Friday, April 29, 2011

BBD39: Salt rising bread

This month's Bread Baking Day (#39) challenged us to make a salt-rising bread. There is no yeast to fall back on for this bread, which was a bit scary.

Our hostess was the lovely lady at easier than pie.

I used a recipe from Bernard Clayton's book, The Complete Book of Breads.

First, I created a preferment from cornmeal, milk, and sugar. While the recipe said this would take about 10 hours to become foamy, mine took about 24 hours. Since timing was off (10 pm), I took a gamble and refrigerated the preferment over night. This, apparently, did no harm.

For the next step, flour, salt, baking soda, and the preferment were combined and allowed to get bubbly. Once again, this took more time than the recipe indicated, so I placed the dough into the fridge over night, expecting the worst in the morning.

Surprisingly, the dough had actually risen quite a bit during its big chill. So, I warmed it to room temperature, then formed it into two loaves. After the dough had doubled, I baked it.

I was amazed that this process actually worked! The one drawback was that the fermented dough had a really funky odor. It continued as a background note in the baked bread, but not enough to make it unappealing to eat. In fact, it was really delicious toasted with butter and jam.

Alisa will be posting the roundup around the 6th of May, so do take a look at the other salt rising breads.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Garlic Bread, BBB style

In the interest of getting this posted in a timely way, I will be brief.

This month's offering by the Bread Baking Babes was Dan's Garlic Bread, chosen by the wonderful Natashya. Making this was my Easter Day project, and a fun one it was.

There was the preferment.

And the yummy garlic, coated with balsamic vinegar.

After a gazillion turns and the addition of the garlic,

the bread was ready to be baked.

The resulting loaves were delicious. I'd love to try the recipe again with some different fillings, like pesto or nuts or cheese. The sky's the limit.

For the recipe and the roundup, stop by Natashya's blog.

Happy Bread Baking!

TWD: Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies. What's not to like about them?

This is a version with a hint of citrus and a bit of a crunch, thanks to the cornmeal.

For a change, I chose grapefruit zest as my citrusy zing. It added a nice touch without being overpowering.

I made the dough the day before, so it was thoroughly chilled by baking time. Basically, these are a slice and bake type of cookie -- slice the flat dough into squares, place on cookie sheet, prick with a little stick, then bake.

They turned out beautifully with no spreading.

I plan to freeze some so 1. I don't eat them all, and 2. I can take some up to my mother next weekend. She's allergic to oranges, so the grapefruit will be perfect.

This week's hostess was Valerie of Une Gamine dans la Cuisine. Check her blog for the recipe.

Then, head over to the Tuesdays with Dorie website to drool over all the lovely shortbread cookies.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TWD: A Tourtely Apple Tart (Pie)

I was looking forward to making this week's TWD selection, A Tourtely Apple Tart. I love apple pies, so anytime I can find a new, delicious recipe is a good thing.

On Sunday, I prepared both the crust and the filling for Monday's baking.

While I was making the filling, I knew, just Knew!, that I should have added some lemon zest for brightness and a touch of acidity. But, I didn't. I followed the recipe.

Truly, the filling needs that kick of lemon, so I will mark the book accordingly, and next time, add the zest.

Instead of raisins, I added the remainder of my supply of currants, which was just the correct amount. (See, they didn't go to waste!)

The pie/tart assembled beautifully, and baked up nicely as well.

The tough part was getting through dinner so I could try a piece. My dear daughter, bless her heart, even tried some, although I know she does not care for cooked apples. She agreed as well that a touch of lemon would have improved the flavor.

Overall, this pie/tart is a winner, and I will add it to my repertoire.

This week's hostess was Jeanette of
The Whimsical Cupcake. Jeanette will have the recipe posted as well.

For more examples, hop over to the Tuesdays with Dorie blog.

Friday, April 15, 2011

TWD: Strawberry-Cranberry Double Crisp

Busy times around here, so it's been difficult to find time for the usual baking and cooking activities. Posting is problematical, too, especially when trying to think of something semi-intelligent to write. By 5 pm, my brain is fried.

Although a bit late, I rebelled against work the other day and decided to make the Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp.

Except, we don't care for rhubarb around here. I was going to pass, but then figured I could substitute cranberries for the rhubarb. They have a lovely tartness, and I have tons of cranberries in the freezer.

Because I love fresh strawberries so much, I hate to ruin them by cooking (except for jam, of course). So I had my daughter buy a package of frozen sliced strawberries. They turned in to the lovely jam-like topping that was spread onto the frozen cranberries.

The remaining crisp topping was sprinkled over the strawberry jam.

Then, the whole shebang was baked, resulting in some bubbling, oozing goodness.

Oh yeah.

This was one might fine dessert.

I can imagine making this all year round, using different combinations of fruit.

This was my serving bowl. (wink wink)

Not really, although I was tempted.

My daughter only ate one bowl, so I have been forced to consume the rest. It was probably the ginger, which I like, but, apparently, she doesn't.

Now, I'm off for another serving.

This week's hostess was Sarah of
Teapots and Cakestands. Great choice! You can find the recipe on her website.

Check out the other fruity desserts on the Tuesdays with Dorie blog.

Monday, April 4, 2011

TWD: Coffee Ice Cream Tart

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Coffee Ice Cream Tart. There was considerable discussion about this on the P&Q Board. In light of that, I chose to bake the tart as indicated in the recipe.

First was the almond-based pastry crust. Using the food processor, it came together just fine and went into the tart pan just fine.

Next came a thin coating of dark chocolate on the baked crust.

The filling was a blend of coffee ice cream (one of our favorites), almonds, and almond extract. This became somewhat problematical, since my food processor balked at the coldness of the ice cream and seized up. Who knew? Rather than melt everything, I decide to leave pockets of nut paste in the ice cream and hope that the FP would recover. (It seemed to.)

Finally, came the fun part: flinging melted chocolate everywhere -- on the pie, on me, on the counter, on anything that was in the near vicinity. I'm still finding bits in unlikely places.

Cutting the tart was somewhat challenging, but after brainstorming different methods, I found the right solution -- a hot, sharp knife, poking into the crust first, then sliding through and across the cut to detach the piece. It was also easier to just pick up the piece of tart and eat it out of hand rather than chance sending it flying when trying to cut it with a fork or spoon.

While I'm glad I had a chance to make this in tart form, I believe it would work better made into small, individual tarts or ice cream sandwiches. No one really likes to struggle eating dessert.

This week's hostess was Jessica of
Domestic Deep Thought.

Stop by the TWD website to see and read about the other bakers' adventures.

Friday, April 1, 2011

FFwD: Quinoa Fruit and Nut Salad

This week's choice for French Fridays with Dorie was a quinoa salad with dried fruits and nuts and a delicate lemon-ginger dressing.

I've been wanting to make something with quinoa for quite some time now. I have a bunch of recipes marked and this was just the swift kick I needed.

With all the flavors and protein, I thought it would be a good lunch dish, especially since it can be made ahead of time and the fruit and nuts can be varied. This time I chose almonds and walnuts, dried apricots, cranberries, and golden raisins. The fruits had such great flavor. I suspect it would also taste great with fresh fruit.

I served it on a bed of baby mixed greens with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. Actually, for seconds, I skipped the greens and added more yogurt. Yum.

This is a delicious salad, good for potlucks, too, since it can be made the day before and is packed with flavor and texture.

BBD38: No Knead Breads

This just wasn't the week for successful bread baking. I wasn't pleased with either of the two breads I made, this one, a no-knead chocolate bread for Bread Baking Day 38, or the other one, Rewena Paraoa*.

I suppose I was a bit distracted. Having two friends die on the same day, unexpectedly, unrelated, and in different parts of the state, might just throw off one's baking mojo. Patience and time are the ingredients I need now.

With that out of the way, the bread I chose to make for the BBD38 No Knead Bread Challenge was a chocolate bread from Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day. Usually these breads turn out just fine, so I'm not sure what happened with this one. My daughter thought it was fine, but I really didn't care for it, which is surprising, coming from a chocolate-lover.

It didn't rise much, although I probably let it over-rise because of a phone call. Perhaps, someday, I'll try it again, maybe using milk chocolate instead of dark.

The Bread Baking Day hostess this month was Cinzia from
Cindystar. Thanks also to Zorra for creating one of my favorite events.

*The Rewena Paraoa was a big hit with my daughter, who has requested that I bake it again. I will oblige, since she will be heading off to college at the end of the summer to complete her degree. I just wish New York was closer!