Tags: baking, bread
A warm pan of this stuff– this olive oil-soaked bread– is dangerous. Craig Kominiak’s Focaccia is the type of thing I could polish off myself in one sitting.
There was some talk about KitchenAid burnout from the full batch of dough, which made three breads. In the interests of both self-restraint and my red KA, I did just a third of it. No problems with the mixing, and only one pan of focaccia to tempt me.
Don’t make this dough in the morning and expect to have focaccia by dinner. It needs a solid 24 hours to rest in the fridge (after two room temp rises) for flavor and air bubbles. I was daydreaming about that pizza from a couple of weeks ago, and in the course of that downtime made a pan of caramelized onions to top my bread.
I think with focaccia, as with most things savory, the more olive oil the better. Rather than sprinkle my baking sheet with cornmeal, I lubed it up with extra oil before stretching the dough into it. Then I brushed garlic and thyme infused olive oil all over the top. At the half-way point in baking, I scattered on my caramelized onions (so they wouldn’t burn), popped the focaccia out of the pan and slipped it directly onto my pizza stone to finish baking. I had delicious oily, salty bread with an almost fried bottom crust. If I had a criticism, it would be that slashing the dough, as the recipe calls, just before baking seemed to really deflate the air bubbles and inhibit its rise. Next time, I’ll dimple the dough with my fingers instead and hopefully it will be puffy and tall.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Sharmini’s blog Wandering Through (a modified version is also here and there’s a video here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, pizza
My husband is going out for a business dinner tonight, and I have plans of my own. Sometimes when he’s not around for dinner I’ll meet up with friends for wine and gossip. But tonight, it’s a little alone time…just me, Steve Sullivan’s Pizza with Onion Confit and the first episode of the new season of Downton Abbey. Perfect
Here in Brooklyn I don’t have to look too hard to find good pizza, but I make it a lot at home anyway. I fiddle around with different recipes, too, so I didn’t mind trying a new one here. This dough uses a sponge starter to add flavor, but the process can be done in a day, unlike some doughs that require a day or two of fridge fermentation (like this excellent one). I cook my pizzas on a stone in a ripping-hot oven. And I (obviously) don’t care too much if they are perfectly round or not.
All the tears you shed slicing onions will be worth it when you wind up with a pan full of soft, sweet onion confit to top your pizza. I didn’t have the red wine the recipe calls to simmer the onions in, but I did have an open bottle of white, so I used that instead. I’m sure the red wine would have made the confit a beautiful shade of rich purple, but mine wound up more like traditional caramelized onions. Leftover onion confit is like gold in the fridge, and I can’t wait to use it on a turkey burger or a sandwich.
I also put a handful of spinach on top of my pizza, you know, for vegetables. And at the halfway point I crumbled on a little Point Reyes blue cheese. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Paul’s The Boy Can Bake. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast
I eat my fair share of bagels. Frankly it’s hard not to when you live in New York City and there are bagel shops all over the place (Bergen Bagels being my favorite close-to-home joint). I’m not just a bagel-eater, I’ve actually made a lot of bagels, too, at my first restaurant job where we’d get slammed with weekend brunch crowds who all seemed to want the smoked trout with quail egg and a mini bagel….so Lauren Groveman’s recipe wasn’t totally Greek (or should I say Yiddish?) to me.
There were a couple of things I did differently than the recipe, just out of old habits. After boiling the bagels for about a minute on each side, I removed them from the water and placed them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. I baked them on the rack as well, because it allows the oven heat to circulate underneath the bagels. I didn’t bother brushing them with the egg white glaze before baking. They may not have been laquer-shiny, but they still browned very nicely and the toppings held in place. Also, in the bagel dough, I used half sugar and half barley malt syrup for the sweetener, which Groveman did on the TV show, but did a little differently in the book (which calls for only sugar).
I wasn’t super-prepared in the toppings department, so I just went with poppy seeds on some and grey salt on others. The salt ones were my favorite. I stirred some dill and chives into cream cheese to jazz up my schmear a bit. These were chewy and had a nice crust….with a cup of coffee, these bagels made for a perfect New York breakfast.
If you’ve never had a super-fresh, warm bagel before, you can really make great ones at home, so give it a go! You can make the dough the night before and it’s ready to shape and cook off the next morning. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Heather’s Bytes (it’s also here). And there’s even a video of Julia and Lauren making bagels together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: eggs, party food, savory
I love a good party, and I’m so happy to have been invited to a virtual bridal shower for Jessica from My Baking Heart! I’ve gotten to know Jessica through TWD. She’s an amazing baker (and cook, too)…clearly C knows that he’s a lucky guy.
Nikki from Pennies on a Platter organized this big celebration, and we are going to have a fabulous table of drinks, snacks and sweets prepared by a list of incredible ladies. I decided to bring along deviled eggs. They are one of my favorite cocktail snacks, and I just love how retro they are. The recipe below is for deviled eggs at their most basic, but you can jazz them up an infinite number of ways with spices and fresh herbs. I used a French curry mayo that I bought at the fancy mayonnaise shop here in Brooklyn (I was just too intrigued by the strangeness of a mayonnaise shop not to stop in and buy something), and sprinkled over smoked paprika and chives. Of course I piped my filling in with a star tip because it’s a special occasion.
Deviled Eggs– makes 12 halves
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar or squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
-Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with water and ice cubes. Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon and let cool 5 minutes.
-Peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Put the yolks in a fine-mesh sieve and use a spatula to press them through sieve and into bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and stir vigorously until smooth.
-Arrange whites on serving platter and mound with the yolk mixture, either using a spoon or a pastry bag and tip. Serve immediately.
Tags: baking, bread
Now that it’s ever so slightly cooler outside, it’s nice to spend the better part of a Sunday morning making bread. Baking a yeast bread makes me feel productive, even if I’m really doing almost nothing at all. Craig Kominiak’s Whole Wheat Loaves were this weekend’s TWD project.
This wheat bread has a kiss of honey and malt extract (I used the Eden Foods malt syrup). It’s slightly sweet, soft and wholesome…not bland, dense and healthy (if you know what I mean). It’s good for sandwiching and for toasting. Now that I say that, it would no doubt make an awesome grilled cheese. That’s avocado toast up top…one of my favorite toast applications…and a turkey sandwich down below.
This is how wheat bread should be. I’m glad that the recipe is so unintimidating…there’s no excuse for me to not make it often. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Michele’s Veggie Num Nums and Teresa’s The Family That Bakes Together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, savory
I thought I was in for a whole day project when I set out to make Nick Malgieri’s Semolina Bread. The recipe calls for three two-hour proof periods, but with the East Coast heat and humidity, my kitchen is its own proof box. I had that loaf ready for the oven in under five!
I made the dough in the food processor. So easy. I cut the salt by a quarter teaspoon, and added it to the dough after the rest period in the processor. Besides that and my shorter proof times, I followed the recipe as-is.
I wanted my loaf to be like bread from the Italian bakeries over in Carroll Gardens, so I spritzed it with a little water and sprinkled on some sesame seeds before I put it in the oven. Then they all more of less fell off when I cut into it, but whatever. I had a crusty, golden loaf of bread, and it was delicious. My favorite part of a crusty loaf like this is the end bit. Actually my favorite parts, since there are two end bits! Slathered with a little salty butter, they are my ideal baker’s treat.
Tags: baking, bread, savory
Phew…I cut it close on this one. I just made Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Oasis Naan a couple of hours ago. Luckily it’s a pretty simple bread dough, as long as you have the time to proof it.
The recipe calls for making this flatbread dough by hand. I’m lazy…I used the food processor, same as I do for pizza dough. (I must say here, that I only made a half batch of dough, so everything fit just fine.) I started by adding the minimum amount of flour to my processor bowl, then with the machine running, I poured in my water/yeast combo. I added more flour to touch and turned off the machine for 10 minutes. Then I sprinkled the salt and a little bit more flour over the dough (because it still felt pretty sticky) and turned it back on for a few more seconds. I kneaded it on the counter for about a minute before putting into a bowl to proof.
The dough bakes up nice and puffy (be sure to dock it well!), and chewy, too. I topped mine with chopped spring garlic and za’atar spice, but I bet all kinds of things would be good on top. You could even make them like mini pizzas. It’s not quite as soft and charred as the naan I get from my local Indian takeaway, but I’d make this again for sure.
We ate our naan with a freekeh, beet, chickpea and feta salad I concocted. Very healty…I think my husband thought the naan was the best part!
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Maggie’s Always Add More Butter and Phyl of Of Cabbages & King Cakes. There’s also a video of Alford, Duguid and Julia making the bread together, and the authors wrote this article that gives more naan tips. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, pie, savory
This week TWD is putting on our Easter best with Nick Malgieri’s Pizza Rustica. If you are wondering “what heck kind of pizza is this?” then think instead of cheese pie. Ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino…like calzone filling inside pie crust. This is rich and special…no wonder it is an Italian Easter tradition.
The pie dough is a pasta frolla, which is actually a sweet dough, and is used in cookies as well. A sweet dough may sound odd for a savory pie, but with the salty filling, it just works. I should note though, that I cut back the sugar in the recipe from 1/3 cup to 3 tablespoons. For me, this was just the right level of sweetness. The dough also has some baking powder in it, so it puffs a bit and reminded me a little of a biscuit. The pasta frolla is really easy to work with. If you need to patch it while rolling it out, just press it back together. For better browning, you can brush the lattice strips with a little eggwash before baking.
At the shop where I work, we make a pizza rustica almost every day. The filling has prosciutto in it and I don’t eat pork, so in the year and a half I’ve been there, I’ve never had a taste! I was really excited to make one at home that I could finally try. This recipe also has prosciutto in the filling, but I think the substitution possibilities are pretty limitless here. In mine, I went with chicken sausage and kale (both of which I cooked and cooled first), and some red pepper flakes for spice. One thing that I’ve learned from making rustica at work is that it’s important to remove any excess liquid from the filling components before assembly. The night before making my PR, I drained my ricotta in a sieve lined with a coffee filter. I also was sure to squeeze any juice out of my cooked kale before chopping it up.
I think that pizza rustica is best eaten room temperature. And you know what goes great with it? Red wine.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Emily’s blog, Capitol Region Dining, and Raelynn’s blog, The Place They Call Home, as they are co-hosting this recipe. Thanks, ladies! There’s also a video of Nick and Julia making the pizza rustica together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.
Tags: breakfast, waffles
Usually I don’t work on Fridays. Typically I have the day to myself. Sometimes I do errands or shopping. Occasionally I can find a friend to escape work and have lunch with me. Always I eat breakfast and watch episodes of House Hunters.
Breakfast du jour was a Savory Cheddar and Scallion waffle topped with salsa, sour cream and an egg. I treat myself right, don’t I? Actually I just pulled the waffle out of the freezer and reheated it. It was leftover from a “breakfast for dinner” night earlier in the week. That’s the beauty of a savory waffle…perfect for brekkie or dinner. It’s not weird, trust me. This one has a bit of a Southwestern twist to it– some cornmeal, scallions, cheddar, cilantro and hot sauce (I use a heavy hand with the Crystal). I was worried that the cheese might adhere to the waffle iron and act like superglue…it didn’t. I had beautifully formed, crisp-edged waffles with buttermilk tang and a savory flavor.
I’m trying to use my waffle iron more often. After I get past the annoyance of removing it from its styrofoam and box (yes, OK, I am an original packaging hoarder), making waffles is really fun. And eating them, even more.
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c cornmeal (coarse, if you have it)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
couple dashes of hot sauce, to taste
1 1/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c finely grated cheddar cheese
1 chopped scallion, white and green parts
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
-Heat your oven to 200°F and heat your waffle iron, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Grease it with a little vegetable oil if it needs it.
-In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper, sugar and salt.
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, hot sauce and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then add the cheese, scallions and cilantro. Stir until just incorporated. Try not to over-mix the batter.
-Cook according to your waffle machine instructions. Hold the finished waffles in the warm oven while you make the rest.
-Garnish as you wish (for me, it was salsa, sour cream, an egg and some extra cilantro) and serve immediately. If you have extra waffles, wrap them well and freeze them…they can be recrisped in the toaster or oven.
Tags: baking, bread, holiday
We may represent six different continents, but this week we’re all Irish in TWD with Marion Cunningham’s Irish Soda Bread. I like Marion Cunningham. I think she seems like a cool lady, and I have a few of her books (the most well-used is The Breakfast Book). But I digress…
I knew that I wanted to have this bread with butter and marmalade on St. Patrick’s Day morning, but I didn’t know how I was going to pull it off for breakfast when it takes almost an hour to bake and then more time to cool. I was worried about making it in advance, because in the book, the recipe intro says it turns “as hard as the Blarney Stone” (which I have kissed, btw) after a few hours. Then I watched the video of Marion and Julia making the bread together…Marion whips out an already-made loaf and clearly says that it had been baked the night before, left to cool completely and then wrapped. So that’s what I did…I made it the night before and it was still perfect the next morning.
This recipe has just four ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk), and the dough is simply stirred together…it’s almost amazing that it turns into bread! I had actually wanted to sneak some currants in my loaf, too, but then I completely forgot about them until the second after I’d scraped the sticky dough into the pie plate. I wasn’t going to mess with it anymore at the point. No matter– the bread had plenty of flavor…a little salty and a little tangy. Like most Irish people I know, my loaf also had plenty of character….I probably could have kneaded a bit more flour into it to make it a smoother round, but I liked its quirkiness just fine.
Don’t wait until next March to make this….it’s so easy and good that it’s perfect anytime. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here in somewhat condensed form) or read Carla’s blog Chocolate Moosey, and Cathleen’s blog My Culinary Mission, as they are co-hosting this recipe. Thanks, ladies! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.