Sunday, November 7, 2010

French Bread

I did not get the big holes that were talked about in the recipe. I am not quite sure what I am doing wrong. It tasted great the texture was simply not right. Oh well. I will just have to try again.


3 C Pate Fermentee (recipe below)
1 1/4 C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 C Unbleached Bread Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Yeast
3/4 + 2 T Warm Water

1. Remove the pate fermentee from the fridge 1 hour before making the dough. Cut it into 10 small pieces and cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest and warm for about 1 hour.

2. Stir together th dry ingredients and the pate fermentee. Add the water and stir until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Adjust the flour or water so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff, it is better to be a little sticky. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough tot he counter and begin to knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is soft, pliable, tacky and all ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in, spray lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temp for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. If the dough doubles in size before 2 hours, knead it lightly to degas and let it rise again, covered until it doubles from the original size. Gently remove from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured counter. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Be gentle with the dough. Form the pieces into baguettes by gently pulling to the desired length and folding in half and sealing the edges against the counter to create surface tension. Place gently on parchment  and allow to rise uncovered for about 45-75 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, place a baking stone on the bottom third of the oven and place an empty cookie sheet on the top rack of the oven. Score the baguettes. Gently transfer the loaves to the hot baking stone. Pour  1 cup of hot water into the cookie sheet and close the door. After 30 seconds mist the sides of the oven. Repeat twice more at 30 second intervals. After the final spray, lower the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the loaves and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes  or until the loaves are golden brown and register at least 205 degrees in the center of the loaves. Cool for about 40 minutes before slicing or serving.

Pate Fermentee

1 1/8 C Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/8 C Unbleached Bread Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Yeast3/4 C + 2 T water, room temp

Stir together the dry ingredients. Add the water until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead for 4-6 minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable and a little tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly return it to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the fridge and refrigerate overnight.


Don't worry, I'm still baking... just not posting. I hope people are actually reading and trying these recipes. They are really fantastic and most of them don't take as much time as you would think. This recipe however does take time, but it is fantastic. Just be prepared to share because it makes A LOT of bread.


5 C unbleached bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
6 T olive oil
2 C water, room temp
1/4-1/2 C Herb Oil

1. Stir together the dry ingredients. Add the oil and water and mix with a large METAL spoon until all the ingredients form a wet sticky ball. (It will be very wet and sticky. Avoid the desire to add more flour at all costs!) Mix with a metal spoon for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. Alternately, if you want to use a mixer mix for 5-7 minutes on medium speed using the dough hook. Sprinkle enough flour on the counter to make a bed about 6 inches square. Transfer the dough to the counter and dust it liberally with flour and pat it into a rectangle. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

2. Coat you hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size. Fold it in thirds letter style, over itself, to return it to a rectangle. Mist the dough with spray oil, dust with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch the dough again, following all steps. Let it rest for 30 minutes and repeat one more time.

3. Allow the dough to ferment for 1 hour on the counter. Line a cookie sheet with parchment, put down about 1/4 C of olive oil (being sure to spread to the corners of the pan) and carefully lift the dough onto the cookie sheet. Spoon about 1/2 of the herb oil over the top of the dough. Using your fingertips dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan. Use only your fingertips so you do not tear or rip the dough. Try to keep the thickness as uniform as possible. If it starts to shrink back, let it rest for about 15 minutes then continue dimpling. Use more herb oil as necessary to be sure that the entire surface is coated with oil.

4. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove the pan for the fridge at least 3 hours before baking. Drizzle any additional herb oil over the dough and dimple it in. The dough should fill the pan completely, cover with plastic wrap and proof the dough at room temp for about 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 500 with the rack in the middle.

5. Place the pan in the oven and lower the temperature to 450. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes. The internal temp of the dough should register about 200 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack. If the parchment is stuck on the bottom carefully remove it by peeling it off. Let it rest for about 20 minutes before serving.

Herb Oil - Sam's Version

1 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Herbes de Provence (an herb mixture including lavendar. I purchased mine at costco)
1 T Dried Minced Onion
1 tsp Pepper
1 T Kosher salt
5 fresh Garlic Cloves, pressed

Warm the oil to about 100 degrees add all of the ingredients and remove from the heat. Allow the herbs to steep for at least 30 minutes. Be sure to only include some of the herbs on your focaccia. If you'd like you can strain it before using. It will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Strawberry Pies

These just look great :) These were dessert for our graduation dinner back in April. 

English Muffins

These were fantastic. I want to make a bunch and freeze them... I need to try it again though, to see if I can get bigger holes.

2 1/4 C unbleached bread flour
1/2 T granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 T shortening or butter, room temp
3/4 - 1 C milk or buttermilk, room temp.
Cornmeal for dusting

1. Stir together the dry ingredients. Stir in the shortening and 3/4 C milk until the ingredients form a ball. If there is still loose flour int he bowl, dribble in some of the remaining milk. The dough should be soft and pliable not stiff. Sprinkle flour on the counter and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and tacky but not sticky. It should pass the windowpane test. Lightly oil a boil and transfer the dough tot he bowl, rolling it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temp for 60-90 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.

2. Wipe the counter with a damp cloth and transfer the dough to the counter. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces of about 3 ounces each. Shape the pieces into boules. Line a sheet pan with parchment, mist lightly with spray oil and dust with cornmeal. Transfer the dough to the sheet pan, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Mis them lightly with spray oil, sprinkle them loosely with cornmeal and cover them with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof at room temp for 60-90 minutes or until they double in size and swell up and out.

3. Heat a skillet or flat griddle to medium (about 350 if you have a thermometer setting). At the same time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Brush the pan or griddle with vegetable oil or mist with spray oil. Uncover the muffin rounds and gently transfer them to the pan, sliding a metal spatula under them and lifting them to the pan. Fill the pan so that the pieces are at least 1 inch apart, not touching. Cover the pieces still on the sheet pan with the plastic wrap or a towel to prevent them from developing a skin. The dough that is being cooked will flatten int he pan and spread slightly, then the pieces will puff somewhat. Cook them for 5-8 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough cannot cook any longer without burning. The bottoms should be a rich golden brown; they will brown quickly but will not burn for a while so resist the temptation to turn them prematurely or they will fall when you flip them over. Carefully flip the pieces over with the metal spatula and cook on the other side for 5-8 minutes int he same manner. Both sides will now be flat. When the dough seems as if it cannot endure any further cooking without burning, transfer the pieces to a sheet pan and place the pan in the oven, don't wait for the uncooked to finish otherwise the first set will not respond to the oven stage. Bake for 5-8 minutes on the middle shelf to ensure that the center is baked. Repeat with any remaining pieces.

4. Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and cool for about 30 minutes before eating.

Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread

I was really disappointed in this bread. It took almost 80 minutes to cook all the way through, I think that it was too thick and the oven may not have been high enough. Regardless it was dry and hard, almost like biscotti, but HUGE. The flavor was great though. I really like the orange and cranberry. I think I will try it again, but only do a single braid instead of a double braid as instructed in the book.

3 C unbleached bread flour
3 T granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 /2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 T orange or lemon extract
2 LG eggs
1/2 C buttermilk or any kind of milk at room temp
2 T butter, melted
1/4 - 1/2 C water, room temp
1 1/2 C dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 C coarsely chopped walnuts (or pecans)

1. Stir together dry ingredients. Add all of the wet ingredients except for the water. Slowly add just enough water to make a soft, pliable ball of dough. Sprinkle flour on the counter and turn out the dough to knead. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky. Add th dried cranberries and knead for 2 minutes until evenly distributed, then gently knead in the nuts. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat with oil. Cover and ferment at room temperature for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.

2. Transfer the dough tot he counter and divide into 6 pieces, 3 pieces of 10 ounces each and 3 pieces of 4 ounces each. Roll out the larger pieces into ropes about 9 inches long and the smaller pieces to about 6 inches long. Make each rope thicker in the middle and slightly tapered towards the end. Braid like challah bread and place the small braid on top of the large braid. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with an egg wash (1 egg, whisked until frothy). Reserve the rest of the egg wash to use before baking. Proof uncovered at room temperature for about 90 minutes or until the dough nearly doubles in size. Brush the loaf a second time with remaining egg wash. Preheat oven to 325 with rack in the middle.

3. Bake for about 25 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until the loaf is deep golden brown, feels very firm and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. The internal temp should register between 185 and 190. Remove from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for about an hour before slicing and serving.


I brought this cornbread to a church function. I doubled the recipe and all but 3 pieces were eaten when all was said and done. It was a little strange for me. I think next time I won't include the bacon on top and I will not grease the pan with bacon grease. Maybe I'm a purist, but I don't think bacon belongs in cornbread. So far, my favorite cornbread recipe is in the Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I baked one batch in a 10-inch round cake pan as instructed and the second batch I baked it in a 9x13 pan. The 9x13 pan took about 25 minutes longer then the round cake pan. If possible, use the round cake pan!

1 C coarse cornmeal (also packages as polenta)
2 C buttermilk
8 oz bacon slices (about 10)
1 3/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
3 LG eggs
2 T honey
2 T butter, melted
2 1/2 C Fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 T bacon fat or vegetable oil

1. The night before baking the cornbread, soak the cornmeal int he buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temp overnight.

2. The next day, cook the bacon to crispy but not burned. Reserve the grease and crumble the bacon.

3. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dissolve the honey in the melted butter and slowly pour it into the eggs. Add this to the cornmeal mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a large spoon or whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Stir in the corn kernels until they are evenly distributed.

4. Place 2 T of the hot bacon fat into a 10-inch round cake pan. Turn the pan to coat with the grease. Pour the batter into the center of the pan, spreading it from the center to the outside of the pan. Sprinkle the bacon over the top, gently pressing them into the batter.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the corn bread is firm and springy and a toothpick comes out clean. The center of the bread should register at least 185. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing into squares or wedges.

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

Sorry, no photo for this one... it got eaten before I could take a photo. Unfortunately I don't think I let this one rise properly because it was a bit dense and I was hoping for a softer bread. It was great toasted with cream cheese though :)

3.5 Cups Unbleached bread flour
4 tsp granulated sugar
1.25 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
1.25 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Large Egg
2 T shortening, melted or at room temperature
1/2 c buttermilk or whole milk, room temp
3.4 c water, room temp
1.5 c raisins, rinsed and drained
1 C chopped walnuts (I used Pecans)

1. Stir together dry ingredients. Add all of the wet ingredients and stir together until the ingredients form a ball. Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry.

2. Sprinkle flour on a counter and begin kneading or mix on medium speed in a mixer with the dough hook. The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or 6-8 minutes in mixer. Sprinkle in the raisins and walnuts during the last 2 minutes of kneading. The dough should pass the windowpane test.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough, rolling it to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours until dough doubles in size.

4. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and shape into loaves. Place in greased loaf pans. Spray lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Proof at room temp until the dough crests about the lips of the pans about 60-90 minutes.

5. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, rotate pans and bake for another 20-30 minutes. It should register 190 in the center. Remove bread from the pans immediately and let it cool for about 1 hour before serving.

Cinnamon Buns

These were pretty fantastic, but definitely not my mom's cinnamon rolls. And I have to be honest, I think I like my mom's more. They were fairly simple and were made in one day. They made my teeth hurt...


So I tried making Peter Reinharts Ciabatta twice, and both times the bread tasted good but it was not quite what I had anticipated nor did it look like the photo in the book. The holes were small, the texture was a little dense, but it was still flavorful. Reinhart's book lists two separate recipes a poolish version and a biga version. The biga version has oil and that does make a difference in the texture of the bread. The biga version is softer and a bit less chewy then the poolish version.

Sorry that I haven't posted for a month... I have been making bread, just not posting because I haven't been up for it. I will try and post recipes later.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Next Week

Next week will be Ciabatta. That is my hubby's favorite bread. This book has a few recipes for ciabatta so I will be making at least 3 of them over the next few weeks. Sorry this post is so late in the week, hopefully I can get it posted on Monday next week. :)


Challah is a Jewish celebration and Sabbath bread. To form the dough you use a three strand braid. you can stack two braids on top of each other, serve it as one braid, or curl the large braid into a round loaf. The three strands represent truth, peace and beauty. When curled into a round loaf the round shape symbolizes that the world has no beginning and no end. The spiral coil indicates the ascension to God. It is served on the sabbath usually with a garnish of seeds to symbolize the falling of manna from heaven. When served at the table it is covered with a cloth to represent the heavenly dew that protects the manna.
It was a beautiful loaf and easy to braid. It was significantly larger then I thought it would be. I looked up some ideas for using it and several people said it makes great french toast. Several people also mentioned that Challah bread is the bread of choice for delis. It is a hearty bread and holds up well, but after the last two weeks of rich bread it seemed a little lacking. It does make a great grilled cheese sandwich though!

Oh, and as a note. I purchased unbleached bread flour last week to see how it would affect the bread. What a difference. The gluten actually developed in the time listed in the recipe. It is at least twice the cost of unbleached all-purpose flour, about $0.60 per pound whereas all-purpose flour is about $0.25 per pound. But it makes such a difference.

makes 1 large braided loaf, 2 smaller loaves, or 1 large double braided celebration loaf

4 C Unbleached Bread Flour
2 T Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 1/3 tsp Instant Yeast
2 T Vegetable Oil
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg Yolks
3/4 C plus 2 T Water, room temperature

2 egg whites, whisked until frothy for egg wash
Sesame or Poppy seeds for garnish

1. Stir together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet into the dry and mix with a spoon or on low speed with the paddle attachment until all the ingredients gather and form a ball. If needed, you can add an additional 1-2 T of water.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and knead for about 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes with the dough hook on medium-low speed). Sprinkle in more flour as needed to make a soft but not sticky dough. It should pass the windowpane test.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl and form the dough into a tight ball. Roll the dough in the oil to coat, cover with plastic wrap and ferment for an hour at room temperature. Remove the dough and knead for 2 minutes. Re-form it into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for an additional hour. The dough should increase by about 1 1/2 times.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide the dough into three equal pieces (look at the end of the recipe for instructions for the celebration loaf). Regardless of the size of loaf form each ball into a tight ball, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Uncover the balls and roll each into a long thin rope, about 14 inches or so. Make sure they are all the same length with each roll larger in the center and tapered at the end. Place all three lengths on the counter perpendicular to your body and about an inch from each other. You have a left, middle and right strand (starting from your left). Starting in the middle of the loaf place the right strand over the middle strand, then the left strand over the middle strand. Follow that pattern to the end and pinch the end together. Gently pick up your loaf and rotate 180 degrees so that the unbraided strands are facing you. Starting in the middle again wrap the right strand UNDER the middle, then the left strand UNDER the middle. Follow that pattern until the end and then pinch to seal. Carefully place on parchment covered cookie sheet and brush with egg wash. Spray lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temperature for about an hour until the dough has grown to 1 1/2 times it's original size.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 (325 for the celebration bread) with the rack on the middle shelf. Brush the loaves with egg wash again and then sprinkle with seeds if using. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate the pan and continue baking for 20-45 minutes until it is rich golden brown and registers 190 in the center. Cool for an hour before cutting and serving.

Note: Celebration Bread, divide it into three equal pieces and then combine two pieces (so you will have a 1/3 of the dough in one ball and 2/3 of the dough in another ball). Divide the two balls into three equal pieces respectively, so you will have 3 small balls and three larger balls. Roll each set of three into matching lengths with the smaller ropes at least 2 inches smaller then the large ropes. Braid each set as explained in step 5. Lay the smaller braid on top of the larger braid and then proceed with the egg wash and rising. Bake this loaf at 325, it will need to bake for nearly an hour because of how large it is.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Casatiello is an Italian version of Brioche that has been kicked up a notch. It has sauteed hard dry salami and provolone cheese in the bread. The crust is dotted with browned cheese, it's surprisingly good. We ate it tonight with mushroom bisque and salad. It is some of the best bread I've had for dipping in soup in a while. It can be made, start to finish in one day which is nice. Good luck :)

1 large loaf or 2 small loaves

1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
1 T Instant Yeast
1 C Whole Milk or Buttermilk, lukewarm (90-100)

4 oz Italian Salami, dry cured, sliced at least 1/4" thick
3 1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 T Sugar
2 Large Eggs
3/4 C Unsalted Butter
3/4 C Coarsely Shredded or grated Provolone

1. Make the sponge by whisking together the flour, yeast and milk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for about 1 hour.

2. While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami and saute lightly in a frying pan to crisp it slightly. Shred or coarse grate the cheese and set aside. (Note: I shredded it with the largest attachment I have and it was too small. There were no pockets of melted cheese as I was hoping for. Next time I would dice it as well into about 1/4" cubes.

3. In the bowl with the sponge, add the flour, salt, sugar, and eggs.Mix until all of the ingredients form a rough ball. If all the flour is not hydrated, add a little bit of warm water or milk. Stir for about 1 minute and then let it rest for 10 minutes. This will allow the gluten to develop. Divide the butter into 4 pieces and add one piece at a time and mix with the dough hook until the butter is fully incorporated before you add another piece. Start the timer for 12 minutes when you start kneading in the butter and continue to knead until the timer runs out. At this point, take it out of the mixer and knead in the meat by hand until it is evenly incorporated. Once the meat is evenly distributed, gently knead in the cheese. (Note: I had to do this in steps because there was a lot of cheese). Lightly oil a bowl and lightly roll the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. and ferment for 90 minutes.

4. You can bake the dough as two loaves (in loaf pans) or in one 10 inch cake pan. Be sure to grease the pan(s) with Crisco. (There are other baking options outlined in the book for this bread, but you'll have to get the book to read about them). Proof the dough in the pans for at least an hour or until the dough reaches the tops of the pans. About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.

5. Place the bread in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees and then bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 185-190 and the bread is a rich golden brown. Remove it directly from the oven and pans and let it cool on a rack for at least an hour before serving.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


This bread is amazing (photos to come). Traditionally this bread is what is used to make French Toast. It is sliced and dipped in 1 C of Heavy Cream and 6 eggs that have been whipped. Then cooked in a frying pan that has about 2 T of browned butter. OH MY GOODNESS. These were heavenly. It needs a little bit of sweet, but it was so good. After have Brioche French Toast, I'm not sure I can go back to the soggy unflavored sandwich bread French Toast.

This bread is very rich. The traditional recipe is not for those with high cholesterol. It was very good, baked beautifully bu t it will definitely take some practice. But so far, it has been one of the easiest breads with the best results. Peter Reinhart lists 3 different recipes for Brioche with 3 differing amounts of butter and eggs. This was the highest of both. Also traditionally shaped brioche requires a special fluted pan. I didn't have one and don't want to buy one just yet so I made loaves. I will not include the shaping instructions for the brioche a tete. If you'd like to learn, look it up or grab the book :)

Rich Man's Brioche
Makes 16-24 Petites Brioches a tete, 2-4 large Brioche a Tete, or three 1 LB loaves

1/2 C unbleached bread flour
1 T Instant Yeast
1/2 C Whole Milk, Lukewarm (90-100)

5 Large Eggs
3 1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
2 1/2 T Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 C Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked until frothy for the egg wash

1. Stir together the sponge ingredients until all the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for 20 minutes or until the sponge rises and then falls when you tap the bowl.

2. Add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add thsi mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue to mix with the paddle on low speed for 2minutes) until all the ingredients are hydrated and evenly distributed. Let tis mixture rest for 5 minutes so that the gluten can begin to develop. Then, while mixing with a large spoon (or on medium speed with the paddle), gradually work in the butter, about one-quarter at a time, waiting until each addition of butter assimilates before adding more. This will take a few minutes. Continue mixing for about 6 more minutes, or until the dough is very well mixed. You will have to scrape down the bowl from time to time. The dough will be very smooth and soft.

3. Line a sheet pan with parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Transfer the dough to the sheet pan, spreading it to form a large thick rectangle about 6x8. Mist the top of the dough and spray with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Place it int he fridge and chill over night or for at least 4 hours.

4. Remove the dough from the fridge and shape it while still cold. Grease three 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and shape the dough into loaves (this was a little difficult and it did not feel like regular bread dough, do the best you can).

5. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Proof the dough until it nearly fills the loaf pans. It took about 2 1/2 hours for one loaf pan and 3 hours for the other two. Gently brush the tops with eggs was. Cover the dough with plastic wrap that has been lightly misted with oil. Continue proofing until the dough fills the molds or pans. It took at least another hour.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Bake for about 35-50 minutes for larger shapes. It should register 190 int he center. Remove the brioche from the pans as soon as they come out of the oven and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I made bagels last week. I wanted to take some pictures so I saved one, and when I got around to taking the picture it had wonderful green spots all over it. So sorry, no photo. But I did realize that it's pointless to have a food blog if you aren't going to post recipes. So I will post recipes, just probably not today. I will soon though. :) The bagels were fantastic but I'm not sure if the overnight retard was worth it. I'd like to try some actual New York Bagels because apparently those are the gold standard...

Makes 12 Large or 24 Mini Bagels

1 tsp Instant Yeast
4 C Unbleached High-Gluten or Bread Flour (NOT Vital Wheat Gluten Flour)
2 1/2 C Room Temperature Water

1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
3 3/4 C Unbleached High-Gluten or Bread Flour
2 3/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Malt Powder OR 1 T Dark or Light Malt Syrup, honey or brown sugar

To Finish
1 T Baking Soda
Cornmeal or Semolina Flour for dusting
Sesame Seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions, or chopped fresh onion that have been tossed in oil (All Optional)

1. Stir the Sponge ingredients together, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (it is supposed to look like pancake batter, but mine was really thick). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. In the same bowl, add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 C flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed in a mixer) until all of the ingredients forma ball slowly working in the remaining 3/4 C Flour.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or 6 minutes in a mixer). The dough should be firm but still pliable and smooth. Everything should be hydrated and pass the windowpane test. The dough should register between 77-81 degrees. If the dough seems too dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems too tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required.

4. Immediately divide the dough into 4.5 ounce pieces for standard bagels or smaller if desired. Form the pieces into rolls and let them rest for 20 minutes and prepare a sheet pan.

5. Cover 2 sheet pans with parchment and lightly spray with oil. Shape the bagels and place carefully on each pan. Shape the bagels by rolling each piece of dough into 8 inch lengths. Wrap it gently around your hand with the ends meeting in your palm. Roll the ends together to seal. Gently place each bagel on a sheet pan keeping them 2 inches apart.

6. Mist the bagels very ligtly with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit for about 20 minutes.

7. Test one bagel using the float test. Fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. The bagels are ready to retard overnight when one floats within 10 seconds of being dropped in the water. Test one bagel and if it floats, immediately return the bagel tot he pan and dry it off. Cover the pan and then place them in the fridge overnight. If it does not float, return it to the pan and continue proofing at room temperature and check back ever 10-20 minutes until the tester floats.

8. When you are ready to bake the bagels (either the next day or within 3 days) preheat the oven to 500 degrees with 2 racks in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the baking soda.

9. Remove the bagels from the fridge and gently drop them in the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minutes, flip them and boil for another minute. If you like chewy bagels you can extend the boiling time to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. if you want to top the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water.

10. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the middle shelves in the oven. Bake for about 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and turning the pans 180 degrees. After the rotation, lower the oven to 450 and continue baking for about 5 minutes or until the bagel turn light golden brown (it took another 10 minutes or so).

11. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Anadama Bread

This bread is a cornmeal molasses bread. I've never had a bread like this and I was quite surprised. The molasses was not overpowering, although it could have been had I used a dark molasses. I used a fine ground cornmeal instead of the coarse ground suggested and maybe that is why I didn't notice a texture change. It was good for about 4 days though before it started to crumble. I did have to knead it for almost 20 minutes before the gluten was developed properly. Maybe I just need practice in kneading :)

Anadama Bread
Makes Two 1 1/2 LB Loaves or Three 1 LB Loaves
1 C Cornmeal
1 C Water

4 1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
2 tsp Instant Yeast
1 C Lukewarm Water
1 1/2 tsp Salt
6 T Molasses
2 T Shortening or Unsalted Butter
Cornmeal for dusting (optional)

Note: Depending on the type and brand of Molasses that you use, it will change the flavor. I used Mild Brer Rabbit Molasses. You can find it in the section with the Corn Syrup in your grocery store.

1. Make the soaker the day before by combining the cornmeal and water in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight at room temperature.

2. Make the dough the next day by stirring together 2 C of flour, the yeast, soaker and water in a mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and ferment for 1 hour, or until the sponge begins to bubble.

3. Add the remaining 2 1/2 C Flour, salt, molasses and shortening (I used butter) and stir (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients form a ball. Add water if necessary to make a soft, slightly sticky mass.

4. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter and begin kneading (Or mix on medium speed with a dough hook), sprinkling in more flour as needed to make a tacky but not sticky dough. The dough should be firm but supple and pliable and definitely not sticky. It will take about 10 minutes of kneading to accomplish this (6-8 minutes in a mixer). The dough should pass the window pane test (which means you gently stretch the dough until it thin and you can see light through it. If it tears instead of stretches the gluten is not developed and you need to keep kneading).

5. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment the dough at room temperature for about 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 equal pieces of 24 ounces or 3 pieces of about 16 ounces. Shape the dough into loaves, and place them into bread pans that have been lightly oiled or misted with spray oil. Mis the tops of the loaves with spray oil and loosely cover the tops with plastic wrap.

7. Proof at room temperature for 60-90minutes, or until the loaves crest fully above the tops o the pans. At this point you can hold back some loaves for up to 2 days, just place them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Pull them out 4 hours before baking and leave them at room temperature.

8. Preheat oven to 350. Place the bread pans on a cookie sheet. Mist with water and dust with cornmeal if you'd like.

9. Place the sheet pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan for even baking and continue to bake for 20-30 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and register at least 185-190 in the center. They should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

10. When the loaves are done remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

Bread Project

So I've decided to start a new project. I will be baking my way through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I started last week. I'll post pictures and potentially recipes as well. I hope you enjoy it :) I will be kneading everything by hand and try to keep exactly to the recipes. Once this is finished I will probably move on to his Whole Grain Breads book.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Double Broccoli Quinoa

Double Broccoli Quinoa

3 cups cooked quinoa*
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems

3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 big pinches salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream

Optional toppings: slivered basil, fire oil (optional)**, sliced avocado
crumbled feta or goat cheese

Heat the quinoa and set aside.

Now barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.

To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.

Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with about 1/2 of the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add more of the pest a bit at a time, or you might want a bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds, a drizzle of the chile oil, and some sliced avocado or any of the other optional toppings.

Serves 4 - 6.

*To cook quinoa: rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa, two cups of water (or broth if you like), and a few big pinches of salt until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.

**To make the red chile oil: You'll need 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes. If you can, make the chile oil a day or so ahead of time by heating the olive oil in a small saucepan for a couple minutes - until it is about as hot as you would need it to saute some onions, but not so hot that it smokes or smells acrid or burned. Turn off the heat and stir in the crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside and let cool, then store in refrigerator. Bring to room temp again before using.

101 Cookbooks

This was really really good. I was surprised actually, but I really liked it.

What's For Dinner?

Sunday - Pork Roast and mashed sweet potatoes
Monday - Pancakes
Tuesday - Chicken Sandwiches
Wednesday - Roast Chicken
Thursday - Sandwiches
Friday - Pizza/Calzones
Saturday - Fresh Pasta & Sauce

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Sunday: Left Over Spaghetti for Lunch and Ham Wraps for Dinner
Monday: Pad Woon Sen & Egg Rolls
Tuesday: Eggs, Fried Potatoes & Bacon
Wednesday: Chicken Sandwiches we actually had double broccoli quinoa. It was really really good. If you want the recipe, let me know. I might post it anyway.
Thursday: Chicken Souvlaki we made something else, I don't remember. Probably sandwiches or something. I just wasn't up for cooking much last week.
Friday: Pizza (or maybe calzones or left overs) we actually had homemade ravioli with spinach, cheese and mushroom filling with alfredo sauce. It was AWESOME. It had been a while since I last made fresh ravioli, and it is SOOO worth it.
Saturday: Left Overs or Sandwiches

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February Cooking Group

The February Cooking Group was tonight. It was a total HIT! Check out the recipes over at the ward blog: So good and so easy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mughlai Chicken

I got this recipe from You can get Greek Yogurt at Allen's (shocking, I know). But you can easily substitute plain yogurt or sour cream (although it will taste a little different with Sour Cream) if you can't find the Greek Yogurt. Yoplait is actually making small 6 oz containers of Greek Yogurt. This turned out well, but be sure to use chicken thighs you'll need it for the flavor and the meat will stay juicier. It's a nice change if you are up for something new.


  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boned chicken thighs, each cut into 2
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted, to garnish


Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and chili into a food processor, or into a mortar and pestle, and blend to a paste. Add the ground almonds and water and then blend again, set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces - in batches so they fry rather than stew - and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.

Add the spices and turn them in the oil. Add the onions and cook them until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid sticking. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to colour. Add the yogurt, half a cup at a time stirring it in to make a sauce, then stir in the stock, cream, and sultanas.

Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the meat is cooked through.

It's at this stage, that I like to take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool before reheating the next day.

So either now, or when you've reheated it, pour into a serving dish and scatter with the toasted flaked almonds.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Week of February 7, 2010 - February 13, 2010

Sunday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Monday: Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday: Fontina Risotto with Chicken
Wednesday: Peanut Chicken Curry with Rice
Thursday: Hot Dogs
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Sukiyaki & Miso Soup

Update on the Pizza Stone:

We got a new on on Friday night from William Sonoma. It cost us about $45, BUT it has a lifetime warranty. If it breaks you bring it to any William Sonoma store with the receipt and you will get a brand new one. I'm excited to see how long this one lasts. It's a bit thicker then the Pampered Chef stone and it's a 14X16 inch rectangle. Can't wait to use it for real :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I have a hard time deciding what to cook for dinner. If you've ever been to my house you know that I have a HUGE assortment of cookbooks and recipes gathered from all over the internet. But still, deciding what I want to cook can be a difficult prospect.

Because of this I have been trying to make a list of all of the things I can/want to make either side dish, entree or dessert. I haven't been good at tracking them though so I will be listing everything here for the time being. If you want a recipe, let me know!

Week of January 31, 2010 - February 6, 2010

Sunday: Elk Stroganoff with Dijon and Dill - SOO Good, I love the combination of Dill & Dijon
Monday: Fettucine Alfredo with Elk Steak - super easy recipe and really tasty. Done in less then 30 minutes
Tuesday: Biscuits with sausage and eggs - good quick meal. The biscuits are done in about 20 minutes
Wednesday: Mughlai Chicken & Rice (new indian recipe) - good, but you should definitely use chicken thighs. Done in under an hour
Thursday: Shrimp Scampi - sauteed, not baked. Not a favorite but tasted fresh and good.
Friday: Pizza - Had Salads instead :) and bought a new pizza stone.
Saturday: Chicken Fingers & Fries - homemade fries rock.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tarragon Chicken

4 servings
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


·                                 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
·                                 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
·                                 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
·                                 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil, divided
·                                 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
·                                 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
·                                 1/2 cup dry white wine
·                                 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
·                                 1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream
·                                 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon


1.                                Season chicken on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
2.                                Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth and wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
3.                                Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Stir mustard, sour cream and tarragon into sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon over the chicken.


Per serving: 199 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 4 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrates; 24 g protein; 0 g fiber; 316 mg sodium; 262 mg potassium.
Exchanges: 3 very lean meat, 2 fat


Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

4 servings, 3/4 cup each
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


·                                 8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
·                                 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
·                                 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)
·                                 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
·                                 1 teaspoon butter
·                                 1/2 teaspoon salt
·                                 Freshly ground pepper to taste
·                                 Snipped fresh chives for garnish


1.                                Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)
2.                                Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot. from: