Category Archives: bread

Reinhart´s Naepolitan pizza… and a work in progress

So today is Daring Bakers´posting date and I´m running a little behind. We are doing Peter Reinhart´s Naepolitan pizza recipe, as chosen by Rosa of Rosa´s Yummy Yums. Pizza is one of my favorite foods in the whole wide world, and Peter Reinhart is a master at all things bread, and he wrote a whole book about pizza, so I was really looking forward to this one.

But being a procrastinator by nature, the month just flew by. And, as a lame excuse, I have to say I was trying to make this recipe at my parents´because they have a kick-ass bread oven with baking stones on the bottom, and the sides, and my own oven is a lame gas oven I inherited from the previous owner and I haven´t bought a baking stone yet… well, needless to say, I didn´t manage to make the schedules work, so I´m stuck baking it in my lame oven.

dough resting

As I´m writing this, the dough is resting in the fridge since last night, waiting for my friends to come over tonight to enjoy the pizza party while we watch the last episode of a lame soap opera they watch and I humor them and follow along when we get together.

But being late gives me time to figure out my toppings, and assemble them beforehand, plus I figured I would take advantage of the new poll feature WordPress has added to ask your opinion on the matter.

The recipe yields six thin pizzas, so I have a lot of room to play. My first ideas are:

1. Your typical marguerita pizza: tomato sauce, mozarella, and I´ll be drizzling some pesto on top.

2. A marguerita topped with raw arugula and dried out prosciutto ham sprinkled on top.

3. A spinach pizza with roasted garlic, bechamel sauce and onions and a generous layer of cheese on top.

I´ll update with pictures and comments as things happen.

In the meantime, you can check out a thousand variations of this recipe in the Daring Bakers blogroll.

before
Before

UPDATE 1: I´ve got all my ingredients and now is on to some prep-work. First thing, I dried out the prosciutto. How, you ask? Well, I saw it on tv a while back and it´s so easy I had meant to try it ever since. Basically, you grab two porcelain or glass plates, put a paper towel on top of one plate, then arrange some slices of proscuitto over it side by side, put another paper towel and the other plate stacked on top to add some weight. Microwave it on high for one minute, then discard the paper towels and add new ones (they get soggy with the fat that cooks off), put the top plate back on and microwave again for 1 minute.

prosciutto, dried out
After

Voilá, you have proscuitto chips that you can use as they are to decorate something or chop them up as I´m planning to do and sprinkle on top of pizza or whatever your heart desires. I took some pics for you, which aren´t the best because daylight is going away fast, but at least it gives you a visual idea of what I´m talking about.

I´ll be back soon!

marguerita

UPDATE 2: Well, the pizza is mostly gone by now, and it was a success! I ended up doing 1 spinach one because I run out of spinach and I copied Tanna´s idea of adding eggs to it since I had some killer organic eggs I could use (check out how orange that yolk is), 2 arugula ones with the dried out prosciutto, and 3 marguerita with pesto, just because I run out of the other ingredients and by the 6th pizza I was a bit tired.

pizza de espinaca

rúcula

I used half all purpose and half bread flour, and added the 1/4 cup of olive oil in hopes of having the best of both worlds. And I don´t know if it was the flours, the resting time or what, but I loved working with this dough, see, I even managed to do the flipping the dough in the air action shot! haha Which also served the purpose of adding a show to the dinner party! Oh, and for those of you wondering, the final episode of the soap was craptacular, as expected.

revoleando la pizza

I have to say this recipe is definitely becoming a regular in my house. So If you want, you can check it out after the jump, with GF options included.

PS: Sorry for the crappy pictures, it was late at night and I didn´t want to take forever with the pics. I did my best “fixing” them with Picnic at Flickr, but they are still bad.

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Sneezing my way through Denmark

It´s Daring Bakers´ time, people! Yep, I´m back. This month, our gracious hosts are Kelly of Sass and Veracity and Ben of What´s cooking, and they chose a great recipe that lends itself to make shapes and fillings: Danish braid with a wonderfully aromatic cardamom-orange flavored dough.

Danish braid

We were given the chance to do whichever filling we wanted and even play with the shapes once we had done a braid since the recipe shields two big braids. I was planning on doing just that yet the flu caught up with me.

And to make matters worse for me, I was doing the braids for Father´s day, so I was going to have to suck it up and get the recipe done. So I divided the recipe in two days and baked at my “high” moment, meaning those few hours when the flu meds did the trick and I felt somewhat normal.

Since I had seen fresh quinces around, I chose to do a quince compote and apple filling. And since many people are still unfamiliar with quinces, I did a little step-by-step photo shoot to show you the progress from fruit to compote since the change in color itself can be quite confusing.

Quinces

Danish braid

I love how it turned out and the dough is quite versatile so I see myself playing with this again, you know, when I´m not with the flu and I have the uncontrollable urge to fold and turn, then chill, and then fold and turn again.

Danish braid
If you want to check out endless, and I´m sure endlessly creative, variations of this recipe, check out what my fellow Daring Bakers did this month.

Oh, and let me know if you are interested in the quince compote recipe because I´m lazy when it comes to typing up recipes, but you know I´d do anything for you, my dears 😉

UPDATED WITH POACHED QUINCES RECIPE AFTER THE JUMP

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Watch your breath!

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What happens when a dozen bakers get together to bake on a Sunday through Skype? Well, trust me, you don´t really want to know the details, but there was laughter, girth talk, small talk, linguistic queries (is it penises or penii?) lol ok, I think you get the picture.

Oh you are wondering about who was in that little group? Well, I´m not naming names, but it was Sara, Mary, John, Lisa, Chris, Helene, Kelly and Tanna. This time, Ivonne, Laura, Ben, and Stephanie couldn’t join in the fun, but I´m sure they´ll come back in for the next recipe after that description of what went on.

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And regarding the recipe, we did garlic knots. Some did the King Arthur Flour recipe, and some of us did a variation of a Bon Appetit recipe Mary came up with to try to come up with something Lis ate at a restaurant and loved. The dough is a bit sweet with 1/2 cup of sugar, but mine didn´t come out too sweet, so you can adjust that to suit your tastes. I doubled the original amount of garlic, because we are talking about garlic knots here, so they needed to pack a punch.

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I loved the brioche-like texture of the bread, not so much the amount of butter brioche-like bread needs, but oh well, you can´t win them all. But beware, if you don´t want to eat them all in a day, do what I did and cook most of them halfway (before they start to brown but they are cooked) and freeze them up to reheat them briefly in the oven later on.

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Butterhorn garlic knots (originally from Bon Appetit , later adapted by Mary, and later on, by myself)

Makes 16 big knots

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup unsalted butter cut into pieces
½ cup warm water (105 degrees)
1 tsp plus ½ cup sugar, divided (remember to reduce the sugar a bit if you don´t want them to be a bit sweet)
1 envelope dry yeast
3 large eggs, room temp
5 ¼ cups, AP flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 cloves garlic, minced finely

In heavy medium sized sauce pan over low heat, heat milk and ¾ cup of butter until butter melts. Stir occasionally to prevent milk from burning on bottom of pan (I did this step in the microwave at 60% and it worked beautifully). Let cool to 120 degrees.

Combine warm water, 1 tsp sugar, and yeast in small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes (this is for flavor not to proof yeast, unless you are using active yeast in which case you are proofing and getting flavor)

In large bowl of stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat eggs and remaining sugar at low speed until blended. Beat in milk mixture. Gradually add 2 ½ cups of the flour, ½ cup at a time until blended smooth. Replace the whisk with dough hook. Add yeast mixture, salt, and 2 cups of flour (½ cup at a time), beat at medium low speed (2 on the KA mixture). You will have very wet and loose dough that climbs the dough hook but falls back down the bowl by this time. One TBSP at a time, add enough flour to form a firm but sticky dough ball. The dough balls will pull away from the sides of the bowl and not flop back to the sides. It will feel like “fly paper” when you tough it.

Pour 1 Tbsp melted butter in large bowl (4Qt or Larger) that can be fitted with a lid or that plastic wrap clings to well. On very lightly flour covered counter and with lightly floured hands, give dough 3 – 5 quick hand kneads to form good dough ball and then put in buttered bowl, turning dough over to coat with butter. Cover bowl with lid or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free place (your hot water heater Lisa, covered with a towel) until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.

Punch down dough, fold dough over in half and then half again, and brush with melted butter. Cover bowl again and let rise again in same warm draft free place until double (about 1 hour) FYI: This is called turning the dough too, just like with puff pastry and will result in a flaky rolls)

From here follow the directions for making the knots as shown on the KA website. Just don’t tuck the ends in to get the shape you want.

Cover and let rise until double, brush with melted butter and garlic and bake in 375 F degree preheated oven for 15 -20 minutes. If you notice your oven is baking too hot, turn it down to 350 and bake a little longer. If the tops are starting to brown too much owing to all the butter, just cover with some foil but take the foil off for the last few minutes of baking so you don’t make the rolls soggy.

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Having your cake, and eating it too

So the birthday parties were a blast, but did leave this birthday girl a bit exhausted (I guess I am getting old!). Luckily, my gym gave me a free massage for my bday, so I´m all better now, and ready for a quick recap of the menus.

On Friday, I made a simple meal that didn´t need knives and forks, because, well, I really don´t have that many forks! So it was time for homemade burgers (with store-bought buns because making the buns would have added another layer of stress, and another layer of dirt to my overworked, tiny kitchen). As a “starter”, I served these arugula-sundried tomato-prosciutto-cheese bread rolls I discovered last year… which, incidentally, if you haven´t made them, you really, really should, trust me on this one.

tomato-arugula rolls 2

And for dessert/birthday cake, I went with something that had no way of going wrong: Dorie´s Caramel-Peanut Topped Brownie Cake. It was marvelous, as is to be expected, but I think next time, I´m gonna underbake the cake even more because it came out a bit drier than brownie-style cakes are meant to be even though I baked it for 30 minutes instead of the 40-45 indicated in the recipe. Other than that, the cake is a keeper, especially the caramel sauce (which produces about half a cup of extra sauce and Dorie instructs to reheat later on with some more cream and drizzle on ice cream… I haven´t tried that yet, but I see that working and I also envision that sauce over homemade flan, that would be just sigh-inducing deliciousness.)

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I´ll tell you about Saturday´s menu next time, but in the meantime, I´d like to recommend another recipe I made for my birthday (this time for the pre-bday party on Thursday night): David Levovitz Black bottom cupcakes. The combination is very interesting and easy to whip up. Though next time I´m gonna try making my spoonfuls of unsweetened cocoa a bit skimpier because I´ve discovered there is such thing as too much chocolate sometimes.

black bottom cupcakes

black bottom cupcakes

birthday party number 1

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Paris je t´aime

So here we are again, it´s Daring Baker time, but for this challenge, you´ll only need a handful of ingredients, one of them being patience of course, because this month we are making French bread!

the good life

French bread

I was very glad when I saw what Sara and Mary had chosen for us this month… though I have to admit the thought of using the oven in the middle of summer wasn´t particularly appealing, but it was a bread I hadn´t tried before and by someone who seems to be a legend between US bloggers: Julia Child.

No, we didn´t grow up watching Julia Child cook around here, we had our very own Doña Petrona, who seems to have had the same grandmotherly feel to her. You know, the type of books you go back to again and again. And that´s why I was interested in trying a recipe by Julia Child, someone as beloved and classic as that couldn´t steer me in the wrong direction.

But she could give directions, tons and tons of them, 8 pages in this recipe alone! But it´s the sort of recipe that´s good for someone who hasn´t made bread before and might be a little freaked out by the whole thing, so I won´t blame her for it.

epi

French bread

The recipe itself was quite easy (but beware that you have to find a way to enjoy sticky hands if you are doing all the kneading by hand like me). Oh, and I did sort of make it twice since the first time when I was about to give the dough its first rise I realized the flour I was using had long passed its sell-by date, which meant quickly throwing it in the trash, and when I took out the trash the next night, I had a huge monster dough that had been happily fermenting away, yuck!

So anyways, while I waited for the (second and not rotten) dough to rise I turned to Peter Reinhart to find some photos of different bread shapes I could play with. And I settled for a baghette (which I can´t really call that since my cuts and the shape itself needs some work), an epi (sheaf of wheat), a tabatiere (pouch), and a dinner roll with a spiky top made with sharp scissors.

French bread, second proofing

As for the veredict: the bread was delicious and the texture was quite impressive, so I´m planning on making it again during the winter. I served it quite simply with good olive oil, homegrown tomatoes and basil, and some smoked ham. Sometimes it doesn´t take expensive or exotic ingredients to create a remarkable meal, give me simple Mediterranean any day!

French bread

baghette

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Starting off the year with leftovers

If there´s one thing the holidays leave behind, besides enlarged bodies and resolutions no one is going to stick to, is leftovers.

And unless you freeze them, you end up getting tired of eating the same old thing for days. Which is why I try to at least use the same old thing to create something else.

salmon braid

This year´s leftovers included a huge piece of grilled pink salmon. And the sad thing is, I don´t even enjoy salmon much (long story short, I don´t like fish that tastes too fishy, I know, I know, but I can´t help it… luckily that doesn´t include shrimp, squids and all sorts of tasty seafood.) So this was originally a recycling effort aimed at my parents and brothers.

You basically make a yeasted dough with beer, put a mixture of the salmon, capers, olives and cheese in the middle, make a few cuts and braid it… my braid wasn´t particularly OCD, since it´s not in my nature, but it still looks quite pretty.

salmon braid

And the big surprise was that I actually liked it! It must be the bread. I find that bread makes everything better, and a bit of cheese never hurts either. I tried it warm and it was delectable, but it was even better out of the fridge the next day.

So even if you don´t like fishy fish like me, you might be surprised with this recipe. You could even use some tuna instead, minced meat, leftovers from a stew wouldn´t be bad either.

salmon braid

I can see myself making this particular dough over and over again with different fillings because it took only 1 hour and a half from start to finish (55 minutes for the 2 proofings and 35 minutes in the oven.) The dough recipe is from my favorite bread book and the filling is a personal creation, which means you are free to let your imagination, and the leftovers in your fridge, get to work.

salmon braid

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You say potato…

Oh yeah, here we go again, it´s Daring Bakers time… you are thinking butter and sugar by the pound, right? But no, no, no, never assume we are going to do the same old thing.

This time, we are using no sugar and just a spoonful of butter, which as you know, in Daring Baker terms, is pretty much non existent. Not only that, we are going savory!

potato bread

My hips, for one, are releasing a big sigh of relief… but they might have celebrating too soon, because it´s not as if we are doing salads or anything, we are doing bread, potato bread to be more specific, which happens to be a vegetable, so I think it´s all good (stop laughing, don´t argue with my logic!).

potato bread

Anyways, on to the recipe. Our amazing hostess, Tanna, chose a wonderfully flexible potato bread recipe and gave us tons of room to be creative, including toppings and flavorings, and the choice of using from 6-16 ounces of mashed potatoes depending on our bread-baking experience. I used around 14 ounces and boy was it sticky, especially after I added chopped onions to the dough, but nothing some flour and patient kneading can´t fix.

potato bread

And the end result was definitely worth it: very moist bread with a nice crumb, which was good plain as a sandwich bread or for breakfast, and awesome as a blank canvas to go crazy with toppings and flavorings.

My choices: 1 loaf plain topped with sesame and sunflower seeds, and 2 loaves with chopped onions (chopped a bit earlier and squeezed), parmesan cheese and chopped basil inside and topped with a nice layer of parmesan cheese.

That´s breakfast for you

And that´s another great thing about the recipe, you get tons and tons of bread you can use as a focaccia, dinner rolls or whatever you want, so you can slice your leftovers and freeze them like I did, so the kneading definitely pays off since in my world, nothing beats homemade bread… and with summer approaching, that´s going to get hard, even for bread junkies like myself.

Potato bread

But before putting on your cutest apron and getting up to your elbows in wet dough, check out the amazing creations of my fellow Daring Bakers (I know, we are a tiny group!), and check out the recipe at Tanna´s blog.

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