Monday, August 30, 2010

Macaroni and cheese...

...I love you. I really, really do. I mean, cheddar, mozzarella...what more can you ask for?

Thank you Ree Drummond for this wonderful recipe .

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bakers weekends

They are always so fun, even if you're not actually "baking" anything in an oven...Stovetops count, right? I must say, nothing beats having homemade pancakes for breakfast...lunch...and dinner. Since I am so avidly into baking sourdough related items, it always bring me great joy when I make the King Arthur Sourdough Pancakes/Waffles. With that being said...bon apetite!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oh Ciabatta.

Jason's Quick Ciabatta. I decided to make this today, and I have to say, DELICIOUS. I did very little modifications to the recipe except to cold retard the dough after an hour do to life getting in the way. This is absolutely delicious. The crumb is nice and soft and sweet, the crust is perfect. Yum.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


'Nuff Said
I added about a cup of frozen blueberries and a splash of vanilla. Deeeelicious.

Friday, August 6, 2010

More sour??

Yipee!! So as an experimentation in voyeurism, I decided to make Daniel Leader's, French Country Boule (page 90 of Daniel Leader's: Local Breads)

The recipe goes something like this:
Liquid Levain Starter:
50 g Liquid Levain
175 g Water, Tepid
135 g Type 55-style flour from King Arthur or Giusto's or unbleached AP flour

Prepare the levain. Pour 50 grams of liquid levain into a small bowl. Refresh the remaining levain according to how you like it. Pour in the water and stir with a rubber spatula. The levain with froth. Mix in the flour until the mixture is fairly smooth. Some lumps are ok, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature (70-75*F) for eight to twelve hours. When ready, it will have expanded by about one third and the surface will be bubbly, like a large pancake ready to be flipped. It will have a wheaty, fruity, mildly tangy aroma.

Bread Dough:
250 g Water, tepid
440 g Type 55-style flour from King Arthur's or Giusto's or unbleached AP flour
30 g stone ground whole wheat flour
30 g fine or medium rye flour
310 g liquid levain starter
10 g sea salt

Mix the dough. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the bread flour, whole wheat flour, and rye flour and stir with a rubber spatula just until it absorbs all the water and a rough dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to hydrate the flour and give the gluten a chance to develop on its own.

Add the levain and salt. Stir the levain with the spatula and deflate it. Scrape it into the bowl of dough. Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Use the spatula to blend the levain and salt into the dough. (At this point, I was super frustrated using this method and just dived straight in with the dough hook.)

Knead the dough. By hand: Lightly dust the counter with flour. Scrape the dough onto the counter and knead with steady, relaxed strokes for 10 to 12 minutes. Flour your hands as often as necessary but resist adding more flour to the dough. As you continue to knead, the dough will gradually become smooth, resilient, and tacky. Give the dough a windowpane test to judge its readiness; Pinch off a golfball-sized piece and flatten it into a mini pancake. Gently stretch it until the dough is thin enough to see through. If it tears, press it back into the larger mass and continue kneading for 1-2 minutes more and test again.
By machine: Use the dough hook and mix the dough on medium speed until it is smooth, 8-9 minutes. It will be soft and tacky, but will clean the sides of the bowl. Give the dough a windowpane test to judge readiness.

Ferment the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clear, straight-sided 2 quart container with a lid. With masking tape, mark the spot on the container that the dough will reach when it has doubled in volume. Cover and leave it to rise at room temperature (70-75*F) until it inflates into a dome and reaches the masking tape, 2.5-3.5 hours. It will feel springy and less sticky. *It is at this step that I added a stretch and fold at 1.5 hours because I noticed the dough was spreading quite a bit and getting soupier, which I suspect happened because I did not mix the dough long enough.

Divide and Shape the Boules. Heavily dust the bannetons or the two bowls lined with kitchen towels with flour. Lightly dust the counter with flour. Scrape the dough onto the counter. With a bench scraper or chef's knife, cut the dough into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a boule. If you don't achieve a perfect round, leave it. It's important not to overwork the dough. Place each round, smooth side down, in a prepared banneton or bowl. Lightly sprinkle with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

**Proof the boules. Let the boules stand at room temperature until they become pillowy and nearly double in size, 1-1.5 hours. When you press your fingertip into the dough, the indentations will spring back.

Prepare the oven. About one hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and cast-iron skillet on the lower rack. Heat the oven to 450*F.

Score the boules. Lightly flour a bakers peel or rimless baking sheet. Uncover the loaves and tip them out onto the peel or sheet, guiding them for a soft landing and arranging them at least 2 inches apart. With a lame, or a serrated knife, make 3 parallel slashes centered on each loaf, each about 1/2" deep.

Bake the Boules. Slide the loaves, still on the parchment, onto the baking stone. Place 1/2 cup of ice cubes in the skillet to produce steam. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400*F and continue to bake until the boules are red-brown, 20-25 minutes.

Cool and store the loaves. Slide the peel or rimless baking sheet under the parchment paper to remove the loves from the oven. Slide the loaves, onto a wire rack to cool.

*It is at this step that I added a stretch and fold at 1.5 hours because I noticed the dough was spreading quite a bit and getting soupier, which I suspect happened because I did not mix the dough long enough.
**It is at this step that I shaped the loaves, let it rest for 15 and then stuck it in the fridge, seeing as it was getting late again.

And the result? I can't say I was too pleased with how awful looking the bread came out to be...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eat with your eyes...

...not with your mind. Thank you Martha Stewart Cupcakes.

The recipe follows as:
2 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising, sifted
2 Tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 Large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon red-gel food colouring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Makes 24 standard cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Mix in food colour and vanilla.

3. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a separate bowl, add to the batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to two months in air tight containers.

5. To finish, use a small off set spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to three days in airtight containers, bring to room temperature before serving.

I did a small variation on this. Rather than making the standard sizing, I had opted to make mini cupcakes. The only big thing was that I had baked for about 12 minutes rather than the twenty, as instructed. I do find that these cupcakes are a bit on the greasy side, so next time I'm going to try using sweetened apple sauce, removing half the sugar and half a cup of oil.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yup, I did it again...

...ANOTHER loaf of Norwich Sourdough is hanging out on the counter proofing away.

I did an odd variation of this dough and I am not sure how this one is going to turn out...for one, I fed the starter with white bread flour, which made it a very stringy, gross looking mass. I can honestly say I have NEVER seen my dough behave like this before. I also subbed in 20grams of whole wheat flour. While Susan uses malted unbleached AP, I use whatever AP flour is laying around. I had also meant to sub out 2% of the AP flour with diastatic malt to see what happens, but alas, my memory has once again short circuited.

I have to say, slicing into the bread, the texture was absolutely horrendous. The crumb was far too gummy. Not to self, don't use bread flour for starter.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


They're so wonderful! I made Susan's Baguettes with Poolish and I have to say, they turned out wonderful. The texture was so light and airy, the crumb was wonderful and the crust was perfect. The colour is not as dark as the original, but that is only an aesthetic thing. I am definitely going to make this again!

As for the recipe itself, the only major "modification" that I did to this recipe was half it, using Bakers Percentages (there are four parts total) and shortened the fermenting time by 20 minutes, and 15 minutes, respectively. The colour was not as dark because I ran into problems with the actual loading of the bread, and lost too much heat, which is probably for the better anyway, since the crust came out quite a bit softer than it seems like it should have been.

Friday, July 16, 2010

It is with regret..

...that I have accidentally deleted my post on Sourdough English Muffins. However, my wonderful little friend was amazing enough to RESCUE this post! WEE!!
Who knew these lil buggers could be so tasty? I just tried my hand at them for the first time, and they turned out pretty darned awesome! This is a nice change from the conventional English Muffin in that a whole wheat starter was used, which makes the muffins nice and filling to eat and it also adds a lovely texture to them. The only difference with what I did in this go was to cut the muffins into far too large squares which works out for the better anyhow since I'm limited to eating only one piece. Yum!



Crumb shot:

Many thanks to the Wild Yeast blog for this wonderful recipe!

Sourdough English Muffins!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

More sourdough??

Yup, that's right, more sourdough! On my quest to eat better and be in much better shape to get ready for ROGUE, I have decided to make Susan's Fruit and Nut Sourdough Somewhere in my head...I've decided dried fruits and nuts work well with carbs when pushing 21km...right? Right?!

Anyhow, slight modifications were made in this recipe. I reduced the salt down to 4g's because I was using salted nuts. I also didn't use her exact nut mixture. Instead I put in walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds, craisins, dried cherries, golden and sultana raisins and sunflower seeds and something else, which added up to 200g's total. I also found the dough quite difficult to work with since it was so sticky so as I added the fruit and nut mixture so what I did was wet my hands repeatedly.

Also, rather than the 2.5 final rest before baking, that had been shortened to 1 hour and then refridgerated. This was done because of my poor time management. Waiting would have led into the wee hours of the early morning!
Anyway, there's the final loaf. There's obviously not a lot of oven spring there, since the dough did over proof in the fridge. I am going to cut down on the amount of starter in the fridge and hopefully that will improve situations a bit. Other wise, apart from the bread being far too dense, the flavour is AWESOME by its own rights and definitely something I'm going to make again sooner rather than later.