Category Archives: Breads

Savory Wheat Crackers

When I think about crackers, almost instantly I hear in my head: “Snackers crave crackers!” repeated gazillions of times. This week our Tuesday with Dorie baking group is cracking it up with Savory Wheat Crackers by contributing bakers Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

The ingredients for the recipe are the usual basic suspects: whole wheat flour, water, and salt. The seeds that are sprinkled on top of the crackers: sesame, anise, and nigella, are the more intriguing ones.

savory_crackers

If you are wondering what the heck are nigella seeds, they are not Nigella Lawson’s signature creation but a part of the nigella sativa plant and also known as black cumin. I had tasted nigella seeds in the past, typically sprinkled on flat breads but I had never purchased any.

So off I went to my favorite Iranian store where I presumably bought nigella seeds. I found a little box with tiny black things inside with no labeling or anything on it. At the cash register, I asked about the contents of the box, but in return I only got the Farsi name of the product I was buying. I was worried I am buying coal! The lady I spoke with kept pointing towards her eyes when she was trying to craft a story about that mystery ingredient. And I gave in…I bought the box and kept thinking that if we ingest some coal it won’t be that bad. Activated carbon is used to treat poisoning after all. So after I mixed the dough for the crackers, I assumed the role of the test subject and chewed a few of the black thingies. I enjoyed the taste so I topped the crackers with them. I am still not 100% sure they were nigella seeds but they sure looked the part 🙂

savory_wheat_crackers

If you have a pasta machine, rolling the dough for the crackers is super fast and efficient. The baking time for my crackers was around the 7 min mark. We enjoyed the crackers with soup and for some late night snacking on their own. Taste-wise they are similar to toasted pitas. Not a bad recipe but nothing worth a wow either.

Follow the link to the recipe.

Onion Bialys

Have you had a bialy before?

This week our Tuesday with Dorie baking group is exploring a culinary baked goodie from Bialystok, Poland. Similar to a bagel, the bialy has it’s own personality thanks to the sautéed onions that are sprinkled on top of this doughy roll.

onion bialy

So, here is my question. If we have one bialy, we should have more than one bialies. Or is the plural form an exception to the rule so we could always associate the bialy with Bialystok?

Back to onion bialys. The recipe is by contributing baker Lauren Groveman. And that sautéed onion makes all the difference. My husband keeps saying that when I start frying onions, he can’t think of anything else… We enjoyed the bialys for lunch slathered with veggie cheese spread (cottage cheese, greek yogurt, fresh veggies, spices, extra virgin olive oil) along with curried cauliflower soup. Comfort food, indeed!

onion bialy peek

I made half a recipe and we did not completely O. D.

Shortening is a major page-turner in a cookbook for me. The onions got sautéed in grapeseed oil and I also used some whole wheat flour. I washed the bialys with an egg white before heavily sprinkling them with poppy seeds.

Country Bread

Happy New Year, Everyone! This is our first Tuesdays with Dorie post for 2014! Our recipe is for Country Bread by contributing baker Joe Ortiz.

country bread

Coincidence or not I bought a banneton in December and I did not get to use it with everything else going on. I have never used a banneton in the past so I was excited to try to proof the country bread dough in it.

country bread top

According to Dorie, with this country bread loaf you get the look of Pain de Campagne without having to deal with levain. This recipe takes around 12 hours of rising time for the dough plus one hour for baking. I started on Friday night and baked the bread on Sunday. I refrigerated the sponge overnight and the following day I did the two rises of the dough and put the dough in the fridge again. On Sunday, once I pre-heated the oven, I took the dough from the fridge and put it straight onto the baking sheet.

country bread slice

This bread is dense and crusty. The taste reminded us of hearty whole wheat bread. So far we enjoyed it with soup, we also made avocado and Asiago cheese sandwiches and PB & dark chocolate toast.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! And Happy 2014!

If you would like to see Joe Ortiz in action, please visit the PBS web site.

Challah

It’s Hanukkah! Imagine how many families around the world are breaking challah, the quintessential Jewish bread, as part of their celebratory meals and gatherings! We are proud to join in as part of our Tuesday with Dorie baking group.

challah

The challah recipe is by contributing baker Lauren Groveman. It is a brioche type of bread that is less sweet and less buttery than the traditional brioche. What goes into the dough seems to vary based on the different recipes, however, as some fellow bakers commented this recipe is not pareve and cannot be eaten with meat dishes.

challah_zig_zag

Braiding the challah is fun. I went with the traditional three-stranded braid. Don’t you love the zig-zags on top? But there are other possibilities of how to shape the bread. Think six-stranded braid or two braids on top of one another!

challah_slice

We tasted the bread right out of the oven, however, the taste was a bit to eggy to be enjoyed with our dinner. The remaining of the loaf stayed on the kitchen counter for a few days, then it went into the freezer, then it went into the slow cooker and transformed itself into an apple bread pudding.

bread_pudding

The bottom crust of the challah became too thick for my liking. That seems to be a problem that I keep experiencing with brioche dough. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Pumpernickel Loaves

This week our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is combining unusual ingredients and making pumpernickel loaves. Dark chocolate, espresso powder, molasses, and prune lekvar blend nicely in a delicious bread recipe by contributing baker Lauren Groveman.

reuben sandwich

I made half the recipe and substituted the unsalted butter for olive oil and I skipped the shortening all together. We had a KitchenAid mediated communication with the dough. After the second rise, I refrigerated the dough and rolled and shaped it the next morning. The plan was to have Reuben sandwiches for Sunday’s lunch.

Just started reading Julia Child’s My Life in France. What are the chances that she and her husband had arrived on November 3rd at Le Havre, France – the very same day I was making one of her recipes? And also the very first meal that she describes having in Paris included oysters served with rounds of pale rye bread…

Back to Reuben sandwiches. Or should I say 3 by 3 Reuben sandwiches – three layers of sour cabbage, cashews, tempeh, and Asiago cheese topped with sprouts, red peppers, and mizuna greens on toasted pumpernickel.

Sour Cabbage and Cashew Spread

Ingredients

450 gr sour cabbage, drained well
150 gr raw cashews
3 tbs fresh dill
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
black pepper

Place ingredients in a food processor fitted with the ‘S’ blade and process until smooth.

Very delicious bread! We also tried it with tahini and honey and the agreement is that this bread is better suited for savory toppings. The recipe is lengthy but super easy and this video explains it beautifully.

Rustic Potato Loaves

Bread with a mashed potato inside, anyone? This week our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is making a potato bread using a recipe contributed by Leslie Mackie.

Grain shortages and slowing down economy back in the day are to blame for the birth of the Potato Bread. Later on bakers discovered that potatoes and yeast are good friends indeed and when they play nicely together they create a nutty yet light bread with a deep dark crust.

This is one amazing tasting bread! The recipe yields two loaves. I made one plain that we toasted and enjoyed with Seville orange marmalade for breakfast.

potato_bread_toast

Delicious Seville Orange Marmalade or do you prefer a confiture?

orange_marmalade

The second loaf was a savory one that we enjoyed for dinner. I rolled the dough into a rectangle and I spread it with ½ cup parsley, 1 egg, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 200 gr ricotta, and 100 gr feta cheese. Then starting at the long side of the rectangle, I rolled it up and pinched the seam to seal.

potato_bread

If you would like to mash some potatoes and add them to your bread dough, please visit Dawn at Simply Sweet, who is the host for this week’s recipe.

Failure and Success

The failure…

Focaccia

Our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group’s kitchens are emitting yeasty smells because this week we are baking Focaccia!

I imagined the warm bread coming out of the oven drizzled with olive oil and generously sprinkled with zaatar (Middle Eastern dried spice made from dried herbs, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt) and I was hoping that:

(a) testing the limits of my Kitchen Aid mixer when mixing the dough
(b) leaving the dough in the fridge for more than 24 hours
(c)  in super glorious Ikea zip lock bags with stripes

would get me a fluffy focaccia, but alas this became my FFF – flat fail focaccia…Two questions remain:

(1) What do I do with the other two bags of dough that are still in the fridge?
(2) What went wrong with this bake?

After the scars from this baking experience heal a bit, I will be giving this recipe another try. Well, maybe…

IMG_2555

A coincidence or not that happened on the last day of the Canadian Penny.

Please visit Sharmini of Wandering Through to see how actually the focaccia should look like!

The success…

French Apple Tart

I am so glad pies and tarts have their different nuances! Pies are flaky and crispy. Tarts are crumbly, tender, and buttery.

The French Apple Tart that our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group baked on January 22, 2013 was by the contributing baker Leslie Mackie. I did not have a chance to bake the tart earlier, so I am trying to catch up with this recipe today.

The French Apple Tart recipe uses a traditional pie dough that is filled with oven baked and pureed apples and topped with a stunning apple rosette.

Since I rather prefer crumbly to flaky crusts made with shortening, I used Pierre Hermé’s Sweet Tart Dough. I baked his Nutella Tart using this dough recently and it was indeed perfect! As a matter of fact, this is how he calls it – Perfect Tart Dough!

After the Pierre Hermé’s perfect tart crust was baked and chilled, I filled it with the apple compote. I used one generous teaspoon of cinnamon and substituted the bread crumbs in the filling with ½ a cup of quick cooking oats. Arranging the rosette on top of the tart was fun and challenging. There were some apple rosette shrinkage, but nothing a superior taste can’t fix!

IMG_2531

If you would like to learn how to do an apple rosette, please visit Law of the Kitchen who was the host for the recipe.

Pierre Hermé’s Sweet Tart Dough

Adapted from Desserts by Pierre Hermé by Pierre Hermé and Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

Note: These ingredients are sufficient for three 10-inch tarts or four 9-inch tarts.

10 oz (285 g), unsalted butter at room temperature
150 g (1 ½ cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
100 g (1/2 cup) finely ground blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean pulp or pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
490 g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

 Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until creamy.
  2. Add the sugar and mix.
  3. Add the ground almonds, salt, and vanilla pulp and mix.
  4. Add the eggs and mix.
  5. With the mixer still on low, add the flour in three additions.
  6. Mix until the ingredients form a soft and pliable dough that holds together. Do not overmix.
  7. Divide the dough into balls and wrap each ball in plastic, gently pressing each ball into a disk.
  8. Allow the dough to rest for at least 4 hours and for up to 2 days.
  9. If you are not planning on using all the dough, it freezes very well up to a month.
  10. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle.
  11. Butter a tart pan with a removable bottom and transfer the rolled dough to the tart pan.
  12. Prick the crust all over and chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  13. To bake the crust, preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and position the rack in the middle. Line each crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (I use rice). If your tart pan is dark-colored like mine, preheat your oven to 325F.
  14. To partially bake, bake the crust for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the pie weights and foil. Return the tart to the oven and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  15. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow the crust to completely cool before you fill it in.

Pizza with Onion Confit

Our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is starting 2013 with a pizza recipe. Not an ordinary pizza, but one that has onion confit as a main topping instead of the more traditional tomato sauce! Or should I say Confit D’Oignon?

The original recipe does not specify the types of onions that should be used for the confit. I used equal amounts of yellow and red onions. Shallots and leeks would be excellent also. Red wine and Crème de Casis added a much appreciated flavor to the orange marmalade. White wine or Cognac would be worthy replacements.

pizza_onion_confit

 

And a half-eaten slice featuring the crust:

pizza_onion_confit_slice

Since one of my favorite winter salads by the name of Beets Caviar is made of caramelized onions, steamed beets, and pickles I decided to use a similar toping combo for the pizza. Sunday dinner was delicious with Onion Confit Pizza topped with steamed beets, pickles, goat cheese, and walnuts! And of course a glass of young pinot noir…

Please visit Paul from The Boy Can Bake who is hosting the recipe for this pizza of Provence.

Finnish Pulla

Our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is getting ready for the Holiday season Scandinavian style. Finnish Pulla is our last recipe for 2012!

finnish_pulla

The name sounds quite exotic, doesn’t it? Pulla is a sweet cardamom spiced bread that is traditionally braided, sprinkled with pearl sugar, and served for breakfast.

Instead of using white sugar in the dough I opted for Bob’s Red Mills date sugar. After I rolled the dough into a large rectangle, I sprinkled it with ½ cup dried cranberries, soaked overnight in Marsala wine, ½ cup almonds, orange zest. I rolled the dough and I cut it in half lengthwise and I braided the two strands.

finnish_pulla_progress

We loved the cardamom kick! The bread reminds me of a traditional Easter bread that we make. Maybe this is why I have the feeling that Spring is around the corner although I am planning snowshoeing hikes and ski trips 🙂

Please visit Erin from The Daily Morsel who is hosting the recipe for this Finnish delight.

Wishing you a happy holiday season filled with peace, love, happiness, and delicious food wherever you might be!

Bagels

New York-style bagels and Montreal-style bagels are the two most popular styles of traditional bagels in North America. New York bagels tend to be puffy and salty and Montreal bagels are crunchy and honey-tasting. Mmmmmm! Yes, you can get New York-style bagels in Montreal and can you get Montreal-style bagels in New York.

According to Maxine, there are 212 varieties of bagels. Some of the most known are: poppy, sesame, garlic, onion, everything, chocolate chips, cinnamon raisin, whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel, blueberry, musli, jalapeno.

From Maxine.com

This week our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is shaping bagels. The recipe is by the contributing baker Lauren Groveman. Considering the ingredients list, this recipe might be a hybrid of the most popular styles of bagels.

Little did I know that I was going to bake bagels couple of years after visiting and taking pictures at the bakery below. Can you recognize the place?

I used an overnight starter for extra flavor, bread flour because of its higher gluten content and I skipped the sugar and shortening in the dough. I did not glaze the bagels with egg whites but with water. I also had to bake the bagels at 425F for 20 minutes. Yes, I baked the most popular bagel flavor. Can you guess which one of the three?

If you would like to exercise your face muscles chewing bagels, please visit Heather at Heather’s Bytes who is the host this week.

Tip: I highly recommend the step-by-step instructions on how to make and shape bagels on the King Arthur Flour blog.

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