The Fresh Loaf

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More baking - Inside The Jewish Bakery and more biscuits etc

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dawkins's picture
dawkins

More baking - Inside The Jewish Bakery and more biscuits etc

Well, I'm having a busy baking week(end), getting the last few of my Christmas biscuits and the like made, ready to post to my relatives across Europe. I also made the Mohn Bars from the Inside the Jewish Bakery challenge, which will be part of the Christmas treats delivery too.

We ran out of bread on Thursday, so on Friday night, with some kneading help from my other half (on account of my still sore operation-recovering back), I made a stab at the Honey Wholewheat Challah from ITJB, and pretty tasty it is too. The texture seemed a bit variable to me, and the plaiting definitely needs work, but the taste was really good, toasted or plain, with cheese, peanut butter or alongside soup. I'm looking forward to having another go at this in a couple of weeks for the challenge, and hopefully improving.

Finally, I'm probably going to make my stollen today, since I inadvertently left the butter out and it needs using up now! Oh and maybe make the florentines a week early, purely to get them into the biscuit box distribution as well...

Excuse the blurring on the challah photo: my other half is a graphic designer and can't help styling shots (means I get great photos taken, mind you). I'll try and take a more prosaic snap of the crumb later. 

Edit: I made the florentines too - one to cross-post on the challenge next week, with more detail.

Comments

chefscook's picture
chefscook

Nice looking braided breads
Chefscook

dawkins's picture
dawkins

I hadn't made challah before, but the instructions in Inside The Jewish Bakery were pretty good. It gives a really smart look, I think, so I'll definitely do it again.

varda's picture
varda

over the edge.   I just ordered ITJB.   The pictures of the Challah are fabulous.   I don't know what a Mohn bar is but now I have to make them.   Thanks for posting.  -Varda

dawkins's picture
dawkins

..because I was inspired to buy it and join the challenge by seeing the photos of Norm's Onion Rolls posted on the site and trying the recipe. Hope you have fun with it! Thanks for the challah comment - you should see the ones in the book though: 6 strands, 8 strands - they're amazing.

linder's picture
linder

Hi Dawkins,

I'm working on the Mohn Bars today and had a question regarding the filling.  When you finished cooking the poppy seed filling was the consistency pretty dry or rather soft?  The book says it should be the consistency of cooked farina, but that seems kind of runny to me.  What was your filling like when you finished cooking it, before spreading it on the cookie base?

Thanks

Linda

dawkins's picture
dawkins

Well, I'm really no expert, and had to ask for advice too - and was told it shouldn't be too wet. What I did was cook the mix for a bit longer than it said, used boiling water from the start and kept adding water in dribs and drabs, so it was absorbed and softened up the mixture. I'm guessing farina is like wet polenta in consistency? I cooked mine to be drier than that. I'm also thinking that my manual grinder might not have ground the seeds as finely as say, a spice grinder. I ended up with what I'd call a moist, slightly grainy texture - not runny. I just kept adding little bits of water and cooking and testing until I was happy with the taste.  That said, it was tricky to spread - I used the back of a spoon, oiled - maybe having it a bit runnier would make it easier to spread but I was concerned about it making the base dough soggy. Hope that helps - let me know if you need anything else and I'll do my amateurish best to help. :o)

linder's picture
linder

Thank you, Dawkins.  I'll see how it all works out.  The cookie dough base is in the oven baking now - 10-12 minutes just doesn't even make the dough the slightest bit colored, so I'm baking it another 5 minutes, maybe more to get a little color in the top.  The dough had just come out of the fridge so maybe that is making it take its dear old sweet time. 

I ended up using a spice grinder to get the poppyseeds to a 'cornmeal' texture.  My food processor just didn't cut it (so to speak).  My poppyseed mixture may be overly wet, we'll see. Initially when I started cooking it, the 1/2 cup water made a paste that would never boil since there was not enough liquid.  I slowly added tablespoons (many) over the course of the 15 minute boil to be sure not to burn it.  I may have erred in the opposite direction. I'll post some pics when done.

KMIAA's picture
KMIAA

I made the poppy seed filling but did not care for the taste at all.  I used the proper ingredients, weighed everything.  I must have done something wrong but can't figure out what I did, 

dawkins's picture
dawkins

My experience with poppy seeds is that they go off very very quickly. (I always store them in the fridge.) In fact, as happened with my first batch of filling for the challenge, sometimes the seeds are off when you buy them. When I opened the first bags I'd bought, I thought they smelled a bit off but wasn't sure, so I went ahead with grinding and cooking them. Sure enough, when I tasted the mixture it was sweet initially, but then had a bitter note at the end - nasty! A new batch of seeds, carefully tasted first, fixed the problem. So, it is possible that that was the problem, rather than anything you did.
When they've gone off, they have a faint musty or rancid smell - if you've ever smelled sunflower seeds or nuts that are turning, you'll know what I mean. If you take a pinch of them and chew them up, you'll get a bitter after taste, whereas fresher ones just taste sort of nutty. Here in the UK, I bought the good ones from Waitrose, so if you're in the UK I'd recommend them. Otherwise, anywhere that has a fast turnover of stock, I suppose.
Hope this is helpful - It's such a pain when things don't turn out right, I know, and not cheap either!

KMIAA's picture
KMIAA

I've been keeping mine in the freezer.  I think my processor didn't process them enough.  The filling didn't look like anyone elses.