apart bread I have pinned to try...  Apple fritter, pumpkin maple pecan, baklava, pumpkin caramel, lemon citrus, caramel pecan, apple cinnamon streusel, cinnamon and apple... are we seeing a sweet trend here?


We would love for you to try out this recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  The filling is completely up to your imagination.  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 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.



Here is the recipe as I made it, see our host kitchen for the original.  This version turned out a beautifully soft loaf of 30 layers, packed with fantastic flavor.  And after someone in the Facebook group mentioned spreading a little butter on it, yes, I have to wholeheartedly endorse that suggestion.  A little butter on a warm piece of this bread is totally amazing.


Semi-wild Pull Apart Bread
makes 1 loaf

300g strong flour (I used 75g fresh ground semi-pearled farro and 225g all purpose)
50g 100% hydration sourdough starter (to be honest, mine hadn't been fed in well over a week)
160g water
¼ tsp instant yeast (Increase to 1 or up to 1½ tsp if using only yeast)
¾ tsp sugar
¾ tsp sea salt
25g olive oil

My filling:
1 red onion, quartered and sliced
1 tbsp butter
pinch sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
50g cream cheese, softened
40g butter, softened
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped chives
½ tbsp dried parsley (or 2 tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp poppy seeds (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine flour, starter, yeast, sugar, oil, and 150g of the water in a stand mixer and knead until a dough forms.  Let rest for 5 minutes, then knead again for 5 minutes.  Mix remaining 10g water with the salt, and add to dough.  Knead until a smooth elastic dough forms.  Cover and let rise until doubled, around 2-3 hours depending on the strength of the starter and temperature of the room.  Add in a fold or two during this time if desired.

While the dough is rising, make your filling.  Caramelize the onions with the tbsp of butter and pinch of sugar, 20-30 minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.  Add in the garlic when the onions are just about done, and cook for another minute or so.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Combine onions and remaining filling ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.  Cover and set aside until dough is ready.

Turn out dough onto a well floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle, about 12x20inches.  Gently spread the dough with the filling of choice.


 Cut lengthwise into three long strips and lay the strips on top of each other.


Cut that stack in half width-wise and stack again.  Cut this final stack into five portions.  Line an 8x4" baking tin with parchment paper and lay the stacked pieces cut sides up in the pan.  Try to separate the edges somewhat, or the layers will be less easy to pull apart after baking.  You can also simply cut and stack individual squares in the pan.


(The dough should not be packed tightly or it may not bake well.  If there are too many pieces to fit, roll them into a circle and bake in a muffin tin.)  Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 45-60 minutes.


Bake at 375ºF for 35-45 minutes.  I tented my loaf lightly with foil for the first ten minutes, then tented just the ends which were rising much faster than the middle, for the next ten minutes.  At 30 minutes, I lowered the temperature to 350ºF and continued baking in 5 minute increments for a final time of 45 minutes, when the loaf was golden brown and perfectly done in the middle, registering 205ºF on a thermometer stuck between one of the leaves.

Allow the bread to cool for at least 30 minutes before breaking into it.  The loaf may be wrapped in foil and reheated to serve warm.



The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Approximate nutrition for 2 pieces (leaves/layers) of this bread:






Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Seeded Turmeric and Leek Levain #BreadBakers


One to share and one to give away, right? With this recipe, my kids were not entirely pleased that I had given one away.  They finished off an entire loaf themselves in well under 36 hours and very promptly stated that I needed to make more.  This was similar to the sweet potato onion bread, a.k.a. Elbow Lick bread, that we made in January, only lighter in texture and density.  But just as good with Boursin!


We love turmeric too, so this one was even more popular with the kids.  And I just happened to have the exact amount of leeks on hand that I needed for a full batch.  By the way, our #breadbakers theme for this month is: seeded breads.  I solicited outside opinions on what seeded bread I should make, since I admittedly often gravitate to sweeter options.  There was an enticing and altogether typical option of a pumpkin, cranberry and pepita loaf; an interestingly named Lumberjane loaf, with apricots, pecans, millet and poppy seeds; and this leek and turmeric loaf.  The enthusiastic response from my friend was for the savory option, and while I will definitely be making the others in the future, I will also definitely be making this one again.  Yum!


So thank you to The Mad Scientist's Kitchen for choosing the theme this month and to Stacy at Food Lust People Love for being there to co-host this month!


Seeded Turmeric and Leek Levain
adapted from Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More
makes two loaves

Leaven:
50g 100% hydration starter
50g water
50g bread flour (I used all purpose)

Dough:
150g leaven
525g water
485g bread flour
150g high extraction wheat flour (I used freshly ground spelt, sifted)
75g whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground sprouted einkorn, sifted)
40g medium-grind rye flour (I used freshly ground rye, sifted)
15g sea salt

Add-ins:
185g leeks, cut into 1-inch slices
40g extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp black pepper
50g shallots, diced (my two halves ended up around 64g, happily used it all)
10g poppy seeds
15 g golden flax seeds

Prepare the leeks first:  Place the leeks, oil, and pepper in a pan over medium heat and saute for 2 minutes.  Add in the turmeric and continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes, until the leeks are soft and starting to brown.  Remove from heat.  Toss together in a bowl with the shallots and seeds and refrigerate, covered, until ready to add to dough.

The night before (or 8-10 hours before making the final dough):  Make the leaven by stirring together the water and starter in a bowl.  Add in the flour and stir until smooth.  Cover and let ferment at room temperature.

Make the dough:  When the leaven has become bubbly, add the water for the dough and stir together.  Add all the flours and mix to hydrate and remove lumps.  Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle and mix in the salt well.  Add the prepared leek mixture and work it into the dough until uniform in color and distribution of ingredients.  Proof for 3-4 hours, adding in folds every 30 minutes.  (We were out of the house and my dough got to bulk proof for a good 5 hours with no turns.  I added quite a few folds and a little more time at the end.)

Shaping:  When the dough has almost doubled, turn out onto a floured work surface.  Divide into two pieces and pre-shape the loaves.  Cover and let rest for 10-30 minutes.  Form the final loaves and place seam side up in a well-floured banneton or baker's couche.  (Rice flour works best to prevent sticking.)  Cover with a towel, then plastic, and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  (I am less fond of chilling after shaping, though it does add flavor, and so I baked my loaves after proofing for a while at room temp.)

Bake:  Preheat oven, with baking stone on middle rack, to 500ºF.  Have the lid of a roasting pan standing by.  If the loaves have chilled overnight, allow to come to room temperature while the oven heats.  Dust a peel with semolina or bran, or line with parchment.  Gently turn out the loaves onto the peel and score as desired.  Spray the inside of the roasting pan with water.  Slide the loaves onto the hot baking stone and immediately cover with the roasting pan lid.  Turn down the heat to 450ºF and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove lid and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until the crust is a dark golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when thumped.  (My loaves' internal temperatures were around 205-208ºF when done.)


Cool on a wire rack before slicing.


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

BreadBakers



Check out our other seeded selections this month:



Approximate nutrition for one slice of bread:




Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cake Mix Chewy Date Nut Blondies


This summer I ended up with about 10 boxes of cake mix that I would normally never have on hand.  So I have been trying to find some tasty ways to use them up.  I found this old recipe (1998) during a food magazine purge and updated it to work with the smaller cake mix sizes sold today.  (Did you know that a decade ago, cake mixes were 3oz larger?  Probably cheaper too!)


These rich bars are absolutely stuffed with big chunks of walnuts and dates.  And while they are amazingly gooey and decadent while still warm, do try to let them cool completely to ensure ease of cutting.  These are dangerous little goodies; break-your-diet good stuff.  Hubby said, "Oh, heck yeah!"  Only he didn't say heck.  Yes, I would grab a cake mix to make these goodies, they are quick and easy and delicious.  Great for a last minute dessert.


You can always buy pre-chopped dates to save even more time, but I personally prefer the soft, moist quality of whole medjool dates.  They keep for ages in the freezer and thaw enough to pit and chop in only a few minutes.  Love the beautiful chunks you get by doing it by hand.  If you go for pre-chopped, try to avoid the brands that have a coating of dextrose!  That's sugar.  Why would they add sugar to nature's sugar?  Now some are coated with some sort of flour or starch which can help prevent clumping, great for granola and snack mixes.  They won't be as soft as fresh chopped, but still delicious.  For any baked recipe with fresh chopped dates where you might be concerned about them sticking together, try reserving a tablespoon of the flour or mix in this case, to toss together with the dates for the same effect with no added starch.  This is the same reason we toss add-ins with a little flour in many recipes, it helps suspend them and keep them from sinking to the bottom if the batter is not thick enough to hold them up alone.

By the way, dried dates contain vitamins A, B, E, K, niacin and thiamine and minerals like iron, selenium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and copper, not to mention fiber.  And walnuts are also a good source of manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and iron, and are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.  Pus, they are also a good source of protein.  Why, these are practically health food bars at this point!  (Not really, don't go overboard.)  But there's some good stuff in here!


Chewy Date Nut Blondies
makes 32 bars

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (15.25oz/432g)
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (90g)
10 tbsp (140g) salted butter, melted
2 eggs
1½ cups (~210 g) chopped, pitted dates (medjool preferred)
1½ cups (~150g) roughly chopped walnuts

Grease a 9x13" baking dish or line with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 350ºF.  Combine cake mix and sugar in a large bowl, mix until there are no lumps of sugar.  Add eggs and melted butter.  Beat on low speed for 2 minutes.  Batter will change consistency and start to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Stir dates and walnuts into the batter.  (Batter will be stiff.)  Spread into prepared baking dish and level top with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 25-35 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.  Loosen edges with a knife.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.


Hide them in the freezer...  Don't let the kids see where or it won't matter if they're frozen, they're still gone.  (Youngest is begging me to make more for her to take to all her classes and share with all her teachers.)


Approximate nutrition for 1 bar:

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Blueberry Lime and Raspberry Lemonade Tartlets


I adore all things lemon. Probably have mentioned that before. Last year I turned my mom's lemon bars into portable little lemon bar tarts. This year I have added a couple new options to the list! I love that you can make up the components for these tarts a day or so ahead of time, then assemble and bake with little hassle the day you need them. The crusts are easy to work with and give two different textural options. For the blueberry lime especially, I recommend the "corn" shortcrust. It has just a little bit of gritty crunch from either fine cornmeal or fine millet meal like I use, and goes so well with the lime. Hubby prefers that crust. The original tart crust is also a nice shortcrust, not too sweet, and without grit. Eldest daughter prefers no grit in her crust. I love them both, though I am especially pleased with the blueberry/lime/"corn" combination right now! Millet, by the way, is a great substitute for cornmeal in baked goods because it tastes very similar and behaves similarly as well. I have made millet polenta for bread and millet based cornbread that would have fooled the family if I hadn't told them. My brother described the flavor as just a mild, more delicate corn flavor.

You can successfully freeze the crust and curd in between batches, the berry curds will want an extra minute of bake time if you do this. You can also use the curds for a full sized tart or Danish fillings, perhaps a babka or star twist loaf...


Blueberry Lime Curd
1 ½ cups blueberries
1 tbsp water
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup lime juice 
zest of one lime
4 tsp flour
6 tbsp softened butter

Add the blueberries and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over med-high heat.  Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the blueberries have burst, about 5 minutes.
Press the blueberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl to extract as much juice as possible.  Discard the solids.
Add the blueberry juice, and all remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and no butter grains show, about a minute. Pour into a saucepan and cook over low-med until thickened, stirring constantly.  If using a thermometer it should be done around 175ºF and will take around 5-8 minutes.  The mixture will thicken noticeably and coat the back of a spoon. 
Pour the blueberry curd into a container and set aside to cool while making the crust.

Raspberry Lemonade Curd
1 ½ cups raspberries
1 tbsp water
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup lemon juice 
zest of one lemon
4 tsp flour
6 tbsp softened butter

Add the blueberries and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over med-high heat.  Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the blueberries have burst, about 5 minutes.
Press the blueberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl to extract as much juice as possible.  Discard the solids.
Add the blueberry juice, and all remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and no butter grains show, about a minute. Pour into a saucepan and cook over low-med until thickened, stirring constantly.  If using a thermometer it should be done around 175ºF and will take around 5-8 minutes.  The mixture will thicken noticeably and coat the back of a spoon. 
Pour the blueberry curd into a container and set aside to cool while making the crust.

To make the "cornmeal" shortcrust:
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
zest of one lime
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ tsp baking powder 
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup fine ground millet, or you can use fine cornmeal

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Combine flour, millet, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.  In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter, sugars, and lime zest.  Mix in the yolks.  Gradually add the flour until the dough comes together into a loose ball.  It should be firm enough to roll into balls without sticking to the hands.  If dough is still sticky, add flour by 2 tbsp until it is no longer sticky.

Plain shortcrust:
cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup butter
¼ cup sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Combine flour, salt, soda, and cream of tartar in a bowl and set aside.  In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter, sugars, and lemon zest.  Mix in the yolks.  Gradually add the flour until the dough comes together into a loose ball.  It should be firm enough to roll into balls without sticking to the hands. 

To make the tarts:
Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners.  Using a small cookie scoop, portion into scant tbsp sized balls and press into the liners.  I used the floured end of my marble pestle, it was perfectly sized.  You can use a wooden muddle, large wooden spoon handle, or there are tart tampers made for the purpose of pressing mini tarts though they work best without pan liners.  You can also just press down with your thumb.  Tamping instrument will need to be floured in between holes to prevent sticking.

Gently press with thumb to center.
Press down tamper and tilt around in a circle to create the hole.

Bake crusts for 10 minutes and remove from oven.  They will have puffed up a little.  Refresh the holes in the crust shells with the end of your tamper (don't use your thumb this time, they are hot), and fill with a generous teaspoon of blueberry curd.  With the berry curds, it is best to pipe the curd into the shells to get a nicely shaped top.  A simple sandwich bag with a hole cut at the end will suffice.  Return to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.

Hot crusts may be refreshed without flouring the tamper.
Ready to fill and finish baking.

Powdered sugar drizzle
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp hot water (or if you really like things tart, use lime juice)

Whisk together the powdered sugar with enough water or lime juice to make a thicker glaze. Start with ½ tbsp juice and add by half teaspoons until drizzling consistency.  Transfer glaze into a sandwich bag and snip off just a tiny hole at the end.  Use to pipe over the cooled tarts or alternately drizzle over with a fork.


Approximate nutrition for one mini tart from a lined tin: