Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Green Tea and Orange Loaf #BBB

 We have a beautifully scented and colored loaf for our challenge bread this month, and appropriately colored for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow as well!

Once again, I kind of did my own thing with this recipe.  It's okay, there is no such thing as a naughty babe, only an adventurous, innovative, or using creative license babe.  I didn't modify all that much, but did learn a few things for next time.  I think matcha slows down my starter, because it is normally very quick to perk and this time it took almost half a day before finally deciding to make my loaf nice and puffy.  By which time of course it was too late to bake.  So I stuck it in the fridge for the next day.  I found the next morning that the orange peel had caused the dough to weep somewhat, making it an interesting process to fold back in.  It always wanted to separate the dough layers.  And I realized after slicing, just how much pith they left on those peels!  Yikes.  Next time, I would trim significantly to get rid of it.  Homemade peel would never have that much pith.  The store bought had good aroma, but a flavor almost closer to preserved lemon than candied peel, especially after resting in the dough.  Still, this loaf has exquisite aroma, especially when slicing and toasting.  It screams for marmalade, which I adore.

We would love for you to try this aromatic and colorful bread and bake along with us this month!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to our host (email to breadexperience (at) gmail (dotcom) with BBB Green Tea and Orange Loaf), by the 29th of this 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.  I did add a half tbsp of sugar to aid in browning.  And I basically just chucked everything together and kneaded.  Bread just wants to bread after all.  No levain.  Though I grant that might have helped the speed of my first rise!  And incidentally, this dough is forgiving as well, I had to reshape a couple of time because I got distracted after my timer and over-proofed.  Daylight saving time absolutely destroys my brain. 

Green Tea and Orange Loaf
makes four mini loaves

500g all-purpose flour, (4 cups) plus more for dusting
250g water (1 cup)
100g ripe sourdough starter (scant ½ cup)
1/8 tsp instant yeast (optional)
10g salt (~2 tsp)
30g olive oil (2 tbsp)  (I only used 1 tsp because I didn't want my crumb that refined)
25g orange flower water (5 tsp)
10g (4 tsp) matcha tea powder (The matcha I used was ceremonial grade, which is more expensive)
150g (scant cup) candied orange peel, trimmed of any pith and finely diced

Combine the flour, salt, matcha, and yeast if using, in a mixing bowl.  In another bowl combine the water, starter, oil and flower water.  Add to the dry ingredients and mixing on low until combined.  Then knead on medium speed for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Fold or knead in the chopped peel on low until evenly distributed.

Shape the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with a damp cloth.  Allow to rise for two hours, folding the dough halfway through the rise.  The dough should increase in volume during this time.

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into four pieces and shape into balls.  Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Roll and stretch the sides of the balls against the work surface until taut and well rounded.

Place loaves, seam side down, on a parchment lined peel or baking sheet.  Cover and let proof for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450ºF and place a baking stone or steel on the rack.  Score the loaves as desired or in a crosshatch pattern.  Spray the inside of a roaster lid with water.  Slide the loaves and parchment onto the baking stone and cover with the roasting lid.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove lid and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom or have reached an internal temperature of at least 195ºF.  (My loaves took almost 30 minutes to reach internal temperature, though I turned down the oven to avoid overbrowning.)

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Do not slice until cool to avoid a gummy crumb.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



Sunday, March 14, 2021

Frozen Root Beer Float Pie - Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! I've been wanting to make this pie for years now.  Since I'm the type of person who loves to mix the ice cream into the root beer until you get a frosty like consistency, that was my aim for this pie.  It's a frosty, frozen root beer float in a pie shell.  But for those that like a little vanilla ice cream left in their float, I folded in some ice cream balls as well!
My youngest is not a big fan of pie.  Well, she wasn't until now!  Apparently this is the type of pie to win her over and become the requested birthday dessert.  I call that a smashing success.  If you are a fan of frosties and floats and mixing your root beer and ice cream, you should love this pie.
Frozen Root Beer Float Pie
serves 12-14
1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve plus 4 full graham crackers)
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
7 tbsp butter, (melted) add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
1½ cups root beer, divided 
1.5 qt vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 pt heavy whipping cream, divided
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
½ tsp root beer extract (optional)
I used root beer float Mike & Ikes for garnish but they get too hard when cold, so I recommend a different garnish or omit them.

In a food processor, pulverize graham crackers to fine crumbs.  Pulse in the brown sugar until no lumps remain.  Add melted butter and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened.  Press the mixture firmly across the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie pan or a 9" springform pan.  (The springform will be easier to cut slices.)  Place in the freezer to chill.
In a small saucepan, boil 1 cup of the root beer for about 10-15 minutes until reduced by half.  (You will have ½ cup left.  Place the reduced liquid in the refrigerator to cool.
Place a bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Set out a glass of warm water.  Take out slightly softened vanilla ice cream and use a small melon baller to scoop out mini scoops of ice cream, placing them into the chilled bowl.  Dip the melon baller into the warm water in between scoops to prevent sticking.  Once you have about 2 dozen or so, cover with wrap and place in freezer.

Once root beer syrup has chilled, combine it with the remaining softened ice cream and the remaining root beer.  Stir with a wooden spoon until a creamy mixture is achieved, like a frosty.  

Cover and place the root beer frosty in the freezer for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until thickened enough to pile up.  Whip 1 cup of the cream with 2 tbsp of powdered sugar and the extract, just to stiff peaks.  Don't let it get grainy.  Fold into the ice cream mixture.  Then fold in the reserved ice cream balls and pile the mixture into the graham crust.  Place in the freezer to chill while whipping the remaining cup of cream with 1 tbsp powdered sugar, just to stiff peaks.  Pipe rosettes around the edge of the pie.  Garnish with candies if desired but remove before eating to protect teeth.

Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight until frozen firm.

Let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before slicing to serve.  Rinse and wipe knife between cuts to aid in clean slices.  Store covered in the freezer for up to a week.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Naturally Colored Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies - Small Batch

Do you want to make something fun and green for St. Patrick's Day but don't want to use artificial food coloring?  Do you want just a little batch to enjoy for yourself or maybe, just maybe, the family - if they are being good?  Well here's a chocolate chip cookie to satisfy your needs.  Mint chocolate chip even.  And don't worry, you don't taste any of the natural colorings!

We tried this a couple times before getting the cookie that my family universally approved.  Not too heavy on the chips, nice, soft chocolate chip cookie texture, slightly chewy, slightly cakey.  The first batch was okay, but the consensus was too many chips, and too gooey.  On the second day they were like those soft chocolate chip cookies from the grocery store, quite soft and barely chewy.  Really too gooey to eat warm though and what's the point of that?  (While testing that first batch, my 13 year old walked by, took a look and stopped, then said, "I'm not going to question it," and walked off.)  Not quite a peanut gallery response, but highly amusing.
First trial batch.
But for my family, less is more.  We switched to mini chocolate chips and used just enough mint chips for flavor (maybe 2½ tbsp) and the other half of the third cup was mini chips, with just a few on top for decoration.  You can make this mini batch using just a couple cereal bowls and a fork.  Honestly, you can probably make these with just double the matcha though the green will be a warmer green.  I used the butterfly pea flower powder and spirulina because I had them on hand, to cool down the color.  They do a great job and no, you cannot taste them.  For the mint chips, try to find them locally, they are way too spendy online.  An alternative would be Andes baking chips, which I have seen in multiple grocery stores nearby.  I always loved Andes mints...
Shamrock ... Green Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies
makes 6-7 cookies
2 tbsp (28g) unsalted butter, very soft
3 tbsp (37g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (13g) light brown sugar
2 tbsp beaten egg (~37.5g)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
2 spirulina tablets, powdered with a mortar and pestle
½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup mint and chocolate chips (You may of course skip the mint and just have a green chocolate chip cookie for fun.  We like the mint chips.)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and colored powders.  Push the powders through a sieve if they are at all lumpy.

Mix butter, sugars, and vanilla in a small bowl with a fork until very creamy.

Beat in the egg until the mixture has become fairly smooth.  Stir in the flour in two portions and then fold in the chocolate chips.  Drop dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet using a medium cookie scoop.  (Using a fairly flat measure will yield about 7 cookies, using a slightly rounded measure will yield 6 cookies.)  Decorate with a few extra chips on top if desired.  
Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until baked through but not browned.  Let stand for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Sourdough Crumpets #BreadBakers

It's been a few decades years since I have been across the pond, but I still have a fondness for the idea of some traditional English foods.  (My Great-great-great Nana came from England through Ellis Island to be a nanny!)  So I was looking forward to trying out some English crumpets for our Bread Bakers griddle breads challenge, hosted by Snehas recipe.  So what is a crumpet anyway?  At its most basic, a crumpet is a soft and spongy yeast griddle cake.   It is not an English muffin, nor is it typically split open like one.  They are cooked in a ring to be tall and perfectly round, traditionally only on one side until done, and finished either by toasting or under a broiler, and served warm with butter and sometimes jam.  For convenience however, most people flip them and grill the top just enough to get a hint of golden color.
If the ring is well greased, the crumpet will
pull away from the side as it cooks.

They have a characteristic flat top with many small pores and a spongy texture that allows the butter or other spreads to deliciously soak in.  Basically for me, crumpets are what happens when a buttermilk diner pancake and an English muffin have a baby.  English crumpets are made from a thick batter, not a dough, and actually were originally thinner and cooked like pancakes before rings came into the equation.  (Those ones are called pikelets and a great option if you get tired of using the rings.)  And I must say that pikelets, with some butter and Golden syrup, are amazing!
The most basic and arguably most necessary
topping of butter on a hot crumpet.

Add a little of Nana's homemade raspberry
jam for exquisite flavor.

Some people like them just with butter, some with jam, some with savory toppings like cheese or eggs or even a full English breakfast!  Toppings are really limited only by your imagination.  I think they would be fabulous with poached eggs.  I typically like poached eggs on toast and Eggs Benedict on English muffins, but now I think Benedict on crumpets would be wonderful.  They are more tender than the muffin.  And is it sacrilegious to split a crumpet?  Perhaps.  I might get called out for it but I did try them both ways.  Being a Yank, I'm used to splitting my English muffins after all, which aren't even English though they were invented by an English immigrant who originally called them "toaster crumpets".  (The name English muffin wasn't used until 20 years after he started making them.)

Yes, yes, DON'T split a crumpet!
But just look at all those holes!

I still need to find that sweet spot for the batter.  Too much batter and the crumpet won't cook through before the bottom is over browned.  Too thick or too thin batter consistency and the crumpet will be "blind" or gummy.  I was having lovely holes all through the middle and then the top would stay too runny and all the popping bubbles would flow back in instead of staying open on the ones I overfilled.  Also if the tops aren't set, they will fill any holes when you flip, if cooking that way.  They are tasty regardless, have lovely flavor and I ate too many the first day.  They do freeze well at least and I will enjoy them immensely over the next week.  Then practice some more!  And I must say, that while I love real maple syrup on pancakes, the golden syrup on the pikelets cannot be beat.  Wouldn't eat them any other way.

By the way, if you don't have crumpet or English muffin rings, I hear you can take both ends off of tuna fish cans and wash them well and that can work.  And in a pinch, you can fold layers of aluminum foil into a strip and secure with a paperclip or staple to create a makeshift ring.

Crumpets with Sourdough Discard


½ cup (113g) sourdough starter, unfed/discard
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water (255ml)
½ tsp instant yeast
½ tsp sugar
¾ - 1 tsp salt (5-9g depending on taste and type of salt)
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup (70ml) lukewarm milk
4 crumpet rings, about 3½ inches diameter, well greased


Whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Stir in the lukewarm water.   Stir in the sourdough starter to make a very thick but smooth batter.  Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for two minutes. Cover the bowl and let stand in a warm spot until the batter rises and then falls, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Add the salt and beat the batter for about 1 minute. Cover the bowl and let stand in a warm spot for 15 to 20 minutes to rest.

Dissolve the baking soda in the lukewarm milk. Gently stir it into the batter. The batter should not be too stiff or your crumpets will be "blind" - without holes.  To avoid this, it is best to test one before cooking the whole batch.

Heat a griddle or cast iron frying pan over moderately low heat for about 3 minutes until very hot. Place a well-greased crumpet ring on the griddle. Spoon or pour ~1/3 cup of the batter into the ring. (The amount of batter will depend on the size of your crumpet ring).

The batter should begin to form holes as soon as it is poured into the ring. If holes do not form, add a little more lukewarm water, one tablespoon at a time, to the batter in the bowl and test again. If the batter is too thin and runs out under the ring, gently add in a little more flour and try again. Once the batter is the proper consistency, continue cooking the crumpets in batches, three or four at a time. As soon as the top surface is set and covered with holes, about 7 to 8 minutes, the crumpet is ready to flip over.

To flip, carefully remove the ring with a towel or tongs, then turn the crumpet carefully with a spatula. The bottom, cooked side should be chestnut brown. Cook the second, holey side of the crumpet for 2 to 3 minutes, or until pale golden. The crumpets should be about ¾ inch thick.  Remove from the griddle and top with butter while still warm. Grease the crumpet rings well between each use.

I did also try out King Arthur's "instant" Sourdough Crumpet recipe to see how they compared.  The verdict?  They do taste good.  A little finicky about the hydration, your starter really needs to be 100% hydration and I keep mine a little lower than that usually.  So I added just a half tsp of water to thin out just a little.  I only did a half batch of two crumpets.  Added another few drops of water to the second bit of dough but that made the inside a little gummy.  But are they crumpets?  Honestly, probably not.  They didn't taste the same, they tasted like crispy sourdough pancakes.  And the tops really did not want to set so I had to lose the top holes when flipping.  Absolutely fan-bloody-tastic with butter and golden syrup, though eldest prefers them with jam.  A great pancake option for those needing to go egg-free.  Would I make them again to use sourdough discard?  Yes.  I absolutely felt the need to split and toast based on the structure.
100% sourdough starter "crumpets"- King Arthur version

Beautiful color, hard to get top holes. - KA verision

Use 100% hydration starter.  Adding water
leads to a gummy crumb. - KA version

#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 our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient
#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 our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month the Bread Bakers are making Griddle Breads, a theme chosen by Sneha from Sneha's Recipe.



And don’t forget to check out all the amazing breads baked by our talented bakers.  Bread Baker's Event for March 2021-Theme Griddle Breads