Tuesdays with Dorie: Challah

Oh, Hello!

I know its been a while. I’ve been baking. but not blogging or taking pictures. Life has been  CRAZY. My boys started kindergarten in August. So, I’ve got three kids in three different classes, and that means 3 different teachers who want my time. Which is a lot. Plus, I’m training for another marathon, and planning another Ragnar Relay. so, I’m busy. But hopefully I’ll be back here more often. Gotta get back into the habit..

So, that brings us to this week’s assignment: Challah. I’ve baked this one before, and I bake challah almost every week for french toast or for my synagogue. My standard recipe is from Marcy Goldman and uses fresh yeast. This recipe isn’t really all that different except that it uses milk and butter. Which makes this bread delicious. BUT it makes the bread dairy (duh). But people who keep kosher don’t mix meat and milk, and challah is traditionally served at shabbat dinner. In most homes Shabbat dinner is a meat meal–soup, roast chicken, etc. And so a bread with milk and butter in it just won’t fly.

I mixed it up this morning when I realized that we were running low on french toast. I managed to get it all kneaded together before we left for school and popped it in the fridge to rise. In the evening I braided it, let it rise and baked it off.
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of course, my house smelled delicious.

I sliced into it today to taste it with some butter. It was delicious. Tomorrow it’ll turn into about 20 slices for French toast.

To see some other lovely examples of this challah, visit the LYL post at Tuesdays with Dorie

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Cheese and Tomato Galette

I was both looking forward to and dreading this recipe. It uses the same dough as the blueberry peach gallette that I made last summer, and if my memory serves correctly, it was not a joy to work with, even though it was delicious.

No matter, I set out to make the dough again. Flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and cold butter go into a bowl
Untitledthe butter gets ‘cut’ in (this job is so much easier with a pastry blender than with my warm hands) and an ice water/sour cream mixture gets blended into it to make the dough.
I probably only used 1/2 of the liquid that the recipe called for. I divided the dough in half and put the two disks into the fridge to chill out for about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, I roasted some tomatoes. The recipe simply calls for sliced tomatoes, but I didn’t want my mediocre tomatoes to mess this up, and I knew that roasting them would bring more sweetenss and tomato-flavor to the party. So I sliced them and laid them on a parchment lined sheet pan, and sprinkled them with a bit of magic salt to add a little garlic and herb flavor. I roasted them for about 2 hours at 200 degrees. They came out of the oven perfect, still a little moist, but far from the watery mass that went into the oven.
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Once the tomatoes were cool, I rolled out the rounds of dough. and layered on monterey jack cheese, fresh mozzarella and some tomatoes. Then I folded the dough up around everything to make a free-form tart
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I’ve got to admit that this process was significantly easier than it was last year when I did this at my parents house. They’ve got a beautiful textured stone countertop. it is lovely to look at, but for rolling out pastry dough….well, you can imagine. My marble counter top did much better, as did a traditional rolling pin.

The tarts came out of the oven smelling wonderful. The dough was crispy….especially on the bottom, and the cheese and tomatoes were delicious.
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I ate it with a big salad of mixed greens. A glass of red wine would have been lovely. Dorothy even ate a good portion of this. And if that doesn’t tell you what you need to know about this recipe, then I don’t know what will. It was Good!

I enjoyed the other galette as two lunches later in the week. The book says that its best eaten on the day it is made, but I didn’t really feel like any quality had been lost in the fridge or toaster oven re-heat.
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Take a look at other tasty examples of this recipe at Tuesdays With Dorie, I’m sure other bakers had a good time baking this one!

Galette Dough
3 Tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

mix sour cream and ice water together in a large measuring cup
mix dry ingredients together and then cut in butter
with a spoon, add water/sour cream until dough is just moist enough to hold together (I only used about 1/2 of the liquid)
divide dough in half and wrap disks in plastic. store in fridge for at least 2 hours.
you can freeze the dough for up to a month. thaw in the fridge overnight

Cheese and Tomato Galette
1/2 recipe galette dough

2 oz Montery Jack Cheese
2 oz Mozzarella (fresh)
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn or cut into chiffonade
2-3 firm but ripe tomatoes, in 1/4 inch slices. I roasted mine

Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick (I roll mine between two sheets of plastic wrap)
place dough on parchment lined baking sheet, and put both cheeses and top with tomatoes. leave about 1 inch empty on the edges
fold up the edges to enclose the filling

bake at 400 for about 40 minutes. until browned and bubbly

Tuesdays With Dorie: Savarin

This week’s assignment was to make a Savarin. A cake I’d never heard of. Brillat-Savarin famously said: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” He also has a cheese named after him. Outside of that I had very little information, or the proper cake pan to make this cake in. I almost rigged up a round pan with an empty can of tomatoes in the center. But, luckily, my parents were coming for a visit and my mom agreed to bring a bunt pan for me to borrow. A traditional Savarin is baked in a smooth ring mold (like a shallow, metal, jello mold) mine would not be so traditional. But, it was fine, and I didn’t have to buy a piece of kitchen equipment that wasn’t going to be used again.
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The batter for this cake is a runny yeast batter. Just water, yeast, a drop of sugar, an egg, butter, and flour….and not a lot. Only 3/4 of a cup. I had serious doubts that it would fill the bottom of the pan. It did–barely. It rose once in the bowl, and then again in the bundt pan.

I left the house to get Dorothy from school and my mom put it in the oven while I was out. It sank.
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It was very concave. Not a whole lot of cake there. But we pressed on. Luckily it came out of the pan without any problem, and when we were ready to eat it, I soaked it with a vanilla simple syrup and a tiny bit of dark rum.
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I skipped the whipped cream completely. David is lactose intolerant, and it was nice to have a practically fat free dessert. I filled the center with macerated strawberries, raspberries, and some chunked up mango.
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The dessert got gobbled up, it was plain, but tasty. The fruit may have stolen the show.
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For more tasty examples, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie page!

If you want to make a Savarin yourself, here is the recipe:

Savarin

6 Tablespoons lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry east
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

soaking syrup
2 cups water
1 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
dark rum
fruit
whipped cream

pour the warm water into a bowl and sprinkle over the yeast and sugar, stir and allow the yeast to ‘bloom’

add the egg and stir briefly, add the flour and mix well, for about 8 minutes (I did this by hand) and then add the butter. Mix until the butter is encorporated

cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes. it will rise, but not double.

Butter your pan (I used a bundt pan) and pour the batter in. Let rise for about 30 minutes

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

remove from pan and let cool.

make syrup: combine water and sugar and let boil until sugar is dissolved

when you are ready to serve, soak the savarin completely with the syrup (you’ll have leftover syrup. save for iced coffee!) and sprinkle with a small amount of rum if desired.

Serve with macerated fruit and whipped cream!

Tuesdays With Dorie: Savory Brioche Pockets

This weeks assignment was to make ‘savory brioche pockets’. Brioche pockets filled with carmelized onions, mashed potatoes, goat cheese, chives and asparagus tips.
I made the brioche on Thursday, let it rise overnight and made the ‘pockets’ on Friday and enjoyed one for lunch with a big salad on Friday.
The brioche is not difficult, I made it once before when we made the pecan sticky buns. I liked the brioche much better in this application than I did in the sticky buns. That was just TOO sweet and TOO buttery!

Make the sponge
let it rise
make the dough–incorporating all that butter never seems like its going to work
knead it forever
let it rise
deflate
Rest in fridge for at least 8 hours. Mine got at least 20 hours

I decided to make 4 pockets and turn the balance of the dough into loaves of brioche

The recipe suggests cutting circles out of the dough and forming them into circular pockets. I’m more familiar with making borekas, which are an empanada style pocket, and its all one piece. I went with what I knew
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I cut off a piece of dough, rolled it out into a round (okay, they usually look like amoebas.) On one half of my amoeba, I layered onions, the potato/goat cheese/chive mixture, and two lightly cooked asparagus tips. Then, I folded the empty half over and sealed it up and put it on a sheet to rise. I made 4 in total and put three of them directly into the freezer for future good eating (tomorrow, perhaps, or maybe for dinner tonight)
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When it had risen long enough, I brushed it with some egg wash and sprinkled on some poppy seeds and coarse salt. Into the oven it went. Out came deliciousness
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I didn’t forget about the other 2/3 of the dough! I divided it into 12-roughly equal sized blobs and put 6 into each baking tin. I put both tins in my ‘proofing box’ (the microwave with the door cracked open so the light stays on)and popped them in the oven when I ran out of time. What came out were some of the most amazing bread I’ve ever baked. Really–more like cake than bread. One of those loaves went into the freezer too.
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It was insanely delicious with butter. Insane!
You’ll be able to see other people’s work at the LYL (leave your link) post at Tuesdays With Dorie. Carrie at Loaves and Stitches is our host for the week, and you’ll be able to find the recipe at her blog.

And you should totally make this. It was a really satisfying-and fancy-lunch. It wasn’t difficult. If you’re not into the ‘pockets’ just make the brioche. It’s really good too!

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

I made this on a big baking and food day. I had been to my favorite blueberry farm to pick berries–I got 8 lbs. when I got home, I immediately threw together the dough for a batch of challah and then got to work on this cake.

It looked for baby cake pans, but couldn’t find any, so I decided to make it in my largest spring form pan–which is almost 11 inches across. And it worked out perfectly.

I made the caramel poured it into the bottom of the pan and then carefully laid the sliced rhubarb in concentric circles inside the pan. I set it aside and got to work on the cake.

The recipe makes sure tell the baker to cream the butter and sugar together for much longer than I normally would. Clearly, the next time I cream butter and sugar together, I’ll be doing it for much longer. I added the eggs and vanilla, and then I folded in the flour and sour cream. By the way, I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour in this recipe–you could NOT tell, but it did make me feel a little less guilty when I had a slice for breakfast.

I carefully put it in the pan over the caramel and rhubarb, and into the oven it went. Not difficult at all. About 50 minutes later, it came out of the oven and I upended it on a rack over a plate and then put it on my favorite cake plate.

i’ve never eaten anything with rhubarb before, and I’m sorry that it took 38 years for me to get my first taste. It was delicious. The cake was perfect, and the rhubarb gave a slightly tart flavor to the topping.
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I know the next picture is blurry, but I had to put it in the post. When Dorothy heard that this was an ‘upside down’ cake, she turned it over, so the caramel was on the plate and only ate the cake. Foolish child–she left the best part behind! Not to worry, David and I were happy to finish it for her
UntitledThis recipe is hosted by When in Doubt, Leave it at 350, and also be sure to check out the Leave Your Link post at Tuesdays With Dorie. I know there will be lots of delicious examples from my fellow bakers.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Madeleines

There’s not a whole lot I can say about these cookies. I’ve never had a Madeleine before, and I may never again. They were not difficult to bake, and thankfully I didn’t have to buy a pan special for this. My friend Charlene had one I borrowed. It produced tiny Madelines. About the size of my thumb. So they were cute. But extremely dry. The only change I made to the recipe was to brown the butter. Because, really, who doesn’t like brown butter?
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I ate a few and sent them to school with the kids. The boys didn’t eat them, and Dorothy enjoyed them for a few days, but I felt that they went stale very quickly.

Probably, there are lots of beautiful examples in the leave your link post at Tuesdays with Dorie, and at the host’s blog: counter dog

Hopefully I like the next recipe more!

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rustic Potato Bread

So, I made this bread a few days late. The post was ‘due’ on the last day of passover. So, I made it yesterday.

For such a beautiful loaf of bread, it was incredibly simple to bake. I wish I had read the instructions completely before getting started, because then I would have known that the dough starts out crumbly….like a pie crust….and then miracously comes together like a bread dough. I added a few tablespoons of water while it was still crumbly, and then ended up having to add extra flour while I was kneading it. No big deal. I don’t think it affected the flavor one bit. I halved the recipe and did the whole thing by hand. My mixer is much too big to bother with for only one loaf of bread. I didn’t mind, kneading it was my arm workout for the day–I couldn’t get to the gym since I was home with a sick child.

After two short rises, I ended up with this beautiful loaf of bread.
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It was delicious plain, and with butter.
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I’ll definitely be making this again. it was easy, delicious and impressive looking!

Check out the other loaves of potato bread that were produced this week at our Leave Your Link post. The recipe can be found at Dawn’s blog, Simply Sweet. While you’re there, make sure to look at the picture of the “high heeled shoe cupcakes” that she made. They’re stunning. She has the recipe for the bread, or you can find it on page 138 of Baking with Julia.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Croissants

I was so excited….SO excited to make this recipe, and am so dissapointed with how it turned out.

Last week wasn’t too warm here and I had finally found some fresh yeast from our local italian market, and so I got to work. I made the dough and encorporated the butter by rolling and folding, rolling and folding. Finally, FINALLY, it was time to shape and bake the pastries.

I cut them out and shaped them. Not very well I might add, and then I put them in the oven to rise. As instructed, I also included a pot of steaming water. And when I opened the door to the oven, I found this:
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a lot of the butter had seeped out of the dough from the heat of the steaming water.

I pried three croissants out of the pool of butter and put them on a fresh pan and baked them. Fresh out of the oven, they tasted great, but as they sat they became heavier and more bread-like.
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This was my first real culinary disaster….ever. I guess that’s lucky because I cook a lot, and most of it is more than edible.

I still had the other half of the dough sitting in the fridge and waiting for me. I ended up putting it in the freezer, thinking I would try again over the weekend. Guess what? I didn’t. and I tossed the rest of the dough yesterday. It was actually sort of freeing to toss it. Even if I avoided the puddle of butter again, I knew that the results were not going to live up to the ‘croissant in my head.’ and I decided that it was okay to quit.

Should you decide that you want to try to make croissants on your own (best of luck to you) the recipe can be found on page 185-186 of the book. You can also see how our host did at Girl + food + love, and the rest of the bakers links can be found here. I’m sure that many of them had a better time than I did!

Tuesdays With Dorie: Boca Negra

Boca Negra. A black mouth. This recipe for chocolate cake promised to be deep, dark and delicious. The recipe, found on page 253 in the book, is from pastry chef, Lora Brody.
My friend Mendy celebrated her 40th birthday earlier this month. We spent the weekend at the Vinoy Hotel in Downtown St. Petersburg. We ate dinner at the Parkshore Grill and I called earlier in the week to ask if it would be okay if I brought a birthday cake for us. I don’t know if it was because I spoke to a friend there, or that they had so many large parties all at one time, or if they normally allow it…but I was pleasantly surprised when they said I could.
On Thursday I baked this fantastic cake. First I made the white chocolate-bourbon cream. I only made half of it, which was more than enough. I chopped the white chocolate in the food processor and then poured in the hot cream. I poured that mixture into a container and gently stirred in the bourbon. When I put it into the fridge it was thin and soupy, and I was seriously concerned. By that evening it thickened into something seriously delicious, with a heavy hit of bourbon.
Then I made the cake. Chopped dark chocolate was combined with a bourbon-sugar syrup. I should have been a little more careful while making the syrup on my gas stove. I accidentally flambéd it. Whoops. That was a scary kitchen moment
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There was enough heat in the syrup to melt the chocolate, but not enough to melt the butter. No big deal–I set up a double boiler and stirred the butter in that way. Two sticks of butter was A LOT of butter. I might cut out a few tablespoons the next time I make it. I incorporated the eggs and a tiny amount of flour.20130213-181625.jpg
I poured the cake batter into a prepared pan and it went into the oven. It wasn’t quite done after 30 minutes, but after another 5 minutes it was perfectly cooked.
Of course, the most stressful part of this whole operation was getting it out of the pan. It worked out perfectly!
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I delivered the cake to Parkshore in the afternoon, so all I had to do was pack myself up for a fun weekend with some great friends

Mendy was surprised that she wasn’t given the opportunity to order dessert when this plate was placed in front of her, but when she realized that I made it, she was pretty excited. Parkshore plated the cake with the white chocolate cream, some raspberries and mint. They made it look beautiful!
Mendy's cake
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Our waitress even asked if I had made the cake, I told her that she should have some, and she couldn’t believe that it was homemade.
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I’ve eaten, and produced more than a few flourless chocolate cakes in my time, but this particular cake was definitely the best. I plan on making it again for my mom’s birthday tonight (2/19). I know that she and my dad will love it, along with Dorothy. And Reid will be in heaven!

Tuesdays With Dorie: Foccacia

This week’s assignment was to make Foccacia, a delicious Italian flat-ish bread. It was relatively easy, but required lots of time–but very little attention.
The dough was easy to put together, water, yeast, salt, olive oil and flour kneaded together for about 10 minutes to make a beautiful dough. Then an hour and a half rise. Then it was folded up on itself to deflate it, and then another short rise. Then the dough was divided into three lumps, placed into an oiled ziplock bag, and stashed in the fridge for a 24-36 hour rest.
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The long cold rise produced lots of tiny bubbles and a tangy flavor. Of course I forgot to take a picture of the dough after it came out of the fridge. It had risen again, and you could see the matrix of bubbles in the dough.

When I was ready to bake it the next evening I pressed it onto a parchment lined baking sheet. The recipe called for chopped fresh herbs, which I didn’t have–so I used sea-salt on two of them and magic salt on the other.
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Magic salt is a delicious combination of kosher salt, garlic, rosemary and sage. It all goes into the food processor to chop up the garlic and herbs with the salt and then it’s poured onto a rimmed baking sheet to dry (either by leaving it out or in a low oven–I had to use the oven for mine because it was extremely humid when I made it). The salt can be used to flavor roasted vegetables, meat, and apparently Foccacia. It was the clear winner for me over the one that just had olive oil and sea salt.
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The bread didn’t have the loose bubbly texture I expected–the bubbles were small and evenly distributed– but I’m not sure it mattered. It was light and heavily flavored with olive oil, salt and herbs. I would definitely make it again, and I wonder how it would work as a pizza dough. Perhaps as a loosely made pan/Sicilian pizza.

I served the bread with dinner one night last week. Leftover lasagne, the foccacia and collard greens with garlic.
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Check out the host’s post on this recipe at Sharmini’s blog, Wandering Through. The recipe can be found there, as well as on page 143 of the book.
And take a look at the Leave Your Link link (LYL) at Tuesdays with Dorie. If you’ve got a hankering for good bread, and an excuse to make this (and a little bit of time) you should.

The next Tuesdays With Dorie will feature Boca Negra. All I can say about that is wow. Stay tuned for that one!