Saturday, February 16, 2019

Happy Eleventh Anniversary: Chelsea Buns

After several months of bread-baking debacles, I finally had success with this month’s challenge, Chelsea Buns, the selection by Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups), Kitchen of the Month.  I ended up making the buns twice, because the first time around, I forgot the sugar in the filling.  The buns were still good, but not overly sweet.  When I made them the second time around, I decided to improve upon the recipe, and the results were even better.

For the dough, I used my bread machine (R2D2) to save wear and tear on my hands.  

Round one:  after I rolled out the dough, I spread softened butter on top and sprinkled it with mixed spice and currants.   

Then, I rolled up the dough, sliced it into individual rolls (using dental floss), then placed the buns in the pans for the final rise.  One batch was in my heart-shaped pan, the other in a square pan.   

Once the buns were out of the oven and still warm, I used a milk glaze to cover them.  After the taste test, I kept thinking something was missing, so I replayed the construction over and over in my mind until I had my aha! moment.  Forgot the sugar for the filling.  Also, the currants kept falling out.

Obviously, I had to make them again.

Round two:  I finely chopped some dried cranberries and currants, and added them, along with some orange zest, to the dough itself.  This time, when I rolled out the dough, I remembered the sugar.  I spread it, once again, with softened butter, then, sprinkled it with mixed spice and a little brown sugar.  

I also changed up the glaze, using some powdered sugar and orange juice.  This batch was super delicious.

To be fair, I researched Chelsea Buns, and ended up combining several recipes.  There’s a basic dough, a mixture of fruits, and the addicting spice mix.  Definitely worth making again and again.

Basic dough

1 cup milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
3 1/3 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Follow the directions for your bread machine, using a manual setting; or, mix by hand/mixer.
Bake rolls at 375˚F for 20-25 minutes.  Glaze will still warm.

Mixed Spice

1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons mace
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ginger

If you decide to make these yummy Chelsea Buns and help celebrate our eleventh (11th) anniversary, and I hope you do, send your story and photos to Tanna by February 28.

Visit the other Babes to see how they adapted the buns to their own tastes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Elbow Lick Sandwich Bread

For this month’s bread bake, I am channeling my inner Nailed It! artistry and abilities.  

Never heard of Nailed It!?  It’s a reality cooking show (on Netflix) where three home bakers are challenged to reproduce beautifully decorated cakes and confections.  While the contestants believe they are skillful bakers, their results prove otherwise.

As the January Kitchen of the Month, Elizabeth, of Blog from Our Kitchen, shared a recipe for Elbow Lick Sandwich Bread, which contains delicious ingredients like caramelized onions and sweet potato puree.

Because my 2018 bread-baking track record was a bit on the dismal side, I hesitated to try this one.  But in the spirit of Nailed It!, I decided to give it a hearty try.

First, came the caramelized onions.  After two hours of low and slow on the stove, the onions were done.  Looked pretty tasty and smelled great.  Next, came the sweet potato puree, which, in truth, was actually pumpkin/squash puree from a can.  Leavener/starter was mixed and placed in the cold oven.

Have I mentioned that it’s winter here in southern California?  It’s been rainy (yay!) and a bit on the chilly side – 50s to 60s.  While that might be balmy elsewhere, it translates as cold here.  You also need to know that my German Shepherd dog is afraid of the heater (scary noises), so the inside of the house is about 61 degrees most of the time.  Not conducive to yeast or bread-rising functions.

New day.  In spite of my misgivings, I continued with the bread.  I carefully weighed out the ingredients and mixed them together as per instructions.  After resting (both me and the dough), I began adding the onions.  A few red flags went up when, after adding all the onions, the dough still resembled a batter.  Next, came the two-hour initial proof.  Check:  all is well.  Following this, the dough was to be gently shaped and place in a well-floured brot-form for the next 3-4 hour rise.  Upon observing the dough (still batter-like), I knew there was not enough flour in the Universe to keep it from sticking to the brot-form, so I made an executive decision and poured it into a 9x5 loaf pan, ready for the final 3-4 hour proof.  (Pour is a critical word.)

After one hour (1 hour), the dough was already over-proofed, even in this cold house.  I heated up the oven, gently placed the jiggly dough inside, set the timer, and walked away.   After 35 minutes or so, I removed the bread, which easily slipped out of the pan onto a cooling rack.  (It could possibly have baked another 10 minutes or so, but I was too eager to try it.)

Sliced, toasted, and buttered:  it is delicious despite its appearance.

But, the bottom line?  I Nailed It!

(If Nailed It! ever adds a bread challenge, I plan to audition.)

For the recipe, head over to Elizabeth’sblog.  To see what the bread is supposed to look like, visit the other Babe’s blogs.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Egg Bagels for November

This month, Kitchen of the Month, Karen BakingSoda of Bake My Day!, challenged the Babes to make Egg Bagels.  It’s been a long time since I’ve made bagels, so I was looking forward to trying a new recipe.  I kept waiting for the recipe to be posted in a readable format, but finally gave up and requested two of Beth Hensperger’s bread books from the local library, hoping against all odds that the recipe would appear in one of them.  Eureka!  It did!  The book in question is Baking Bread:  Old and New Traditions.

From there, it was smooth sailing.  I made the potato water and let it cool to the right temperature, then assembled all the ingredients.  While the dough was proofing, I turned on the oven and started heating the pot of water.  My oven seems to take forever to get to temperature, and a pot of boiling water takes nearly as long.

When the dough was ready (does this look doubled to you?), so was I.  

The whole process went quickly, and I ended up with a batch of lovely egg bagels that I’ve been nibbling on for the last week.

Karen has posted the recipe with her notes and variations on her website. 

Hope you join us this month!  If you do, send your information to Karen by December 1st to be included in the Buddy roundup.