Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category


Banana Bread

August 6, 2010

Banana Bread from Crust and Crumb oh so yummy, but oh so bad for you!

The BIL has called this butter bread! it’s bad for you on a whole number of levels. The sugar content is enormous!

I am going to have to try it with different combinations, because the commentary suggests replacing the banana with grated zucchini or carrots or raisin or blueberry. And, it does allow for different amounts of sugars. I’ve only made it in the original banana bread version and I’ve not played with the sugar content but I will. I’ve also done it with walnuts and without walnuts, love it best with walnuts. There is a suggestion that one replaces the nuts with chocolate or a combination of the two…ideas ideas….

What I love about banana bread and similar is that they are moist, and quick and simple. They are tender tender goodness due to the butter!!!! oh the mouth watering-ness of it all. The other good thing about this is that you can make the batter days in advance and keep it in the fridge (for up to 3 days) or freeze it (for up to 1month) its really just great.

Banana Bread

3.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1.5t baking powder
1/4t baking soda
3/4t salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1.5 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2t vanilla extract
1.25 cup buttermilk
2.5 cups mashed banana
1.5 cups walnuts

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a mixing bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer (with paddle) cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Mix in the eggs, 1 at a time. then mix in the vanilla. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Mix in one third of the flour mix, then one third of the buttermilk, then one third of the bananas and repeat. Mix until the flour is absorbed and batter is smooth. Stir in the walnuts if using, just till evenly dispersed. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease two 4×8 inch loaf pans. Fill the pans two-thirds full. Bake for about 45 minutes then reduced the heat to 170C and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let the loaves cool in th pan for about 10 minutes then turn out and let them cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

IT is a bit late, but I am pretty pleased to have this delicious bad-ness to celebrate 1 whole year of me blogging now…albeit sporadically


Yeasted Bagels

July 25, 2010

Another recipe from Crust and Crumb against using the poolish style pre-ferment.

Funnily enough this was the recipe I wanted to make that created all of the poolish in the first place. The Husband finally developed an appreciation for the wonderfulness of a good bagel whilst we were overseas. On two occasions he had bagels (I know that’s not a lot in a 6 week period) but both times they satisfied amazing hunger needs. First time around was just a plain bagel, with nothing on it. Which may not sound all together appealing but after a bout of food poisoning and nearly 2 days of not eating, this was the very first thing he ate. He was ravenous by that stage and he was able to keep it down. Tick one for bagels! The second time around we were in transit on our way home, we hit Heathrow with a little bit of time to get some food into our systems (we’d been offered egg sandwiches in flight…so never going to happen for him!. We arrived seeing TGI Fridays, think score! Only to be disappointed with the line, with little else on offer, we headed to the shortest line. The bagel place! Now you wouldn’t hold much hope in these sorts of establishments really but, as “luck” would have it, it was nearly 8 hours since our last meal, so again he was ravenous. He howed down 1 bagel, slathered with cream cheese and salmon, enjoyed it immensely and was still hungry so dived on another, bacon and chicken this time around. Oh how he enjoyed them. So two very positive wonderful food memories associated with bagels!

So since I’ve returned I have been purchasing bagels in store, making variations on the above, plus others. But I always knew in the back of my mind that I would have to give cooking them a go. Then this book entered my life, and all of its wonderful-ness just called out to have everything inside it made. So slowly but surely I began that challenge. With immense joy as you may have already figured out!

I enjoyed making these bagels a lot. I love the poaching step, and I will be doing this again, and next time around I think I’ll be trying some poppy seed, or perhaps flavoured dough. And, maybe just maybe, using the entire batch of poolish just for them! This time around they just got speckled with some almond meal I used because I didn’t have cornmeal!

I did poach one a touch too long as I was distracted reading the commentaries (for the next recipe I’ll write about) which are so very important in this book. Which resulted in this one bagel being a touch more…..chewy then the rest of them. But, still tasty, and I am yet to really find anything truly wrong with his formulas! It is a very dry dough, that uses lukewarm water to ensure no little specks of yeast speckle the surface of your finished product and its very important you follow this, because part of a good bagel is its looks! I also really liked his method of forming the bagel, instead of rope-and-loop he suggests shoving your thumb through the centre of a ball of dough, and it works well, its quick and is a lot gentler on the dough. One important thing to remember is that when poaching your dough, if they do not float to the surface within 15 seconds of dropping them in, they have not been proofed enough and when baked in the oven the hole will close up.

Yeasted Bagels

Makes 6 – 14 bagels depending on the size you make

1 cup poolish
½ t instant yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
3.5 cups unbleached bread flour
2t salt
1 ½ T honey or malt syrup

Meausre out the sponge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour before using it. Stir the yeast into the water to dissolve and let it sit for 3 minutes. combine the sponge, flour, salt and honey in the bowl of KitchenAid with a dough hook, add the water-yeast mixture.
Mix for 1 minute on a low speed and then for 10 minutes on medium speed – watching to make sure the machine is not struggling (you can of course knead by hand) when done the dough will be dense and fairly dry to the touch, and pass the windowpane test.
Immediately cut the dough into 6-14 pieces depending on the size you want. Roll the pieces into balls. Cover them with plastic wrap or a clean towel and rest for 5 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust it lightly with cornmeal.
To form the bagels, poke a hole in the centre of one piece of the dough with your thumb. Keeping your thumb in the centre, work your dough around, expanding the hole and making an even circle. Put your other thumb in the hole too and gently expand the hole to about 1 inch. If the dough resists or tears let it rest for a few more minutes.
Place the shaped pieces about 2 inches apart on the pan. Enclose the pan in a plastic bag and let the dough rest for 1.5 hours, until it increases about 25% – test the dough if you want, by drpping it in a pan of cold water. If it doesn’t float let it rest a bit longer and then try again.
Make sure the bag is closed and put in the fridge for at least 6 hours, if not over night.
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 240C lightly grease a baking tray and line with parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal and then mist with spray. Remove the shaped dough from the fridge at least half an hour before you plan to bake them.
Fill a large pot of water with at least 4 inches of water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the water is simmering.
Working in batches, gently drop the dough in water. After 1 minute flip the bagels over with a slotted spoon and poach them on the other side for another 1 minute.
Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon, allowing the water to drip into the pot. Place them 2 inches apart on the tray. It is here you would sprinkle with seeds or toppings if you want.
Bake the bagels for 10-12 minutes, till lightly browned. Checking halfway through and rotating the pan front to back.
Transfer the bagels to a rack at allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating. To freeze bagels, allow to cool completely and seal tightly in a freezer bag, and its a good idea to pre-slice them at this point too!

Unbleached bread flour 100%
Poolish 50%
Instant Yeast 0.4%
Water 25%
Salt 3.1%
Honey (or malt) 6.2%


June Challenge

June 18, 2010

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

I was initially daunted, I’m not a pate person. I don’t like it, never had which is a shame because I do see the people enjoying it but then I was inspired by the 4 different pate recipes. It sent me on a search and I came up with a layered cheese pate which I loved!!

For the bread I went with a French Bread recipe from Crust and Crumb a bread that takes me 3 days to make!!! and I love it – despite my need to avoid yeast, this bread always destroys that I eat! and I enjoy! and its worth the pain!

The recipes I used follow, and I have no picture as of yet….its on the Husband’s camera, unprocessed and raw….I’ll add it as soon as I can! This was the 3rd time I’d made this dough, and the time that it was most successful. I must admit that I halved the recipe (the book comes with handy percentages so you can easily do this) but have provided it in it’s full form.

French Bread II (with Pate Fermentee)

Recipe By : Peter Reinhart, Crust and Crumb
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Bread

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
454 gm Unbleached All-purpose Flour
454 gm Unbleached Bread Flour
1 tsp Malt powder
1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
610 gm cool water(65-70F)
454 gm pre-fermented dough
2 1/2 tsp salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flours, malt, yeast and water. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 4 minutes, or until a course dough has formed. Rest the dough for 20 minutes. (the autolyse)****

Cut the pate fermentee into small pieces. Add the salt, ascorbic acid and the pate fermente one piece at a time, with the mixer running on low speed. Mix for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not stick. Mix in extra flour or water(a few drops at a time) if necessary to achieve this consistency. The dough is ready when it passes the window pane test and is between 25 and 26C(neutral to the touch). If your machine is not big enough to handle a dough this large, complete the kneading by hand.
Place the dough in a bowl large enough to allow it to double in size. Mist the dough lightly with a cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. It should just begin to swell.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds.
Cut off 454gm of the dough for a future pate fermentee, if you desire. Put it in a bowl with a plastic wrap or in a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze it.
Shape the remaining dough into a ball and put back in the bowl. Mist the dough lightly with the cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled.
Scale, bench and shape the dough into loaves or rolls as desired. Place them on sheet pans or in baskets. If using pans, line them with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal or semolina for texture; if using
baskets, mist them with cooking spray and dust them with rice flour or
bread flour to prevent sticking. Lightly mist the top of the shaped dough with cooking spray to prevent
sticking and enclose the pans or baskets inside a large plastic bag. Let the dough rise for 15 minutes and then retard overnight in the refrigerator.
Prepare the oven for hearth baking, making sure to place the empty steam pan on a lower rack. Preheat the oven to 250C. Make sure your water sprayer is filled.
Remove the pan of dough from the plastic 15 minutes before baking, to allow the surface of the dough to dry slightly. Just before baking, lightly score the bread( as desired) about half an inch deep at a
45degree angle(Before scoring, you may brush the bread with water with a touch of salt added, or with egg white mixed with water and a touch of salt). Fill a measuring cup with 1 cup of very hot tap water. Put the
loaves or rolls in the oven, either on sheet pans or by peel directly on the stone. Then pour the hot water into the empty steam pan(EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION). Quickly spritz the oven walls and bread, and close
the door.
After 2 minutes, quickly spray the oven walls and the bread again. Repeat in 1 minute. Then lower the oven temperature to 230C. Wait 10 minutes and check the bread(check rolls after 5 minutes). Rotate the bread, front to back, if it seems to be baking unevenly. When the bread has developed a rich, golden brown color, about 25 minutes, for loaves, 15 minutes for rolls, turn off the oven (or lower it to 175C if you plan to bake again). Leave the bread in the oven an additional 5-10 minutes, until it seems on the verge of over browning.
Remove the bread to a cooling rack and allow it to cool thoroughly before eating: 60-90 minutes for loaves, 20 minutes for rolls. The bread will taste best if eaten within 2 hours of cooling

****Using a 20 minute rest period when mixing dough with a machine minimizes mixing time, thus decreasing oxidation. Oxidation, caused by beating air into the dough, bleaches the flour, nullifying the positive flavour and aroma of the beta-carotene in the unbleached flour. This rest period is called the autolyse. While the dough rests, the protein fragments, glutenin and gliadin, continue to bond into gluten molecules, giving the dough its necessary structure.
The salt is added after the autolyse to allow the dough to hydrate more quickly(salt slows down hydration as well as fermentation). the pre-fermented dough is also added after the autolyse because it is already mixed and developed. You want it to have only enough additional mixing to incorporate it fully into the final dough.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Serving Ideas : Add pate fermentee(old dough pre-ferment)
NOTES : Using pre-fermented dough allows you to achieve a great loaf without retarding. There is also the advantage of having a finished loaf on the same day. However, the long, slow rise of overnight
retarding produces a a more spectacular loaf, richer in color, with a dramatic blistered crust.
By cutting off one pound of the finished dough, you can still make four 14 oz baguettes, leaving the pre-ferment for the next batch.

Layered Cheese Pate

2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 package Stilton
How to make Layered Cheese Pate
Combine cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and pepper in a mixing bowl, beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth.
Line 2 lightly oiled 3 x 2 inch loaf pans with plastic wrap, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each side.
Carefully spread about one-third of cream cheese mixture in loaf pan, smoothing to corners of pan.
Next, layer Gruyere cheese and chopped pecans, top with half of remaining cream cheese mixture.
Then layer 1/2 cup parsley and Stilton cheese, top with remaining cream cheese mixture, pressing mixture firmly.
Cover with overhanging plastic wrap, and allow cheese loaf to chill at least 8 hours.
To unmold, lift cheese loaf out of pan using the plastic wrap.
Remove plastic wrap, and I rolled it one in parsley and one in some chilli, then stacked them on top of each other.
Let cheese loaf come to room temperature before serving.


Fastest Cinnamon Rolls

May 15, 2010

I made these awhile back, in January in fact if memory serves. They were a welcome back food to my SIL and BIL after their very long return flight from Europe. I figured after flying an Asian airline that perhaps something more ‘bread’ like for breakfast would be called for.

I haven’t made them since, not because I didn’t like them. No no no, I haven’t made them because I liked them TOO much. I nearly didn’t make it out the door with them, I wanted to devour every last crumb for myself. Slowly of course because they were quite sweet, but I wanted them all for myself.

It’s a bit odd in that there is cottage cheese in the dough, and no yeast (which of course appealed to my yeast intolerant self) but rather baking powder. It does mean that the end result isn’t as light and fluffy as a normal cinnamon roll, it’s a bit firmer. And, whilst they taste good the next day (or the day after that in fact) they really are something is best consumed within the day of baking.

The fastest cinnamon rolls

1 cup of frozen cranberries, or ¾ cup dried (or other dried fruit)
¾ cup cottage cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
4T butter
1 ½ t vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1T baking powder
¼ t baking soda
½ t salt
2/3 cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 ¼ t ground cinnamon
1 t all spice
¼ t cloves, ground

Preheat the oven to 200C, if using dried fruit cover with boiling water and set aside.
Place the cottage cheese, sugar, buttermilk, 4T melted butter and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt the work bowl and pulse until the dough clumps like biscuit dough, 8-10 pulses. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently, folding the dough over and pushing away from you 4 to 5 times, until the dough is smooth. Do not over work. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to make a 12 by 15 inch rectangle. Brush the entire surface with an extra 2T melted butter. Leaving a ½ inch border.
To make the filling, combine the sugars, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Sprinkle over the surface of the dough. Pat to press the sugar into the surface. Drain and pat dry the dried fruit, or sprinkle unthawed over the sugar mix.
Starting at the long edge, roll up the dough jelly-roll fashion. Pinch the seam to seal the ends. With a very sharp knife, cut the roll into equal pieces (maybe 12). Set the rolls cut side up on the baking pan.
Place immediately on the centre rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool slightly before eating.

Recipe adapted from Bread for Breakfast



February 14, 2010

The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

AND it was one of the most delicious things I’ve had in a long time! it was enjoyed by my whole family. It was perfect! my pita didn’t turn out the best not as fluffy as I would have liked, but taste wise it was brilliant! Even the gluten free pita I adapted for my Grandma worked out quite well.

I had a lot of fun making this, it was a lot of fun to have the different options to go with it. I was able to cater for the different tastes of the people I had. It was really great, my mum had flown over from the other side of the country to celebrate the Husband finishing university. My grandparents had come up because of this as well, but also to house sit for my impending European Holiday. So, I had to cater to the tastes of 5 people. We do have some similar tastes but not always with everything. So this was perfect! we all loved it!

Oh, and we are missing the tabouleh in this picture (made with couscous for the GF Gma). But, my mezze was a giant bowl of hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, 3 types of sliced meat, sweet corn, sun-dried tomato, olives, roasted capsicum, caramelised onion and 3 dolmades for my Grandma.

This will be my last Daring Kitchen for awhile now….I return to my home on the 5th April so will pick it up again then!


Cornbread (on-the-cob)

January 13, 2010

So i thought I’d start a little early with my Flavour of the Month I was not going to start until next week, but I needed to do something for dinner that was really easy but not just meat and vegies. That is boring!!!! This recipe seemed perfect for it because you threw it in bowl, mixed it together and you’re good.

So from there I pounced on Nigella Bites simply because it was one of the cookbooks I got over Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary Celebrations. And it was the one I thought most appropriate. The others were very much bread/carb focused which in small amounts if fine, but after over indulgence during the above celebrations I really could not have those things with a 6 week holiday where Ill end up eating whatever I am sure.

So anyway, Nigella suggests these with stews, black bean soup, fried eggs and bacon or just for breakfast. I served them on this occasion for the Husband with sweet and sour pork.

Cornbread (on-the-cob)

175g cornmeal (or polenta)
125g plain flour
45g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1T baking bowder
250ml milk
1 egg
3T olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C
Grease the moulds – if no corn on the cob moulds, grease a square tin, or a bun muffin tin.
Mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a measuring jug beat together the milk, egg and oil. Then pour the wet into the dry stirring until just combined. Pour into the moulds and cook for about 20/25 minutes. When ready the cornbread should be just pulling away from the sides.


GF & DF Scones

December 16, 2009

I have this great scone recipe that can be used with multiple substitutions and additions depending on peoples dietary needs. And today at work, we are having a lunch for a person who’s turning 40 on the weekend. And, as I believe I’ve previously mentioned one of the lovely ladies at work is GF and often doesn’t get catered for at these sorts of events. So combine this with my grandmother being around and what else could I make but something Gluten Free?

I discovered this recipe in my first year of marriages whilst the Husband was still not allowed to eat a plethora of things. The draw card? The name of the recipe was “gluten free, dairy free, egg free scones”! I can’t remember where I got this recipe but I am forever grateful for it because I adapted it in many ways for the Husband and gave him sweet scones to have with honey or (for whatever reason) sugar and margarine and made him savoury scones he could have with cheese or even with a meal instead of some sort of rice noodle/plain rice dish. Obviously at that time I was using a rice flour base because he wasn’t allowed the corn or potato found in many GF friendly flours, but I would also add a little almond meal and/or buckwheat and that worked well as well.

Variations have included ¼ cup of nuts + ½ cup of raisins or dried cranberries, plain or ¼ cup of cheese; ½ cup mashed pumpkin and once with just a few spices to make it “Christmas-y”….I think its pretty endless really just start with the base and add things if you want
This time around because of my grandma being here I used Nuttelex Olive Oil instead of margarine/butter and I also used soy milk (though you can also use rice milk if you want – or of course buttermilk if you don’t need to go dairy free). They also don’t puff up as much as normal scones, but that’s not too surprising is it?

GF & DF Scones

2 ½ cups GF flour mixture
1t xanthin or guar gum
3T sugar (optional)
2t baking powder
½ cup cold nuttelex (or margarine)
1 cup soy milk + 2T of lemon juice

Sift flours together, stir in cum, sugar and baking powder. Cut in the margarine (I used my KitchenAid for this). Once mixed dump into a bowl and stir in any additions you’re going to add (nuts etc) and then stir in buttermilk, mixing well (they won’t get tough). Turn out onto a board (floured) and gently knead for about 2 or 3 minutes. The dough should be soft but hold a shape.
Drop large spoonfuls of the dough directly onto a baking sheet and pat into the shape you want.
Place in pre-heated oven at about 180C and bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
They don’t stay fresh for more than a day, so you can freeze them successfully when wrapped well and gently reheat them in a low microwave!