MyKitchenInHalfCups

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

BBB logo September 2014


12 Comments

BBB – Robert May’s French Bread

Our Kitchen of the Month, Ilva – LuculianDelights – introduced this bread saying “I thought you might find it interesting to use a recipe (adapted by Elizabeth David) that was published 354 years ago.”

No, no Ilva, Elizabeth David was writing in the 50’s, that’s nothing like 354 years … haha, lucky for me I didn’t say anything and thereby show off my very sloppy reading skills. I googled The Accomplisht and then did an iBook search for Robert May … and lo and behold there was the 354 year old recipe!

How much thought have you given to how a recipe is written? What do you expect from a recipe?

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Here’s the recipe: Excerpt From: Robert May. “The accomplisht cook / or, The art & mystery of cookery.” as I found it in iBooks.
“To make French Bread the best way.
Take a gallon of fine flour, and a pint of good new ale barm or yeast, and put it to the flour,
with the whites of six new laid eggs well beaten in a dish, and
mixt with the barm in the middle of the flour, also three spoonfuls of fine salt;
then warm some milk and fair water, and put to it, and make it up pretty stiff, being well wrought and worked up,
cover it in a boul or tray with a warm cloth till your oven be hot;
then make it up either in rouls, or fashion it in little wooden dishes and bake it, being baked in a quick oven, chip it hot.”
Now, I ask you, could you bake bread from that recipe?  Elizabeth David seems to have made it possible for us.IMG_6989This struck me as a most unusual way to come up with a bread recipe and Elizabeth David’s recipe seemed almost too simple and straight forward to produce good bread. My expectations were very low.  I can assure you this is in fact a very simple bread to make. These are the breads I call fast. There’s no fiddling, no folding, no temperature taking, no long rising time. You mix it, let it rise, shape it, let it rise, bake it and you have gorgeous, glorious and fabulous tasting bread in easily under 4 hours. While I love all the fancy bread baking and I’ve never been bothered by a recipe that may take days and days, this is the kind of recipe that reminds and renews the joy of the simple.

What did I change? Who me? Change a recipe? Add things? Would I do that!?
Right, I did or at least this is what I did.  I used 250 water and 100 milk, 30 grams flax seed, and … half King Arthur’s Sir Lancelot for the unbleached white flour and a mix of Sprouted Wheat and white whole wheat for the whole wheat.  This was so fast, so easy … my expectations were VERY low.  This turned out to be exceptional! Wonderfully fragrant and chewy! … and the crowd went wild …

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Since Ilva’s challenge here was to give this a special shape, I went for simple – simple recipe, simple shape – but wanted to try something I hadn’t done before.  When I formed the dough into a round, the shape sort of spoke to me.   I took scissors and snipped it around turning the plate as I snipped. Raw it looked like a Christmas tree but it smoothed and flattened some in the pie palate that I baked it in. Had I not shaped rolls with a third of the dough, I believe it would not have spread out and flattened as much.

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I loved the rolls. I thought to make little sandwiches but just toasted and buttered was as far as I got.

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Bake it! you won’t regret it, I promise.

BBB Robert May’s French Bread from 1660

Recipe From as Kitchen of the Month Ilva: from Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery

500 grams half-and-half mixture of unbleached white and wheatmeal, 1 lb 2 oz
15 grams  yeast (fresh), 0,5 oz
2 egg whites
280-340 grams water and milk,preferably 3/4 water and 1/4 milk, 0,5 pint to 12 oz
15 grams salt, 0,5 oz

1. – Warm flour and salt in a very tepid oven. (you can skip this but I did it) … yes, I skipped this.

2. – Pour in the yeast creamed in a little of the warmed milk and water mixture. Add the egg whites, beaten in a small bowl until they are just beginning to froth. Pour in the remaining milk (but not all at once like I did, I had to add more flour to get the right consistency). Mix as for ordinary bread dough.  Oh, good grief, I did dump all of it in at once.

3. – Leave to rise until spongy and light. This will take 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the temperature of the ingredients when the dough as mixed.  My took an hour.

4. – Break down the dough, divide it into two round loaves-or long rolls if you prefer. (I made one oval loaf). Cover with plastic or a light cloth and leave to recover volume. About 30 minutes should be enough.

5. – Decorate crust with cuts or not. Bake in a pre-heated oven (230°C/450°F) for the first 15 minutes. Then to prevent the crust to get too hard, cover the loaves with bowls or an oval casserole. In another 15 minutes the l0aves should be ready. (I did not cover my loaf because I had nothing of that size of shape that I could use so I lowered the temperature to 175°C/350°F and left it in for another 15-20 minutes.

 

As an aside, not bread related, I ask: Just how wild do you think the American west is today? Let’s say in Montana.

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We took these photos as we drove through Montana from Seattle back to our cabin in the woods.

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Maybe not so wild.  Sign said do not approach the animals.

 

Want to become a Bread Baking Babe? and get glorious bread in the process, here’s how Ilva tells it: You have to take look at what the other Bread Baking Babes have made and if you want to bake this bread and become a Bread Baking Buddie,  please bake and send me the link to your blog post about it before midnight Saturday 28th of September to luculliandelights AT gmail DOT com, please write Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line so that I don’t miss it!

Now you’re ready for bread!

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12 Comments

BBB Polenta Bread: August 2014

BBB Polenta Bread: August 2014

Recipe from our Kitchen of the Month, Elizabeth (Blog from OUR Kitchen) used Della Fattoria’s Polenta Bread on p.118-119 in “Artisan Baking Across America: the Breads, the Bakers, the Best Recipes” by Maggie Glezer as her inspiration for this bread.
Yield: 2 loavesIMG_6772

There is just no way you’re not going to want to bake this one … especially if you let  it rise in a brotform and cut circles in the top for the slash like it’s really suppose to be and like Elizabeth, Kitchen of the Month, and all the other Babes will show you how it should be done.  They’ll probably follow the recipe a little closer than I did as well. Since I had several open bags of flour I’m trying to use before we take off from here, I didn’t use all purpose, I used Sir Lancelot flour, 9-grain blend, white whole wheat and sprouted whole wheat all from King Arthur Flour.  I had no vital wheat gluten so that wasn’t used.  I think using bread flour or any flour with higher gluten content would eliminate or at least reduce the need to add gluten to the dough. At least that was my reasoning and the bread rose very nicely.

All my taste testers were very happy with this one; asking for “the loaf you have to cut”.  With beautiful summer tomatoes this bread was really glorious for sandwiches!

In the directions below, my comments/changes/actions are noted in blue.

 

BBB Polenta Bread

The afternoon before:
tiny Biga
9 grams water at 95F
2 pinches active dry yeast
11 grams Sir Lancelot flour from KAF

The evening before:
Starter
60 grams water at 95F
2 pinches active dry yeast
20 grams fermented sourdough all of the Biga
100 grams Sir Lancelot flour from KAF
The morning of:
Polenta
35 grams cornmeal aka polenta, coarsely ground
175 grams cold water
The morning of:
Dough
390 grams water at 80F
4 pinches active dry yeast
265 grams 9 grain blend from KAF + sprouted whole wheat
16 grams 5g(1.5tsp) flax seeds, finely ground
335 grams 135 grams Sir Lancelot flour from KAF + 200 grams white whole wheat
all of the starter
1 tablespoon salt
all of the cooled polenta
cornmeal, for garnish
1. Tiny Biga: In the early afternoon of the day before you are baking the bread, whisk the yeast with warm (~96F) water in a smallish bowl until it has dissolved. Or do what I do, whisk the yeast into the flour that will be used.  Using a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix in the small amount of flour until it is smooth (I kneaded it in my fingers for a few minutes). Cover the bowl with a plate or shower cap and leave on the counter, out of drafts, to ferment.
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2. Starter: In the evening of the day before you are baking the bread, whisk the starter yeast with the starter flour, add the water and add the tiny biga that should be bubbling nicely. Using a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix in the starter amount of flour until you have a smooth lump of dough.  I kneaded it in my fingers for a few minutes.
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3. Polenta: In the morning of the day you are baking the bread, pour cold water into a small pot on the stove at medium high heat. Add the polenta and using a wooden spoon, cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick – about 5 minutes.  It only took 4 minutes total to cook in the microwave. Spread on a shallow plate and allow to cool. As you can see, I left my polenta to cool in the bowl, stirring it from time to time while I had my breakfast … of polenta & peppers.
4. Mixing the dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dough yeast with warm water. I’m sorry but I pretty much always whisk the yeast into the flour I’ll be using and that’s what I did here as well. Mix until flour & liquid have dissolved.
Add the starter (that should have doubled and be quite bubbly). Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flours, ground flax and salt. “It might be pretty sloppy. Or not. It might just be shaggy.” I had to add more water to get a slightly shaggy moist dough … probably a half cup.  
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Kneading: Lay the cooled polenta on top of the dough. Plunge in with your hands to turn and fold the dough in the bowl, kneading until it’s smooth (5 to 10 minutes). When the dough is smooth, decide to continue your radical behaviour learned from wayward BBBabes and skip the washing and drying the mixing bowl step. Simply cover the bowl with a plate to rest. In my case, I cover a dough bowl with a shower cap because I don’t travel with my rising bucket with lid.
After about 20 minutes, turn and fold the dough a few times. Notice that it is significantly smoother. It was significantly smoother.
Cover the bowl with a plate or shower cap and set it aside – I put it in a cool spot in the basement as it was time for running errands, the fridge seemed too cool as this was looking like a slow riser -  to rise until it has doubled. Don’t worry if it is quite sloppy. If it rises earlier than you expect, simply deflate the dough and allow it to rise again. This will just strengthen the dough.  With that direction in mind, I folded the dough just as I was headed out the door.
5. Shaping: When you are ready to shape the bread, turn it out onto a lightly floured board and divide it into 2 pieces. Trying not to disturb the bubbles too much, shape into two rounds.  Liberally spray the tops of the shaped loaves with water. Cover them with cornmeal. (Glezer suggests rolling the sprayed shaped loaves in the cornmeal placed on a plate.) Put each loaf seam-side up in a brotform, tightly woven basket or colander - my traveling kitchen does not allow for a brotform therefore that lovely swirl you’ll be seeing on the other Babe’s breads is not to be found here.  I simply shaped mine into loaves and again used the shower cap to cover each loaf pan.  Cover each one with a mixing bowl and allow them to rise on the counter (or in the oven with only the light turned on) until almost double.
6. Preheat: Put a baking stone on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 375°F.  Slashing: Turn each loaf out of its container onto a square of parchment paper. Using a very sharp knife (or a razor of lamé if you have one), starting at the center of the loaf and holding the blade almost horizontally, carve a spiral into each loaf. Try not to freak out if the spirals look like vicious circles.
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Baking: Liberally spray the tops of the loaves with water. Using a peel, slide them onto the hot stone and bake for about 40 minutes, turning them around once half way through baking, to account for uneven oven heat. The crust should be quite dark and the internal temperature should be somewhere between 200F and 210F.
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Allow the baked bread to cool completely before cutting into it. It’s still baking inside! (Even if you’ve ignored the instructions about using hot water from the tap, please do not ignore this step.)
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 Please bake along with us and be a Buddy! For details see Elizabeth’s post – oh wow did she ever get those swirls on her bread.
The all important crumb shot.

The all important crumb shot.

 

BBB logo August 2014

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10 Comments

BBB – Panmarino – Italian Rosemary Bread

{ I’d like to think you could just keep what I’m going to tell you to yourself. Can you do that? … Should I really be honest here? I know Babes are independents but really I think I may have gone too far this time. Pat (Feeding My Enthusiasms) said it so perfectly(now I can’t find it) but something about it’s not worth it if you don’t make it your own. Mother always said honesty is the best policy so I think I really must come clean on this one. }
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Cathy (Bread Experience), our Kitchen of the Month, brought us a glorious Italian recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking. Beautifully, she gave us directions and an image for slashing and creating diamonds on the top of the loaf. I hang my head in ultimate shame while I confess to you and Cathy: Oh how I not only added flax to the dough but good golly I substituted 374 grams King Arthur’s Sprouted Whole Wheat flour for the bread flour called for in the recipe. Yes, there’s more … I used potato water for the water … and even a tablespoon … ok maybe two tablespoons of the mashed potato. I would say I’m sorry for playing so loose with the recipe Cathy … BUT since it really is just gorgeous eating bread I can only say Thank You.
Make sure Rosemary is chopped very fine ...

Make sure Rosemary is chopped very fine …

Panmarino – Italian Rosemary Bread

From – The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking from The French Culinary Institute Yield: 4 loaves

Time: 20 hours

Biga:

143 grams Bread flour 143 grams/5 ounces 122 grams

Water 122 grams/4 1/4 ounces

Pinch of instant yeast

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Final Dough:
884 grams Bread flour 884 grams/1 pound 15 ounces, Of that 884 grams of bread flour, I used 374 grams of King Arthur’s Sprouted Whole Wheat flour
25 grams flax seed meal, optional
477 grams Water 477 grams/1 pound 1 ounce, I used potato water
30 grams mashed potatoes (my addition so very optional)
44 grams Milk 44 grams/1 1/2 ounces, I used skim 265 grams
Biga 265 grams/9 1/3 ounces
23 grams Salt 23 grams/3/4 ounce
Pinch of instant yeast
88 grams Olive oil 88 grams/3 ounces
9 grams Chopped fresh rosemary 9 grams/1/3 ounce
Total weight: 1800 grams

1. Preparing the Biga: Combine the bread flour, water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended.  Scape down the edge of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at 75 degrees F. for 14 to 16 hours.

***Because of the way my day was scheduled and that I had no other option for another day baking, I mixed the bigs early one morning and couldn’t bake till mid-morning the next. I refrigerated the biga over-night.

2. Making the Final Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour, water, mashed potato (***optional), milk, and biga. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until blended. 

*** Who knows why other than I do like to try bread kneading by hand; I think it’s relaxing and in this case it was so much a work out it justified probably 10 slices of the bread. So where you see instructions for the stand mixer, know that I did it by hand. I also thought this dough needed more water and so I added for a long time by dipping my hands in water and kneading it into the dough.

3. Add the salt and yeast and mix on low-speed for 5 minutes.  Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 7 more minutes, or until the dough is smooth.  When the gluten is fully developed, mix in the olive oil and rosemary on low-speed. 
***I’m here to tell you kneading all that oil in by hand was a challenge!
4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for 45 minutes.
***Now this next part of my playing around was not by design but rather I was just worn out and in a sweat from the kneading … so I took a break and let the dough “rest” with me. Me in front of the fan for a while, the dough in the refrigerator.
5. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide it into four 450-gram /16-ounce pieces. Shape the dough pieces into rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and let them bench rest for 15 minutes. Place two couches on a separate work surface or bread board and dust them with flour.
***Remember I’m traveling and couches are not in my bread traveling kit. I covered my loaves with bowls. Uncover the dough and, if necessary, lightly flour the work surface. Gently press on the dough to degas and carefully shape each piece into a tight and neat round.  Place one loaf on one side of the couche, fold the couche up to make a double layer of cloth to serve as a divider between the loaves, and place a second loaf next to the fold.  Repeat the process with the remaining two loaves and the second couche.  Cover with plastic wrap and proof for 1 hour.
6. About an hour before you plan to bake the loaves, place a baking stone (or tiles) into the oven along with a steam pan (underneath) or iron skillet (on the top rack) and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Uncover the dough and score the top of each loaf in a star pattern using a lame or sharp knife. This particular formula doesn’t say to do this, but you can sprinkle sea salt into the crevices as the original baker did to make it “sparkle with diamonds.”
***I somehow got it in my head that two slashes made a star … three slashes is actually much more of a star and I think creates more of a pop (or point) to the bread shape when baked. Here is an image of the star pattern (from http://sourdough.com/recipes/panmarino-italian-rosemary-bread) just so you know what it looks like.
7. Carefully transfer the loaves to the preheated baking stone using a peel or the back of a baking sheet. To make the steam, add 1 cup of ice to the iron skillet or steam pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and crisp and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
***Mine registered 200°F when they came out of the oven and I think they were done. I did allow 3 hours for cooling.
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Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
There were some Babes who thought the recipe had too much salt. I was very happy with this and I really enjoyed the salt diamond topping.  Check out what all the Babes have to say about this bread, they’re all there on the side bar. 
Bake along with us and be a bread baking buddy.  You know you want to. 

Here’s how:

Just make the Panmarino, then email Cathy your link (or email your photo and a bit about your experience if you don’t have a blog). My email address is breadexperience (at) gmail (dot) com.  Submissions are due by July 29th.  Once you’ve posted, you’ll receive a Buddy badge for baking along, then watch for a roundup of all of the BBBuddies posts a few days after the close of submissions.

I hope you’ll join us this month!

IMG_6587I do hope you’ll bake along with us!  I know you want to bake this bread.
BBB logo July 2014


6 Comments

BBB Aloo Partha

Let me tell you, satellite internet is not wonderful. Well, at least the one we have here in the north woods isn’t.  When the wind blows, it rains, it snows, and sometimes it’s just  beautiful outside … our satellite doesn’t really care … it just randomly takes a rest. That’s what is’s done for the last three days and that’s my excuse for being so late. The only thing I miss about the big city is the high speed internet.

Karen is our Kitchen of the Month. Thank You Karen for the BBB’s very first bread recipe without yeast!  Aloo Paratha has long been on my list for baking and we loved these. Shamelessly easy to make.  Filling them is only limited by your imagination. Serve as a little bite with wine. Serve as a light lunch.  Serve with the evening soup. Be traditional, serve with a warming curry.

BBB Aloo Paratha

Recipe By: Karen of BakeMyDay from how to cook everything by Mark Bittman”

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup sprouted wheat flour
salt
1 teaspoon ajwain* dried thyme, or ground cumin
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, like grapeseed or corn, plus more for brushing the breads
1.1/2 lb. starchy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1 jalapeño or other fresh hot chile, seeded and minced or more to taste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
freshly ground pepper
juice of 1/2 small lemon
1 clove garlic pressed
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
melted butter
*ajwain comes from carom seeds which look like celery but taste like very strong, slightly coarse thyme

They look like the real Aloo Paratha! done in a skillet.

They look like the real Aloo Paratha! done in a skillet.

1. Combine the flours with 1 teaspoon salt and the thyme in a food processor.  OK, let’s stop right there. I have a food processor, yes I do. I even gave in and went to the friend’s hanger where he’s kindly allowing us to store a lot of boxes while we try to put in a kitchen and get a storage shed built. Gorn even located said food processor and I unpacked it … or most of it. It seems the critical piece that makes the electrical contact was left out … hopefully packed in another box that will one day be unpacked … but that was not yesterday nor today. I’m reasoning that even today there are a huge number of cooks in India making paratha and even today a huge number are making paratha without the aid of a food processor … SOOOOOOOO like a good Daring Baker (thank you Lisa) and good Bread Baking Babe that I am I forged ahead mixing the dough by hand and even though it took slightly longer than 30-45 seconds (5 minutes actually) I did end up with a dough slightly sticky to the touch and continued on.

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Turn the machine on and add the oil and 3/4 cup water through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough and, using flour as necessary, shape into a ball; wrap in plastic and let rest while you make the potato mixture. (At this point, you may wrap the dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to a day or freeze for up to a week; bring back to room temperature before proceeding.)
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2. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover and a large pinch of salt.  Sorry, we have to stop right here again … I don’t have a stove top upstairs in our “kitchen” yet and I just wasn’t willing to run outside in the rain to use the stove downstairs … so I baked the potato, I suppose I could have steamed them in the microwave but I baked them. Oh, and all that green … I added a nice handful of spinach.  Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily; cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, then drain. Mash the potatoes along with half (all) the chile, the coriander, a large pinch of salt, some pepper, and the lemon juice; taste and adjust the seasoning (you may prefer more chile; sometimes aloo paratha are quite hot).

Divide

Divide

3. When the dough has rested, set out a bowl of all-purpose flour and a small bowl of oil, with a spoon or brush, on your work surface. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin. Break off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Toss it in the bowl of flour and then roll it in your hands to make a ball. Flatten it into a 2-inch disk, then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a thin round, about 5 inches in diameter, dusting with flour as necessary.
Pull up the sides to make a purse and then flatten, roll thin.

Pull up the sides to make a purse and then flatten, roll thin.

4. Mound about 2 tablespoons (that was too much for the size I made, adjust accordingly)  of the filling into the center of one of the rounds of dough. Bring the edges of the round up over the top of the filling and press them together to make a pouch. Press down on the “neck” of the pouch with the palm of one hand to make a slightly rounded disk. Turn the disk in the bowl of flour and roll it out again into a round 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Pat it between your hands to brush off the excess flour. Put the paratha on a plate and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Continue to roll all of the remaining dough into parathas and stack them on the plate with a sheet of plastic wrap between them. You can keep the paratha stacked like this for an hour or two in the refrigerator before cooking them if necessary.
Keep them stacked for two hours … perfect! The rain had stopped and I used the stove top downstairs to cook two of them.
5. Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for a minute or two, then put on a paratha (or two, if they’ll fit) and cook until it darkens slightly, usually less than a minute. Flip the paratha with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds on the second side. Use the back of a spoon or a brush to coat the top of the paratha with oil. Flip and coat the other side with oil. Continue cooking the paratha until the bottom of the bread has browned, flip, and repeat.
Panni Aloo Paratha India + Italy

Panni Aloo Paratha
India + Italy

I did do two in this traditional stove top manner but … on two occasions I used the panni grill. While that doesn’t give the traditional look to the paratha, it produces a nice paratha.
Do this a few times until both sides of the paratha are golden brown and very crisp, 2 to 3 minutes total for each paratha. As the paratha finish, remove them from the pan and brush with melted butter if you’re going to serve hot; otherwise wait until you’ve reheated them.6.  variations: cauliflower, sweet potato …
Yep, we enjoyed these immensely with our wine in the evening. These are shamelessly easy to make. The dough can be held over in the fridge a day or two so it’s a delight when there is just the two of us to make these for several days in a row. They make wonderful little bites for a light lunch or a little bite with a glass of wine in the evening.
Now the only question remaining here is: Are you going to join in and become a Bread Baking Buddy?If you’d like to join in, simply bake this Aloo Paratha (yes, you may adapt) – and then send Karen a link to your post via email (bake my day at gmail dot com).  Submissions are due by November 29th.  Once you’ve posted, Karen will send you a fabulous Buddy Badge designed by our own Babe Lien for baking along and you’ll appear in the Buddy post.  I hope you’ll join us this month!
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20 Comments

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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20 Comments

Russian Braid/Rose

My memory of a time when I thought bread was an impossibility for my skill is pretty foggy.  I know there was that time.   But, I have been baking bread for a long time now.  I do sort of remember that yeast was a very delicate finicky thing to be very careful with.  For whatever reason, I no longer proof yeast.  When the recipe says dissolve the yeast in water and proof for 5 minutes … I whisk the yeast into the flour and use the total amount of liquid into the flour(s).  If a recipe uses oil and doesn’t make a big deal out of adding it separately at a special place in the recipe, it goes into the liquid.  If, as I did with my second loaf of this bread, I put my dough into the rising bucket and suddenly remember … ooops, I left out the oil, I simply take the dough out of the container, flatten it out a bit, pour on a tablespoon, knead it, adding a tablespoon at a time until I think I’ve added the correct amount and put it back into the tub to rise again.  I can’t really date when this lack-a-dayical attitude took hold of me.

The raw materials: flours, yeast, flax seed, salt

The raw materials: flours, yeast, flax seed, salt

I won’t claim that my bread is the very best on this globe.  I will claim that it is wonderful bread enjoyed by all I’ve served it to.  What that translates to for me is this:  If you want to obsess about yeast failure, loaf failure, or some other aspect of this bread baking thing, you’re welcome to it.  I’ll even admit a certain amount of obsessing is in order when you are first baking BUT if you bake, you will get to the point that you develop a healthy ability to adapt to your moments of lapses and your enjoyment level will soar like the eagle ;-)

Roasted garlic: 1st loaf, mild sweet flavor

Roasted garlic: 1st loaf, mild sweet flavor

Do not think just because this looks fabulous, all the Babes and Buddies baking this one are beyond your abilities and this is way out of your reach.  This is truly a fabulous loaf and YOU really can do it.  Think one step at a time.  When I baked my first loaf with this recipe, I went downstairs into the kitchen after 7AM and took the loaf out of the oven at 10:30AM.  Bread in under four hours … using yeast … and it looks incredibly difficult … it’s not.

Beginning of 1st rise

Beginning of 1st rise

End of 1st rise

End of 1st rise

Russian Braid/Rose

This bread described as:
beautiful braided bread, tender, a rich straight dough
requires moderate braiding skills, time and attention.

Recipe Adapted from The Fresh Loaf
Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

Rosemary

Rosemary

- Dough
- 300 grams bread flour
- 200 grams white whole wheat flour
- 100 grams sprouted wheat flour
- total flour should equal 600 grams – try different combinations
- 2-3 tablespoons ground flax seeds or wheat germ or a combo (optional)
- 2.25 teaspoons dry yeast (Fresh Yeast 28g (1oz) used 1 heaping tablespoon
- 10 grams Sugar 10g (0.35oz)
- 10 grams Salt 10g (0.35oz)
- 50 grams Canola Oil 50cc (1.7 fl oz) I used 56 grams butter in 1st loaf; 50 grams olive oil in 2nd loaf
- 1 tablespoon White Vinegar, I used white Balsamic Vinegar in my 2nd loaf
- 450 – 500 grams Water 300cc (10 fl oz) (alternate use potato water
- Original recipe called for
- AP Flour 600g (21oz) total
- seasoning was pesto, dusted with sumac
- Filling – the options are only limited by your imagination and what’s in your kitchen!
- butter, softened
- garlic, pressed
- parmesan, finely grated

- salt, to taste
- rosemary or basil


Directions:

1.  Set oven to 210c (410F) Prep: Baking Pan – 26cm (8″) springform (no bottom), take a piece of parchment paper and crimp tightly around the bottom of the springform, oil the sides. Place on top of a baking sheet. Set aside.  I baked my first loaf in a 10 inch springform pan and it was too large.  The second loaf I baked in a glass pie dish with parchment paper.

2.  Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, add the water carefully as you start mixing.  I mix this with a wooden spoon.  My first loaf I used just a little more than 300 ml potato water and it seemed stiff but manageable.  The second loaf I used 450 ml of water and it seemed about the same.  Flours were the same in both loaves, I did however add the 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the second loaf.  I can not understand how the first loaf could have worked at all, it didn’t rise as much as the second loaf but it was excellent.  Dough should be supple and not sticky to the touch. Add water or flour if dough is too stiff or too loose (respectively). When dough is ready, spray a bowl with oil and gently put the dough in the bowl. Spray a little more oil on top and cover. Let rise (80%) about 40 minutes to an hour.

3.  Lightly flour your work area. Flatten the dough gently with your hands. Roll the dough as thin as you can using a floured rolling pin. When rolling out the dough, try not to lift and move it too much. You can try and gently pull the dough to stretch it thin like with Strudel.  I rolled this as thin as I could but it was nothing like the paper thin when I did Strudel.

 Now you can read about shaping this below and totally mess your mind thinking you can’t possibly do this bread OR you can watch Ciril Hitz’s YouTube video and drop your jaw at how easy this is to do.

4. Apply a thin layer of your filling on top of the dough (leave the edge clear 1/4″).

5. Slowly, tightly and very gently roll the dough into a roulade (pinwheel ). You will now have a very long roulade.

6.  Take a sharp chef’s knife (not a serrated knife) and cut (not saw) the roulade lengthwise trying to keep the knife in the middle so you end up with two equal parts (you can cut down from the seam but it is not make or break).

7.  Place the two halves crossing each other (open roulade layers facing up) to create and X shape. Gently pick up the two ends of the bottom half, cross them over the top half, and place them back down. Continue this process, taking the two bottom ends and crossing them over the top until all the roulade has been used.

8.  You now have a two strand rope shape. If for some reason some of the open roulade layers are pointing down or sideways, carefully turn them so they are facing up. Gently pinch the ends to seal. Look at the braid. If one end looks a little thinner make that your starting point. If not, just start from either end. Slowly and very gently, roll the braid sideways (horizontally) without lifting your hands from the table. You should keep those open roulade layers facing up. Pinch the end delicately. The end result should look like a giant snail shell or a giant cinnamon bun. Depending on your filling you may want to sprinkle on something (paprika, sumac, brown sugar & cinnamon). Keep in mind you don’t want to cover up the effect of the shaping.

9.  Carefully pick up the braid and place in the prepared springform. Keep it flat on the parchment. The bottom of the braid should set nicely.

10. Cover. Let rise until the braid hits three quarters the way up the springform. Depending upon the temp in your kitchen this may take from 20 to 40 minutes.

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11. Bake at 210c (410F) for 5-10 mins., lower oven to 180c (355F) and bake for another 20-30 mins. There should be a decent amount of oven spring. The bread should rise above the springform edge.  If your loaf is getting too dark on top before it’s done, cover it with foil until it’s done.  When the bread is out of the oven lightly brush olive oil or butter on top and sides. Let cool on a rack.  In my opinion, the vinegar gives this a wonderful boost in rising.  Thanks to our Buddy Carola for the link. re the vinegar and it’s effects.

12. You are welcome to bake this with all white flour or any combination of you like. I tried to incorporate more whole grains, the original recipe uses all purpose flour;  I will probably try this with some rye flour, onion and garlic. I’m sure that there is a spinach, bacon/chicken sausage, parmesan filling in the future for this recipe; perhaps with a shaping modification.  Someday I will do a sweet cinnamon iteration.  The fillings are limited only by your imagination and what’s on hand.

For me this romance is about SHAPE.

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I was Kitchen of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes and Buddies.  If you’d like to bake this bread with us and be a buddy, you will be rewarded with a fabulous bread and a badge if you bake the bread, post it, send me a photo with a note giving your take on baking the bread and send me an e-mail at commentsmykitchen At mac Dot com.  I’ll have a round up with all that here on the 29th so you must get that info to me by the 26th.

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YeastSpotting
Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

 

Many thanks to Zorra for allowing the Babes and Buddies to participate in World Bread Day as a group.  And always we thank her for the long running Bread Baking Series she sponsors every month.

Now if you know what’s good for you

Get Baking Russian Braid/Rose

and I know you’ll thank me.