Monday, May 16, 2016

BBBabes.... spring has arrived!

Our experienced Bread Baking Babe Cathy ("Bread Experience") has picked us a wonderful spring recipe; a spring focaccia, a thin focaccia made with a poolish, fresh lemon slices and topped with some spring greens after baking.

I haven't baked a focaccia in a while and even though it takes time as the dough is folded every 20 minutes in the beginning, but this gives that lovely crisp crust, airy and soft crumb that I really love ánd have been missing without realising it. As topping I kept it simple, lemon slices, black sesame seeds, za'atar, coarse salt. And some fresh herbs after baking. Some here took the lemon slices off before eating the focaccia, but then it still had the lovely fresh lemon flavour from the juices that had gone into the bread. And there were requests to make this again! So this was a winner here, thanks Cathy for this beautiful recipe!

And I can really recommend for you all to bake it too, if you think 4 focaccia's is to much for you, just half the recipe. So give this recipe a try and become our Bread Baking Buddy! Bake, post, and send your findings and details to our Kitchen of the month May: Cathy "Bread Experience" and get a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to add to your blogpost. But most of all you can enjoy this lovely flatbread! Happy baking!

Thin Crispy Spring Focaccia
Makes: 4 x 400 g focaccias
(PRINT recipe)
40 g (100 %) bread flour
44 g(125%) water, room temperature
1/8 tsp instant yeast

Final dough
668 g (80%) bread flour
167 g (20%) whole wheat flour
¼ tsp instant yeast
625 g (75%) - 725 g (87%) water
84 g (All) poolish
17 g olive oil
25 g water (3%), to mix with the salt
17 g coarse sea salt
Topping suggestions
olive oil
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling if desired
fennel seeds, to taste
dried thyme, to taste
lemon slices, thinly sliced
spring mix greens, or other greens as desired
alfalfa sprouts

In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour and yeast. Pour in the room temperature water and combine using a wooden spoon. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula or dough scraper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter at room temperature (25ºC) for 12 to 14 hours.
Final dough:
The next day, or when ready to mix the final dough, whisk together the flours and yeast in a large bowl. Pour the water and oil over the poolish and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk to break up the poolish. Add the water gradually, reserving the 25 grams to mix with the salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a dough scraper, cover and let it rest (autolyze) for 20 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle the salt over the top of the dough. Pour the remaining 25 g of water over the salt to dissolve it.  Using wet hands, thoroughly incorporate the salt into the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle water on a work surface. Uncover the dough and transfer it to the wet surface. Using wet hands, fold the dough from all sides.  Then gently tuck the seams under and place the dough back in the bowl. Using water on the counter and your hands, alleviates the need to oil the bowl or the work surface. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set the dough aside for the third time to ferment for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle water on the work surface again and fold the dough one last time. Tuck the seams under and place it back in the bowl. Cover and set it aside to ferment for 2 hours.

An hour before you plan to bake the focaccia, place a baking stone or tiles in the oven and preheat it to 260ºC. If you plan to use a pan for steam, place it in the oven at this time.

Sprinkle your work surface with water. Transfer the dough to the work surface and divide it into four equal pieces. Depending on the type of flour you use and the hydration, each piece will be approximately 400 g.  Mine were about 410 g each.

Shape each piece into a round and cover with plastic. Let them bench rest for 15 minutes.

Lightly oil two half sheets of parchment paper. Place one dough ball on each sheet. Gently press on the dough to degas it and then shape each piece into a flattish round.  Cover the rounds with plastic wrap and let them proof for 45 minutes.

Uncover the dough, drizzle olive oil over the top and gently stretch each piece into an oval disk the length of the parchment paper, or to the desired size.  Sprinkle the top with fennel seeds, thyme and sea salt (optional) and place thinly sliced lemons, as desired.   
The first time I made these focaccias, I used one lemon to top two focaccias, but it really needed more so for the next batch, I added more lemon slices.

Using a baker’s peel or unrimmed baking sheet, transfer the focaccia (on the parchment) to the preheated baking stone.  If using steam, add ice cubes to the steam pan.  I used my new baking steel with no added steam.  

Bake the focaccia for 10 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and crisp around the edges. Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to allow the bottom to firm up.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Add a handful of the spring mix greens and sprouted alfalfa and tear apart pieces or slice it if you prefer.
Repeat with the remaining focaccias.
(Adapted from: The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by The French Culinary Institute)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cinnamon rolls without cinnamon? Babes think outside the box

This is the challenge of the Bread Baking Babe Karen ("Bake my day!") for this month, and it's just like her to let us bake cinnamon rolls without cinnamon! And yes I'm a day late. But I think I'm a good girl for getting it baked and posted at all. It's been a crazy week without much sleep (and I don't do well when sleep deprivated). We had a Spanish exchange student over for the week and two boys take even longer in the bathroom in the morning than one, so I had to get up very early to be ready before them. Although in all honesty I must say our own boy takes definitely 4 times longer than our guest. Very late in bed because as I was the designated taxi driver, I had to pick them up at night, when they had their get togethers. This after the flue, of which my body is still recovering, can't remember being so tired for so long just from the flue. But anyway, I was a zombie during most of the day. Our Babe Karen Kerr said I could make the dough in advance (in de the fridge), so I could divide the tasks in two. That was good advice, but I totally forgot that my Kenwood is out of order, and I still haven't taken any action to get it fixed. So very annoying, so I had to buy bread, never bought so much bread for... well for over a decade. I didn't like it at all, but I had to feed them something right. I can't knead it by hand because of the arthrosis in my thumbs. 

So after we had dropped our guest off  and waved goodbye at  school to drive to the airport with the rest of the Spanish students, I got my tiny old Kenwood chef out of the bag...I forgot how small it is and how awful this dough hook is. But there I went and kneaded the dough... then I read in the recipe that it just had to be 'combined'.... that can't be good, so I kneaded anyway, just didn't feel right to do a no-knead here.
Then I read in the recipe that baking soda and baking powder had to be added after an hour. (did I mention that I was tired?), well I tossed everything in from the start. Except for the milk that I reduced down by 130 ml... and it still was too wet. So I must have read the recipe at some point to be aware of that. I choose a pastry cream filling with tropical flavours. I made the pastry cream in advance..... I had to bin it as it had been in the fridge too long and had a funny smell, so had to do that again. In the end the rolls did turn out alright, even though I shouldn't have baked them in a glass dish, the bottom in the middle was barely cooked. Then I had to rewrite the recipe to how I did it, I just hope I added all the changes, because I couldn't remember it all I think. The taste is quite sweet, i would omit the coconut blossom sugar next time I think, but very delicious with that coconut pastry cream, I love that.

O yes I almost forgot: I did use all three rising agents. I wouldn't use them all again to be honest, I didn't find much difference with the dough part compared to the normal "just instant yeast" dough. I didn't research anything about it (obviously!) so read the other Babes' posts what they discovered.

Would you like to bake along with us and make cinnamon rolls without cinnamon? Get creative, bake and become out Bread Baking Buddy. Send your findings in baking these rolls, picture ecc and se
nd this to  "bakemyday at gmail dot com" , that is the kitchen of the April.  Have a look at Karen's blog for more info and the original recipe.

Don't forget to take a look at what the other Babes baked, so many combinations of flavours and all mouth-watering delicious! Links in the left side bar.

"This is not a cinnamon roll"- rolls…. because they are my
Sweet Tropical Rolls
(Makes 12 rolls)
(PRINT recipe)

350 ml milk
60 g butter
95 g sugar (depending on the rolls you make)
2 ½  tsp instant yeast
520 g bread flour
65 g bread flour (extra, reserve to add later)
½ tsp heaping baking powder (I’d leave this out next time)
½ tsp scant baking soda (I’d leave this out next time)
1 tsp salt

filling to your own liking (…but not cinnamon!)
I made a sweet tropical filling:
- Coconut pastry cream:        500 ml coconut milk
(you'll need ± half the recipe        ½ (or 1) vanilla bean
                                            70 g sugar
                                            2 large (or 3 small) egg yolks
                                            45 g cornstarch
- 50 g pistachio nuts, finely chopped (put two TBsp aside for the topping)
- 100 g candied pineapple, in small strips
- 60 g coconut shavings (unsweetened), lightly roasted ( reserve 10 g for the topping)
- 40 g candied mango (soak it 10 min. in advance when it’s quite firm), in thin strips
- 50 g coconut blossom sugar (reserve 10 g for topping)

sugar glaze (optional)
some pineapple juice
icing sugar

Place room temperature milk, vegetable oil, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Add 520 g flour. Knead the dough, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
You may now proceed to roll out the dough in a rectangle or refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 days. (Probably need to keep an eye out for overflowing dough, so punch down if it rises to the top). Relatively slack dough so it probably is easier to work with when chilled!

Coconut pastry cream
Mix in a bowl: sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and a little coconut milk. Slowly heat the rest of the coconut milk in a pan, scrape the seeds out of a vanillabean (or a ½ bean) and add that to the milk, also add the bean. When the milk has come to a boil, take the bean out and pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking well. Then return the whole mixture back into the pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to stir or it will burn on the bottom of the pan. Let it boil for 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and pour it into a heat proof bowl. Cover the surface with clingfilm to prevent the forming of a skin and let it cool, then put in the fridge until use.

Continue with the dough
Next, remove the cover and add baking powder, baking soda, salt and more of flour if needed, Knead it well, but the dough will be slack. Put the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.
Proceed as you will with any other rolls you make; roll dough into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Original states to roll thin. Use whatever you feel comfortable with. Although I can imagine that a slacker dough might need to be rolled thinner?

Filling: use your imagination... go sweet, go savoury, go wacky. Make it yours and make it good!

I used a tropical filling like this:
Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Spread about half of the pastry cream evenly on the dough surface, sprinkle 40 g of coconut blossom sugar over the pastry cream. Followed by the pineapple and mango pieces, chopped pistachios and the slithers of toasted coconut.

Roll up the dough from the long side, don’t push too hard or you will press out the pastry cream. Cut 12 slices (about 4 cm thick) and place them in a large rectangle baking tin or oven dish, cut side down. Cover and set aside to rise for at least 45-60 minutes before baking.

Before placing the buns in the oven, sprinkle the remaining 10 g of coconut blossom sugar and chopped pistachios over the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven (190ºC) until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool before icing the buns.

You can make a little glaze with icing sugar and pineapple juice(or lemon juice). If you just want a shine make a thin glaze and brush it over. If you like your glaze thick, add more icing sugar and let it drizzle over the top.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Babes go nuts again

Another month, another episode of the Bread Baking Babes. And this time it's Elizabeths ("Blog from OUR kitchen") turn to find us a recipe to bake. And she came up with a wonderful loaf with Walnuts. We love a bit of nuttyness here (in more ways than 1). We eat 15 g of walnuts every day, it's said to prevent early demention and it should help to keep your brain fitter for longer and when it tastes good at the same time, I see no harm in that. So if we eat a few slices of this bread, we have our daily intake already.

I pretty much stayed close to the recipe, just didn't bother to soak the yeast, there really is no need to do that with instant yeast. Just threw the hot water in until the butter melted, then all the flours and let it cool until lukewarm. Then sprinkled the yeast on top and started the kneading. Worked very well. But definitely don't skip the roasting of the nuts, that does really give wonderful flavour. I added the ground ginger, but never tasted any of it in the final product. Very nice bread. I made the two rings as stated in the recipe, I'd make a large loaf or two smaller long loafs next time, that's just easier when making sandwiches for the guy's lunchboxes. Wonderful choice Elizabeth, my brains are doing well again! (who am I kidding?!)

Wanna bake this and get your brain in order again... yes you! you need it too. Bake along with us and become our Bread Baking Buddy, bake, post, write about your baking and send this all to our lovely and slightly nutty babe Elizabeth (go to her page on the how and whereto). Have fun with the baking!

Auberge Walnut Bread
makes 2 loaves
(PRINT recipe)
253 g walnut halves, divided (200 g whole walnut halves & 53 g walnut halves, finely chopped)
420 g boiling water
34 g milk powder
36 g unsalted butter 
10 g salt
0.5 g powdered ginger
84 g dark honey
634 g flour, divided in
- 250 g white bread flour
- 15 g flax seed, crushed (or ground)
- 360 g whole wheat flour
29 g wheat germ
6 g (2 tsp) active dry yeast
milk or cream for brushing during baking

Walnuts: In the morning of the day you plan to bake the bread, spread the walnut halves in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toast them in a 200ºC oven for 8-10 minutes. Set aside 200 g onto a plate to cool. Using a very sharp knife, finely chop the other 53 g.

Mixing the dough: Pour just-boiled water into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in milk powder. Immediately add butter, honey, salt and powdered ginger and whisk until the butter has melted and the honey is incorporated.
Add flours, wheat germ and finely chopped walnuts on top of one side of the large bowl and mix them. Wait for this mixture to cool doen to 30ºC or less. Add the yeast and start kneading.

Kneading: Knead in the bowl (or use your electric mixer's instructions for kneading) until the dough is smooth, "elastic and no longer sticky". Add more flour or water if the dough stays too wet or is too dry after 8 minutes of kneading

Proofing: Cover the bowl with a plate and allow to proof in a draft-free area (oven with only the light turned on is ideal) until the dough has doubled. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Walnuts and Shaping: Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide in two. Roll each piece into a ball. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. After their rest, flatten each ball into a disc and even divide the rest of the walnut halves on top, "pressing the nuts in slightly", then roll each piece of dough to form a log. Joining the ends to make a ring, place each log seam side down on the parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a draft-free area until the rings have almost doubled.

Baking: Preheat oven to 190ºC. Just before putting the bread in the oven, spray the tops liberally with water. Put the bread into the oven and immediately turn the thermostat down to 180ºC. After 35 minutes, brush the tops of the loaves with milk or and continue baking for about 10 more minutes until the loaves are nicely browned and have reached an internal temperature around 96ºC (the bread sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom).Remove the bread from the oven.
Allow the bread to completely cool on a footed rack before cutting into it. It's still baking inside! Of course you may want to serve warm bread: reheat it after it has cooled completely. To reheat and/or rejuvenate UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

(based on recipes for Le Pain de Noix in Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by Roy Andries de Groot and Pane di Noci in The Italian Baker by Carol Field

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bread Baking Babes 8th anniversary!

Has it already been eight years that we've been baking as the Bread Baking Babes? I can hardly believe it but it really is our 8th anniversary this month. Congratulations to all Babes, old, new and retired Babes. A warm welcome to our newest Babe addition Kelly. We have baked a lot of loafs! It's hardly more appropriate for one of the founders of this group to pick the recipe. Thanks Tanna ("My kitchen in half cups"), who rules the Kitchen of this month, for a lovely savory recipe to bake this month. 
It takes some time to make this loaf, time for the bread to develope flavour. The lovely caramelizes onion taste goes great with some cheese. I didn't make 2 loaves but just one, that was a bit heavy to it to hold it shape, so it spread a little more than I would have liked it to. Still a lovely crumb and chewy texture. I pretty much followed the recipe, but I used 350 g white and 75 g whole wheat flour instead of all white, and reduced the salt to 12 g.
I dare you to bake this lovely loaf and tell us all about it, by baking, blogging, sending your pictures and details to Tanna (comments my kitchen at mac dot com) not later then the 29th of this month. Enjoy this bread and celebrate our 8th anniversary with us as a Bread Baking Buddy. Have fun baking.
And don't forget to check out how the other Babe Bakes turned out. Links to the babes in the left sidebar.

Caramelized onion bread
Yield: 2 medium loaves
(PRINT recipe)
Total Time: about 3 days (but most of that is dough resting)
125 grams (3/4 c + 21/2 tbsp) white rye flour
0.3 gram (generous pinch) instant yeast
125 grams (1/2 c + 1 tsp) water at about 60°F (15°C)

425 grams (3 c + 21/2 tsp) white flour, plus additional as needed for working with the dough
75 grams (1/2 c + 11/2 tsp) buckwheat flour
35 grams ground flax seed
15 grams (21/2 tsp) fine sea salt
1 gram (generous 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
350 grams (11/4 c + 31/2 tbsp) water at about 60°F (15°C)
50 grams (21/2 tbsp) honey
25 grams (13/4 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
50 grams (1/4 c) Caramelized Onions (you know how to caramelize onions, yes?)

dusting mixture for the linen liner and shaped loaves
1 part fine semolina flour
5 parts white flour

Starter: 10-12 hrs room temp.
Whisk flour and yeast together.  Pour water over.  Using wooden spoon or your hand mix carefully to insure all the flour is wet.  Cover the container and allow to sit on the counter at room temperature for 10 to 14 hours.  The starter will be at peak around 12 hours.

Dough: Whisk together white and buckwheat flours, salt and yeast.
Use approximately a third of the water to pour around the starter edges to release it from the sides of the bowel. Mix remaining water and honey in large bowl and add the starter; mix starter into water with wooden spoon.
Because you may not need all of the flour, reserve a small amount (arbitary, maybe 1/2 cup).  Mix the dry ingredients into the starter to combine then switch to a plastic bowl scraper.
The dough will now be sticky to the touch.
Note: At no point in this process of resting did my dough double in size.

Stretch/roll out and fold
Give the dough a stretch and fold about 10 times. The dough will get stronger. Then shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and let rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Stretch (or press into a rectangular shape) and fold it every 45 minutes or so for two times.
The third time do the same while you incorporate the onions and butter. You might have to roll out the dough several times and fold it to get everything well incorporated. Let rest again for another 45 minutes.

Repeat the 4th the stretch and fold-method, Then shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and let rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Shaping - 12-18 hrs refrigerated
Lightly dust the work area and hands with the dusting mix.
Divide the dough in half.  (I made one very large loaf).   Roll into two loose tubes.
Let rest 5 minutes.  Press each again and shape how you choose.
Quote from Bien Cuit:  "Transfer to the lined pan, seam-side up, positioning the loaves lengthwise. Dust the top and sides of the loaves with flour. Fold the linen to create support walls on both sides of each loaf, then fold any extra length of the linen liner over the top or cover with a kitchen towel.
Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for 12 to 18 hours."

Pre-heat oven with baking stone and cast-iron inside to 500°F (260°C).Cast-iron skillet is for creating steam with ice cubes.  
You'll need to turn the loaves seam side down at this point. Score the top of each loaf. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone.
Add 3 cups ice cubes to the hot cast iron skillet.  
Immediately lower the oven temperature to 460°F (240°C).
Bake, about 25 minutes. Be sure they have reached an interior temperature of 95ºC.

Using the baking peel, transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. When the bottoms of the loaves are tapped, they should sound hollow. If not, return to the stone and bake for 5 minutes longer.

Let the bread cool completely before slicing and eating, at least 4 hours but preferably 8 to 24 hours.

(Adapted from: “Bien Cuit” by Zachary Golper, Peter Kaminsky & Thomas Schauer)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bread and cheese.. a great Bread Baking Babes combo

Our diverse Indian babe Aparna ("My Diverse Kitchen") introduced us to these cute boat shaped breads filled with cheese and egg. I'd to hurry and het them baked, photographed and posted, because it's been hectic again this month. But I'm glad I baked it, it's delicious and very easy to make.

It's not a huge recipe, so that is well adapted for us because our 2 kids don't like cheese. Aparna gave the idea to top the bread with tomatoes and I did. I didn't use an egg, because I don't like eggs on pizza's either, and the tomato cuts through the richness of the cheese. The recipe below is how I baked it, for the original BBB version check out Aparna's blog.

I made it in my standmixer with the dough hook, because I have painfull hands lately (apparently it's arthrosis in my thumbs) and unfortunately it's getting worse quickly. Next week I'll start on some medication, hopefully that'll tune the pain down a little. We'll see, but it's impossible for me to knead by hand and even though it's a small recipe it worked quite well with the doughhook in my standmixer.

If you like pizza, or bread with cheese..... this is the one for you to bake! Quick and easy and delicious too. So knead, bake and post about it (deadline 29th of this month), let Aparna know how it turned out and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Check out her post on the how and where to send it. Have fun baking!!

Adjaruli Khachapuri
(A Boat Shaped Georgian Cheese Bread, makes 2)
(PRINT recipe)
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
145 g milk
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 egg (small or half a large egg)
245 g flour, plus more for dusting
½ tsp salt

125 g grated/shredded Mozzarella (don't use the buffalo kind, that's too wet)
125 g crumbled feta cheese (and a little bit Dutch cheese that was a left over)
a pinch of dried oregano and black pepper
topping of choice  - I used  sliced tomatoes

Put all the ingredients for the dough into the mixing bowl of the standmixerl and knead together until everything comes together into a smooth and somewhat loose elastic dough that’s just short of sticky. Transfer the ball of dough to a well-oiled bowl, turning it so it is coated all over. Loosely cover and let it rise till double in volume – about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Place a pizza stone, or a baking sheet on a rack in lower third of oven. 

Preheat oven to 250ºC.

Combine the cheeses in a bowl and  set aside. Deflate the dough and divide it into two halves. Working with one piece at a time,  roll it out to a rectangle about 25 cm long and 3 mm thick on a piece of lightly floured parchment.  This makes it easier to transfer the dough to your baking sheet.

Roll the long sides in a bit curving them inwards at the ends and seal well (with a little water) or the edges will open up during baking. Then bring the edges close and pinch together on both ends to form a “boat” like shape.
Again, make sure the ends are sealed well. Transfer the “boats” to the baking sheet, but if you’re going to bake them directly on the pizza stone just omit this step.

Fill the centre “well” area with half of the cheese mixture so it is a little higher than the edges of the dough “boat”. Repeat with the other half of dough and  bake them for about 12 to 15 minutes until the Khachapuri are golden brown. Take the breads out of the oven and add the sliced tomatoes and return them to the oven. Bake for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Take the Adjaruli Khachapuri out, and serve them hot. It helps to wait for about 10 minutes before eating them so you don’t burn your mouth!