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.