Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Irish Soda Bread

March 20, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, quick breads, savory things, tuesdays with dorie | 35 Comments
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Irish soda bread

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.

Irish soda bread

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.

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.

TWD Rewind: Raisin Swirl Bread

January 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Posted in breakfast things, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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raisin swirl bread

Bread is definitely my favorite food group.  I’m not sure why, then, I skipped Raisin Swirl Bread when Susan picked it for TWD over the summer.  Maybe I was away…maybe it was too hot out for bread baking…I can’t remember.  Anyway, now is prefect bread baking weather, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Also, I wanted to brush up on my yeast skills before we get going on the white loaves from Baking with Julia in a couple of weeks.

This is just a straight-forward dough technique (no sponge or starter) with a couple of proofs.  I used my mixer for it, so I didn’t even break a sweat.  Scented with a little orange zest and of course a cinnamon-raisin swirl, it smelled really good baking.  I was so proud of myself for waiting until the bread had cooled completely before cutting into it.  I was even more proud of its perfect texture and beautifully hypnotic swirl.  There was a time when I would have skipped the raisins altogether and this would just have been a cinnamon swirl bread, but raisins and I have gradually made peace over the last couple of years.  We’re good now…I’m glad I gave them a second chance.

This makes fabulous toast (with a little salty butter, of course)!  I could probably have downed the whole loaf that way, but I tried it out as French toast, too.  Good stuff.  Really, I can’t wait to make this again.  For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Food Baby, as it was Susan’s pick from back in June.

P.S.:  If you don’t already have it, don’t forget to enter my Baking with Julia BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Golden Brioche Loaves

August 23, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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golden brioche loaf
When I first saw that we’d be making Golden Brioche Loaves this week, I thought, “Haven’t we made this one already?”  Well, yes and no.  We’ve made brioche on a few occasions, but always for an end result other than a simple loaf.  Jules pointed out that last week, King Arthur wrote a post on brioche made in a 9″x4″ pullman pan.  Go figure, I have that same pan at home!  Doing a little back-of-the-envelope math, I geusstimated that 2/3 of Dorie’s full recipe would make enough dough to fill one 9″x4″ pullman to the lid.  I had to add about 10-15 minutes to Dorie’s baking time, but I had a gorgeous (and golden) square-cornered loaf.

I bet some people find brioche to be intimidating, but to me it’s one of the easier yeast breads to make.  The dough is soft and supple, and comes together easily by machine.  Also, great brioche bakes up nicely in a home oven, unlike, say, a great baguette, whose perfectly shattering crust seems to elude me at home.  And the dough freezes well, so you can have fresh brioche buns in a snap.

This recipe really does produce a delightful loaf.  I can’t lie, though…the fact that I made a single loaf of bread that contains two entire sticks of butter is somewhat horrifying to me!  Nevertheless, I enjoyed a fat slice with homemade apricot jam (made identically to this plum jam), and, you guessed it, more butter (I have a weakness for fancy French salted butters on my toast and bread).

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Tea and Scones, as it was Margie’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

P.S.:  I got a new camera…what do you think?

French Fridays with Dorie: Savory Cheese and Scallion Bread

March 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Posted in french fridays with dorie, groups, quick breads, savory things | 19 Comments
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savory cheese and scallion bread

Cheese bread!  cheesy bread!  I went nuts when I saw this recipe was coming up for FFWD.  Who the heck wouldn’t want to eat cheesy, onioney (is that a word?) homemade bread?  I wanted to eat it so much that I made a whole big loaf, instead of a mini or half-loaf.  We had some the day it was baked with homemade tomato soup– so good!– and some went into the freezer, because it will be awesome alongside scrambled eggs for a weekend breakfast.

If you shy away from making bread at home, or fear yeast, or whatever, don’t worry here.  This is a quick bread, much like a muffin.  In fact, you can even turn the loaf into cheese muffins, if you are so inclined.  The original recipe uses chives, but I didn’t have any and used scallions instead.  A combo of cheddar and Gruyère was just right, and made this a great, easy, cheesy bread that I’ll bake again and again.

For the recipe, see Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also on The Washington Post’s site).  Don’t forget to check out my fellow francophiles’ posts!

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