When asked where, or who, or what I would turn to when in need of comfort, I blurted out:
"I bake" All around the table there were people nodding in agreement. Comfort, food, baking. A no-brainer.
My answer caused a growing feeling of unease within myself though. As the rest of us came up with their ideas (books, photo albums from the attic, secret benches at water fronts) I counted the number of times a week I throw something into my oven, and started to get slightly worried. I must be in need of an awful lot of comfort...
Ever since, every time I bake, I ask myself; why am I baking?
Sometimes the answer has indeed something to do with comfort. A missed job that had my name written all over it will spark a very comforting autumnal frangipani.
Last week I found myself baking Dutch crust rolls after I shattered two (!) plates I really liked. At times, it is about a passion for new things and learning. Croissants, ensaimadas, macarons, complicated sourdough breads that take up to 36 hours to make, bring it on!
Most of the time the answer seems way more trivial. All the bread eaten in this house come from our own oven. I bake because there needs to be bread on the table in the morning. Simple as that, or is it...
Sharing as a disease The best part of baking, especially when baking bread, is eating it together. Sharing bread is right up there with the big boys when it comes to what is ingrained in our very genes from the start of humanity.
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the ground."
No sooner were we kicked out of paradise, or bread came into our existence... It is at the heart of what makes us human and has stayed with us till this very day!
I heard a wonderful story of a guy, here in Amsterdam, who has made it his mission to GIVE in life all that he can, without ever asking anything in return. He helps complete strangers to a new bike, finds lost photo albums and brings it back to the rightful owners, things like that.
One of the people, a radio journalist, who was touched by all this - he himself got a new bicycle after complaining on a radio show that it was stolen from him - dug around a little and found out the guy was operating... from a mental institution.
He was diagnosed mentally ill. His own words; "over here they consider sharing a disease".
The disease that is called sharing... Personally I hope it is airborne and viral, very contagious and practically incurable. This world could do with a bit of sharing.
This recipe for Swedish Kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls) came to me by way of a baking friend. She got it from a new food channel, who got it from somewhere else, etc. Along the way tweaks were made in the recipe, and what you end up with are some really stunning, very tasty cinnamon rolls that are real easy to make. Maybe something for at the coffee table on Thanksgiving? For me, any old day will do to make them; they have become very popular quite fast in this household.
For the filling:
150 g almonds
150 g sugar
100 g unsalted butter
8 TS cinnamon
4 TBS water
For the dough
500 ml milk
150 g butter
12 g instant yeast
120 g sugar
13 gr. salt
1 TS cardamom
850 gr. bread flour
(pearl) sugar for decorating
Warm the milk and melt the butter into it. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom and bread flour. Make sure the milk has cooled enough before adding the yeast. 35° C is okay. Mix on low speed until the dough is nice and stretchy, around 10 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the filling. Pulse the almonds together with the sugar and the cinnamon in a processor until fine. Add the water and the butter to it and mix until well incorporated.
Rest your dough in an oiled container until almost doubled in size. The warmer it is the quicker it goes. About one hour or so. Next, roll out the dough to a big rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Make sure it doesn't stick, it makes working this dough much easier.
Put the cinnamon paste on half of the dough and fold it onto itself. Roll out again to even it out and cut the dough into strips. Form the rolls by stretching and winding the strip of dough, loosely, around your hand twice, go over the width of the roll and tuck in the end. No matter how you do it, it will always look lovely, so don't get too over zealous in trying to get them to look all the same!
Let the rolls proof until they are nice and plump, about 45 minutes. In a warm kitchen they might be ready within 30 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven to 200° C. Take out all the racks and prepare to bake on the second lowest rack.
Give the rolls an egg wash with the slightly beaten egg (use only egg yolk for a deeper, richer shine and a more dramatic contrast) and sprinkle with small sugar pearls if you have them. Normal sugar works as well, but won't look as classy. Bake for about 20-25 minutes with convection until they turn a deep golden brown. Let them cool on a rack and.... SHARE!
Rotisserie barbecued turkey (okay, so it's not bread)
Glenn (on the left) meets turkey (on the right).
Day after Thanksgiving breakfast
San Joaquin Sourdough Baguette
Cinnamon rolls & Pecan rolls (made in muffin tins using NY Baker's Babka dough)
Cinnamon rolls, for kids who don't eat nuts
Pecan rolls, for the rest of us
Glenn makes challah
He's on a roll!
You should have seen the one that got away!
Here's the proof
Ready to bake
Challah c rumb
The challah made fantastic turkey sandwiches!
And, for dessert, the much anticipated Apple Crostada, inspired by trailrunner!
Delicious! It had the flakiest, best tasting crust ever!
For better or worse, as I was enjoying a second slice while mentally reviewing the recipe, I realized a stick of butter actually is 8 tablespoons, not 4 tablespoons. That means I used 9 tablespoons of butter rather than the 5 T Caroline's recipe specified. No wonder the crust was so flakey!
I used to make my own cinnamon rolls with brown sugar and shredded apples as the topping before rolling up the whole wheat dough and cutting. Would agave or honey work or would it be too moist? I live in a very dry climate in AZ.
As I was feeding my starter (Ralph), rather than discarding I fed the discard and used it to make my first sourdough cinnamon rolls. I'm up to my ears with sourdough pancake mix and just couldn't bear to flush half of Ralph. I happened on the following recipe in COOKS.COM and with only very minor adjustments, I made the cinnamon rolls shown below.
SOURDOUGH CINNAMON ROLLS Printed from COOKS.COM
1/2 c. starter 1 c. evaporated milk 2 c. flour 1/4 c. butter 3 tbsp. sugar 1 egg 1 1/2 c. flour (approx.) 1/2 tsp. soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 2 tbsp. melted butter 1/4 c. brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 c. raisins 1/4 c. chopped nuts Melted butter
Combine starter, milk and flour (2 cups) in a large bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight. Next morning, beat together the butter, sugar, and egg. Blend into sourdough. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, soda, and baking powder and mix with other mixture. Turn out on floured surface and knead until shiny. Add flour as needed.
Roll out to an 8 x 16 inch rectangle. Brush surface with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and nuts. Roll up dough, cut roll at intervals, dip in butter and place in 9 inch square pan. Let rise about 1 hour and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
I eliminated the nuts (allergies) and used granulated white sugar rather than brown sugar (pantry deficiency). I made an orange glaze using the zest of one orange, juice of 1/2 orange and 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar. Waiting for them to cool before I can report on the taste but they smell devine.
One of my favorite things to do when I'm up overnight at our little mountain cabin is to make cinnamon rolls, with a long slow rise. I get a batch of dough going, and let it sit for a long time in a cool corner, to rise all day. Before turning in for the night I roll the dough out and shape the rolls. Sometimes I make them all the same size, and sometimes I make them look like mountain peaks, the way I've done in this recipe. They're just perfect the next morning with freshly brewed cabin coffee.
Cascade Cabin Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 8 large rolls
For the dough:
½ cup water at 100º
2 teaspoons yeast
2/3 cup milk, scalded and cooled
4 Tablespoons butter
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoons salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup flour for benchwork
For the filling:
2 Tablespoons butter, lightly melted
¾ cups raisins (I use golden raisins)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sugar
Make the dough: Mix the water and yeast in a 4-quart bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to foam. Scald the milk in a small saucepan and add the butter to the milk while it's cooling. Add the ¾ cup sugar, the salt and 2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture in the bowl and, when the milk has cooled to body heat add it as well. Stir with the handle of a wooden spoon for 200 beats to make a smooth batter.
Add the other 2 cups of flour and work it into the dough to incorporate. Make a ball with the dough, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5 minutes. Clean and dry the bowl.
Long rise: Put the dough ball into the bowl, cover with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap, and let sit in a corner to rise. Optimal temperature for this rise is 55-60º. If you can't achieve this temperature you may have to improvise by putting the dough by a doorway or on a cellar step. Let sit for 8 to 10 hours, punching down if the dough is super active.
Shape the rolls: Roll the dough into a 10" x 18" rectangle. If your cabin has no rolling pin use a wine bottle, as I do. Spread 2 Tablespoons of barely melted butter over the flattened dough.
Cut the dough into equal quarters, and then cut each quarter in half lengthwise at a 20º angle so that one end of each finished piece is 3" wide and the other 2".
Mix the raisins, cinnamon and sugar in a coffee cup and spoon equal portions along the center of each dough piece. When all the raisin mixture is distributed, roll each piece up, starting with the widest end and keeping one side flat as you roll.
Overnight rise: Arrange the somewhat unwieldy rolls in a buttered 8" square metal or glass pan. They'll want to flop some, so let them. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 7 hours at 55º.
Bake the rolls: In the morning, let the rolls sit near the morning fire for an hour to warm up some. Preheat the oven to 425º and, once hot, put in the rolls. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350º and bake for 25-30 minutes more. If the tops get too dark, drape a piece of foil over the rolls for the last 10 minutes.
When the rolls are baked, put down your snow shovel and grab some coffee. The rolls should probably cool for 30 minutes, but I really wouldn't know - I've never been able to wait that long!
Disclaimer: These results were obtained in a mountain cabin with thin insulation and a 40-year old electric stove. Rising and baking times will vary.
Here is a great recipe for not to sweet but delicious cinnamon buns. If anyone else has any good recipes please let me know. I am looking for something ideally a little flakier than this and more along the lines of a danish spiral, but with a cinnamon filling. Enjoy the recipe!
I finally tried making some cinnamon rolls and my wife and neighbors claimed they were the best they've had.Of course they would say that anyway.My real critics are my neighbors kids.They agreed with the others so I reckon they were OK.Here are couple pics.
AP Wheat flour (9,5% protein, i.e. nothing special)
Milk 250 ml
Sour cream 100 ml
Yeast, more than for your ordinary non sweet doughs.
Rest for 45 min
White syrup (or sugar, but white plain syrup makes it more moist)
Ground cardamom seeds. First roast them quickly on the stove until they crack open, then grind the black seeds inside.
Some more flour or any old white dough lying around.
200g butter in cubes at room temperature is added slowly after 4-5 minutes of machine action.
Rest, divide if necessary and shape each to a smooth heap, rest again. Roll out to 0,3-0.5 cm thickness.
Spread evenly with a soft mix of:
Roll together. Be careful not to roll to thin. Rolling "back" to a thicker size creates a less attractive end result. With QUICK cuts and a non-jagged knife cut the roll in around 3 cm thick slices. Place with minimal space apart on a baking sheet. Not totally together but tight together. Optional: Fill the small spaces in between each roll with raspberry jam.
Let it rise, possibly in a mildly heated and dampened oven, though careful not to melt the butter filling.
Brush with a whisked mixture of
2 tbsp water
A pinch of salt
Sprinkle over some chopped nuts or almonds.
Bake for about 15 min at 225 degrees C in the middle of the oven.
Cool as quickly as possible perhaps even outside to retain moisture. When cool, garnish with some icing sugar, lemon juice or water mixed to form a thick paste. When half was used i dropped a few drops of Grenadine in what was left and got two colors.
The result from real butter, sour cream, white syrup gives a fantastic taste and moisture while the pre-dough procedure ensures a stronger gluten structure to form and support the rise without the interference of too much sugar initially. As you can see from the picture I only filled some of the gaps with raspberry jam, but the result was good and next time I'll fill them consistantly.
Adapted from the recipe in Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
I'm finding the sweet dough as he made it too sweet. 6.5 tablespoons of sugar is just too much to me. I reduced it a little in my final dough, but just by 1/2 a tablespoon. The next time I make this it will be with the amount I show here.
6 tablespoons butter, shortening, or margerine (I used butter, but that's a taste thing)
4.5 tablespoons sugar (evaporated cane juice here)
1.5 teaspoons salt (slightly course sea salt)
1 pound flour
2.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup buttermilk
Cream first 3 ingredients. I proofed the yeast in about 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, lukewarm, then added that with the rest of the milk with the rest of the ingredients. I mixed for about 10-12 minutes by hand until the dough was starting to come together really well and the gluten had started forming, then did 2 stretch and folds at 40 minute intervals, letting the dough have an hour before shaping and proofing. I filled the rolls with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar and proofed them for about an hour before putting them in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.
This produced the lightest, flakiest cinnamon rolls I've made to date. I really love them. I have a feeling that this may become my go-to sweet dough.
Sorry about the no picture thing. Maybe tomorrow if they're not all gone. :)