MyKitchenInHalfCups

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


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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.)

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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.

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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.

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GOOD EATING.
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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!
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Auberge Walnut Bread

Nuts.  Do you love nuts?  Walnuts, toasted. Do you love walnuts toasted?

Elizabeth was our lovely hostess for the March 2016 bread ~ I guess I’m a little late it now being April 7.

So, what did I change … I didn’t have to add ground flax!  I didn’t have vital wheat gluten; I did use organic bread flour (no all purpose).  I used powered ginger but there was also fresh ginger sitting on the counter and I gave that several swipes on the microplane; any ginger flavor or aroma was in the background, I didn’t really identify it.

Butter – salted or unsalted.  Before I moved to the woods, I always had both salted and unsalted on hand and used unsalted when called for.  Now, there is a place called Country Dairy   http://www.countrydairy.com/about    just 8 miles from us.  I love this place!
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You may ask what does butter (salted or unsalted) have to do with ice cream.  You can ask that.  Here’s my story, why I don’t buy salted butter anymore:  Growing up I was a lover of ice cream.  What kid isn’t!  In my world as an Air Force brat, I had ice cream from all over this country.  But for me the very best ice cream, the only ice cream worth eating was only to be found in a little mid-west town where we spent all holidays, many other times and actually lived one year while my father was stationed overseas.  My favorite aunt loved ice cream and watermelon as much as I did and so she was always willing to take me into Central Dairy for a cone.  That was childhood when I was always into ice cream.  As we struggle with waist lines in what some might call my “adulthood” (I don’t call it that even into my 70’s because it just doesn’t seem likely that I could be an adult even now.) ice cream is something for rare occasions.  Even so, I did one day find myself in Country Dairy and allowed a treat … that would be ice cream.  I don’t really remember which flavor it was but the first lick … I was suddenly 5 years old again, back on those small black and white floor tiles in Central Dairy.  People, this was ICE CREAM like it is supposed to be.  This was the real deal.

When you have that kind of a moment in a place where the people are terrific, your husband says this is the best skim milk ever, they do wonderful panini breakfast sandwiches and there is terrific cheese and sausage in the counters along with that ice cream, you can count on a VERY loyal customer – that would be me.  They only have salted butter.  Sorry, I just don’t buy unsalted butter any more.
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I brushed the mostly baked loaf with half and half.

Recipe From Elizabeth as found in Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by Roy Andries de Groot
Yield: 2 loaves

TWO LOAVES ~ Amounts
253 grams walnut halves, divided
»    200 grams 200g (2 c) whole walnut halves
»   53 grams 53g (0.66 c) walnut halves, finely chopped
420 grams (1.75 c) boiling water
34 grams (0.5c) skim milk powder
36 grams (2.5 Tbsp) unsalted butter (I used salted butter)
12 grams kosher salt (2 tsp table salt)
0.5g (0.25 tsp) powdered ginger
84 grams (4 Tbsp) dark honey
634 grams (~5 c) flour (de Groot’s recipe calls for 3c white bread and 3 c whole wheat, but that seems like too much. I switched to the equivalent of 2c white and 3c whole wheat.)
»   250 grams 250g unbleached all-purpose flour
»  9 grams 9g vital wheat gluten
»  15 grams 15g flax seed, finely ground
»   360 grams 360g whole wheat flour
29 grams (0.25 c) wheat germ
60 grams (0.25 c) water at ~98F
6 grams (2 tsp) active dry yeast
milk or cream for brushing during baking (de Groot’s recipe calls for egg yolk and milk)
HALF RECIPE ~ Amounts
ONE LOAF
170 grams walnut halves, divided
»   100 200g (2 c) whole walnut halves (I ended up using just 100g)
»   70 53g (0.66 c) walnut halves, finely chopped
210 grams (1.75 c) boiling water
17 grams (0.5c) skim milk powder
18 grams (2.5 Tbsp) unsalted butter (I used salted butter)
6 grams kosher salt (2 tsp table salt)
1/4 teaspoon 0.5g (0.25 tsp) powdered ginger, used powdered & fresh
42 grams (4 Tbsp) dark honey
267 grams (~5 c) flour (de Groot’s recipe calls for 3c white bread and 3 c whole wheat, but that seems like too much. I switched to the equivalent of 2c white and 3c whole wheat.)
»  125 grams 250g unbleached all-purpose flour
»    9 grams 9g vital wheat gluten, omitted
»    15 grams 15g flax seed, finely ground
»   185 grams 360g whole wheat flour
15 grams (0.25 c) wheat germ
30 grams (0.25 c) water at ~98F
1 teaspoon (2 tsp) active dry yeast
milk or cream for brushing during baking (de Groot’s recipe calls for egg yolk and milk)

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1. Walnuts: In the morning of the day you plan to bake the bread, spread the walnut halves in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toast them in a 400F oven for 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn! They’re done just at the moment you begin to smell them. Set aside 200g (2 c) onto a plate to cool. Using a very sharp knife, finely chop the other 53g to produce about 2/3 cup.

2. Mixing the dough: Pour just-boiled water into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in milk powder. Immediately add butter, honey, salt and powdered ginger and whisk until the butter has melted and the honey is incorporated.

3. Add flours, wheat germ and finely chopped walnuts (de Groot suggests grating them(!)) on top of one side of the large bowl.

4. Warm the water for rehydrating the yeast to around 98F, a little over body temperature. Or are you allergic to a thermometer? Heat it until it’s the temperature safe to feed to a baby: a few drops on the inside of your wrist feels warm but not hot. If it’s too hot, add cold water. (Tap water is okay, but please do NOT use water from the hot-water tap! You don’t know how long things other than water have been festering in the bottom of that tank.) Pour the warmed water into a small bowl and add the yeast. Whisk until the yeast has dissolved. Check to make sure that the milk mixture is not above body temperature (do the baby-bottle test on the inside of your wrist again) and then add the yeasted water to the milk mixture. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon to created a rough dough.

5. Kneading: Knead in the bowl (or use your electric mixer’s instructions for kneading) until the dough is smooth, “elastic and no longer sticky”.

6. Proofing: Cover the bowl with a plate and allow to proof in a draft-free area (oven with only the light turned on is ideal) until the dough has doubled.

7. Prepare the pans: Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

8. Walnuts and Shaping: Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide in two. Roll each piece into a ball. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. After their rest, flatten each ball into a disc and even divide the rest of the walnut halves on top, “pressing the nuts in slightly”, then roll each piece of dough to form a log. Joining the ends to make a ring, place each log seam side down on the parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a draft-free area until the rings have almost doubled.

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9. Baking: Preheat oven to 375F. Just before putting the bread in the oven, spray the tops liberally with water. Put the bread into the oven and immediately turn the thermostat down to 350F. After 35 minutes, brush the tops of the loaves with milk or cream (de Groot suggests using an eggyolk whisked with milk to create this glaze) and continue baking for about 10 more minutes until the loaves are nicely browned and have reached an internal temperature between 200F and 210F (the bread sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom). Remove the bread from the oven. Don’t even think about touching that knife!!

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10. Cooling and Finishing: Allow the bread to completely cool on a footed rack before cutting into it. It’s still baking inside! Of course you may want to serve warm bread: reheat it after it has cooled completely. To reheat and/or rejuvenate Unsliced bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

You probably have already seen Elizabeth’s post and know all the fun things she put up about this bread.

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This was a delightful loaf.  Gorn requested it until it was gone … on the 2nd day.  We can really go through a loaf!
This is what we bread heads call a “keeper loaf” meaning I’ll make this one again and again.  I will say this is a keeper of the first order.  The determining factor of when that remaking may occur probably depends on when will the BBB’s run out of great keeper breads to bake.

I hope you found this bread early enough to bake it and make the Buddy list but if not, not to worry, you should still bake this one.  It is just too good to miss.

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Don’t miss out.  Bake this one.


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Dhakai Bakharkhani/ Baqeerkhani (Crisp Flatbreads from Dhaka, Bangladesh)

I do know there’s a tremendous amount to be gained by following a recipe to the letter … and then there is old fashioned “just have to make do”.  I truly enjoy doing a recipe to be authentic.  I also realize there are those times when it just isn’t meant to be … and this was one of them.  Perhaps in the long run there is as much to be gained/learned from one way as the other.

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Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen) very kindly invited us round her kitchen table this month to bring us a love story and a bread to fall in love with.  She hoped to find a different bread, a challenging bread and a fun bread for us to bake.  In my book she succeeded in spades.  This is one of those breads I think you will find an endless number of ways to top it and I think it can be one of those stellar breads to use for special times.  These breads are cracker like – they benefit immensely by crisping  them up in the oven before serving.  We’ve been invited to friends for Thanksgiving and I’m thinking these might be a perfect little bite to take with a smoked salmon spread.
Now … about that mawa … did you really hear me whaling … yes, that was me.  No stove top, no hot plate.  I tried the slow cooker … didn’t taste bad but it was so dark and all the babes were getting this lovely light yellow creamy color, I just couldn’t use what I took out of the crock pot.  The substitution that seemed most likely was ricotta cheese.
You will see I used all whole grain/wheat in this recipe.  The only white I used was when I dusted the rolled out dough and put on the ghee.  Yeah, I even added my trademark ground flax seed meal.  I used all the liquid called for … and I changed the water to milk.  Why?  Why milk? I don’t really have an answer, it just seemed the right thing to do.  Because I used the whole grain and the flax, I mixed this dough up the night before to allow all the whole grain to hydrate with the idea this would keep the bread from being dry.
These create a wonderfully buttery aroma coming out of the oven.  Easily a welcome aroma around holidays.

Dhakai Bakharkhani/ Baqeerkhani (Crisp Flatbreads from Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Recipe By: Aprana:  Adapted from Honest Cooking ( )

For the mawa/ khoya:
1 litre full fat milk (2% will also do) – makes approximately 3/4 to 1 cup mava
For the Bakharkhani:
170 grams white whole wheat flour, (plus a little more for rolling it out the dough)
135 grams sprouted whole wheat flour
1/4 cup mawa, substituted ricotta cheese
1/4 cup ghee* (plus a little more for spreading on the dough while rolling it out)
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 grams brown sugar
2/3 cups skim milk (a little less or more if needed)
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle (optional)
walnuts , chopped

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1. *ghee is nothing but clarified butter and should be available readymade in Indian stores. It is quite easy to make your own at home. Since you are making the effort you can make a little extra and store the rest for later use. Ghee can be stored at room temperature and keeps for a while.
Melt 500gm of unsalted butter and let it cook until the milk solids in the butter start turning golden brown (do not burn them) and the liquid fat is a golden color. You should get a rich aroma from it.
Let it cool to room temperature and then decant or strain the golden liquid into an airtight jar.
I managed this very easily (carefully monitored) in the microwave.

2. Make the mawa/ khoya:

Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.  The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.

Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance.  There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be a bit moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.

Let it cool. Once it has cooled, it should still be a little moist but you should be able to crumble it.

Make it in a crock pot:
http://www.indiacurry.com/dairy/khoyaslowcooker.htm

1. On stove top or in a microwave oven heat milk between 180ºF to 190ºF.
2. While heating milk, put about 2 quarts of water in the slow cooker, cover with lid and turn it high for 20 minutes. You are basically preheating the the insert, so that it will not crack.
3. When the milk has reached, the 180ºF, drain the water out of the slow cooker insert. Transfer the hot milk to the insert.
4. Cover the insert with the lid, leaving about 1″ crack. This will allow the steam to escape during evaporation. Turn the cooker to ‘Low’
5. Every 30 minutes or so, stir scraping the sides and the bottom. In about three hours, you should have about 5 cups of Chikna Khoya.

3. Making the Bhakarkhani:

In a large bowl,  put the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Crumble the mawa into it and mix in. Then add the ghee and use your fingers to rub it into the flour.   Add the water, a little at a time, and knead well until you have a smooth and elastic dough that can be rolled out very thin.

Please see this video to get an idea of how the dough is rolled out, layered with ghee and flour and folded. The language in the video is Bangla but the visual is quite descriptive. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyiOLuJywHQ )

4. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying. Let it rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then lightly coat the dough and then let it rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 170C (325F).

5. Lightly coat your rolling pin and board (or your working surface) with some ghee.
Now divide the dough into two portions, working with one portion at a time. Roll out one portion of the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle, without adding any flour. It should be thin enough for you to see your work surface through the rolled out dough!

Brush some ghee (not too much) all over the surface of the rolled out dough with your fingers. Sprinkle some flour evenly over this, enough so that the ghee is absorbed when spread out. The flour layer should be thin. Brush some more ghee, again, over this and then sprinkle some flour over this like previously.

Fold the dough into half and once again repeat the process of brushing the ghee and sprinkling the flour over this twice, as before. Fold the dough for the second time (see the video) and repeat the brushing with ghee and flouring, twice.

Now roll up the dough into a long cylinder and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

6. Pinch off lemon sized balls and roll each one into a small, round flatbread. Sprinkle sesame seeds (optional) and lightly press into the dough. Make three cuts on each flatbread using a knife. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they’re light brown on top. Do not over bake.

7.
Let them cool and serve with coffee or tea.

So you’ve read the recipe and you’re shaking your head thinking “that’s beyond me.  I tell you it’s not.  Really, go for the ricotta like I did if you want to really cheat – but all reports are if you have a stove top and use your widest pan to create the largest evaporative surface area for the mawa.  Watch the rolling out video – I watched it once and then just winged it. This will work for you and you’ll  have a wonderful rich, crisp flatbread under your belt, your kitchen will smell devine and somebody may even love you as much as Aga Bakar loved his mate (you did read the love story on Aprana’s blog didn’t you?).  Well, go read it and bake this bread.

To Join Us and become a Bread Baking Buddy, bake some Bakharkhani and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month or on our Facebook page.  Make sure you mention Bread Baking Babes and link to Aprana’s post in your post.
Then e-mail Aparna at aparna(at)mydiversekitchen(dot)com with a link to your Bakharkhani post and a photo of your bread that is a 500px wide.  Subject line should read “Bread Baking Buddies”.  Aprana will send you a badge to add to your post and she’ll include you in her round up at the end of this month.
Get baking!

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Our Buddies are Crackers! Great Crackers! Oh yeah …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Cracker Buddies are (in no particular order):

Louise BreadHead without blog

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Corrine at Yogi Latte

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Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories

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Claartje at Claire’s Baking

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Cathy at Bread Experience

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Carola at Sweet and That’s It

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Renee at Kudos Kitchen

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Kelly at A Messy Kitchen

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Anita (Soepkipje) at Ipernity   

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Aparna at MyDiverseKitchen

Seed Crackers 6

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

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

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

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


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BBB ~ Crunchy Crackers

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

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

Crunchy Crackers

Recipe By: KAF
Yield: 2 cookie sheets

Summary from KAF:

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

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

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

 

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

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

2.  Knead in the seeds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBB logo september 13

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

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Oatmeal Twists with rainbow


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Mystery of the Twisting Oatmeal

The best mysteries have twists and double crosses … bread can too.

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

In my world there are two kinds of bread bakers: there are those of us who sweat blood over the details, follow the recipe to the fourth even fifth decimal point, take the temperature of the dough, obsess over the exact ingredients. And then there are … well, the rest of us. We can’t read and when we do, we often decide to not read a detail with “I think I didn’t see that.” Technically speaking then their’s a continum between both those extremes. If I were to peg myself, I say I’m a “slider”. There have/are times when I actually follow the recipe. Then there are other times when I follow a recipe … except I play with ingredients. Other times I start the recipe and everything under the sun seems to conspire to go change things around.

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

Oatmeal Twists with rainbow

First Mystery: Who’s Kitchen of the Month?

Kitchen of the Month is Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms.

Now, this kitchen table is a very wild place where there are Babes without rules there’s bound to be wildness. There was some twisting, I’m not sure there may have been some hoola hoops involved but I’m sure there was and is and always will be wonderful bread where ever the Babes gather. Elle has us twisting a very happy twist!

Second Mystery: Where’d she find the recipe?

Farine (that’s the name of her blog too)

Farine called these Morning Cuddles. They do have lots of lovely oatmeal in them so I can see why you can enjoy them for breakfast! I enjoyed them for breakfast lunch and dinner. Thank you Farine!

I baked this one twice. First baking … was gone in two days, I shared only 6 with a neighbor – this recipe makes a lot. Second baking … thanks to a freezer, I’m sharing them with my sister and Dad visiting. The second time I baked these I used the refrigerator to retard the dough overnight and baked them in the morning and enjoyed them with a great salad for lunch.

One of my favorite things about these was the walnut dust used for topping. Don’t think that you have to use any one nut. I think just about any nut you enjoy will be wonderful with these, I’m thinking peanuts, then I’m thinking hazelnuts. Babes used savory to sweet on these. I really enjoyed the walnut and salty dust. Still I realize that the options are endless and I don’t just mean the nut ingredient and I really need to give these a big ingredient twist next time I’m baking.

One ingredient I won’t twist is the oatmeal and the coarse grinding. It gave the dough a wonderful nobby texture on my hands that I enjoyed; some might not enjoy such but I found it fun and different.

Oatmeal Twists

Recipe By: Pat: based on Farine’s Morning Cuddles
Yield: 8 to 18. Make smaller sizes for snacks or appetizers. Make them bigger for a sandwich bun.

Farine of the blog Farine made the cutest breads and called them Morning Cuddles. Elle twisted Farine’s recipe and added buttermilk and some butter. I think Farine’s original idea with these for breakfast comes from all the wonderful oatmeal in them and indeed they are a really nice breakfast roll.

Starter/Poolish

700 g sourdough starter
OR Poolish, just not both
350 g all-purpose flour
350 g water
2 teaspoons yeast
Dough
320 g all-purpose flour
230 g whole wheat flour, used organic
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
115 g rolled oats, coarsely ground in a food processor
15 g salt
1 1/4 cup water – I used potato water, 300 grams
1/4 cup buttermilk, 64 grams
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled – 56 grams
100 g pecans – I used walnuts, chopped – 1 cup

1. If mixing and using Poolish – without sourdough starter – Sit 3 hours on counter, stir down, cover and put in fridge overnight.

First Rise

First Rise

Rising

Rising

Rising Finished - pop the top

Rising Finished – pop the top

2. After overnight in the fridge: Mix the flours together with the yeast, oats and salt. Stir the water, buttermilk and butter into the starter. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the starter mixture until a soft dough forms. Let sit 10 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead in additional flour if needed until dough is tacky but not sticky.

3. Knead in the walnuts.  Here’s my caution on the nuts:  If you leave them too big, they tear the dough when you roll it into the snakes to twist.  Just pinch it back together and/or chop your nuts a little finer. Shape into a ball and put dough ball into oiled rising bowl or container, turning dough to coat with the oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. This might take 2 hours or 6. (Also fine to cover and let sit overnight in the fridge, then let rise until doubled on the counter the next day.) I did it both ways.

4. When dough has doubled, turn out onto lightly floured board. Shape into a log and cut into two pieces. Return one piece of the dough to the rising bowl and cover.

5. Shape the second piece of dough on the board into a log and cut into 8 pieces, each about 100 g. Cut each piece in half and shape each piece into a snake and twist two pieces together a a time or two, then place twist on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.

Twisted and rising

Twisted and rising

6. Repeat with remaining 7 (100 g) pieces. You will have eight twists. Take the remaining large (about 800 g) piece of dough and repeat the shaping into a log, cutting into 8 pieces, cutting those in half and shaping into twists. You will finish with 16 twists set out on parchment or silicon mat covered baking sheets. Cover twists and let rise until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F when twists are almost doubled.

7. Uncover, glaze with buttermilk with clean pastry brush. If desired sprinkle with finely chopped pecans, or preferred seeds or with sea salt.  I tried one without glazing with the buttermilk – seemed infinitely better with the buttermilk glaze.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. If browning too rapidly, turn down the oven temperature. Turn the pans back to front and bake another 10 – 15 minutes or until breads are 180 degrees inside. Cool on a rack then serve.

9. Variations: When you knead in the pecans you can knead in dried fruit like dried cranberries or diced prunes, apricots or dates to make a breakfast twist. If you prefer savory you can knead in herbs and/or Parmesan cheese and/or seeds. This bread loves to have you make your own combinations, so other nuts can also be used in place of the pecans or with them. I made my second batch without any nuts, seeds, fruit or herbs and they were yummy, too.

BBB logo June 2012

BBB logo June 2012

So I’d call myself a “slider”. What kind of a baker are you? Bake this bread with us and become a Bread Baking Buddy and tell us. Bake the bread, take some photos, blog (or not), send your link and photos to Kitchen of the Month – Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms – and if you can do that by the 29th, Elle will have you in the round up!

YeastSpotting!  What is it?  Find out here.