Tag Archives: bread

Three Kings Cake … with Repurposed Filling

They know how to party in New Orleans, especially before the forty days of Lent when Christians are supposed to fast or give up something they like. Mardi Gras is the name for the time period before Lent … a joyous carnival like atmosphere of parades and indulgence.

And, in New Orleans, King Cake or Three Kings Cake is the personification of that joyous occasion in pastry form.

There are a number of variations in terms of whether there’s a filling or whether it’s braided, but decorating the finished cake with the colours purple, gold and green is traditional in the southern regions of the United States.

For Christmas I made a sweet Boursin cheese spread flavoured with dried cranberries and orange zest. It was tasty, but other than a single rather skimpy smear on my Christmas bread wreath, it’s been lingering in my fridge. So when I was deciding on a filling for my Mardis Gras style (Three) Kings Cake during the Epiphany, I repurposed my sweet Boursin. I thought it needed some additional texture and substance, so I chopped up about half to three-quarters of a cup of sliced almonds and sprinkled it over the Boursin.

The resulting cake, using this recipe, was tender and delicious, though my decoration fell short of my expectations. It needed a lot more glaze. Double or even quadruple, I think.

The filling was an unqualified success.

Cranberry-Orange Spice Boursin – makes about 3/4 cup of spread

1/2 pkg cream cheese, room temp
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1-1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp orange zest

Cream together the cream cheese, butter and salt using a hand blender. Stir in the cranberries, black pepper and orange zest. Pack into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate so that the flavours will marry. Remove from the fridge 1 or 2 hrs before serving so that the Boursin will be soft enough to spread.

Sós Kifli or Salted ‘Croissants’

My first post of the new year is, fittingly, a bread recipe.

Creamy eggs and salted croissants make for a perfect breakfast

Just before Christmas my brother was in my neighbourhood and stopped in at a nearby European style bakery. And then he dropped off four of these bread rolls shaped into crescents and sprinkled with caraway seeds and coarse salt. And a bag of chocolate bonbons filled with cherries and liqueur. I ate three of the bread rolls the same day but the chocolates lasted until after New Year.

Recently, I saw someone had posted a picture of a similar type of bread rolls, on my Hungarian Facebook group. To make a long story short, I got the recipe, originally posted in Hungarian, and translated by a second party, and made them yesterday. A similar recipe can be found here though I used 2 tsp of dry instant yeast, rather than fresh, in my bake.

Shaping the croissants … a pizza wheel is the best way to make the clean cuts for making the dough wedges. The dough (652 gm) was rolled out into an 18″ circle.

Baked at 400 deg F for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven’s foibles.

Fluffy interior of the croissants

Shokupan … Japanese Eating Bread

Shokupan is a very popular daily or “eating bread” in Japan.

In light of my summer obsession with expanding my repertoire of Japanese foods, I couldn’t pass up giving it a try. The blog where I found the recipe has two easy-to-follow versions. The easier of the two is kneaded very briefly in a food processor … and I’m all about EASY recipes or techniques.

I always find sight of the risen dough appealing, don’t you?

And, of course, the crumb shot … delicious spread with some sweet softened butter.

For a second attempt at the recipe, I shaped the dough into stuffed buns.

I choose both anko (sweetened red bean paste, on the left) and lotus seed paste (on the right) for the filling.

I was experimenting with a coloured whipping cream wash (not necessary in baked buns but should give a nice golden colour in a future steamed bun version) and the crease in the middle for the lotus seed paste filled buns. It’s supposed to resemble the dried lotus seeds after removing the germ.

REVIEW: The bread is fast and easy to make in the food processor and the taste is delicious. What more do you need? Give it a try.

Traditional White Sandwich Bread … Two Ways

Just a quick post to let you know that I’m still here.

I decided to share my current favourite bread recipe found on Allrecipes.

Bread dough is so flexible … you can bake it in a loaf pan or in a dutch oven or on a baking sheet. I chose to do two of these using the same recipe and was amazed at the very different results.

In this case, I needed/wanted a nice loaf of bread to make sandwiches with and this old fashioned bread filled that need admirably.

The dough was shaped and proofed in a regular 9×5 inch loaf pan. Five minutes before the end of the baking time, I brushed the crust of the bread with softened unsalted butter. The result was an amazing light and tender crumb with a soft crust. The bread toasted beautifully as well as being delicious spread with some unsalted butter or strawberry jam.

Back in June, I bought myself an oval banneton. I’ve only used it once so far, for a sourdough loaf. But, of course, you can proof a regular yeast bread in a banneton as well. So I did. And played with some creative scoring.

Proofed dough, rice flour for dusting the banneton, a brand new razor blade for scoring and the oval banneton.

Before and after proofing

Scored loaf ready for baking and the finished loaf

Even though the shape isn’t as suitable for sandwiches and toasting, this would make an impressive loaf to serve to your family or company.

Happy Easter!! (2019)

No, you’re not having a flashback to four months ago.

I just realized that I never posted the meal for this past Easter.

Which was a shame, because I made a delicious Tuscan bread and vegetable soup called “ribollita” for starters …

… baked lamb chops seasoned with rosemary and garlic, risotto and asparagus for the main and vanilla “cake for one” filled and frosted with a vanilla buttercream and decorated with Easter jimmies for dessert. A simple lemonade spiked with raspberries and blackberries to wash it down.

Easter cake

It’s been so long since I made the soup that I can’t remember which adaptation I used of the four recipes I have saved in my Italian folder. Based on the pictures of the ingredients in the photo folder for the soup, I’m guessing this one. Though I didn’t use canned beans but cooked cannellini beans from dry.

Home made croutons were used both in the soup itself as a thickener and, seasoned, as a garnish that was stirred in just before serving. If you like your croutons crunchy, serve a bowl of the croutons on the table and let each diner add their own.

 

 

It was a great meal … even in retrospect.

Nikuman (Japanese Steamed Buns)

I still have a backlog of recipes/posts to share but got very excited about today’s bake so it jumped the queue. I’ve got several recipes for steamed buns (Chinese bao or Korean jjinppang) in my recipe archives but I went to my favourite YouTube channel, TabiEats, for a small batch of buns, especially as I was able to use up a container of leftover runza filling (shredded corned beef, sauteed red cabbage and shredded cheddar cheese) for them.

It’s also a very fast recipe … no yeast proofing, a few minutes to knead, 30 min bulk proof, shaping and a final 20 minutes to final proof. Steaming took only 15 minutes and my buns were ready to eat. I didn’t bother with the squid ink variation so I added a total of 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to the dough in the kneading step.

Before proofing and after steaming

I had about 360 gm of dough so I divided it into six equal portions. There was a lot of filling (about 300 gm) but I shaped into tight balls and used it to fill the buns. There was a high filling (a bit under-seasoned) to bun ratio which was a plus.

REVIEW: Highly recommended recipe. There’s nothing I’d do differently.

Potato Langos (Krumplis Lángos)

I think most cultures that use wheat flour have some sort of fried bread. The Hungarian version, lángos, is what I’m featuring below. It is also popular in Romania (especially in Transylvania) as langosi.

I’ve watched several versions of this bread being made on Youtube and chose to do a drier one, similar to native American fry bread, rather than the wetter dough which is pinched off by hand and stretched, before being dropped into the hot oil and fried. Mashed or riced cooked potato is added to the dough mixture. A simple version of the recipe rolls out the dough, cuts it into a circle or rectangle and places a filling, which may be seasoned potato and onion, crumbled cheese or cooked ground meat, in the middle. The dough is folded over around the filling, well sealed, and fried. One day, I’ll have to give it a try.

Potato Langos

Hungarian Potato Lángos   (Lángos or Krumplis Lángos ) – makes 8-10 depending on size.

3-4 medium unpeeled potatoes*
1/2 envelope/ 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp sugar
2 – 2 1/4 cups/240-270 gm all purpose flour**
1/2 tsp salt
lard or vegetable oil for frying***

* You should have about 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes.
** I used 260 gms of AP flour
*** I used half lard and half vegetable oil

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until a knife inserted into the middle of the potato goes in easily. Peel and mash or rice to get a smooth texture. Cool to barely warm.

Mix the warm milk with the yeast and sugar. Let the yeast mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour and the salt. Stir together. Add the mashed potatoes and the yeast mixture. Gradually add in the flour, 1/4 cup or so at time until you get a kneadable dough. Knead the dough well. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hr.

On a well floured surface, roll out the dough to ~1/2 inch thick.

Cut into rectangles, squares or circles. Let rest, covered so the dough doesn’t dry out, for about 30 minutes. Stretch the dough out a bit so the center is thinner than the edges. (Or, you may prick the dough with the tip of a knife to keep big bubbles from forming and so that it will fry more evenly.)

Melt lard in a cast iron frying pan so it is at least 1/2 inch deep. Fry langos over medium heat. Drain over a paper towel lined wire rack.

NOTE: I decided to use a 2.5 quart sauce pan to deep fry the langos as my frying pan is too shallow to actually shallow fry in, and filled it about 1/3 of the way up with a half lard/half vegetable oil mixture.

To reheat, place langos on baking sheets and heat, uncovered, in a 350 deg Fahrenheit oven until warm, about 8-10 minutes.

Toppings: garlic (oil or butter or just finely minced), sour cream, grated cheese (cheddar, edam, gouda, liptauer), jam

Basic Soft Sourdough Loaf

For many sourdough bread lovers, the crunchy crust and open crumb are the pinnacle of perfection. However, if you just want a sandwich loaf with a soft crust and a close but tender interior, this loaf, found on the “Bake with Paws” blog,  is perfect. The only requirement, as with making sourdough bagels, is a stand mixer to knead the dough until you’ve developed the gluten enough that it passes the ‘windowpane test’. You CAN hand knead, of course, but I didn’t really feel like a work out. I found the inclusion of about 22% whole wheat flour gave a nice taste and texture to the bread.

Interior or ‘Crumb’ of the Bread

Your loaf of bread may be proofed for 45 minutes to an hour inside the oven with just the light on. When doubled in volume, remove the pan of dough from the oven and preheat.

If you want a nice gloss to your finished loaf, you can brush it with softened or melted butter when you take it out of the oven. I didn’t bother.

For long term storage, slice, wrap and freeze your loaf once it’s cooled to room temperature. Take out a couple of slices for toasting or sandwich making shortly before you need it. It will thaw quickly on the counter or overnight in the fridge.

A Couple of Breads

I’ve mentioned the bi-weekly bread challenges from the Bread Baking  FB group before and, in this post, I’m going to share some pictures of the latest challenge, French Baguettes.

The basic recipe which was to be used for the challenge makes four baguettes. I halved it and ended up with a couple of fourteen inch long baguettes which I devoured almost immediately, so I made another half batch and shaped it into four demi-baguettes.

I rewrote the instructions and posted the recipe below.

French Baguettes and Demi-Baguettes

Crumb of the baguettes

MaryAnn’s Baguettes – makes 4 baguettes, each about 14 inches/35-36 cm long.

Poolish/Sponge
2 cups + 2 tbsp water
2 1/2 cups/ 335 gm bread flour
1 tbsp dry yeast

2 1/2 cups/335 gm bread flour
1 tbsp/18 gm Kosher salt or 2 tsp/12 gm table salt
oil, for hands

Combine poolish ingredients in a large bowl. Cover, and allow to stand until bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Stir in the 2nd amount of flour. Mix until smooth. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle on the Kosher salt and, with oiled hands, slide fingers under each side, and stretch and fold over the top a few times, turning the bowl with each fold. Let stand for 15 minutes and stretch and fold a few times. Repeat the folding routine several times over the course of an hour. Allow to double.

Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into baguettes. (Pre-shape and let sit for 15-20 minutes and then shape. Baguettes are pre-shaped into logs/ovals while demi-baguettes are pre-shaped into rounds.)

Allow to rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 450 deg F/232 deg C.

Slash the baguettes and bake for 20-25 minutes.

A future bread challenge is for a rye bread. I’ve never baked with rye before so I picked up some flour from the Bulk Barn and decided to try a small rye loaf recipe shared on the group. I added some cocoa powder, molasses and salt to the dough and rewrote the instructions. The recipe is posted below.

Caraway Rye Bread – makes a terrific corned beef brisket sandwich with Dijon mustard

RT’s Small Caraway Rye Loaf – makes ~700 gm dough, enough for one 9×5 inch loaf, sliced into 16 pieces

1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp molasses
1-2 tbsp brown sugar, packed (optional)
90 gm dark rye flour
315 gm strong bread flour
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 tbsp caraway seed
45 ml/3 tbsp light oil
13 ml/~1 tbsp white vinegar
280 ml/1 cup warm water
Softened or melted unsalted butter, for brushing

Proof the yeast with molasses and warm water for 10-15 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, combine the rye flour, caraway seed and all but about 50 gms of the bread flour. Add the salt, cocoa powder and brown sugar, if using. Stir together to mix all dry ingredients.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the proofed yeast, oil and vinegar. Stir well until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a working surface lightly sprinkled with some of the reserved flour. Knead for 10 minutes using up the remaining flour. Cover the dough with the bowl you mixed your dough in. Let rest for 10 minutes then knead for a further 10 minutes and shape into a ball.

Lightly rub a clean bowl with some vegetable oil. Add the ball of dough to the oiled bowl. Turn the dough a few times to lightly coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic food wrap and drape with a towel. Let rise in a warm area until doubled, 1 – 1 1/2 hrs.

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C/375 deg F.

Lightly punch down the risen dough, shape to fit into a loaf pan and let proof until at least 1 1/2 times larger. (It may not double though mine did in about 40 minutes.) Spray the loaf with water and slash the top, if desired.

Bake the bread for 40 minutes or until knocking on the bottom of the loaf gives a hollow sound. Brush the top of the loaf with softened or melted butter to give it a glossy appearance.

Let cool overnight before cutting.

Bread, Loco Moco, Tortillas and Ice Cream

PICSPAM WARNING

I’ve got a backlog of pictures that I wanted to share but couldn’t come up with a good way to tie these disparate items together, so I’m just going to lump them into one post, and let you sort them out.

Since I gave up buying bread at the grocery store, I have to restock whenever I run out of bread in my freezer. And, of course, pizzas are on the roster of regular meals at home or for work lunches.

Instead of making my usual two pizzas, I used half of the dough to make a foguasse, a sort of pull apart French bread. The shaping (leaf-like) is designed for easy tearing and sharing. Or you can just eat it all yourself dipped into a small bowl of herb, sea salt and freshly ground pepper infused extra virgin olive oil. I rolled it out a bit too thinly so by the time I slashed and opened up the dough, it got too thin in some areas. They got crispy rather than remaining puffy and being a sponge for the oil. But I dealt with the hardship.

I turned a small sweet potato, into a loaf of regular sandwich bread (700 gm of dough) and four small (60 gm, pre-bake weight) buns. Two of the buns were used for mini hamburger patties.

The hamburger patties for the buns were leftover from making loco moco. Loco moco is a Hawaiian dish consisting of a bed of hot steamed rice (long or short grain works) topped with a hamburger patty and beef/brown gravy. It is often topped with a fried egg, runny yolk preferred, and served with a side of pasta salad. Two slices of fried Spam may be served along side. I’ve made the classic burger loco moco and one featuring Spam served with eel sauce instead of the beef gravy in the past and it’s a delicious and easy meal to put together.

Loco Moco with hot sauce … runny yolk adds flavour to the rice along with the beef gravy

Flour Tortillas … a version with all purpose flour and masa harina

Chicken fajita with home made flour tortillas and Mexican rice

Top and bottom of tortilla

I wanted something sweet and had a bit of nostalgia for my mom’s favourite ice cream flavour. This was a boozier version than she ever tasted.

Rum and Raisin No Churn Ice Cream

Rum and Raisin No Churn Ice Cream – makes ~2 cups

1/3 cup raisins
2-3 tbsp dark rum
3/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Soak raisins in rum for one hour or overnight. Drain off the excess rum and add the raisins to the condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the heavy cream in second large bowl. Fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk/raisin mixture. Pour into freezer container and freeze for at least 6 hrs or overnight.