MyKitchenInHalfCups

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


10 Comments

BBB ~ Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread

Judy from Gross Eats is our Kitchen of the Month for October.  This was a most interesting bake!

I was excited to try this one because 1.) I have baked many of Beth Hensperger’s recipes from this book and her other books and always enjoyed them, 2.) the seasonal timing appealed and 3.) because of the ingredient combo.
I was delighted to try something pumpkin right now and I really liked the rye and cornmeal combo.
Of course I added that little bit of flax. I also had a large bag of pepitas on the counter and they seemed super appropriate. Of course pumpkin just pretty much begged for cinnamon in my book. I used a combo of flours replacing the original bread or all purpose flour.

The dough was silky and lovely to knead.
If I weren’t already in the process of perfecting another recipe (for a rye) bread, I would take this one on because it has so much promise but ultimately both Gorn & I were slightly disappointed with this bake.  We enjoyed the texture and the crust on this loaf but even using terrific flavor ingredients (strong molasses, great flour, cinnamon, pumpkin) we both of us failed to get much flavor from a slice.  We both agreed a slice has a lovely pumpkin aroma.  We just didn’t get it on the tongue.
I would recommend using more pumpkin (reduce or even entirely replace the water) and going with more cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice.

I did half the recipe and baked in a smaller pullman pan without the lid.

Recipe From  Judy(Gross Eats)  adapted from Bread for All Seasons by Beth Hensperger

IMG_3134

Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread

HALF RECIPE what I baked
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
123 grams warm water (105˚ to 115˚)
124 grams warm buttermilk (105˚ to 115˚)
40 grams melted butter or oil
50 grams light molasses
1/4 cup pumpkin purée (either canned or homemade)
1 teaspoon salt
100 grams fine- or medium-grind yellow cornmeal
130 grams medium rye flour
124 grams Hovis flour, because I had it
130 grams sprouted wheat flour
140 grams white whole wheat flour
20 grams flax meal

1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, ground flax, salt, cornmeal, and rye flour.   Whisk to mix well.

Add warm water, buttermilk, melted butter/oil, molasses, and pumpkin purée. Beat until smooth (1 to 2 minutes) using either a whisk or the paddle attachment on a mixer.

Add the unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour, ½ cup at a time, until it becomes a soft dough. Knead until smooth and slightly tacky, either by hand or with a dough hook.

2. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the top; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until double, about 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on how warm it is.

3. Turn onto work surface and divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal round portions. Place on parchment-lined baking pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 45 minutes.

4. To make dinner rolls, divide the dough into 24 equal portions and shape as desired.

Place on parchment-lined baking pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 20 minutes, or place in refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.

Twenty minutes before baking, heat the oven to 375˚, using a baking stone, if you wish. While the oven is heating, brush the tops with melted butter.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown: 40-45 minutes for loaves or 15 to 18 minutes for rolls. Remove from oven, let cool on rack until completely cool.

IMG_3140

Since this was all whole grain, I baked this at 370° F (convection) for 50 minutes at which point it registered 199°F internal temperature.  It was baked through and not raw as can easily happen with all whole grains when I don’t check temperature of the bread.

Here’s hoping you’re all in the mood for some fall baking, and you give this delicious bread a try.  If you do decide to be a Buddy, please send your baking story and photos to Judy at jahunt22 dot gmail dot com by October 29th, and they will be included in the Buddy Roundup.

PS: Well now we’ve enjoyed this as our afternoon treat with apple butter!  Somehow that brings out the pumpkin in the bread for me.

 

Advertisements


9 Comments

Tootmaniks Gotovo Testo ~ BBB ~ Bake Me!

 


11 Comments

Shubbak el-Habayeb ~ BBB

BBB ~ Shubbak el-Habayeb ~ Lover’s Window
IMG_2108

One of my tasters described Shubbak el-Habayeb in this way “Kept drawing me back.  Familiar but not.  Unidentifiable but I should know it.”  I found this to be a VERY compelling aroma and flavor.  If judgement didn’t intervene, you’d eat all 12 rolls at one sitting.

Yes, I have plenty of cookbooks and Yes, I have a multitude of bread books.  No, I do not NEED any more cookbooks or bread books.  YES, The Book of Buns by Jane Mason (Virtuous Bread) arrived in the mail today because it seems I do KNEAD another bread book! 
Who do I have to thank (blame) for this latest itch for another bread book?  BBB and Kitchen of the Month Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories.
When translated the name Shubak el-Habayeb means The Lover’s Window.  With a name like The Lover’s Window, you’d think there would be a story.  If there is I couldn’t find it. Now, as I think about how my taster described this and how I just wanted to keep eating this, that pretty much describes how you feel about a lover.  There’s your story.

Perhaps visually these might resemble some older factory windows I’ve seen but mostly they make me think of some oddly misshapen face with extra eyes. However, they seem to be sweet, kind eyes. I feel strange I’m having strange visions but these rolls are mysteriously exotic in all the right ways and pair well with elegant cheese and common peanut butter and jelly.
My crumb you can see on this is very tight.  I think that might be due to my using a majority of whole wheat flour and no sugar.  I’ll probably try adding a tablespoon of some sweetener next time (agave, honey or brown sugar) but I doubt I’ll reduce the whole wheat in fact I’m more likely to use all white whole wheat.
IMG_2116
Shubbak el-Habayeb ~ Lover’s Window
DOUGH
600 grams white whole wheat flour, 4 3/4 cups
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
30 grams ground flax seed
100 g/1/2 cup sugar, omitted
1 cup buttermilk, scalded
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
1/2 teaspoon rose water, omitted
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground mahlab
1 tablespoon salt, cut this a little short
50 grams butter, 3 tablespoons melted and cooled
about 1/2 cup water, added to the dough by wetting you hands as you knead the dough.
For the Glaze
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
Sesame seeds

IMG_2114
1. Pour the flour (I used 3 cups white whole wheat and 1 cup bread flour; held back 3/4 cup white whole wheat) into a bowl and whisk in the yeast.   Create a well in the middle and add the milk. Cover the full buttermilk with some of the flour from the sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, and let rest for one hour. I used buttermilk because it was there, I didn’t scald it. I omitted the sugar on purpose: experience has taught me that adding cardamom to anything brings a sweetness that satisfies my taste. Next time I might, maybe add 1 tablespoon for the yeast but I was pretty happy with the rise on these.

2. Add the eggs, flower waters, cardamom, mahlab, and salt to the mixture in the bowl and mix with your hands to form a rough dough. Turn it out onto an unfloured counter, and knead for 10 minutes.

3. Add the butter, and knead for 10 more minutes. While kneading, if the dough is too stiff, dip your hands in the water, and continue to knead. Continue to dip your hands in the water until you have a supple dough. You can also do this with a dough hook, adding the water, one tablespoon at a time.
Since I held back the 3/4 cup white whole wheat, I didn’t really need to add extra water
IMG_1565

4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm spot, covered, for about two hours, until doubled.
I left mine two and a half hours to rise.

5. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form them into balls. Cover with a towel or oiled plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

6. Roll each ball with a rolling pin into a square that is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough with a sharp knife to make short vertical cuts in each quadrant of the dough. Open the slits with your hands to make sure they are cut through.

7. Place the squares on baking sheets (you will need two sheet pans, prepared with parchment or Silpat), six squares per pan.

8. Cover each sheet pan with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise for one hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) with a rack in the middle of the oven.

9. Whisk together the glaze ingredients and brush the glaze over the rolls on one of the sheet pans. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake the first pan of rolls for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the second pan of rolls.

http://www.virtuousbread.com
IMG_2126

The shape of these reminds me a little of Dhakai Bakharkhani/ Baqeerkhani (Crisp Flatbreads from Dhaka, Bangladesh) that we baked when Aparna was kitchen of the month but there the similarity ends.

If you make this recipe by the end of this month and send Karen a photo or a link to your blog post (if you don’t have a blog, just send a photo), you will be featured in a round up on her blog. She’ll even send you a fancy Buddy Badge! Send your contribution to her at karen.h.kerr@gmail.com, with the subject line, BBB. Please visit all of the Bread Baking Babes and check out their versions of this month’s recipe:

Come On! You KNEAD to bake these.


10 Comments

BBB ~ Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread, the Babes will Swirl with this one!

Sing Praises here to Pat “Feeding My Enthusiasms”, who went on a year end cookbook clean out of her book cases and found our bread this month in Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe by Br Peter Reinhart.  Somehow bread just doesn’t go out of date.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread, you think you’ve enjoyed cinnamon raisin bread but this recipe has now taken top honors in our house.  I’ve baked hundreds of cinnamon raisin bread loaves.  When we sailed the Atlantic, I baked two loaves every other day.  Two loaves of Oatmeal Bread from James Beard on Bread.   One was a plain loaf and one was Cinnamon Raisin loaf.  It was terrific bread but this recipe is terrific bread and is filled with whole grain health goodness.  

In the past I’ve always made my Cinnamon Raisin Bread with the raisins in the swirl.  Gorn and I both like this with the raisins mixed into the dough much better.

This makes three full sized loaves. You may think you shouldn’t make the full recipe … you’d be wrong if you think you wouldn’t be able to use all the bread … I don’t think you’ll be able to stop eating this bread.  When I make this again I will try using 4 cups white whole wheat and 3 cups bread flour.

IMG_1924

Rising …

Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread

4 cups high-gluten bread flour

3 cups whole wheat bread flour

1/2 cup uncooked polenta (coarse ground cornmeal)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup wheat bran, used wheat germ

4 teaspoons salt

40 grams ground flax seed

3 tablespoons yeast

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 cups water, should have stopped at 2 cups 2/3 had to use extra flour

3 cups raisins

SWIRL

1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to 2 parts brown sugar)

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the salt and yeast (unless you are using active dry yeast, which should be activated in warm water and added with the wet ingredients.)

2. Add the cooked rice, honey, and buttermilk and mix together. Then add 1 cup of water, reserving the rest to add as needed. With your hands, squeeze the ingredient together until they make a ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and turn the ball out of the bowl and begin kneading. Add small quantities of water as needed. *****Adding the full 1 1/2 cup of water was no where near enough. I added another full cup … and then another half.  See 5.

3. Because Struan has so many whole grains, it takes longer to knead than most breads. Allow at least 15 minutes, but be prepared to knead for 20. The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky, not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic, rather than porridge-like. When you push the heels of your hands into the dough it should give way but not tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a little more water.

4. When the dough seems ready, add the raisins and knead for 2 more minutes, until the raisins are evenly distributed.

5. **** I added too much water too fast and had a VERY wet dough, too heavy and wet to kneed.  So, after trying to kneed adding extra flour, I either pretended to be an expert bread maker or made an executive decision – I’ll let you decide – I switched to a lift and fold technique.  I did a lift and fold  four times.

6. Wash out the mixing bowl and dry it thoroughly. Put in the dough and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, or place the bowl inside a plastic bag. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has roughly doubled in size.

7. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces (or more if you want to make smaller loaves). With a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a rectangle. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of cinnamon sugar over the surface, spreading it evenly. ******I used about 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. I have used brown sugar to make cinnamon sugar for forever now because we both just like the extra caramel flavor.

From the bottom of the long side, roll up the dough into tight loaves, tucking and pinching the seams into one line on the bottom. Put the loaves, seam side down, in greased bread pans (for full-sized loaves your pan should be around 9 x 4 1/3 x 3 inches). Cover and allow the loaves to rise until doubled in size.

8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the loaves have risen, cresting over the tops of the pans, place on the center shelf and bake for about 45 minutes. The loaves should be nicely domed and dark gold. The bottom and sides should be a uniform light gold and there should be an audible, hollow  thwack when you tap the bottom of the loaf. If the loaves are not ready, remove them from the pans and place them back in the oven until done. They will bake quickly when removed from the pans.

9. When done, brush a little butter over the tops, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, coating each loaf with a layer of cinnamon crust.

***** I forgot the cinnamon sugar topping but would like to have done that.

Allow the breads to cool on wire racks for at least 40 minutes before slicing. This bread makes exceptional breakfast toast and French toast!

Bake.  Bake Cinnamon Raisin Straun Bread.  Tell the Kitchen of the Month, Pat at FeedingMyEnthusiasms!  You’ll be thanking her for years to come.  You know you want to Swirl.


7 Comments

Lien’s Bran Bread ~ BBB

BBB Bran Bread ~ 100% Whole Wheat

Recipe From Lien: from the sisters Margherita and Valeria Simili

Yield: 2 loaves or 1 pullman

While this is a tricky bread to explain; it is an easy bread to enjoy.  Lien’s goal with this bread, I think, was a super healthy bread that tasted really good.  I think she succeeded exceedingly well.  There is a lot of bran in this bread and you really never really think “bran” while you’re eating it.
I believe I did a number of very small things wrong that together left me feeling this loaf missed something, missed a spark and yet we both of us kept going for another slice.  The loaf was gone in three days.  This loaf had great texture and very good crust.  I short changed on raisins and nuts, use more next time.  I very often cut down and often eliminate sugar, I think perhaps this was the spark that I missed; use some sweetening next time.

Would I make this again … I’ve got my ingredients ready to mix a starter tonight.

STARTER FOR SLOW RISE
250 grams whole wheat flour
450 grams water
75 grams wheat bran
2 pinches active dry yeast
DOUGH
110 grams whole wheat flour
150 grams whole sprouted wheat flour
20 grams rye flour
160 grams water, used water raisins soaked in

30 grams honey (omited first baking** must add next baking)
2 grams active dry yeast
30 grams butter
9 grams salt
50 grams instant skim milk powder
1 tablespoon diastatic malt flour
75 grams walnuts (next time make at least 100 grams)
75 grams raisins (next time make at least 100 grams)

Directions:

1. STARTER:  Mix white whole wheat, wheat bran and yeast with water.  Cover and let sit over night.  (Elizabeth used crushed malted rye berries also; I wish I’d had some.Next time: try some rye flour, rye flakes or malted something.)

IMG_0858

Starter after the overnight rise.

2. NEXT MORNING: Soak dried fruit in water.  My initial call was to use cranberries but Gorn wanted raisins (98% of the time).  I should have used at least 100 grams of either.  Another time I might use apricots.

Mix starter and all dough ingredients – holding back walnuts and dried fruit.  I used the water I soaked the raisins in – why throw away flavor?

3. KNEAD not really.  I mixed and let it sit about 20 minutes.  I added a little more flour and it still didn’t really knead.  I wasn’t willing to add more flour, in retrospect I probably should have because it never reached kneading consistency.

4. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and press or roll it out flat in a big oval. Add nuts and/or raisins over the dough, fold the dough in two, press or roll out again and sprinkle on the remaining nuts/raisins. Roll the dough (jelly roll style).

5. Heavily butter pullman pan and sprinkle liberally with walnut crumbs.

6. I rolled the dough roll into my pullman pan.  Sprayed the top with water and put the pan cover on sliding it closed short of half an inch.

IMG_0866

7. 45 minutes later I had a really nice rise.

8. Preheat your oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
9. Make slashes in the dough (maybe if I’d added more flour).  Check the temperature of the bread (95ºC/200ºF) to be sure it is cooked.
Baked uncovered 50 minutes.  Internal temp at 201 when taken out of oven.
Take the loaves out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

There is no bitterness in this bread so often associated with all whole wheat breads.  I never felt like I was being made to eat this bread because it was good for me; this is easy eating bread.

IMG_0872
GOOD EATING.
IMG_0883
Do you see the big smily face upper right?  He’s telling you to get into the kitchen and Bake!
It would be great if you could join this challenge, how much bran can you add to still make good edible bread?  Get your bag of bran, knead, post and let us know how it went. And join us as a Bread Baking Buddy, send your results and what you thought of this to the Kitchen of the Month (that’s Lien this time!) type BBB Brab Bread as subject to notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot) com and you’ll be sent a Bread Baking Buddy Badge that you can add to your blogpost if you like. Deadline the 29th of June. Take on the challenge and let’s bake!


11 Comments

Muesli Rolls ~ BBB

Muesli Rolls ~ BBB

Butter don't forget butter ... cheese was good as well.

Butter don’t forget butter … cheese was good as well.

Our Kitchen of the Month … Karen: Bake My Day and boy did she ever.

Karen found this recipe in Global Baker by Dean Brettschneider

As the baker says: a real breakfast roll for champions, full of seeds, dried fruits and chocolate. They are great fresh, or toasted the next day and the day after.

Karen said to try them with Swiss Emmenthal cheese, perfect partners! but we ran out of rolls before I could get any Emmenthaler.

These rolls may not have transformed us into Champions but they certainly brought joy to the table each time I served them; really that’s saying quite something don’t you think.

I believe if you follow the proportions of bread flour to whole wheat, you’ll get a reasonably light roll.  If on the other hand you are in a whole grain phase as I am and chose to cut the bread flour by half (using 250 grams bread flour instead of the 500 grams) and doing some strange numerical calculation like I did and use 250 grams white whole wheat flour (not the 50 grams of whole wheat called from in the recipe), you’ll take out a delightfully wonderful tight crumbed roll like I did.

Another word on the differences in flours and water or as Karen said: “what’s in a name, that what we call flour by any other name would bake as sweet….” provided that you add enough water that is.”  In all the years our little group has been baking together, the one lesson we all seem to have to learn over and over is flour on the other side of the pond is different.  When Karen, our kitchen of the month who happens to bake in the Netherlands, said this recipe worked perfectly for her that should have set off a warning bell to us on the other side to add a little more water.  I can’t tell you how much more water … just more.

So if you follow the directions exactly as Karen has them posted on her site and you’re using flour from the North American side of the pond, add a little extra water.  If you are so lucky as to have some potato water (and not like me watch it go down the drain and yell “NO wait, come back! I need that!”) or whey from a little cheese making as Elizabeth suggested, replace some or all of the water with it, I know you won’t be disappointed.

Muesli Rolls ~ BBB ~ 15 rolls

250 grams  strong bread flour, (Original:  500 grams)

250 grams wholemeal or whole wheat flour, (Original: 50 grams)

40 grams jumbo rolled oats

2 3/4 teaspoons gr  (2.3/4 tsp) instant dry yeast

10 gr (2 tsp) salt

20 grams blackstrap molasses

20 grams honey

20 ml olive oil

370 ml water (next time 390-400)

60 grams gr (scant 1/2 cup) walnut pieces (chopped small)

30 grams gr (3 Tbs) linseeds/flaxseeds, soaked in liquid

20 grams gr (2.1/4 Tbs) sesame seeds

80 grams gr (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds

80 grams gr (2/3 cup) pumpkin seeds

90 grams gr (1/4 cup) dried apricuts, cut into pieces

60 grams gr (1/2 cup) small chocolate chips/drops (optional: used 40 grams)

100 grams gr (1 generous cup) jumbo rolled oats to decorate

1. Place flours, oats, yeast, salt and wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, combine to form a dough.  Tip dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes, resting it for 1 minute every 2-3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Check dough throughout kneading for stickiness; add a little more water or flour if necessary to achieve a soft dough that’s not too firm.

I did, I added mini-chocolate chips ... just not all the recipe called for.

I did, I added mini-chocolate chips … just not all the recipe called for.

2. Add walnuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate(if desired). Knead until well incorporated and combined into dough.

FullSizeRender 16

FullSizeRender 10

Have faith, keep kneading, it will all come together!

Place dough in  a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for approximately  1 1/2, until dough has doubled in size. Gently knock back dough in bowl by folding it back onto itself several times. Cover again and leave for a further 30 minutes.

Squares ... that's really easy!

Squares … that’s really easy!

3. Tip dough upside down onto a lightly floured work surface.  Sprinkle flour over top of dough (which was on the bottom of the bowl).  Very carefully turn dough over and gently flatten to 2cm (3/4 in) thick.  Using a dough scarper or large chef’s knife, cut dough into 7cm (2 3/4in) squares.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with water.  Sprinkle entire surface of each roll with rolled oats, and pat down gently to stick them on.

4. Line a baking tray (cookie sheet) with baking (parchment) paper.  Place rolls onto lined tray (sheet), leaving a 2-3cm (3/4-11/4in) gap between each roll.  Cover (I always use a shower cap) and leave to prove for 30-45 minutes, depending on room temperature.

5. Place rolls on baking tray (cookie sheet) in a preheated 230C/450F/Gas 8 oven, apply steam and quickly close oven door.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning tray around halfway through baking if needed Remove rolls from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

FullSizeRender 22

Notes:

Gorn’s comment: I know I’m going to regret this but I can’t stop eating them.  At that point I swiftly packed them up and put them out of sight.  Reports from the other Babes are these are knock their socks off GREAT!

FullSizeRender 6

We enjoyed these for breakfast several mornings, with soup in the evening twice and at least once in the afternoon with some lovely Earl Grey.  They keep wonderfully well in the fridge and then toasted.

Would you like to be a Bread Baking Buddy?

Karen is host kitchen this month and would love to see you baking with us. However… she was so clever to register for KOM in June ánd go on a vacation somewhere around that time. So luckily there is Lien to the rescue!! Lien (from Notitie Van Lien fame) will also be ready to receive your submission ánd send you your Buddy Badge!

 

Here’s how:

Just make the rolls, then email your link (or email your photo and a bit about your experience if you don’t have a blog) to BOTH  bakemyday {at} gmail {dot} com AND to notitievanlien(at)gmail(punt)com add subject BBBuddy

Submissions are due by July 1st.  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, or in this case…. as soon as Karen is home again and the laundry done.
The Bread Baking Babes are:

Hey pssst: have you seen them? We added a couple of new Babes…. and yes they scare us. Just a bit. We now have Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories  And we have Judy! Judy blogs at Judy’s gross eats and she has volunteered to be Kitchen of the Month next month! (we would never pressure. Babes just volunteer. by themselves. sure.) 

IMG_1386

And the Babes posting Muesli Rolls are:



4 Comments

BBB Romanian Easter Bread ~ Babes go with Braids!

Our kitchen of the month is Pat from Feeding My Enthusiasms.  I never get excited about sweet but being a Babe, I do have to bake and for sure I try my best to bake the monthly Babe bread.

I measured all the ingredients well before Easter … melted butter and milk went back into the fridge as life started coming at me like the steam engine it is and it was fully 10 days later before I got back to this.  Talk about quilt looking at your kitchen counter.  Sweet just isn’t a big motivator for me. I love chocolate but go for the really good dark stuff.  Sweet is nice from time to time but it’s usually salt I crave.
Once I started the mixing of this dough, it was like the heavens were welcoming me in: the dough was silky and easy; the kneading soothing and relaxing; the aroma of cinnamon baking from the oven … all was right with the world.
After his first slice, Gorn’s comment was: I’d really like another slice but I’m not sure I can manage it … he did.  The bread is that good.  Even for me, it is that good.  So good I enjoyed it for toast two breakfasts in a row.

Romanian Easter Braid

"Almost an Easter Egg"

“Almost an Easter Egg”

Recipe By: Pat “Feeding My Enthusiasms” adaptation from The Festive Bread Book, by Kathy Cutler
Yield: 1 large braid loaf

Dough
3 1/2 – 4 cup flour, divided: 1/2 King Arthur white whole wheat and 1/2 King Arthur sprouted wheat
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
30  grams yellow ground flax meal
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (or use orange zest), used zest of one lemon
2/3 cup milk, used half & half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar, used brown
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Filling:, I doubled the filling.
1/3 cup water, used lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup finely ground almonds (or walnuts, poppy seeds, etc)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (or use orange zest), used zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Glaze:
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk

1. Combine 2 cups flour , the yeast, and lemon zest in mixing bowl.

Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt until butter melts; remove from heat and let cool until it reaches 105 – 115 degrees F.

Add milk mixture and eggs to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.   I used about 3 1/2 cups total.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth – about 10 minutes.  This became a very soft and smooth easy dough in about 5 minutes.

2. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double – about 1 hour. My kitchen was very cool (62°) and took 3 hours.

3. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each into a 7 x 16-inch rectangle.

I did double the nuts and sugar! Forgot an extra touch of cinnamon ~ my bad. Absolutely DO DOUBLE the filling.

I did double the nuts and sugar! Forgot an extra touch of cinnamon ~ my bad.
Absolutely DO DOUBLE the filling.

Use 1/3 of filling one each rectangle, spreading filling, but leaving a margin around edges; roll up jelly-roll style. Seal seam and ends. You will have three filled and sealed ropes.

Braid ropes; place on greased baking sheet.

Before rising.

Before rising.

Cover; let rise in warm place until double – about 30 minutes.

4. Make glaze and brush on loaf.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until done.  NOW, a word of caution.  Pat’s directions say to bake this on a baking sheet I believe.  As you can see from above I put mine on parchment and slid it onto the hot baking stone in the oven.  I got a wonderful oven spring … but I also got a great out pouring of brown sugar melt.  I have a small Breville Convection table oven.  I really is a marvel BUT it really is small.  One normal rise sandwich loaf is the capacity and only then on the lower rack.  This braid fit in the middle but it did melt sugar all over the stone and a little onto the bottom of the oven.  I was astonished that just running hot water over the stone and the slide out oven bottom easily rinsed away the sugar.

Cool on wire rack.  Do let it cool.  Melted sugar is too hot for the tongue.

"The Crumb"

“The Crumb”

It is so good.  Don’t wait for next Easter.  This is just great for a special Brunch or nice breakfast any day.  Become a Bread Baking Buddy ~ don’t you know the drill by now?  😉  Bake the bread, send your e-mail to Pat with BBB Buddy Easter Bread in the subject line along with link to your web site or FaceBook link and you’ll get a buddy badge and be in the month’s round up post!

Easter colors.

Easter colors.

I think I can guarantee you are going to love this one.

And now for something completely different … a rant … why am I late.  For whatever reason my IP blocked my posting to WordPress on my laptop.  No idea.  So we drove into town (30miles) to the library where everything works like greased lightening.  Enjoy all those cliches.