Every Little Leaguer heard to “keep their eye on the ball” ad nauseam. It’s good advice—in more ways than being able to hit a ball.
I had some fresh blueberries and a sheet of puff pastry left over from a previous bake so decided to make some blueberry hand pies. At the same time, as long as the over was hot, I made our granddaughters’ heart shaped Valentine’s Day cakes.
I made the blueberry filling and set it aside to cool to room temperature, then made the two cakes (plus five cupcakes from the extra batter. QC has to have her input, doesn’t she?) I rolled out the puff pastry, cut it into 9 pieces about 3.5” square, put about a half teaspoon of filling on one side, painted half with an egg wash, folded each square into a triangle and sealed the edge with a fork before slashing a small vent hole in the top. Cover with egg wash, a sprinkling of sparkling sugar and put into in the oven at 425 deg for 18 minutes. (The directions said 18- 22 min.)
Well… there’s 18 minutes, and then there’s 18 minutes. In this case 18 minutes was about 3 minutes too long. My hand pies were “well done,” instead of “just right” done. I did not keep my eye on the ball… or the hand pies. QC said they tasted fine, but were too dark to leave the bakery. Oh the trials and tribulations of being the QC department for such a demanding Manufacturing organization. Lesson learned.
The cakes and cupcakes were perfect. More on that closer to Valentine’s Day.
I tried something new today. I use my sous vide for many, many things, but never thought of using it for tempering chocolate. I researched online and the sous vide companies described several different techniques. The problem with them is they bag the chocolate, like you would a steak, and heat and cool it in the bag. I wanted to dip my chocolates, so decided to use a pan to hold the chocolate. I had to be careful as any water that splashed into the melted chocolate would seize and ruin it. (I managed to temper 3 batches with no failures.
I made sure the large pot, plus sous vide was just big enough to allow the sauce pan to sit in the water without tipping too much. It also let the water circulate from the sous vide without splashing.
By the third batch I had the timing down. Setting the sous vide temperature a few degrees higher, or lower, than the chocolate required compensated for our ambient room temperature of 64 deg. I was using dark chocolate so set the sous vide to 126 deg and let the chocolate heat to 122 deg F and hold until I was sure it was all at temperature. That’s the beauty of using the sous vide to temper. It will hold indefinitely at any temperature you select. I then removed the sauce pan containing the melted chocolate, wiped the pan dry and set it aside before replacing 5 cups of water with 5 cups of ice, dropping the temperature to 75 deg. Returning the saucepan to the water quickly cooled the chocolate to 80 deg. I then set the temperature to 95 which held the chocolate in temper at 90 deg for over an hour.
After making the centers by pouring the candy filling into a jelly roll pan, cooling and cutting into 1” x 2” pieces, I dipped to coat the Butterfingers candy bars. The resultant center was too thin for the candy bar. I then tried pouring it into a mold, but it was too thick. Nothing I have was “just right.” However, the flavor and texture was spot-on compared to the commercial candy bar.
I used a heart shaped polycarbonate mold to make the vanilla cream and Mounds Bar clone. (It is almost Valentines Day after all.) I made a half recipe although the recipe below is for a full recipe Two coats of tempered chocolate painted into the mold made a shell for the filling.
The vanilla cream readily piped into the mold, but the coconut was too dense and lumpy with the coconut so I greased my hands and rolled small balls of the mixture then pressed them into the shell. (I warmed the coconut mixture for the second batch and was able to pipe it.)
Once filled, a layer of tempered chocolate was poured over the top and the excess was scraped off. Tapping the cooled mold on the table released the finished candies.
INGREDIENTS • 5 oz condensed milk, sweetened • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar • 14 oz coconut, shredded • 4 cups dark (64% cacao) couverture chocolate
Mix the condensed milk and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, blending until smooth.
Stir in the coconut.
Temper the chocolate and paint the inside of the mold. It will probably take 2 coats to completely cover the mold. Cool the chocolate between coats.
Grease you hands and roll a small quantity of the mixture into a ball and force into the chocolate coated mold.
Pour chocolate over the top and scrape off the excess. Chill until the top is firm.
Scrape any residual chocolate from the mold and tap on the counter to release.
Add the softened butter, meringue powder, light corn syrup, and water to your mixing bowl Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer beat until mixed completely, scraping the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated well.
Add fondant sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, then, beat on medium speed for about 1 minute until it all creams together.
Add invertase, and food coloring and mix well. This was my first recipe using invertase. It is a natural enzyme used to break down the sugar and change it from grainy to smooth.
Scoop the cream filling into a disposable pastry bag and twist the end tightly, securing with a clip or a rubber band.
INGREDIENTS • 1/3 cup light corn syrup • 1/3 cup water • 1 cup granulated sugar • 1 cup peanut butter • Spray Vegetable Oil (Pam, etc.) for keeping the knife lubricated in scoring • 1 Pound of Tempered Semi-Sweet Chocolate for dipping
First begin by greasing a 12-by-17-inch jelly roll pan (with 1-inch sides) with safflower, vegetable or canola oil. Place the pan into a slightly warm oven to warm the pan while making the candy. (Don’t allow the pan to become hot, only barely warm to give you more time to spread and score the candy later.)
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine the corn syrup and water, stirring well to combine. Place over medium-low heat and add the sugar. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is clear and then stirring often until it reaches a full boil. Clip on your calibrated candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high and continue to cook – without stirring – until the mixture reaches 310 degrees (F). During this cooking period, should sugar crystals form above the boiling line, carefully wipe away using a damp pastry brush, but be careful not to touch the boiling mixture. Rinse the pastry brush well – and make certain to blot-dry the brush well – between each swipe.
Remove your pan from the warming oven and place on your work surface.
Remove the candy from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring to blend completely using a clean wooden spoon. Working quickly, pour the mixture onto your well-greased jelly roll pan, and spread as evenly as possible. Score the mass with an oiled, heavy chef’s knife into 1-inch by 2-inch pieces, cutting at least half way through the candy. (The more quickly you do this, the easier and deeper your scoring will be.) It is helpful to spray the knife with cooking oil occasionally to aide the knife in scoring.
Allow the scored mixture to cool at room temperature about 2 hours. When cool and hard, complete cutting the scored pieces using a sharp, heavy knife (I like to use my Chinese cleaver here) and break into individual pieces.
Place the cut candies into the refrigerator while you temper your dipping chocolate and allow to chill for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the candies from the fridge and dip each piece into the chocolate, then place on parchment paper to allow the chocolate to harden completely (About 3 hours).
Note: You can add a certain flair to the candy by taking a clean dinner fork and touching the tops of each freshly dipped piece raising lines of “peaks” (akin to meringue peaks). Just use the back of the fork laid parallel to the chocolate cops, touch, lift and slightly pull to one side. Looks pretty snazzy….
Store on waxed-paper sheets in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Pugliese is not the easiest of breads to make, but is one of the tastiest with wonderful crumb and crust. The recipe below calls for durum flour, but I substituted what I had on hand, which is Soft Wheat Flour Tipo “00”. This is a high hydration dough which means it is very hard to handle. It is very soft and very sticky and you don’t want to add extra flour to make it easier to handle as you will reduce the hydration.
Typically pugliese is made in round loaves, but I made one round and one batard, as those are the Dutch Ovens I have. Anyway, if you are up to it, and have some time, give this a try. It is one of the best breads I have ever made.
This is approx 82% (the recipe 3 X’s is approx 84%) total hydration dough. The recipe comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum ‘the bread bible’
225 g – All purpose flour
3/16th tsp – 0.6 g instant yeast
177 g – water, at room temperature (70F to 90F) Dough • 213 g – All Purpose flour • 213 g – Duram Flour – or Soft Wheat Flour Tipo “00” • 1 ½ tsp – 4.8 g Instant Yeast • 15 g – salt • 354 g – water, at room temperature (70F to 90F) about 12 oz METHOD 6 hours or up to 3 days ahead, make the biga. Use the “Ultimate Flavor” method (let the biga to ferment for 12-24 hours at 55-65 deg, then store in the fridge.)
Combine all the biga ingredients in a large bowl and stir the mixture until smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl…3 to 5 minutes. Should be sticky or tacky enough to cling to your fingers. Cover the bowl, with oiled plastic or lid and set aside until tripled and filled with bubbles..about 6 hours. Stir it down and use it, or refrigerate it up to 3 days.
In a large bowl, dissolve the biga in the water… a few little undissolved pieces are ok.
Whisk together flours, yeast. Add salt and whisk again.
Add the flour mixture to the biga and water and mix until wet and combined.
Autolyse (self digest) for approx 50 minutes
Stretch and fold 3 times.
Repeat stretch and fold 3 or 4 times -30 minutes apart,
After dough forms good gluten strands, (I cut the dough in half here as I didn’t have a proofing container big enough to proof this large a recipe,) form a ball, and cover, letting it rise in a (ideally 75F to 80F) until tripled…about 2 hours.
Preheat oven and Dutch ovens to 500F.
1 hour before baking pour the dough out of the bowl onto lightly floured surface…cut it in half.. and with very few gentle motions pull it over itself into a rough ball. Gently pick it up and drop it seam side up into the floured banneton. Sprinkle top lightly with flour, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise until it has increased by about 1 ½ times, up to 1 ½ hours. It will just start to push up the plastic. Dust with a little flour and score the top with 3 or 4 large slashes.
Bake with steam turning down the oven after the first five minutes and then continue baking with steam for 12 minutes total at 450F or adjusting your ovens temperature to bake the loaves for approx another 20 minutes, until deep golden brown….leave loaves in off oven with door ajar for 5 to 10 minutes
Actually, it is a lemon knot in my stomach. Dan and Frances gave me some lemons from a neighbor’s tree, permission granted of course. I happen to see a simple recipe for Lemon Knots and decided that would be a great place to use one of the lemons. It was.
It is a very easy recipe, especially since I do not make my own puff pastry. I tried rough puff once, but found the full puff purchased in the market is better than what I could make at home. I may make full puff one day, just for the experience. I’m thinking about it. No promises.
Now, what to do with the other 11 lemons….
I added some sparkling sugar after the egg wash. It provides a little crunch and sweetness balance to the lemon zest.
Raspberries were on sale ($2.99/package,) the forecast was for light rain, and it was a non-golf day. Whaddya expect? Scone morning everyone!
Dropped berry scones make a delicious, easy, breakfast in 30 minutes. This recipe makes 6 large free-formed scones. I formed these by hand shaping them into hamburger-like 3” diameter patties.
I froze half of them for a future breakfast. Scones can be frozen for up to 3 months, then thawed on the counter for an hour before reheating in the oven. Even easier is to microwave them, still frozen, in 30 second bursts, being careful not to overheat them.
I saw this video on FB last week. A baker from Turkey demonstrated making these small, round, enriched bread loaves. The method was so simple and the final product so beautiful I couldn’t resist trying my hand.
The video was in the baker’s language, but it was captioned either with automatically created captions (I hope) or by someone who was very obviously neither a baker or a native English speaker. In honesty, the computer’s, or human translator’s, mastery of English is far better than my translation to any language other than igpay -atinlay.
Luckily, and oddly, the recipe ingredients were listed below the video. Oddly in that they were listed in US and Metric units. The method was pretty standard and required little adjustment. I made a few modifications to the original recipe. I mixed and kneaded the down in my stand mixer, rather than my hand. I divided the dough into 7 pieces of 150g each. Next time, I will make each 175g and make 6 loaves as reflected below. This batch of loaves were 5” diameter and 2/5” high. I would like them a little bigger, maybe 6×3”.
The cutting board in this photo was made by my father, or me, I cannot remember, but it is still our day to day cutting board ‘lo these 40+ years.
Enriched Bread – Small Round Loaves
INGREDIENTS • 200 ml warm milk • 200 ml warm water • 10 g (1 Tbl) sugar • 10g (1 Tbl) instant yeast • 30 g (2 Tbl) melted butter • 600g (5 cups) flour • 8 g (1 tsp) salt • 25g butter cut in strips to lay on cut rolls before baking
Add milk, water, sugar and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until combined
Add 300 g flour,butter, salt and mix
Add remaining 300 g of flour and knead until a smooth dough forms, about 8 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. (I spray olive oil into the stand mixer bowl.)
Cover and let rise for 45 min
Gently deflate the dough and divide into six 175g pieces
Roll each piece into a ball, tensioning the surface by rolling with a cupped hand on a clean surface. Each ball should be approx 3” diameter
Pat each ball down to flatten and place, well spaced, on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Oven spring will double the size of the loaves
Cover and let rise for 15 – 20 minutes until it passes the poke test
Dust lightly with four, cut a deep slash all the way across the ball with a lame or razor blade or very sharp knife.
Lay a strip of butter, about 0.5”x0.5”x3” long in each slash. (Cut a stick of butter lengthwise into ninths.
I made some Olive Bread Sticks a few days ago which quickly disappeared. To follow up, I decided to design a recipe for Cheese and Jalapeño Bread Twists. I used a basic 80% hydration dough and Frances’s home made pickled jalapeños.
At the request of the QC Department, Manufacturing was tasked with making a few minus the jalapeños, which I, err… I mean they, did. Let me give you a bit of advice. If you make these bread twists, I strongly suggest having a glass of milk next to you after your second or third bite. If your peppers are anywhere near as hot as Frances’s (although she won’t think these are all that hot) you will be grateful for the advice. These are delicious. (Hot, but delicious.)
If you would like them for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvres cut them into little one inch pieces. Best if served warm.
Cheddar Jalapeños Cheese Twists
INGREDIENTS • 354g (1½ cups) warm water • 2 Tbsp. sugar • 1 Tbsp. yeast • 437g (3½ cups) AP flour • 1 tsp Salt • 3 Tbl butter • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese • 1 cup finely diced pickled jalapeños • 1 egg for wash • Sea Salt
Mix warm water, sugar and yeast together. Let that sit for 5 minutes.
Add flour and salt to the water. Mix this until smooth and ferment for 10 min.
Roll out the dough in a ~ 15 x 15” square on a floured surface.
Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and diced jalapeños.
Fold the dough in half. Cut the dough into one inch strips.
Twist the one inch strips of dough and place on a cookie sheet.
Cover with oil sprayed plastic wrap and proof for 30 min.
Coat with egg wash and sprinkle with Sea Salt.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min or until golden brown.
A couple of days ago we were discussing variations of the breads I bake. While not a fan of nut breads, different grains, such as todays selection of oats, are great.
This recipe creates a very slack dough. Rather than shape it, you basically pour it between containers. (I whine about that and explained how I handled this problem in the body of the recipe below. ) I need to devise a ‘sling’ to move it from the second rise to the Dutch Oven.
Despite the challenges in the method of this bread, it is among the best I made during this challenging year. Great crumb, crust and flavor. Next time, I am going to use more flour and fold and shape as I do with the high hydration honey bread. Stay tuned.
INGREDIENTS • 469g (3 ¾) cups all purpose flour • 81g (1 cup) oats • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast instant or rapid rise yeast also works • 1½ teaspoons salt • 85g ( ¼ cup) honey • 474g (2 cups) warm water just above room temperature • more flour for shaping the loaf
Stir together the flour and oats in the bowl.
Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other side.
Stir the yeast into the flour on its side of the bowl first and then stir the salt into the flour on its side of the bowl, then give the whole mixture a few good stirs to make sure everything is combined.
In a small bowl, add the honey to the water and stir to combine.
Pour the honey/water mixture in and stir. The dough will be rough and a bit sticky, but that’s normal.
Stir until all the flour is moistened. This is not normal bread dough (there’s no kneading involved in this recipe.) Make sure the ingredients are combined well.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. It’s a good idea to ensure there’s adequate space left in the bowl for the dough to at least double in size. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let it rise for about 1½ hours.
After the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 425 deg F. (If your Dutch Oven is light colored heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.) Place your Dutch oven with the lid on in the cold oven and let it heat up with the oven.
Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter and dust it with flour. I put two long narrow pieces in an X and a larger square piece in the center of the X. Even with this, the dough was so slack it ran onto the counter. I also liberally floured the counter anticipating this, making it easier to fold those portions back into the main loaf.
Rub flour on your hands and scrape the dough away from the sides of the bowl. The dough is very slack and will not hold a shape. Shape and fold it into a circular loaf on the parchment paper. Don’t worry if it still looks a little rough in places. This lends to the rustic look of this loaf.
Once shaped, the dough needs to undergo a short (30 min) second rise. Handle the dough as little as possible at this stage because any amount of tugging can cause it to deflate after its second rise.
Sprinkle a little bit of flour over the top, along with some oats, and loosely cover it with a clean kitchen towel. The flour you sprinkle on top also prevents the towel from sticking to the dough so when you take it off at the end of the rise, it doesn’t disturb the dough and wreck the rustic shape you’ve created. Try to gently fold and shape the risen dough without deflating any more than necessary.
Remove the preheated pot from the oven and transfer the dough into the pot as carefully as possible by handling only the parchment paper. Place the lid on the pot and return it to the oven for 30 minutes. Don’t open the oven during this time, and certainly don’t take the lid off the pot; the crispness of the crust develops because of the steam that builds up in the pot during this 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes have passed, remove the lid from the pot and continue baking for another 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes have passed, remove the pot with bread from the oven and place the bread on a wire rack to cool. You’ll probably hear the loaf crackling as it cools – this is normal.
If you can, resist the urge to cut into the bread until it has pretty much cooled completely. The bread continues to bake on the inside even after it has been removed from the oven and cutting it too early could result in the inside becoming gummy or rubbery.
With few exceptions I followed thebusybaker.com’s recipe for this raisin bread. I did use the “quick rise’ option of more yeast and only a 2 hour proof. I needed to add 5-6 extra tablespoons of AP flour while mixing to be able to form the dough into a ball.
Often baking using a Dutch Oven at 450 deg F will burn or at least excessively darken the bottom of the loaf. Putting a piece of silicone mat on the bottom coupled with a doubled sheet of parchment paper seemed to help. I will try removing the bread from the Dutch Oven after 30 minutes (when you should remove the cover) and let it rest on the oven rack for the last 15 – 20 minutes.
• 250g (2 cups) all purpose flour (plus 1-2 tablespoons if necessary) • 120g (1 cup) whole wheat flour • 110g (3/4 cup) raisins • 2½ teaspoon active dry yeast • 1½ teaspoons sea salt • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon • 3 tablespoons brown sugar • 355g) (1½ cup room temperature water (plus 1-2 tablespoons if necessary) • a few tablespoons extra flour for shaping the loaf
Add the flours, raisins, yeast, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar to a large bowl. Be sure to add the yeast and the salt to separate sides of the bowl.
Stir the dry ingredients together well.
Add the water and stir until a thick, rough dough forms. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water or flour if needed.
Flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball, placing it into the bottom of the bowl and covering the bowl with plastic wrap.
Place in a warm spot (my proofing oven) in your kitchen and let rise for 2 hours.
After the rising time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place an oven-safe Dutch Oven pot in the cold oven and let it preheat with the oven. I like to add a small sheet of silicone to insulate the bottom of the bread from the excessive heat of the Dutch Oven. It seems to help.
Flour your hands well and shape the dough into a round ball and set it on a piece of parchment paper on the counter dusted with flour.
Dust the top of the dough ball with flour and cover with a clean kitchen towel, letting it rise for 25 minutes.
After the dough has risen remove the Dutch Oven pot from the oven and using the parchment paper, pick up the dough and place it carefully in the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Make two very shallow slices in the top of the risen loaf in the shape of an X.
Replace the lid of the Dutch Oven, place it back into the hot oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes of baking time, remove the lid from the Dutch Oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes uncovered.
After the baking time, remove the pot from the oven and transfer the loaf to a cooling rack using the parchment paper.
Back to the experiment and on to Part – 3 the Final. This Part was supposed to be completed last week, but due to an unfortunate brain freeze I used the wrong flour. This time I used the First Clear Flour instead of the AP flour used by mistake in Part 2a. (Ahhh, to be 65 again!)
However, this time I also used a Dutch Oven instead of baking uncovered. The rationale is I want the best combination of crumb, crust and flavor. The Dutch Oven provided the traditional chewy ‘Deli Rye’ crust. This recipe and method is a winner!!
So the recipe remains the same as Part 2, except I used a Dutch Oven. I used First Clear and Pumpernickel flours. I used an egg wash when there were about 15 minutes left in the bake. In my case I added it when the internal bread temperature was 195 deg. F.
Caraway Rye Bread KAB – Final
https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/caraway-rye-bread-recipe INGREDIENTS • 1 cup (227g) lukewarm water • 1 cup (106g) white rye, medium rye, or pumpernickel flour • 4 teaspoons (14g) sugar • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast • 1/2 cup (113g) sour cream (low-fat is fine; please don’t use nonfat) • 1 to 2 tablespoons (10g) caraway seeds, to taste • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt • 2 1/3 cups (280g) First Clear Flour • 3 tablespoons (25g) vital wheat gluten
In a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, sugar, rye flour and yeast, mixing to form a soft batter. Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes; this allows the rye flour to absorb some of the liquid, making the dough easier to knead.
Add the remaining ingredients, and mix and knead the dough together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until it’s fairly smooth. The nature of rye dough is to be sticky, so don’t be tempted to add too much flour.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl or large (8-cup) measure, cover, and let it rise until noticeably puffy, 60 to 90 minutes.
Gently deflate the dough, knead it briefly, and shape it into two smooth oval or round loaves; or one long oval loaf. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover the loaves, and let them rise until they’re noticeably puffy, about 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Just before they go into the oven, spritz the loaves with water, and slash them about 1/2″ deep. The oval loaves look good with one long, vertical slash; the rounds, with two or three shorter slashes across the top.
Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 205°F to 210°F. The single, larger loaf will bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it lightly with foil after 25 minutes of baking.
Remove the loaves from the oven, and transfer them to a rack. While still warm, brush them with melted butter, if desired; this will keep their crust soft.