Tag Archives: sweet

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.

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An Indian Haiku

Indian cuisine

Image by Kirti Poddar via Flickr

I am going out for Indian cuisine tomorrow and am terrible excited. We do not have an Indian restaurant in my town so I only get to eat it once in a while. This would explain why I wrote some haikus. Maybe…

 

 Filled triangle,

 The very first thing to try, 

 

Opens my belly.

Snowy, white, long grains,

Covered in spicy velvet,

Meat or vegetable.

Hot from the clay oven,

Light, speckled in yummy char,

Glistens with warm ghee.

Cool, fruity, salty,

Yogurt in a tall, clear glass,

Drink and be happy.

Creamy, sweet spoonful,

Or maybe soaked in honey,

Memorable end.

~thechildcooks

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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.

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