Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas (& Pitas)

August 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 9 Comments
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eastern mediteranean pizza

Lord knows I’m not above making a pita pizza from time to time, but usually it’s out of sheer convenience (and sometimes out of desperation).  Before Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, I certainly wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of making my own pita dough for one.  Not that it was a hard dough to make or anything, but like any yeast bread, it does take time.

The topping for these pizzas is lamb (although I used ground turkey) sautéed with onions and garlic, tomatoes and pine nuts.  Mine wound up a little on the dry side, probably because I used cherry tomatoes, which didn’t give off much juice.  I tried to jazz up my finished pizza with some feta and chopped scallions, but if I make it again, I’ll make sure the topping has just a touch of sauciness to coat the meat.

The bread dough has a fair amount of whole wheat flour in it, which gives it a slightly nutty taste.  The recipe calls for baking individual pizzas, but I made a double-sized one instead and baked it on my pizza stone.

Since I had to make pita dough before I could make the base of my pizza, I went ahead and made some actual pita breads with it as well.  And then we had warm pita and hummus snack.  I was quite pleased that my pitas puffed enough to get a pocket– my husband initially didn’t believe that I made these, as I always get my pitas at the great Damascus Bakery here in Brooklyn.  The next morning, I took my last homemade pita, opened its pocket, and made a fried egg sandwich out of it.  Tasty!

pitas

We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. There’s also a video of Jeffery and Naomi making the dough and pizzas with Julia.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Savory Brioche Pockets

May 21, 2013 at 9:31 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 11 Comments
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savory brioche pockets

When work gets super busy, it’s nice to have a dinner you can essentially pull out of the freezer, like Nancy Silverton’s Savory Brioche Pockets stuffed with asparagus, potatoes and cheese (or whatever you fancy, really).  The last time I made her base brioche dough, I assembled a bunch of these little gourmet hot pockets and froze them, unbaked.  Waiting for me until I need them, like everything should, right?  Asparagus is in full swing at the farmers’ markets here, and this makes a great light springtime dinner with a salad and glass of wine.  I can also see these being a good vehicle for those random leftover veggie bits and pieces that are usually kicking around my fridge.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Carie’s Loaves and Stitches. There’s also a video of Nancy and Julia making the pockets together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Rustic Potato Loaves

April 2, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 17 Comments
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rustic potato loaf

I don’t make bread super-often. Only sometimes I’m usually proud of myself just for having made the effort to stir together yeast and water.  But when I opened the oven yesterday and pulled out Leslie Mackie’s Rustic Potato Loaf, I felt like a pretty legit bread baker.  Look at that crust…it is awesome. I was in love with this bread before I even cut it open.

You can’t see any trace of them, but the bread has mashed boiled potatoes in it.  I guess they help make the bread really soft inside and give it a slightly earthy flavor.  I wasn’t sure if I should peel the potatoes or not…in the end I did peel them, but also tossed the peel scraps into the cooking pot just to infuse some extra flavor into the water (which is also used in the dough).  The dough looked like a big blob of uncooked gnocchi but it was a quick riser, with two proofs of just 20-30 minutes.  So, for a “rustic” bread, it was pretty quick from start to finish.

rustic potato loaf

I’m making cream of celery soup tonight and toasting off a couple of slices of this bread, and I just can’t wait!  For the bread recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Dawn’s Simply Sweet.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Focaccia

February 5, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 12 Comments
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focaccia

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Pizza with Onion Confit

January 8, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 19 Comments
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pizza with onion confit

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.

pizza with onion confitpizza with onion confit

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. 

onion confit

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Bagels

October 16, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 12 Comments
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bagels

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.

bagels

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Whole Wheat Loaves

September 18, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 14 Comments
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whole wheat loaves

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.

whole wheat loaves

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Semolina Bread

July 17, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 17 Comments
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semolina bread

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.

semolina bread

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Renee’s The Way to my Family’s Heart and Anna’s Keep it Luce.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Oasis Naan

June 5, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 32 Comments
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oasis naan

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: White Loaves

February 7, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 37 Comments
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white loaves

Here we go…the next round of Tuesdays with Dorie starts today, and this time we’re Baking with Julia!  I’ve had this book for years, and have made several things from it, so I’m looking forward to getting to know it better.  And also to getting to know a new group of TWDers!

First up, we’re doing Craig Kominiak’s White Loaves.  I’m really excited about the bread section of the book, so I was pleased to tackle this one at the get-go.  This is your basic sandwich loaf, perfect for PB&J, as you can see above.  It wasn’t hard to make.  I halved the recipe to do one loaf instead of two, and my mixer had no problem getting the dough together quickly (the full two loaves probably would have made it whine).  A couple of rises later, and the dough was ready to become bread!  Seriously, the hardest part here was waiting for my loaf to cool so I could get my lunch together (it’s always important to let bread like this cool properly or the texture won’t be right).  I loved the crust on this…a nice crispy top.  And the bread was so soft inside.  I have half the loaf stashed in the freezer, and am looking forward to a turkey and cheese sandwich next.

white loaves

Homemade yeast bread smells so good in the oven.  You won’t get that from a store-bought loaf, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read our founder Laurie’s blog, slush, and our group manager Julie’s blog, Someone’s in the Kitchen, as they are co-hosting the first recipe.  Thanks, ladies!  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

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