This was so super delicious. I was searching for a bread that I could make with the 3 cups of all purpose flour we had remaining. Challah was my favorite sweet bread from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, and I quite enjoyed the process of braiding it. Then I realized that we had yummy dates and raisins in some trail mix that would go well, and I found this post on Smitten Kitchen and it all came together.
I think I’ve previously failed to mention that our kitchen here in Guate has NO MEASURING TOOLS. For most of the recipes I’ve made so far I really don’t care, but when it comes to bread, I like to be precise. It was reassuring to see how well this loaf came out with no measure. The crumb is nice and buttery tasting and just the right amount of sweet.
- 2 t active dry yeast
- 1/6 cup (85 grams) plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil, plus more for the bowl
- 2 large eggs
- 1.5 t sea salt
- 3 C all-purpose flour
- 3/4 C mix of dried fruit such as dates and raisins, chopped
- 1/4 t fresh orange zest
- 1/4 C fresh orange juice
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Few grinds black pepper
- 1 large egg
- sea salt, for sprinkling
- Whisk the yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into 2/3 cup warm water (110 to 116 degrees), and let it stand for a few minutes, until foamy.
- Mix the wet ingredients with a whisk, then add the salt and flour.
- Mix everything together with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together.
- Turn the mixture out onto a floured counter, and knead for about 10 minutes, until a smooth and elastic dough is formed. Let rise until doubled, about an hour.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the dried fruit, zest, 1/3 cup water, juice, salt, and a few grinds of black peper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and tender, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and let cool to lukewarm. PRocess fig mixture in a food processor until it resembles a fine paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Set aside to cool.
- After your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured counter and divide it in half. Roll the first half of the dough into a wide and totally imperfect rectangle (really, the shape doesn’t matter). Spread half the fig filling evenly over the dough, stopping short of the edge. Roll the dough into a long, tight log, trapping the filling within. Then gently stretch the log as wide as feels comfortable (I take mine to my max counter width, a pathetic three feet), and divide it in half. Repeat with remaining dough and fig filling.
- Arrange two ropes in each direction, perpendicular to each other, like a tight tic-tac-toe board. Weave them so that one side is over, and the other is under, where they meet. So, now you’ve got an eight-legged woven-headed octopus. Take the four legs that come from underneath the center and move the leg to their right — i.e., jumping it. Take the legs that were on the right and, again, jump each over the leg before, this time to the left. If you have extra length in your ropes, you can repeat these left-right jumps until you run out of rope. Tuck the corners or odd bumps under the dough with the sides of your hands to form a round.
- Transfer the dough to a parchment-cover heavy baking sheet, or, if you’ll be using a bread stone, a baker’s peel. Beat egg until smooth, and brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour, but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in middle of oven for 35 to 40 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed, like the one above.
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: apricots, bread, bread pudding recipes, dried fruit, dried fruits, fruit mixture, milk, plain soy milk, pudding, raisins
I wanted to take a picture of the pudding plated, but it smelled and tasted so good that it was gone before I had a chance. I combined two great bread pudding recipes – one from Simply Recipes and one from Gourmet – to make this amazing dessert.
- 1 baguette (homemade is best)
- 1 cup cream
- 3 cups milk (I used 1 cup skim and 2 cups plain soy milk)
- 3 large eggs
- 3 T unsalted butter, melted
- 2 t vanilla
- 2/3 cup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups chopped mixed dried fruit such as raisins and apricots
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Cut enough 1-inch pieces from baguette to measure about 5-6 cups.
Stir together eggs, butter, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Then whisk in cream, milk, and vanilla.
Add bread and soak, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil brandy and water with dried fruits in a small heavy saucepan until liquid is reduced to about 2 Tbsp, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
Stir fruit mixture into bread mixture, then transfer to a 2 Quart baking dish. Bake until custard is set and bread is golden in places, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool slightly before serving.
Bread Bakers Apprentice #26
Woopsies. I am a wee bit behind on my blog posting. I blame the lack of inspiration i found in this bread. To it’s credit, i was juggling this and my first attempt at homemade pasta and first-time guests all at the same time and couldn’t give the bread all the attention it deserves. Still, as a moderately skilled baker and multi-tasker, I expected more out of it. The taste was bland. The texture was so-so. It didn’t have a nice crunch crust like Pain de Campagne, it wasn’t nice and airy like Pain a L’ancienne, and it wasn’t as tasty as it’s twin, Italian Bread. I think that the next time i want some baguettes, i will make on of the three former breads or a nice Ciabatta.
I seem to be a little rusty at the baking lately. First my Pugliese and now these…
I woke up this Sunday morning with a HUGE craving for scones. So I consulted my nearest cookbook and was dismayed to find just as much flour as butter in the recipe. So I ran the other way and replaced all of the butter with applesauce. I found dried buttermilk on my last trip to Whole Foods and used it for the first time in this recipe. The stuff is SUCH a good deal. Less than $4 for 15 Cups worth of buttermilk – and it won’t go bad for a long time. We have bought a lot of buttermilk whilst married and I think we may have only finished off one container of it before going bad. I digress. These scones tasted better than they looked. They had a sorta ‘healthy’ taste, but still good.
- 3/4 C rolled oats
- 1 C wheat pastry flour
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 1/3 C raw sugar
- 1 generous t cinnamon
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 2 t baking powder
- 3 1/2 T unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 C dried currants
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 generous t vanilla extract
- 2 T buttermilk powder + 1/4 C water + extra for glaze -OR- 1/2 C buttermilk + extra for glaze
- 3 T brown sugar for glaze
- 1 t cinnamon for glaze
- preheat oven to 350°
- Mix dry ingredients together. Add the applesauce and mash it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles a course meal. Add the currants (or whatever dried fruit you prefer).
- Lightly beat the eggs, add 1/4 C water, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and using a fork, mix into the dry mixture until it forms sticky dough
- turn out dough onto lightly floured counter, and with floured hands, gently form into 8 inch dia. circle.
- cut into 8 slices, and transfer to a parchment-covered or greased) baking sheet.
- glaze scone wedges with extra buttermilk, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
- bake 18 min in preheated oven.
BBA Challenge #29
I totally messed this one up. Or so I thought. I was already making an alteration to the recipe by using sweet mashed potato instead of regular potatoes. Then i got a little over zealous and threw in over a CUP instead of a quarter cup. That was a mistake. When i was mixing the dough (via Kitchen Aid) it felt way too liquid-y. I knew I had thrown off the proportions by using too much potato, so I threw in a little extra yeast and some more flour. I also partly used the wrong type of flour. I used a combination of a half cup of semolina and some whole wheat pastry flour in place of the durum wheat I used the bread flour that the recipe called for. I followed the stretch and fold method per the Bread Bakers Apprentice, but let it cold rise in the fridge for about 4 hours while at the gym.
The end result tasted really good, but i am not sure what kind of bread i really made.
Oh, it tastes so good to be back! It has been nearly 3 months since my blog post. We have been eating new things and there have been several occasions when I though ‘this should go on the blog’ (mostly things Joe has made) but I could not find the time to post! I started my new job last September and had been increasingly busy there until about now. And I have just submitted my portfolio and application to the GSD. Now all I am doing is triathlon training for a half ironman called Mooseman, (here are my training schedules if you are interested: International mid week and Iron weekend) and working. I vow to post a new bread every other weekend (interspersed with other foods).
This is the best bread yet. I am only sorry that I didn’t get a good crumb shot to share. The bread had a nice crunchy crust, and super soft crumb. Something about the mashed potatoes made this bread melt in your mouth. I enjoyed kneading it so much! I made the mashed potatoes the night before (along with the Biga) while Joe was cooking dinner. I left two small potatoes wrapped in foil in the oven for about an hour, then mashed them up with a couple teaspoons worth of butter and a little bit of salt. While mixing the dough the next day, I found myself adding even more water than PR called for – at least a whole Cup full, in order to get the right elasticity. Finally, my last divergence from the printed recipe was a bit of sea salt sprinkled on top (see top photo). It was a very good addition.
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.