Tags: baking, bread
Baking bread isn’t my typical 90° day activity. I didn’t really have any other choice, though, if I wanted to get Beatrice Ojakangas’s Swedish Limpa made within the first two weeks of this month. Limpa, if you haven’t had it (I hadn’t myself until today), is a rye bread favored with orange zest, fennel, anise and caraway seeds and molasses and brown sugar. It’s often eaten at Christmas time in Sweden…in my house it will be eaten in mid-August.
I don’t have any anise in my spice collection and didn’t really feel like getting any either, since I’m not much of a licorice fan…I just used a bit more caraway and fennel to compensate. The recipe makes two loaves, which is a bit much for us, so I made half. The bread is traditionally baked in round cake pans, but I’ll be putting most of it into the freezer for later. With easy future toasting in mind, I baked my half-recipe in a 9″x5″ loaf pan instead.
This bread is delicious! I’m the one who added the molasses and sugar to the dough, yet somehow I forgot until the first bite that it would be slightly sweet. And the orange zest, seeds and rye–yum! Seriously, heat wave be damned…I’m glad I turned the oven on for this one. The recipe notes say the bread goes well with meat and cheese, and I believe it, but it’s also not bad with just a smear of salty butter.
Tags: baking, bread, savory
This Persian Naan flatbread from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid uses the very same dough as the Oasis Naan we did almost four years (what the –??) ago. So I’ve kinda done this one before, but it’s been a while. The dough is actually as simple as it gets– water, flour, yeast and salt. One proof, then shape and bake. The book instructions call for making it by hand…last time I used the food processor…this time I used the KitchenAid…do what you like and rest assured that it will all be good.
The dough bakes up nice and puffy and chewy. It didn’t brown so well on top, so I brushed a little melted butter on at the halfway point and gave the naan an extra couple of minutes in the oven to get a bit of golden spotting. This was a nice bread to have with our Sunday morning fried eggs and avocado. It kind of reminds me of the grocery store Turkish pide bread that I fell in love with when we lived in Oz, but can’t get here.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. 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
Joe Ortiz’s Pain de Campagne is my first home sourdough bread experiment. A whole wheat starter (called “the chef”) is refreshed over a period of several days, hopefully collecting wild yeast from the air in the meantime. There’s a warning in the recipe intro that you might get a flat loaf– no guarantees in the world of wild yeast. I could see the change in my starter over the week and I definitely noticed it’s sour smell increasing, so I had some hope for it, at least.
After almost four days, the final dough is ready to be mixed and later shaped. My bread definitely rose and had a nice shape but it’s quite dense inside. I didn’t really get any large air holes in the crumb and I see that I need to work on my slashing skills. Still makes good, flavorful toast though, with a nice crust, and it won’t go to waste.
Tags: baking, bread
Lora Brody’s Buttermilk Bread is one I’ve been wanting to make for a while now. Sounds simple and homey and a nice thing to bake on a cold day.
The recipe in the book calls for making the bread dough in a bread machine, which I don’t have, so I made it in my stand mixer instead. I swapped a 50/50 water/liquid buttermilk combo for the water/powdered buttermilk in the recipe. While I used the full 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, I think I could have gotten away with just 2 teaspoons. I basically followed the mixing instructions we used when we did the White Loaves years ago, since they seemed pretty standard for this type of bread. I then switched back to Brody’s instructions for rising and baking.
This made a nice sandwich loaf, and maybe next time I’ll try it in the cloverleaf roll variation. The bread has maple syrup in the dough, so there’s a hint of sweetness there, and I think the crust is really good (I’m the weirdo who likes the end pieces). I’m looking forward to pulling slices from the freezer for grilled cheese!
Tags: appetizers, baking, bread
The idea of chesse en croute kind of makes me giggle….seems like something from another dinner party era to me. I do love a good retro treat though, so I was pretty excited to make Lora Brody’s Camembert (or Brie) in Brioche for Thanksgivng pre-dinner snacks.
The recipe in the book calls for making the brioche dough in a bread machine and caramelizing the onions in a slow cooker, but despite my ever-growing collection of gadgets and small appliances, I don’t have either of those in my kitchen arsenal. I made the dough in my stand mixer instead (subbing warmed lowfat milk for the milk powder and water), with no problem, and followed the instructions to chill it immediately (without letting it rise first) before shaping. I caramelized the onions in the oven with some thyme…even though I used small Cipollini onions, they did take a couple of hours, and next time I’ll probably just caramelize regular sliced onions on the stovetop.
I didn’t think we could take down the 9-inch wheel of brie the recipe uses, but I wanted a whole wheel rather than just a wedge, so I found a little 4-inch round of camembert and used that. I only needed to make 1/3 of the brioche dough and use a few Cipollinis to cover it. My 6-inch cake pans seemed too big to bake the cheese in, so I did it free-form, rolling the dough out into one round parcel that wrapped up the cheese, and making a little decorative twist out of some trim scrap. Everything held shape very nicely in the oven, I’m happy to report. Letting it rest for half an hour or so out of the oven keeps the cheese from being too runny and just spilling out of the crust.
Maybe this isn’t so much something from a bygone era as it is a classic. Gooey, salty baked cheese, sweet onions and buttery brioche…it’s really so very good. And quite stunning, too…a perfect holiday appetizer for a crowd. I even reheated a leftover hunk on Friday, wrapped in foil in a low oven, and it was still just the thing with a glass of wine.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. I do think this is the final recipe in the “Savory Pastries” section of the book….wow! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.
Tags: holiday, savory, snacks
It doesn’t matter if I’ve made it myself or if I’ve bought it at the store, I try to never waste a scrap of puff pastry. So much potential in those little buttery off-cuts…pigs in a blanket, palmiers, Michel Richard’s Parmesan Puffs…I could go on, but let’s focus on the Parm Puffs. Take your leftover bits of puff, cut them into willy-nilly shapes and fry them up in a bit of oil till they’re puffed and golden. Then sprinkle them with salt and shower them in good grated parmesan. Cheesy, buttery and salty– they are the perfect holiday party nibble. My hostess-with-the-mostess tip of the day: Champagne and fried stuff is a match made in heaven. Continue Reading Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Parmesan Puffs…
Tags: savory, tart
This is my “take two” of Michel Richard’s Torte Milanese recipe. I did the first take last fall, when we prepared Richard’s homemade puff recipe and did other stuff with it. Pictures of that version were lost, unfortunately, and were never to be seen again, except perhaps by the hackers who encrypted them a few weeks later. Hope those bastards got hungry.
The only silver lining to all that mess is that I was encouraged to make this tasty torte, which is a full meal of layered scrambled eggs, cheese, veggies and meat encased in puff pastry, again. And I got to play around with it a little this time. I used chard in lieu of spinach for the greens, I left out the ham layer and instead crisped up some bacon and cooked them into the scrambled eggs, which I flavored with the herbs I had on hand (thyme and basil), and I used a mix of cheddar and Swiss cheeses. Even my roasted red pepper layer was actually a combo of red and yellow ones. I would say that the puff stayed the same, except I used store-bought instead of homemade this time. Its savory, salty (in a good way) and very filling. Plus, the tall slices look great with all those layers of good stuff.
The recipe says to bake the torte at 350°, but I don’t think puff pastry bakes well that low, so I started it at 400° and turned it down at the halfway point for the rest of the bake.
Tags: baking, savory
Flo Braker’s Cheese and Tomato Galette is more of a revisit than a rewind. I first made this one with the group a couple of years ago, but I’ve also made it many times since. I hope I’ll still see tomatoes at the Greenmarket here for a couple more weekends, so I can squeeze in one more of these this year!
The dough is the only tricky part about this galette. It bakes up nice and crisp, but it starts out super sticky. I roll it well-chilled and directly on the parchment I’m going to use for baking so I move it as little as possible. After the dough is rolled into a circle, it’s then easy to just slide the parchment onto the baking sheet, top it and pleat it up.
The recipe specifies the filling as tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and jack, but I play around with the herbs and melting cheeses depending on what’s in the fridge. I’ve used dill, cilantro or parsley (even pesto–which is amazing!) to replace the basil, and while I do always like to use the mozzarella in here, I’ve subbed the Monterey jack with cheddar, provolone, etc. Also, I like to season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. If the tomatoes give off some liquid while the galette bakes, I just tip it out with a spoon at the half-way point so it won’t make the tart watery.
Homemade Pita Breads are something that wouldn’t normally be on my baking radar. I admit that most pitas from the grocery store are half-stale and fall apart when I split them, but I do live within walking distance of a shop called Damascus Bakery, where I can (and do often) get great pitas that are fresh made. Those pitas in the picture are actually ones I made a couple of years ago, back when we did Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, a recipe that used the same dough as its base.
This was a pretty easy bread dough to make (and apparently, it can even be made a week ahead and kept in the fridge till you’re ready to pita). It does use a sponge, but by now that no longer feels like an advanced technique. The recipe gives instructions for mixing the dough fully by hand…I of course cheated and used the mixer. You can bake the breads in the oven on a stone, as I did, or there are instructions for cooking them on a griddle on the stove-top. In the middle of August, the latter may have been the better choice! These puffed up really well and have a good pocket for tuna salad for lunch or a fried egg sandwich for breakfast. They are also perfect for warm pita and hummus snack, obvi, and since they’re about half whole wheat flour, they have real flavor.
Tags: crackers, snacks
I admit that is was pretty hard to turn on the oven to make crackers in this sticky summer heat. My main motivation for doing so was really to have cheese and crackers with a cold glass of white wine at the end of the process. At least Beatrice Ojakangas’s Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack recipe doesn’t use yeast, or I’m sure I would have had an overproofed dough-blob situation going on in my kitchen.
This was actually an easy, make-by-hand dough to knead together. It has oatmeal in it to give it a rustic texture. Technically, it calls for quick oats, which I didn’t have. I approximated them by plusing my regular rolled oats in the food processor a couple of times to break them up a little, and then hydrated them in the buttermilk for a few minutes while I gathered everything else together. Since the dough uses oatmeal, I thought a little whole wheat would be good, too, and swapped 1/2 cup of AP flour for WW. With some chilling time and good amount of flour, I was able to roll and cut the dough right on the sheet tray. I had a hard time getting my first tray to color and crisp in the oven (especially in the center) so I upped the temperature to 350ºand increased the baking time by several minutes.
I’ve never had hardtack before and, based on the name, anticipated a trip to the dentist with a cracked tooth! The texture, however, is not rock hard but a bit sandy. There’s a little sugar creamed into the fat in the dough, so they are slightly sweet, slightly salty. I bumped up the salt factor a bit by sprinkling a pinch of fleur de sel on top before baking. They were good with cheese, and also with peanut butter. As separate snacks, I mean…not too sure about a cheese and PB combo.