Category Archives: bread

Sticky is good

If you happen to see buns all over the place today, do not panic, you are not losing your mind, it´s just that the Daring Bakers are at it again, and with some 50 new members, this is looking like world domination at this point.

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I was in charge of hosting this month, and while I loved picking the challenge, it´s definitely hard to come up with something I thought everyone would enjoy, and at the same time something I hadn´t done before and wanted to try for a while. I didn´t want to choose something difficult just for the sake of it, I just wanted this month to be fun and relaxing.

The answer: cinnamon and sticky buns, using a recipe by Peter Reinhart from The Bread Baker´s Apprentice. I know many people have serious issues with yeast, so I wanted to help encourage them to get over it already, and I had never tried cinnamon or sticky buns before so that situation needed to be remedied ASAP.

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Now, on to the recipe, I loved it. The dough is a breeze, with or without a stand mixer (and without would be the case with me, it´s the perfect excuse for an upper-body workout before the bun-munching that will most certainly come next). It´s incredibly silky but isn´t loaded with butter (though the sticky bun version does have tons of extra butter in the glaze).

I had given everyone the chance of changing the spices and the nuts/dried fruits however they wanted, so the first batch I made was half cinnamon buns, half sticky buns and for the sticky buns I used chai spices instead of just cinnamon for the sugar filling. The spices would be: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.

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For my brother´s birthday, I made a second batch, and went local and used dulce de leche and coconut for the filling of the regular buns, and a touch of salted butter in the sticky buns glaze. Of course, this being Argentina, the dulce de leche buns were the ones that disappeared in a matter of minutes, but the sticky buns were also remarkable, and the regular buns could easily have been classified as sticky because damn did that dulce de leche drip or what! I took some pictures of my friends enjoying the dulce de leche buns, but they are all quite blurry, so I could only salvage this one, that while blurry, it´s still hilarious (it´s my brother Nicolás and my friend Pablo, please notice the pinkie finger sticking up as the fine lady Pablo is).

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But, back to the recipe, this is actually a Daring Baker recipe that can be made often, and the dough can be retarded in the fridge or frozen so it´s quite convenient too. And you can really go crazy with the filling as the dough is very versatile, i´m thinking chocolate chips with cinnamon sugar would be great, or precooked apples with cinnamon and cardamom… you get the idea.

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From what I´ve seen and heard, the rest of the girls (and boys) made some remarkable buns, so please check them out here.

Full recipe after the jump.

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Filed under bread, Daring bakers, food, sweet

No mirror here

Well, I haven´t been cooking all that much lately and I´m finally running out of older recipes, and I´m not even participating in the Daring Bakers challenge this month, but I couldn´t let this day go by without telling you to check out the Strawberry Mirror Cake they made this month. Yes, go ahead, I´ll wait right here.

Ok, now that´s out of the way, I´m gonna tell you about an amazing garlic bread Tanna posted about a couple of weeks ago. Yes, another bread recipe, sorry, it´s winter here so i´m not going to wait until it´s scorching hot outside to turn on the oven.

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I know most people just cut a piece of bread and just put loads of garlic and butter on top and bake it. Well, while that could work, not for me. And this bread is quite easy to make and produces a loooooot of bread, most of which sat quietly in the freezer until I was ready to dispose of it.

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Next time I make it, I´ll up the salt and the garlic and add part of the garlic-herbs mix to the dough itself… and maybe up the butter content a bit too… I know, I know, I´m bad, but if you are going to do it, you might as well go the whole way.

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For the recipe, head over to Tanna´s site (you can modify the herbs to your heart´s content, I think I used crushed coriander seeds and dry rosemary because it was what I had on hand at the time.)

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Filed under bread, Daring bakers, food, savory

Unleash the Paraguayan in you (chipá cheese rolls)

chipá, take two

Chipá is a traditional bread from the north of Argentina and Paraguay. I´ve been meaning to make this for the blog for ages, but never got around to buying all that cheese. Basically, these are cheese rolls which use tapioca flour instead of regular wheat flour, which gives them a very smooth, chewy texture.

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They are truly delicious and quite easy to make, freeze perfectly either raw or cooked, and are definitely crowd-pleasers. And it´s just made up of tapioca flour, butter, eggs and all sorts of cheese, what´s not to like?

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In case you can´t find tapioca flour/starch where you live, you can buy it at Amazon for sure. And I can even give you a satisfaction guarantee, since I have never met anyone who doesn´t like them.

Traditional cheese rolls with tapioca (chipá)

Yields about 40 chipá

Tapioca flour or tapioca starch, 500g

4 eggs

Butter, 200g (about 1 3/4 sticks)

2 teaspoons salt (this will depend on the amount of salt the cheese you use has)

pepper

parmesan cheese, 250 grams (about 1/2 a pound)

mozarella or other soft cheese, 250 grams

manchego or other hard and somewhat spicy cheese, 250 grams

1. Put the tapioca in a big bowl (it is quite volatile so it can make a mess), along with cold butter (chopped roughly), the mozzarella or any semi-soft cheese (also roughly cut to make the process easier), the grated parmesan cheese, and the eggs.

2. Start mixing the ingredients by hand until the dough is somewhat formed. (Another method I´ve used is to first process the butter and the flour till it resembles a fine crumble and then add the soft cheese, the parmesan and the eggs until it forms a ball.)

3. Add the hard cheese cut into small squares to the dough and keep kneading until you have a homogeneous dough (with the exception of the hard cheese squares, which aren´t supposed to blend in).

4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. This step can be skipped if in a hurry and they´ll still come out great. Or you can keep it in the fridge and finish the next day.

5. Take small pieces of dough and form little balls with it. (At this point, you can also freeze some of them raw and bake them later.)

6. Cook in a 400°F oven for around 10 mins, checking every 5 mins or so. The result should be crunchy outside and softer inside. (Be careful not too overcook them, otherwise they´ll get too dry. They should be quite soft and chewy on the inside.)

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Filed under Argentina, bread, food

Catching up

Lately I´ve been doing a whole lot of cooking, but falling a bit short on the writing part of the deal. And since I must be at least 6 or 7 recipes behind right now, I´m thinking my only way out of this mess is to do a recap sort of post, you know, like they do in sitcoms when they run out of ideas, but in this case, it´s all new stuff, so don´t hate me just yet.

One of the reasons why I´ve fallen behind is probably the length of the recipes I´ve been doing lately… I mean, I try to fight my lazy nature, but typing up a 3-page recipe can be too daunting a task sometimes.

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But when the recipe is good enough to demand being shared, I oblige. And that would be the case with this recipe by Peter Reinhart. It´s a roasted garlic-rosemary bread with mashed potatoes in the dough… that´s a recipe for sucess right there. It´s definitely one of those bread to be devoured on its own or used to enhance most dishes. You need to invite people over to help you eat it or freeze most of it as soon once it has cooled down, otherwise, you´ll be in a whole lot of trouble… don´t say I didn´t warn you.

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The second recipe I´ve meant to discuss sooner is Dorie Greenspan´s Allspice Crumble Muffins (since everyone seems to have the book and I´m tired after typing out the first recipe, it´s on page 16 of Baking: From my Home to Yours.) First of all, I hadn´t tried allspice before, so that was a revelation in itself, but the crumble on top of the muffin was simply perfect, a very moist crumb topped with a sturdy crust, can´t get better than that. Flavor-wise, I´ll add a bit more allspice next time to kick it up a notch.

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Then I made Peter Reinhart Vienna´s bread, which, while very good, doesn´t justify typing out a yet another 3 page recipe (maybe with a few tweaks it will,) but this picture of Phoebe guarding the bread does justify mentioning it! (This is for those of you asking for updated pics of her… more coming up soon, I promise.)

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Vienna bread, security included

And the last recipe I want to share with you today is a recipe by the talented Ilva over at Lucullian Delights. It´s a recipe for Mediterranean chickpea fritters with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so it took me 10 minutes overall to have this on the table, and it´s so damn good I made it again a couple of days later. The only thing I changed was that I added 1 egg because I figured it´d give it a fluffier consistency and a teaspoon of capers just because I like them. Either way you like it, do yourself a favor and make them.

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Phew! Done!

(Recipe after the jump)

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Filed under bread, food, Phoebe, savory, sweet, vegetables

Chew on this

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Yes, it´s that time of the month again, but there´s no pastry cream this time, I kid you not, not even puff pastry or cream puffs. Have the Daring Bakers gone completely mad, you ask, no I say, it´s just that simple was the way to go this time around, and boy are we glad about it.

Now, you must think of the word “easy” in Daring-Bakers terms of course, because what we made was bagels from scratch.

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I was totally into it right from the get go because, as some of you might have realized, I´m up for anything bread-like these days, and I´ve been meaning to try making bagels for ages now.

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The problem was that my only bagel-eating experiences were a plain bagel on a Delta plane (which, surprisingly, I loved, though then again, I don´t think the palate is truly demanding at 7am after 10 hours on a plane, I´d do anything just to be distracted for a little while… ok, you need to cleanse your mind here, not that kind of anything on a plane, at least not so far!)… where was I? Yes, bagels, well, the other bagels I had tried were supermarket blueberry bagels (shudder!). In my defense, my ex boyfriend bought them and he didn´t seem to have a very refined sense in terms of food (though he did have a wonderful taste in women, of course).

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So needless to say, I´m not sure if I have the right parameters to judge my bagel-making efforts. I mean they were quite chewy, but apparently they are supposed to be like that, and the toppings were nice, and they took like 3 hours to make overall, which is like nothing.

I did a bunch of different toppings: black sesame seeds, regular sesame seeds, poppy seeds, parmesan cheese, parmesan cheese with a taco mix, parmesan cheese with garlic flakes (do you see a trend here?), sea salt, and mixes of the previous toppings. My favorites were the sesame seed and, surprise surprise, the parmesan-taco bagels.

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As you can see in this picture, when I tried the “snake” method of bagel-making, it didn´t work all too well. But as I always tell myself when things come out funny-looking, they are “rustic” bagels… yeah, right!

As for the veredict, I don´t have a clear one… I liked the bagels, but I think they were a bit bready, though I think I´ll just have to go to New York, try the real deal and then compare. I know, my life is full of sacrifices.

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For the recipe, click here. And remember to check out the other Daring Bakers creations in the Link Madness page above.

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Filed under bread, Daring bakers, savory

Freestyle naan bread

Before anyone thinks I´m taking this everything-must-be-homemade trend a bit too far, I need to clarify
that there are few Indian restaurants in Buenos Aires, non particularly cheap, so I don´t have Indian food delivered to my house, and I have never tried naan bread before. So, you should be warned that the shape and size of my bread will probably be off in
terms of what this bread is actually supposed to look like.

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Having said that, I don´t care! The texture and taste of this bread simply blew me away and I think it took me an hour and a half to make it from start to finish, not bad at all when you want to compliment a great stew with something that does it justice.

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I first searched in The Bread Baker´s Apprentice, but most breads there take two days to make (yes, I am being serious), so that wasn´t going to happen (I did make an remarkable bread from the book that I´ll share with you soon, but now let´s focus on the naan.)

I used melted butter to work the bread because nothing can beat a nice buttery flavor and I used chives instead of cilantro on top because that´s what I had, and I´m also not a fan of cilantro leaves (coriander seeds are a different story.)

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There´s not much more to say except that you should really make this bread when you have the chance because it´s good on its own, with some humus or with anything really and you can heat it up in the toaster the next day or freeze it and have some in a few minutes whenever the mood strikes.

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Naan bread (adapted from The Cook´s Book, recipe by Dan Lepard)

Yields 4 breads (I think I got 6 or 7… depends on the size)

2/3 cup (150cc) water at 72°F (22°C)

3/4 tsp (5g) compressed fresh yeast (I used around 1/3 tsp of dry yeast)

2 cups (250g) cake flour

3 1/2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt (I think sour cream would work as well here)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

sunflower oil, ghee or melted butter for kneading (I used melted butter because I love the flavor)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley, optional (I used chopped chives)

1. Pour water into a bowl. Whisk in the yeast, then add half the flour. Mix together with a fork, then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

2. Stir in the yogurt, then add the rest of the flour, the salt, and baking powder. Mix together with your hands (or a spoon if you find it easier) into a soft, sticky ball. Spoon 2 tsp of oil, ghee or melted butter into the bowl and rub it over the top of the dough, then pick the dough up out of the bowl and roughly squeeze it once or twice. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and leave for 15 minutes.

3. Pour another 1 tsp oil, ghee or melted butter onto the dough and rub lightly all over, then turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Knead the dough lightly for 30 seconds, then return it to the bowl. Cover and leave for another 15 minutes.

4. By this time, the dough should be much smoother. Knead lightly on the oiled surface for a minutes, then divide into fourths (or sixths, or any number, it´ll depend on the surface or the wok or skillet you are using.) Dust with flour and leave for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a wok over medium heat (a nonstick skillet with a lid also works.)

5. Take one piece of dough and roll it out into a teardrop shape, dusting well with flour as you go. Try to get the dough quite thin, about 1/4in (3mm) if possible.

6. When the wok is very hot, gently lift the dough and lay it in the wok. Brush the surface of the dough with a little sunflower oil, ghee or melted butter (remember that the melted butter burns more easily, so you can use half melted butter and half oil to have a higher burning point) mixed with the herbs, if using (I added the herbs at the last minute because otherwise they would get burned). Place the lid on the wok and leave for 1 minute, while you roll out another piece of dough.

7. Check the naan. It should have risen slightly and blisters of air should be forming on the top surace. With tongs, lift the bread carefully at one end and look to see whether it has browned lightly underneath. If so, flip the naan over and cook for 1 minute longer.

8. When the naan is cooked on both sides, remove it from the wok. Keep wraped in a clean dish towel while you roll out and cook the remaining naan.

The baked naan freeze very well. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in the oven.

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And the winner is…

hogaza gallega

The boob bread! Yes, indeed, the people have spoken and decided that they wanted the recipe for the Hogaza Gallega. I´ve always felt that big boosoms were important in our society, and I see I´m not mistaken. Even though I resent that personally, I´m gonna go ahead and translate the recipe for you.

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Now, about the boob shape, I was just following orders. You see, the guy who wrote this bread book, Marcelo Vallejo, he specifically said that I should grab a small piece of the dough with my hand and give it a twist… and so I did, unaware that I was creating something more suitable for an adult magazine… or at least a Super Bowl show.

In fact, I didn´t realize the anatomical reference of my two beautiful loaves until a friend pointed it out, and thereby this bread was renamed forever.

Now, back to the recipe. This is a traditional bread, which means it requires some love and care and a few hours to spare (I guess I can inadvertingly rhyme.)

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It uses a starter and an extra pan with water in the oven to generate steam, but other than that, it´s not difficult to make and it generates a very moist loaf of bread with a very nice crumb and crust which can be given many uses… even romantic inspiration I guess.

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The one when Marce can´t make up her mind

I swear I haven´t completely forgotten I have a blog. It´s just that life has a way of distracting me quite often, and, to be honest, I´m lazier than I´d like to admit.

I actually have a couple of recipes waiting to be discussed, but seeing that I´m too lazy to translate and discuss two bread recipes, I turn to you so that you choose which recipe you´d prefer: a traditional Spanish bread that is very moist and doesn´t have any additional flavors and requiring more prep time, or a braided bread flavored with onion soup powder, oregano and some other spices.

Here are some pictures to help you decide. I´ll post the winner recipe tomorrow or during the weekend if there aren´t enough votes by tomorrow.

Hogaza gallega (yes, I´m aware of the fact that it looks kinda like a boob, but that was the way it was supposed to be, blame the author!)

hogaza gallega

Spicy braid

spicy braid

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Filed under bread, rambling, savory

Of pizzas and dogs, a coming-of-age story

Lest you think the crepe mayhem destroyed my will to cook and write, I´m gonna write a quick post today with a general update on food and life.

I´m still enamoured by all things bready, which means I have yet to translate and post 2 more bread recipes (and to think I´m a translator, but translating into English, and for free, really bugs me hahaha.) But I´ll get to it soon, hopefully during the weekend, when I usually have more time to write.

And I made pizza crust this week following a recipe (a first for me), which turned out very good, and I promise to share it with you as soon as I can.

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Yummy, non?

And for those of you wondering about my puppy, soon-to-be-grownup, Phoebe, she´s doing great and behaving like a true lady most of the time, though I´m afraid I´ll have to start saying goodbye to her puppy days. Just look how big she is at 4 months of age! (that Royal Canin in the background seems to be working for her!)

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We have started going to the park (yepee! finally!), and she´s still polishing her social skills with other dogs and with people… you see, she doesn´t seem to grasp the concept that jumping on all dogs and people is not cool.

Here she is, enjoying some pampering from yours truly.

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And then giving me a spa treatment for my hands so that they´ll never get too dry.

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Well, that´s it for now. I need to clean up the house before some friends arrive, so I´m sorry but I´ll have to keep this very short today. I´ll do an update with the pizza crust recipe soon and hopefully catch up on old recipes during the weekend.

UPDATE: recipe after the jump.

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Filed under bread, Phoebe

a perfect lunch… alternately titled “crusty borders, part II”

I´ve rarely talked about cheese here. It´s definitely NOT because I don´t like it, it´s just that it´s always there (try to find savory recipes of mine without parmessan cheese, I dare you!). And I rarely use fancy cheese, so I don´t have any excuse to stop and discuss this or that type of cheese.

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Well, today is that day, and the cheese is called “provoleta”. As you can guess is a sort of provolone cheese which is grilled to serve alongside our famous “asados” (barbecues.) Just imagine this: a big chunk of hard cheese put on a grill till it morphs into a crusty shell with a soft, gooey, cheesy interior.

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The taste is that of provolone cheese, which is similar to parmessan, so you can just imagine how good this is.

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I´m a bit of an embarrassment to my country in terms of my beef-eating habits, meaning I rarely eat beef, so I had a small piece of provoleta with a huge spinach salad and some of my homemade white batter bread. I don´t know about you, but that is my idea of a perfect lunch right there: crunchy, yet soft cheese, raw spinach and two incredible pieces of bread grilled along with the cheese.

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As there isn´t really a recipe for the provoleta, just with an invitation to come to Argentina and try it for yourself, I´m gonna give you the recipe for the white batter bread (courtesy of Deb), which is one of my favorite breads ever, is easy to make and doesn´t require kneading for those of you afraid of that part of bread-making.

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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend with at least one wonderful, perfect lunch… see you on Sunday with my first-ever Daring Bakers challenge! 🙂

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Filed under Argentina, bread, food, savory