Mar 29, 2015

Granary Style Loaf.... sort of....

Oatmeal Bread

This granary style loaf is super soft and perfect for sandwiches. The flavor is faintly whole wheat, and slightly sweet. This might be the perfect way to introduce whole wheat to white bread lovers.

Time for truth in advertising...  this should probably be called Oatmeal Bread... or Toasted Oats Bread. That sounds more glamorous, right?

The Bread Baking Babes made a granary style loaf with malted wheat flakes, an ingredient I did not have in my pantry ("Hard to believe, right?" says the champion ingredient collector). I still wanted to bake along, and Tanna, of My Kitchen in Half Cups, who is Kitchen of the Month, gave us permission to play around with the ingredient list.

Oatmeal bread

Malted wheat flakes are supposed to give your bread a sweet nutty flavor, so to try and approximate the flavor and texture, I toasted some rolled oats and substituted them for the wheat flakes. They pretty much disappeared into the bread, unlike the malted wheat flakes. It probably has something to do with how they absorb water.

To toast rolled oats, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spread the oats in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring the oats periodically.

Making this bread was really easy, and the dough rose very high in the oven,  just about 6 inches tall!

Oatmeal bread


There actually is a is a granary style flour which you can order on Amazon from Great Britain. Tanna actually bought some! You can read more about it on Tanna's post.  This recipe is adapted from her post, which she found on King Arthur Flour.

Granary Style Loaf or Oatmeal Bread Recipe

Ingredients

Soaker

1 Cup rolled oats, toasted
2 Tbsp barley malt syrup
2 Cups (8 1/2 ounces) white whole wheat flour
2 Cups warm water

Final Dough

All of the soaker 
1 scant Tbsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
3 cups (about 13 1/2 ounces all purpose or bread flour

Instructions


  1. Mix the soaker ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, holding back one cup of the flour. With the dough hook, begin kneading the dough until you have a shaggy mass. Slowly add more flour until the dough is tacky, but not too sticky. 
  3. Knead on the second speed for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, and let rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes. It will start slow, and then gain momentum.
  5. Divide the dough in half and shape into sandwich loaves. Place them into two 8 1/2 inch by 4 inch loaf pans. 
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until about 3/4 the way to doubled, 45 to 60 minutes. Mine rose very quickly. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes until the interior reaches about 190 degrees F. 

Mar 26, 2015

No Knead Ciabatta

No Knead Ciabatta

This No Knead Ciabatta Bread is so easy to make. You stir the flour, water, salt, and yeast together in a bowl before you go to bed, and shape and bake the loaves in the morning. It's pretty incredible.

No Knead Ciabatta

The most difficult part of making this bread is getting used to working with super wet dough. The trick is to use a wet bench knife and wet hands... and just go with it. Have faith. It works.

No Knead Ciabatta

The overnight rise is a wonderful way of developing flavor and the gluten in the dough. The technique is pretty effortless.

This recipe calls for a pizza stone and some sort of cover for the bread while baking. If you don't have a baking stone, a baking sheet should work well.

No Knead Ciabatta

No Knead Ciabatta

Ingredients

400 grams (3 cups) bread flour
8 grams (1 1/4 tsp) table salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 C cool water

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl for about a minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 18 hours, until more than doubled and bubbly on the dough's surface. 
  2. Flour your work surface and scrape the dough out onto it. 
  3. With wet hands and a wet dough scraper, shape the dough into a 14 inch square. 
  4. Using the wet dough scraper and your wet hands, fold the dough over itself, and then over itself again, so you have a 7 inch square. 
  5. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until almost doubled. 
  6. Preheat the oven, with a baking stone on the center rack, to 475 degrees F. 
  7. When the dough is ready, slice it in half with a bench knife and place each piece, stretched out, on a parchment lined peel. Dust with flour. 
  8. Transfer the dough pieces to the stone, and cover with a large disposable foil pan or roasting pan cover. 
  9. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 to 210 degrees F. 
  10. Cool on a wire rack. 
Questions about alternative ways to make this bread? Just ask.

Recipe adapted from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method.

Mar 24, 2015

Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Prosciutto | Wok Wednesdays

Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Prosciutto

This Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Prosciutto was so simple to make. Napa cabbage, ginger, chicken broth, corn starch, Chinese rice wine, salt, sugar, and prosciutto. After you've chopped and prepped the ingredients, the dish only takes a couple of minutes to prepare, and the cabbage is "crisp-tender."

Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Prosciutto

The Wok Wednesday group is stir frying this dish from Grace Young's Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge. It is a take on the Chinese American dish made with Smithfield country ham, which is similar to a famous Chinese ham. Grace's mother preferred using prosciutto, because it doesn't require soaking to remove extra salt.

Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Prosciutto

The recipe can be found on page 199 of the book. If you'd like to Wok along, check out our recipe schedule and Facebook page. Grace Young is a regular visitor and advisor to us all.


Mar 22, 2015

Potato Leek Pie

Potato Leek Pie

Potato Leek Pie! With a puff pastry crust and Gruyere cheese. I had a slice for lunch, but I think it would also be perfect for a Sunday brunch or a meatless dinner.

It's Secret Recipe Club time again, and this time I was assigned Christie's blog, A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. She has an amazingly extensive collection of recipes on her blog, and I had quite a few picked out to consider for this month's post... until she posted this potato pie recipe just two weeks ago. Thank you Christie. I needed this potato pie in my life!

According to Christie, the kitchen is her zen place, to which I can totally relate. She's also been on Emeril Live!! How cool is that? Please visit her site for lots of tasty looking recipes.

Potato Leek Pie

This Potato Leek Pie is really, really good. It's kind of like potatoes au gratin, but with a puff pastry crust and sautéed leeks.... and Gruyere. The best cheese ever.

Leftovers of this pie are also delicious.. in fact, maybe even better than when freshly baked. The crust is extra crispy the second time around. If you are planning a brunch, you can bake this in advance and refrigerate it. Once you are ready to serve the potato pie, slice it and reheat the slices in the oven at 350 degrees F on a foil lined baking sheet, preferably with convection heat.

Potato Leek Pie

This pie disappeared pretty quickly in our house.

Potato Leek Pie

Ingredients

One sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted, or make your own as I did here
1 tsp butter
1 C thinly sliced leeks
2 pounds of Russet potatoes
3/4 C half and half
1 large egg
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1 heaping tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 C coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

Instructions

  1. Line a deep dish pie pan or nine inch springform pan with the puff pastry. Cut off the corners and patch the sides that are missing crust so that you have a round pastry crust. 
  2. Saute the leeks in the butter over medium heat for about five minutes. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Peel the potatoes and slice them very thinly by hand, with a V-slicer,  or with a mandoline. 
  5. Whisk the half and half with the egg. 
  6. Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the pie pan. Top with 1/3 of the leeks. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the thyme and 1/3 of the garlic salt and pepper mixture. Top with 1/3 of the cheese.
  7. Repeat with the potatoes, leeks, thyme, salt and pepper, and cheese. 
  8. Layer whth the final third of the potatoes, leeks, thyme, garlic salt, and pepper. Pour the half and half/egg mixture over the potatoes and top with the final third of the cheese. 
  9. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. 

Mar 17, 2015

Vanilla, Currant, and White Chocolate Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Vanilla, Currant, and White Chocolate Cookies

Can you believe that these Vanilla, Currant, and White Chocolate Cookies are made with bread flour? How cool is that? I'm not sure I understand the chemistry? Maybe it's because the dough is refrigerated for 48 hours before baking? Did you notice that I just ended every sentence with a question mark? I am a Californian (flips hair)?

Refrigerating (not freezing) the dough for 48 hours (not 24, not 64) actually gives the cookies a sort of caramel flavor, which neutralizes some of the sweetness of the dough.

My husband, kids, and grandsons all loved them... so much so that I was not allowed to take them to work. This cookie jar pretty much emptied out in a couple of days.

Vanilla, Currant, and White Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are packed with white chocolate chips. The dried currants add just a bit of color and flavor. If you want to go all decadent, substitute some bittersweet mini chocolate chips for the currants.

My daughter was visiting and found a package of chalkboard paper I bought on a whim. She drew this for me, so I had to take a photo of the cookies on the paper!

Vanilla, Currant, and White Chocolate Cookies

After the recipe, check out all of the wonderful recipes created for this month's Creative Cookie Exchange theme, White Chocolate.

Vanilla, Currant, and White Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from King Arthur Flour. Makes about 56 cookies.

Ingredients

6 T room temperature butter
3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
202 g (1 2/3 C) unbleached bread flour
2 cups (340 grams) white chocolate chips
1/4 C (30 grams) dried currants

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar. A hand or stand mixer are both fine. 
  2. Add the eggs and beat until smooth.
  3. Beat in the vanilla, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. You can use the paddle attachment or a rubber spatula. 
  5. Fold in the white chocolate chips and dried currants. 
  6. Refrigerate the dough, covered, for 48 hours. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Portion the dough into 1 inch balls (I used a teaspoon scoop)
  9. Bake the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 9 minutes. Do not over bake. 
  10. Cool on the baking sheets. 



The theme this month is White Chocolate! White chocolate is seriously underrated as a baking ingredient--it complements so many other flavors so nicely, like citrus, spices, berries, winter squash, etc. So if you want to see all the ways white chocolate can be used to make terrific cookies, you have come to the right place! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Mar 15, 2015

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


This vanilla bean ice cream was made at the request of my oldest grandson. When his birthday was coming up, I asked him to tell me his favorite kind of cake. He immediately figured out my modus operandi, and told me he wanted vanilla ice cream for his birthday.

That I can do!

While vanilla ice cream might be sort of, "vanilla." this ice cream is extra special. It's flecked with vanilla seeds too, which gives it an extra amazing specialness.

It would be delicious on a piece of pie.

It's also awesome with a birthday candle in it.


Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split with the seeds scraped out and reserved

Instructions

  1. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and the salt.
  3. Fill a very large bowl with ice and water and set aside. 
  4. Combine the rest of the milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean, and vanilla seeds in a four quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook for four minutes. 
  5. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch and milk mixture.
  6. Bring the mixture back to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula for one minute, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. 
  7. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until thoroughly combined. 
  8. Pour the mixture into a one gallon freezer zip lock bag and submerge it into the ice and water mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes. Add more ice if necessary. 
  9. Remove the vanilla bean from the mixture, and freeze it in your ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's instructions. 
  10. Once the ice cream has thickened, scrape it into a container and freeze overnight. 
Serve! 

Mar 10, 2015

Beef Chow Fun | Wok Wednesdays


Beef Chow Fun | Wok Wednesdays

Beef Chow Fun is a Cantonese noodle dish with haw fun, noodles made in broad sheets from a rice batter that is steamed on lightly oiled sheet pans. They are sold at room temperature on the day they are made, and are best used the same day. I know this to be true because I read it in Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.

Beef Chow Fun | Wok Wednesdays

I wasn't able to find the haw fun uncut, but my local Asian market had packages of fresh cut noodles. Score! I was so happy to find them, that I immediately bought them and ran to my car to head home, satisfied that I had hunted down the coveted ingredient. Then I realized I forgot the bean sprouts. Doh!!

When you are in an Asian shopping center on the weekend in southern California, parking is at a premium. Sometimes I'd just rather not go. I felt terrible walking to my car, deceiving the woman slowly following me into thinking I'd be leaving my prized parking space. I apologized profusely with many self deprecating gestures, she smiled (no Fried Green Tomatoes moment, fortunately), and I ran back into the store to pick up a bag of sprouts. I also decided to hit the soy sauce aisle (yes, a whole aisle) to pick up a bottle of Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce. The section was empty but for two bottles! Even though I didn't really need them, I scooped them up like they were gasoline in the Jimmy Carter era!

Step one: Assemble all of your ingredients. Flank steak, soy, cornstarch, sesame oil, fresh broad rice noodles, oyster sauce, Shao Hsing rice wine, ginger, garlic, fermented black beans (if you can't find them, try a tablespoon of black bean garlic sauce), bean sprouts, scallions, and white pepper.

Step two: wash and dry the bean sprouts.

Beef Chow Fun | Wok Wednesdays

Step three: Painstakingly separate a pound of haw fun into a snowy pile of noodles. It's a fun job for kids!

Beef Chow Fun | Wok Wednesdays

Step three: Mise en place.

Beef Chow Fun | Wok Wednesdays

The beef is marinated in the soy, corn starch, and sesame oil. The ginger and garlic are minced. The fermented beans are smashed, and the wine and oyster sauce are mixed together.

First you briefly stir fry the garlic and ginger, then you sear the marinated meat, add the the fermented beans, stir a bit, and then remove the mixture from the wok. At this point, you cook the noodles.

There was a lot of chatter on the Wok Wednesdays Facebook page about how the noodles stick, and indeed, mine did too, but not too badly. Mei Chau, whose amazing Malaysian style shrimp recipe knocked my socks off, weighed in on how to avoid too much sticking by stirring the noodles.

(By the way, it wasn't a big deal to get the stuck noodles off of the wok. A five minute soak in hot water was all it took. Woo hoo!)

Once the noodles are a bit crusty, you add the meat back in, as well as the bean sprouts and scallions and stir. Dinner for two!

Verdict? We devoured it. I really loved the added crunch from the bean sprouts.

P.S. In the book, the scallions are shredded rather than sliced. I also added some crushed red pepper to my half.

And we have steam!!!

Beef Chow Fun | Wok Wednesdays

To find the recipe, check out Grace Young's wonderful cookbook. The recipes are authentic and delicious. I've been at it for about two years, and it's an amazing adventure.