Posts Tagged ‘mustmakeagain’

FFwD: Chocolate Eclairs

These were so good! I really enjoyed having Dorie hold my hand through this whole recipe. I just love how her descriptions gave me a great sense of how my various ingredients were coming together! Here are a few pictures of the process.

For the chocolate filling: whole milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, bittersweet chocolate, sugar, salt and butter.

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FFwD: garlicky crumb-coated broccoli

I’m so excited to be back and cooking with my friends at FFwD! Here is my garlicky broccoli. We really enjoyed this recipe and will make it again!!

I started with the star of the show – broccoli, and added a cast of supporting characters including butter (always a favorite), garlic, mint, parsley, orange zest (I was out of lemons), bread crumbs, and salt and pepper.

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BBA #15 Italian Bread

Italian Bread was the last bread that I made in my old kitchen before we moved into the new house. The pictures were taken on my cell phone camera so I apologize for the funniness. I don’t bother with step by step photos, but they were very similar to the French Bread just a few posts earlier.

I was most impressed by the oven spring I got on these loaves, they almost tripled in size!

This bread was really nice. It had a very soft interior with a thin crispy thin crust and the recipe made two really nice sized loaves.

That crumb was light as a pillow -I would love to make this one again! Grrrr, I hate the blurry pictures.

I was so eager to post those Kaiser roll pics that I forgot that this Italian bread went first – so they are a little out of order.

Next up – for real: Lavash crackers. Those will also be a redo – since they didn’t get photos the first time around. I’m thinking savory and sweet this time!

BBA #13 You Say Fococcia, I Say Focaccia

Well hi there folks! We’re on to the next bread in the baking backlog. Recipe number thirteen is Fococcia – one of the best breads ever to grace my plate if you want my opinion on the matter. I remember the first time I had fococcia bread on my sandwich, it was at a  little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop near Red Rocks, Colorado and it left a major impression on my 15-year-old self, I was in love! I have ordered it many times since, so I was particularly intrigued by Peter Reinhart’s recipe in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Without further ado let me show you how easy this was to make!

 Our cast of characters for this bread are pictured above: olive oil, unbleached bread flour, water, salt and yeast. Not pictured are my fresh herbs which missed out on the photo op.

 My mise en place.

Using the usual procedure, add the ingredients to a mixing bowl and then knead for about 7-8 minutes until you have a smooth, soft and sticky dough. Next flour your counter well and plop the dough on the counter and pat the dough into a shape approximating a rectangle. It helps to have floured hands for this.  Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax and recover from the trama.

Next, take the dough and stretch the dough till it is twice its size and fold it over letter style, mist the top with oil and cover with plastic and wait for 30 minutes. Repeat this step, only fold the dough in the opposite direction and recover. Wait 30 minutes. Repeat folding a third time but let rest on the counter for an hour.

During this two-hour fold and wait process. Grab some fresh herbs, I used thyme, rosemary, and chives. Dice the herbs fairly fine, about 1/2 cup worth and then add about a cup of olive oil and some coarse grain salt and fresh ground pepper. Give it a stir or two over the two hours. Finally, your dough is ready, it will be a little larger than before your folding.

Find a piece of parchment paper and place it in a rimmed baking sheet and spread with a generous amount of oil. Place your dough on the parchment paper.

Using the tips of your fingers press the dough into the corners of the pan. Spread half the oil over the surface.  Your fingers will have left dozens of  little dimples on the surface of the dough which will allow the herbed oil to soak into the dough. Cover the dough and place the pan in the fridge overnight.

The next evening pull the dough out of the fridge, it should have expanded to fill the sheet pan. Dimple the dough down again and pour the rest of the herbed oil mixture over the top. Cover and let rest on the counter for 3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a rack on the middle shelf. If you want add any additional toppings you want on the dough. Once in the oven, lower the temp down to 450 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the fococcia is a light golden brown and your kitchen is filled with the most amazing aroma. Test the dough with a thermometer and remove from the oven when the internal temp reads 200 degrees.

As quick as you can, remove the fococcia from the pan and place on a cooling rack, then try and convince yourself to wait the recommended 20 minutes for the bread to cool before you slice yourself a piece and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It was just perfect. I will make this one again for sure – maybe with cheese on top, or a desert style with melted chocolate and cinnamon sugar. The possiblites are endless…..

Next up: French Bread

BBA #12 English Muffins

Oh man, these were good! I never thought that I would ever make English muffins! I love them, but always thought they were just easier to buy at the store. BUT, due to their price – yikes – they were regulated to some-what of an indulgence. I was so excited to learn how to turn simple, cheap and easy to find ingredients in to one of my favorite  breakfast foods! Let’s see how it’s done:

Find some unbleached bread flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and buttermilk (or regular milk) and set them out. My buttermilk was frozen so, I put both the buttermilk and the butter in a bowl and microwaved them just until the buttermilk was melted.

Add together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Then mix in the buttermilk and butter.

I used my bread whisk to get the dough started and then dumped the mix into the Kitchen Aid and used the bread hook to mix the dough until I could get a window-pain and the dough was smooth and elastic. I oiled the bowl and placed the dough in the bottom and covered it with plastic. I let the dough rise until doubled (between 60-90 minutes).

 Once the dough is doubled, I wiped down the counter top with a damp sponge and placed the dough ball on the counter. Trying not to deflate the dough completely, I carefully divided the dough into six pieces and formed each into a boule.  I sprayed a piece of parchment paper with oil and set the six boules on the paper with enough room for them to rise again. I recovered them with  the plastic and waited for them to double again. (Another 60-90 minutes).

Meanwhile, I placed a liberally oiled griddle on the burner over a medium flame. I also preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough had doubled, I placed three boules on the griddle and let them cook for about 7 minutes. I should have checked them a little sooner, since they were a little on the dark side. I flipped them over and gave the other side the same treatment. When I the first three were done I placed them on a pan in the oven and cooked them for another 5 minutes. This allows the inside of the muffin to finish cooking. I repeated this process with the last three boules. This is one recipe that I could have easily doubled or tripled!

Look at those! So good, just a bit of tang from the butter milk and lots of little “nooks and crannies” to let the butter sink into.

 The trick to “nooks and crannies” is to use a fork and pierce the side of the muffin all the way around, then tear the two sides apart. Toast till golden in the toaster add butter and your favorite jam.

If your feeling fancy, you could whip up some Hollandaise sauce, poach and egg and slice some ham to make the best Eggs Benedict you could ever have! Enjoy =)

Next up: Focaccia

BBA#9 Cinnamon “Swirl” Raisin Walnut Bread

Hi all,

How is everybody’s weekend going?? Mine is going pretty good. It’s 115 degrees this weekend in Phoenix but that doesn’t stop me from cranking up the oven for another BBA challenge recipe. This was an interesting bread. I expected it to taste a little like the Artos bread from Challenge #2, only the goodies-to-bread ratio was certainly much higher with this cinnamon raisin walnut bread. PR gives an option of adding a swirl of cinnamon sugar to the bread so I thought I would incorporate this into my loaves as well. Let’s get started shall we?

Today’s line-up:DSC01228

Bread flour, sugar, milk, raisins, water, ground cinnamon, yeast, salt, walnuts, an egg, and shorting


This mise-en-place today is brought to you courtesy of Andrew. I thought i had all my ingredients on hand, except I only had about half of the 4 oz f walnuts that the recipe called for. My selfless boyfriend offered to run to the store for me to pick up another package of walnuts. Such a help! So thanks again Andrew! 

 I have really started to embrace the mise-en-place way of organizing ingredients – it hasn’t kept me from forgetting to add in an ingredient to my dough yet – but it looks pretty!


For the first step, add together the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, andthenget distractedandforgettoaddthesalt. Mix well with dough whisk until the cinnamon is evenly distributed in the flour.


Next combine the water, milk, egg and shortning together in a seperate bowl.


Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and start mixing until incorporated.


When the dough starts to come together and all the flour is hydrated, turn the kneading operation over to your stand mixer with the dough hook. Let the mixer knead the dough on speed 4 for about 10 minutes. Every few minutes stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. After about 10 to 12 minutes start checking for a window pane.


This was pretty close….oops wait – what is this small bowl of white granules sitting on the counter???

Oh swell!

 I forgot to add the salt to the other dry ingredients back in step one.

Stupid mise-en-place….

I assess the situation and remember that I was able to incorporate the malt powder to the dough at about this point, so I add the salt to the mixer, add a little more water and a little more flour and let the mixer work the salt in for about 4-5 minutes.

At about this point, the texture looks right again so I take the dough out of the mixer and move it to the counter to start kneading in the walnuts and raisins.


Using my knuckles I pushed the dough into about and 12 x 12 inch square. I sprinkled 2/3 of the raisins and walnuts to the top. Then taking each side I folded it over on itself and sprinkled the last of the raisins and walnuts on the top of the dough and started to knead.


 At first the goodies fall out of the dough, it rips and tears easily, but after about five minutes of kneading the dough starts to hold on to the raisins and walnuts easier and they become more evenly distributed. The texture changes and the dough is back to one smooth mass. It is ready for the first rise.


I oiled my mixing bowl and let the dough rest for about 90 minutes, which should give it enough time to double.


While I was waiting for the dough, I prepared two loaf pans. I used the spray oil with flour, this is a quick way to keep your bread from sticking to the pans while baking but I find that after the pan is out of the oven, any oversprayed surfaces are very sticky and require major scrubbing to remove the gunk from the handles of the pan.


After 90 minutes the dough had risen.


I turned the dough back out on the counter and split the dough into two pieces of the same weight.


I wanted to add the cinnamon swirl option, since I figured that extra cinnamon sugar is never a bad thing. I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 in thick and then sprinkled about have of the cinnamon sugar mix on to the surface. I then rolled the dough up into a log (similar to the cinnamon sticky buns from last week) and placed it into the prepped loaf pan. Repeat for the second ball of dough.


The dough needs another 60 minutes or so for final proof. While these were puffing back up, I set the oven to 350 degrees and moved the a rack to the middle of the oven.


I could see that they were ready when the dough just crested the tops of the pans.


I waited until the loves were fully proofed, since another challenge member mentioned that this might help keep  the oven spring to a minimum which might keep the cinnamon swirl from splitting apart in the oven. I thought it was worth a try.

Here they are, ready for the oven.


Here are the loaves, out of the oven, and pipping hot! The certainly didn’t have much oven spring but man-o-man  did they smell good!


The next morning I sliced them open to check out the crumb and cinnamon swirl.


Loaf #1


 Loaf #2

Wow! Totally great swirl and I was happy to see that the raisins and walnuts were evenly distributed in the loaf.

Since Andrew doesn’t care for bread with stuff in it, I took both these loaves to work where my work-mates were happy to take them off of my hands. This was a fantastic breakfast bread! The flavors were so amazing that I decided that I liked the bread best WITHOUT butter!! The butter of course was yummy, but I felt it masked the cinnamon in the dough and the slight crunch you felt when you bit into the cinnamon swirl. 

One more note: I was very releaved that I could not taste any of the salt granules, dispite having to add it in at the last minute – win for me!

Overall this was a fantastic bread. I will definately plan on making it again and again. One of my co-workers even suggested that the next time I need to make a coffee-cake, I should just make this instead. It was great and really an easy bread to make from start to finish.

Up Next in the BBA Challenge: Corn bread!

BBA#7 – Ciabatta

On to the next recipe in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. Ciabatta. I loved the ciabatta. I loved it so much that I have made it three times in one week!! It is amazing. I made one recipe using the left-over poolish from the Artos bread. Since I only had a portion of the poolish dough I had to calculate the percentages of the other ingredients in order to scale them down to for the amount of poolish I had. Math is hard but after crunching the numbers I think I figured it out. I was pretty concerned about handling a wet dough (had read from other folks on The Fresh Loaf how difficult it could be) so I was quite nervous to start, but in the end I figured -What’s the worse that could happen? rock hard bread?  dough on every surface of the kitchen? waste of good flour and yeast? Out of those options only the last one really made me pause. So the geek in me decided that I wanted to know what the cost of the ingredients would be if I messed this up and I made a spreadsheet. By calculating the cost of the bread flour, yeast and salt per oz. I figured out that I was risking about $2.16 worth of ingredients if the whole thing went down the tubes. That was a risk I was willing to take – since the upside promised to be yummy, chewy, tasty ciabatta. With all that business out of the way I got to work.  

The ingrediant line-up: 


 Salt, yeast, bread flour, poolish (frozen and then thawed in the refrigerator for about three days), and water.  


 My mise-en-place, for approximately 2/3 of a batch.

I started off adding all the ingredients in my mixer bowl and then used my dutch whisk to stir until a shaggy ball of dough formed – the dough was pretty dense and I really had to put some muscle into the mixing but it seemed to work. Then using the dough hook, I let the mixer knead it for about ten minutes.


 I scooped the wet dough onto my “bed” of flour on my work surface and then tried my best to follow the stretch and fold technique that PR describes in his book on page 138.


 After the first stretch and fold I set a plastic bin over the top to keep it from drying out while it fermented the first time. It took about 30 minutes before it doubled in size.


 I stretched and folded again…..


 And let it sit a for about 90 more minutes. While waiting for it to ferment the second time, I prepared my couche which I had ordered from King Arthur Flour when I started this project. It had never been used before, so used so I sprayed it with a little oil and heavily floured it to avoid any stick-age if possible. This is one baking tool that will get better over time (kinda like a well seasoned cast iron frying pan).


 Once the dough had doubled again, about 60 minutes later, I used my bench scraper to carefully divide the dough into four pieces. My goal was to make a sandwich type roll so Andrew could take them for lunch.

As soon as I transferred the dough to to couche I turned my oven to 500 degrees to preheat. This would allow time for my baking stone to get as hot as possible.


 I let the dough proof for the last time in the couche and then very, very gently (I didn’t want to deflate those air bubbles) picked up the dough pieces and laid them on a sheet of parchment paper. Each one was carefully streched and folded one last time before I slid them on to the preheated baking stone.  


 I used the same steam bath method that I used to steam the challah, and after about 15 minutes I rotated the loaves to make sure they were browning evenly.


 After about 25 minutes, I used my digital probe thermometer to see if they had reached 205 degrees and they were done! I pulled out the loaves with a pair of tongs and set them on a rack to cool. They looked really great!


 But would the crumb have those coveted holes????


 The next morning I sliced one open and took a look.


 Mostly small to medium holes, and one or two large ones, but that’s about it. The best part was the taste – it was amazing. The wheat was complex and it just tasted like really great bread should taste. The crust was crunchy but not so hard that it hurt to chew. Overall it was really satisfying. 



 I was hooked! I knew those four small loaves weren’t long for this world  and I was curious to see if I could notice the difference between the poolish version and the biga version listed in the BBA. There was only one way to find out – I started off a mixing a biga the very next day.

The biga is a portion of the total flour, water, and yeast that is mixed, kneaded,  and then allowed to ferment in the fridge for a few days. This allows the enzymes  a little more time to break down the sugars in the wheat and really helps develop the flavor.


 After about 48 hours, I took the biga out of the fridge and cut it into about 10 small pieces to help it come to room temp a little quicker. While this was happening I weighed out the additional flour, salt, yeast, oil and water for the second portion of bread.

I made one small change to the flour. Several of the other BBA’ers mentioned that using All Purpose (AP) flour would result in a slightly softer crumb. So in this batch I added half of my normal bread flour and half of all purpose flour, just to see if it made a difference.


 Just a quick reminder – oil and water do not mix. This picture sort of reminds me of one of those old lava lamps, yes?


 Ok, so here is the dough. So far I have mixed those biga pieces into the rest of the ingredients above, stretched and folded, and allowed to rise the first time.


 I had plans to take a loaf to a friends house for dinner and I wanted to take a loaf into work so I divided the dough into two pieces of somewhat equal weight – I had to eyeball this because weighing it on the scale would have deflated my dough for sure, and that was something I wanted to avoid at all costs. In to the oven on to the hot baking stone again and here is what they looked like when they came out of the oven….


 Real ciabatta – would you look at that!!!  And what about those holes?  Take a look….


That is a success if I’ve ever seen it! Yay for ciabatta!

Next up: Cinnamon Rolls (Sticky Buns/Rolls) or whateva they are called.

Note: Oh yeah, I’m headed off for a week on my grandparents houseboat at Lake Powell. I will be baking the next recipe on location – without my Kitchen Aid. Now that is the real challenge!