Monday, September 1, 2014

Back for an ABC-challenge...

After a few months MIA as far as the ABC-challenges are concerned, I'm back this month with Almond tartlets.

I love all things with almonds and these wonderful frangipane filled pies are utterly delicious. I was tempted to make one large one, as that's less fiddly and less moulds to clean afterwards. But they just look so cute and as I own enough tartlets forms, I decided to use them in spite of the extra work. For me to serve one tarlet each is a little to big. So when served I halve them.

I was suprised that the crusts didn't need any blind baking, just some fork pricking to keep them down: that didn't really work that well as they puffed up quite a lot anyway. Next time I'd rather blind bake them for better results. I had enough dough for 6 tartlets, but filling for 7 or 8. So that's a bit of a shame to have that left over. I skipped the glaze, as there is enough sugar in the filling already and I didn't miss the glaze at all.
Delicious tartlets that were really worth the bake!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

BBB stay in Italy for another month

Isn't it wonderful that we get to bake Italian for another month. I love that, thanks to our delightful hostess of this month Elizabeth ("Blog from our kitchen") who chose this recipe for Babes and Buddies to bake. I've been home a forthnight now after a three week stay in Italy. It took a while to get back to normal again, very busy clearing the holiday laundry load and in and out of shops to get new clothes, shoes and schoolgear for the coming school year. Our boy has grown so fast and is not stopping any time soon. Big big shoes. All made a bit harder by a lot of pain in my hips, that made it impossible to stand in the kitchen after having dragged myself past the shops. It's been bothering me for a while and it seems to get worse, especially after having walking so much in Italy. But all is bought, done and fixed... 

...I'm getting off track here, just wanting to say I didn't know if I'd get to making this bread. I made the starter twice, but then the next day there wasn't any time to finish the thing. I managed to back it yesterday finally. It's a very light and fluffy bread, I like that kind of bread once in a while, eventhough I used only white flour.
I used a little less water, for the dough became too sloppy and I baked it a higher temperature (230ºC) with steam using an oven stone, so it was able to have a nice oven rise. I like this bread, it's fluffyness, You can eat it like a sandwich, but it's really good to toast it too. 

I'm glad I was able to bake it in time, I'm sure you'd like to bake along with us and become a Bread Baking Buddy and taste this delicious bread for yourself. Send a picture of the result, tell us what your thoughts are and send it to our Kitchen of the month Elizabeth with "BBB august 2014 bread in the subject line. ( Deadline 29th of this month, Have fun baking.
Polenta Bread
(makes 2 loaves)
(PRINT recipe)
The afternoon before:
tiny Biga 

9 g water
1/16 tsp active dry yeast
11 g unbleached all-purpose flour

The evening before:
60 g water
1/16 tsp active dry yeast
all of the Biga
100 g unbleached all-purpose flour

The morning of:
35 g cornmeal aka polenta, coarsely ground 
175 g cold water

The morning of: 
390 g water
1/8 tsp active dry yeast
265 g unbleached all-purpose flour
335 g unbleached bread flour
all of the starter
18 g salt
all of the cooled polenta
cornmeal, for garnish

Tiny Biga: In the early afternoon of the day before you are baking the bread, whisk the yeast with warm water in a smallish bowl until it has dissolved. Using a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix in the small amount of flour until it is smooth. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter, out of drafts, to ferment.

Starter: In the evening of the day before you are baking the bread, whisk the starter yeast with warm water in a medium-sized bowl until it has dissolved. Add the tiny biga that should be bubbling nicely. Using a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix in the starter amount of flour until you have a smooth lump of dough.

Polenta: In the morning of the day you are baking the bread, pour cold water into a small pot on the stove at medium high heat. Add the polenta and using a wooden spoon, cook, stirring constantly until the mixture if thick - about 5 minutes. If you have a microwave oven, you can put the water and polenta into a microwavable container and cook it at high for 4 minutes, stir it and continue to cook for 2 minutes more. Once the polenta is made, remove it from the pot to a plate or shallow container and put it into the fridge to cool.

Mixing the dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dough yeast with warm water until it has dissolved.
Add the starter (that should have doubled and be quite bubbly). Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flours  and salt. It might be pretty sloppy. Or not. It might just be shaggy.

Kneading: Lay the cooled polenta on top of the dough. Plunge in with your hands to turn and fold the dough in the bowl, kneading until it's smooth (5 to 10 minutes). When the dough is smooth, cover the bowl with a plate to rest.
After about 20 minutes, turn and fold the dough a few times. Notice that it is significantly smoother. Cover the bowl with a plate and set it aside in the oven with only the light turned on to rise until it has doubled. Don't worry if it is quite sloppy. If it rises earlier than you expect, simply deflate the dough and allow it to rise again. This will just strengthen the dough.

Shaping: When you are ready to shape the bread, turn it out onto a lightly floured board and divide it into 2 pieces. Trying not to disturb the bubbles too much, shape into two rounds. Liberally spray the tops of the shaped loaves with water. Cover them with cornmeal. Put each loaves seam-side up in a banneton, tightly woven basket or colander. Cover each one with a mixing bowl  or plastic and allow them to rise on the counter until almost double.

Preheat: Put a baking stone on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 220-230ºC.

Slashing: Turn each loaf out of its container onto a square of parchment paper. Using a very sharp knife (or a razor of lamé if you have one), starting at the center of the loaf and holding the blade almost horizontally, carve a spiral into each loaf. Try not to freak out if the spirals look like vicious circles.

Baking: Liberally spray the tops of the loaves with water. Using a peel, slide them onto the hot stone and bake for about 30-40 minutes, turning them around once half way through baking, to account for uneven oven heat. The crust should be quite dark and the internal temperature should be around 96ºC. Allow the baked bread to cool completely before cutting into it. It's still baking inside! .

(inspiration: Della Fattoria's Polenta Bread on p.118-119 in "Artisan Baking Across America: the Breads, the Bakers, the Best Recipes" by Maggie Glezer)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BBBAbes: a taste of Italy

This month we're inspired to have a tast of Italy chosen our wonderful babe Cathy ("Bread Experience"). I love Italian bread. This is a fragrant loaf with rosemary, which is growing in abundance in our garden right now. The recipe asks for a biga, my favorite method for pre-fermented breads, so I was looking forward in making this bread.

I started preparations too late, as the time for the final rise took longer. My son and I had to leave for a BBQ ánd watching a soccer match with the dutch team and I just didn't have the time to let the loaves rise any longer. So they could (should) have been a bit bigger and lighter. But they were very nice and I loved the rosemary in it. I think next time I'd let it rise a little longer, and add some whole wheat flour and a little lemon zest, just for the fun of it. Thanks Cathy for this wonderful Italian loaf!

There you go,you wanna bake right? Bake, write, tell us about it and become our Baking Buddy. Get the Bread Baking Buddy Badge and your entry will be part of the round up. Send your details to Cathy (Kitchen of the month) and join us in baking. Deadline 29th of the month.
(makes 2 small loaves)
(PRINT recipe)
91 g bread flour
61 g water
pinch of instant yeast

final dough
442 g bread flour
238 g water
22 g milk
133 g biga
10 g salt
pinch of instant yeast
44 g olive oil
4-5 g chopped fresh rosemary

Preparing the biga: Combine the bread flour, water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Scape down the edge of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at 24ºC for 14 to 16 hours.

Making the final dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour, water, milk, and biga. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until blended.
Add the salt and yeast and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 7 more minutes, or until the dough is smooth. When the gluten is fully developed, mix in the olive oil and rosemary on low speed. Lightly oil a large bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for 45 minutes.

Remove the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and divide it into two. Shape the dough pieces into rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for 15 minutes.
Place two couches on a separate work surface or bread board and dust them with flour.

Uncover the dough and, if necessary, lightly flour the work surface. Gently press on the dough to degas and carefully shape each piece into a tight and neat rounds. Place one loaf on one side of the couche, fold the couche up to make a double layer of cloth to serve as a divider between the loaves, and place a second loaf next to the fold. Repeat the process with the remaining two loaves and the second couche. Cover with plastic wrap and proof for 1 hour. You can also place your loaves into bannetons.

About an hour before you plan to bake the loaves, place a baking stone (or tiles) into the oven along with a steam pan (underneath) or iron skillet (on the top rack) and preheat the oven to 230ºC.
Uncover the dough and score the top of each loaf in a star pattern using a lame or sharp knife. Carefully transfer the loaves to the preheated baking stone using a peel or the back of a baking sheet. To make the steam, add 1 cup of ice to the iron skillet or steam pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and crisp and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

(source: “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking”- The French Culinary Institute)

Bread Baking Babes: De smaak van Italië

Deze maand voert onze broodspecialist Babe Cathy ("Bread Experience") ons naar Italië met een brood met rozemarijn. Bossen rozemarijn zijn hier voorradig in de tuin, want het groeit uit alle macht. Ik vind het heerlijk even de handen erdoor te halen en dan te genieten van de geur. Ook gek ben ik op brood gemaakt met biga, zoals deze, dus ik had er zin in.
Ik had alleen iets eerder moeten beginnen met de voorbereidingen op de bakdag, want de laatste rijs had eigenlijk wat langer gemoeten. Normaal geen probleem, maar ik stond op punt om naar een barbeque te gaan met onze zoon en daar een wedstrijd te kijken van het Nederlands elftal. En ik ben iemand die graag op tijd is, dus heb ik ze maar gewoon in de oven geschoven. Ze hadden dus wat bruiner, groter en luchtiger kunnen zijn naar mijn idee, maar ondanks dat waren het toch lekkere broden. De volgende keer misschien met wat volkorenmeel erdoor en wat citroenrasp.

Wil je ook dit lekker brood met ons bakken en onze Bread Baking Buddy worden? Bak, blog en vertel ons wat jij van dit recept vond, stuur dit naar Cathy (Keuken van de maand) en ontvang de Bread Baking Buddy Badge en je wordt opgenomen in de round up met alle andere buddies. Deadline 29e van de maand. Bak ze.
(2 broden)
(recept PRINTEN)
91 g brood bloem
61 g water
snufje droge gist

442 g brood bloem
238 g water
22 g melk
133 g biga
10 g zout
snufje droge gist
44 g olijfolie
4-5 g verse rozemarijn, gehakt

Biga: Meng de ingrediënten voor de biga goed door elkaar. Dek af met plastic en laat het staan op 24ºC gedurende 14 tot 16 uur.

Het deeg:  Doe brood bloem, water, melk en biga in de kom van een stand(spiraal)mixer met de deeghaak erin. Meng dan op lage snelheid tot het gemengd is. Voeg dan gist en zout toe en meng nogmaals 5 minuten op lage snelheid. Verhoog de snelheid en kneed tot het deeg glad en elastisch is (ongeveer 7 minuten).  Nu de gluten volledig zijn ontwikkeld meng je op lage snelheid de olijfolie en de rozemarijn erdoor tot het deeg weer samenkomt. Vet een kom licht in en plaats het deeg in een balvorm erin. Dek af met plastic en laat 45 minuten rusten op een warme plaats..

Haal het deeg uit de kom en verdeel het in tweeën. Vorm de stukken tot twee mooie bollen. Dek af met plastic en laat 15 minuten rusten. Bol daarna nogmaals licht op en plaats de bollen op een couche met bloem of in een banneton. Dek af met plastic (ingevet) en laat 1 uur rijzen op een warme plaats.
Verwarm de oven een uur voor het bakken voor op 230ºC met een pizza/brood steen onderin de oven. Plaats ook een metalen bakje onderin (eventueel met wat grind erin) wat je ook mee verwarmt.
Leg het gerezen deeg voorzichtig op een stukje bakpapier, wat je straks makkelijk op de steen kan schuiven. Snijd de top in met een ster patroon. Plaats de broden voorzichtig op de ovensteen, giet wat kokend water in het metalen bakje onderin en bak de broden ongeveer 30/40 minuten tot het brood gaar is (kerntemperatuur ongeveer 95ºC). Laat de broden dan afkoelen op een rooster.
(bron: “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking”- The French Culinary Institute)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cheers! Bread Baking Babes

Yes there is a party! What occasion you say? Of course the Bread Baking Babes are baking again this month and that gives us a Bread party each month. This month we don't even have to pour ourselves a glass of wine.. we're just pouring the wine in the bread. A wonderful recipe chosen by our charming Babe and co-founder Tanna ("My kitchen in half cups"). This is a fun recipe to make, you get a real girly dough - it's pink, and you get to shape a huge bunch of grapes. It's also fun to take the rolls off later, perfect for a party or BBQ. 

You can knead the (quite wet) dough like the recipe says or just pop it in your stand mixer with dough hook attached.
It's a slow and not too enthousiastic riser, so don't place the rolls too far apart from eachother, so they do stick together without loosing their round shape. When your rolls aren't getting a lovely brown colour, just cranck your oven up a bit (or turn on the fan) the last minutes of baking.The salami was a lovely addition, and a great flavour maker. I bet they're delicious without the salami too for non meat eaters/lovers. 

Have a go and bake this gorgous bunch of grapes, tell us about it and become a Bread Baking Buddy and earn the BBBuddy Badge. Send in your findings and details to Tanna (kitchen of this month) and you'll be part of the round up. Deadline as always 29th of this month. Have fun baking.

Beaujolais Bread
Yield: 16 rolls or a grape cluster
(PRINT recipe)
454 g white bread flour, unbleached
7 g fine sea salt
5 g instant dry yeast
21 g honey
320 g Beaujolais wine
113 g salami cut into 1/4 inch cube

Scale all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey to the dry ingredients and using your hands bring loosely together then form a well in the center. The wine should be 28°C.  
Add the wine to the well in a slow steady stream, as you rotate the bowl with one hand, while simultaneously mixing the wine into the dry ingredients with your other hand.
Frequently scrape your fingers and the bowl to gather all ingredients into the dough ball. The bowl should be quite clean. The dough will be soft, slightly wet and extremely sticky.
The dough should be just coming together. Turn the dough out onto the counter.
The dough will be very sticky; do not give into the temptation to add more flour.

Kneading wet dough.
Hold hands, palms facing up, at opposite sides of the dough mass. Slide your fingers under the dough and lift the dough an inch or so from the surface. Squeeze your thumbs and index fingers together to form a tight OK sign through the dough.
While holding the OK sign, continue to curl thumbs and index fingers tightly together to pinch off a portion of dough. Working as quickly and smoothly as possible, moving the dough mass in approximately 1 to 1.5 inch increments, until the entire dough mass has been worked through. You should begin to feel the dough coming together.
“Remember, your hands are your memory-pay attention to the feel of the dough as it comes together.”
Turn dough a quarter turn and continue lifting, pinching and turning until it begins to take on an identifiable shape and becomes less and less sticky; taking anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.  Resist the urge to add flour. A scraper is useful in collecting all the dough off the work area. Consider the dough kneaded when it forms into a ball. The dough should be soft, pliable and hold it’s shape; it should not be stiff and dry.
Form dough into ball: using both hands, lift front and fold over, quickly dropping it down to the counter. Repeat 4-5 times until a ball is formed. Use the scraper to ensure all the dough is gathered. Using the palms of your hands, flatten the dough ball into a rectangle. Scatter the salami evenly down the middle. Wrap the sides up and over salami, pinch dough together, turn and repeat until the salami is incorporated.
Form into a ball. Again lifting from the front, fold it over onto itself in one movement then dropping dnow onto the counter. Repeat 4 to 5 times until ball forms. Using your scraper to be sure all the dough is gathered. The dough should no longer be sticky. If it continues to be sticky repeat the folding process until it is no longer sticky.
First fermentation
The dough should register between 22°C and 27°C. The wine will extend the fermentation, probably to about three hours.
Use a container, either a large glass bowl are a clear rising container large enough to allow the dough to rise without coming in contact with the lid. Taking care to maintain the round shape, transfer the ball to the bowl or rising bucket. Cover the container.
Fermentation will take about one hour in a warm 24 to 27ºC draft free place.
Dust the counter lightly with flour. Place the dough onto floured counter. Pat into a thick square. Lift the two right corners and fold into the center patting the seam lightly. Lift the left two corners and fold into the center lightly patting the seam down. Repeat with the top two corners and the bottom two corners meeting in the middle patting down the seams.
Return the dough to the bowl seam side down, cover and return to a warm draft free place for about an hour. ..
Repeat this process one more time. Total Time: three hours.

Flour the counter. Scrape the dough onto the counter and allow to rest 30 seconds.
If the dough is very sticky at this point dust your hands with flour but do not add additional flour. Use the bench scraper to lift the dough if it sticks to the counter but do not pull and do not stretch the dough. Press the dough into a rectangle 30 x 10-12 cm wide. Be sure the dough is not sticking to the counter by lifting it to gently up. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces with the bench scraper.
Use parchment paper or a silicone liner in a baking sheet.
Roll 15 pieces into a small ball shape for rolls, the last piece will become the grapevine. Create a triangle by setting four balls together in a line followed by a line of three balls then two balls and finally one ball. Angle the remaining four balls to one side of the triangle so that the entire piece resembles a large cluster of grapes with the smaller one to the side.
With the last piece of dough roll it into a rope about 10 inches long and shape it into a curved grape vine shape that you attach to the top of the grape cluster. Dust with flour.
Final fermentation
Final fermentation may take from 60 to 90 minutes. If it over proofs the dough will be unusable. Set the timer so that you can record the time it takes for the final fermentation. Place the baking sheet in a warm 24-27°C draft free place.
Determine the dough is ready to be baked by uncovering and making a small indentation in the center of the role with your fingertip. The dough is ready to be baked if the indentation slowly and evenly disappears.

Slide the baking sheet into the oven onto the pre-heated baking stone.
What ever you find to fit over it bake for 10 minutes with the dough covered and then remove the bowl. Continue to bake until the bread is golden brown has a thick crust, total additional time 15 to 20 minutes. The total time then would be 25 to 30 minutes. The bread will be fully baked if it registers 85 - 99°C..
When fully baked transfer to cooling rack for at least one hour to cool.
(Source:”A Passion for Bread” – Lionel Vatinet)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bread Baking Babes go wild

Another month, another bread! Karen ("Bake my Day" is kitchen of this month and she found us a wonderful bread to bake. I must admit I felt a bit apprehensive reading we had to put raw onions in the bread, it didn't appeal to me to be honest. Reading the recipe I was glad to see that another possibility was using dried caramelized onions. That sounded good. Wait... did the recipe say that really or was it just my wishfull thinking.  I only realised later that it just said dried onions. Good that I didn't realise that before, 'cause normally I tend to change as little as possible when we bake a recipe, to see how it is supposed to be.  Making a recipe all your own is sometimes to staying to much in your comfort zone.

Karen this was such a lovely recipe, I love it, we all did. The (secretly caramelized) dried onions were so fragrant and delicious and I love wild rice. Don't use it much because it's expensive, but I really like the taste. I also found that you can soften the wild rice enough by soaking them overnight, this way you don't have to boil the rice. I used half the recipe and changed the amounts accordingly in the recipe below. Thanks Karen for a wonderful recipe.

Really a great recipe to bake for all bread lovers. So become our Bread Baking Buddy and bake this lovely recipe. Bake, tell us all about your findings and mail them to Karen. She'll send you a Bread Baking Buddy Badge and put all entries together in a round up. Deadline 29th!
Don't forget to take a look at the breads the other Bread Baking Babes baked; links in the side bar.

Wild Rice and Onion Bread
(makes one loaf)

(PRINT recipe)