Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread - BBA Challenge #11

If you like cranberries and walnuts, this week bread is for you.

This dough can be baked in a loaf pan, as freestanding boules or braided.
The braids stacked on top of each other:

Here, the top braid listing to the left. I tried to encourage it back to the right before popping it in the oven but it wouldn't budge.

The crumb shot. This bread had a lot of cranberries and walnuts. It tasted great plain or toasted.
Up next... English muffins.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Corn Bread - BBA Challenge #10

Being a true southern girl, I'm not allowed to make corn bread unless it's in a well seasoned iron skillet. I believe my grandmother would turn over in her grave if I even thought about it.

Although I was raised with cornbread at every meal, it was never my favorite.... until now. This corn bread is amazing. Moist, sweet, and with lots of bacon. It's almost a meal in itself.

We start this recipe by soaking the polenta overnight in buttermilk & leaving it covered on the counter. I was a little hesitant to leave it on the counter overnight but when I checked it the following day, it still smelled fine. hmmm. Interesting.

I mixed the baking powder, salt and baking soda with unbleached AP flour.
Added the white and brown sugar.

My mess-in-place....

I mixed all the liquid ingredients in well then added the corn. (note to self, defrost the corn first! duh!)

The directions state that the corn bread cooks in 30 minutes.... After 55 minutes, with an internal temp of 160, I grab it out of the oven, wrapped in in heavy foil, and put it in a short, thick box and drove off with it. I was five minutes late to Bible study... and I was the one with all the food. Boy were people glad to see me! :-D (I believe the frozen corn is why it took so long to cook. What was I thinking?)

The corn bread was still moist inside but not raw. (whew!) Everyone loved it. I had to hide a piece to take home so I could have a crumb shot.

How good was it? Rick requested it for breakfast! (is that man after my heart or what?)
(Yes, we ate more than just corn bread for Bible study...but that's another post...)

Coming up next.... Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread.
What are you waiting for? Buy a copy of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and join us. We're a friendly group.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread- BBA Challenge #9

I decided to play with this recipe a bit to see if I could develop a deeper flavor. I created a sponge using part of the ingredients. (1/2 cup buttermilk, 3/4 cup water, 1 1/4 cup bread flour, 1 tsp yeast, 4 tsp sugar) I whisked it for 1 minute than covered the sponge with the rest of the dry ingredients minus the salt. (2 1/4 c flour, 1 tsp yeast, 1 1/4 t cinnamon) Typically, I'd let this sit at room temperature for one hour than put it in the fridge over night but I ran out of time so I let this sit at room temperature for four hours before mixing. Below you see the sponge breaking through the flour mixture.

After four hours, I added the egg and shortening and mix with the dough hook for 1 minute to for a rough dough. I covered the bowl and let the dough autolyse for 20 minutes.

After 20 minute autolyse:

I added the 1 1/4 t salt and mixed on KA #4 for 6 minutes

I added the raisins and walnuts in the last minute than finished the kneading by hand.

The dough doubled in 1 hour

I didn't have an 8x4 pan, so I shaped 2/3 of the dough and placed it in my 9x5 pan
Here's the dough after 90 minutes, ready for the oven. To reduce gaps in the cinnamon spiral, I let the dough overproof so I wouldn't have much of an oven spring.

Final bread cut in half

With the extra dough, I made small cinnamon rolls.

Finished rolls.

Rick has been on pins and needles waiting for this week. He loves raisins. He really enjoyed this bread. Rick said the bread was light, chewy and soft with a slight molasses taste.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls - BBA Challenge #8

Here we are at week 8 of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. We are baking our way through Peter Reinhart's book "Bread Baker's Apprentice" in the order recipes appear in the book.

I have been looking forward to this week. So much so, that I even turned my brioche in week 4 into cinnamon buns. I wonder what other doughs I can turn into cinnamon rolls? :-)

I must say, the lemon zest in this recipe made the most wonderful smelling dough ever!

I rolled the dough out into a 12 x 14 square. (that left corner was being a pain)

I spread egg whites over the dough to hold the cinnamon sugar instead of butter. (a tip I learned from Rose Beranbaum) I also used my own cinnamon sugar recipe instead of Reinharts (3/4 c dark brown sugar, 1/4 white sugar, 2 t Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon, and a pinch of salt)

To avoid distortion, I used a piece of white thread to cut the slices. (slide the thread under the dough, pick up the right thread with your right hand, the left with the left, going over the top of the dough, move the right thread to your left hand and the left to your right hand. Now, at the same time, pull the thread in your right hand to the right and the thread in your left hand to the left)

Violia! A perfect slice

Place the slice piece on a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

I covered them and placed them in the refrigerator until 2AM

I popped them into the oven at 5:30 sharp, baked for 25 minutes then cooled them on a rack for 10 minutes.

I iced them using a poured fondant, snapped a few pictures, then handed them to my husband to take to his 6:15 Bible study. Ummmm. These smell awesome.
I relaxed, thinking I had safely escorted all the calories out of the house but not so. Rick stopped by on his way to work with a left over roll. (he knows they are my absolute favorite. Wasn't that sweet of him to go out of his way?)

Sigh.... I pour myself a cup of coffee, sat in my favorite chair and savoured each calorie. Thanks Honey!

You can find the recipe here (I had to add an additional 6 TBS of bread flour)

Here's a video of using dental floss to cut the rolls: