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!

 

 

Focaccia!

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Happy New Year! One of the first breads I learned how to make in Pastry 101 was focaccia bread. After that it became one of my favorite breads to make and eat. It tastes very similar to pizza and that’s probably why I love it so much! There are many flavor combinations, but what I love most is using thyme and lots of cheese! The original recipe of this says to use 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, but I’m not a fan of it so I replaced it with thyme.

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I flattened mine out to just under a 12 inch x 12 inch square. I would go a little bigger if you want it to be a little thinner. I thought I had stretched it enough because it seemed thin enough, but it grew a little bigger than I expected. I didn’t mind though since it came out so fluffy.

This is my favorite step because you dip your fingers in olive oil and dimple the bread after it’s been stretched. It’s just fun!

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I love cheese so I covered it quite well. I used cheddar and Monterey Jack, but mozzarella or any Italian cheeses would be great on it.

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It does freeze well too if you don’t think you’ll eat it all before it goes stale. I really hope you get to enjoy this bread. It’s worth all the effort!

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This recipe is a variation from the recipe in my school textbook, On Baking: A Textbook of Baking & Pastry Fundamentals by Sarah R. Labensky, Priscilla A. Martel, & Eddy Van Damme.

 

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast

1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar

12 fl. oz. Very Warm Water

1 lb. 2 oz. Bread Flour

2 tsp. salt

3 oz. Onion, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. Thyme

1 ½ cups Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)

2 fl. oz. Olive Oil

 

Directions

  1. Measure 12 oz. of very warm water (The warmest water your hand can stand.) Add the yeast and sugar to this and stir it. Let it sit until it’s nice and foamy.Chop the onion. Set aside
  2. Weigh out the bread flour and add to the mixing bowl. Add the salt and thyme. Mix.
  3. Add the activated yeast, sugar, water mixture to the mixing bowl with the flour mixture. Begin mixing. Add the onion. Mix until it comes together. You may have to knead it by hand a little depending on the size of your mixer. It won’t mix well if the mixer is a little smaller. Knead until the dough is smooth and springs back when pressed on.
  4. Put about O.5 fl. oz. of olive oil in the mixing bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl and turn over so all the dough is covered in the olive oil. Cover it with plastic wrap touching the dough and a towel on top of the bowl. Let the dough raise for 1 hour in a proofer or at room temperature.
  5. After 1 hour, punch down the dough. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Place parchment on a sheet tray. Place the dough on the parchment. Flatten it on the pan so that it is about a 12 inch x 12 inch square or bigger depending on how thin you’d like your bread. Dip your fingers in the extra olive oil and dimple the surface of the dough. Sprinkle your shredded cheese of choice on top and any other topping you desire.
  8. Let it proof for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

 

Gingerbread Coffee Cake

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So it’s been awhile since I’ve last posted, but I’ve been very busy finishing up school. I can now say I graduated from pastry school! I can’t believe it is over already, but I am so happy with my life!

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year! I love all the preparation and all the Christmas movies!! I also love this gingerbread coffee cake!

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This recipe is a delicious coffee cake that my family has started making a couple years ago. We all love gingerbread a lot, so why not try a new Christmas coffee cake. We used to make another coffee cake that looked just like this one, but it was vanilla flavored. Since we tried this version a couple years ago, it’s become the new favorite!

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The cream filling sounds almost too basic (as you’ll see in the recipe), but I promise it tastes delicious in this coffee cake!

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It’s so moist and full of flavor! It even lasts a 4-5 days without tasting stale or dried out. We did learn last year that it freezes well if it comes to that for you.

And let’s not forget the crumb topping…it’s amazing and completes the coffee cake!

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Here you go!

 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups AP Flour

1 ½ cups Wheat Flour (or use all AP if desired)

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar, divided

½ tsp. Salt

1 ½ tsp. Ginger (Increase if you want it spicier-try doubling or tripling depending how new your ginger is.)

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ tsp. Cloves

½ tsp. Nutmeg

½ cup Cold, Unsalted Butter, cubed

2 Tbsp. Melted Butter

1 tsp. Baking Soda

½ tsp. baking powder

1 Egg

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

¾ cup Applesauce

½ cup Molasses

1/3 cup Buttermilk

¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line with wax paper.
  2. In the mixer using the paddle, combine the flours, ¼ cup brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix until combined.
  3. Add the cold butter and mix until the butter is pea sized.
  4. Remove 1 cup of the flour mixture and place in another bowl for the streusel topping. Add the melted butter to this and stir. Mix in the remaining brown sugar. Set aside.
  5. Add the baking soda and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Mix together.
  6. In another bowl add the applesauce, buttermilk, molasses, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Use a whisk to mix together. Add the egg. Mix. Add this to the mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
  7. Divide the batter between the two pans. Sprinkle streusel topping onto each cake. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until done.

 

Cream Filling

Ingredients

2 ½ Tbsp. AP Flour

½ cup Almond Milk

½ cup Unsalted Butter

½ cup Sugar

 

Directions

  1. Mix together flour and milk in a small pot. Cook until it thickened, stirring constantly using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  2. Let it cool in the pot on the stove.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl.
  4. Beat with the paddle until smooth and creamy, like a frosting.
  5. Once the cakes are cooled, slice in half and divide the cream filling evenly. Place the top half back on the layer covered in cream and enjoy!!

 

 

*This coffee cake was adapted from other recipes.

Pumpkin Bread!

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It finally feels like Fall with the colder weather. I love lighting my candles almost every night! It’s as close as I’ll get to a fireplace.

I love the change in seasons so much because with each season brings new ingredients to use in baking and cooking. The Fall is one of my favorite times of the year because of all the pumpkins, apples, and squash. This means warm apple pie, apple crisp and cobbler, apple cider, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and…pumpkin bread!

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This recipe is not an original but one my mom has made for a long time. It comes from a cookbook called Recipes for Life. I’m not sure exactly where it came from but it’s been well loved as the pages are yellowing and the cover is falling off.

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This recipe is so easy to make and so worth the time! The bread is so moist and full of pumpkin flavor. It’s definitely a family favorite! It does make quite a bit, but it freezes well or you could give it away to friends and family!

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Ingredients

3 ½ cups AP flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

 

3 cups sugar

1 cup oil

2/3 cup water

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 eggs

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the 3 medium loaf pans by greasing them and dusting with flour. Set aside for later.
  3. In a bowl, add the AP flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a mixer using the paddle, add the sugar, oil, and water. Mix until combined.
  5. Next, add the pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until the batter is smooth.
  7. Divide the batter between the 3 greased and floured medium loaf pans.
  8. Bake for about 55 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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I hope you get a chance to make it!

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Enjoy!

 

Apple Butter!

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Nothing says Fall like homemade apple butter. I’m so glad I finally had some time this weekend to make it! It’s super easy to make and quite delicious! Once all the peeling and chopping is done, let your crockpot take over and just enjoy the awesome smells as thy permeate your house!

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I usually freeze it once it is made or give it away to friends and family. I’ve never done any canning before, but I would like to learn one day.

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It’s so good on toast, bagels, scones, English muffins, or even in oatmeal, maybe even ice cream, although I’ve never tried it. The picture above is what will soon be apple butter just at the start of the cooking.

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This picture is after about 5 hours of cooking.

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And this picture is after going a total of approximately 18 hours because I ended up letting it cook on low overnight. I know it looks quite gross, but once it gets pureed in the blender, I promise you it is amazing!

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The apple cider I used in this recipe is my absolute favorite! I get it from my local farmer’s market. They don’t pasteurize it, they freeze it. This means you only have about a week to drink it or put some of it in apple butter. I’ve also made some awesome apple cider pancakes to help use it up. Wherever you get your apple cider from, as long as it’s your favorite, it will work for this recipe.

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Apple butter is complete! It is so smooth and full of apple flavor! Gosh, I love Fall!

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I had made Irish Soda bread awhile ago. Since it has raisins and cinnamon in it, I decided to toast it and spread some apple butter on it. Mmm. Mmm. So good!

Ingredients

4 lbs. peeled and diced apples (Fuji and golden delicious. Use 50/50 of each–2 lbs. Fuji, 2 lbs, golden delicious)

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups apple cider

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. cloves

¼ tsp. nutmeg

 

Directions

  1. Peel and dice apples. Place in crockpot. Use your favorite apples. I prefer golden delicious for just about anything I make that uses apples.
  2. Add the brown sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the apples. Stir it all together.
  3. Turn crockpot on high for about 4-5 hours. Turn down to low until you’ve reached the 12-hour mark. I leave it on overnight because the time I get to the apples being in for 12 hours, it’s the middle of the night.
  4. Puree in a blender until smooth. Can or freeze.

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Enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from a recipe for apple butter from the Food Network Kitchen.