Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST, DESSERT, SNACK | Tags: bread, cranberries, currants, raisins, walnuts
FINALLY! I got back in the kitchen and made some bread! It feels like ages. I have been away the last two (three?) weekends and just couldn’t wait till this weekend to get back into it. I have been doing more cooking than the blog suggests, but it takes more than i have these days to post every good thing i eat. Maybe this weekend i will get around to retro-posting some highlights.
This was not a good recipe to choose to make during the week after work. Especially not while making dinner, trying to bike on the trainer for an hour, and getting up at 6 to run before work the next morning. I think the bread came out pretty well, but I sacrificed the run.
My experience of this bread was ruined from the start by the perfectly delicious Panettone that I ate last Christmas. It was my first ever panettone experience. One of our consultants shelled out hundreds of dollars to ship us (us = the architecture firm i was working in) – a REAL Milanese Panettone. Despite it’s massive size, the crumb was as airy like a croissant with a perfect distribution of candied fruits and nuts.
My first panettone probably weighed 20 lbs. and I can only imagine that it had baked for hours. My petit panettone on the other hand, took roughly 40 minutes. I checked at 20, 25, and 30 waiting for the tops to be golden brown, and i think 40 minutes was a bit too long and dried them out too much. The big one (below) took about 1:20 and seems just right (texture-wise, i know it isn’t pretty). I don’t have a thermometer for it yet, but I know my oven is on the cool side. I was VERY glad i chose to use my mixer for the whole kneading process on this one. It was sticky, tacky dough (I may have been heavy handed with the rum) and i would have added too much flour had i kneaded by hand.
This bread in particular has made me appreciate the amount of quality control that goes into professional baking. To make this bread come out consistently good WHILE making a profit on the effort must be a real challenge.
Yum, yum – dim sum! I have been craving these since going grocery shopping down in China Town last week. I was first introduced to red bean pastries by a friend in college, and have gotten sporadic cravings ever since. I used sweetened, canned red bean paste for the filling, but have seen recipes to make your own red bean paste online.
- 1/2 C lukewarm water
- 1/2 T granulated yeast
- 1/2 T salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 C honey
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 1/2 C all purpose flour
- egg wash (a bit of beaten egg with 1 t water)
- Mix yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with water in a bowl.
- Mix in the flour without kneading using a wooden spoon or your hands.
- Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses, approx 2 hours.
- Dust the dough with flour and then shape into a ball. Divide into 8 equal portions.
- Shape each portion into a ball, flatten into a circle and add 1 tbs of red bean paste at the center. Fold over and re-shape into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the rolls.
- Allow to rest for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the crust with egg wash, sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.
This might be my favorite bread yet! I guess it’s easy to think that when you’re eating a warm slice of it and memories of breads past fade away. I have always really liked the semolina loaf at Whole Foods, and this recipe produced a very similar (though maybe more attractive) loaf.
I was warned by Paul of Yumarama that the final loaf (as prescribed by the recipe) does not come out looking like the photograph in the book, maybe due to a lack of glazing. So I decided to experiment. Of the three loafs produced by this recipe, I glazed one with an egg wash, one with olive oil (photo above), and left the last one plain. I sprinkled both the egg wash and plain breads with black sesame seeds. After baking for about 45 minutes (I think there is something wrong with my oven!) the difference was clear. Based on my results, I think the loaf photographed for the book was glazed with olive or some other oil.
Check out more process photos on FLICKR.
This was one of my first ‘specialties’. It is a really healthy soup and made with one of my all time favorite vegetables; butternut squash. Depending on how much you blend it, it can come out silky, creamy smooth or slightly chunky and brothy. Tonight I served it topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and with a side beet salad with a dill-garlic-yogurt dressing. AND a slice of Pane Siciliano – BBA Challenge #23 – blog post on that coming soon!
- 1 medium (2lb) butternut squash
- 2 small potatoes, cut into cubes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 32 oz. chicken broth or stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- cut squash in half, remove seeds, and bake at 375 F for 1 hour
- brown all veggies (including baked squash) in a large pot for 5 min.
- add stock/ broth and simmer for 40 min over low heat
- blend with immersion blender until smooth (or regular blender)
- add salt and pepper to taste and serve! (good with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt)
It REALLY feels like fall now here in Boston. It dawned on me today that i have been donning my fall wardrobe all week long!
Now that i am back to working hard, I am cooking quicker meals (when i do cook). Tonight was breakfast for dinner. These turned out to be the best pancakes that we have ever had.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1 C buttermilk and 1/2 C regular)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- Preheat oven to 250F. Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
- Mix egg, milk, pumpkin puree, and vinegar in a large bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the large bowl, just until combined. You may want to add a bit more milk at this point. Mine was looking very thick so I added about 2 T.
- Pour 1/3 C batter a time into a buttered skillet over medium heat. Be careful while flipping these – they are fragile and have a tendency to wrinkle.
- Keep the finished pancakes warm in the preheated oven.
This is my first experience with the ‘Bread of the Month‘ (BOM) group on Facebook. Based on this experience, it will not be my last. This pumpkin gingerbread was so easy and good! And festive!
- 3 C sugar (that’s right)
- 1 C canola oil
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 C water
- 15 oz. canned pumpkin puree
- 2 t ginger
- 1 t allspice
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t ground cloves
- 3 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)
- combine oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Add water, stir in water, then pumpkin, then spices.
- Combine flour, baking soda, powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until they are mixed through.
- Pour into greased (spray oiled) loaf pan + muffin tin, sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired, and bake until a cooked all the way through – about 50 min. for muffins, 70 minutes for the loaf.