English Muffins!

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I don’t know about you but I love English muffins! They make great egg sandwiches and are delicious for eggs Benedict too. They’re even good just toasted with butter and/or jam. They’re pretty easy to make but do require some time as do all yeast breads. They freeze well so once you make a batch, you’ll have them for awhile.

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I got this recipe from my school textbook, but used almond milk instead of regular milk because we don’t buy that anymore and it worked great! I made each muffin 3 ounces like the recipe say, but they can be made smaller if you choose. The recipe yields 18 muffins if they are 3 ounces each.

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The dough is a little stickier, so just put flour on your hands when going to portion and shape them. After the first proof, shape them and let them raise again for about half an hour. Heat a griddle to cook them about 3-5 minutes each side or until golden brown on each side. Put a little canola oil and cornmeal on the griddle before placing each muffin on. Keep the heat to a medium-medium high. They won’t be cooked all the way through, so after they’ve all been on the griddle they’ll need to go in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 10-15 minutes or until they’ve reached an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Egg sandwiches…my favorite! This one below I made with Swiss and asiago cheese. Yummm.

 

Nothing beats homemade bread. I really hope you take the time to try them!

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Ingredients

12 oz. Milk

2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast

1 lb Pastry Flour (I used all bread flour.)

1 lb Bread Flour

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1.5 oz. Sugar

0.6 oz. Salt

1.5 oz. Unsalted Butter, room temp.

12 oz. Very Warm Water

cornmeal (as needed)

 

Directions

  1. Heat the milk to 75 degrees F. Add the yeast and stir it into the milk. Add 10 oz. of the pastry or bread flour (if using all bread flour). Cover and let ferment for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the sponge (yeast, milk, and 10 oz. of flour), the rest of the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter, and water into the bowl of a mixer with the dough hook. Mix on a low speed to moisten ingredients for a couple minutes, then mix on high speed for another 7 minutes. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
  3. Cover the dough and let it raise for an hour or until doubled in size in a proof box or at room temperature.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle evenly with cornmeal.
  5. Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 3oz. pieces. Shape into rounds and flatten a little bit so it’s a disc. Place on the parchment lined pans with the cornmeal.
  6. Proof for about 30 minutes or until they look like they’ve risen. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  7. Bake the muffins on a griddle on a medium low heat. (I used a little canola oil and added a little cornmeal to the griddle if there wasn’t much on the muffin itself.) Let them get a golden brown on each side. Finish them off in the oven at 300 degrees F for an additional 10-15 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.

 

*This recipe was taken from my school textbook, On Baking: A Textbook of Baking & Pastry Fundamentals by Sarah R. Labensky, Priscilla A. Martel, & Eddy Van Damme.

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Tuscan Bread

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I got this new cookbook for my birthday called The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey. I’ve made two recipes from it so far and they were both amazing! They took some time to make, but were definitely worth all the effort. The recipes were for pizza crust and Tuscan bread. Both shocked my taste buds. They are so light, so fluffy, and so good.

Both took the whole day to make, but I was so glad I made them because the end product was so worth it.

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I wasn’t sure if I was doing each step right because I’ve never made bread with a biga, which is just a stiffer starter for breads. I was really happy I had my sourdough starter because the biga recipe required a small amount of it. This needs to be made at least a day before making the bread so it has time to ferment. The biga will look bubbly and should triple in size. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of that but it will be a very small, stiff ball of dough once mixed together. Below is the dough after initially mixed together and before the first proof.

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I did really like that I didn’t have to knead the dough much. I mixed it all by hand. The process requires a lot of resting of the dough. Then folding the dough from the outside in a couple of times.

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This picture above is after being shaped and at the start of the final proof.

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Above is the dough after proofing for 3 hours. It is ready to bake.

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The finished product had a light, golden, crispy crust and soft, light texture. Since it is a bread that is made in Tuscany, it doesn’t contain a lot of salt in the recipe. It is supposed to be eaten with saltier foods because of this. I find this so fascinating. We are so used to our bread having salt, it was nice to try this bread on it’s own. It got me to think of dishes to pair it with to balance the flavor of the bread with the flavor of the meal.

 

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Both of these recipes were so much more than I thought they would be, I’m excited to try more recipes from this book!

 

BIGA Recipe 

70 grams room temperature water

10 grams refreshed fermented starter

100 grams unbleached AP flour

0.1 gram (a tiny pinch) fine sea salt (I used iodized salt)

Directions

  1. To make the biga, whisk the sourdough starter with the water until dissolved.
  2. Mix with flour and salt until the dough comes together.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 24 hours.

 

Ingredients for Tuscan Bread

270 grams water

75 grams biga

400 grams unbleached AP flour

1.5 grams fast acting/instant yeast

3 grams fine sea salt (I used iodized salt.)

 

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk together.
  2. Whisk the water and biga together until dissolved. Add to the flour, yeast, and salt mixture.
  3. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Put some flour on your hands and on the top of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough to the center. Go around the bowl. Turn the ball of dough over and cover with plastic wrap. Let it ferment for about 4-5 hours at room temperature. When it has reached the end of that time period, the dough should look bubbly and doubled in size.
  5. Fold the edges of the dough to the center of the dough. Turn the dough over, cover, and wait another 20 minutes.
  6. Place parchment on a baking sheet and cover with flour.
  7. After the 20 minutes are up, fold the edges of the dough to the center again and shape into a ball. Put some flour on your hands if needed. Place the dough onto the parchment after being shaped. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough. Cover with a towel. Let it proof one more time for 2-3 hours. It should double in size before baking.
  8. Preheat the oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone placed in the oven before turning the oven on. Turn the oven on after the first 2 hours of the final proof.
  9. Slide the proofed dough onto the pizza stone and bake for about 55-60 minutes. It should have a nice crust and be a light golden brown.

 

I hope you get to enjoy this delicious Tuscan Bread! If not, at least enjoy the pictures and my post!

Chocolate Almond Biscotti!

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I love biscotti and I love coffee! They are a perfect pair if you ask me. Almond and chocolate are also a perfect pair! A little crunch from the almonds and the cookie itself with a little sweetness from the chocolate chips–Yum! I did a couple batches of these and the second one turned out amazing!

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I got this new coffee mug for my birthday! I love it so much! That morning was a great morning because of my new mug and delicious biscotti.

Each log is about 8 inches long and 3 inches wide. You can make it longer and skinnier for a smaller cookie slice, but this is how I like to make mine.

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The biscotti logs after the first bake, about 20 minutes.

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Make sure to let it cool before slicing. Then line them up for the second bake, which will give you the crunchy cookie you are looking for.

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I love the chocolate in these!

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You can drizzle these with more chocolate, but I thought they were great the way they are!

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I hope you get a chance to enjoy these! They ARE worth making!

 

Ingredients

1/3 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

2/3 cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 tsp. Pure Almond Extract

2 ½ cups AP Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

½ tsp. Baking Soda

¼ tsp. Salt

½ cup Sliced Almonds

½ cup Ghirardelli 60% Dark Chocolate Chips

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
  2. Cream sugar and butter until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until combined.
  3. Add all dry ingredients-flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until mostly incorporated. Then add the chocolate chips and almonds.
  4. Continue mixing until dough comes together.
  5. Divide your dough into two logs that are approximately 8 inches long and 3 inches wide. You can estimate when dividing the dough or weigh out the total weight of the dough into grams or ounces. Then divide that in half. Mine was 436 grams or 15.4 ounces for each log.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. It should be golden brown.
  7. Let it completely cool, 30-60 minutes.
  8. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Slice the biscotti logs on an angle. Each slice should be about a ½ inch.
  10. Place slices with the wider side down touching the pan.
  11. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy with your favorite coffee!