Monday, March 16, 2020

Potato, Thyme and Goat Cheese Pavé #BBB

The nice thing about making your own bread, (other than it being fresh and delicious and having simple ingredients), is that at its most basic all you need (knead, ha!) is flour, salt, yeast and water to make it.  This is a little more elaborate than the basic base ingredients, but a nice, soft dough to work with.  I had just barely enough sprigs of good, usable thyme in the garden to fulfill my requirements, though it wouldn't hurt to have added more!  Hubby turned some of the squares I cut into "dinner rolls" and loved them.  The bread has a beautifully soft and spongy texture.  I riced my potatoes to make sure they were very uniform and not chunky.   And though it is best served fresh and warm, it does reheat nicely.  I made a half batch, just the right size for our family for dinner.

We would love for you to try out this simple, dinner friendly recipe and join in as a buddy baker this month!  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 me at eleyana (AT) aol (DOT) com by the 31st 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.

Potato, Thyme and Goat Cheese Pavé
world breads from pain de campagne to paratha
makes 1 large loaf or two smaller loaves

500g (4½ cups) strong white flour
50g (¼ cup) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
250 ml (1 cup + 2 tbsp) warm milk or water
20g fresh yeast or 7g instant (¼oz active dry) yeast
1 tsp sugar
100g (1 cup) plain mashed or riced potato, warm (no added cream or butter)
1 tsp fine salt
1 egg, beaten
150g (2/3 cup) mature goat's cheese, grated (don't worry if you can't find hard goat cheese, it's not all that common around here, though I did find manage to find a hard goat gouda.  Sub sheep or cow if desired or leave out.)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (feel free to increase!)

Place the flour and instant yeast if using, in a large bowl or stand mixer and rub in the butter until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. If using fresh yeast, mix half the milk or water in a small bowl with the yeast and sugar, and leave to stand for 10 minutes until frothy.

Add the yeast mixture and the remaining milk or water. Next add the warm mashed or riced potato, salt, egg and grated cheese and knead on low with a dough hook until a soft dough forms.

Turn mixer up to medium and knead for 5-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Turn out the dough and press out to deflate. Add the fresh thyme and mix until well distributed. Shape dough into a large rectangular loaf or two smaller loaves of about an inch or so in height, (2½-4 cm), (recipe may be halved) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and return to a warm place to rise again for 40-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).   Using a sharp knife, score deeply in a criss-cross fashion on the top of the bread.  Brush the loaf lightly all over with some egg wash or spray with water and dust with flour for a crustier loaf.  Bake on a center shelf for 25-30 minutes until golden.  Bread should be done when evenly golden brown and around 185-190ºF internal temperature. Cut into squares to serve.  (Or slices for dipping in soup.)

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

We are a soup and stew family and this is a great soup and stew dipping bread!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Olive Oil Crackers #BreadBakers

It's Bread Bakers time and this month we're going crackers!  (Which is actually a good thing considering the panic buying up of dry goods in our town lately.)  Thank you to Sneha of Sneha's Recipe for hosting this month!  I just love this simple and easy cracker recipe.  I have made them a number of times, having first seen the recipe in a Food Network magazine years ago.  They are just so amazingly crispy and flavorful, and so quick to make using a food processor.  I haven't tried any other way but I assume they would come together with a mixer or even by hand, albeit more slowly.  I tried adding a pinch of ammonium carbonate in a little water this time to see if it added a lighter crunch.  There was not really a discernible difference so next time I will try a bit more, somewhere around an 1/8-¼ tsp.  (Our favorite store bought specialty crackers have that ingredient and it is something I keep on hand for special recipes.)  When I told hubby after his approved samples that he could pick out the irregular shapes until I took my pictures, he deferred getting into them until I was done because he would simply be taking them by the handful!

Olive Oil Crackers
recipe from Rachel Ray

2 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp fine salt
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
8-9 tbsp water (this time, for me the dough was good with 8 tbsp or ½ cup)
Flaky sea salt

In a food processor, blend together the flour, sugar and fine salt. Add the olive oil and 8-9 tbsp water; pulse until a dough forms. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out each half very thinly.  (I aimed for less than 1/16" using rolling pin bands.)  Keep the other half covered while working.  Cut rolled dough into 1-by-3-inch strips and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Brush crackers with oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Bake at 425ºF until browned at the edges, about 12-13 minutes.  Allow to cool. Store crackers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Be sure to catch a glimpse of our other cracker creations this month:

  • Baked Nachos from Anybody Can Bake
  • Cheesy Crunchy Mini Crackers from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
  • Homemade Senbei Rice Crackers from Food Lust People Love
  • Lavash from Sneha's Recipe
  • Olive Oil Crackers from A Messy Kitchen
  • Rosemary Crackers from Passion Kneaded
  • Sourdough Cheddar Cheese and Rosemary Crackers from Zesty South Indian Kitchen
  • Sprouted Wheat Crackers with Sea Salt from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Wholegrain Sesame and Flaxseed Crackers from Ambrosia
  • Wholemeal and Oats Carrot Crackers from Cook with Renu

  • #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.


    Tuesday, March 3, 2020

    Sourdough versatility

    Last week I ended up needing to make a few loaves of bread last minute, and my sourdough wasn't recently fed up.  My go to recipe in that situation is my Un-Fed Sourdough Starter French bread.  For one of the loaves, that was the perfect recipe, but for the other two, I wanted something a little more sandwich friendly.  Well, I should say with a little more refined and enriched crumb, since the original recipe would make fine sandwiches!  My starter perks up so fast that these loaves might have worked just fine without spiking with yeast, but in the interest of time and for assurance of success since they were to be shared, I went with a modified un-fed recipe.  It turned out beautifully.  And so easy to do as well.  I simply added two enrichments: some milk powder, whole goat milk powder in my case, and some butter.  Oil would do just as well.

    I made a double batch, but for each batch I added (approximately):

    1 tbsp butter (~14g)
    ½ scoop of milk powder (~15g) (~1½ tbsp)

    These were eyeball measurements, it really isn't super important to be exact.  Just add them in with everything else.  I also used brown sugar for extra flavor, a spoonful of honey would have worked as well.  These were all baked as the part whole grain version, using about 100g fresh ground flour and 200g all purpose, using an 8x4" loaf pan with the dough allowed to rise until about 1" over the edge and slashed straight down the middle lengthwise.  I just love the ease and versatility of this recipe, giving me three beautiful loaves, including some gorgeous ears on my plain unfed sourdough!  Oh, and on that note: when using a curved lame to do the slashing, make sure to use it with the curve facing up!  That helps give a shallow angle on the slashing, which contributes to the lifting up of that "ear" on the loaf.

    Bread just want to be bread!  Don't be afraid to experiment with recipes you love, to give you new options and variations!