Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Ka’kat

May 5, 2015 at 6:57 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 11 Comments
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ka kat

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!  Maybe you are getting a tres leches soaking or quadruple checking a mole recipe to make sure you didn’t miss an ingredient.  If you are thinking about flatbreads today, you’re probably thinking about tortillas, but put Ka’kat on your radar for later.  I had never heard of ka’kat before, but Dorie says they are a very typical Eastern Mediterranean street food.  You can find them everywhere apparently, just like soft pretzels here in New York.  They’re made with a really straightforward yeast dough.  If you make it in the morning after breakfast, you can easily have fresh, warm bread snacks by lunchtime!

Although this is another recipe in the flatbread section of the book from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, my ka’kat (at least) came out round and chubby.  With sesame seeds on top, they did not look unlike mini bagels.  Ka’kat are often flavored with ground mahleb (also mahlab), which are little tiny cherry kernels.  This spice has a bit of that bitter almond flavor and is used in Middle Eastern, Greek and Turkish baking.  You probably won’t find it at your standard grocery store, but you can get it online (at Penzeys, for example) or in a Middle Eastern market.  I found whole seeds at Sahadi’s here in Brooklyn (I love that place!) and ground them to powder in a spice grinder.  All that said, the mahleb is totally optional.  It gives a very subtle aroma and taste, and I always like to buy an interesting new ingredient, but you can leave it out, no probs.

These were so tasty warm and soft from the oven.  I ate four– no kidding!  But they are little, yeah?  I dipped them into olive oil and dukkah (like I did with the Pebble Bread)…they’d be good with salty butter, too.   I made half a recipe and divided the dough into fifteen ka’kat to fit neatly on one sheet tray.  I have about half of them left in the freezer and I’ll definitely warm them up a bit before eating them.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD BWJ Rewind: Pebble Bread

March 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 4 Comments
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pebble bread

A couple of weeks ago, the group made the Pebble Bread recipe from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, world travellers who have brought us a few other flatbreads you may or may not remember.  I was all geared up to make this one, and then I didn’t.  Sometimes I just run out of gas.  Thankfully we get a make-up week every now and again.

Pebble Bread is a round Moroccan flatbread; traditionally baked on hot pebbles, it gets dimply and a little puffed.  The not-so-traditional Western method we used here involves a bowl of water, your fingertips, and a heavy skillet…first dipping a rolled out dough round into water to create steam, next quickly dimpling it with your fingertips, then starting the bread in a skillet on the stovetop to cook the bottom, and finishing it under the broiler to cook the top. 

I only made half a recipe (four large-enough-to-share pieces of bread) and since I used two skillets and they take just a few minutes each to cook, I worked though the process pretty quickly.  Of course I totes torched the top of my first one under the broiler, but, just like my morning toast, it was nothing a little scrapey-scrape with a serrated knife couldn’t fix.  You learn, eat your mistake before anyone else sees it, adjust and keep going.

I’d call these a definite success.  I can’t roll pie dough into a nice round to save my life, but these breads all rolled out into perfect circles.  They had just enough puff and chew, and a good flavor from the overnight sponge (yes, you need to plan to make a sponge the day before you make the bread, but it’s virtually hands-off) and the barley flour in the dough.  I have a couple breads left in my freezer and I am very happy to eat all of them warm, ripped up and swiped first into olive oil and then into dukkah (which is actually an Egyptian nut and seed mix, but we found it all over the place when we lived in Australia, and ever since I must have it on a regular basis).

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see if anyone else did a rewind this week, and see the links page from the Pebble Bread a couple of weeks ago!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Salsa Quitza

February 3, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 7 Comments
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salsa quitza

I’ve been intrigued by Lora Body’s Salsa Quitza recipe for a long while…I’ve nominated it at least five or six times, but seems I was the only one so interested!  With refried beans in the crust and layers of cream cheese and salsa in the filling, I’ve never heard of this bizarre Southwestern quiche-pizza hybrid thing.  Must be a Lora Brody original.  I made it for Sunday’s game (which did not at all end the way I hoped it would, by the way), and my husband asked what to expect…I told him the only thing I was sure of was that it would be weird.

The quitza crust is a bread dough that can apparently also be made into a loaf, if you don’t want to go full-quitza on it.  The dough instructions call for a bread machine, but I don’t have one so I made it in my stand mixer and let it rise on the counter.  I combined the ingredients in the “regular” way, with yeast and liquids first (including the not-so-regular addition of refried beans…I used canned pinto), followed by the dry stuff.  The dough was soft, but not sticky, and made a nice ball after about eight minutes of knead-time.  I let it rise twice, about 45 minutes to an hour each time, before shaping it in the pan.

I made half a recipe and baked it in an 8″ regular cake pan.  For the filling, I followed Cher’s suggestion to decrease the salsa by about half (proportionally, of course, for my half recipe), and I also chose to reduce the cream cheese layer by a couple of tablespoons and add on a smear of refried beans, since I had extra from the dough.  I topped it with a mix of cheddar and mozzarella.

OK, yeah, it was kind of weird, but good-weird.  The dough was soft and rose high, like a deep dish.  The filling was really creamy from the cream cheese (and I’m glad I reduced the cream cheese and salsa or it would have been sloppy and too much).  And it went well with beer.  If I make it again, I think I’ll sprinkle some olives on top.

salsa quitza

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (there’s also a video here of the episode). Finally, don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Eastern European Rye

January 20, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 12 Comments
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eastern european rye

Before making Lauren Groveman’s Eastern European Rye, I began to daydream about a turkey reuben on homemade bread.  Liz Lemon is not the only one with very specific food fantasies.  I was out of rye flour, though, so I bought a bag of local (okay, not NYC, but NY state) farmer-ground organic rye flour from the Greenmarket and got to mixing.  I saw a tip to mix the dough in a stand mixer for 3 minutes, turn it off and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then back on again for about 12 more minutes of kneading.  I did this mixing method, and the dough rose nicely, and apart from my three slash marks, it didn’t split open in the oven.  The final dough shaping and rising instructions are a little wacky when you read them in the book, but in this video, Groveman demonstrates those same steps on her pumpernickel loaf recipe.  They are still wacky, but are at least understandable after seeing them on video.

The bread that I wound up with was not the Levy’s-like sandwich loaf I was expecting, but a rustic loaf with more of a true whole grain bread feel and a craggily crust.  I couldn’t really get nice sandwich-sized slices from it, so no homemade turkey reuben for me this time (since I have a one-track mind, I did go to Mile End yesterday and get one!), but the bread does have great rye and caraway flavor and it’s nice with salty butter or a bit of good cheddar.  I think it’ll make a good tomato soup dunker, too.

I assumed that the whole grain rye I used was the culprit for the denser loaf that I got…after reading Alisa’s post this morning, if I make this again I’ll either just reduce the amount of rye I use or sub a bit of it with some extra white flour and see what I get .

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Finally, don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD BWJ Rewind: Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaf

December 30, 2014 at 12:42 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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cranberry-walnut pumpkin loaf

Happy New Year!  This time last year, I resolved to do a better job of using up odds and ends in the kitchen.  I’ve done a pretty good job with that in 2014, and, in fact, this Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaf from Steve Sullivan used up some leftover pumpkin puree and cranberries I had hiding in the freezer.  Of course, now I have half a loaf of bread in freezer instead, so maybe it’s actually a wash for the time being.

The group made this bread back in the fall of 2012, and two years later I don’t remember why I skipped out on it at the time.  When I hear “pumpkin bread,” I usually think of a quick bread, but this is actually a yeasted loaf.  It’s a bit like a lean brioche with a bit of pumpkin puree (I used canned) mixed in, along with fresh cranberries, walnuts and raisins.  I imagine you could play around with those add-ins a bit.

I changed two things when I made this bread.  First, the recipe calls for an overnight rest in the refrigerator, followed by a lengthy stay on the counter the next day to come back up to room temp.  I, of course, did not properly familiarize myself with the recipe before I jumped in, so I was totally unprepared for that.  Instead of the fridge rest, I gave it a second countertop rise (a little over an hour) in the bowl before shaping it and giving it it’s final proof.  Second, the recipe divides the dough into three mini loaf pans.  I don’t have those pans, so I cut the recipe in half and made a medium-sized loaf (8″x4″) instead.  I got a nice, tall loaf so thankfully my changes didn’t do anything bad to the dough.

I like this bread!  It doesn’t taste much of pumpkin, but the puree gives it a pretty golden-orange color.  And the pops of cranberries, raisins and walnuts are nice.  It makes good cinnamon toast, like we had it here, for breakfast.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see if anyone else did a rewind this week, and see the links page from the Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaf week a couple of years ago!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Mixed-Starter Bread & Walnut Bread

December 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 13 Comments
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mixed-starter and walnut breads

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!

TWD BWJ Rewind: Sweet Berry Fougasse

July 29, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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sweet berry fougasse

I went from no fougasse ever to two fougasses (or is the plural Fugazi?) in one month.  The group made Craig Kominiak’s Sweet Berry Fougasse back in September of last year, but we were given a choice of two things and I skipped it to make muffins instead.  When we did Leaf-Shaped Fougasse a couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me that I could also make enough focaccia dough to turn the extra into the Sweet Berry Fougasse for this week’s make-up.  Know what that’s called?  That’s called strategery.

With the dough ready-made (I had it frozen and took it out the night before baking to thaw in the fridge) and blueberries and raspberries from the greenmarket, all I had to do to put this together was mix up a little sweet streusel topping and turn on the oven.  This was good…it made a fine breakfast treat without the little twinge of shame that I have when I start the day with half a pound of butter.  I pretty much want every coffee cake or muffin I eat to have streusel on it, so it was nice on bread, too, and helped sweeten up the juicy berries.  I probably wouldn’t bother to make this from scratch start-to-finish, but more likely if I have some extra focaccia dough on my hands again.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (a version is also here and there’s a video here that includes Kominiak making all things focaccia and fougasse).  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see the other recipes folks revisited this week (and the Blogroll from September)!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Leaf-Shaped Fougasse

July 1, 2014 at 11:43 am | Posted in groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 13 Comments
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leaf-shaped fougasse

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!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Potato Lefse

April 1, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, pancakes & waffles, tuesdays with dorie | 22 Comments
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potato lefse

I didn’t really know much about Potato Lefse before Beatrice Ojakangas’s TWD recipe of the week.  I quizzed my half-Norwegian friend, and she told me that they are kind of like crêpes and that there’s also a non-potato variety.  She said she’s never made them herself, but buys premade ones and reheats them.  Ha–looks like I’m one up on you now, Karen!  That was mean…I should invite her over for leftovers and see what she thinks.

Making the lefse dough was easy.  It basically starts with super-smooth mashed potatoes that you air dry in the fridge overnight.  Then the next day, you knead flour into the mash and divide the dough into pieces.  Shaping and cooking the dough is where it gets tricky.  There are a whole host of special tools that  hard-core lefse enthusiasts use– a grooved rolling pin and a cloth-covered round board to roll the dough, a big, flat round griddle to cook the lefse on and a long, flat wooden stick to lift and flip them.  Darn, I don’t have any of that stuff.  I poked around the cabinets to see what I could use instead.  This is what I came up with: my regular rolling pin and my Silpat to roll the dough, and a flat cast iron crêpe pan and stick that I have.  It would have been easier to cook these with another person, so one could roll the lefse dough balls while the other cooked them off.  By myself, it was kind of a process, but I got better as I moved along.  My crêpe pan is only 11″ wide, as opposed to 16″ for a lefse pan, so I divided my dough into 16 balls instead of 12.  With plenty of flour, I was able to get them rolled nice and thin on the Silpat.  I didn’t even need that stick to lift them off…I was just kind of able to flip and peel them onto my hand, tortilla-style.  They cooked up perfectly and got nice speckles on the crêpe pan, and the stick came in handy for flipping them.

potato lefse

Apparently, much like a crêpe, you can wrap lefse around lots of fillings (even hot dogs–gotta try that!), but we went the sweet route for breakfast, with butter and cinnamon sugar on some an lingonberry jam on others.  They do taste slightly potatoey, but it’s a pleasant earthiness that was surprisingly nice with the sweet fillings. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  As Sandra pointed out there’s a video of Beatrice making lefse alongside Martha Stewart.  Beatrice uses slightly different measurements than she does in the book, but it’s a great watch for the process of making, shaping and cooking the dough.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Onion Bialys

February 11, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 15 Comments
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onion bialys

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!

For the bialy recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

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