MyKitchenInHalfCups

Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …

BBBuddies september 2013


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Our Buddies are Crackers! Great Crackers! Oh yeah …

Buddies … I can’t fully explain what bread baking means to me/us.  I know it’s all mixed together with the feelings of touching the physical dough, connecting with a long history of bread bakers through the centuries, befriending those around my kitchen table and that strange creative process of relaxing kneading.  It’s always fascinating to me that bread is such simple ingredients and is always different, glorious but always different.

Buddies … I can’t fully explain what our Bread Baking Buddies mean to me/Babes.  I know it’s partly all the above of baking bread but it’s something above that and extraordinarily special.  Strangers come into my kitchen, take a recipe, are willing to put time, effort and good ingredients into that recipe, make it their own and bake with us.

This time around I especially enjoyed Louise Persson’s words:

I’m pleased to have been able to bake this unusual recipe with the BBBs. I saw it posted at KAF sometime ago and thought I would never attempt crackers. Yet baking as a Buddy, I’ve stretched myself and added some new experiences, and happily, this was one of them.

I really can’t remember how I found the BBB while browsing through blogs one day, but I’m very glad I did! I look forward to each new bread, sometimes, like this month, thinking, “Oh, I can’t. I don’t have the time or skill.” But it’s amazing what we can accomplish, isn’t it?

Louise’s experience is typical of so many of us.  Perhaps I should be less emphatic, I do know Louise expresses what I experienced when I started blogging and it continues to this day even though I do recognize I have more confidence when I approach a new recipe.  Yes Louise it is amazing what we can accomplish when we give it a go.

On top of that empathy, what perhaps thrills me/Babes even more is to think that we have somehow influenced a few others to take up this BreadHead Cause and enjoy, experience, learn and share these experiences.

Bread Baking makes my heart happy.  Bread Baking Buddies make my heart happier.  I am so glad that you each give of yourselves and take time to bake with us.  You are truly very special people.  Thank you. Each one of you.

Our Cracker Buddies are (in no particular order):

Louise BreadHead without blog

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Corrine at Yogi Latte

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Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories

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Claartje at Claire’s Baking

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Cathy at Bread Experience

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Carola at Sweet and That’s It

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Renee at Kudos Kitchen

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Kelly at A Messy Kitchen

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Anita (Soepkipje) at Ipernity   

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Aparna at MyDiverseKitchen

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Now do you see what I mean when I say these are are really special bunch of bakers!

Hope you can excuse me being late (but it did allow some extra Buddies to sneak in!) between company and that great mystery of the internet gobbling up my post requiring it to be redone … I was late.

If you baked as a Buddy and I missed you please send me an e-mail with your link and a photo so that I may include you!

You’ll excuse me now while I go bake these crackers again AND see if I can get baking on the Babes October bread.

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BBB ~ Crunchy Crackers

When you find a trusted source, you kept going back don’t you?  Shoes you like, you’re likely to look for the brand again?  A food blog you try a recipe from, you like, you’ll look to try another?  For me there’s at least one site whose products I love and even order repeatedly from and use their recipes.  For a bread lover, who do you think that might be?  King Arthur Flour has proven itself over and over for me and these crackers are just another proof.  This is a beautifully easy recipe to mix and bake but for me at least it’s glory lies in the topping possibilities and yes the use of a variety of flours.

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Probably the most often spread we enjoy with these crackers is my spinach and artichoke, made with double spinach and given it’s own crunch with water chestnuts.

Crunchy Crackers

Recipe By: KAF
Yield: 2 cookie sheets

Summary from KAF:

This recipe mimics an extra-crunchy, seed-topped whole-gain cracker you may find at your supermarket. These are great for spreads and dips of all kinds.

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198 to 227g lukewarm water
170 g King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
120 g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or sugar – I used agave
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
14 g whole milled flax or whole flax seed ground
14 g sesame seeds or whole flax seeds
*Substitute 28g golden flax seeds for the flax and sesame, if desired.
topping
71 g sunflower seeds, midget preferred*
28 g sesame seeds*
28 g whole flax seeds

sea salt or your favorite flavored salt, if desired
*Substitute 3/4 cup artisan bread topping + 1/4 cup whole flax seeds for the sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, if desired.

 

1.  Mix and knead together all of the cracker ingredients (except the seeds) to a smooth, fairly stiff dough. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water if the dough is dry.

I used the larger 227 ml of water and regardless of the flour type used, I have found this to be a sticky wet dough.  I’ve played very loose with the white whole wheat flour called for in the recipe: on different occasions I’ve replaced part of it with barley flour, buckwheat flour, spelt and rye flours.  Perhaps we enjoyed the buckwheat flour the most but all were terrific.  Each time I’ve baked these I’ve added chopped walnuts but my Babes have show me I must expand my nut choices ~ think pecans, pine nuts …

2.  Knead in the seeds.

You may do as I’ve done at this point and refrigerate the dough: if you do that, allow the dough 90 to 120 minutes to re-warm to room temp and expand slightly as in step 3 below.

3. Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s expanded a bit.

Don’t expect a large rise here.  “Expand a bit” did not translate into doubling as you often expect with doughs.

4. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a rectangle approximately 14″ x 9″, a generous 1/8″ thick. This will probably require you to roll the dough until it fights back; give it a 10-minute rest, then come back and roll some more. It may need two rest periods to allow you to roll it thin enough.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve always played around using different flours or maybe it’s because I’ve always had that rest period in the refrigerator but I’ve never had this dough fight back, it’s always been easy to roll out.

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I also use special rubber bands on my rolling pin to take the guess work out of how thick the dough rolls out.  I’ve used the yellow bands in the past for the 1/8 inch but this time I went with the red 1/16.  It worked just fine and gave me very thin crackers, crunchy!

5. For easiest handling, turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Spritz the dough with water. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the topping seeds, lay a piece of parchment on top, and press the seeds in with a rolling pin. Turn the dough over, peel off the parchment, and repeat. Set the seeded crackers on a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

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Play: these seeds are suggestions, what’s in your pantry, what do you like, what wildness can you come up with?  Seeds are great but consider using your favorite nut here.  I chopped seeds and nuts.  Because there are only two of us on most occasions, I generally divide this dough into half or thirds and bake over several days.
6. If you don’t have parchment, roll on a rolling mat or on a very lightly floured or lightly greased work surface; and transfer the seeded crackers to a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each sheet of crackers with some sea salt or flavored salt, if desired. Crush the sea salt between your fingers or grind it in a salt mill if it’s very coarse.
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7. Prick the dough over with a fork or one of these.  I ruined many a cookie sheet using forks to prick cracker dough until I found one of these rollers …

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and cut it into rectangles, whatever size you like.  This seemed like an insane gadget to buy at the time but after using it repeatedly for crackers and biscuits, I’ve really come to wonder why I put off paying the $20 for so long.  It expands to cut any width you like and locks in place.  Initially I thought this would be a bugger to wash but I just open it up wide and give each roller blade a wipe, close it up and swish it in the water: clean!

Pull the crackers apart just a bit; you don’t need to separate them completely. Let the crackers rise for 30 to 45 minutes. while you preheat your oven to 350°F; they’ll get just a bit puffy.

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8. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven. When they’re completely cool, break apart, if necessary, and store airtight.

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Once again I am KOM … Kitchen of the Month!  The Babes have really gone crackers with this one so be sure to check them all out.  They’re on the side bar there.  If you’d like to be a buddy with us this month, I will be delighted to have you in the Cracker round up to be posed on the 29th September.  To be a Bread Baking Buddy, just make the crackers, take some photos, write up your post – tell us your experience with the dough – and send an email to ~ comments my kitchen at mac dot com ~ you know to take out all those spaces ~ PLEASE PUT “Cracker Buddy” as your subject line and get those mails to me by no later than the 28th.  I’ll send you the buddy badge and get you in the round up.

BBB logo september 13

See those fire crackers in our badge, thank you Lien!  Now get cracken and BAKE!

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BBB logo November 2012


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PocketBooks or Hot Lips? It’s still bread!

I suppose there are people in this world who are not fascinated by bread like I am … well, I know there are people like that because when I really start getting revved up telling somebody about my latest bake and their eyes glaze over … I know I’ve just run head long into one.  But, I can’t imagine what they could possibly entertain themselves with when they wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep … on the other hand, maybe if I didn’t find bread and it’s many iterations so entertaining I’d be able to go back to sleep.

This month our charming hostess lives in Vienna Austria, has kitties and bakes!  Astrid blogging at PaulChensFoodBlog has presented us with Pocket Book Rolls.


PocketBook Rolls

Recipe By: adapted from The Glory of Southern Cooking by James Villas

Yield: 2 doz. rolls

1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk
1/4 cup shortening – I used butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1 large egg, beaten
3 cups all purpose flour – I used white whole wheat and buckwheat
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Whisk yeast, salt and flours together.

2. Cream the shortening, butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the boiling water and warm milk.
Add the beaten egg.

When well blended add the flour, yeast and salt and mix very well.

3. You can keep the mixture up to one week in the fridge covered lightly with plastic wrap for further use.

4. Three hours before ready to use: Roll out the dough. About 1/2 inch thick.
Cut into rounds with a 2 to 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.
Fold each round in half and place on greased baking sheet.
Brush each roll generously with melted butter, cover with a towel.
Let rise in a warm place for about 2 1/2 hours.  In the book it says it is essential that you let rise them at least 2 hours to attain the right feathery texture they are famous for.
Preheat the oven to 400°F Bake the rolls until golden brown. Should take about 7-8 minutes
Serve hot – with more butter.

You will note that I did not dissolve my yeast in liquid, used all butter no shortening.  I cut back on the sugar and I played with the flour making it a combination of white whole wheat from King Arthur and buckwheat flours.  I was totally delighted with the sweet earthiness of the buckwheat; really why don’t I use this more.

It seems to me if you’re going to call something a pocket book well then it really wants to have something put into it.  You put money into a pocketbook so I figured something equally valuable should go into these.

That’s how I ended up with Hot Lips.  I created my hot lips with a splash of spicy tomato jam, just oh so nice.

I do love baking bread.  I love the kneading, the rising.  I love feeling it change.  I love the feel of it.  But like everybody, I love the smell of baking bread and the fresh from the oven experience.  I’ve never gotten over taking fresh bread from the oven.  Sometimes I’m known for halving recipes, just so I can bake again sooner.  With these rolls you can have fresh bread coming out of your oven all day long if you want.  I think it’s best to limit it to once a day for up to a week.  How many days you bake with this is dependent on how many rolls you do each day.  I baked these three days.  And each time I baked them I used a different filling.  Bad picture above was splashed with pumpkin butter and several dried cranberries.  The next day I did mostly the same but added a few pistachios!

Yes, they were lip licking smacking good!

Now, I know you want to bake these so jump to it!!

I do hope you’ll want to be a Buddy with us on this one.   1.Bake the featured bread, snap a pic & share your thoughts about how you liked it (or not liked it) 2.Send  an email to Kitchen of the Month.  Please note in the subject line that this is for the BBB Buddy Bread.   Kitchen of the month is Astrid blogging at PaulChensFoodBlog.

Don’t forget to visit my fellow Bread Baking Babes to see how they baked and also… visit our Katie!   She is the BBBBB (Bitchin’ Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire) who writes up such lovely round ups of all the BBB Breads every month!

This Bread and all it’s iterations is going to Susan for YeastSpotting!

Next bread for the BBB’s will post on the 16th of next month.

Note on the pocketbook:  belonged to my mother.