Thursday, May 23, 2013
This is called Whipped Bread. It is made with whole spelt flour and sifted spelt flour (which is essentially white spelt flour).
Spelt you say? What is that? It's kind of an ancient wheat grain that is still grown in parts of Europe. Or so it says on the internet. I'm not an expert, but I have always been curious about spelt. I was able to find whole spelt flour (which is not as dark as whole wheat flour) but not the sifted spelt. I've sifted whole wheat flour before and it is not on my list of things to do again, so I used a combination of bread flour and King Arthur Flour's 9-grain flour, which contains barley, rye, oats, amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, and teff. How obscure and fancy is that? I'll see your sifted spelt and raise you 9-grains.
Whipped you say? Does this make you think of Devo? Me too. Particularly as I was mixing this bread. I couldn't get "whip it good" out of my head. It also brings me back to the days when I took my 18 month old daughter to a company picnic and one of the attendees was blasting Devo's "Whip It" on their boom box (I just said boom box... aging myself) and my little baby girl ran up to their blanket and started rocking away to the song. My little now grown up accountant baby girl. Sigh!!
The bread dough is prepared by literally whipping it with the wire whip attachment of your mixer to develop the gluten on this very wet dough. This is definitely a new technique for this "stretch and fold" bread baker. I think I was a little timid and probably should have whipped it longer than I did because I had a tough time shaping it.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
This week the Tuesdays with Dorie group is baking Savory Brioche Pockets from page 421 of Baking with Julia, a book edited by Dorie Greenspan, and based on the PBS series, Baking with Julia (Child).
These brioche bread pockets contain a mixture of mashed red potatoes, goat cheese, chives, caramelized onions, and asparagus tips... a pretty amazing combination of flavors. They are topped with an egg wash, poppy seeds, and a sage leaf. Just to make them pretty. They are supposed to have this little rim around the edge and look like little pies. but my brioche had such great oven spring and ended up looking like dinner rolls. The contributing editor, Nancy Silverton (one of my idols... seriously, read her prose about bread baking in her book.. you will be hooked), suggests that these could be served as appetizers, but I had just one for dinner and it was quite filling.
Making these is pretty involved. First, you have to make the brioche dough and then allow it to ferment over night in the refrigerator. Oh yeah, and there's 30 minutes (thirty minutes!) of high speed kneading in your stand mixer.
After you make and chill the dough, you steam and mash the potatoes, par-cook the asparagus, and caramelize the onions. Thankfully, once you shape the rolls, you can freeze them and bake them when you need them.
This brioche is the best I have ever tasted/made. Wow. I had some trouble working with it, but it doesn't matter. The texture and taste were perfect. Not heavy, not greasy, but light and airy despite the high butter content. I never understood the appeal of brioche hamburger buns... now I get it. I can't wait to try the portion of the dough that is in the freezer to make them.
What did I do differently from the original recipe? Not much. I nuked the the red potatoes without peeling them ( I used minis) and mashed the skins into the mix of potatoes and goat cheese, and I used the entire trimmed asparagus spear (the recipe calls for just the tips).
To see the recipe, visit Loaves and Stitches. To see how other Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers fared (and to see their creativity with the recipe) visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site.
Sharing with #bakedwithlove
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Believe it or not, I had never made ribs before. Ever. And I love them!
One of my favorite things to do is cook both with and for my grandsons. I just learned that one of their all time favorite foods is spareribs when their grandpa asked the oldest to list their favorite foods, and he said, "Ribs, pizza, and orange chicken."
I can do this!
Unlike other recipes I've seen, these spareribs are baked uncovered at a fairly high temperature after being marinated in honey, ketchup, hoisin, and Chinese five-spice powder. The marinade also includes dark soy, which I found at an Asian grocery store. If you can't find it, regular soy is fine.
The verdict? The kids mowed through them. I think the four adults each had one rib and and the boys ate the rest. The rest of the adults weren't thrilled about that, but it sure made me smile.
Luckily for the rest of us, I served these with orange chicken, a pork tenderloin, wok-seared vegetables, and white rice.
Asian Take-out Spareribs
Slightly adapted from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home.
2 1/2 pounds spareribs, preferably St. Louis style, cut into individual ribs
3 T honey
2 T dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
3 T ketchup
1 T hoisin sauce
1 T dark soy sauce (regular is fine, the ribs will be lighter in color)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T minced garlic
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
- Mix all of the ingredients (except the spareribs) and divide it in half.
- Place the ribs in a shallow dish and cover them with half of the marinade. Cover and refrigerate the ribs for about three hours.
- Refrigerate the reserved marinade.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with a rack in the middle.
- Line a half sheet pan with foil and place the ribs, bone side up, on the foil.
- Bake for an hour, basting the ribs with the reserved marinade every 20 minutes.
- After an hour, baste the ribs one more time and turn on the broiler.
- Broil the ribs for about 5 minutes, until crusty.
- Place them on a serving platter and watch them disappear.
I mixed up some Chinese mustard to go with these ribs but forgot to serve it. The spareribs were good on their own and I don't think the boys would have touched the hot mustard anyway. =)
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Want to have fresh rolls for dinner that require very little hands on time? If you mix up the dough before you go to bed, you can bake these in the morning, and, boom, you have fresh rolls. Just reheat them before dinner to have warm rolls. Your friends and family will be impressed. I promise.
These no knead rolls are based on the same concept as no knead bread. Mix flour, salt, water, and yeast with a spoon and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours, usually over night.
These rolls contain about 23% whole wheat, which. along with their random shapes, makes them seem more rustic. They are amazing warm with butter, and also are great for sandwiches when sliced in half.
You will need a flexible dough scraper or a large rubber spatula to remove the dough from the bowl. You will also need a bench scraper to divide the dough into eight pieces. A knife would work but you could damage your cutting surface. You will also need a sheet of parchment paper. A scale is really helpful and means less dishes because you measure right into the mixing bowl that sits on top of the scale.
Use your baking stone if you have one, but you can make these just fine on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
This Multigrain bread with sunflower seeds and flax seeds (and whole grains) is densely packed with seedy goodness. I recently read on the Interwebs that both flax seeds and sunflower seeds are super foods (and if you read it on the Internet, it has to be true!).
If you toast your sunflower seeds in a hot dry skillet, you will get an amazing flavor from them. Just be sure to watch them or they will burn very quickly. Trust me. I speak from experience.
This bread is great as a sandwich bread. You can slice it very thinly and it holds up very well. I used it to make one of my guilty pleasures, a tuna and egg salad sandwich. If you have not tried this combination, do not turn up your nose. It's great.
Pedestrian? Bourgeois? Try it in the privacy of your home. No one has to know.
Naked bread you say?
This bread was meant to be covered in lovely seeds and oats. The post from which this recipe was inspired has a gorgeous photograph of such a loaf (posted at the beginning of the recipe below). Here's what happened to my topping when I de-panned the bread.
I need to work on this.
Adapted from Pastry Affair
9 1/2 ounces (2 C) bread flour
6 ounces (1 1/2 C) whole wheat flour
1 C old fashioned oats
1/2 C sunflower seeds, toasted
2 T flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
12 ounces of lukewarm water
Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and rolled oats for coating the top of the bread. (Good luck.. try an egg wash to help the toppings stick... I didn't. Obviously.)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the dry ingredients together (except the toppings).
- Mix in the water with a dough whisk or large spoon until all of the ingredients form a shaggy ball.
- Knead the dough with the dough hook for about 7 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead for 10 minutes.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for about 2 to three hours, until doubled.
- Deflate the dough and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Press the dough into a 9 inch square and roll it into a tight log and place it into an oiled 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan.
- Brush the loaf with and egg or egg white wash and sprinkle the loaf with the toppings.
- Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until lightly browned and the interior reaches 195 degrees F.
- De-pan and cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour.
- Make yourself an egg and tuna sandwich. Yeah-ah.
Sharing with Yeastspotting
Sharing with #bakedwithlove
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Asparagus, shallots. ginger, garlic, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and grape tomatoes. All of these vegetables have different textures and density. The beauty of stir frying is the ability to add the vegetables at the right time to ensure that everything turns out perfectly... all within just a few minutes.
The asparagus is briefly blanched prior to beginning the stir fry. After blanching, I rinsed mine with cold water to stop the cooking process and set it aside while I worked on other dishes for our dinner.
These vegetables are so fresh and easy to prepare. The entire process takes about three minutes. Just stir fry the ginger and garlic, add the asparagus, carrots (I used this tool to shred the carrots, it's amazing), and mushrooms, and then add the tomatoes and seasonings and sauce. Bam. Done. Just have everything prepped in advance.
I was a little worried about adding tomatoes to my two month old wok. I have read that you shouldn't add acidic foods until after six months of using your wok. Fortunately, these tomatoes are added at the very end, and my newly seasoned wok survived. I think it also helped that I popped some popcorn and fried some orange chicken in my wok just prior to preparing this dish.
Another cool thing about this dish is that it does not require any exotic ingredients. It's super easy. We served it with rice and an Asian seasoned pork tenderloin. It was a big hit.
I am participating in Wok Wednesdays. We are stir frying our way through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories by Grace Young. Buy this book. It's not just a cookbook. It's filled with stories and history lessons.
If you'd like to participate in Wok Wednesdays, please visit the Wok Wednesday's page.
The recipe for this dish can also be found here.
This salad is a perfect for picnics.
Don't tell anyone this... on days when I'm feeling guilty about what I had for lunch (or dinner yesterday), I have a big bowl of these beans for dinner. The combination of the parmesan, basil, shallots, and balsamic give these beans such an amazing flavor.
Don't tell anyone this either, but I can eat them like French fries. They are pretty addictive. You won't hear me say that very often about vegetables.
My husband had been religious about consuming the "recommended daily allowance" of vegetables, and he is kind of sick of beans. I sort of have to say "there's a green bean salad in the garage fridge if you're interested. You don't have to have any, but if you need a vegetable, it's pretty good....." and then leave it at that.... well, he totally loved it.