Tag Archives: bread

Back in the Kitchen, At Last!

I have been so very busy lately and haven’t been able to make it into the kitchen very often. I think in the last month, I have only made about 5 things. That is enough to go on your average hand! Unacceptable! Today, I change that. It came to my attention that one of the book that I have borrowed from the library is about to have to be returned. I flipped through it and remembered that I wanted to make one of the recipes inside: Cinnamon Raisin Bread. The book in question is Amy’s Bread by  Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree, so the recipe should be very reliable. I mixed up the biga last night and put it in the refrigerator to do its thing. This morning I started mixing it when I woke up at 8 and was done with baking by . I only put raisins in one of the loaves and cut them back to 1 cup. It feels so good to be back in the kitchen!

~thechildcooks

Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Biga Starter

Biga Starter

Makes 1 3/4 cups

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons very warm water

1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purposed flour

Mix water and yeast together and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour and vigorously stir with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape into a container and mark the time and height of the mixture on the side so you can measure how much it rises.

Let rise at room temperate for 6 to 8 hours. Or let it rise for 1 hour at room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. If using cold, use warm water in the recipe instead of cool water. Use before it deflates.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

1/4 cup very warm water

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 3/4 cups biga starter

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water(cool or warm, depending on your biga)

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons kosher salt

3 cups raisins(I used 1 cup in one loaf and left the other plain)

1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Combine the very warm water and yeast in a bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes.

Add the biga and water to the yeast mixture and mix with your fingers for 2 minutes, breaking up the starter. The mixture should look milky, chunky, and slightly foamy. Add the flour and the salt and mix with your fingers until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Fold the dough over onto itself and knead briefly in the bowl.

Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and supple, about 4 minutes. If it feels stiff our dry, add cool water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.

Return the dough to the lightly floured surface and knead it for 5 to 7 minutes. the dough will become silky and elastic. Do not knead extra flour into the dough.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover, rise at room temperature for 1 hour.

Turn dough in the mixing bow;. Gently deflate the dough with your fingertips, the fold the left side in and repeat with the right, fold the dough in half, gently pat it down and turn the dough seam face down.

Let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the dough is fully risen, an indentation made by your fingers poking the dough will not spring back.

With the dough is rising, place the raisins in a bowl and add warm water to just below the top of the raisins. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate the dough and pat into a 14×12 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 2 equal rectangles 7×12 inches. Sprinkle each pice with the cinnamon sugar mixture and the drained raisins. Spread evenly across the dough and press them in. Starting at the short side of the loaf, fold the dough tightly into a log without stretching the dough. Seal the seam tightly using your hands or pinching with your fingers.

Place each loaf seam side down in lightly oiled 9×5 pan and press them down to fill the pan. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Thirty minutes before baking preheat the oven to 450F and place a cast iron skillet and mini loaf pan on the lowest rack possible. Place an oven rack above with room for the loaves of bread. Have a spray bottle, kettle of water ready to be boiled and a metal 1 cup measure nearby.

5 to 10 minutes before the loaves are ready to bake, turn the water on to boil and place 2 to 3 ice cubes in the small loaf pan.

When the loaves are ready, quickly fill the 1 cup measure with boiling water and place the loaves in the oven, then mist them with water. Pour the water into the skillet and immediately close the oven door.

Bake for 15 minutes and reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake for 18 tp 25 minutes longer, until the crust is brown and the loaves sound hollow. Watch the oven carefully and cover with foil if the tops are browning  to fast.

Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a rack to cool. Let cool completely before slicing or the bread will fall apart. Keeps well for at least 2 days.

1 Comment

Filed under Breads

Decorating Easter Eggs, or a Good Excuse for Challah

After seeing some really cool ideas for decorating Easter eggs other than the regular food coloring dye, I decided to blow out some eggs and dye them. Because I had decided that I wanted to use the eggs in baking, I washed them throughly and boiled all of the tools that I was using. After I was done, I was left with five pretty eggs and five eggs ready for baking.  Then, I realized that I had five eggs to use in preferably one recipe. I went searching, and found a recipe for something that I had wanted to make for awhile-challah. The recipe(on Smitten Kitchen) that I found took four eggs in the bread and one for the egg wash. The bread turned out beautifully and tastes amazing; the crust is golden and the braid, though simple, is pretty. I made only one of the two loaves today, the other one is residing in my freezer until Easter, when it will be baked for a family get together.  This is definitely a bread that you should make in the near future!

~thechildcooks

Best Challah (Egg Bread)
Adapted from Joan Nathan

Time: about 1 hour, plus 2 1/2 hours’ rising
Yield: 2 loaves

1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins per challah, if using, plumped in hot water and drained
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling.

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.

2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. (You can also use a mixer with a dough hook for both mixing and kneading, but be careful if using a standard size KitchenAid–it’s a bit much for it, though it can be done.)

3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

4. At this point, you can knead the raisins into the challah, if you’re using them, before forming the loaves. To make a 6-braid challah, either straight or circular, take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. For a straight loaf, tuck ends underneath. For a circular loaf, twist into a circle, pinching ends together. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.

5. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.

6. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.

7. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take it out when it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees.) Cool loaves on a rack.

Note:

Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving onto the next step.

12 Comments

Filed under Breads

My Summer Plans…

Emblem of the 4H organisation.

Image via Wikipedia

…include a lot of baking/ cake decorating. I know this for a 100% true fact because those are the projects that I am taking for 4-H. More Specifically, I will be making yeast breads in multiple manners, and trying out new cake decorating techniques. As part of the two projects, I will post some recipes and decorating tutorials here on thechildcooks. Since next week is my Spring Break, I hope to be doing some baking to get a jump-start on my projects; they are due in the middle to end of July, but it is never a bad thing to finish early. 

Also, if things go as planned, I may, hopefully, possibly be looking at having a bakery job. But the probability of that is slim, as people tend to not hire 14 year olds. Never the less, I have picked up an application and found some people to be my references. Another plus would be that the bakery is within running/ biking distance of my house. I figure the sooner I can start getting experience in the real food industry, the closer I am to my dream of one day owning a restaurant.  

‘Til my next baking adventure,

~thechildcooks

1 Comment

Filed under 4-H, Cake Decorating, Uncategorized, Yeast Bread

Twist and Shout

A wood-burning pizza oven baking a pizza.

Image via Wikipedia

Good news bad news situation here. Good news is that today I did a little baking. Bad news is, I killed my sourdough starter. I just kinda forgot about it, and then there was a blueish liquid on top,as well as what looked to be mold around the edges. Maybe this summer, I will try to start another one. Anyway, back to the good news. Today, I saw some rather sad-looking, black-speckeled bananas sitting on our counter and decided to make banana bread. But, I wanted something a little bit different from your average banana bread. It is a twist on the common and familiar, hence the name of this post. I went looking around foodgawker.com and found a recipe for Oatmeal Sweet Potato Banana Everything Bread over at Flour Child’s blog. I made it with a fourth of a cup of sweet potato and one and one-fourth cup mashed bananas. My bread did not use oat bran and used all white flour, and instead of buttermilk, I used greek yogurt. I just pulled the loaves out of the oven and they look and smell delicious. Looks like I am going to be doing some more baking because my mom just informed me that she would like home made pizza for dinner, so I am making some. Once again, I looked on foodgawker.com and found some good-looking recipes. I chose this recipe, pizza dough, from acouplecooks. To forgo leftovers, I divided it in half for tonight and just set it to rest. Later bakers!

~thechildcooks

Leave a comment

Filed under Breads, Meals, Savory, Sourdough, Uncategorized

Steaming My Buns

Steamed buns for the "Bun Mountain",...

Image via Wikipedia

No, I did not go to a sauna. The bun in question are the light, fluffy, awesome and all-around yummy Chinese steamed buns(or Mantou     饅頭). I had seen recipes for them before and thought to myself that there was no way for me to make them and why would I be making them in the first place? I had never had them before and thought that they were only a savory application. That being said, ehrn I went to a local Chinese place I did not take one becuase I thought it would be filled wiht meat. To my surprise, when I went there again today, it was filled with a sweet yellow paste. It was so good and my sister and myself really enjoyed them. So much in fact, that I decided to see if I could make them at home. I remembered the recipes that I had seen and checked some of them out. The first one that I found used a bread machine. That one was out. The next one made eight rolls with 4 cups of flour. That one was out because, well that sounded like a really big roll. The others took types of flour that I had never heard of, let alone had in my pantry. The one I finally found was from allrecipes.com . The reviews on it were all good and the process looked simple enough: made a dough let it rise, add more flour and the remaining ingredients, knead, let rest, knead, shape, let rest and steam. The only problem I had was with the very last instruction-steam. How to steam them without a steamer was my dilemma. I finally ended up constructing one out of a stainless steel bowl and pie-cooling rack with another bowl overturned on top as a lid. The steaming process takes a long time as my bowl is small and you must leave adequate space for the buns to expand. I can fit about 4-5 in at a time and they have to cook for 15-16 minutes. I made 18 bun and am still cooking the second batch; this might take awhile. As I mentioned above, the bun that I saw online were mostly meat filled. The one I had today and the ones I am making are filled with sweets for a more dessertish end product. I filled them with peanut butter, grape jelly, strawberry jelly, cinnamon sugar and a lemon puddingy filling. My dad just tried one of the cinnamon sugar filled buns and said it was really good. Even though he did not have one at the restaurant, he said he was surprised at how close to the restaurant’s buns that they looked. He also commented on the fact that the texture was fluffy and not doughy as he thought they would be. I also made a shamrock green pudding pie for my fathers Sunday School class. Shamrock green because it is close to St. Patrick’s Day and pudding pir becuase kid like pie and monday is Pi day. I just made a simple graham cracker crust and box pudding. I would have liked to make my own pudding or custard filling, but I could not justify using four egg yolks because I know that at my house the whites will not be used. Oh well, maybe next time. I am not sure what else I will make this weekend, but it should be yummy!

~thechildcooks 

Chinese Steamed Buns

From allrecipes.com

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup warm water

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

Mix together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Mix in 1/2 cup warm water, flour, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vegetable oil. Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Punch down dough, and spread out on a floured board. Sprinkle baking powder evenly on surface, and knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in a covered bowl. Divide each half into 12 parts. Shape each part into a ball with smooth surface up( if you want a filling, roll the ball flat and put about a teaspoon of filling in the gather and pinch to seal). Put each ball on a wax paper square. Let stand covered until double, about 30 minutes.

Bring water to a boil in wok, and reduce heat to medium; the water should still be boiling. Place steam-plate on a small wire rack in the middle of the wok. Transfer as many buns on wax paper as will comfortably fit onto steam-plate leaving 1 to 2 inches between the buns. At least 2 inches space should be left between steam-plate and the wok. Cover wok with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for 15 minutes.

REMOVE LID BEFORE you turn off heat, or else water will drip back onto bun surface and produce yellowish “blisters” on bun surfaces. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked. Enjoy hot or reheated with a steamer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Breads, Sweet, Uncategorized

It’s Sourdough Time!

A sourdough starter fermenting.

Does anyone else find the smell of yeast fermenting lovely? Image via Wikipedia

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of the week where you realize that your starter must be attended to. Earlier this week I made some sourdough biscuits with whole wheat flour(they were more like rolls, and they disappeared before I could remember to take a picture)and today I mixed up the beginnings of my all-purpose sourdough bread recipe. I made just a few alterations to the recipe so far. Instead of using all all-purpose flour, I pulsed a cup of rolled oats so that it was fine, but still oaty enough to give the bread some texture; I also added a small handful of whole rolled oats. I also added about 2 tablespoons of cornmeal(I don’t really know I this will affect it at all, I might add more to the final dough). I then used about 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour to get the full 2 1/2 cup of flour needed for the first dough. While I had the food processor out, I also whipped up some instant oatmeal mix. And then, I had the idea to make lentil flour. That did not work; lentils are hard little buggers and I wound up with a coarse/fine mixture of the actual lentil and their skin-like covering. Oh well, it was worth a try to see what happened, though the ringing in my ears from the food processor is slightly annoying(just kidding). Over and out!

~thechildcooks

P.S. Don’t forget to go over to the Sock It To Me Design Contest and look for my design. Find out more here.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Biscuits/Rolls(They are whole wheat becuase last time I refreshed my starter, I added a half cup of whole wheat flour)

1/2 cup sourdough starter

1 cup milk

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Prep all your ingredients ahead, this will help to make things move faster. Place half the flour onto a flat surface. Pour the starter mixture on top. Now, add the salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda to the flour and mix till blended. Pour the rest of the flour mixture on top of the starter. Now, start to knead in the flour to the starter. Knead just till the dough is mixed. Do not over knead. Roll out the dough to a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits. Place in 9-inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1/2 an hour. Bake in a 375F oven for 30 -35 minutes.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal 

From Tammyrecipes.com

2 cups quick-cooking oats, pulsed slightly in food processor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sweetener (dry — like sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, sucanat, etc.)
1/2 cup powdered (dry nonfat) milk

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container or bag.

To prepare oatmeal: Mix 2/3 cup of dry mixture with 1 cup boiling water in a bowl, stirring to remove lumps. Let stand 1-2 minutes and serve. I would suggest adding your favorite mix-ins(i.e. berries, raisins, yogurt, jam…) and adjusting the sugar to your specific tastes.

1 Comment

Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Meals, Sourdough

The Fabulous and the Flubs

I have wanted to make baked doughnuts ever since I saw doughnut pans on a website and the really yummy looking pictures on Foodgawker.com. I tried to make doughnuts this way back in November, but didn’t have a pan, so I made them into muffins. They turned out all right, however, they were not quite what I was looking for. They were too muffiny and not fluffy or any other doughnut qualities that I was hoping for. I tried a new recipe today that does not require pans, instead you roll them out and cut them.  The recipe was printed, the kitcken was ready for me to concure it and I was ready to sieze control of the oven. However, I was not ready to read the recipe. Using half a cup of milk makes a dough, 1 cup of milk  makes a batter. That was my mistake. In remedy, I let the batter rise for 15 minutes then spooned it into muffin cups. In hindsight, I should have sprayed the muffin cups instead of using paper liners. They rose beautifuly in the oven and turned out like little dinner rolls. I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on some of them while baking and filled one with jam by spooning half of the batter, then jam, then the rest of the batter. While those were baking, I restarted the process, this time using the proper amount of milk. After I baked them, I made a simple glaze with powdered sugar, water and vanilla. I also took a decorators tip and bag, then used them to inject the doughnuts with grape jam. The recipe works really well both ways and produces similar yet different results depending which way you make them. The batter produces a heavier, more bread-like baked good and the dough version is fluffier and harbors more doughnut qualities under the sugary glaze. Either way you make them, I think you will be pleased with the results.

~thechildcooks

Baked Doughnuts
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks

Makes about 1 dozen

For the dough:

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm milk, divided, 95 to 105 degrees (take its temperature–too hot and it will kill the yeast)
1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast (about half a packet)
1 tablespoons butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup sugar
1 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Place 3 tablespoons of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the yeast and set aside for at least five minutes. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of warm milk in a small bowl, stir in the butter and sugar, and add it to the yeast mixture. On low speed, stir in the egg, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. At this point, make a few adjustments – if your dough is seriously sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add a little bit of milk. Eventually, you want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and become soft and smooth. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface, knead it a few times by hand, and shape it into a smooth ball.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl (cooking spray works great here), cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place. Let the dough rise until its doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on a floured work surface. Using a 2-3 inch cookie cutter, stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut holes in the centers with a smaller cutter, about half the diameter of the first–remember the hole will close up on the second rising if it’s too small, so make it a little bigger than what a finished doughnuts would look like (alternatively, use a doughnut cutter, if you actually own one). Cover the baking sheet with a clean cloth and let the doughnuts rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes – start checking around 8. Better to underbake then overbake here–pull them early if in doubt.

Leave a comment

Filed under Breads, Sweet