Friday, February 27, 2009

Toasted Pine Nut Bread from Hensperger

Dylan and I were adventurous today. We made bread with toasted pine nuts! This recipe is from Hensperger's book: Bread for All Seasons. It's almost March and this is one of the March recipes.

First you preheat the oven to 325. Spread 1 1/2 cups pine nuts in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for 12 minutes, stirring once during the process. Don't let the nuts get dark. Remove from the oven and cool.

Sprinkle 2 packages of yeast and a pinch of brown sugar over 1/4 cup of warm water. Let it stand for about 10 minutes to begin proofing.

Put the pine nuts in a blender or food processor with 1 cup whole-wheat flour and process until it's like coarse meal.
It should look like this mixture below.

In the mixer, combine 1 cup warm water, 2 T brown sugar, 1 cup warm milk, 2 T of butter, melted, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour. Beat about 1 minute. Add the yeast and the nut flour mix. Beat another minute. Then gradually add flour - about 3 - 3 1/2 cups - about 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out and knead it until firm and springy, adding as little flour as possible. Place in a greased container and allow to rise for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Divide the risen dough into two portions. Form each into a round. Place the loaves seam side down on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again - about 50 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. Slash the tops of the loaves with sharp knife. Don't make the cuts more than 1/4 inch deep. Put the loaves in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400. Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes.

The is a rich, tender, interesting bread. We ate half a loaf for dinner.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Challenge of Challah

We had a lot of eggs and decided it would be fun to make challah. I looked for the egg-iest recipe I could find. Most of the recipes I found called for two eggs. The way we did it was with four eggs. I think traditionally challah has no milk products in it but I didn't have good vegetable oil so I used half butter and half oil.

After I made this bread, one of my friends who is Jewish, told me that Challah has seven ingredients and usually seven eggs. Next time I'm making it by her recipe!

Here's what we did:
1 cup water
1 T sugar
1 T honey
1 T active dry yeast

  • Pour the water into mixing bowl and stir in the honey and sugar. Add the yeast and one cup flour and let this proof for about 10 minutes.

4 eggs
3 T oil
3 T butter, melted
1 T salt
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour

  • Beat the eggs until light.
  • Beat in the oil and butter.
  • Add this to the yeast mixture.
  • Blend in the salt and gradually add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Knead the dough both with the dough hook and by hand for 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Put the dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled - about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  • Cut the dough in half. This makes two smaller loaves.
  • You can divide each half into three or four strands for braiding. I haven't ever braided four strands so I did that, following a diagram in a 30 year old cookbook.
  • Again allow the bread to rise until doubled.
  • Then brush surfaces with an egg wash made of 1 egg mixed with 2 tsp water.
  • Bake at 350 or 35 - 40 minutes.
Dylan likes to pick the eggs we use.

Here he's pouring the egg mixture into the yeast mixture.

The braided loaves go into the oven.

I planned to take a picture of the two loaves but when I remembered to do it the next day, my family had eaten all of one loaf and had sliced into the second one. Here's what's left. We used the challah for French toast on Sunday morning - it was scrumptious.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Norwegian Rye Bread

Dylan and I seem to be on a rye bread kick lately. So today we made Norwegian Rye Bread from A World of Breads by Doris Casella.

2 packages yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup molasses
2 T caraway seed
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups white flour
2 cups rye flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

With those ingredients, I'm sure you can imagine that this is a dark bread.

  • Dissolve the yeast in the water.
  • Heat the buttermilk (I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds).
  • Add salt, molasses, caraway seed, melted butter and dissolved yeast to the buttermilk.
  • Blend these ingredients and then start stirring in the flours gradually.
  • Knead the bread until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Place in buttered bowl to rise. Takes about 1 1/2 hours.

  • When the dough is doubled, turn it out onto a floured board.
  • Divide it into 2 parts. Shape each into a loaf and place in a buttered loaf pan.
  • Cover and let rise until doubled again - about 1 1/4 hours.
  • Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter.
  • Bake in a 325 oven for 45 minutes until done.

It's beautiful and tastes rich and delicious.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Parmesan Pull-aparts from Gourmet

Clearly I've been on a roll kick, inspired by Gourmet's issue this month. These are the only rolls that don't appear in the pictures in the magazine, but they sounded so good, I decided to try them sight unseen!

Here are the ingredients (which you can also find on Epicurious)

2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp honey (I use the honey from my own beehives)
2/3 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 T for sprinkling
1 1/4 cups grated (with a rasp) Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
5 T unsalted butter, cut into T pieces and softened
1 T water

  • First you grate the cheese - lots of it.

  • Stir together the yeast, honey, and 1/3 cup warm milk in mixer bowl and let stand until the yeast starts to foam.
  • Whisk together the flour and the grated cheese and the salt (see picture above).
  • Mix into the yeast mixture along with the remaining 1/3 cup milk at low speed.
  • Increase the speed to medium and beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each.
  • Beat well, about 3 minutes until a soft dough forms.
  • Beat in the butter, one T at a time, until the dough is elastic, about 2 minutes - this is where I had trouble. The butter just didn't want to beat in. I changed to the dough hook, but that made it more difficult - see the picture below. I ended up going back to the paddle, which was what Gourmet recommended, but it was difficult because the dough was solid and in the shape at which I usually use the hook. The butter mixing was very difficult.
  • Put the dough in a greased bowl, sprinkle it with the remaining 2 T flour, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  • When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured surface and cut it into 12 equal pieces.
  • Roll each into a ball.
  • Arrange the rolls in a buttered 9X2 inch round cake pan and cover with a non-terry kitchen towel.
  • Allow to double - 1 - 1 1/4 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 375 with rack in the middle.
  • Whisk together the remaining egg with 1 T water and brush over the tops of the rolls.
  • Bake until golden brown - 20 - 25 minutes.
  • Loosen edges of rolls from pan with sharp knife (this is to take care of cooked egg gluing it to the edges of the pan).
  • Invert rolls onto a rack, reinvert and cool for 20 minutes.

These are DELICIOUS - well worth the frustration with the butter mixing in (or not, as the case may be).
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Best Waffles Ever!

The best waffles ever are in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook - this book is chock full of great bread recipes, but my favorite pancakes/waffles are in the early part of the book. The recipe makes a large quantity, but halving it, which I do all the time, easily feeds four people.

Here it is (already halved for you):

2 cups King Arthur (naturally) Unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 stick butter, melted

  • Mix the dry ingredients together thoroughly
  • In another bowl, beat the buttermilk and eggs together until light
  • Add the melted butter
  • Blend only until the dry ingredients are mixed in - only 20 seconds or so
Cook on a preheated waffle griddle (or pancake griddle if you are making pancakes).

I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to put the batter on the griddle for each waffle.

My well-used (and thus not lovely) waffle baker with the batter on it.

The finished waffles and the cookbook.

My grandson, Dylan, the best waffle eater in the world!
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Friday, February 6, 2009

Potato and Rye Vienna Twist - Part Two

The potato dough is on the left; the rye dough is on the right.

  • When both doughs have doubled in size, gently turn them out onto a floured surface.
  • Divide each dough into 2 equal parts.
  • Roll each part into a 14 inch roll.
  • Take a roll of rye and a roll of the potato dough and twist the two together, pinching the ends together.
  • Place the twists on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover and allow to rise until doubled.

Previous to putting the bread in the oven, mist the bread with water and sieve them all over with 1 to 2 T flour. Note: I used 1 T and it was almost too much. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 -40 minutes.

Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. The slices will be part rye and part potato dough.
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Potato and Rye Vienna Twists - Part One

This must be one of Beth Hensperger's favorite recipes because she put it in both Baking Breads: Old and New Traditions and in The Bread Bible. Making this loaf involves making two types of bread at the same time.

For the potato dough, you have to cook a potato and then puree it. Here's that part of the recipe:

1 unpeeled 6 ounce russet potato, washed and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
7/8 cup warm milk
4 T unsalted butter at room temp
1 T sugar
1 large egg at room temp
1 1/2 tsp whole aniseed
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 - 3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour

You cut the potato up and put it in a pot. Cover the potato with water and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and cook the potato for 20 minutes. Drain the potato, reserving 1/4 cup potato water. Puree the potato with a food mill or an electric mixer. This was Dylan's first experience with a food mill. He thought it was just amazing.

At first it's hard to turn the handle of the food mill while the potatoes are in big chunks.

Then it gets faster and easier! He thought this was great!

He likes to look at the flour on his hands when he is chief kneader.

  • In large bowl, pour in the reserved 1/4 cup of potato water.
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the potato water and stir until smooth.
  • Add the potato puree (2/3 cup), milk, butter, sugar, egg, aniseed, salt, and 1 cup of flour.
  • Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Add 2 1/2 cups more unbleached flour and beat until smooth - about 3 minutes.
  • Knead dough either with dough hook or by hand until smooth and springy.
  • Put in greased bowl to rise.