Sunday, May 27, 2012

BBB Buddy: Shepherd's Bread

What a difference time and experience make. 

Years ago I bought a bread cookbook that contained some enticing recipes.  I made one that was full of dried fruits and nuts.   

It was a dud.  A veritable lethal weapon.

I was so disappointed.  The cookbook went back on the shelf.  Occasionally, I'd revisit the recipes, but when I remembered the dud, I'd put it back again.

Until recently.  

This month's challenge from the Bread Baking Babes was Shepherd's Bread, and surprise, surprise!  it's in my dud-of-a-bread-cookbook!

Well, all those babes can't be wrong, so I retrieved the book, made the appropriate notes, and forged ahead.

Can I tell you that this is one of my all time favorite breads?  The flavor is rich, the crumb is beautiful, the staying power is great.  I made this loaf one week ago, and it's still good to go.

I only made half a recipe because I don't have two giant pots to use, and this bread is a terrific riser with superb oven spring.  I used my 5-quart corning ware pot with lid, lining the bottom with parchment paper to prevent sticking.  The whole process went smoothly and the resulting bread was well worth the time and effort.   

This is definitely a bread I will make again. 

The babe of the month was Karen of Bake My Day.   The bread recipe, Shepherd's Bread, can be found in Bread for All Seasons by Beth Hensperger.  If you're feeling unusually adventurous, try baking it in an open fire (instructions provided).

There's a good chance now, that I will give this cookbook another try.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TWD/BwJ: Pecan Sticky Buns

It's been awhile since I've made either a brioche or a laminated dough.  This recipe, our second May selection for Baking with Julia, contained both techniques.   Really, this is very easy.  It just requires patience and time.   And the results are ever so delicious.

I used just half the finished dough to make these pecan rolls; I'll use the other half for another recipe in the future.  


While some bakers had issues with their mixers, I had none.   I used my sturdy, rock-solid KA, aka Silver Sage, who didn't disappoint, no moving; no over-heating.

The final result was a flaky, buttery, cinnamon-nut roll that was worth every minute of effort and every stick of butter.   

Thanks to this week's hostesses -- Lynn of Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat and Nicole of Cookies on Friday.  

To see other results and read the comments, head over to the Tuesdays with Dorie website.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TWD/BwJ: Hungarian Shortbread

I'm running a bit late this month -- buried in work, quilt shows, buried in vegetables, travel.
The first of the May recipes was Hungarian Shortbread, chosen by Lynette of 1smallkitchen and Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler.

I decided to make a quarter of the recipe.  Because of the richness of this cookie, I don't need to be tempted to consume a full recipe.  The quarter amount fit nicely into my 6" cake pan.

Another change -- I used blueberry jam rather than the suggested rhubarb.  Rhubarb is unwelcome here.  Can't understand what the draw is.   

The one strange thing about this recipe was that the cookie part was grated into the baking pan.  I'm curious what the advantage to this is.  It must be rough on the wrists to grate enough to fit into a 9x13 pan; a 6" pan was just right.

That being said, it certainly was a delicious dessert.  While I like the blueberry jam, I think lemon curd would be exceptionally tasty.  

If you want to read other comments or try out the recipe, stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BBD#49: Italian Whole Wheat Sage Bread

Manuela from Cravo e Canela - Uma Cozinha no Brasil is the host of this month's Bread Baking Day. She chose the theme of Pizza or/and Italian Breads.

Of course, I should have written this post when I made the bread, not weeks after, at the last possible moment.  But, there you go.

It was a lovely, tasty bread with a mild sage flavor, and it went well with just about every meal.  I didn't try it with jam, but who knows, it might have worked with that, too.

Manuela will have the roundup posted in the next few days.

As always, thanks goes to Zorra for her inspiration and support of bread baking.  Stop by her blog, too, for delicious posts.

Italian Whole Wheat Sage Bread
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Best Bread Machine Recipes)

1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons snipped fresh sage
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Add ingredients to your bread machine according to the manufacturer's directions.  Select the appropriate cycle and push the button.

When the cycle has ended, remove the dough.  Let it rest 5 minutes, then shape into 2 loaves.  Let rise until nearly double, then bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden on top.  The inside temperature should be between 190 and 200 degrees F.