Saturday, February 28, 2015

BBB Buddy Bake: Kouign Amann

At the moment, my kitchen is packed in boxes. This past week I moved from California to New Mexico.  Back home, at last.  My welcome greeting?  Nearly a foot of snow!   Too bad the kitchen is in boxes for it is a wonderful time to bake!

However, moving aside, I managed one more baking experience in my beloved California kitchen -- the February Bread Baking Babe challenge, Kouign Amann.

I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to try these, scouring my cookbooks and websites for the 'right' recipe.  I was watching the Great British Bake-Off recently, and when they announced a surprise challenge, I somehow knew what it was going to be.  Yep, Kouign Amann.  I watched intently.

Then, the BBB announcement was made.  Kouign Amann.  It was a sign.

So, I knew I had to make this before I left.  And, I did, not once, but twice.

The first time, I followed the recipe.  I'm no stranger to laminated doughs, so it was not intimidating, but I thought the process could be improved.

The second time, I did it my way, which meant that I spread on the Irish butter in pinches and dabs and gave the dough an extra turn to make sure it was well chilled.  I also couldn't resist adding a small piece of chocolate to the center.  

Although I'm aware that these pastries are best eaten fresh and warm, I have to say that even at 2 days, they were still delicious.  In fact, you can really see the flaky layers when they have matured.

When my new kitchen is finally in place, you can bet that I will be making Kouign Amann again and sharing them with a whole new set of friends.

Thanks to Lien, the Kitchen of the Month, for the perfect challenge.  If you want to see what the Babes and Buddies did and get the recipe, check out her website. .

Sunday, February 1, 2015

BBB Buddy: Chapati

Do you ever have those moments where, if you don't do something creative, you'll just explode?   For me, that situation has been building up for weeks.  My work requires brain-power, but if I don't complement it with cooking or even quilting, my thought processes are compromised.

So, Saturday, I just had to try the latest challenge from the Bread Baking Babes:  chapati.

How hard could these be?  I've been making my own flour tortillas for years, and, since chapati seem very similar, I decided to make up a batch.

I used 100% white whole wheat flour entirely, 1 1/2 cups worth, along with some Kosher salt, and enough just-boiled water to create a pliable dough.  It was very satisfying to spend nearly 10 minutes kneading it into a satiny ball of goodness.

After an hour's rest, I heated up my comal, placed a rack on top of the neighboring burner, then got to work rolling out thin rounds of dough.  

Such a nice feeling to watch the rounds start to bubble and puff.  And, when I moved the first one from the comal to the heated rack, it ballooned up completely.   Nice.

The remaining seven pieces of dough cooked without incident, and I ended up with 8 lovely chapati and a sense of mental restoration.   Definitely something to remember for future crises.

The hostess this month was Elizabeth, but you can visit any of the Babes to see how they fared.

Until next time, happy baking!