Thursday, February 13, 2014

BBA Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

We've had an ice storm in Atlanta, but since I have power, I'm just baking up a storm inside!

Yesterday I made the Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread from BBA.  It is absolutely delicious and looks just like Reinhart's photo, so I am well pleased.  I loved raisin bread as a child and today the smell of it toasting warms my heart.

There are two ways to make this bread - as a loaf with cinnamon and raisins studded throughout or he suggests as an alternative, adding a cinnamon sugar swirl to an already delicious bread.  Since the recipe made two loaves, I did one as a loaf and the second as a swirl.

I found it an easy bread to mix and make.  Since I'm used to making breads that add dry ingredients gradually to the yeast raised in warm water, it's always unnerving to me to put all the dry ingredients into the mixer and then add the liquids.  But I'm an oldest child and always follow the rules, so I do what he tells me to.

The dough was quite sticky and I probably added about a handful of flour in tablespoons as it mixed to get it to come together in a bread dough.

Here are the raisins, draining, and the walnuts, chopped.

Here is the dough rounded up before putting it into the greased bowl to rise.

I rolled one half of the dough out to make a regular loaf.  I forgot to take a photo of the cinnamon swirl being created.  I did use a brush and brushed water over the dough before adding the cinnamon sugar to help it stick.  Don't know if that was a good idea or not.

Here are the two loaves in their pans to rise.  The one on the right has the cinnamon swirl.

He suggested that you brush the tops of the baked loaves with melted butter as soon as they are out of the bread pans and roll them in the cinnamon sugar, so I did that with the non-swirled loaf.

Here is the loaf sliced - made absolutely delicious toast,  reminding me of childhood (although the bread we had from the grocery didn't had walnuts in it!)

Below is the cinnamon swirl loaf.  I don't care what the filling is, I can't ever make swirled bread that doesn't have a gap in it when it cooks.  So disappointing.

 Slicing further into the loaf, you can see the gap around the swirl.  Would love it if someone knew how to keep that from happening.  I roll tightly and pinch the seam together at the bottom.  I wonder if wetting the dough surface before I put the cinnamon on makes that happen?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BBA Cinnamon Buns and Sticky Buns

These cinnamon buns sounded really good - not too sweet and gooey - so I was excited to try them.   I decided to make the cinnamon buns rather than the sticky buns and mixed up the dough.  I liked it that they had the zest of a lemon in them.  He said 1 tsp but I didn't measure - just grated the lemon zest and put it into the dough.

The dough was a little soft so I had to add a little flour - just a smidgeon, but it came together better after I had done that.  

I have real Ceylon cinnamon that I buy from My Spice Sage.  I put it in my adult children's stockings every Christmas and also get some for me.  It's so much better than what we buy in the grocery store!

The recipe didn't make a ton of rolls - just a dozen.  They rose on the cookie sheet on which they would be baked.

This is how they looked coming out of the oven.  And then I glazed them - I made the recipe's suggested amount of glaze.  Next time I will cut it in half.  I have about 3/4 of a cup in my refrigerator right this minute.

They were really delicious and everyone I gave them to, loved them.

BBA Casatiello

We are very lucky in Atlanta to have the Spotted Trotter.  I buy tasso ham there for New Year's Day's hoppin' John.  I love their bacon.  Every time I go, I let myself buy something unusual that I have no idea how to use.  The last time I was there, I bought a lamb and feta crepinette.  It was delicious, but I digress.

To make the BBA casatiello, one of the ingredients is dry cured Italian salami.  This is what took me to the Spotted Trotter.  I bought a delicious salami and this made the bread INCREDIBLE.

After cooking it in the iron skillet, the salami is incorporated into the bread.  The most challenging part of this recipe is incorporating the butter.  I weighed it, like Reinhart advocates.

This was a delicious bread - one of my favorites so far.  I toasted it for breakfast and it made a meal  -  just one slice of toast.  My son-in-law loved it.  I don't think it was that special but the salami from Spotted Trotter made it special.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

BBA Ciabatta

OK, guess I was due for a failure and this was it.  I made ciabatta bread yesterday and mine has NO holes in it.  I did some online research and I know what was wrong.  So I'll try again and hopefully the next time with be replete with holes!

So what I learned from online research is that I kneaded the ciabatta too long.  In Rinehart's book he says to mix on medium mixer speed for 5 - 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Being an oldest child and always following the rules, I did exactly that - mixed for 5 minutes and changed to the dough hook for the last 2 minutes.

As a result my ciabatta developed too much gluten.  I have made ciabatta before from a different recipe (Bertinett's Dough)  and it had great holes.  Bertinett advises not using the mixer and I think I'll go that way the next time I try the Rinehart recipe.

Anyway my rather pitiful photos are below, including the unattractive, non-ciabatta looking slices where in addition to the lack of holes, you can also see the flour line created when I folded the dough "like a letter" as per the instructions.

Better luck next time and there will be a next time - I will NOT be defeated!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

BBA Challah

True confession:  I skipped Brioche - didn't have the right pan - and Casatiello, although I'll try to go for it next weekend after I buy some salami.  So I went to Challah last weekend.

It was fun to make and only took one day, but I'm not thrilled with my results.  It was a little dry and not as rich as some other Challah recipes I've used.  I'm tempted to cut it all up to make croutons, but instead I used one loaf to make a breakfast casserole of baked French toast with craisins and cinnamon and gave the other loaf to my daughter with encouragement to do the same.

Here's a slideshow of the process.  The braiding was a lot of fun as was sprinkling the sesame seeds:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

BBA Bagels

Several years ago I bought food grade lye with the plan of making homemade bagels.  I have been terrified to open the bottle - you apparently need to wear goggles, gloves, and be ready to throw away the jeans you wear.  I never went near the bagel recipe because I was deathly afraid of the lye.

But the BBA book has a bagel recipe in it that does not involve lye and still the bagels are AMAZING.  Everyone I gave them to absolutely fell out telling me how good they were.

Again, I did this on November 23 and was just late posting it.  The holidays always interfere with blogging for me both here and on my beekeeping blog.

Making bagels was incredibly time-consuming but at the same time, so much fun.  Every recipe in the book takes more time than any other bread recipe, but every time it is worth it.

The recipe uses malt which I have on hand for the communion bread recipe, so I was delighted to have another use for it.  

The bagels are ultimately shaped into 4 1/2 ounce pieces - I weighed each and every one.  They rest for a bit and then you make them into bagel shapes.  I didn't do a great job taking a photo of my own hand but here are the shaping photos:

The shaped bagels rest on a cookie sheet until they are ready to go into the refrigerator.  You determine this by a float test in which the ring is dropped into water.  If they float then it's time to put the cookie sheet into the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, you heat the oven to 500 - I'm so glad my Wolf oven can easily do that temperature.  The bagels are then boiled but instead of lye, you add baking soda!  While the boiled bagels are still wet, you season them.  This is where the recipe let me down. 

Left to my own devices (since there were no recommendations for amounts of seasonings), I salted mine too much, but not irreparably - everyone adored them but next time I'll go much easier on the salt.

I measured exactly 4 1/2 ounces per bagel but I ended up with 14 instead of 12 absolutely delicious bagels.  I'll make these again and again despite the long process.

Catch Up with BBA Posts: Artos Greek Celebration Bread

Actually I made this bread on November 16 and just never posted about it.  It was easy and fun and a delicious bread.

I used a poolish started since I already had it available, but he starts with a barm.  He does say you can use a poolish.

As a beekeeper, I loved it that this bread has honey as an ingredient because, of course, I used honey from my own bee hives.  The honey and all the spices give the dough an inviting warm color.

I follow all of his directions as precisely as I can (for a person for whom precision is a challenge, at best) so I use Pam Olive Oil spray since he calls for it in almost every recipe.  Here I used it to oil the bowl in which the dough would rise.

This bread baked up beautifully into pretty round loaves.

While the bread was baking, I made the glaze of sugar, water, honey and orange extract so I would be ready to paint it onto the loaves when they were done.

Every year when our office has a holiday party, we draw names.  I give some version of the same gift every year - a jar of my honey (or homemade apple butter, if there is no honey - like this year), some homemade breads - this year it was this Artos holiday bread - and a few other homemade goodies - like seasoned nuts, candied orange peel.  I think the receiver was glad to get this loaf.  

I certainly enjoyed the one I kept which I ate right away - hers I saved in the freezer until the party.