Recently I watched "how to cook your life" and reviewed it on my blog. The movie really was inspiring for me. I become overwhelmed with a lot of things in daily life and often find that I dont take the time to truly appreciate making the things I enjoy, or even if I make something I enjoy (like bread) I dont really take the time to actually appreciate the process. The perfect partner to that movie was this honey oat bread I made. I found that its perfectly sweet and nutty tasting from the oats. I especially found it delicious left over, toasted in a pan with olive oil and topped with homemade cranberry preserves.
Recently I experimented with a basic lean pizza dough and made these rolls. They were great for sandwiches and my sons favorite, cheesy bread. They're similar to focaccia rolls however its hollow in the middle and more like a pita.
Every weekend I find myself making breakfast and more often than not my family asks for pancakes. Recently I decided to make a diner classic, pumpkin pancakes with a twist I used my sourdough starter. They were perfectly flavored, slightly dense but delicious!
Recently my family visited quiet valley living historical farm in stroudsburg, pa. Although we went there for the "craft festival" it was the oven that really captured my attention. I talked with the ladies running the oven briefly and had a brief conversation about how I'm in the process of building my own oven. Well actually its been a few years in progress now. I was amazed at how well their oven looked and how well maintained it is. It really motivated me to want to finish my own.
So far, We dug a 4x4 foot hole, filled it back up, made the foundation with cinder blocks... filled the center with sand, purchased fire brick and now its still sitting there. I based everything off of what I read in kiko denzers book but something I really had an issue with was all of the rocks and trying to find the perfect soil to build with. While talking to the ladies at the historical farm I almost got the impression that rocks are ok? It was just a brief conversation however now I'm somewhat baffled. Dont rocks explode when they are heated? Living in the pocono mountains finding the perfect clay to use for my oven just seems impossible. Has anyone else done this in a similar environment? I'm really hoping to finish my bread oven soon, hopefully before the snow hits this season. I'm wondering if a masonry oven might be a better way to go however I did have my heart set on a cob style earth oven. Any helpful advice appreciated! For more on the historical farm please see my blog post.
Recently I've been on a mission to really try and improve my food photography. Although I make sourdough pancakes quite often i decided to really take a stab at re-vamping my original post. The recipe is still pretty much identical however this time I topped each pancake with some diced lightly seasoned apples. They really reminded me of traditional german Apple kuchen. They came out delicious and perfectly fluffy. We topped some with home made blueberry and cherry compote and I also caramelized some bananas.
Anyone around me has come to figure out I have certain things that I'm obsessed about. Bread being the obvious but things such as mustards, vinegars and hot sauces are also on my list of things I compulsively crave. The desire for hot, sweet and sour drove me to this combination. I saw the balsamic jelly in bon appetit magazine and decided I had to try it. For the bread I used a standard wet dough boule recipe with the addition of pink and black peppercorns as well as red pepper flakes. (2-3 tablespoons of each pepper corn and a pinch of flakes). The outcome was a wonderful combination. The bread on its own was spicy and fragrant and the balsamic jelly was a "weird" but delicious flavor that I could not get enough of. I ate this bread and jelly for almost a week for breakfast, even after it had gone so far beyond stale I could not resist. The flavor is extremely unique, anyone who loves sweet and hot would love this combo.
Every now and again I decide to really step outside of the box and stretch my comfort zone. Although Indian and oriental foods in general are among my favorite things to make generally the only ethnic "bread" I make is naan. I've made this type of flat bread on multiple occasions but this time instead of using mostly white flour I used almost all whole wheat flour. Served with chicken curry and mango chutney it was pretty delicious.
Living somewhat secluded from quality bakeries and grocery marts lately I've been missing the amazing Amoroso hoagie rolls I got all the time when I lived in Philly. Over the years its become somewhat of a habit for me to just look at calorie content at the bread at the market because I figure if its going to be blah and stale I may as well try to avoid cankles. So I thought about possibly mixing the idea of great hoagie or hamburger rolls with maybe a little added health. I utilize flaxseed meal and flax seeds to these buns and they came out wonderful, slightly nutty in flavor with a soft texture perfect for cold cuts or even burgers.
So I tossed back and forth as to if scones are actually bread or not, I know TFL does do general baking posts but for me I'm trying to keep my posting to primarily my bread obsessions and adventures. For this breakfast I decided to make a scone probably my first "more traditional" style scone, in the past I've mostly made biscuits and called them scones. I made these with irish cream and chocolate chips and they were so amazing. I served them with a home made lemon curd and could not be more surprised how well they actually went with one another. I'm hoping to do another scone sometime soon but lately with the high temperatures I'm keeping my baking limited to nights and very early mornings. I have made these and frozen them, baked them directly from the freezer but it does extend the baking time which seems to defeat the purpose. I almost wonder if I do something without chocolate could I just do them like farls or skillet scones?.
So this was about my third time making soft pretzels only the first making them with sourdough. I'm having a bit of a time mastering technique but getting closer with each try. This day my kitchen was hotter than hell so it caused a bit of an issue I believe the pretzels came out of the fridge and then over proofed wicked fast. I've got my shaping more consistent but my problem seems to lie mostly in the water bath. I researched authentic german bagel recipes and even watched a few german bakers videos. I was surprised to find out that a lot of German bakeries don't even do the boiling bath they only do egg wash or they dip them in the lye solution for a second and then bake. I really wonder though does the texture and crust form anywhere close to what I'm accustomed to? I'm highly tempted to actually try not doing the water bath next time, I love soft pretzels so much but they keep coming out so ugly. They always taste amazing and those I share them with dont complain but as I'm trying to master the authentic recipe, I think the outer crust still needs a bit of work. I hope to find the closest authentic german brezel recipe I can.