Sunday, May 26, 2019

Playing With No-Knead

I finally was able to play with the dough mixing tool that my dear friend Pam S gave me for my birthday. I'd seen them before but wasn't sure that I needed one. Have to say, it is a great tool for mixing flour into a wet mixture to make dough. Easy to clean, too. Thank you Pam!

Jessica Snead wrote for myrecipes blog about how to make No-knead French Rolls. She used a recipe from Sunset magazine from April 1997. It's a pretty simple and easy recipe with only six ingredients (if you include the water) and it makes great rolls. I decided to use it as a starting point for some bread today. It is mixed up in a bowl and you don't need a stand mixer, you don't have to know how to knead bread, and you end up with something that smells divine, tastes great, and gives you the satisfaction and pleasure of knowing you made it yourself.

You will probably have everything in your pantry with, perhaps, the exception of active dry yeast. You can purchase that at the market. Usually it comes in three packets attached to each other - you use one packet for this recipe.

The only tip that I feel impelled to give you about baking yeast bread is to remember that too much heat will kill the yeast. This recipe calls for melted butter. Melt it and let it cool before using. It also calls for warm water. The water should be barely above skin temperature. All of the other ingredients should be at room temperature. Today our room temperature was about 67 degrees F. Some days it's cooler and some warmer, but today was the perfect day for making bread. The only other tip is to allow time. Sometimes the dough takes longer to rise.

The original recipe uses active dry yeast, water, sugar, melted butter, salt and bread flour. I played around with it some by using a half cup bread flour, a cup of Irish style whole wheat flour, and the rest unbleached all-purpose flour. The dough was a little sticky at first, but the whole wheat flour absorbed some of the moisture during the first rise. It still was what I think of as a slack tends to slump when shaped. If you are making rolls as the recipe calls for that isn't a problem...they will rise more in the oven (which is called oven spring) and make lovely rolls.

I decided to divide the dough in half and make two logs. Since I was baking them in the toaster/convection oven which is 12" deep, I ended up curving the logs to fit the pans. By doing this instead of rolls, we could slice off as little or as much bread as we wanted.

Sweetie really enjoyed his slice of bread and had it for dinner with hamburger. I made mine into a veggie & chicken sandwich and had it with some veggie soup for dinner. Really delicious and easy enough to do the first parts (mixing and rise and shaping and rise) in between painting trim at the farmhouse and running errands. Give it a try and tell me what you think. Summer cookouts are coming and homemade rolls for burgers or sausage really raise the level of your BBQ game!

No-Knead French Rolls
makes 16 rolls

1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, cooled
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose or bread flour

In a large bowl, combine yeast, 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F - barely warm to the touch),  sugar, butter and salt; let stand about 5 minutes. Stir in flour until well blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean shower cap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 45 minutes - an hour.

Punch down dough. On a heavily floured board, cut dough into 16 equal pieced. (If you have a bench scraper, this is a good time to use it.) Roll or gather each piece into a ball' place 2 - 3 inches  apart on greased baking sheets, baking sheets with silicone baking mats, or lined with parchment. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, 10 - 20 minutes.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven  until golden brown, 1 - 18 minutes. Serve warm or cool. If making ahead, store airtight at room temperature up to the next day. Reheat, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven until warm, about 5 minutes.

Playing Around:
You can mix up the kinds of flour as long as you have approximately 4 cups. Add the last 1/2 cup slowly so that you can see if the dough needs all the flour.
If you shape your dough into two logs as I did, they will take about 25 minutes to bake.
Freshly baked bread smells so good that you just want to slice it right from the oven! Resist. Let the bread cool 10-15 minutes at least. Even better is to let it cool completely and then reheat as described at the bottom of the recipe.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

It's The Berries

I want it to feel like spring, but Mother Nature is not cooperating. We are having February weather...rain, chill, more rain, gray skies, chilly breezes, more rain.

Still, our local strawberry farm had berries on Wednesday so yesterday we had strawberries, some raspberries that are not local and some olallieberries from the freezer, saved there from last summer. Just what is needed to make a spring feeling galette (free form pie) for Sweetie.

Put the berries together (strawberries were diced since they were large, frozen berries were left frozen), add a tiny bit of sugar and a lot of cornstarch (for they WILL be juicy!), some lemon zest and orange zest and we have a spring-like filling. Total amount of filling was about 4.5 - 5 cups. Sugar was 1/4 cup and you have to estimate the cornstarch depending on how juicy your fruit is. Zest is 1/2 teaspoon each kind.

Roll out some pie dough to about 12 inches diameter, put it on a foil-lined pizza pan (because of those juices the foil is essential), mound the fruit mixture in the center and pat it down, then fold the edges of the pie dough over the berry mixture (about 4-5 inches for my galette), brush dough with some half and half or soy creamer (about 1 tablespoon) and sprinkle on some sanding sugar (optional) and you have the makings of a delicious dessert that is almost a pie, but easier and rustic looking.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake until golden brown and cooked through...and look at those beautiful ruby juices!

Cool long enough that you don't burn your tongue on the hot fruit and then cut a slice and enjoy! Think spring!!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Multigrain Sourdough Sandwich Bread for the Babes

Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories, our awesome Kitchen of the Month challenged us to make a sandwich loaf with multigrains AND sourdough. Since my sourdough starter was abandoned when Sweetie started losing weight, I had to begin another one, but it was worth it because this was an absolutely wonderful bread. It makes especially good toast! Just follow the recipe...and allow a few days to make the starter before you begin the actual bread dough. I did add 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast to the bread flour because this is a hearty bread with the grains and my sourdough was still pretty young when I baked.

If you bake this bread and would like to be a Buddy, take a photo and send an email to Karen (email address on her blog) with the photo and a short description of your bake and your URL. She'll send the lovely Buddy Badge that the very talented Elizabeth made.

Be sure to check out the other Bread Baking Babes blogs to see the creative ways they have come up with to make this recipe personal for themselves. I only took one photo. Thought I had taken others, but now the bread is gone...will have to make more!!

Happy baking!

If you don't have a sourdough starter, start with a 50/50 by weight mixture of water and flour and a pinch of yeast and let it ferment for 12 to 24 hours. This may affect the timing.

The sourdough starter in this bread is 100 percent hydration.

Suggested timeline (plus or minus depending on the weather):

Day one:
Feed your starter and let it sit, covered, at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Day two:
8 a.m. mix your dough and let it rise.
4 p.m. Shape the dough and let it rise
5 or 6 p.m. bake your loaf.

Alternative timeline (plus or minus depending on the weather):
Day one:
Feed your starter and let it sit, covered, at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Day two:
8 p.m. mix your dough and let it rise
6 a.m. shape the dough and let it rise
7 or 8 a.m. bake your loaf.

This bread is very flavorful and an easy way to incorporate sourdough.

Here's the recipe:

Multigrain Sourdough Sandwich Bread
by Karen Kerr   Makes 1 loaf

For the Dough
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) bubbly 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 300 grams (1 1/4 cups) warm water
  • 20 grams (1 tablespoon) honey
  • 45 grams (3 tablespoons) melted coconut oil
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) whole wheat flour
  • 450 grams (3 3/4 cups) bread flour
  • 9 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
For the Multigrain Soaker
  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) King Arthur Flour Harvest Grains Blend or Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal, or another mixture of grains and seeds
  • 240 grams (1 cup) hot water
  • Rolled oats for topping the loaf (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, mix the starter, water, honey, and oil with a dough whisk or fork. Add the flours and salt. 
  2. Mix the dough by hand in the bowl to form a shaggy dough. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  3. While the dough is resting, mix the multigrains and hot water in a separate bowl and let rest. Drain thoroughly before using. 
  4. Add the multigrains to the dough and knead to incorporate. The dough will be pretty wet at first but will begin to come together. Don't add more flour. 
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise until doubled, about 6 to 8 hours. 
  6. Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and press it out to a rectangle. Roll the dough into a log and place it into an oiled 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan, seam side down. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rest until the dough has crested one inch above the rim of the pan, 1 to 2 hours. 
  7. Heat your oven to 450 degrees F. 
  8. If you want to top the bread with rolled oats, brush the loaf with water and press in some oats. 
  9. Place the loaf on the center rack and reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 to 195 degrees F. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn it out to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Karen's Kitchen Stories

Friday, May 10, 2019

Little Lemon Cake

Fortune smiled on one of my sisters many moons ago when she met and later married her Sweetie. He is a good man and they love each other dearly and he takes such good and gentle care of her. He looks kind of like a Roman emperor and gets better looking with age. He says that is because of going bald. We just returned from a visit to their beautiful home. It was a great visit, especially meeting their new cat Foxy. We enjoyed the cake and tea. Those beautiful plates and cups are part of a set from his mom. It's a breakfast set and includes egg cups, but makes a great tea set, too.

One of the things I like to do when I visit this family is to bring something baked to go with tea. My sister's Sweetie really appreciates these goodies and I like making something different each time to see if he enjoys it. I know that Natashya enjoys the treats, too, but I often don't know how to let her hubby know how much I appreciate him and how happy he makes her, so this is one way.

This time I brought a small lemon Bundt cake, flavored with Meyer lemons from my own bush. It had an intense yellow color from the farm eggs brilliant egg yolks. One of our neighbors gave me the eggs and they really do taste better than eggs from the store.

This is a simple to make cake that can be stirred together with a wooden spoon. It is a variation on one in the Great British Baking Show cookbook I received for Christmas. They baked theirs in a loaf pan and iced it with a confectioner's sugar icing. I baked mine in that small Bundt pan, used melted margarine instead of olive oil, and did a poke cake style topping, using zest and lemon juice and sugar and spooning it over the top of the skewered cake until it was absorbed. That kept the cake fairly moist and certainly elevated the lemon flavor.

This cake is somewhat moist with a looser crumb than a pound cake. The cake itself isn't too sweet, but with either icing or topping it is can choose to serve it without those if you prefer a less sweet cake. The recipe said that the flavor is better after 24 hours. We had it about 20 hours after it was made and it really was flavorful and delicious! Do try it yourself. I hope you have a kitchen scale for weighing the dry ingredients...I don't know the substitutions to make it cups. The glaze is my own, so I used cups there. Hope it isn't too confusing.

Lemon-Yogurt Small Bundt Cake
A variation of the Greek Lemon-Yoghurt Loaf Cake in
The Great British Bake Off - Great Cakes and Bakes to Make at Home 
Serves 8

150g All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
50g ground almonds
200g granulated sugar
finely grated zest of one large lemon
3 eggs, room temperature
125 ml yogurt (I used Russian style, they call for Greek style)
125 ml non-dairy margarine or butter, melted & cooled (or use mild olive oil)

Lemon Glaze
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F after you have gathered and measured your ingredients and the butter or margarine has cooled.

Grease and flour a small Bundt cake pan. Set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Put the sugar and the lemon zest into a bowl and use clean fingers to rub the zest into the sugar. The mixture will resemble damp sand when you are done. Stir into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center.

Re-use the lemon-sugar bowl to whisk the eggs, then add the yogurt and mix, then the melted butter or margarine or olive oil and whisk to thoroughly combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients, then stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

Scrape the mixture with a spatula into the prepared pan and spread to even the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes, then check every 5 minutes until well risen and a deep golden brown; a skewer inserted into the widest part should come out clean.

Towards the end of the baking time make the lemon glaze so it's ready when the cake is done. In a small bowl mix the lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and set on a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto the wire rack. Place a plate under the rack to catch any drips. Use a skewer to poke the cake all over, then use a teaspoon to slowly drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake into the skewer holes. Keep going around the cake and drizzling until the glaze is used up. Leave the cake until it is cool and the glaze has set.

To store, wrap well in foil or plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Eat within 4 days. The flavor and aroma will be even more lemony a day or so after baking.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Fresh Strawberry Quick Tartines

In ancient days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Sunset Magazine had a recipe that I immediately took to and make to this day...many years later. This was long before the term 'tartine' was heard anywhere outside of France. They called it something else, but that name has been lost in the mists of time.

When fresh strawberries finally make their spring appearance, I always have this delightful snack, either as a light breakfast or at tea time. It goes together quickly if you have the ingredients on hand. I recently discovered Kite Hill brand 'cream cheese' which is made from almond milk and is delicious and dairy free. You can, of course, use regular cream cheese or any of the other burgeoning selections of non-dairy and vegan 'cream cheeses'.

Be sure to use the best strawberries you can find because that is the dominant flavor. We have just started getting local strawberries so that's what I used.

Fresh Strawberry Tartines

For each of two tartines:
1 english muffin, split and toasted
1-2 tablespoons cream cheese, either dairy or non-dairy...use the one you like best
3-4 fresh strawberries, washed, dried, hulled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange juice or 1 tablespoon orange marmalade

Take each warm, toasted muffin half and spread each with half the cream cheese. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on top of the cream cheese. Then either sprinkle each with half the orange juice, or spread half the marmalade on each, over the sliced berries.

Eat at once!

Simple and delicious...and now you can make this treat whenever the strawberries are ripe.

BTW, Sweetie and I are fine. I've been hearing the siren song of the spring garden every day, so time has been spent weeding and planting and working on the irrigation system (and enjoying the blooms and fragrances) instead of sitting at the computer. Happens every year. *Happy sigh* I've also been sneezing and sniffling and fighting weeping, itchy eyes and runny nose as the grass allergies have kicked in from all the time spent outdoors. Have done a lot of weed-eating work, too, so serves me right I guess.