Monday, October 16, 2017

Double-duty Baking for October -- Babes and World Bread Day

This month (October) I am pleased to be the Kitchen of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes.  Since we post our stories on the 16th of the month, our baking this time around also coincides with World Bread Baking Day, also October 16th.

The minute I sign up for my turn, I start keeping an eye out for a good and interesting bread recipe.  The closer my time comes, the more indecisive I become.  Which bread to choose?  This year was no exception.  By the deadline, I had my choices narrowed down to two:  one was a fun sort of bread, the other was more sturdy and fit with the time of year.  I went with the latter choice, but when my turn rolls around again (no pun intended), I will most likely choose the fun bread because it keeps calling my name.

Because October is the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and there is a noticeable nip in the morning air, I selected a seasonal recipe, Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread.  The original recipe can be found in Bread for All Seasons, by Beth Hensperger. 

The dough contains a delicious mixture of cornmeal, rye, and bread flour, with flavorings from buttermilk, molasses, and pumpkin (of course).  It's really a lovely dough to work with, and can be shaped either into loaves or rolls.

I took two-thirds of the dough and formed it into round loaves, then I took the remaining third and shaped it into rolls.  While you can shape the bread however you wish, I followed the recommendation from the book, and made the rolls in the shape of a spiral.  I decided it was a bit of an unfortunate shape, seeing it after rising and baking.  But, the rolls were fun to eat!

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 me at jahunt22 dot gmail dot com by October 29th, and they will be included in the Buddy

Be sure to check out the results from the other Babes:

Happy Bread Baking!

Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread
Yield:  2 or 3 loaves or 24 dinner rolls

1 ½  tablespoons active dry yeast (1 ½ packets)
Pinch of sugar
1 cup warm water (105˚ to 115˚)
1 cup warm buttermilk (105˚ to 115˚)
5 tablespoons melted butter or oil
1/3 cup light molasses
½ cup pumpkin purée (either canned or homemade)
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup fine- or medium-grind yellow cornmeal
1 cup medium rye flour
4 ½ to 4 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour

In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, 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.

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.

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.

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.

(adapted from Bread for All Seasons by Beth Hensperger)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BBB: Swiss Rye Ring/Brasciadela/Kantonsbrot Graubünden

After a month-long hiatus from any kind of baking (Whole30 month), I was back in the kitchen on September 1st, just in time to bake the Swiss Rye Ring.

Cathy, from Bread Experience, was the Kitchen of the Month, and she was excited to share this bread after attending a bread-baking workshop.  Luckily, my sourdough starter is rye flour-based, and was only in hibernation for a month.  There must have been some benefits to that, because the started returned to an extra bubbly state.

The original recipe can be found at The Rye Baker.  It calls for several types of rye flour and for first clear flour, commonly used in Jewish rye breads.  Locally, dark rye flour is my only choice.  I did find a formula for simulating first clear flour -- for every 100 grams, use a mixture of 96 grams all-purpose flour and 4 grams of vital wheat gluten.  Other than that, the recipe is very straight-forward and easy to make.

My one change, and it has nothing to do with the recipe, would be to fire up the oven when the dough begins its final rise.  My oven takes forever to get to temperature, and the dough was a fast riser, so just keep that in mind.

At first, I thought my dough had collapsed, but upon seeing the results from the other Babes, I don't think that is the case.  Sure, some were more filled out, but mine didn't turn out as awful as I first believed.  It has a nice tang as well, delicious either plain or toasted with butter.

I'm still feeding my starter and need to make up for lost time, trying all kinds of sourdough recipes.  If I ever get my hands on the requested ingredients for this bread, I will definitely make it again.

For the recipe, you can go to either Cathy's website or to The Rye Baker.  If you want to bake as a buddy, send your results and photos to Cathy by September 29th.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Coffee Malted Cookies

For the Dorie's Cookies bake-along, the second cookie for July was the Coffee Malteds (page 116), highlighting two of my favorite flavors, coffee and malt.

These cookies are easy and quick to make, with a cake-like texture.  They are drop cookies, although, because I wasn't sure how much they would spread, I decided to bake them in mini-muffin tins, using my smallest scoop to dish out the dough.  I ended up with bite-sized buttons.  The flavor mellowed over time, but they were delicious from first cookie to last.

The Coffee Malteds were also Dorie's selection for her Cookies and Kindness project.

Stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website to find out what the other bakers thought.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

BBB: Velvety Bean Bread

Kelly of A Messy Kitchen is the Kitchen of the Month for July.  She chose a fiber-rich bread with an unusual ingredient -- pureed white beans.

To be honest, if I were a baker on the Great British Baking Show, I would be sent home because of this bread.  I baked it two separate times, and both times the loaves failed.  Can't seem to bake a loaf of bread to save my life, it seems.

The first time around, the dough overproofed, even though I watched it carefully.  When I slashed the first loaf, it deflated faster than a blink of an eye.  I didn't slash the second one.

So, I decided that it was baker error and I needed to try again.  This time, I watched the dough like a hawk.  The final proof only took around 30 minutes.  The unbaked loaves looked fine, but, when I removed them from the oven, both were flat.

There was no third time.

I'm getting a bit gun-shy with bread at the moment.  For the time being, I will stick with cookies.

All the other Babes had perfect loaves.  So, give it a try and see what happens.  Send your efforts to Kelly by the 29th of July to be included in the Buddy roundup.

From Kelly:

Velvety Bean Bread
Makes 2 small pan loaves

2 tsp (7 g) active dry yeast
1 cup (326.5 g) lukewarm water
2 cups drained cooked or canned navy beans, room temp (I soaked and cooked mine)
1 cup (113 g) whole wheat flour (I used sprouted spelt)
1 tbsp (13.7 g) olive oil
1 tbsp (17 g) salt (I used less with my salt.  Scant tsp or ¾ tsp)
2 tbsp (~6 g) chopped chives (optional)
~ 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour (I added 30 extra grams to each loaf, 60 g total)

Dissolve yeast in water.  Process beans until smooth, transfer to a large bowl or stand mixer.  Stir yeast mixture into beans.  Add the whole wheat flour and stir for one minute, in one direction, to develop the dough.  Add the oil, salt, and chives, if using and stir them in.  Add 1 cup of the AP flour and stir in.  Add the remaining AP flour and knead in with a dough hook, or work in and knead by hand for about 5 minutes, until smooth.

Place dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise for 3 hours, until almost doubled in volume.  (There should be about 2.5 pounds of dough.)
Turn out dough and divide in half.  Butter two 8x4" pans.  Form each portion of dough into a loaf and place seam side down in the pans.  The directions say to let rise for 2½ hours.  That was WAY too long for my kitchen.  The above loaf was baked after 1 hour.  You'll have to watch the dough for proper rise.  Check at 1 hour and continue to proof if needed.
Preheat oven to 400ºF, have a spray bottle or small cup of water ready for steam.  Slash each loaf lengthwise , place in oven and bake for 5 minutes, adding steam every couple minutes with the sprayer or cup.  Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375ºF and bake for 25 minutes until rich brown with a matte finish.  Turn the loaves out and check for doneness. Finish cooling on a wire rack before slicing.

The Bread Baking Babes:

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

TWD: Jammin'

 It's cookie time again. 

By popular acclaim, the first cookies for July are Classic Jammers (page 350) in Dorie's Cookies.  This is a multi-step cookie:  vanilla sables for the base, streusel for the top, some kind of jam for the assembly.  I used some cherry preserves for my jam. 

I only made half a recipe, but the streusel topping ran out before I could use up all the dough, so I baked the remainder as plain cookies.  I'm not a huge fan of jam in cookies, and I debated whether to use lemon curd instead.  If there's a next time, that's what I'll use.

They were  pretty darn delicious, even so.

I did experiment with the baking pan.  A few years ago, a friend gave me one of those mini cheesecake pans with the removable bottoms, so the first twelve cookies were baked in that pan (the small ones in the photo).  The pan worked nicely, but the openings are deep, making it a challenge to sprinkle on the streusel.  I'm sure it would do fine for less complicated cookies.  The remaining six were baked in a standard muffin tin (the big ones), which certainly made assembly a bit easier.  Neither pan affected the taste; it was just a matter of appearance and ease of preparation.

Stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see what the other cookie bakers thought.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TWD: Cookies -- Two for the price of one

Saturday was cookie-baking day, and it had to be done early before it got too hot.

First up were the Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread cookies.  I had made them several months ago with disappointing results.  This time, I had fresh rose water and fresh rose-hibiscus-cherry tea, so I thought I would try again. 

The cookies turned out fine, although the flavor is still too mild to notice.  I'll probably stick with regular or lemon-poppy seed shortbread.

Next was the latest version of chocolate chip cookies, My Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I had made the dough on Wednesday, so it had plenty of chilling time.  I also halved the recipe because I didn't need to be tempted by 50+ cookies.  For the chocolate chips, I used a giant bittersweet chocolate bar from Trader Joe's, weighing out the appropriate amount and slicing off slivers with a serrated knife.  No big hunks of chocolate, but a nice distribution of chocolate throughout the cookie.  These baked up very nicely, the spices were subtle, so they shouldn't be terribly noticeable.  I'd definitely bake these again.

Now it's your turn to try them out.  Stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see which cookies the other bakers made, and keep an eye out for the July selections.

The recipe for the Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread Cookies can be found on page 191; the one for the chocolate chip cookies on page 125 of Dorie's Cookies.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bread with handles (Kaak)!

This month's creative bread is courtesy of Karen (Baking Soda) at Bake My Day!  She asked us to bake Kaak, a Lebanese bread with sesame seeds. It also has a unique shape.

The recipe I used was slightly different than the one Karen posted.  I did use buttermilk, but I also did the initial dough mixing and rising in my bread machine, saving the final shaping to do by hand.  Also, because I created the holes with a round cutter, I had 8 little bread disks, which made for excellent testing and snacking.

My kaak was more like a flatbread.  Perhaps the second rise wasn't long enough.  But, even so, they were delicious, worthy of baking again.

Stop by and see what the other Babes did, and feel free to join in as a Buddy.  Send your information to Karen by June 29 to be included in the roundup.

The Babes are:

Bake My Day - Karen
blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth
Bread Experience - Cathy
Feeding my Enthusiasms - Pat/Elle 

 Karen's Kitchen Stories - Karen
My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna
Notitie Van Lien - Lien

A Messy Kitchen – Kelly  
Thyme for Cooking - Katie
Life's a Feast - Jamie


1 1/2 cups warm reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1-2 tablespoons more flour for flouring and rolling
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
For topping
1 large egg
1/2 cup sesame seeds (1 tablespoon per kaak)

1. In the pan of an electric bread machine, add ingredients in the order recommended by the yeast manufacturer. Set for the dough cycle.
2. When done, remove dough from pan, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Divide into 8 equal parts, each weighing about 100 grams. With a floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each part into a large, 6-7 inch circle. Use a small, 2-inch glass to cut a small circle out, near the edge of each large circle:
4. Place rings on two greased baking sheets. Beat the egg and 1 TBS water with a fork. Brush each ring with the mixture and sprinkle with about 1 TBS sesame seeds:
5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
6. Heat oven to 200°C. Bake about 10 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Serve immediately.