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!

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.

 

 

Honey Wheat Bread

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I’ve been making this wheat bread since my senior year of high school. It’s so good! I can’t seem to go back to buying wheat bread from the store. It just doesn’t have the same flavor. That’s is how I feel about any homemade bread versus store bought. It does take some time as it does with any homemade bread, but it freezes well and I don’t eat it very often. When I do have time, I make a loaf and then it will last at least a couple weeks.

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My family loves it and enjoys it very much! I love to make my gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches on it or a deliciously toasted Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Not only do I love freshly baked bread, but I love the process and how the dough feels in my hands. Kneading the dough is relaxing to me so it’s easy for me to make time to make this bread or any other bread. I think my second favorite bread to make is Focaccia. All the herbs, onions, and cheese are just so yummy! I want to try making pizza out of it sometime. Oh, and I have a really good English muffin recipe! They are quite amazing!!

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Above, is the milk, butter, salt, and honey being heated in the pot. It gets poured into the mixer with part of the flour and the yeast. Below is the dough after mixing in the other half of the flour. The picture on the right is the dough before it proofs.

 

 

 

Above is how to shape and form the loaf. Flatten the dough into rectangle. Fold the long ends over into thirds and roll tightly (the short side) to form the loaf. Place it in a greased large loaf pan and let it proof for about half an hour.

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The beautiful loaf after it has proofed. Below is the final product!

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Ingredients

4 ½ cups Whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. Active dry yeast

1 ¾ cup Almond milk

2 tsp. Salt

1/3 cup Honey

2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

 

Directions

  1. In the mixing bowl, put 2 cups of wheat flour in the bowl followed by the yeast.
  2. In a small pot, add the milk, salt, honey, and butter. Heat until butter is melted and the temperature reaches 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl. With the dough hook, mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn up the speed to high for 3 more minutes.
  4. Take the bowl off the mixer and add one more cup of flour. Mix in by hand with a rubber spatula. Once incorporated add another cup of flour. Do not completely mix in. Place the dough onto a lightly flour surface and start kneading. Once the flour is incorporated, it will probably be sticky. At this point add a couple tablespoons at a time until the dough forms a nice ball and does not stick. Knead by for about 5-10 minutes until it springs back when touched.
  5. Grease the mixing bowl and place the dough back into the bowl. Let it proof for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size.
  6. After the first proof, punch down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Flatten it to rectangle, getting rid of the air bubbles. (See above pictures.)
  9. Fold one third to the center and then the last third over that like a letter. Flatten and stretch to about 6-7 inches wide. Roll tightly to form the loaf. Tuck the ends under the loaf. (See above pictures.) Place in a greased large loaf pan. Let it proof for about 20-30 minutes until doubled in size.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes and then cover with foil so the loaf doesn’t get too dark for another 15 minutes totaling 35 minutes. Adjust accordingly depending on type of oven being used. Alternatively bake to an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from loaf pan and let cool on a cooling rack.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

Cherry Amaretto Sweet Rolls

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Mmmmm….Cherry Amaretto Rolls. Besides vanilla bean, I love pretty much anything that has cherry and almond in it! I don’t know why, but my taste buds like it!

I recently purchased some cherry amaretto preserves and then stumbled upon a Fall Baking magazine, which contained a recipe for Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls. They just so happened to contain cherry preserves as the filling for them. This magazine has so many good recipes in it and was worth every penny!

IMG_1412My mom hosted her sister’s weekend this year, so we decided on these cherry amaretto sweet rolls! They turned out really well! My aunts loved them! I made quite a few changes and completely turned the roll into my own creation. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. When I see a recipe, I can’t help but make changes and improve it using ingredients I love, like buttermilk, pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean, or real butter. Sometimes knowing how ingredients work helps me decide what to use instead of another, such as knowing the gluten strength of flours. I have made too many changes sometimes, and it doesn’t quite work out, but more often than not, my changes to recipes work! It makes me so excited, and then I can’t wait for the next recipe.

I had bought a 16 oz. jar of cherry amaretto preserves, but I didn’t use all of it. I used about 3/4 of it. A lot oozed out as I was rolling, so I recommend putting less it or just deal with it like I did. You could try chilling it for a bit too before cutting the rolls. Another thought…you could spread some of the preserves on as you are eating the roll, if you want more cherry flavor. This recipe is nice because another fruit flavor could also be used instead of the cherry preserves for another flavor if you don’t like cherries. As the rolls baked, some of the filling did come out on the bottom of the pan too. But overall, I didn’t mind, I still thought they turned out great. My yield was 10 rolls, but you could make more or less depending on how big you want your rolls to be.

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Make sure to proof the dough for an hour or until it’s doubled in size as well as proofing after shaping and the rolls are in the pan. Otherwise you will have very dense rolls.

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Don’t they just look so good? Yummmm. I recommend waiting until they are completely cooled before icing them. I decided to add a little almond extract to my flat icing to add more almond flavor. These should be eaten within a couple days otherwise, freeze them so they don’t lose freshness. Also, microwave them right before eating for a little bit, if they are getting on the older side and they will be just like they were the first day!

Ingredients

2 cups Bread FlourIMG_1393

1 ½ cups AP Flour

1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast

½ cup milk

½ cup Greek yogurt

6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1-16 oz. jar Cherry Amaretto preserves

 

Flat Icing

½ cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tbsp. milk (start with one or teaspoons)

A few drops of pure almond or vanilla extract

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Directions

  1. In a mixer, add both the flours and yeast.
  2. In a small pot, add the butter. Let it melt and then add the milk, yogurt, sugar, and salt. Heat to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Another test: if your finger can stand the warmth/heat without burning your finger, it’s probably ok to use.) It just needs to be very warm.
  3. Pour the heated ingredients over the flour and yeast. Place dough hook onto the mixer and start mixing.
  4. Add the egg after it has mixed a little. Continue mixing until dough has formed into a ball. The dough should be smooth and spring back when touched.
  5. Take the dough out of the mixer, pan spray the bowl. Put the dough in the greased bowl and turn over so the top of the dough is now greased. Let it proof at room temperature, in a proof box, or on the proof setting in your oven until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and roll out to a rectangle (14 inch x 10 inch).
  7. Spread a good amount of cherry preserve filling onto the dough or any other filling of choice. Roll up the dough long ways. Cut to desired size. I got 10 rolls out of mine. Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan. You may need a second smaller 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan. Place rolls however they fit best in pans. Let rise for 30 minutes on the proof setting on your oven again, at room temperature, or in a proof box.
  8. Bake a t 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before making flat icing.

 

I hope you get to enjoy these with your friends and family with some good coffee!