Tags: baking, bread
Two things you need to have before making Steve Sullivan’s Mixed-Starter Bread are a piece of leftover bread dough and plenty of time. The “old dough” can be just a little hunk of raw dough saved from last night’s pizza party. As for time, we’re talking about a whole weekend. That’s the time needed to feed that old dough and turn it into a big batch of airy new dough.
Once you’ve successfully done your time feeding the starter and kneading and rising your dough, you can make a variety of shapes out of it…like a nice baguette, an amazing couronne, or cute wheat stalk. You can even knead in a heap of walnuts and make a big Walnut Bread. Not wanting to fully stock my freezer with bread loaves, I made a half-recipe of the dough and divided into a somewhat imperfectly snipped wheat stalk (pain d’epi) and a walnut boule.
In the book, the walnut boule is made with an entire batch of the finished mixed-starter dough, so mine is just a baby boule and it baked through much faster than a big guy would have. As a result of reduced oven time, it didn’t brown as much as I would have liked, so I cheated by painting on a little olive oil before its last five minutes of baking. I still wish I’d gotten a both breads a bit darker.
Due to the lack of afternoon light in my house this time of year, I didn’t get a good shot of the cut breads. Even though you feel like you’ve done a lot of waiting while making this dough, it actually doesn’t hang around long enough to develop a sourdough flavor. You get soft white bread with air holes inside and a real crust outside. The walnut version is excellent with cheese, and I’ll take salty butter on the epi, please.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (the mixed-starter bread is also here and the walnut bread is here). There’s also a video of the BWJ episode showing how to make and shape the mixed-starter bread. Finally, don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: savory, tart
This Alsatian Onion Tart is our third Michel Richard puff pastry recipe in a row! This is a great easy recipe to toss together for brunch or lunch (or dinner) if you have some puff in the freezer already. It’s actually designed to use scrap puff pastry that’s been rerolled, but I didn’t have enough scrap and sacrificed a fresh sheet. It was worth it.
This is very similar to the flammkuchen I like to get at German beer hall in my neighborhood (except I think they use a flatbread base instead of puff pastry). It’s almost like a pizza topped with slightly sweet, soft onions simmered in chicken broth, bacon and a touch of cream. I put some fresh thyme on mine, too…hopefully the Alsatians won’t mind.
While the recipe specifies four very large onions for the topping, two of my onions were most definitely small and the other two were medium-sized at best. I was crying so freaking much chopping them, I don’t think I could have physically handled anymore. I had plenty for a nice thick layer anyway. I actually thought it looked like too much cooked onion but I put it all on there. Also, I used turkey bacon instead of slab bacon so I skipped the blanching step and just gave it a quick sauté. Oh yeah, and I baked my tart at 400° because I like puff to be a little browner than I’ve found I can get it at 350°. You can prep the components a day in advance and assemble the tart right before baking.
The recipe says this tart is best just baked, but I had leftovers that I reheated in a 325° oven the next day, and they were great.
Tags: appetizers, savory, snacks
I’m no interior designer. This has been made painfully obvious to me by my home decorating choices (more accurately called mistakes). Right now I’m trying to choose a few paint colors and I just can’t. I can’t. I need a glass of wine and a treat. Thankfully, that I can do, and easily, too, with Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Pizzettes. These little one bite snacky hors d’oeuvres are meant to use up the scraps from the other week’s Sunny-Side Up Apricot Pastries. Homemade puff pastry (heck, even store-bought– it’s expensive!) is a no-waste situation. I only made two of the apricot pastries so I really didn’t have a whole lot of scrap to go with here and just got six pizzettes. Even so, I made two versions with goat cheese– one with tomato and the other with sautéed leeks. I’m annoyed that I forgot to put a little parsley leaf on top of each tomato one…my picture would have been cuter! See what I mean? I fail on the design details.
These were a tasty little snack with glass (or two) of wine. They were best warm, though. The room temp one I tried had definitely lost some of its crispiness.
This beautiful time of year is when I want to bottle up everything fresh and hoard it for drearier times. I’ve just made concord grape jam and now I’m adding tomato jam to my little fridge stash.
Tomato jam might sound a tad strange, but this isn’t a clear jelly…it’s more of a cross between tomato sauce and ketchup. I’m sure you could eat it straight up on toast although I use it like a condiment. I first came across this when we lived in Sydney and I’d get the most delicious egg sandwiches with tomato jam at the Pyrmont Growers’ Market. I miss Sydney a lot…we’ve been back for several years now, but I still think about it all the time. I like that I can recreate bits and pieces of our time there, and now every September, when I have more fresh tomatoes than we can possibly eat, I made a batch of tomato jam.
I’ve spiced my tomato jam up the way I like it best, with cumin and coriander, but you can adjust or change the seasonings to your own taste. It isn’t just awesome on fried egg sandwiches, but also on burgers, sausages (and sausage rolls!), potatoes and savory pies.
Tomato Jam– makes about a pint
inspired by Citrus and Candy
Steph’s Notes: This is a pretty small batch of jam– small enough that I just store it in the fridge and use it up over the course of a few weeks. I do recommend using a sterilized jar and lid though.
1 1/4 lb ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped (red, white or yellow)
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes
dash of ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
-Begin by peeling the tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to the boil. With a sharp paring knife, score a small cross on the bottom of each tomato. Blanch the tomatoes for a minute in the boiling water or until the skin just starts peeling. Drain and then peel the skin off the tomatoes. Remove the cores and roughly chop into chunks (I think the seeds are fine).
-Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (I used a 2-quart saucepan), then sauté onions with the salt for about 10 minutes or until the onions have softened and are lightly caramelized (golden but not brown). Add the garlic and spices and continue to sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
-Deglaze with the balsamic vinegar, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan, then add the sugar and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until it’s thick and darkened. (You can add a splash of water if it looks too dry.)
-Taste the jam (carefully, as obviously it will be quite hot) and add extra salt, hot pepper or vinegar if it needs an adjustment.
-Store the jam in a sterilized jar and keep it in the fridge for up to a few weeks.
Tags: baking, bread
Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!
In a kitchen without A/C, mid-summer bread baking is not really my idea of a good time, but the oven doesn’t need to be on too long for Craig Kominiak’s Leaf-Shaped Fougasse. From what I gather, French fougasse is similar to Italian focaccia, and the teardrop leaf shape is traditional in Provence. I should research the technical differences between the two breads, because I’m sure there are some, but for this purpose, we made the same easy dough recipe that we used for the focaccia last year (overnight rise and all that stuff). I thought that getting the dough into the teardrop shape would be diffucult, but it wasn’t at all and I followed Cher’s suggestion to easily cut the pattern in the dough by snipping it with kitchen shears. Also, I did my cutting directly on my sheet pan (which I sprinkled with cornmeal but did not line with parchment), and that saved me from having to delicately move around and transfer the shaped bread.
I find soft, bubbly, salty, oily bread like this to be addictive, and the hole pattern in the fougasse makes for little sections that are way too easy to rip off and snack on. After R & I demolished the left side, I quickly wrapped up the right side for the freezer, just to stop ourselves from eating the whole thing in one go. The word “fougasse” makes me think of the band Fugazi, but I guess that’s for another blog.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (a modified version of the dough recipe itself is also here and there’s a video here that includes Kominiak shaping, cutting and baking the fougasse). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, savory, snacks
Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Savory Wheat Crackers were a nice little snack to munch on with a chilled glass of wine this past (very fine) weekend. I’ve made crackers before…here, for instance. Also, in the restaurants I’ve worked in, pastry always had to make the crackers to go with the cheese plates. Rolling cracker dough out with a pasta machine (or a sheeter like we had at my first job) is my pro tip from those days. It gets them super thin, although you have to use a fair amount of flour to not shred the dough in the roller. I took these to the second thinnest setting in my machine and then topped my crisps with nigella seeds, ground coriander and fleur de sel.
This whole wheat cracker dough is super basic….no leavening necessary. It comes together with a whiz in the food processor, although my dough was a little sticky, so I added some supplemental AP flour to make it behave. The recipe makes a lot of dough…even the half recipe I made yielded tray after tray of crackers! They have to be rolled, cut and baked in batches. It was like a Nabisco factory in my kitchen on Sunday. Actually, I forgot to cut two of the trays before I put them in the oven– I just broke those into big shards after they were cool. Real Nabisco would so fire me. You need a ripping hot oven for these and will likely have to tack on a few minutes to the stated baking time. My crackers took 6-7 minutes to bake through, rather than the three minutes in the recipe. One minute too many, though, and the crackers will be charcoal (and yes, I did torch a tray myself)!
I made a little spread out of famer’s cheese and flowering chives to snack on with these crackers. I have lots more to eat up, so I’ll have to think up some other ideas. For the cracker recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: appetizers, savory, snacks
I’ve been trying to lay off the sweets a bit lately. No more dessert every night, I’ll mostly keep that to weekends. This is because I can tell my trainer would like it if I dropped a few pounds. The things I do for this guy….I even got up early to run a 5K on Sunday! He’s right of course, and he has made me strong, so at least that running was a piece of cake (unlike the cake I’m not eating).
I do miss baking stuff more than once a week, though, so it’s nice to have a little savory project to put together. To tell the truth, these Scallop and Pesto Purses, courtesy of Gale Gand, were more of a quick assembly task than a real baking project. Take a nice, fat sea scallop and a schmear of pesto, bundle it up in a phyllo dough wrapper and pop it in the oven. These purses are intended to be elegant appetizers, but I will probably never have a dinner party sophisticated enough to serve them (pigs in a blanket, anyone?). After I snapped this photo, I put a few of them together on each plate with a bit of salad, and we had them as dinner…with the rosé, obvi. They were really tasty and the scallops cooked nicely inside (which I was worried about since I couldn’t really tell what was going on in there). The juices from the scallop did make the bottom of the purses soft, but we were knife and forking it, so it wasn’t a big deal.
I pounded together a little bit of parsley pesto for these in my new mortar and pestle. It was my first time making pesto this way– normally I use the food processor– and it was so good, I made more a few nights later for pasta.
Tags: baking, bread
A toasted bialy with salty butter is my idea of a very fine breakfast. I’m sure a number of my fellow Americans have never heard of a bialy– I hadn’t before I moved to New York City. Then after about six years of living here, someone *finally* brought a sack of them in from Kossar’s at the first restaurant I worked for, and I was hooked. I now know that I can find bialys at almost every bagel shop in the city, but they’re usually pulled out of a plastic bag, and I get the feeling that they aren’t made fresh in-house. To get my fix, I stock up at Kossar’s anytime I have errands to run on the Lower East Side. I was pumped to be making Lauren Groveman’s Onion Bialys for TWD this week! BTW, I feel like every other week we’re making another recipe from Lauren Groveman…
I’d call bialys cousins of the bagel, although they are not boiled, they are flatter than bagels (despite the fact that mine came out looking like balloons), and instead of holes they have awesome caramelized onion-filled centers…so on second thought, even though they have a similar dough, they are really not really like bagels at all. Speaking of the dough, it was soft and lovely (I didn’t need all the flour called for) and easy to work with. Of course my bialys took off in the oven, but I’m sure it was my fault. I did prick the heck out of the centers, but next time I’ll hand stretch them a little more, too. I don’t really care– they tasted great and had perfect texture. Fresh from the oven, they are even better than Kossar’s!
Tags: baking, bread
I’m just back from a week-long course at Penn State studying the science and federal regulation of large-scale ice cream manufacture…”from cow to cone,” as the main professor said. OMG–so fun, but also really hard (especially since I hadn’t studied chemistry or physics since high school and didn’t know squat going in about the mechanics of freezers or homogenizers). Now that I geeked-out on ice cream for a week, it only makes sense that I’m back here with Joe Ortiz’s Country Bread (huh?).
This made one monster loaf! The dough polished off what was left of both my yeast and my bread flour. I was expecting the crumb to have larger air holes, but now that I think about it, given the whole wheat and rye flour in the dough, it makes sense that it had a denser structure. I made a good breakfast with it this morning, and it’ll be a great soup-dunker, too.
Tags: baking, bread
I really thought about skipping Lauren Groveman’s Pumpernickel Loaves. I was annoyed at the thought of having to make prune butter first. I didn’t have any caraways seeds. And then there was some crazy stuff about S-hooks and slings. I sucked it up and went to the store, made the prune butter (using the lekvar recipe that’s in the book) and thought about a way to form the bread that didn’t involve a sling.
I made half a recipe for one big loaf. Since I had a smaller batch, I mixed it in my KitchenAid. I found that I didn’t need quite the full amount of flour to get a nice dough. This pumpernickel gets its color (and a lot of flavor) from dark things like chocolate, espresso powder, molasses and, of course, that prune butter. Who knew that stuff was in there? After giving the dough two rests in a bowl, I shaped it and put it in a 9.5″x4.5″ loaf pan for its final rise (I sprayed and dusted the pan with cornmeal first).
I actually was expecting it to look darker than it turned out to be…I’ve had store-bought pumps that were almost black. The flavor from the caraway seeds is lovely and the crust is great.
There’s an accompanying recipe for Reuben sandwiches in the book, and I made those for dinner the other night. Yesterday I just had a plain turkey and cheese for lunch. Both were totes yum, and my husband was extremely excited about having homemade pumpernickel. I have this problem with slicing whole sandwich loaves, though. I can never get a straight slice, so my sandwiches are always lopsided (I tried to disguise that in this picture)!
For the bread recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It’s also here, and there’s even a video of Lauren and Julia making pumpernickel together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!