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20140724_163503

 

This is going to be short. I just finished writing this post up (the past hour) and just lost it all. Arrggghhhh…..

Just bake this bread.

Adapted from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking from The French Culinary Institute. 

The source of the story about the origins of Panmarino is found here

According to Cathy’s research, it originated in the area called Ferrara, near Venice and was created by a baker named Luciano Pancalde.

The idea for Panmarino came about as Luciano was reading the chronicles of the d’Este family who once ruled Ferrara. When he learned about the magnificent court banquets where they served rosemary bread with a crust that “sparkled with diamonds,” it gave him the idea to create his own loaf. He experimented and baked and tested some more until finally, he had the bread he was aiming for, an aromatic, dome-shaped bread that is scored in the pattern of a star and sprinkled with salt crystals.

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*A few personal notes:

The recipe calls for 23 grams of salt which works out to be almost 2 tablespoons. I thought it was a typo but no, it is correct. It turns out that the bread did not taste salty at all. Next time though I will decrease the salt by 3/4 teaspoon and use the leftover salt to sprinkle over the tops.

It takes about 14-16 hours to make the biga so plan ahead

I am in New York for the summer, staying at my mom’s house. so I have no baking stone, no couche, no lame. So what.

These were proofed and baked on a regular baking sheet with parchment paper. I spritzed the loaves with water 3 times in the first 5 minutes for steam. The crusts came out beautiful. I’m saying this because there is no excuse not to bake your own bread.

I doubled the amount of rosemary called for in the recipe. I like rosemary.

This recipe yields 4 small loaves, perfect for sharing or freezing, or you could make 2 larger loaves instead.

 

Panmarino

makes 4 small loaves

 

Biga:
  • Bread flour 143 grams/5 ounces
  • Water 122 grams/4 1/4 ounces
  • Pinch of instant yeast

Final Dough:

  • Bread flour 884 grams/1 pound 15 ounces
  • Water 477 grams/1 pound 1 ounce
  • Milk 44 grams/1 1/2 ounces
  • Biga 265 grams/9 1/3 ounces
  • Salt 23 grams/3/4 ounce
  • Pinch of instant yeast
  • Olive oil 88 grams/3 ounces
  • Chopped fresh rosemary 9 grams/1/3 ounce

Prepare the Biga:

Combine the flour, water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk until well blended.  Scrape down the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at 75 degrees F. for 14 to 16 hours.

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Making the  Dough:

Combine the flour, water, milk, and biga in the bowl of a stand mixer. 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 four (or two if you halved the recipe) 450-gram /16-ounce pieces. Shape the dough pieces into rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and let them bench 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.

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 450 degrees F. See my notes above*

Uncover the dough and score the top of each loaf in a star pattern using a lame or sharp knife.

Optional: sprinkle sea salt into the crevices as the original baker did to make it “sparkle with diamonds.”

Carefully transfer the loaves (on the parchment paper) 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. 

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Check out how the Real creative Babes handled this bread:

The Bread Baking Babes (current dozen) are:

 

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Well, I’m late for posting the Bakers Challenge. Again.  I love to volunteer at my daughters school and the past few weeks have been quite hectic with end of school field trips and activities. Please forgive me.

This  month’s challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook. She asked everyone to make cinnamon buns, or one its many variations. And there are tons. I think cinnamon rolls was one of the first breads that I ever made and   there is something so comforting about rich, warm bread filled with sugary goodness and covered in more sugary goodness. If you have never tried making these (or some version of them), please don’t hesitate to try. It’s  really quite simple.

The basic concept of a cinnamon roll is yeasted dough rolled out into a rectangular shape, then brushed with a good dose of butter. A cinnamon sugar mixture is then sprinkled over this and then the dough is rolled up and sliced. the slices are place, cut side up, in a pan to  rise and then baked.

What is the difference between a “cinnamon” bun and a “sticky” bun? The first is drizzled with either a cream cheese or confectioners sugar glaze when still warm from the oven while a sticky bun has a butter/sugar mixture in the bottom of the pan that sliced dough gets placed into for their final rise. basically the extra sugary goodness goes in either before baking or after. In mine I did a little of both!

A variety of doughs can be used. An enriched dough is most common. All that means is that the dough has some butter and eggs in it. Sourdough is ultra tasty. Brioche dough is crazy wonderful for this (lots  of added butter and eggs in the dough). Hell, let all thoughts of calories go out the window and use puff pastry. While this is more like a cronut it still counts as a cinnamon bun to me (and my thighs).  Don’t let the thought of making bread dough frighten you. It is one of the most rewarding things you can do in the kitchen. That being said , I have at times used plain old white bread dough bought from the freezer section at the market and made sticky buns with delicious results. Seriously, all paths lead to the same end. Deliciousness.

I baked a few versions this month. First I went with one with a filling of cinnamon, candied orange peel and walnuts. I know my friend Kathy is cringing right now at the thought of candied orange peel but I love it.  Later in the month I made little mini cinnamon buns for the volunteer appreciation night at the grade school. For these I just made a half batch of dough and rolled a skinnier rectangle so that when I rolled it up it only rolled 1 1/2 turns and then I cut 1/3 inch slices. I hope that makes sense. These were good and went quickly due to their manageable size. Nobody wants to be at a school gathering trying to eat a mammoth sized pastry in front of strangers. That is something better left for home.

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For my final version I went with a rhubarb and custard filled sticky bun. My rhubarb plant outside is gigantic and I need reasons to use it. I used Bird’s custard after reading in a food history book about how Birds came about. It turns out that during WWII families in England were rationed one (yes, 1) egg per week so the manufacturers came up with a product that required no eggs and very little sugar, which was rationed as well. Since I keep a can in the closet for when the urge to make Nanaimo bars strike, this seemed perfect. Well, actually, I used the last of my eggs to make the dough and didn’t feel like going out to get some more….

The best part about making cinnamon/sticky buns? other than eating them, is that you can prepare them the day before and slip the pan of unrisen slices in the fridge until morning. You just wake up, turn your oven on, and let the cold rolls warm up a bit on the counter while your oven heats up. I find that even 15 minutes at room temperature is enough before popping them into the oven.

Please make sure to visit Shelley’s site to see her tasty versions. BAKE ON!

 Dough

3 ¼ to 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (if using active dry yeast make sure to proof it first)
½ tsp salt
1 cup of  milk, heated to just around 100F  (I used 2%)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

 

Stir three cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or in a large mixing bowl.

Add the milk, eggs ,vanilla  and butter to the dry ingredients and continue mixing until the dough comes together.  If necessary, add the remaining flour, a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and not sticky to the sides of the bowl. Continue to knead for about 5 minutes.

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap or a tea towel until it has doubled in bulk. This should take about hour. If it is very hot in your house this might be shorter or if your house is cool it could take a little longer.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Rhubarb:

Take 4-5 stalks of fresh rhubarb and cut them into 1/4 – 1/3 inch slices. Add  1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste) . Mix this together and let it macerate until ready to use.DSC_1193

Custard:

1 1/2 Tablespoons (22 ml) Bird’s custard powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons (22ml) granulated sugar
1 cup  (250ml) milk
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (save the pod for your sugar or salt jar) or 1 teaspoon rum

 

In a small saucepan, mix together the custard powder and the sugar. Over medium high heat, whisk in the milk until well blended. If using the seeds of a vanilla bean, add it now. Bring to a full boil, whisking frequently. Take off the heat. If using rum, add now. Place the hot custard into a bowl and place a piece if cling wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a “skin” forming. Cool in the fridge while the dough is rising.

 

Get your pan ready:

In a 12 hole muffin tin, place 1/2 teaspoon each of butter and brown sugar. Place in a warm oven for a few minutes to slightly melt the two.

Set aside .

June 28, 2014

 

Assembly:

Roll out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Make a rectangle roughly 12 x 9 inches. Feel free to eyeball this. Spread a layer of cooled custard over the dough leaving about 1/2 inch border all the way around.

Lightly drain your rhubarb, reserving the pink liquid for your glaze (optional)

Sprinkle the rhubarb over the entire surface . With the wide end facing you, start rolling up your dough, jelly roll style. Pinch the seam together and slice into Twelve 1 1/2 inch slices. Place cut side up into each muffin cup.

Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge overnight until morning.

When you are ready to bake, take the cold pan out of the fridge and place on the counter. Remove the cling wrap. Heat your oven to 350F. After about 15 minutes, pop the sticky buns into your oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

May 28 2014

If you are baking the same day: after placing the sliced rolls into your muffin tin, cover them with either plastic wrap or a tea towel and let them rise again for another hour before baking at 350F for 25 minutes.

If you don’t have a muffin tin, place them into a rectangle or round cake pan with a little space around them to expand.

Optional glaze:(since my daughter was having a friend sleepover this was not optional in out house)

Take 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and mix with 2 tablespoons of the reserved pink rhubarb syrup. If it is too thick, add a tiny bit more until you get a consistency of thick cream. When the sticky buns come out of the oven, take them out of the pan and drizzle the pink icing of each of them.

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This easy dough recipe is from Anna Olsen.

 

 

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I just realized that it is the end of the month and I never wrote up this post! I actually baked it last week and it was really tasty. I made the full recipe and go three large loaves out of it. We kept one loaf and the others were the perfect ” thank you ” for two friends of mine who helped me out last weekend with my daughter while we went to a wedding.  One drove her all the way across town to her gymnastics class so we could attend the ceremony and the other had her over for a sleepover. Are friends great? I know mine are and I really appreciated the help. These delicious loaves came in very handy indeed.

Karen of Bake My Day! was the host for the Bread Baking Babes this month and she chose this lovely bread. I am a poor buddy who doesn’t follow due dates very well…..

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For this recipe you need to start it the day before (or up to 4 days in advance if you want) since it’s one of those no/low knead doughs. The wild rice also takes about an hour to cook. I can’t believe I actually had some in the closet! It’s good stuff, I need to remember to make it more. The recipe calls for 1 cup cooked (about 1/4 uncooked) but I doubled the amount to 2 cooked cups. Other changes I made were using half whole wheat flour and also adding 3 ounces 100% starter.

this is going to be short since I am so late so BAKE ON! my friends

 

Wild Rice and Onion bread

6 cups (27 oz / 765 g) unbleached bread flour (I used half WW, half unbleached flour)
2 1/4 teaspoons (0.6 oz / 17 g) salt, or 3 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons (0.66 oz / 19 g) instant yeast (I used 1 tablespoon and 3 ounces starter)
1 cup (6 oz / 170 g) cooked wild rice or another cooked grain (I added 2 cups)
1/4 cup (2 oz / 56.5 g) brown sugar (I used only 2 tablespoons)
11/2 cups (12 oz / 340 g) lukewarm water (about 95°F or 35°C)
1/2 cup (4 oz / 113 g) lukewarm buttermilk or any other milk (about 95°F or 35°C) (I used plain yogurt)
1/4 cup (1 oz / 28.5 g) minced or chopped dried onions, or 2 cups (8 oz / 227 g) diced fresh onion (about 1 large onion)
1 egg white, for egg wash (optional)
1 tablespoon water, for egg wash (optional)DSC_1292

Do Ahead
Combine all of the ingredients, except the egg wash, in a mixing bowl. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for 1 minute. The dough should be sticky, coarse, and shaggy. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, or continue mixing by hand, for 4 minutes, adjusting with flour or water as needed to keep the dough ball together. The dough should be soft, supple, and slightly sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will still be soft and slightly sticky but will hold together to form a soft, supple ball. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and immediately refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. (If you plan to bake the dough in batches over different days, you can portion the dough and place it into two or more oiled bowls at this stage.)DSC_1294

On Baking Day
Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake. Shape the dough into one or more sandwich loaves, using 28 ounces (794 g) of dough for 4 1/2 by 8-inch loaf pans and 36 ounces (1.02 kg) of dough for 5 by 9-inch pans; into freestanding loaves of any size, which you can shape as bâtards, baguettes, or boules; or into rolls, using 2 ounces (56.5 g) of dough per roll. When shaping, use only as much flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. For sandwich loaves, proof the dough in greased loaf pans. For freestanding loaves and rolls, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat and proof the dough on the pan.
Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size. In loaf pans, the dough should dome at least 1 inch above the rim. If you’d like to make the rolls more shiny, whisk the egg white and water together, brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash just before they’re ready to bake.
About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C), or 300°F (149°C) for a convection oven.
Bake the loaves for 10 to 15 minutes, then rotate the pan; rotate rolls after 8 minutes. The total baking time is 45 to 55 minutes for loaves, and only 20 to 25 minutes for rolls. The bread is done when it has a rich golden color, the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is above 185°F (85°C) in the center.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes for rolls or 1 hour for loaves before slicing.

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PÃO DE QUEIJO

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I have to admit I loved this months Daring Bakers Challenge. Why? Because even after looking at the recipe several times this month I just got around to trying it out today and was thrilled to see how fast it came together. 5 minutes to mix it together, 20 minutes in the oven and then you are rewarded with little magic puffs, crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. Oh, did I forget to mention they are filled with cheesy goodness? I would say these are the Brazilian version of French gougères. But different. And gluten-free. Isn’t that a nice bonus? This is a recipe worth keeping for when you have company over with dietary needs that you normally don’t cook for. Like gluten-free cooking. the secret ingredient is sour cassava (tapioca) starch. Made from the yucca plant, the sour tapioca starch undergoes a natural fermentation process and the texture is more granular before baking than regular tapioca flour. Our host this month, the lovely Renata from“Testado, Provado & Aprovado!”, has this to say about the starch:

“TAPIOCA STARCH (also known as CASSAVA STARCH) is the main ingredient of Pão de Queijo. Here in Brazil there are two types: REGULAR and SOUR. The regular type is easier to find in other countries, but if you are lucky enough to find the sour type in your area, I highly recommend you try it (quantities will be provided when applicable). It looks pretty much like any other starch, powdery and white, sometimes it has little granules.
You can find tapioca starch at amazon.com:
Regular Tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
Sour Tapioca Starch (this is a Brazilian brand, quite overpriced. Here in Brazil it costs around US$ 2!)”

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Here in Calgary I had no problem finding the sour starch at my local South American market (yes, I have a  South American market down the street). I hope that it is just as easy for you (try looking in the spanish section). Otherwise, just use regular  tapioca flour.

The second most import ingredient is cheese. The authentic recipe calls for “Queijo Minas Curado” which is typical from Minas Gerais. They did not have this at the store so I relied on what I had in the fridge, smoked applewood cheddar. I don’t know what the other cheese tastes like, Reneta compares it to Monterey Jack, but the applewood cheddar was AMAZING.

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These are super simple to make, and are best are best eaten straight from the oven, or warm if you can wait that long. Keep a batch of rolled dough balls in the freezer to bake straight out of the freezer. Roll smaller balls so when company pops by they are the perfect accompaniment with cocktails, or larger balls for a dinner side dish or Panini roll.

I made the traditional version, but you must visit Renata’s site to get the two other versions. If I only had a waffle iron… I also cut the recipe down to 1/4  since there was just the three of us but next time (and there will be a next time) I will make the full batch and freeze the uncooked dough balls. Bake On!

TRADITIONAL PÃO DE QUEIJO
Servings:
Yields about 80 small balls

Ingredients:

500 gm (4 cups) tapioca starch (If you have access to sour tapioca, you can use 250gm (2 cups) of each)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2-3/4 tablespoons (40 ml) (1½ oz) (40 gm) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) salt (or to taste depending on how salty your cheese is)
3 cups (750 ml) (9 oz) (250gm) Monterey Jack Cheese (or another cheese of your liking, or a mix of cheeses), coarsely grated
1 to 3 large eggs

Directions:

Heat milk, butter, and salt in a small sauce pan until it comes to a boil. Watch closely as it may boil over. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sift the  tapioca starch into a large bowl.

Pour the hot liquid  mixture over the tapioca and start stirring with a fork. The milk mixture will not be enough to form a dough yet. You will have a lumpy mixture, that’s what it is supposed to be.Keep stirring with the fork, breaking down the lumps as much as you can, until the mixture cools down to warm.

Preheat your oven to moderately hot 400° F/200° C/gs mark 6

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Add the grated cheese to the tapioca mixture and mix well, now using your hands.

Lightly beat the eggs with a fork and add little bits until the dough comes together into a soft but pliable dough. You only have to knead it a bit, not as much as you knead a yeasted bread. It’s OK if it is slightly sticky.Form balls with the dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat or lightly greased with vegetable oil. If necessary, you can oil your hands to make shaping easier. The size of the balls may vary from small bite-sized balls to the size of ping-pong balls. They will puff up quite a bit after baking.25 minutes or until they just start to brown on the bottom. You may have golden spots of cheese on the crust. Don’t over-bake as they will get hard and bitter.

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NOTE: If your dough gets too soft and sticky to shape balls, you can always add a bit more tapioca starch or pop the dough into a piping bag and pipe the dough on a baking sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Information from Renata:

This recipe doesn’t require a stand mixer and, traditionally, it is made by hand. This recipe does not require a stand mixer and, traditionally, it is made by hand. However, it is indeed sort of a “heavy” dough. However, it is indeed a sort of “heavy” dough. Though I have never tried using a stand mixer here, I found someone who has. Though I have never tried using a stand mixer here, I found someone who has. Her name is Raiza Costa and she blogs at Dulce Delight. Her name is Raiza Costa and she blogs at Dulce Delight. She’s a Brazilian living in the US and she makes lovely videos in English. She’s a Brazilian living in the U.S. and she makes lovely videos em Inglês. I thought I’d share her “Pão de Queijo” post (with video) with you: I thought I’d share her “Cheese Bread” post (with video) with you:
Another link to a video showing the process by hand. Another link to a video showing the process by hand. It’s in Portuguese but the method is clearly shown: It’s in Portuguese but the method is Clearly shown:
Sour manioc starch (poviho azedo) and manioc starch (also known as sweet manioc starch or poviho doce) are both extracted from yucca. The difference is that sour manioc starch undergoes a natural fermentation process. As a result, manioc starch (the sweet one) has a much finer consistency and more delicate texture than sour manioc starch.
Read more at http://leitesculinaria.com/32757/recipes-brazilian-cheese-rolls.html#Xhw8sSPoMEYCkob6.99
Sour manioc starch (poviho azedo) and manioc starch (also known as sweet manioc starch or poviho doce) are both extracted from yucca. The difference is that sour manioc starch undergoes a natural fermentation process. As a result, manioc starch (the sweet one) has a much finer consistency and more delicate texture than sour manioc starch.
Read more at http://leitesculinaria.com/32757/recipes-brazilian-cheese-rolls.html#Xhw8sSPoMEYCkob6.99
Sour manioc starch (poviho azedo) and manioc starch (also known as sweet manioc starch or poviho doce) are both extracted from yucca. The difference is that sour manioc starch undergoes a natural fermentation process. As a result, manioc starch (the sweet one) has a much finer consistency and more delicate texture than sour manioc starch.
Read more at http://leitesculinaria.com/32757/recipes-brazilian-cheese-rolls.html#Xhw8sSPoMEYCkob6.99

 

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I’m drooling while writing this.  I actually had to take these and put them in the freezer or else the entire lot would be in my stomach right now. Maybe it’s because I haven’t made croissants in a few months, or that I have a deep weakness for all things buttery, or that I love pretzels, but I do know is that these are quite tasty (and dangerous).  Bread Baking Babe Heather, of Girlichef  fame, chose pretzel croissants for this months bread experience. The recipe follows the basic method for making laminated dough but in the final step you dip the unbaked, risen croissant into a bath of cold water and baking soda, giving it that dark exterior so loved in a good pretzel. I made a half batch of dough and small croissants since I know my weaknesses. Both husband and daughter happily ate one at breakfast today with an extra going into the lunchbag for her teacher.DSC_1253

 

A few things to take note of before starting croissants. Flavorful croissants happen over the course of a few days. Three is best for me. Read the recipe and methods entirely before starting. Back in  January of 2007, the Daring Kitchen had us make croissants. You won’t find that post here since mine were a complete failure.  Things that I stink at baking only make me keep trying.That being said, I then went and tried and retried with various recipes until one day I realized “I’ve got it”. Did I go through a lot of butter” ? Damn straight I did. Are they scary to make? not anymore. In fact, I make them at least every 3-4 months. What I learned along the way is patience. Always let the dough rest in the fridge for a day before incorporating the butter block. This develops flavor. I also add some sourdough starter as well. Again, flavor.  Let your dough rest a good hour in the fridge between turns. When you are rolling the dough and it isn’t rolling out easily, put it back in the fridge for another 10 minutes, then try again. It really does help. After the final turn, I like to put it back in the fridge overnight before shaping and baking. When proofing, I put the pan in the cold oven on the middle rack, placing a pan of hot water on the bottom rack. This creates a nice moist, warm environment for them to rise in. Thirty minutes before baking, pull the tray and pan of water out, then turn your oven to heat up to 425F. Give it the full thirty minutes to pre-heat.

For the butter block, I find it easiest to start with room temperature butter. Then  mix in the flour thoroughly.  Why add flour? Most butter (unless it’s expensive European butter) has too much water content so the flour absorbs some of this.  I then line a square pan with plastic wrap and place my butter in, using another piece of plastic wrap to push and squish it into a flat even layer. The pan then gets back in the fridge until cold and then I just pop out the plastic wrapped cold butter block. Easy.

I like Heathers method of incorporating the block into the dough. It worked great and delivered many crispy layers of goodness. The shattering shell of a deep, dark shell with a moist, feathery interior. Hungry yet? Bake On!

PRETZEL CROISSANTS

adapted from Pretzel Making at Home by Andrea Slonecker

for the dough:DSC_1250-001
1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm milk (~110° F)
7 g (1/4 ounce / 2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar (golden or dark)
410 g (3-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour + more for work surface
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temp
1/2 cup (120 ml) cold pilsner-style beer ( I didn’t have any beer so I added some water)

I also added 25g of 100% starter

for the butter block:
340 g (12 ounces / 24 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

to finish:
60 grams (1/4 cup) baked baking soda (see notes)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
coarse salt
flax or sesame seeds , optional

Stir the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar into the lukewarm milk and allow to sit until foamy, 5 minutes or so. Whisk the flour, remaining brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture, breaking it up into tiny flour-coated pieces the size of breadcrumbs. Stir in the yeast mixture and the beer using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to form a shaggy mass.
Turn the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and knead eight to ten times, until all of the flour is just incorporated. You don’t want to over work it, because you don’t want the butter to melt too much. The dough will not be a smooth mass; you will see some flecks of butter. It should be soft and tacky, but not sticky. Adjust as needed with flour or water. Lightly oil a large bowl and set the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours (24 will give you the best flavor).
making the butter block
Beat the butter and flour together in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment until it forms a smooth mass (or by hand, using a lot of elbow grease). This should take about a minute. You want the butter to be pliable without beating air into it or melting it.

Spread the butter between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap (or parchment or wax paper), and use a rolling pin to shape into a rectangle that is about 8″x9″. Use a straight edge to form corners, but work quickly as you want the butter to stay cool. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to roll out the dough.April 28 2014

Scatter a little bit of flour on your work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Roll it out into a rectangle that is 10″x15″ and about 1/4″ thick. Using your hands, gently pull and stretch the dough to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush excess flour off of the dough. Set the dough with a long edge facing you.
Mentally divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Place the butter block over the right 2/3 of the dough, leaving a 1″ border on the outer edges. Fold the empty left portion of the dough over the middle third. Now, lift and fold the right section of dough over that. You should have 3 layers of dough that encase 2 layers of butter. Pinch the outsides and the seams together and lightly press the layers together using a rolling pin. This completes the first turn. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge and set it on your lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out into a 10″x20″ rectangle, pulling and stretching to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush off any excess flour. Set the dough with a long edge facing you. Fold both of the short ends in to the center, leaving a 1/4″ gap where they meet (think of a book jacket). Fold one side of the dough over the other. Lightly press the layers together using a rolling pin, and square and sharpen the edges and corners. This completes the second turn. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hourApril 28 20141

3rd (and final) turn:
Lightly dust your work surface and the top of the dough with flour. Roll dough out into a 10″ by 15″ rectangle. Do another trifold, as done in the first turn (mentally divide into thirds, then fold one third over the center, followed by the last third). Square the edges and sharpen the sides; wipe off excess flour. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but up to another 24 hours.
At this point, you can wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, slide it into a freezer baggie, and freeze for up to 1 week. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding to final shaping.DSC_1234

final shaping:
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Lightly dust your work surface and top of your dough with flour. Roll out into a 15″x18″ rectangle that is ~1/4″ thick. Pull and stretch to form straight edges and sharp corners. Patch any holes where butter may have popped through by dusting them with flour. Brush any excess flour off the dough.
Heathers method: Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, creating two 15″x9″ sheets of dough. Using a pizza cutter or bench scraper, cut each piece of dough into three equal strips, the short way. Then cut each strip in half diagonally, so that you left with 6 triangles. Repeat with other piece of dough.DSC_1243

Me: For shaping I  have cardboard template that I made last year and just keep in my drawer until needed. It is 3 inches wide at the base and 5 inches long. I find it so easy to make consistently even shaped croissants.
If  you like, cut a 1/2″ notch in the center of each triangle base, then beginning at that end, roll the triangles up, tugging on the tip to elongate it slightly, then gently pressing it into the dough. Place on the prepared baking sheets with the tip tucked under, and curve the ends to form crescent shapes (the notch helps with the curving process). If you prefer a “straight” croissant, the notch isn’t necessary. Either way, it won’t hurt anything.
Cover the croissants with damp, clean kitchen towels and allow to rise at cool room temperature until they have almost doubled in size and feel spongy, ~2 hours.
At this point, slide the croissants into the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you prepare the dipping solution. Preheat oven to 425° F, positioning one rack in the upper third of the oven, and one in the lower third.
prepare the dipping solution:BBBuddy Badge April 2014
Add the baked baking soda in 8 cups of cold water and stir until completely dissolved. One by one, dip the croissant dough into the dipping solution, allow the excess to drip off, then set back on the lined trays. Brush the tops with the egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse salt and sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if using
Slide into preheated oven immediately and bake for 15-18 minutes (rotating pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through), until they are deeply browned, crispy, and flaky. They should feel light and airy if you pick them up.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving (or let them sit on the sheet tray for 5-10 minutes. I found that they soaked the butter on the pan back into them if I did this). They are best enjoyed the day they are made, ideally warm from the oven. Store any extras in a paper bag for a day. You can reheat them by placing them in a 350° F oven for ~5 minutes.
to make Baked Baking Soda:
Baked baking soda is an alternative to working with lye that still lends pretzels their dark, burnished crust. To make the baked baking soda, spread 1/4 cup (~70 grams) of baking soda out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or foil (or in a pie pan). It will decrease in weight, but shouldn’t decrease in volume. Slide it into an oven that has been preheated to 250° F/120° C and bake for 1 hour. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you see lots of pretzels in your future, make a large batch to store since it keeps indefinitelyDSC_1257

Please make sure to visit the real babes to get a visual feast

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The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world. Please make sure to visit her blog and see the amazing German (Osterbrot) and Italian (Anello dDi Pasqua Maria Pia) Easter breads  that she made. I so wanted to bake the Osterbrot but I just didn’t have enough time so it goes on the bucket list…

 

Since moving to Canada  10 yrs ago I have been so blessed with not only a luscious husband and amazing daughter, but with extraordinary friends. Both my husband and I have no family out West so to be able to fill our house on holidays with good friends is such a treat for us and helps fill that empty hole in our hearts not being with our moms and family. Over the years our house has become a sort of commune, with one friend or another eating (or sleeping over ) a few nights a week. We always welcome them with open arms and love sharing good times with them. My husbands best friend, who has been living with us a few days a week for the past year while conducting business here in Calgary, now has one of his old friends moving here from back East. And I mean very Greek. He drove out west a month ago not knowing DSC_1218anybody. Since we both know how that is, he has been over for dinner at least 5 times already, with everyone  being extremely welcoming (or trying to be). So with that in mind, I baked Tsouréki , a very traditional Greek Easter bread to help make him feel more at home.

Holiday breads, especially Easter breads, are enriched breads. This means that they contain eggs, and usually also butter and milk, making them more indulgent than “lean” bread. Eggs represent rebirth, or new life. Many holiday breads are braided as well, like this one. If you have never tried baking a braided bread, I can’t express enough how much fun they are to make. You can make anywhere from 3 to 12 strand loaves. Start with 3 strands and move your way up as you get more comfortable. I personally like the look of a 6 strand braid but that is just me. Please look at the  end of my post on challah bread for multiple links on braiding techniques to help you.

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This bread is scented with makhlépi, (also known as mahleb, mahlepi and other spelling variations) is a spice derived from the seed kernels of the Prunus mahaleb, a type of cherry tree (also referred to as a Rock cherry or St. Lucie cherry), and primarily used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Eurasian cuisines. They are small kernals with a bitter almond kind of flavor. I was very excited when I saw this ingredient since I had some on hand from when I made Assyrian Spinach Pies last year. The kernals are steeped in water, discarded and then the liquid is used to flavor the dough. Now, I realize this might not be easy to find in some areas, so just substitute plain water in its place if you cannot find it.

At one end of the bread a red-dyed egg is inserted into the dough before baking. This represents the blood of Christ. the best way to get a dark red egg is by using commercial red dye as opposed to the little tablets that come in Easter egg dying kits. Bake On!

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Tsouréki 
Makes 2 small loaves

 

1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeastDSC_1199
1 cup (8 oz) warm milk
4-5  cups flour
3/4  cups sugar
2 tsp. makhlépi , also known as Malhab (optional)
1/4 cup water
4 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs, 1 lightly beaten and set aside for the egg wash
Salt
2 teaspoons. grated orange zest
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 hard-cooked eggs, dyed red

pearl sugar or black cumin seeds to decorate, if desired

 

Dissolve yeast in milk in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the sugar, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for 1 hour. Steep makhlépi, if using, in 1/4 cup simmering water for about 5 minutes. Strain, discard makhlépi, and set aside liquid to cool.

scented liquid into yeast mixture; if you aren’t using the makhlépi then just use plain water instead. Add the butter and 3 of the eggs and mix thoroughly. Sift 4 cups of the flour, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar into mixture. Add orange and lemon zest, and mix thoroughly. Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Knead (adding more flour if necessary) until smooth, about 10 minutes, then form into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Alternatively, knead using a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, for 10 minutes. Place in a clean, lightly grease bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Set aside to rise for 2 hours.

Turn the dough back onto the floured surface. Divide into 6 parts, rolling into ropes about 15″ long. For each loaf, tightly braid 3 ropes, then press 1 dyed egg  near the end of each braid. Set bread aside to rise again for 1 hour on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350˚  thirty minutes before baking.

Brush bread with reserved beaten egg, sprinkle with pearl sugar if desired, and bake until golden, 40–50 minutes .Let cool completely.

Enjoy!

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe was adapted from here

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If you haven’t already guessed, I  love baking bread, and Easter has a large assortment of traditional breads to choose from. Please make sure to check back next week when the Daring Baker’s have a beautiful German Easter bread recipe for everyone. I had this bread already in mind before I knew about next weeks challenge so I figured the more the merrier and am posting this before Easter so it gives you a chance to make one this weekend.

Like all holiday breads, this one contains eggs. Eggs symbolized new life so it is only fitting for Easter (and Christmas and Rosh Hashanah). This one is baked in a round loaf, to symbolize the sun. The light lemony fragrance of this dough  is so inviting. You can make one large, and very impressive, 10-inch loaf or two smaller ones, which is what I did. They are equally impressive, just smaller. We are a small family so it’s better to keep and small loaf for ourselves and share a loaf with friends. Why don’t you bake some today and share with your friends? Bake On!

 

Alpine Easter Bread

makes one large 10-inch round loaf or two small 6-inch round loavesDSC_1153

1/2 cup (4 oz/150 ml) whole milk
1/2 Cup (4 oz) unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 Cup (4 oz/150 ml) warm water (105-115f) or room temp water- it will just take longer to rise
4 Cups(17 ounces), or more, unbleached AP flour
2/3 Cup granulated sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest (lemon)
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp lemon extract

For the Glaze

1 Cup (4 oz / 120 g) powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon melted butter
3 Tablespoons Amaretto (or milk)

In a small saucepan combine the milk and butter and heat until the butter has melted. Let it cool to about 105 F.

In a large bowl  combine the warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast. Whisk to dissolve the yeast and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until it is foamy.

Why is this necessary? Active dry yeast needs to proof in water before use. If you use instant dry yeast it can get added with all of the other ingredients.

Add 2 cups of the flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt ,the milk/butter mixture, eggs and extract (or vanilla seeds). Beat for a few minutes until creamy. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time on low-speed (or by hand!) until a nice soft dough is formed. Add additional flour if needed. Here in Calgary it is quite dry so I tend to require less flour.  It should still be slightly tacky. Knead for 10 minutes.

Place the dough into a greased container, turn to coat the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, at least 2 hours (yes, 2 hours). Alternately you can let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour then place the container in the refrigerator overnight. This will help develop the flavor. The next day let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and shape it into a smooth round loaf. Place it into a greased 10-inch springform pan or a 4-inch deep 10-inch cake pan or two 6-inch round springform pans.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 F.

While the bread is baking prepare the glaze. Simply stir the melted butter, powdered sugar, and liqueur  together until it is smooth with no visible lumps. Set aside.

Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes if using a 10-inch pan, or 35-45 minutes if using a smaller pan. It should be a deep golden brown. Let the bread stand for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Place on a wire rack over a piece of parchment or wax paper (to catch the drips). Drizzle the warm loaf(s) with all of  the glaze, letting it run down the sides. Stud the outer edge with whole almonds, if desired. Let cool completely. Enjoy!!

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Recipe Source: Baking Bread Old and New traditions by Beth Hensperger

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