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Bread

November 14, 2013

My Favorite Thanksgiving Bread: Rosemary Fans

rosemary fan roll

Perfect for Thanksgiving, layered with olive oil and rosemary, and fun to make with the kids: Rosemary Fan Rolls Recipe

November 10, 2012

Adapting Bread Recipes for a Slow or Cold Rise

Cold-rise
Those of you who have read a few posts here may know that I am a huge fan of slow, cold-fermentation. The long, slow rise allows the flavor of the grain to fully develop without the yeast eating all the tasty sugars and enzymes. The ability to bake bread on your schedule, rather than the dough's, is also extremely useful.

Most recipes can be made using this method, just start with cold ingredients, keep the dough cold while rising (use your refrigerator) and.reduce the yeast a bit — quite a bit it turns out. Therein lies the rub, or the knead. How much do you reduce the yeast? What is 'a bit' anyway?

While wandering the tubes of the internet, a comment at The Fresh Loaf caught my eye. It contained, in theory, an actual formula for calculating the amount of yeast when adapting a recipe to slow fermentation. Since cold fermentation is, by definition, very slow, this seemed like a great starting place.

Curious about the accuracy of the math, I tried it on a handful of recipes that I am familiar with and it worked. This is kind of exciting because it means most bread recipes can be made tastier and more easily. Seems like a win-win to me.

Continue reading "Adapting Bread Recipes for a Slow or Cold Rise" »

February 02, 2012

Cheddar Cheese and Onion Breadsticks Recipe

I am moving recipes over from A Year in Bread before it goes dark. First: Cheddar Cheese Onion Breadsticks Step away from the Olive Garden breadsticks and try them. You will never go back.

Cheddar cheese breadsticks

When I was a young'un, I moved from "Baja Oregon" to a very small coastal town in southwest Washington. A town where the locals joked, in some cases bragged, that, upon arriving, you should turn back your clock 20 years - to the '50s. (um, no) A town where, in the only 'ahead of their time' moment I witnessed there, they hated Calif…er, Baja Oregonians with a vengeance.

Well, mostly.

Some folks (read: young men, sadly, with an emphasis on the young in all its myriad dreadful meanings) were utterly fascinated by the strange creature in their midst and vacillated between semi-awe and hormonal stupidity with occasional forays into West WTF. The strange creature, being a child of the coolest artistic little beach towns in Baja Oregon, thought this was mildly amusing behavior...for about 15 minutes.

I arrived in late-spring and my first summer there was, to put it mildly, not my best year. Two things saved me that wet, foggy summer. The first was a job at the local pizzeria, where Gina, a wise-cracking New Jersey girl — everyone swore we were sisters — taught me to toss rounds of dough high in the air and, much harder, catch them again. She also let me play with the brick oven.

I loved Gina.

Continue reading "Cheddar Cheese and Onion Breadsticks Recipe" »

November 21, 2011

Rosemary Fan Dinner Roll Recipe ~ v.Simpler

1752877947_82181d5b22_o

This is a slightly simpler, straight dough version of these Rosemary Fans. (Straight dough is mixed at one time, versus recipes using starters, etc.) If you have the time to do the original version, which requires an extra few hours for the starter to ripen. I encourage you to do so, the bread flavor is a bit richer, somehow more "grainy" in a good way. It's all those lovely enzymes and tasty bits...

Rosemary Fans

These rolls bloom in the oven into charming little fans, each with its own look. The bread dough is simple to make and shaping the rolls is quick, easy and (happily for small hands) not an exact science. You can substitute almost any other savory herb for rosemary, though fresh herbs really do work best for this.

Makes 12 large rolls

1 1/2 cups water (at body temperature)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups flour (bread flour is better, but all-purpose will work)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon rosemary fresh, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)

  1. Put the water, yeast, whole wheat flour, three cups of the bread flour and the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. (Use low speed on a stand mixer.) Sprinkle in the last cup of flour while mixing, stopping when the dough clears the bowl and stops absorbing flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Turn the dough out on a well-floured counter and sprinkle the salt on it. Knead the dough 5-10 minutes (stand mixer: 5-6 minutes on medium) until it is firm yet supple and smooth. (You may need to use a bit more flour on the counter.) Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. (Use the rising amount, not time, to determine if dough is ready for next step.)
  3. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on a lightly floured counter and flatten into a rectangle with your hands. Let the dough relax for a minute while you prepare a muffin tin by lightly coating each cup with olive oil.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12x18 rectangle. If the dough starts resisting and springing back, let it rest for a few minutes and then finish rolling. Brush the dough with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle liberally with chopped rosemary.
  5. Cut dough in half crosswise and lay one piece on top of the other. Cut that stack in half and stack the pieces to make one four-layer stack that's about 6x9 inches in size. Make three cuts crosswise and 4 lengthwise to give you 12 rolls about 1 ½ by 3 inches. It doesn't matters if the sides are uneven, it's what gives them their charm.
  6. Place in oiled muffin tins, one stack per cup with a short edge facing up. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. When the rolls have increased in size by about half that amount, turn on the oven to 425 to preheat.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and then gently turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling. Don't handle the rolls too roughly; they occasionally fall apart when warm.

March 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Tweaking My English Muffins

english muffins

I started with this recipe: English muffins and crumpets: an (almost) shared recipe and while it's closer to what I want, it's still not quite there.

Speaking of things that are not there...can we talk about me for a nanosecond? I have been ill lately, which is why I have been not here. (All I really want to say is that if anyone ever says to you, "quick choose a modifier for 'nausea and vomiting'..." you should NOT choose "intractable"...) This seems to be an ongoing thing (oh joy) so I have to figure out what the hell the food writer who doesn't eat much writes about (since we know I am not writing about myself). I am accepting input on this...

One of the very few things I can eat on my not so good days is English Muffins, hence the recipe tweaking. The next batch will be get a little more water and be cooked in rings. Photos soon. I hope.

February 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Valentine's Day Cinnamon Roll

I Love Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you are either spending it with someone you love or finding a creative way to ignore it until the redPinkWhiteHeartsAndFlowers craziness is over. (This bread is a variant of Farmgirl's Oatmeal Toasting Bread, slightly corrupted, enriched with milk, eggs, brown sugar and spices.)

January 10, 2011

Small Batch Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Thanksgiving!

While you are baking, these Rosemary Fans are a staple at my Thanksgiving table. If you need something a bit quicker to put together, try these simple, flaky biscuits. While the dough is rising, get yourself in the holiday spirit with A Christmas Miracle, a dizzyingly tall tale very true story (I swear) of heroism and Cheerios.

Pw-cinnroll-post

Were I to guess at such things, I'd bet that "How many calories are in one of Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls?" is an awfully common question in some people's mind. The rolls are very popular and look seriously decadent with that generous helping of gooey icing on top of the fluffy rolls.

CrThe answer is, perhaps not as many as you think. 

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls recipe, however, makes a HUGE batch of cinnamon rolls. I mean, sure if you live on a ranch and have to feed hungry cowhands (which are neither cows nor hands, discuss), make them for holiday gifts, or you have a big freezer you can stuff full of them you might be able to cope with 40-50 cinnamon rolls, but what about apartment dwellers or people with an itsy-bitsy little freezer? Like a large percentage of the people I know.

Well, how about a small batch recipe?

Continue reading "Small Batch Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls" »

December 17, 2010

How to Shape Christmas Tree Bread

From the archives...

I really dislike posting a recipe I have only made once. What seems to be a simple bit of culinary magic one day may fizzle on second try. Even well-tested recipes can run into problems when moved from one region of the country to another: the moisture level of flour changes noticeably from a wet climate to a dry one, for example, and altitude screws with baking and boiling, not to mention your alcohol tolerance. (My brother-in-law who works as an EMT a mile up in the mountains tells great stories.)

There are, however, a few writers whose recipes I trust enough to go with a single pass at a recipe when I am short on time and I turned to one of them for the sweet roll dough I used for the tree. Modifications were made, of course: I zested an orange, toasted and ground cardamom, sprinkled in cinnamon, and tipped in a splash of vanilla; milk became buttermilk; sugar was reduced a little bit - there was a LOT of sugar. Ten minutes after I put it in the oven the house was filled with a heady mix of spices and I was regretting not putting an extra 'tasting' loaf in the oven. (After I took photos, I tore into a golden ball of dough; I can report the flavor lived up to its aroma-vertising.)

The crumb, sadly, did not. Dense and chewy, not tender and light. Totally wrong.

Continue reading "How to Shape Christmas Tree Bread" »

September 07, 2010

How to Deep Fry Bagels and Bagel Holes

Deep-fried Bagel

Late summer is fair time round these parts. Our tiny county fair has the essential treats: corn dogs, cotton candy, elephant ears...but the whole fried-thing-on-a-stick phenomenon has passed us by.

Whether this is good or bad is debatable - fewer calories v. no deep-fried snickers, you make the call - but it leaves a gaping hole in my excuses to eat deep-fried food. Were it not for the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Rings that Burgerville tempts me with each summer, I might go a year without anything cooked in boiling fat.

While shaping bagels today, I was struck with a thought I am blaming on my proximity to the local fair: deep-fried bagels. Yeah, I said it. Deep-fried bagels. 

We will now pause for a moment as our various bubbes plotz about this meshuggah idea. 

Continue reading "How to Deep Fry Bagels and Bagel Holes" »

December 21, 2009

How-to Shape Christmas Tree Bread

I really dislike posting a recipe I have only made once. What seems to be a simple bit of culinary magic one day may fizzle on second try. Even well-tested recipes can run into problems when moved from one region of the country to another: the moisture level of flour changes noticeably from a wet climate to a dry one, for example, and altitude screws with baking and boiling, not to mention your alcohol tolerance. (My brother-in-law who works as an EMT a mile up in the mountains tells great stories.)

There are, however, a few writers whose recipes I trust enough to go with a single pass at a recipe when I am short on time and I turned to one of them for the sweet roll dough I used for the tree. Modifications were made, of course: I zested an orange, toasted and ground cardamom, sprinkled in cinnamon, and tipped in a splash of vanilla; milk became buttermilk; sugar was reduced a little bit - there was a LOT of sugar. Ten minutes after I put it in the oven the house was filled with a heady mix of spices and I was regretting not putting an extra 'tasting' loaf in the oven. (After I took photos, I tore into a golden ball of dough; I can report the flavor lived up to its aroma-vertising.)

The crumb, sadly, did not. Dense and chewy, not tender and light. Totally wrong.

Continue reading "How-to Shape Christmas Tree Bread" »

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