Archive for the ‘Savory’ Category

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Traditional British Suet Pudding – April DBC

April 27, 2010

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I was very intrigued when this came up as the DBC for this month. I’ve never baked with suet nor ever really considered it before now. In my experience, the only time I’ve seen suet is in bird feed squares!  I never knew, until recently, that people even cooked with it.

I recently purchased, second-hand, a book called Pie Every Day and in the author’s discussion of pie crusts she mentions suet! Apparently, suet used to be a very common ingredient in pie crusts in the past. Who knew? Certainly not I. Now, in the discussion in the book she states that suet gives it’s pies a meaty flavor that is hard to overcome with sweet ingredients and makes for a very hard crust. With these two bits of information it was easy for me to decide to go the savory route rather than make something sweet with suet.

The next decision was WHAT savory to make. The sample we were given (listed below) was for steak and kidney pudding. Steak? Yes, please! Kidney? Umm, I’m really not that hungry… So I wanted to find an alternative. Now, being the lovely Daring Baker Challenge host that Esther is, she gave us several links to help us along our puddin’ makin’ way. After perusing her links and pondering a bit I came up with a Meat and Potato Pudding! Esther decided to be kind to us and let us make some non-suet recipes as well so I also made a Very Chocolate Pudding.

My hardest challenge for this… er, challenge was to find the right kind of bowl! I ended up going to 5 different stores before I finally found one at Dillard’s. Apparently, tall and narrow is not very common in America. We seem to be the short and fat bowl kind of people. Ya know… that may just be a commentary on society there…

I found my recipes here and here.

Original challenge recipe below!

Preparation time: Preparation time is 5 to 20 minutes depending on the filling. Cooking time is 1 to 5 hours so do this on a day you have jobs around the house to do or are popping in and out as you need to occasionally check the pan hasn’t boiled dry! However it is otherwise a very low time requirement dish.

Equipment required:
• 2 pint (1 litre) pudding bowl or steam-able containers to contain a similar amount they should be higher rather than wide and low
• Steamer or large pan, ideally with a steaming stand, upturned plate or crumpled up piece of kitchen foil
• Mixing bowl
• Spoon
• Measuring cups or scales
• Foil or grease proof paper to cover the bowl
• String

Type 1 Puddings — suet crusts.

Pudding Crust for both Savoury Pudding or Sweet Pudding (using suet or a suet substitute):

Ingredients

(250 grams/12 ounces) Self-raising flour (Note* If you cannot find self-raising flour, use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder.)
(175 grams/6 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(a pinch) Salt and pepper (Note* If making a savory dish, can be replaced with spices for sweet if wished.)
(210 millilitres/a little less than a cup) Water (Note* You can use a milk or a water and milk mix for a richer pastry.)

1. Mix the flour and suet together.
2. Season the flour and suet mixture with salt and pepper if savory and just a bit of salt and/or spices if sweet.
3. Add the water, a tablespoonful at a time, as you mix the ingredients together. Make up the pastry to firm an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. The liquid amounts are only an estimate and most recipes just say water to mix.
4. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will be too hard.
5. Reserve a quarter for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
6. At this point add your filling.. a couple of options are give below but have fun and go wild!
7. Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the basin, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal.
8. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil – pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
9. Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often. There is a lot of leeway in this steaming time and different recipes give different steaming times. Delia Smith says 5 hours for Steak and kidney where as Mrs Beeton says 2.5 for a similar dish! One way to tell that it is cooked is when the pastry changes colour and goes from white to a sort of light golden brown. It is also hard to over steam a pudding so you can leave it bubbling away until you are ready.

This sort of pastry can also be used as a topping for a baked meat pie and becomes quite a light crusty pastry when baked.

Savoury Pudding Filling options: steak and kidney pudding.

1 full amount of suet crust (see recipe above)
(450 grams/about 1 pound) Chuck steak
(225 grams/about 1/2 a pound) Ox kidney
1 medium-sized onion
2 teaspoons well-seasoned flour
splash of Worcestershire sauce

1. Chop the steak and kidney into fairly small cubes, toss them in seasoned flour, then add them to the pastry lined basin.
2. Pop the onion slices in here and there.
3. Add enough cold water to reach almost to the top of the meat and sprinkle in a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.
4. Follow the rest of the instructions in the crust recipe to finish pudding.
5. Cook for at least 2.5 hours (Mrs Beeton) up to 5 hours (Delia Smith).

Sweet Pudding Options: Sussex Pond Pudding

1 amount of suet pastry (see recipe above)
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) Demerara Sugar
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large lemon

1. Cut the butter into small pieces and put half in the basin with half the sugar.
2. Prick the whole lemon (preferably one with a thin skin) all over, using a thick skewer.
3. Place on top of the butter and sugar in the basin.
4. Cover with the rest of the butter and sugar.
5. Finish building the pudding as per the pastry recipe.
6. Steam for 3 ½ hours, or longer (for a really tender lemon), adding more water if needed.
7. To serve, turn the pudding into a dish with a deep rim, when you slice into it the rich lemon sauce will gush out.
8. Make sure each person is served some of the suet crust, lemon and tangy luscious sauce.

Type 2 puddings – Steamed Suet Pudding, sponge type.

(100 grams/4 ounces) All-purpose flour
(1/4 teaspoon) salt
(1.5 teaspoons) Baking powder
(100 grams/4 ounces) breadcrumbs
(75 grams/3 ounces) Caster sugar
(75 grams/ 3 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(1) large egg
(6 to 8 tablespoons) Cold milk

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet.
3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk
4. Turn into a buttered 1 litre/ 2pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.
5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours
6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.

Variants:
Spotted Dick – Add 75g/ 3oz currants and 25g/1 oz of mixed chopped peel with the sugar.
Syrup or Treacle or Marmalade Pudding – put 2 Tablespoons of golden syrup, treacle or marmalade at the bottom of the bowl before adding pudding mix.
My Fair Lady Pudding – Add finely grated rind of 1 medium orange or lemon with the sugar.
Ginger Pudding – replace the sugar with 100g/4oz of treacle, and add 1/2 tsp ground ginger.

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Sweet and Savory Strudel – May 2009 Daring Baker’s Challenge

May 27, 2009

1st berries and cream strudel Savory meat strudel Second berries and cream strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I have to admit, coming into this challenge, I was not entirely sure what a strudel really was.  I mean, I’d heard of them.  They’re in the song from The Sound of Music and all, but I don’t think I’ve every actually seen one in person.  Well the joys of Google enlightened me as to what it was supposed to look like (plus all the finished products at the daring baker’s forum).

We, my friend Beth and I, opted to do a berries and cream strudel. You can find the recipes in this video. The berries makes a wonderful topping for toast or an English muffin, or heck, a spoon.  It’s super tasty without being super sweet.  The confectioner’s cream is a mild flavor but very creamy.  I think the next time I make it I’ll put a little more vanilla in.

The dough rolled out beautifully.  We used cheesecloth to roll it on and we were able to roll it out to the specified size.

1st strudel dough

Now, at the time, we thought this was great luck as we were both a bit nervous about the whole stretching process.

1st strudel dough close up

However, the end result was much too thick once it baked and broke off in chunks when you tried to eat it.  Looked like baked potato chips.

buttered dough confectioner's cream berries 1st flip rolling still rolling all done ready to bake1st strudel

Tasted lovely, but the texture was wrong.  We also forgot to put the breadcrumbs on it before we rolled it up, so there was no space between the layers to allow them to bake up and get flaky.

We’re going to try it again tonight!  I’ll let you know how it goes… we’re also going to try a savory one and put some potatoes in it too!

**EDIT** We made the second berries and cream strudel and the savory meat strudel last night.

Second berries and cream strudel Savory meat strudel

Wow!  What a difference a bit more filling, a little stretching and some breadcrumbs will do!  The second berries and cream strudel was sooo much better than the first.  It was full, flaky and just scrumptious!

Savory strudel fillingsavory strudel one side in Savory strudel 1st roll savory strudel almost rolled Savory strudel ready for the oven Savory strudel in the oven Savory strudel ready to come out Savory meat strudel

The savory meat strudel was so good.  Granted the fact that it was 10 pm before we got to eat it and we were all starving didn’t hurt, but it was still very good.  It was a little liquidy, so I think we’ll cook it a bit longer to let some of the juices evaporate next time.  It smells heavenly when it is cooking.  It nearly drove us crazy waiting for it to come out then letting it sit and cool off.  It was so worth the wait. This was my first adventure with savory as well.  I had no idea it was an herb; I just thought it was an adjective 🙂

Here’s the full DB recipe if you’d like to try your own!

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

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Homegrown Gourmet #7 – Potato Hot Brown

April 22, 2008

Homegrown Gourmet Logo

Well, I’m participating in, yet another, online baking event! This one is Homegrown! It is being hosted by the lovely Tempered Woman and the ingredient she chose for this month is the potato. The idea behind Homegrown is to make a dish that follows the theme and that somehow represents their home region – town, state, area and your dish can feature a local ingredient, be a traditional dish from your area, or be a creative twist.

Well, being from Louisville, KY I naturally had to make a Hot Brown. It is a classic food of the area and has even been featured on a Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network. It was either this or Derby pie and I didn’t think potatoes would go very will with the chocolate…

Potato Hot Brown

The recipe for a traditional Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel can be found here along with some history here. For my Potato Hot Brown I made a few changes. For starters, my bread is a homemade potato bread. The recipe for it comes from a cookbook (that I stole from my mother) that is older than I am. I think it was a wedding gift for my parents, heh. Yeah, I’m going to hell. I’ve made this bread many times and it was actually the first bread I ever made. I’ve also added mashed potatoes to my Hot Brown, because, well, everything is better with mashed potatoes!! To liven them up and make them feel “part of the dish” I’ve added some of the sauce, pimentos, and bacon to them. (I know. The hardship of having to eat it, but I’ll persevere.) I also got my wheat (had a friend grind it for me), bacon and eggs from a local farm. I used a 5 lb. bag of Idaho potatoes (I like leftovers) and all but 4 pieces of bacon for the mashed tatters… every thing’s better with bacon!

I’ve always thought the original Hot Brown a little on the bland side, but I think with the addition of the potatoes and the potato bread give it an extra twang of flavor; it’s simply perfect!

Pair of Potato Hot Browns

Here’s the recipe! Happy munching!

Potato Hot Brown

12 tablespoons butter
12 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg, room temperature and beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup prepared whipped cream
16 slices toasted potato bread, crust trimmed off
2 pounds cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Mashed potatoes (mix in ½ the bacon(crumbled), pimentos(if you’re using them) and sauce) (I used a lot more bacon, but that’s me)

2 (2-ounce) jars diced pimientos, drained (optional)
1or 2 lbs bacon slices, fried crisp (you can never have too much bacon!)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and free from lumps. Gradually stir in milk until sauce comes to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted and well blended.

In a small bowl, beat egg. Gradually add 1 cup of the hot sauce, 1/3 cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly to temper. Gradually add egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in whipped cream.

For each Hot Brown sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with mashed potatoes and a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with diced pimientos, cross two pieces of bacon over the top, and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings of two open-faced sandwiches each.

Potato Loaf

This makes a moist, beautifully textured bread with good keeping qualities due to the potatoes.

1 ½ cups cooked potatoes, unseasoned

¼ to ½ cup butter or margarine

1 or 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk, scalded

1 or 2 cakes yeast

1/3 cup lukewarm water

6 cups sifted flour

Mash the hot, unseasoned potatoes and add the butter or margarine, sugar, and salt. Pour in the scalded milk, and stir to blend ingredients and melt the butter. Cool to lukewarm. Now dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and stir into the potato-milk mixture. Stir in 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Gradually blend in the rest of the flour to make a medium dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured breadboard. Knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a buttered bowl, brush top of dough with melted butter or oil, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled. When dough has doubled, punch it down and turnout onto a floured breadboard again. Divide dough into 2 parts. Cover with the towel again and let rest for 10 minutes. Then mold and shape the dough, with the hands, into 2 loaves. Place in 2 buttered loaf pans. Cover and let rise until double again. Brush with beaten egg white glaze (p. 348 ) and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes.

Braided Potato Loaf

To make the loaf into braids, as suggested in the title, but the dough, after the first rising period, into 2 parts. Cut one part into 3 equal pieces and roll out into strips about 18 inches long. Braid these 3 strips together, tucking the ends under. Place on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Now divide 2/3 of the remaining part into 3 equal pieces, roll out, and braid as above. Place this braid on top of the first braid. Now, take the remaining piece of dough and roll it out, twist it, like a curlicue, and place this twisted strip of dough on top of the uppermost braid. If you think it necessary, seal the ends with a very little water. Carefully cover the braided loaf, being careful not to disarrange the braids, and let rise until completely doubled. You must not cheat by even 5 or 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until bread is well browned and done, approximately 45 to 50 minutes longer.

Note: this bread also makes delicious, and very attractive, rolls. Cut or shape into whatever shapes you desire, brush with egg white glaze and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. When rolls are doubled, bake them at 400°F for about 20 minutes.

From A World of Baking by Dolores Casella. Published 1968 by David White, Inc. Recipe is on pages 315-316.

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Julia Child’s Fabulous French Bread – February Daring Bakers Challenge

March 2, 2008

French Bread Close Up

Julia Child’s French Bread

Well, this month’s DBC looked intimidating when we first saw it; we have to be honest. But once we read through it a few times and really had a chance to process the information, it’s really quite simple! It’s a lot of time, but not terribly difficult. We started around 2 pm and finished around 11 pm! And that’s with cutting our last rise short! Phew! When we make it again (and we will because it was SCRUMPTIOUS!) we’ll have to start in the morning to give it a proper 3rd rise. With the exception of the last rise, the only hiccup we had was that we forgot to brush the batards with water (we were bleary eyed by that time) so our bread was not particularly browned.

Pale Batards

It did have a lovely “thump” and the taste was just perfect. We chose to make 3 batards so we each took one home. That one loaf per house didn’t make it more that 24 hours anywhere!

Though making the bread did take quite a while it was very worth it. It gave us all time to sit back and talk and catch up on each other’s lives (that’s a polite way of saying we spent the day gossiping about our husbands/boyfriends and anything else that came to mind while drinking coffee and eating chocolate 😉 )

To our hosts for this month: we salute you for a spectactular choice!

To our readers: it’s worth the time and happy baking!

This is a long recipe, but persevere to the end!

Recipe Time: 7 – 9 hours

Step 1: The Dough Mixture

1 cake (0.6 ounce) (20grams) fresh yeast or 1 package dry active yeast
1/3 cup (75ml) warm water, not over 100
°F in a glass measure
3 1/2 cup (about 1 lb) (490 gr) all purpose flour, measured by scooping
dry measure cups into flour and sweeping off excess
2 1/4 tsp (12 gr) salt
1 1/4 cups (280 – 300ml) tepid water @ 70 – 74
°

(Mary and Sara Note: if you are using instant yeast, you may reduce the amount to 1 3/4 tsp or 7 g but you will still want to “proof” it because that is important for taste development in this bread)

Stir the yeast in the 1/3 cup warm water and let liquefy completely while measuring flour into mixing bowl. When yeast has liquefied, pour it into the flour along with the salt and the rest of the water.

Using the dough hook attachment on the speed the mixer manufacturer recommends for dough hook use or the lowest setting if there is no recommendation, slowly work all the ingredients together until a dough ball is formed, stopping the mixer and scrapping the bits of flour and chunks of dough off the bottom of the bowl and pressing them into the dough ball. Continue to mix the dough on a low speed until all the bits of flour and loose chunks of dough have formed a solid dough ball.

Turn dough out onto kneading surface, scraping bowl clean. Dough will be soft and sticky. Let the dough rest for 2 – 3 minutes while you wash and dry the bowl (and the dough hook if using a stand mixer).

Step 2: Kneading

Place dough back into the bowl and using the dough hook attachment at the recommended speed (low), knead the dough for about 5 – 7 minutes. At about the 5 minute mark, stop the mixer and push at the dough with your fingertips. If it springs back quickly, you have kneaded the dough enough. If it doesn’t spring back continue to knead, stopping the mixer and retesting every 2 minutes. If the dough sticks to your fingers, toss a sprinkling of flour onto the dough and continue to knead. The dough should be light and springy when it is ready. Mary also recommends always finishing with about 1 – 2 minutes of hand kneading just to get a good feel for how the gluten is formed.

Let dough rest for 3 – 4 minutes. Knead by hand for a minute. The surface should now look smooth; the dough will be less sticky but will still remain soft. It is now ready for its first rise.

Step 3: First Rising – (3-5 hours at around 70°)
You now have approximately 3 cups of dough that is to rise to 3 1/2 times its original volume, or to about 10 1/2 cups. Wash and fill the mixing bowl with 10 1/2 cups of tepid water (70 – 80 degrees) and make a mark to indicate that level on the outside of the bowl. Note, that the bowl should have fairly upright sides; if they are too outward slanting, the dough will have difficulty in rising. Pour out the water, dry the bowl, and place the dough in it (Mary and Sara Note: Very lightly grease the bowl with butter or kitchen spray as well to prevent the risen dough from sticking to the bowl).

Slip the bowl into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic, and top with a folded bath towel. Set on a wooden surface; marble or stone are too cold. Or on a folded towel or pillow, and let rise free from drafts anyplace where the temperature is around 70°. If the room is too hot, set bowl in water and keep renewing water to maintain around 70°. Dough should take at least 3 – 4 hours to rise to 10 1/2 cups. If temperature is lower than 70°, it will simply take longer.

(Mary and Sara Note: If your oven has an oven light, turn on the oven light when you start making the dough. By the time you are ready for the first rise, the temperature in your oven will be around 70°. You can check with your oven thermometer. If you don’t have an oven light, like Mary, you can turn the oven on to its lowest setting about 5 minutes before you begin your rise. Leave on for 1 – 5 minutes until the temperature is around 75- 80°. Turn off oven, when you open the door to put the dough in to rise, your oven will be around 70°. Another trick is to put your dough on top of your hot water heater. Place a folded towel on top of the hot water heater and let rise. Also a heating pad works well. Mary also has used those give away shower caps from hotels to cover her bowls and the bowl covers for the metal mixing bowls work well too. Always lightly grease the plastic wrap or bowl cover so if the risen dough touches it, the dough won’t stick.)

When fully risen, the dough will be humped into a slight dome, showing that the yeast is still active; it will be light and spongy when pressed. There will usually be some big bubbly blisters on the surface, and if you are using a glass bowl you will see bubbles through the glass.

Step 4: Deflating and Second Rising –temps (1 1/2 to 2 hours at around 70°)
The dough is now ready to be deflated, which will release the yeast engendered gases and redistribute the yeast cells so that the dough will rise again and continue the fermentation process.

With a rubber spatula, dislodge dough from inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface, scraping bowl clean. If dough seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour.

Lightly flour the palms of your hands and flatten the dough firmly but not too roughly into a circle, deflating any gas bubbles by pinching them.

Lift a corner of the near side and flip it down on the far side. Do the same with the left side, then the right side. Finally, lift the near side and tuck it just under the edge of the far side. The mass of dough will look like a rounded cushion.

Slip the sides of your hands under the dough and return it to the bowl. Cover and let rise again, this time to not quite triple, but again until it is dome shaped and light and spongy when touched.

(Mary and Sara Note: You may need to lightly re-grease your bowl and plastic wrap for the second rise to prevent sticking)

Step 5: Cutting and resting dough before forming loaves
Loosen dough all around inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Because of its two long rises, the dough will have much more body. If it seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle lightly with flour.

Making clean, sure cuts with a large knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough into:

  • 3 equal pieces for long loaves or small round loaves
  • 5 – 6 equal pieces for long thin loaves
  • 10 – 12 equal pieces for small oval rolls or small round rolls
  • 2 equal pieces for medium round loaves
  • If you making one large round loaf, you will not cut the dough at all and just need to follow the directions below.


After you have cut each piece, lift one end and flip it over onto the opposite end to fold the dough into two; place dough at far side of kneading surface. Cover loosely with a sheet of plastic and let rest for 5 minutes before forming. This relaxes the gluten enough for shaping but not long enough for dough to begin rising again.

While the dough is resting, prepare the rising surface; smooth the canvas or linen towelling on a large tray or baking sheet, and rub flour thoroughly into the entire surface of the cloth to prevent the dough from sticking

Step 6: Forming the loaves

Because French bread stands free in the oven and is not baked in a pan, it has to be formed in such a way that the tension of the coagulated gluten cloak on the surface will hold the dough in shape.

For Long Loaves – Batard

After the 3 pieces of dough have rested 5 minutes, form one piece at a time, keeping the remaining ones covered.

Working rapidly, turn the dough upside down on a lightly floured kneading surface and pat it firmly but not too roughly into an 8 to 10 inch oval with the lightly floured palms of your hands. Deflate any gas bubbles in the dough by pinching them.

Fold the dough in half lengthwise by bringing the far edge down over the near edge.

Being sure that the working surface is always lightly floured so the dough will not stick and tear, which would break the lightly coagulated gluten cloak that is being formed, seal the edges of the dough together, your hands extended, thumbs out at right angles and touching.

Roll the dough a quarter turn forward so the seal is on top.

Flatten the dough again into an oval with the palms of your hands.

Press a trench along the central length of the oval with the side of one hand.

Fold in half again lengthwise.

This time seal the edges together with the heel of one hand, and roll the dough a quarter of a turn toward you so the seal is on the bottom.

Now, by rolling the dough back and forth with the palms of your hands, you will lengthen it into a sausage shape. Start in the middle, placing your right palm on the dough, and your left palm on top of your right hand.

Roll the dough forward and backward rapidly, gradually sliding your hands towards the two ends as the dough lengthens.

Deflate any gas blisters on the surface by pinching them. Repeat the rolling movement rapidly several times until the dough is 16 inches long, or whatever length will fit on your baking sheet. During the extension rolls, keep circumference of dough as even as possible and try to start each roll with the sealed side of the dough down, twisting the rope of dough to straighten the line of seal as necessary. If seal disappears, as it sometimes does with all purpose flour, do not worry.

Place the shaped piece of dough, sealed side up, at one end of the flour rubbed canvas, leaving a free end of canvas 3 to 4 inches wide. The top will crust slightly as the dough rises; it is turned over for baking so the soft, smooth underside will be uppermost.

Pinch a ridge 2 1/2 to 3 inches high in the canvas to make a trough, and a place for the next piece. Cover dough with plastic while you are forming the rest of the loaves.

After all the pieces of dough are in place, brace the two sides of the canvas with long rolling pins, baking sheets or books, if the dough seems very soft and wants to spread out. Cover the dough loosely with flour rubbed dish towel or canvas, and a sheet of plastic. Proceed immediately to the final rising, next step.

(Mary and Sara Note: Empty paper towel tubes and/or bottles of spices work well as braces as well)

Step 7: Final Rise – 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours at around 70°

The covered dough is now to rise until almost triple in volume; look carefully at its pre-risen size so that you will be able to judge correctly. It will be light and swollen when risen, but will still feel a little springy when pressed.

It is important that the final rise take place where it is dry; if your kitchen is damp, hot, and steamy, let the bread rise in another room or dough will stick to the canvas and you will have difficulty getting it off and onto another baking sheet. It will turn into bread in the oven whatever happens, but you will have an easier time and a better loaf if you aim for ideal conditions.

Preheat oven to 450° about 30 minutes before estimated baking time.

Step 8: Unmolding risen dough onto baking sheet
(Mary and Sara note: we are only going to describe the unmolding of The Batard but the unmolding process is the same no matter the shape of your loaf or loaves. The key to unmolding without deflating your bread is slow and gentle!)

The 3 pieces of risen dough are now to be unmolded from the canvas and arranged upside down on the baking sheet. The reason for this reversal is that the present top of the dough has crusted over during its rise; the smooth, soft underside should be uppermost in the oven so that the dough can expand and allow the loaf its final puff of volume. For the unmolding you will need a non-sticking intermediate surface such as a stiff piece of cardboard or plywood sprinkled with cornmeal or pulverized pasta.

Remove rolling pins or braces. Place the long side of the board at one side of the dough; pull the edge of the canvas to flatten it; then raise and flip the dough softly upside down onto the board.

Dough is now lying along one edge of the unmolding board: rest this edge on the right side of a lightly buttered baking sheet. Gently dislodge dough onto baking sheet, keeping same side of the dough uppermost: this is the soft smooth side, which was underneath while dough rose on canvas. If necessary, run sides of hands lightly down the length of the dough to straighten it. Unmold the next piece of dough the same way, placing it to the left of the first, leaving a 3 inch space. Unmold the final piece near the left side of the sheet.

Step 9: Slashing top of the dough
(Mary and Sara Note: We will only describe the slashing for the Batard here. All other slashes for the other shapes are described in Step 6: Forming the Loaves)

The top of each piece of dough is now to be slashed in several places. This opens the covering cloak of gluten and allows a bulge of dough underneath to swell up through the cuts during the first 10 minutes of baking, making decorative patterns in the crust. These are done with a blade that cuts almost horizontally into the dough to a depth of less than half an inch. Start the cut at the middle of the blade, drawing toward you in a swift clean sweep. This is not quite as easy as it sounds, and you will probably make ragged cuts at first; never mind, you will improve with practice. Use an ordinary razor blade and slide one side of it into a cork for safety; or buy a barbers straight razor at a cutlery store.

For a 16 to 18 inch loaf make 3 slashes. Note that those at the two ends go straight down the loaf but are slightly off centre, while the middle slash is at a slight angle between the two. Make the first cut at the far end, then the middle cut, and finally the third. Remember that the blade should lie almost parallel to the surface of the dough.

Step 10: Baking – about 25 minutes; oven preheated to 450°

As soon as the dough has been slashed, moisten the surface either by painting with a soft brush dipped in cold water, or with a fine spray atomizer, and slide the baking sheet onto rack in upper third of preheated oven. Rapidly paint or spray dough with cold water after 3 minutes, again in 3 minutes, and a final time 3 minutes later. Moistening the dough at this point helps the crust to brown and allows the yeast action to continue in the dough a little longer. The bread should be done in about 25 minutes; the crust will be crisp, and the bread will make a hollow sound when thumped.

If you want the crust to shine, paint lightly with a brush dipped in cold water as soon as you slide the baking sheet out of oven.

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Tender Potato Bread – a bit tardy

November 30, 2007

Hello All!

It’s time to post the November Challenge from the Daring Bakers! Well… It was actually time 4 days ago. We’re a bit late. Had some family health issues that took precedence over postings! The challenge this month was to make a Tender Potato Bread. We experimented with different amounts of flour as the dough could have from 6 – 8 cups of flour.

We did three batches with 7 cups, 7 1/2 cups, and 8 cups, respectively.3 batches together prebaking

For us the 7 1/2 cup batch worked out the best for braiding a loaf.

7 1/2 cup braided loaf

It even held up to braiding mini loaves for rolls.

7 1/2 cup mini loaves

The 7 cup batch was a bit too soft for a good braid,

7 cup braid

but was perfect to make a pan of little rolls.

7 cup rolls

The 8 cup batch gave us more of a foccacia consistency.

It wasn’t what we were originally going for, but it was a fine addition!

The 7 and 7 1/2 cup batches were simply brushed with melted butter prior to baking. The 8 cup loaf was an attempt at a loaded potato bread. When shaping we sprinkled on Hidden Valley Ranch powdered mix, real bacon bits, and cheddar cheese.

8 cup loaded potato bread

The taste was good on the inside of the bread where the toppings mixed together, but most of what was on the outside browned too much to have it’s own flavor.

8 cup close up

When we try this again, we’re planning to put the additions into the dough, rather on top to see how that works.

For the remainder of the 8 cup batch, we made a pan of rolls and topped them with olive oil, minced garlic and grated parmesean cheese.

8 cup rollsThese came out quite tasty, but baked a tiny bit too long.

An additional note about the 8 cup batch. We were making all these batches at the same time with only one oven, so the second rise on this batch was very long. It originally rose well, but by the time it got into the oven it had lost some of its fluff.

Well, with all that introduction we’ll shut up now!

Here’s the recipe!

Tender Potato Bread
(from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid; who also wrote Hot Sour Salty Sweet)

Ingredients:

4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
Tanna Note: For the beginner bread baker I suggest no more than 8 ounces of potato; for the more advanced no more than 16 ounces. The variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold, there are others.

4 cups(950 ml) water, reserve cooking water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups (1 kg to 1350g) unbleached all-purpose
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (130g) whole wheat flour

Making the Dough (Directions will be for making by hand):

Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.

Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well. Tanna Note: I have a food mill I will run my potatoes through to mash them.

Measure out 3 cups(750ml) of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F/21 – 29°C) – stir well before testing the temperature – it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.

Add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.

Note about Adding Yeast: If using Active Dry Yeast or Fresh yeast, mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mix and allow to rest several minutes. If using Instant Dry Yeast, add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.

Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.

Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated.
Tanna Note: At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; use a dough scraper to keep your surface clean. The kneaded dough will still be very soft. Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.

Forming the Bread:
Tanna Note: It is at this point you are requested to Unleash the Daring Baker within. The following is as the recipe is written. You are now free to follow as written or push it to a new level.

Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other). Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.

To shape the large loaf:
Butter a 9 x 5 x 2.5 inch loaf/bread pan. Flatten the larger piece of dough on the floured surface to an approximate 12 x 8 inch oval, then roll it up from a narrow end to form a loaf. Pinch the seam closed and gently place seam side down in the buttered pan. The dough should come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled in volume.

To make a small loaf with the remainder:
Butter an 8x4X2 inch bread pan. Shape and proof the loaf the same way as the large loaf.

To make rolls:
Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.

To make focaccia:
Flatten out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some rosemary leaves, if you wish and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.

Baking the bread(s):

Note about baking order: bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf; bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.

Note about Baking Temps: I believe that 450°F(230°C) is going to prove to be too hot for the either the large or small loaf of bread for the entire 40/50 minutes. I am going to put the loaves in at 450°(230°C) for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375°F (190 °C) for the remaining time.

Note about cooling times: Let all the breads cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Rolls can be served warm or at room temperature.

For loaves and rolls:
Dust risen loaves and rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Slash loaves crosswise two or three times with a razor blade or very sharp knife and immediately place on the stone, tiles or baking sheet in the oven. Place the rolls next to the loaf in the oven.

Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes. Bake the small loaf for about 40 minutes. Bake the large loaf for about 50 minutes.

Transfer the rolls to a rack when done to cool. When the loaf or loaves have baked for the specified time, remove from the pans and place back on the stone, tiles or baking sheet for another 5 to 10 minutes. The corners should be firm when pinched and the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

For foccaia:
Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a no edged baking/sheet (you want to be able to slide the shaped dough on the parchment paper onto the stone or baking sheet and an edge complicates things). Place the stone or cookie sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F/230°C.

If making foccacia, just before baking, dimple the bread all over again with your fingertips. Leaving it on the paper, transfer to the hot baking stone, tiles or baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack (remove paper) and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Well, that’s it for this month’s challenge! I’m sure we’ll be seeing everyone a lot this month as it’s Christmas Cookie baking time! I’m a huge fan of the Christmas cookie and plan to bake my little heart out this month!

See everyone really soon!

Katie, Beth and Karoline

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Spicy Macaroni & Cheese

August 22, 2007

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

This is baking, but on the savory side! It gave Beth and I something to eat as we made everything else today! It does make quite a lot, too! we could have fed 4 people a whole meal of it and had plenty, so be prepared for leftovers! I found the recipe at http://www.foodnetwork.com a long time ago. I’m not sure if it is still there or not.

Here’s the recipe:

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeño chilies, to taste or 1 to 2 tablespoons of chipotle in adobo
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups milk
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, juice discarded and tomatoes chopped and drained well
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups coarsely grated Monterey Jack (about 8ounces)
2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1/4 pound)

In a large heavy saucepan cook the onion, the garlic, the jalapeños, or chipotle in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, stir in the flour, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, bring the liquid to a boil, whisking, and whisk in the tomatoes. Simmer the mixture for 2 minutes and salt and pepper to taste.

In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the macaroni for 6 to 7 minutes, or until it is barely al dente, drain it well, and in a large bowl combine it with the tomato mixture. Stir in the Monterey Jack and the cheddar and transfer the mixture to a buttered 13 to 14 by 9-inch shallow baking dish or 3-quart gratin dish. In a bowl stir together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the macaroni mixture, and bake the macaroni and cheese in the middle of a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until it is golden and bubbly.

This recipe took a little time, but was well worth it! the mac ‘n’ cheese was fantastic! had just a little kick to it. I think I may try it again and put hamburger or a spicy sausage in it to make it a meal. And maybe a little cayenne pepper on top… Mmm!

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese