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.
We have missed two ‘Pizza Friday’s’ in a row and couldn’t hold out one more before trying out our new cast iron pizza pan. My parents got us the pan for Christmas and this was the first time that we had gotten to use it. We have completely given up on pizza stones – after breaking only FOUR of them over the 2 1/2 years we have been married.
I just realized that the pizza looks like an amorphous blob – I will be sure to form the pizza myself this week.
Toppings: Sun dried tomatoes, olives, lots of onions, and mozzarella cheese.
Crust recipe to come…
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.
Joe gets all the credit for this fantastic meal. All I did was drive my wonderful husband crazy by taking pictures the whole time. He asked me a few days ago what i wanted him to cook for my birthday dinner, and I responded completely out of character and requested his french onion soup. It has become one of Joe’s specialties over the past couple years, but my memories of the soup date back to early childhood. For special dinners when I was little, my family would go to a restaurant called Checkers – what is now the Kitchen Table Bistro – in Richmond, VT. Now every time i eat the soup, I picture the cozy inside of that old restaurant.
Joe’s french onion soup recipe:
- 6T butter
- 2 T evoo
- 1 lb onions, sliced thin
- 1 t sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2T flour
- 2 1/2 C hot beef stock/ broth
- 4 T brandy
- 4 1/2 oz Gruyere cheese (expensive, but SOOOO worth it)
- salt and pepper to taste
Croutes (toasts on top)
- 8 slices of french bread, 1/2″ thick
- 1 large clove garlic, halved
- Melt butter with the oil in a large, heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Stir in the onions, sugar, salt and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20-30 min, until the onions are a rich, dark brown. Uncover and stir constantly so they do not burn.
- Sprinkle flour over the onions and keep stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the stock/broth and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- To make the croutes preheat the broiler to high, and the oven to 400F (for later). Arrange the bread on a broiler rack and toast about 1-2 min on each side. Rub with garlic while the bread is still hot, and set aside.
- Stir the brandy into the soup and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the soup into separate bowls, or ramekins and distribute the bread slices on top. Top each with 1/4 of the cheese and place the bowls in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is gold and bubbling.
And here is our salad:
- Spiced Walnuts (coriander, cumin, sugar, honey, and cayenne pepper)
- Blue Cheese
- Grape Tomatoes
Joe also made a batch of BEAUTIFUL carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo. The recipe came from Smitten Kitchen, but substituting a little applesauce for the oil.
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.