The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I haven't posted to my blog in a while, so it's high time I do. I've been away on vacation for a few weeks, which is why I haven't participated lately, nor have I been baking either. My husband and I just got back from a road trip we took to Charleston, South Carolina. Beautiful town... ever been? Unfortunately for us, the weather was gray and rainy for a good bit of our trip, so when the sun smiled down on us for one whole day, we put on our walking shoes and headed downtown. We traversed our way through the streets, admiring the architecture and beautiful old mansions, the many small graveyards tucked in here and there, and dined on some pretty amazing seafood (something we miss here in the heartland). Just as the sun was getting low, we happened upon a sort of open-air market, where locals hawk their wares.

We meandered through oodles of sweet grass baskets, art, leather, jewelry, spices, etc., until my husband zeroed in on cookbooks. He was on a quest to find gumbo recipes. The booth's owner directed him to a few of the popular ones, and then handed him Charleston Receipts, "America's oldest Junior League cookbook in print." I flipped to the copyright page to see when it was published and found that the first printing of 2000 was November of 1950. It must have been an immediate hit, because they printed 3000 more just one month later. And the thirty-third printing in 2007 brings the total to over 800,000 by my calculations. That's a lot of books. I haven't even looked at the gumbos yet, because I'm still flipping through the baking sections. I love old cookbooks. Anyway...  

As we were packing up to leave Charleston, we had a couple bananas left from a bunch we bought at the beginning of the week. They were already past the point of good eating, so I threw them in the bag to cart back with us, estimating that they would be about perfect for making banana bread by the time we got home. And wouldn't you know it, there's a "receipt" for that :-)

Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups sifted flour (I still have some White Lily from a previous trip south, so I used that)
2 teaspoons baking powder (I used Argo, of course)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (I chose unsalted butter)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana

You mix this one just like a butter cake---cream the "shortening" and sugar, beat in the eggs one at a time, sift together and add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid (in this case, the bananas). The batter is turned into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf pan and baked at 350ºF. The recipe says about 70 minutes, but mine was done in 45-50.

I'm not at all sure who to give proper credit for this recipe, because the conventions used in the book aren't explained. I'm going to guess the contributor was a Mrs. Robert Wilson, Jr., but she got it from Gabrielle McColl... or, it might be the other way around. I really don't know. Thank you Mrs. Wilson and Gabrielle McColl, whoever and wherever you are!

Now I must tell you, either the temperature was too high or my pan too dark, because the edges are a bit over-browned. I will bake at 325º next time, or 300º with convection, which I find is usually best for anything in a deep pan like this. Regardless, the crumb is just wonderful---moist, tender and fine-textured. I think a double recipe could make a fine bundt cake. It might even be a nice layer cake, made with cake or pastry flour. This is dessert.   -dw

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci


A friend on Foodbuzz was looking for a way to use Ficoco - fig jam with cocoa. In Italy sugar was expensive to produce so many things were made with jams or mosto cotto (grape syrup) to sweeten cakes, cookies etc. Itlians have many jam filled cookies and ficoco would be perfect for raviolo dolci, in fact figs were also used to make mosto cotto. A recipe we make during holidays, Ravioli Dolci is a great way to use different jam fillings and make your cookie different everytime.


http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/ravioli-dolci-di-pulgia/ 


 



 

mariacuellar's picture
mariacuellar

What is the best artisan bread school in the world?


I'm guessing it's in France, but I can't find ratings anywhere.

cdiggz's picture
cdiggz

PLAIN MUFFINS


 


 


1 3/4 cup flour (2 cups if using frozen berries)


1/3 cup sugar


1/2 tsp. cinnamon


2 1/2 tsp. baking powder


3/4 tsp. salt


1 egg


3/4 cup milk


1/3 cup oil


 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly butter muffin tins or line with muffin cups.


 


1. Beat egg in small bowl.  Add oil and mix well.


 


2. Measure milk and add to egg mixture. 


 


3.  Measure dry ingredients and sift into large bowl. 


 


4.  Add milk, oil and egg all at once to dry ingredients.  Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.


 


5.  Fill muffin cups ¾ full.


 


6. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.


 


Yield: 9-12 muffins


 


 
VARIATIONS

 


 


Blueberry Muffins


 


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup fresh or thawed and well-rinsed blueberries.


 


Chocolate Chip Muffins

 


Prepare batter as above.  Gently fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. 


 


Surprise Muffins


 


Prepare batter as above.  Fill muffin cups ½ full, drop 1 tsp, jam or jelly in the center of each and add batter to fill cups 3/4 full.


 

cdiggz's picture
cdiggz

Yield 3-5 servings


 


1/4 lb. ground beef


2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix (more if needed to taste)


1-2 tsp. ranch dressing mix (optional)


1 tsp. onion powder


1 cup canned, diced tomatoes, undrained


1/4 -1/2 cup corn


1 cup kidney beans


1 cup black beans


1/4 cup water if mixture is too thick


 


Topping Ideas


cheese, olives, green onions, sour cream, tortilla chips


 


 


Directions

 


1. In a large saucepan, brown ground beef over medium heat, stir and break up meat as it cooks.  Drain grease from meat using strainer. 


 


2. Add remainder of ingredients.  When mixture comes to a boil turn temperature down to simmer.  Cover and simmer for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


 


3. Serve over corn chips in a bowl.  Add toppings.

cdiggz's picture
cdiggz

Yield: 5 large pretzels


Preheat Oven: 450 degrees F.


 


INGREDIENTS:


3/4 cup warm water (approximately 105-110 degrees)


1/2 tablespoon yeast


2 tablespoons brown sugar


1 1/2 cup occident flour (bread flour) (add more if needed)


1/4 cup unsalted melted butter for dipping pretzels in after baking


 


EGG WASH


1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water


 


DIPPING SOLUTION (use large saucepan):


1/4 cup baking soda


2 1/2 cups hot water


 


 


DIRECTIONS:


 


Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil.


 


1.      In a KitchenAid mixing bowl with dough hook attachment, mix warm water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let rest for 5 minutes.


2.      While yeast is growing, prepare egg wash and baking pan.  Set aside.


3.      Add flour and mix well until dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and it retains a ball shape.


4.      Let rise in warm place until doubled, at least 20-30 minutes.


5.      On slightly oiled, clean work surface, divide dough and shape into long 'ropes' and shape into pretzels or other "class appropriate" shape.


6.      Prepare dipping solution in large saucepan and turn stove to medium to keep solution hot.  Put shaped dough into prepared dipping solution for 20-30 seconds.


7.      Remove with a flat turner spatula and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Re-shape if necessary.


8.      Brush with egg wash & sprinkle with pretzel or sea salt (salt is optional).


9.      Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Meanwhile, over low heat, melt ¼ cup butter in small saucepan.  Do not allow to boil or brown.


10.  Dip face of pretzel into melted butter. Sprinkle with coarse salt or cinnamon sugar.


11.  ENJOY!

Marni's picture
Marni

So, I've tried Susan's newest sourdough - the challenge Eric presented.  I had one barely acceptable boule and one only a tad better.  But I'm having fun, and while the two boules did not get their pictures taken, their baby sibling did. 


I was refreshing the starter and thought, why not - I just added a bit more flour, a little salt and let it rise, shaped then baked it in my toaster oven.  I couldn't find anything to cover it, but I did try to steam it.  I was just being silly, but it rose nicely and tasted great, with a crisp crust and sweet/tangy flavor.  A perfect little roll for lunch.


 


 



 


 


 

Marni's picture
Marni

I usually make pumpkin challah at least once in the fall, and set out to do so this time.  I was thwarted by the lack of pumpkin in mt pantry.  ( I could have sworn I had at least one large can in there...) I decide that seet potato would substitute just fine, and it did!  I think I might even like this better.


I pretty much followed a new pumpkin challah recipe I found online, but I almost never follow them exactly, and I veered off from the start by using sweet potatoes.  Anyway, they came out nicely and taste great, I added just a tiny bit of cinnamon, and there were occasional specks of sweet potato.


PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The past couple of months have been something of a whirlwind.  Just before leaving for an internship at Mark Sinclair's The Back Home Bakery, my boss asked if I would accept a 2-year assignment on a project my employer is managing in South Africa.  Without subjecting you to the lengthy discussions between my wife and myself as we considered one factor after another, suffice it to say that we agreed to the assignment.  Since then, we've sold cars, furniture and household goods; located a tenant/housesitter; packed; made lists; checked off lists; etc., etc., etc.  And so, here I sit in the Delta Sky Lounge in the Atlanta airport, waiting to board the 15-hour flight to Johannesburg.


For being a new adventure, its beginning is remarkably mundane.  Sitting in an airport just isn't particularly, I don't know, romantic?  Exciting?  Heady?  Whatever, this isn't the stuff of high drama; although I will admit that the lounge is much better-appointed than the gate area.


With any luck, I'll locate a place to stay in the next few days and be moved in by the time my wife arrives in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I'll be checking in at TFL from time to time to share vicariously in your baking.  Once I'm settled, I'll get a new starter up and running (can't see the hotel staff playing along with an attempted head start) and start baking again; something that hasn't happened at all since leaving The Back Home Bakery.  The new assignment is going to chew up a lot of my time and energy, so baking opportunities may be limited and cherished.  We'll see how it plays out.


So, if I'm quieter than usual, you'll know why.  See you in Jo'burg.


Paul

gcook17's picture
gcook17

About a year ago my wife, Carol, and I went to my favorite coffee store, Barefoot Coffee in Santa Clara (California). Carol doesn't like coffee so she picked out a pastry from the pastry display. It was something I'd never heard of before called a Kouign Aman. It was crispy, crunchy, sweet and buttery. It was so good that we started making trips to Barefoot just to get the pastry. We eventually found out they're made at Satura Cakes in Los Altos. Now, whenever we're in the mood for a really good pastry we go get a kouign aman.


It seemed like it was a mystery pastry because it was hard to find any information on them and what we could find often seemed contradictory. I don't know if it's true but someone told us the name means "butter cake" in the Breton language.


Today I tried making them for the first time. It is a laminated pastry, like croissants but with a couple of twists. I made a basic croissant dough and laminated it with butter as usual, except the roll-in butter was SALTED butter and weighed 50% of the detrempe weight rather than the usual 25%. The other unusual thing was that on the 2nd and 3rd turns I laminated caster sugar into it. The roll-in sugar weighed 40% of the detrempe (dough w/o roll-in butter & sugar) weight. There seem to be a lot of different, acceptable ways to shape them. I just cut the dough into 6 inch squares.  For each square I folded the 4 corners to the center forming a smaller square. Then I folded the 4 corners of the smaller square to the center. After placing them on parchment I brushed them with softened butter and sprinkled them with more sugar. The kouign aman that Satura Cakes makes look like they're rolled up like sticky buns and I think they are baked in a baking dish that has butter and sugar in the bottom.


It was kind of difficult to laminate the sugar. After spreading sugar on the dough it didn't roll out as easily as croissant dough does. The dough tended to bunch up as I rolled it, maybe because sugar is rough and doesn't spread out like butter does. The other weird thing was that a lot of the roll-in sugar liquified. I think this was due to the long resting time between turns that were needed because I was rolling by hand. With a dough sheeter you could have a much shorter rest between turns and the sugar probably wouldn't have enough time to absorb so much water from the dough. I found that when laminating dough by hand I need a 2 hour rest between the 1st and 2nd turns, a 4 hour rest between the 2nd and 3rd turns, and an overnight rest between the 3rd turn and final shaping. The first hour of each rest is in the freezer, then it gets moved to the coldest part of the fridge. The final 15-30 minutes (depending on the temperature in the room) of each resting period in on the kitchen counter. I adapted the advice I got from hansjoakim and DonD on this forum and from Mark Sinclair while working as an intern at the Back Home Bakery to come up with this resting schedule. Normally for croissants I bulk ferment 1 hour at room temp. and another hour in the fridge (35-40 F). For the kouign aman I bulk fermented 1 hour in the fridge.


They're kind of rustic looking and very, very tasty.  The crusty ledges around the edges are caramelized butter/sugar that leaked out, baked, and hardened.



 



 


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