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
Oh my gosh–isn’t this loaf the cutest?!? I’m not in the know with most Scandinavian baked goods, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Beatrice Ojakangas’s Finnish Pulla bread. Never heard of it, but I was pretty pleased to discover this baby when it came out of the oven. It’s a little bit buttery, a little bit sweet, a little bit eggy and scented with cardamom, one of my favorite spices. Pulla is often shaped into a glorious braided wreath, but I made half a recipe, so I did a loaf instead.
The recipe didn’t suggest making the dough ahead of time, but I wanted to take care of it on Saturday night so I could have fresh-baked bread with jam for breakfast on Sunday morning. I made the dough all the way through the shaping stage (it was a dream to work with in the cooler temps), then put my braided loaf on a parchment lined sheet tray, loosely covered it in plastic and stuck it in the fridge before I went to bed. Early Sunday morning, I took it out and left it on the counter to come to room temperature for a little over an hour before I baked it. Seemed like a good strategy.
Pulla reminds me of challah, but with cardamom and pearl sugar (which I bought at an IKEA in Jersey about a year ago and until Sunday had still never used). I’m glad to have this recipe on my radar now, and I bet leftovers will make good French toast (or will that be Finnish toast??). For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Erin’s The Daily Morsel. 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: 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, bread, breakfast
I’ve been getting a lot of practice making breakfast pastries lately. A couple of months ago, the owners of the shop I work for decided that we should open three hours earlier and have a menu of morning baked stuff. I now have to wake up basically in the middle of the night to walk to work and make this happen. I’m thinking about quitting soon….but you didn’t hear me say that, and you certainly didn’t come here for banal griping. You came for Nancy Silverton’s Pecan Sticky Buns!
It’s pretty much a given that sticky buns have a lot of butter in them, but this recipe uses a sh*t-ton of butter. There’s brioche dough..no, make that laminated brioche dough (unlike the other sticky buns we did about–yikes– four years ago)…and then there’s the sticky top part. The only component without butter is the pecan-cinnamon swirl inside. When everything’s tallied up, it comes to five sticks for a whole recipe!! My mind immediately went to work wondering where I could shave off a few tablespoons. First off, a whole recipe makes two 9-inch pans, or 14 buns, and I certainly didn’t need that many for the two of us. A quarter of a recipe would be fine…I knew I could squeeze four slightly smaller buns out of that and bake them in a 6-inch pan. I ultimately decided on making a half recipe of brioche dough, and only taking half of that to make buns with (I’m saving the other half for another project). I kept the full amount of butter in the dough itself. Best not to mess around with that. I used about two-thirds the butter called for in the laminating step and half for the topping. I don’t think I missed out too much…my buns were sweet and soft and flaky. I plan to experiment more with this laminated brioche thing later on…it’s a cool technique.
By the way brioche is a lovely dough to work with…if you can keep it cool enough while you shape it, that is. It’s so soft and nice to touch. And it rises beautifully.
It took me like an hour to figure out how to put two pics side-by-side in Photoshop, btw…wow.
I made my base dough on day one, parked it in the fridge overnight after its first rise, and finished off the laminating and rolling the next day. I did my dough in my stand mixer. Since I just made a half a batch, my KA had no problem cranking it out. It was really such a small about of dough, though, that I think even the whole recipe would have been just fine. Despite my earlier talk about breakfast pastries, my husband and I actually ate two of these sticky buns for dessert. After getting up so early for work now everyday, I can’t manage to get up early enough on the weekends to have buns proofed, baked and cooled before brekkie. The other two baked buns were wrapped up tight and stuck the freezer, to be defrosted and enjoyed properly one weekend morning with a cup of coffee.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Lynn’s Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat and Nicole’s Cookies on Friday. There’s also a video of Nancy and Julia making the buns together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, holiday
Every year I think about making Hot Cross Buns for Easter (or Good Friday, I guess), but I never get to it. Well, finally, this is my year! And let me tell you that eating one of these sweet, spiced buns freshly homemade is a real treat. I made these with currants and candied orange peel, although you could use raisins or craisins or whatever dried fruit and zest you choose. If you are British or Australian, you may not like what I’ve done on top here. A “traditional” English hot cross bun has a cross made not of icing (like mine), but of a flour and water paste that is baked on. But what can I say– I’m American and I like my icing!!
You’ll see that this recipe begins with preparing a sponge starter. It is really easy…there’s nothing to it but a little added resting time. The sponge lets the yeast get some extra fermentation, which is better for flavor and makes for nice soft buns. The rest of the dough is a snap to put together in a stand mixer. These aren’t so complicated to make, even if, like me, you don’t do a whole lot of bread baking at home…the hardest part is waiting for them to cool completely. You bet I devoured this guy with a little salty butter just as soon as he was cool enough to “cross”!
Hot Cross Buns– makes 12
adapted (quite a bit) from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman
Steph’s Note: There’s no real need to soak your currants or orange peel unless they are very dry. If that’s the case, I’d put them in a small bowl with a couple teaspoons of orange juice or Grand Mariner and microwave for ten seconds (cool before using).
for the sponge
38 g AP flour
190 g milk, about 85°F
9 g sugar
7.4 g (2 1/4 t) instant yeast
for the final dough
340 g AP flour
60 g butter, softened
57 g sugar
3 g salt
2 g ground allspice
2 g ground cinnamon
110 g dried currants
40 g candied orange peel, finely chopped
for the icing (amounts are approximate)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
4 teaspoons milk
-For the sponge, combine the milk and yeast in a medium bowl. Whisk in the flour and sugar. The mixture will be very loose. Cover and let rest until it is about 3 times its original volume, 30-40 minutes.
-In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix final dough flour and softened butter until the butter is evenly distributed through the flour.
-Add egg, sugar, spices, and salt. Continue to mix until combined. The mixture will be quite dry at this point.
-Switch to the mixer’s dough hook. Add the sponge and mix on low speed. Mix until well combined, about 3 minutes.
-Up the mixer to medium speed, and mix about 8 minutes. You can occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed. The dough will start to leave the sides and come together around the dough hook, and the gluten should have reached a medium level of development.
-Add the currants and orange peel and mix on low speed just until they are evenly distributed through the dough.
-Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, covered container. Ferment in a warm place for one hour, giving it a fold (kind of like a letter) after 30 minutes.
-Turn the dough onto an unfloured counter and divide it into 12 pieces (about 70-75 g each).
-Form each piece into a ball. To tighten the ball, place it on the counter with your cupped hand loosely around it, and move your hand in a tight circle several times.
-Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I used a 1/4 sheet tray…they did not touch when I arranged them on the tray, but as they proofed, they expanded to gently touch.)
-Cover and proof in a warm place for about an hour.
-Preheat the oven to 400°F . Bake the buns on the parchment-lined sheet at 400°F until the tops are browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue baking until browned all over, about another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
-When the buns are completely cool, whisk together the icing ingredients. You can add extra confectioners’ sugar or milk as needed to make a thick, but pipeable paste. Put it in a piping bag with a medium-small round tip and pipe it in a cross over the buns. They are best when eaten fresh (although I did freeze a few for the weekend).
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.