Tuesday, May 16, 2017

BBB: Shubbak el-Habayeb

I'm out of time.  Early in the morning, I head out on a cross-country trip (West coast to East coast), so this post is short.

This month's bread, Shubbak el-Habayeb, comes from Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories.




My bread came out too dark, my fault entirely.  I accidentally set the timer for 17 minutes, and, rather than reset it, I thought I could check it before the timer went off.  Sigh.  I got caught up in the latest episode from Anthony Bourdain, a trip to Laos.  When the beeper rang, and I saw the dark brown rolls, my heart sank.  Should have reset the timer.

But, they were delicious in spite of being extra dark.

Head over to Karen's blog to get the recipe and be a buddy for May.  You won't regret it!



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TWD: Lemon Sugar Cookies

The second April cookie from Dorie's cookbook is filled with the taste and scent of lemon, Lemon Sugar Cookies.  I love anything lemon, and I am fortunate because there is a lemon tree in my backyard, loaded with lemons.




I must admit that I made these back in February, and they were a big hit with everyone who tried one.  One problem, though.  I forgot to take photos, or, rather, the cookies were eaten too quickly.  So, sigh, I was forced to bake them again.  Almost ran out the second time, too!

I didn't have too much of an issue with spreading.  Those most likely to expand were the last to be scooped out.  Maybe a bit of chilling would be helpful.

The only other thing I did a bit differently the first time was that I used the zest of two lemons instead of one.  They were really lemony.  And super delicious.

If you have Dorie's Cookies, you can find the recipe on page 171.

To see what the other bakers thought, stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website.

Monday, April 17, 2017

BBB: Kare Pan





Lately, I’ve been having issues with following directions.  Call it creative departure.  Making this month’s bread was no exception.

Babe Aparna asked us to make Kare Pan, Japanese curry balls, for our April challenge.  (You'll find the recipe on Aparna's blog.) These are balls of dough, filled with a curried vegetable mixture, coated in panko, and deep fried.  I almost did that.
 

Upon doing a vegetable check, I determined that I had some but not all of the required produce.  Change number one:  I created a mixture of onions, garlic, ginger, kale, tomatoes, and potatoes, adding the various spices, which I did have.  I thought it turned out well, and there was enough left over to put in this morning’s breakfast omelet.

Change number two:  instead of deep frying the dough balls, I chose to bake them.  I searched for alternative recipes and did find one that gave me the specifics.  It's not that I have a problem with deep frying, but I had so much going on simultaneously that I didn't have the time to stand over a pan full of hot oil, hence the baking option.  I dipped the balls in egg wash, coated them with panko, then drizzled olive oil over each ball.  They went into a 390 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  I started checking them after 10 minutes, then increased the bake time by 5 minute increments until they were golden brown. 




The resulting bread was crispy on the outside  and soft on the inside with a tiny kick from the spicy filling.  As I was tasting them, I could imagine other fillings, both sweet and savory.



If you want to be a Buddy, bake your Kare Pan by the 29th of April, post the results, and let Aparna know. She’ll have the Buddy roundup ready shortly thereafter.  And, of course, check out the adventures of the other Babes.






  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

TWD: Anzac Biscuits





Oatmeal cookies.  Mostly, I'm neutral about them. If there are raisins, I won't touch them.  If there are chocolate chips, I will.  If they are plain, it's a toss-up.

But, I have now discovered my favorite variety of oatmeal cookie:  Anzac Biscuits from Dorie's Cookies (page 159).  I've heard of them many times, but have never made them before.

They are a delicious combination of oatmeal, coconut, and golden syrup.  Easy to make, easy to eat.

I usually have some kind of container of golden syrup in my pantry because I never know when it will be needed.  Somewhere, and I don't remember where, I came across this squeeze bottle of golden syrup.  Had to have it!  And, it paid off with these cookies.



The other deviation I made was that I used unsweetened coconut -- the only kind I will use.  First, coconut is sweet enough on its own; second, sweetened coconut makes me gag.  Coconut-filled candy bars are safe with me, since I refuse to eat them.

That aside, these cookies are terrific.  If you have the book, definitely bake up a batch.

Also, check with the Tuesdays with Dorie website to read about what the other bakers thought of them.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

TWD: Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars

Slump (geological):  a form of mass wasting that occurs when a coherent mass of loosely consolidated materials moves a short distance down a slope.

Have you ever had a week where everything you bake isn't quite 100%?  That's been my week so far (and it's only Monday night).

My second cookie for March was the Salted Chocolate-Caramel Bars.  Easy to do.

 I was very organized, having chopped, toasted, softened, measured, prepped.  As soon as I walked in the door from errands and lunch out, I turned on the oven and began to create.  By the time I had to leave again, the cookies were totally finished, cooling on the counter.

Upon my return (once again), I checked the caramel, which was still fairly soft, so I put the pan into the refrigerator.





Somewhere along the line, the pan was slightly tipped over.  Much to my horror, I discovered that the caramel topping had shifted, moving en masse to the other side of the pan.  Slump.  (see above)  Well, I thought, I'll just tip the pan the opposite way, and the caramel will re-place itself.  Sigh.  I waited too long (slow as molasses it was).  The topping had indeed reversed, going all the way to the other side of the pan.  By now, the topping had warmed up considerably, so I manually played with the pan, tipping it this way and that, watching as the caramel oozed its way across the cookie base, and stopping when it had successfully settled into an even layer.  Back into the fridge it went, on a definite flat surface this time, with no chance of being dislodged.

I did manage to sneak a piece, spreading some of the wayward caramel over the top.  Nice and chocolate-y.



This recipe can be found in Dorie's Cookies on pages 42-44.  Take a look at what the other bakers did this week by going to the Tuesdays with Dorie blog.

Friday, March 17, 2017

BBB: Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread

Struan:  a special bread made from all the grains harvested during the year

This month, Elle, of Feeding My Enthusiasms, was our Kitchen of the Month.  While organizing her cookbook collection, she came upon one that 'called' to her:  Sacramental Magic in a Small Town Cafe, written in 1994 by Peter Reinhart.  That particular book shared a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Struan Bread, and, in turn, Elle shared it with us.



The bread has tons of flavor from the various grains:  coarse-grained cornmeal (or polenta), rolled oats, cooked brown rice, and wheat bran.  Since I don't store large quantities of wheat bran, I went to my local Smart & Final store, where I browsed the bins.  As luck would have it, I found coarse-grained polenta in addition to the bran, so, after purchasing small amounts of both, I was ready to bake.  I usually keep cooked brown rice in the freezer, and always have rolled oats (and buttermilk) on hand.

I used golden raisins in the bread -- a personal preference, but I suspect other dried fruits would work as well.

The original recipe makes three large loaves. Because I only have two 9x5 pans, I made one-third of the recipe, calculating all the ingredients as precisely as I could (lots of 2 tablespoons 2 teaspoons!).  It all baked up just fine.  I suspect some of the other Babes did a similar thing, so check their blogs for other versions.   The original recipe can be found on Elle's blog, so you can decide which one to bake.

I also used my stand mixer to knead the dough for the suggested fifteen minutes.  Saves the hands and frees you up to do other tasks.  My initial rise took a bit longer than an hour, closer to two, but the second rise was right on target.  It's probably because my kitchen/house is on the cooler side.



Before I rolled the dough, I brushed it lightly with melted butter, then sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar.  I did add some on the top of the loaf, however, I would skip that next time and just add more to the inside.



If you wish to bake along this month, send your photos and story to Elle by the 29th to be included in the Buddy Roundup.

And, since I still have some polenta and wheat bran remaining, I suspect I'll be baking this delicious loaf again.





Tuesday, March 7, 2017

TWD: "Corked" Breton Galettes



Over the years, I've accumulated a bowlful of corks from various kinds of wines.  I never quite knew what I'd do with them, but enjoyed reading the names/messages on the corks themselves.

Well, that all changed the other day when I made the first March cookie from Dorie's Cookies, the 'corked' Breton galettes (page 291).  I suppose I don't need this many corks, and I'm wondering how the champagne corks would work with their handle-like tops.



I made a batch of twelve for the first round.  Because it's a slice-and-bake cookie, you can easily bake them on demand, storing the dough cylinders either in the refrigerator or the freezer.  I have to admit that I ate most of them without filling (easier to store that way).  The filling I did use was Dutch apple jam that I had picked up from a Nebraska-only store the last time I was in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I debated using lemon curd or chocolate ganache or cherry jam, but those are for the future, especially since I didn't bake all the cookies at once.



These cookies are also handy if you need either a variety or flexibility of fillings.  I do have friends that don't like chocolate (gasp!), but I would be able to accommodate all tastes, chocolate and non-chocolate alike with these galettes.

All in all, these cookies were a great success.  Hop over to the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see what the other bakers did.




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

TWD: Valentine's Day Share-a-Heart




February's second cookie choice from Dorie's Cookies is the chocolate Valentine's Day Share-a-Heart.  Because I elected to make this one after Valentine's Day proper, I decided not to use a heart shape.  The instructions suggest that you make two very large chocolate hearts to share with a loved one, and make smaller cookies from the scraps.


I made scalloped-edge cookies, and, in a fit of brilliance, I just baked the scraps as is.  (No photos of those, since they were all taste-testers.)

Batch number one was decorated, pre-baking, with Swedish pearl sugar.  Cookies from batch number two had a dollop of vanilla icing, sprinkled with red sugar crystals.



If you like crispy cookies, these are the ones for you.  Just an observation:  the frosted cookies did soften slightly, probably because of the moisture from the icing.  Both versions are delicious.

Be sure and stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see how the other bakers did.


Dorie's Cookies, Valentine's Day Share-a-Heart, pages 274-276.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jachnun

Our kitchen of the month was Lien of Notitie van Lien.  She challenged the Babes to make Jachnun, a Yemenite Jewish bread that has an overnight bake.  If you check out the various Babe sites, you will notice quite a variety of results.  It always surprises me that one recipe, prepared by different bakers, can turn out in such dissimilar ways.

Mine was no exception.  After some online research, I decided to bake my jachnun in a slow cooker overnight.  I used the same recipe (approximately), using all-purpose flour and honey.  I made the dough in the morning, so it could have a decent rest time, then prepared the rolls in the evening for the overnight bake.

The dough was extremely soft and sticky, so I don't know if that was correct.  I used my famous 'strudel' table to stretch out each one.  (It was rather like making strudel dough, and this table allows me access from every side.)  When they were rolled, I placed them in the slow cooker with layers of parchment paper, and set the timer for 12 hours.



The jachnun were definitely cooked, almost to the point of being inedible.  Next time, I would bake them for only 10 hours.  I served them with the traditional hard boiled eggs, but added sliced fresh strawberries rather than the grated tomatoes with zhug (a spicy condiment).




In the end, the jachnun were really very simple to prepare.  If you've made strudel dough before, it will be easy.  The tricky part is in the baking, but it is certainly worth trying at least once.



Jachnun

Ingredients

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 25 grams date syrup (or honey)
  • 20 grams honey
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • 12 grams salt
  • 300 grams water (plus or minus)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, margarine, or oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, date syrup, honey, baking powder, salt, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead for a few minutes. You can also mix and knead by hand. Let the dough relax for 10 minutes, and then knead again for about 5 minutes. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for an hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F and place a rack at the lowest position. Line the bottom of a 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan or casserole with with some stale bread and then with parchment paper.
  3. Divide the dough in to 6 pieces and shape them into balls. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. To stretch the rolls, oil or butter your work surface and place a piece of dough on it. Oil the top of the dough with you hands and begin stretching out the dough. Pull, stretch, and oil the dough until you have it as thin as possible. If you have tears, don't worry too much. When the dough is very thin, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Oil/butter the top, and roll the dough into a log. See this video. Continue with the rest of the pieces.
  5. Place each rolled piece of dough on the parchment in a single layer, and top with more parchment paper. Top with a double layer of foil, sealing the top of the pan tightly. Place a sheet pan on top of the foil. Place in the oven overnight, and bake for 12 hours. The Jachnun should be a deep golden brown. 
  6. Serve hot with grated tomato, hard boiled eggs, and zhug (recipe below).
Yield: Makes 6

To make the zhug, process 1 teaspoon chili flakes, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, 4 garlic cloves, pinch of ground cardamom, pinch of cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a handful (about 30 grams) of cilantro in the food processor with enough olive oil to make the mixture into a sauce. This can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator.


Participating Babes:


Cathy from Bread Experience
Kelly from A Messy Kitchen
Karen from Bake My Day
 
 
 
 If you want to bake along as a buddy, send your story and photos to Lien at notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com) subject: BBBread February by the 28th of the month.  The roundup will be posted in early March.