MyKitchenInHalfCups

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

BBB logo October 2014


16 Comments

BBB Caramelized Onion and Asiago Cheese Braid

Is it really mid-October already?

Our Kitchen of the Month is … Katie, in France, at Thyme for Cooking.  She found our bread for October here.

This is a perfectly marvelous bread and I thank you Katie.  I think you’ll find all sorts of variations from the Babes on this filling theme of caramelized onions. When I put all my caramelized onions down the middle of this loaf, it just didn’t look right so I used some of my red and yellow roasted bell peppers as well. The asiago cheese is the perfect taste for the roasted peppers, caramelized onions and Dijon mustard (mine made with horseradish).
Thy name is dilemma: Caramelized onions … without a stove top … there is a grill outside with a side burner … there is the electric panni grill … there is the slow cooker … did you know you can actually burn things in a slow cooker?  Trust me you can but the second attempt to do the caramelized onions in the slow cooker worked like a charm.
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Funny you can also roast sweet bell peppers in a slow cooker; I did a batch of those as well.
Karen told us there are cats that will eat caramelized onions.  Who knew?
So now already you’ve learned two new things: cats will eat caramelized onions and you can burn onions in a slow cooker.
Now, there’s only one more thing you need to learn … just how good this loaf can be.  In order to do that you will need to bake this loaf and then you might as well send Katie a link to your blog write up and become a Bread Baking Buddy so she can send you a badge and you can be part of the crowd eating just lovely devine bread.  Click over to Katie’s web site here and she’ll give you the scoop.Caramelized Onion, Herb and Cheese Bread

Caramelized Onion and Asiago Cheese Braid

Recipe By: Katie (ThymeForCooking) adapted by me Originally from Canadian Living

1 teaspoon sugar, omitted
1/2 cup warm water – used skim milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast, recipe called for 1 tablespoon, that always seems like too much to me
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 egg yolks, omitted; just seemed rich enough without
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
145 grams unbleached bread flour
131 grams whole wheat flour
170 grams white whole wheat flour
35 grams flax seed meal
1 teaspoon (.05oz/1.5gr) Herbes de Provence
Filling
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups sliced onions ( about 2 large)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, omitted
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, my bad, I forgot it
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard – mine was made with horseradish
1 1/2 cups shredded asiago cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

 

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling ...

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling …

1. Whisk together all the dry ingredients for the dough. Whisk together the milk, eggs, and oil.
Pour the liquid into the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make soft dough.Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead for several minutes to make a smooth and elastic dough. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.  Mine took an hour and a half.

Reducing the tablespoon of yeast here to 2 teaspoons slowed the rise down slightly which I think allows a little more flavor development.  The rise I got was very good and with the temperature in the house at 66°, I think the 2 teaspoons yeast was more than adequate. If I were making this in a warmer time of the year, I’d cut it slightly more.
I have changed this step. I didn’t proof my yeast as the original recipe called for.
2. Filling: Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat butter with oil over high heat; cook onions, sugar and rosemary, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, for 10 to 15 minutes or until onions are golden and very soft. Let cool to room temperature. It will work that way unless you, like me don’t have a stove top.
I oiled the inside of my slow cooker, filled it with sliced onions topped with a teaspoon of butter and let it cook on slow for 12 hours (20 hours will burn them). I stirred them twice during that time. I removed the lid and let them simmer on low for another 45 minutes.
The roasted bell peppers: I oiled the inside of the slow cooker and placed the seeded peppers cut into 6 sections into the slow cooker on high for about 8 hours. Once cooled, the skins released easily.
3. Punch down dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Roll out into 14- x 12-inch (35 x 30 cm) rectangle.
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Spread mustard lengthwise in 3-inch (8 cm) strip down centre of rectangle, leaving 1-inch (2.5 cm) border uncovered at short ends; top with onion mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup (250 mL) of the cheese.
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4. Using sharp knife and starting at 1 corner of dough, make diagonal cuts 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart almost to filling to form strips along 1 long side of dough. Repeat on other side, cutting diagonal strips in opposite direction. Alternating strips from each side, fold strips over filling to resemble braid, overlapping ends by 1 inch (2.5 cm) and brushing with some of the egg to seal.
Transfer to semolina dusted peel.  Cover and let rise in warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.5. Brush top with egg.
Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden.
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I baked the loaf on a baking stone.
Sprinkle remaining cheese down centre of braid; return to oven for 10 minutes or until melted. Serve warm or let cool completely on rack. (Make-ahead: Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day; rewarm in oven before serving.).
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Notes:What do I think is the ideal filling for this?
I think this might best be filled with a great horseradish, sauerkraut, corned beef and cheese, although I’m sure a strong case could be made for a sausage or bacon with spinach and roasted butternut squash.  You may have other ideas.
... half the mustard roll.

… half the mustard roll.

I had two little corners I trimmed at one end that didn’t fold into the braid right so I rolled that out and just spread mustard on it … That was genius!  So genius that I had eaten most of it before I remembered to photo it.
Next week they start picking the apples here … can you think apple pie filling and cheese … ooowhee.
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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New meaning for the word CLING!


11 Comments

Float Your Boat … ok, Float Your Dough (BBB – Water-Proofed Bread)

This month’s BBB Bread Kitchen of the Month, Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms, is a monthly reminder of why I don’t seem to be able to tire of baking bread.  You think you’ve seen and done it all? HaHaHa, Oh no you have not.  Grandchildren are now another reason I won’t be tiring of baking bread.

Cinnamon rolls are always nice but with brioche dough they pass into heavenly!

Cinnamon rolls are always nice but with brioche dough they pass into heavenly!

Our Kitchen of the Month found this recipe in Beard on Bread; published in 1973.  I believe I bought my copy in 1975.  It was my first and only bread book for several years.  I think I’ve added several bread books to my collection recently … and how classic an understatement is that.

Water-Proofed Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

2 packages active dry yeast, used scant tablespoon not the 2 tablespoons in a package
1/2 cup warm water (100 – 115 degrees F), used 1/2 cup skim milk instead of water; would use potato water if available
1/8 cup brown sugar, cut the 1/4 cup in half
1/2 cup warm skim milk
1 stick butter
2 teaspoons salt, used 1/2 teaspoon and salted butter
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup more kneading, used: 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup spelt, 1 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup white whole wheat.
More flour for the tea towel

1. Rinse a 4-quart mixing bowl with warm water. Dry thoroughly. Put in the yeast, the 1/2 cup warm water(skim milk or potato water), and teaspoon brown sugar, and stir until the yeast dissolves. Allow to proof for 5 minutes.
Heat the milk with the butter and 1/4 cup sugar until lukewarm, then add to the yeast mixture. Add the salt and stir to blend well. Add the eggs, one at a time, and again blend thoroughly.

How to stir it up.

How to stir it up.

Then stir in 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, to make what will probably be a very wet and sticky dough. Stir quite vigorously. Spread out the dough on a working surface – a table, a piece of marble, or a board – sprinkled with the additional 1/2 cup flour.

CONFESSION:  I did not dissolve the yeast. I dry mixed it into the flour and proceeded.
Use a baker’s scraper or large spatula to work in this last portion of flour and make the dough firmer. Scrape under the flour and the dough, lifting and folding inward. Repeat until the flour is well incorporated.
Lots of help with stirring.

Lots of help with stirring.

2. When the dough is easy to handle, begin kneading by hand. Continue until the dough can be shaped. (The process of kneading first with the scraper and then by hand if very effective for delicate dough. In this case the dough will remain rather sticky, but don’t worry about it.)3. Lift the dough, pat with flour, and place on a clean kitchen towel also sprinkled with flour. Wrap it and tie it in the towel, just as you would a package, but very loosely.  I tied the towel with a rubber band.

Yep, it sank.

Yep, it sank.

4. Submerge this packet in a large bowl  filled with warm water (about 100 – 115 degrees F, approximately). It will sink.  Submerge: you don’t really have to do anything it just sinks.

5. Let sit for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until it rises sufficiently to float on top of the water. … and it does float to the top.

Floats to the top.

Floats to the top.

6. Lift the dough from the water and let the excess water drip off. Un-wrap and turn out on a lightly floured surface. A rubber/plastic/soft bench scrapper is very helpful peeling it off the towel.

New meaning for the word CLING!

New meaning for the word CLING!

You will have good results getting the towel clean IF you immediately put it to soak in COLD water.
Again it will be quite sticky, so scrape off any dough that adheres to the towel. Knead and shape into two loaves, using both dough scraper and your hands.

7. Thoroughly butter two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and place one loaf in each pan. Cover, put in a warm, draft-free place, and let the dough rise slightly above the tops of the pans, or until almost doubled in bulk.

2nd rise.

2nd rise.

8. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the dough with cold water, and, if you like, make a slash in each loaf with a sharp knife. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when rapped with the knuckles, top and bottom. When done, place the loaves directly on the oven rack, without their pans, to brown the bottom a little more and crisp the crusts. Cool on racks.

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Notes:

You should have good results getting the towel clean IF you immediately put it to soak in COLD water.  By the time you’ve shaped the dough for the final rise, the towel should be ready to rinse out a couple of time, be dough free and ready for the wash.

This is a beautiful bread; made fabulous French toast and regular toast. Thanks Pat for a great bread and a totally new and unique technique in bread making.

The Slice & Crumb!

The Slice & Crumb!

Want to be a Bread Baking Buddy and bake along with us.  Pop on over to Feeding My Enthusiasms To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make water-proofed bread (dredge yur tea towel!!) in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 March 2014. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up and put Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line.

My Comments on BEARD ON BREAD:  Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This was my very first bread book purchased in 1975 the year after our second son was born and our move to Dallas.  At the time, I had no idea who James Beard was but I do remember my mother saying he had a place in our family tree.

This maybe considered out dated by some but I think more would consider it a classic as I do.  Most of the recipes are simple perhaps but they give you great bread and an excellent feel for good bread.  The recipes are varied and have helpful illustrations.  I’ve never missed that there are no photos in this book.  Recipe directions are clear and concise, giving simple but good descriptions of what the dough should feel like during the kneading and shaping.  I can recommend this book to beginner and experienced alike.

About the only thing I do differently & consistently is reduce the amount of yeast called for in these recipes.  For whatever reason, most all recipes I find written in books from the 1950s through the 1970s call for much more yeast than they need and it can leave a stronger yeast flavor than I’m looking for in bread. Too much yeast also results in an overly fast rise that prevents the flour flavor to develop.

Breads Baked

Buttermilk White Bread – made excellent hamburger buns

Jane Grigson’s Walnut Bread from Southern Burgundy – baked 34 loaves of this GREAT bread for my Greenhill Parent’s Association Board in 1991

Cornmeal Bread – baked with Jason’s 4th grade class for Thanksgiving Feast & Play

Cheese Bread – great sandwich bread

Pizza Caccia Nanza – wonderful

Italian Feather Bread

Norwegian Whole-Wheat Bread – great bread, usually make 1/2 recipe

Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes – potatoes, it’s great

Cracked-Wheat Bread – excellent

Marnetta’s Oatmeal Bread

Oatmeal Bread with Cooked Oatmeal – this is the basis for my oatmeal breads today, almost cake like depending on the sugar used, makes excellent cinnamon rolls & bread

Monkey Bread – amazing

Challah

Irish Whole-Wheat Soda Bread – tradition with us for St Patty’s Day

Helen Evans Brown’s Corn Chili Bread – adapted over the years

Clay’s Cornsticks – oh the crunch and joy

Carl Gohs’ Zucchini Bread

Armenian Thin Bread became Gorn’s Flat Bread

Every recipe from this book I’ve ever tried has been wonderful.

Updated  17 May 2010:  I was unsuccessful with the Salt-Rising Bread recipe.

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8 Comments

BBB Modern Lardy Cake Bread – can cake be bread?

Lien at Notitie Van Lien our lovely Kitchen of the Month has brought Babes and Buddies just a wonderful new but old bread: Modern Lardy Cake … not don’t get up in arms, this is really not cake, it is bread. I will tell you it is a delight as a sweet dessert like bread (or cake if you like) after dinner and it is equally delightful at breakfast! Call it bread or call it cake or call it cake bread but I can tell you it’s so good. The bonus is it is Christmas Holiday perfect.

Thank you Lien in so many ways.

Thank you Lien in so many ways.

Among the Babes, we talked wildly and I think radically about lard, butter, goose fat, duck fat: as possibilities for use in this recipe. If I’d been in a full kitchen and been able to find fresh lard (not hydrogenated like the grocer tried to sell me) and duck fat, I’d be baking this with each. As things worked out all I could come up with for the fat was salted butter from my local dairy. I used all the salt called for in the recipe and the salted butter as Lien and several others thought it needed more. And I’d seek out a special dried cherry mix that Gorn really enjoys. Pick a dried fruit or dried fruit combo that you enjoy and this bread will be spectacular. I might even go really crazy and put in a few walnuts. You know I really enjoy savory but this is just the right sweet. We loved it.

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Check out all the Babes, you’ll find all sorts of variety but I think you’ll find we all enjoyed this bread and you’ll want to get in the kitchen and bake!

Lien found this recipe in “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. I have the book and it is everything you want in a warm baking kitchen.

Lardy Cake: Modern

Recipe By: Lien from “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Yield: 9 inch round springform

Lardy Bread Cake

Dough
375 grams strong white flour – bread flour, I used half white whole wheat/whole grain
20 grams flax seed meal
1 ½  teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
35 grams butter, melted and cooled
200 milliliters milk, warmed

I love this container. It's so easy to tell when a dough has doubled in volume.

I love this container. It’s so easy to tell when a dough has doubled in volume.

Filling
100 grams butter, softened
75 grams soft dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, I used 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
50-75 gram currants or raisins (or a mix), I’ll try closer to 100 grams next time
beaten egg, to glaze

 

1. Put all the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead  (preferably with a dough hook in a heavy duty mixer) until smooth and supple. Bring the dough together in a ball and return to the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  That heavy duty mixer … oops it’s still in it’s box. So I’m here to tell you “Don’t give a worry, you can do this without a mixer.” I did need to add a little more water than recipe called for. Toward the end of kneading I would dip my hands in a little water until I got a supple dough.

2. To make the filling, mix butter, sugar and spices together until creamy.

An easy mix when the butter is room temp.

An easy mix when the butter is room temp.

3. Knock the risen dough back and re-knead it briefly. Roll it out to a rectangle  about 50 x 25 cm (20 x 10 in). Spread the filling evenly over two-thirds of the dough sheet, leaving one outer third empty and about 4 cm (1 ½ inch) on all sides. If using, sprinkle the dried fruit over this and press down to embed. Fold the empty third over the middle third and the remaining third over this. Pinch all the edges well to seal the filling in. Cover with a sheet of clingfilm and leave to rest for about 5 minutes to relax.

4. Give the parcel a quarter turn and roll it into a rectangle about 30 x 15 cm (12 x 6 in). Fold into thirds again and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Repet this procedure three more times, turning the dough by a quarter turn and rolling and folding. If you find you are losing too much filling, omit the final turn.

5. This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. You might want to read that again: This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. Don’t get too caught up in leaks, just go with it.

Patch them up as good as you can and continue to work. All the oozing bits will caramelize nicely as the cake bakes. Oh my did we ever get some smart remarks on our bottoms! But you don’t want to lose too much filling as the laminating effect. Grease the tin and put the dough packet in it, then flatten it with your hand to fit it in as well as possible. Cover with clingfilm and leave it to rise until almost doubled.

6. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Who knows where the springform was, into the oven it goes.

Who knows where the springform was, into the oven it goes.

7. Brush the dough with beaten egg, then lightly score a cross-hatched pattern onto the surface. Don’t cut into the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutesj or until brown. Remove from the oven, but leave in the tin for about 5 minutes. Carefully release the clip and turn the cake upside down on a wire rack. Remove the bottom of the tin, which will probably still be attached to it, and leave to cool further. Eat lukewarm or cold, cut into wedges or slices.

Bottoms up and out of the oven.

Bottoms up and out of the oven.

Don’t be shy … I know your busy but really this was very friendly dough and would make a treat for anyone special on your list at any time but probably most especially now.  Tell us what your experiences were with this bread and send Lien (notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)come) your details so she can include you in a round up. Deadline 29th of December.

Does it make good toast? Oh my heavens yes! Good for breakfast, afternoon snack and dinner treat! Now BAKE!

Does it make good toast? Oh my heavens yes! Good for breakfast, afternoon snack and dinner treat! Now BAKE!

 

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7 Comments

Pecan Pie Cake … now please sit down!

Right I am being WILD!!

So sit down and don’t let this unbalance you.

This is not about bread or yeast or the BBB. No this is an honest to goodness … and trust me there is goodness here … an honest to goodness post about CAKE that was once a pie and has some idea of still being sort of pie on your taste buds.  If your favorite pie like mine is pecan pie, then this might just make your heart sing in harmony with mine.

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I saw a post for pecan pie muffins. Since I really think the only pie worth eating … ok along with mince meat pie … is pecan that sounded really fun to me.  So I googled pecan pie cake/muffins and discovered a multitude of recipes for the same.  Most were very similar. I took what I liked that sounded good to me and put together the following.  I was really pleased and my man was pleased as well.

In my present make shift kitchen with no cabinet space, the odd tables used for counters, any thing that I really need/use everyday sits out  with a randomness that defies every cell in my body. I’m not really an excessively organized person and not normally anal either … except in my kitchen. I’ve invested too much money in my tools to not take care of them properly and I’ve learned through the hard knocks that kitchen disasters are much more frequent when you don’t have what you need at hand.  So yes, over time I have brought a fair amount of order to things in my kitchen. Now however order is relative and general chaos prevails. It’s the kind of chaos of clutter that would normally render me senseless and immobilize me. I make do as best I can. It takes a real meditation exercise for me to tackle anything of any account especially a new recipe. Like the new recipe for the BBB’s for December; this recipe is giving me the shakes. There’s no room for my lovely KitchenAid mixer on any of this faux counter surfaces, the mixer sits out on the porch in it’s box awaiting the day when a carpenter has designed and installed the cabinets that float in my dreams for the time being. All that is to say: I’m not about to unpack the KitchenAid for ANYTHING not even Thanksgiving.
Still it was going to be Thanksgiving and I really can not imagine not doing something a little holiday like for the table. I did these with my trusty wooden spoon and my own arm muscles. Don’t feel like you must have a mixer for these; you do not.

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Pecan Pie Cake/Muffins

Yield: 8 regular muffins or 24 mini muffins or4 4-inch springform rounds

150 grams butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar + 1 or 2 tablespoons
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
60 grams all-purpose flour – I used white whole wheat
20 grams flax seed meal
1 cup chopped pecans, upto 1 3/4 cups before chopping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 8 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. To a medium bowl, add the softened butter and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
If your butter is soft, doing it by hand is easy.

3. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined.

4. Mix flour and chopped pecans then mix with wet ingredients until combined.

5. Spoon batter into 8 lined muffin cups about 2/3 full. With no baking powder or baking soda, these do not have much rise.
One whole pecan could be placed in middle and push in part way. Actually I think one on the bottom and one left on the top gives the closest look and feel to pecan pie.

6. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Let cool 5 minutes in muffin pan and serve warm or room temp.

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My first try with these used 1 cup whole pecans measured before chopping. The flavor certainly brought pecan pie to mind. My guess is the more pecans used will get closer to pecan pie but I’m sure there’s a point that too much would alter not just the taste but the texture/dry/moist aspect and it wouldn’t get better then. I will try increasing the amount of pecans to find the best flavor and moistness. More pecans, I will try upping the butter and sugar by a little each time.

With all the molds for muffins and little cakes, this can be an incredibly versatile little bite … and then there’s that scoop of ice cream.

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With no baking powder or baking soda, these do not rise much in the oven.
And because there is no baking powder or baking soda, when I started to bake these, I thought I would try refrigerating half the dough and bake the second half the next day. WOW, worked like a charm!

Now, is it pecan pie? No, there’s none of that custard lovely goo that I truly love. Is it pie? No again, there’s no crust. Do your taste buds get happy? Oh yeah! Do you think pecan pie? A little bit. There is a gorgeously heavy pecan flavor and a little crisp around the edges not really crust but all together it’s just very divine!

Now take a deep breath and stand up, head to the kitchen and bake some Pecan Pie Cake and don’t ponder to hard on the oddity of the cake here. My next post will be back to regular BBB ;-)


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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!
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

Corrine

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.