MyKitchenInHalfCups

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

"Almost an Easter Egg"


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.


2 Comments

Buddies Play in the BBB SandBox ~ Granary Style Loaf

If there is one thing Buddies and Babes have in spades, it’s free thinking creativity. If essay exams had only been like this in college, life would have been grand and fun. Probably we’d have come away knowing a lot more as well.

I feel like it’s more difficult to get many bread bakers interested in whole wheat/whole grain bread. Many of us were raised on that white stuff (I call library paste) and that’s what we’re happy to bake and see on our plates. Whole wheat/whole grain is more challenge having less gluten and the potential to taste bitter or funny or just not regular. For that reason, I am doubly pleased with Babes and Buddies who took up this challenge.

These are not in any special order because each really stands alone in it’s own special way.  That’s really how essay exams and SandBox play should be.

Granary Loaf was Judy’s first loaf in her new home, a christening of sorts she called it … I call it a spectacular loaf, just look at that marvelous crust.

 

Judy's Gross Eats

Judy’s Gross Eats

We got a great crumb shot from Karen who considers herself the “champion ingredient collector” but didn’t have any malted wheat flakes in her pantry. I really like the sound of that “champion ingredient collector” … I wonder how many of us feel that way … perhaps it would be better to ask how many of our partners consider each of us the “champion ingredient collector”.

Karen's Kitchen Stories

Karen’s Kitchen Stories

 

One of our most faithful Buddies Carola of course came through again after welcoming Tom Cruise into her pantry with a … globe continents and seas … well maybe I don’t have all those facts straight and you should check it out for yourself.

Sweet and That's It

Sweet and That’s It

For the crowning Crumb (and actually the first to bake in) and lovely bouquet! I would love to find some sprouted oat like Kelly did.  Her loaf rose gorgeously well, has a wonderful looking crumb and her son gave it thumbs up which is an A+ in my book.

A Messy Kitchen

A Messy Kitchen

Apologies for my tardy posting. I really was greatly needed by a friend in dire need.

Thank you all for baking once again with us and playing so well in the SandBox!

BBBuddy badge march 15

IMG_8064


14 Comments

BBB Granary Style Loaf

As Kitchen of the Month I welcome you to the BBB Sandbox for Granary Loaf.

IMG_8022
I always dreaded those essay exams at university and in graduate school. Gad, you really had to know your stuff.  Written was awful: you had to know it, organize it in your head and get in down on paper. Then in graduate school you had to be able to write it AND talk it.  Now, contrast that with how things work in the sandbox.  In our sandbox, the kids (that would be the BBBs and now you) all come together to “play”.  When kids play in a sandbox, they have fun, they experiment and they learn.  That learning can some times move into unexpected areas.
How did I come across Granary Bread?  A friend in Seattle showed me a bread book she’d gotten for Christmas and I came across Granary Bread.   I looked at several recipes for Granary Bread on the internet and settled on a trusted source, King Arthur.  But this bread sandbox is not so much about the recipe as about playing with a concept with creativity, independence all the while sharing and inciting discovery … even if that discovery takes us into the past where we learn again: there really is very little new under the sun.

In the Granary Loaf, I felt I’d found a classic, simple, conservative recipe with a potentially unobtainable ingredient for most of us: Granary flour is a proprietary blend not available unless you are in England or order it from them. Since we can’t get that special blend, that would require us to play together and come up with ideas that would allow us to create a Granary Style Loaf.
Along the way I explored barley extract, malting process (requires sprouting and drying the grain), malt (diastatic and non) and baking undercover.  I don’t feel comfortable putting up all that I scanned from Elizabeth David’s book but if you are interested I can e-mail you some copy  if you don’t have the book and would like to read some of it.  King Arthur is an excellent source to read up on malt extract as well.

When I started playing in this sandbox, I figured I would not be able to find the proprietary flour the Brit’s have.  I was thinking whole grain flours.  Sprouted would be a plus.  Toasting whatever “wheat flakes” would add some extra flavor in the neighborhood of malted.  I think if wheat flakes can’t be found, I’d try oatmeal.  Think whole grain and malty undertones.

IMG_8064

Almost immediately Heather came up with “I just ordered the flour from Amazon.”  Then I had to too … but coming from across the pond gave it a delivery date of March 12 … unless you were willing to pay some $70 to expedite delivery!

The only change I made here is using potato water and adding the ground flax meal.

The only change I made here is using potato water and adding the ground flax meal.

Mine came on the 12th and I baked using it on the 13.  I followed the directions on the label substituting only potato water for the water and adding in 30 grams of flax meal.  The Hovis flour was my second play in the SandBox.

Made with the Hovis Granary Flour.

Made with the Hovis Granary Flour.

Use your imagination.  Remember when you were little and made mud pies.  We’re playing around here.

Update Sunday night 15 March: King Arthur has what looks like a sort of updated/more recent Granary style loaf called Malted Wheat Flake Bread that I’m going to be starting tonight.  I very much like that it soaks grains overnight.

Authentic is not the goal, good tasty bread is. I leave it to you: loaf or rolls.

Just so not to leave you hanging, Elizabeth David in her “English Bread and Yeast Cookery” was writing about “baking bread undercover” in 1977.  She had “discovered” the idea from talking with and reading baker’s from the 1920’s.  Now, what does “baking undercover” make you think of?  Well, it makes me think about the first time I came across it was when Karen & I turned up baking (after midnight) the New York Times recipe put up by Mark Bittman from Jim Lahey in 2006.  Cast iron pot heated very hot and a lid put on it.  I thought that was revolutionary.  Turns out, not really that new under this sun.

Granary-Style Loaf

This is a bread beloved by the British. King Arthur calls it “granary-style” loaf because Granary Flour is a proprietary brand sold by a specific company in England.  A full-flavored bread with a hint of sweetness and a bit of crunch.
Recipe from King Arthur
Yield: 2 loaves
2 cups lukewarm water
1 to 2 tablespoons barley malt extract
1 cup malted wheat flakes
2 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
1 scant tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose or Unbleached Special Bread Flour*
Flavor and texture come from those malted wheat flakes!

Flavor and texture come from those malted wheat flakes!

1. Pour the 2 cups of water into a mixing bowl. Stir in the barley malt, wheat flakes and white wheat flour. Mix in the yeast, and allow this sponge to work for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the butter or oil, salt, and about 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose or bread flour. Add flour slowly until you have a shaggy mass hat begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
*You’ll use less flour if you use Special(meaning bread flour) instead of all-purpose, due to its higher absorption capacity.”

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or lightly greased work surface, and knead until it’s cohesive. Give it a rest while you clean out and lightly oil your bowl. Continue kneading for several minutes, adding only enough flour (or oil) to keep the dough from sticking to you or the work surface.

4. Return the dough to the bowl, turning to coat all sides, cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it’s double din bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently deflate the dough, cut it in half, and shape each half into a log. Place the logs in two lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Allow the loaves to rise, covered, until they’re about three-quarters of the way to doubled.

5. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pans, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.

 IMG_8024

First Sand Box Play:
I cut the recipe in half because I wanted to bake again soon with different ingredients.
1 c water (260 g)
1 T barley malt extract became 8 grams brown sugar
1/2 c malted wheat flakes (from King Arthur)
30 grams golden flax meal
1 c white whole wheat became 75 grams sprouted wheat and 75 grams white whole whole
1/2 T yeast
1 T butter
1/2 t salt used 2 grams
150 grams bread flour
used about 1/3 cup more bread flour kneading

Mixed water, br sugar, wheat flakes, white whole wheat and sprouted wheat; allowed to sit 1 hour
Whisked yeast, salt, flax meal and bread flour.
And baked following KA recipe.

Gorn & I both found these two loaves to be excellent.  Good as toast; great for a sandwich. A background whisper of malt … sweetness … but just right.  The Hovis Granary flour made an excellent loaf but I think there was not a substantial difference from the King Arthur recipe when I baked the two.

I do hope you’ll want to play in the sandbox with us, maybe you will find something new under the sun that we’ve missed.

***  To be a bread baking buddy, post your bread (on your blog, on our FaceBook group, or send me a photo and comment on the bread).  In order to receive a BBBuddy Badge and appear in my round-up post at the end of this month you MUST e-mail me at comments my kitchen at mac dot com – you know no spaces and the @ sign – AND use BBB or SandBox on the subject line.

It’s not a fancy shape, just super good bread. BBB logo March 2015 See you in the SandBox!

IMG_7971


9 Comments

BBB ~ Kouign Amann

BBB logo February 2015

… and the crowd goes wild to celebrate our 7th Anniversary.

Kouign Amann

IMG_7973

So wild, I’ve been threatened with being chained to the oven until I bake them again.  Chained to the oven … no wilder than 7 years of Bread Baking Babes!  Beautiful bread baking Babes, thank you all.

Lien is once again our KOM (Kitchen of the Month).  I am once again blown away by a bread I would never have picked: it looks intimidating (that wow factor is very high with this one) and it’s sweet, something I just almost never volunteer for.  But, I am totally won over by this one and will probably be making it again…like on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Kouign Amann
from Lien by Paul Hollywood – BBC “The Great British Bake Off
Yield: 12 – 16 pastries
300 grams strong plain flour: I used half bread flour & half white whole wheat , plus extra for dusting
5 grams fast-action yeast: I used reg instant
1 teaspoon salt
200 ml warm water
25 grams unsalted butter, melted
250 grams cold unsalted butter, in a block
100 grams caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1.  Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes.
***Not sure why, but I actually used the kitchen aid for this one.
I’ll probably do it by hand next time. This is a really lovely satiny like dough, easy to knead.  I see no reason this would be difficult without a stand mixer.
2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.
***I figured this is all about butter so took a small pat of butter and rubbed it into my palms and then onto dough ball.
Here I go again. I wanted to get this started but knew I’d have a long wait time before starting the laminating process SO it went into the fridge at this point. Slowly rising about 3 hours before I got back to it.
Next time I will be using salted butter.
3. Sandwich the butter between two sheets of grease proof paper and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 14 cm square. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.***I just used parchment paper.
     IMG_7967
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20 cm square. Place the butter in the centre of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.
IMG_7969
5. Roll the dough into a 45×15 cm rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
***Do not feel you need to be exact at 30 minutes. It’s chilling in the fridge, up to another 30 minutes (an hour total) it’s going to be fine.  If the dough resists rolling, extra time will allow it to relax and making the rolling out easier anyway.
6. Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
***Do allow a full 30 minutes between turns.
I’ll be very tempted to do an extra sprinkling on this third turn, lighter than the next. The limiting factor might be it will cause the butter to break through.  I did not have any difficulty with the butter popping through the dough.  I’m thinking regular brown sugar would be lovely here and may give that a go next bake.IMG_7970

7. Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and  fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 40×30 cm rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.

***My math/division skills can be limited some days more than others.  Twelve evaded me. I cut it into 16 pieces. Actually, that was probably idea for how many people were putting these into their mouths. As it turned out, I only got one because I snuck off with it first thing. I’ll do 16 again. I will however try for more square shape than the rectangle I ended up with on most.

I don’t believe I used the measured amount of sugar. I just tried to cover the rectangle and rolled the sugar in so that it stuck in the dough.

IMG_7971

8. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.

***I used butter in the pan.

IMG_7975

9. Preheat oven to 220ºC.
Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelised sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin. Serve warm or cold

Mine took 32 minute in regular bake (no convection) oven at 405°F .
Watch these. Almost exactly at the 15 minute mark I covered these with foil or they would have been black. As it was the color came out gorgeous.
I had absolutely no difficulty removing these from the pan.

IMG_7977

10. Serve warm or cold. Warm is best!
***Warm, you really want them warm. You really want that flaky crunch!

11. If you don’t want to eat them all in want go (of just if you want to, but shouldn’t), bag and freeze them. Before you eat them: Defrost them and place them in a warm oven (180ºC) for about 4-6 minutes or until warm, they will crisp up again.
***I didn’t see this the first time I baked them.  Believe me I will be trying this.

IMG_7979

Notes:

2 1/2  hours preparation time (mostly resting in the fridge time)
30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

We have France to thank for these caramelised buttery, sugary parcels. Lien’s been an internet sleuth and has more on how these came about.  The are perfect with a café au lait. Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a 12-cup muffin tin and a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook.  (Personally I don’t think that dough hook is necessary but haven’t done it without yet.)

If you don’t want to eat them all in one go (or just if you want to, but shouldn’t), bag and freeze them. Before you eat them: Defrost them and place them in a warm oven (180ºC) for about 4-6 minutes or until warm, they will crisp up again.
I know the crumb shot is woefully lacking but I was lucky to get even that considering how fast these went.  Lien does have the perfect crumb shot!
You simply must bake these. Chain yourself to the oven door until you do. Bake, write, post and let us know how it worked out. Send your info + picture to the Kitchen of the month (that’s Lein this time, so send it to: notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com, add subject BBBuddy). Deadline 1 March.
Become our Bread Baking Buddy, you’ll get a BBBuddy Badge for your entry (you can add that too your post if you want) and will be added to the Buddy round up later.  Mine may look good but Lien’s are gorgeous!   I mean BAKE these. You’ll be hooked for life!
IMG_1342


4 Comments

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

I know it’s hard to believe but this is not for the Babe’s, not an early BBB bread at all.  I hope that’s not too disappointing.  I will tell you I did the Babe bread for this month and did squeal and even jig a little dance – sorry Ilva.  It’s really very good, very fun and even though the thought made me shake in my boots, it was very easy .
I saw this first on David Lebovitz’s blog and was of course over awed by the look and sound. Do you ever buy a cookbook because of one recipe?  How many cookbooks have you bought without at least thumbing through the actually book or looking at a sample as an e-book.  I may have hesitated five minutes before hitting the buy button on Amazon … I may not have.  At any rate, the book is now in my library.
Now that I’ve read it cover to cover, I’m delighted and have considerably more than the one recipe that I’m over joyed with.
The bread is milder than I expected but still has a lovely rye aroma and flavor.  It’s a dense bread and so is perfect to slice thin and serve with appetizers.  I may try it next with a little caraway and when I unpack that special loaf pan to bake cocktail rye in, I’ll be trying that. Until I find that pan, wonderful with just butter and with every cheese we put on it last night.  We’ve planned to have it toasted with an egg some morning before it’s all gone. I’m right with David on the avocado and strangely enough there is one waiting on my counter … it won’t be waiting long.

Below you will find first my measure, second David Lebovitz’s measurement in parenthesis found on his blog, and finally Hans Rockenwagner’s measurement.  You can note that my grams and David’s are fairly different.  In comparing photo’s of each, it seems like the measurements worked about the same in the final bread.  Flour is a dramatically different entity around this globe.   I was baking from the book where Hans uses cups. When I use a recipe written in cups any more, I do the measurement, weight it in grams (and yes I know liquids are measured in ml, I just do it in grams and it works for me) and write in in the book or into my MacGourmet program. Next time I just scale things.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

Recipe By: Das Cookbook by Hans Röckenwagner
Yield: one loaf


IMG_7848

my measure    David Lebovitz’s measurement,     Hans Rockenwagner’s measurement
400 grams (375ml) lukewarm water, 1 1/2 cups (12 oz)
1/4 cup (80g)  honey, 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon ( I used agava syrup)
2 1/4 teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast (not instant)
450 grams (330g) whole-wheat flour, 2 3/4 cups
45 grams flax meal
1 teaspoon King Arthur Rye Bread Improver
155 grams (110g) rye flour (dark or light), 1 cup
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 cup (125g) lightly toasted sunflower seeds
Vegetable oil, for greasing the pan – I used butter

1. I deviated from the recipe here and simply added the yeast into the flours.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the whole wheat and rye flours with the salt. I used a wooden spoon. Stir the 1/4 cup (80g) honey into the flour mixture. If necessary, add an additional bit of flour if the dough is too wet, or another tablespoon of water if the dough is too dry. It should feel soft and moist, and when you touch it, your finger should just barely stick to it.

3. This is a stiff but fairly smooth dough at this point.  I don’t think I kneaded more than about 5 minutes.  I also moistened my hands fairly often by putting one palm in a bowl of water.  I can’t guess how much water this added.

4. Here I deviated from the recipe and covered the dough and placed it in the refrigerator over night.

5. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead in the sunflower seeds thoroughly, making sure that they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.  Again I moistened one palm in a bowl of water.
Return the dough to the mixer bowl, I covered the bowel with a moist towel and then a shower cap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, took 2 hours.

6. Punch the dough down with your fist, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.

7. Lightly grease a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, shape the dough into a elongated rectangle, and place the dough in the pan. Cover and let rise 1 hour. (Note that it won’t rise much.)

8. About 15 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

I preheated my convection oven to 340°, placed the loaf in the well preheated oven, sprayed the top of the loaf well with the water and then gave the oven a good squirt. I turned the oven up to 350°F for 10 minutes and then back down to 340° for the last hour of baking.

IMG_7850

My total baking time was 70 minutes.

9. Storage: The bread will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature. It can be frozen for several months.

Notes:

My experience with dense whole wheat loaves tells me they are best left to cool to room temperature. It requires a great deal of patience.

Out of the oven at 1:51pm  104.4°;  at 2:45pm 141.1°F;  at 4:50pm  90.1°F;   at 7pm  72.6°F;  at 9pm  66.7°F room temperature.

IMG_7857

For the whole wheat flour, I mixed King Arthur whole wheat flour (fairly finely ground) with half Bob’s Red Mill white whole wheat (more coarsely ground).

Of course the flax seed was added by me not the real chefs.

IMG_1343

David Lebovitz:  Please note that this bread requires three risings. Fortunately, there isn’t any work to do between those risings. But allow yourself time when you make the bread. I started it the minute I woke up, and it was ready by lunch!

IMG_1346

I was thinking that next time, I may swap out a bit of the honey – perhaps 2-3 tablespoons – with mild molasses. Do make sure you toast the sunflower seeds. To do so, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and spread the seeds on a baking sheet. Baking them, stirring once or twice, for 6 to 8 minutes. Some people like to toast nuts and seeds in a hot skillet on the stovetop, which you can do instead. I tried my own idea of brushing the bread with water and topping it with seeds before baking and most of them didn’t stick. So I didn’t include that suggestion here.

I found this bread even better toasted. It made a nice lunch with ripe, mashed avocado on top, which I mixed with red onion, red pepper powder, a bit of olive oil, and some flaky sea salt.

Two days and we’ll be up with the BBBs  ;-)

Happy Baking!

BBB logo December 2014


8 Comments

Nutella Brioche Flower – Bread Baking Babes Bright Star

Nutella Brioche Flower aka in my house as Chocolate Peanut Butter Brioche Snow Flake

Such an easy bread to make. Such a stunning bread to put in the oven. Such a spectacular bread to take out of the oven.
I mean this is gorgeous visual! even not perfect.

IMG_7613

Cathy, Bread Experience, is our Kitchen of the Month and you REALLY want to be a Buddy this month and make yourself a star … or snowflake. Cathy called it a flower. Titled it a flower.  I thought it looked more like a star but then Lien changed my mind when she called it a snow flake.  I say thank you Cathy.

Every month when the Babes bake, Katie rounds the Babes all up. Makes us look great. Many months even though we were given the same recipe, there’s a great variety in the way we look. I’m going to step out on that limb and say I think this month we may have a very similar look to our breads. More alike than usual I think is likely. So far I’ve only seen Cathy’s but I still think we’re going to share in the looks department.
UPDATE: even before I hit publish, an e-mail from flickr just came across my desk, Lien’s is even much more like a star than mine. The limb just broke.
Now, fillings. I’m thinking that’s where we may part ways this months. But, hey, that’s very normal for us. After you and I have checked out all the Babes, we’ll know. You’ll have a great many new ideas for fillings, maybe even come up with one we didn’t.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brioche Snow Flake
Recipe By: Cathy (breadexperience) who
Adapted it from:
Poor Man’s Brioche in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Yield: one round loafFor the sponge:
65 grams bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
134 grams (4 ounces) whole milk, lukewarm (90 to 100 degrees F.)
For the dough:
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
140 grams bread flour, 1 cup
300 grams white whole wheat flour, 2 cups
30 grams flax meal
40 grams sugar – brown
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
116 grams unsalted butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons milk, if necessary to form a smooth dough
For the filling and glaze:
peanut butter
bitter chocolate grated
whole milk
1 tablespoon milk plus 1 tablespoon water for glaze
Icing (confectioner’s) sugar
***** Where ever you see those five stars, that’s me giving you my comments.
I am a real convert to my kitchen scale. When ever I get a recipe written in cups or ounces, I use cups the first time but measure that in grams and write it down. The result is the next time I bake, I’ve got the grams. I don’t usually calculate/convert cups to grams based on any formula. I just do the measure myself then I know if it works or how well it works for me and adjust accordingly.1. To make the dough, add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add this mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue mixing with the paddle on low-speed for about 2 minutes) until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to begin to develop the gluten.  Then mix in the melted butter by hand, using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk or with the mixer on medium speed using the dough hook. Add in a couple of teaspoons of milk if the dough is too dry.Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.  It shouldn’t be too sticky to handle.Form the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl.  It doesn’t need to be oiled.  The butter should keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.  Let the dough bulk ferment in a warm place (70- 75 degrees F.) for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.IMG_7588****** When I finally did find the morning to get the sponge mixed, it was fully 7 hours later before there was some signs of life so I added a pinch more yeast and mixed and kneaded nicely silken dough.
I covered it and left it to rise. Several hours later, you are adding these hours now aren’t you, I checked the rise. “I can’t deal with this any more tonight.”
I said a sweet goodnight to my dough ball as I tucked him into the cool overnight.
Next day, the dough ball did not raise to my consciousness until 3PM.2. Meanwhile, cut out a circle of baking or grease proof paper about 30 cm (12″) in diameter. Place the paper on a baking sheet.

To shape the snow flake, once risen, turn the dough out onto a surface, knock it back knead for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form each piece into a ball.

Roll a ball of dough out into a circle measuring about 25 cm (10″) in diameter. The dough should be about 3-4 mm (1/8″) thick.

Place the dough onto the baking paper and spread on a layer of Nutella, leaving a small gap at the edge. Don’t make the layer too thick but be sure to evenly cover the dough.

Roll out a second ball of dough, place it on the first layer and spread with Nutella. Repeat with the third and fourth balls of dough but do NOT spread Nutella on the final layer.

***** Don’t you just love that “meanwhile” thing. In the meanwhile, I was working like a dog helping Gorn with paper work, worked out at the gym and spent many many hours making gifts for the four grandchildren. Meanwhile, haha. Actually, somewhere in that meanwhile I did cut out a 12 inch circle of parchment.

So, meanwhile I came to that part about the shape the snow flake !! Yes, I watched the video Cathy put up on the website long ago but remembering what I saw was coming up blank. Tom Terrific HughesNet was down … OK how many cuts Cathy?  Read on.

IMG_7596

3. Cut the brioche into 16 segments but leave a small (3 cm/1½”) area in the centre of the dough uncut.

Take a pair of adjacent segments. Lift and twist them away from each other through 180°. Lift and twist through 180° again, then twist through 90° so that the ends are vertical. Press the edges together firmly. Repeat this process for all pairs of segments.

IMG_7600

***** Fancy that, it says right there in the directions “16 segments”.  Leave an uncut circle area in the middle … I went with the middle size ramekin to act as a guide.

IMG_7605

I do remember the video showing a very even nutella spread just short of the edges and the baker timing the dough to a nice clean circle. My chocolate peanut butter was difficult to spread and had a fair amount of unevenness. I might trip the circle next time just to see if more of my edges would stay closed and look neater. But, I don’t think you have to obsess about this part being perfect. It works.

IMG_7601

4. Place the brioche in a large plastic bag or cover with lightly oiled film. Leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours to prove.

***** Well, I just covered it with a big bowl.

And I waited 2 and a half hours … finally said phooey, this is coming out of the oven at 10 and I’m going to bed. Be prepared, this is not a fast riser at any stage of the game. It showed most rising in the oven.
IMG_7602

5. Brush with the milk glaze then bake at 160°C/320°F fan oven, 180°C/360°F conventional oven for 20-25 minutes.  I baked it at 375 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then turned it down to 350 and baked it another 5 minutes or so.

***** I baked it at 375° F for 15 minutes then at 350°F for another 15 minutes – thinking that the whole wheat flour would take more baking time.

6. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust lightly with icing sugar.

***** I wanted to turn the bread around at 15 minutes knowing that my oven is hot in the back but it was just too awkward as I had used my baking stone and things were just too heavy to move it gracefully. So you’ll see it’s darker on one side than the other.

IMG_7608

It was out of the oven by 10PM.

***** Now, my filling. For my birthday last month, I treated myself.

IMG_1310 IMG_1309

***** I treated myself to an 11 pound bar of this chocolate. Holy moly!! This is such good bitter chocolate, I love eating it just like it is. Never done that with another bitter chocolate.
Anyway, the filling: I micro-planed grated a lot (you know like your Nona always measured) and then mixed that with peanut butter. It was dry. I added whole milk. It was dry. I added 2 tablespoons of butter. It was dry. I added more peanut butter – yes chunky.  It was dry. I microwaved it for a minute on 10% power and repeated that about 6 times, stirring in-between times. It got soft and oily. I went with it.

I hope it was good because I gave it to a friend.

IMG_7613

So, no crumb shot.

Whether you call it a flower, a star or a snowflake, you really want to make this one. Do it. Pop yourself over to Cathy’s, get the details and tell her what you think. She’ll send you a badge and get you in the round-up at the end of the month. Really it is easy. You can’t get more bang for your kneading than this gorgeous shape. Filling: what can you dream up for us?

I’m thinking Christmas morning and coffee.

Merry Christmas, Be Merry and Bright.

BBB logo November 2014


7 Comments

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.

IMG_7393

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

IMG_7462

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!

 IMG_7469