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Entries in bread (3)

Saturday
Mar042017

Easter Buns or Easter Bunnsies

 

 

 

Have you ever noticed that the store bought hot cross buns contain tons of raisins and hardly any of that delicious fruit peel? Well I have, and set out to do something about it with help from Mary Berry and NYTimes food. No raisins in these bunnsies, just a ton of that sweet, tart, colorful mixed peel, a zap of lemon zest and an apricot glaze. These little buns scream Easter. Make them a day ahead, stick the formed buns in the fridge, and pop in in the oven on Easter morning. Everybunny will be happy. 

1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)

1 cup whole milk, warmed

4 tablespoons butter, in pieces and softened

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1-teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon all spice

½ teaspoon salt

3-½ cups all-purpose flour

Zest from one lemon

1 cup mixed fruit and peel

Apricot jam for glazing

 

Whisk flour, sugar, zest, cinnamon, all spice and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, turn mixer on low, add butter and mix until flour looks crumbly, add yeast, eggs, and warm milk. When dough starts to come together, add the mixed fruit and continue beating until a soft ball gathers around the hook.

 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth, no more than a few minutes. Return dough to a buttered bowl, cover with cling film and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

 

Punch down dough and divide into twelve pieces, roll into ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet not quite touching each other. Cover and let rise again until doubled, 45mins – 1 hour.

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake buns for 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Just before they are ready to come out of the oven, heat apricot jam until runny. While still hot, brush  buns with jam. Let cool 15-20 minutes then devour.

 

Note: You can form the buns, cover and refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature before baking. Also, if raisins are your thing, substitute some of them for a portion of the peel. 

Tuesday
Jul192016

Great British Baking Show - Paul's Baguettes - Tech Challenge #3

 

 

     This is my third week attempting the GBBS technical challenge. Let’s get to a few things straight right off the bat. It’s not a true challenge. I know that.

     I have clear advantages. From the start, I know what the challenge is. My recipe isn’t stripped down. I know what it’s “supposed” to look like. I’ve seen others make it with successes and failures.

     And here’s why all that doesn’t matter. You can give the same recipe to 12 (in this case 13) different people and 12/13 different results get churned out.

     This week’s challenge was Paul Hollywood’s Baguette recipe. I’ve made a lot of bread with varying degrees of success. I’ve had loaves explode and others fall in the middle. I’ve made plain white bread, rye, spelt, whole-wheat honey, sweet bread, but never attempted a baguette(s). For some reason baguettes scared me, I guess because they’re so quintessentially French and the French really know how to bake.

     I’m not going to let any of that bother me today. I’ve 2 ½ hours to make 4 crusty baguettes. Time starts now, and there’s Sue’s voice in my ear….BAAAAAKE.

     Making the dough with my kitchen aide was a dream. It couldn’t have been easier. With 2:11hours to go the dough is in the plastic container, in the oven with the light on and will stay there until it doubles. Now the recipe I had doesn’t mention anything about kneading by hand. It pretty much lets it all happen in the mixing bowl. So, that’s an advantage for me.

     I must have misplaced my linen couche so I improvised with a piece of canvas I had (no idea why) and a few binder clips (which I have to say I thought was pretty gosh darn clever of me).

 


  

     With 1:21hours to go, I had divided my dough, rolled and pinched the seams, floured and turned them into my makeshift couche. I let them double again.

     So far, this seems like the easiest challenge. These baguettes don’t seem to be THAT difficult at all. I’m actually pretty pleased with myself and a little bit excited. Until the clock starts ticking down and I can’t tell if my loaves are rising (I left them at room temp covered). Now I’m a bit antsy and worried. I’ve written this before, it’s slightly ridiculous on my part - I’M NOT BEING JUDGED. With 36:37 on the clock, I stick my overly floured baguettes in the oven (with a pan of water – which I always do anyway – so Paul Hollywood, you wouldn’t have tricked me with that omission!). Four baguettes out with 12:56 left. I did it.

     Verdict – I had 4 baguettes relatively the same size with the correct cuts on top. They were under proved, with a seam that you could see on the bottom. The structure of my baguette was decent with an “ish” open texture, not great, but good. They were definitely crispy, since they were a touch over baked (I thought), so the color was good a little more than golden.

     To put it in perspective -  My baguettes were not as good as Ian (star baker again). A lot better than Paul (10), Nadia (9), Sandy (7), Dorret (6), and Ugne (5). Mine were most like Flora (2), Tamal (3), Alvin (4) and Matt (8). Basically, under proved, crispy, decent texture, slightly dark, good flavor. I over did it on the flour during baking, but all in all – I thought I’d be mid-div again some where around 5th-6th.

     Would I make it again? Yes. This recipe is a keeper. Straight forward, delicious, and the more you make them the easier they’ll be. Plus you get 4 wonderful homemade loaves of bread in one go or freeze a few for a later date. No longer am I afraid of making baguettes – thank you British Baking Show, Paul and Mary <3.

 

Thursday
Feb132014

Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding with Spiked Apples, Raisins & Vanilla Whiskey Sauce

 

Bread pudding is wonderful.  It’s comfy, warm and delicious when done right.  When not, it’s rubbery and dry.  This recipe is SO right.  Ample amounts of Challah, cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla create a soufflé like pudding.  Apples and raisins soused in whiskey add to the texture and flavor.  The sauce is not too sweet and has a great whiskey bite.  The eggy Challah is perfect for this, but another light bread would work as well, just stay away from the pre sliced bread aisle loaves, the thin pieces would pretty much disintegrate and turn to mush.

So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day make this with a warm, peated, single malt Irish whiskey.

Ingredients

6-8 servings

For the apples and raisins:

2 tablespoons butter

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced

½ cup raisins

1-teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup light brown sugar

1 cup Irish whiskey

 

For the bread:

8oz of Challah bread cut into 1 inch cubes (that’s about ½ a loaf)

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 ½-2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

For the whiskey sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 cup Irish whiskey plus 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons cornstarch

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Toast bread cubes until golden.

Pour ¼ whiskey over raisins and set aside.

 Melt butter in a medium skillet; add apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and cook over low heat until the apples soften, stirring often. Add sugar, vanilla and raisins with liquid.  Continue cooking until sugar melts and apples become sticky; stir often so the apples don’t scorch. Add ¾ cup of whiskey, continue to simmer until syrupy. Cool to room temperature (can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated – bring to room temperature before using).   

Whisk 1 ½ cups cream, eggs, ¾ cup granulated sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add bread cubes, apple mixture, stir to combine, making sure all the bread is moist – at this point you may need to add that extra ½ cup of cream. Transfer bread mixture into a greased casserole dish or 6 individual spring form pans. Let stand until the bread absorbs the custard mixture - about 20 minutes. Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. The pudding should be puffed, golden and springy/firm, moist not dry, and a tester inserted should come out clean.

While the pudding is in the oven, make the whiskey sauce – whisk sugar, cream, vanilla and 1 cup of whisky in small saucepan, bring to a simmer over low heat. Mix 2 tablespoons of whiskey with cornstarch in a small bowl, whisk into sauce. Continue cooking until sauce begins to boil and thickens. Serve warm with pudding.