kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (spoons and bowls)
Adapting from The Best-Ever Book of Bread today, I decided to try out making a variation on a granary cob.

A "cob" is one of those lovely round loaves of bread you often see at professional bakeries, the kind that are less frequently sold at supermarkets because they won't fit quite as readily into premade plastic bags to be left on a shelf. I have fond memories of my parents buying fresh-baked cobs at the bakery near where I grew up, usually for use with an Italian deli picnic or as a tasty extra with spaghetti sauce.

I've only made a couple of recipes from this book before, mostly because of my hesitation to approach rising yeasty breads, but with my newfound confidence I've decided to take another look through it and see what catches my attention.

Today's experiment was an adaptation of the first page I dog-eared -- An Oat-Topped Granary Cob. )

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this recipe was to make, and how readily adaptable it was. Moreover, the end result was impressively tasty and I certainly plan to make it in the future as a side to other dishes. The bread is soft and delicious, with a well-formed crisp crust.
kitchenklutz: (fresh baked bread)
Continuing to work my way through variations in the Panera Bread Cookbook, I made some modifications and came up with an extra-tasty alternative to their Cinnamon Raisin White Bread -- Cinnamon Toffee Chip Raisin Bread. )

I haven't yet made Option 1 myself, but I'm including it in this recipe because of other spiral breads and cookies I've made before. With option 1, you'll get icing in a spiral pattern throughout the dough; with option 2, you'll get icing as a topping on an already tasty-bread.

As with most Panera recipes, there's quite a bit of waiting around for the bread to rise, but this bread is definitely worth it. I received a ton of compliments on it, and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Third bread recipe for today, appropriately enough, is adapted from the frankly very impressive Panera Bread Cookbook. This recipe made a lot more bread than I was expecting, particularly with the four-smaller-loaves pattern I'd been following -- two loaves sizeable enough that they wouldn't have been out of place on sale at a full-size bakery stall in the market.

Pleasantly enough, despite a substantial amount of rising for the dough, it also went relatively quickly. It's also adaptable to, well, whatever three or so different cheeses you might have on hand. I used what I had available to create a batch of Three Cheese Bread. )

Incredibly tasty and savory cheesy bread, equally servable sliced thin or with people just tearing off hunks at a party. The base recipe also makes a stupendous amount of bread, enough for two full-sized loaves -- I gave one loaf away to a convalescing friend and took another in to share with about a dozen or so other friends, and everyone got a decent quantity. Highly recommended, and I'll be trying out a number of other Panera recipes in the future.
kitchenklutz: (fresh baked bread)
Being on a baking kick, I'm taking new looks at many old recipes I've had for a while but never pursued. One of those is Delectable Rosemary Bread. )

Just as tasty-good as my earlier Italian Herb & Garlic Pretzel Bread, but with totally different aroma and flavor. Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Over the past week or so, after finally having an epiphany on how to make yeasty breads rise properly in my rather cool kitchen (namely, let the dough rise in a covered glass bowl near the oven vent with an extended preheating), I've been having quite a bit of fun experimenting with a small handful of recipes.

First off was my test case -- the Mall Pretzels recipe off of AllRecipes.com. Overall, it's really straightforward -- the only part I found, and continue to find, challenging was the shaping of the dough into the "pretzel" shapes after the rise. It just felt like there wasn't quite enough actual dough there to do it properly, particularly with the way the elastic risen dough didn't seem to want to roll out into meter-long pencil-thin ropes for proper twisting.

So I thought, why not play around with the division of the dough? Instead of dicing it into twelve pieces, why not try it with six pieces and a concurrently longer baking time? What about four pieces? I did still try to roll it out into pretzel shapes, but in the end it felt like too much trouble for just having fun experimenting and I chose to put it in loaves instead.

As it turned out, that made for some incredibly tasty bread, particularly once I added to the recipe with minced garlic, various herbs, and a little cheese to top it off.

Here's my Final Adapted Recipe for Italian Herb & Garlic Pretzel Bread )

I've totally fallen in love with this bread, and its salty goodness seems to be a big hit with everyone I've given it away to as well. Fresh bread -- it's great! (Unless you have a gluten allergy, in which case it's not, and I'm really sorry for your unfortunate dietary limitations. *wry grin*)
kitchenklutz: (fresh baked bread)
I've got a great new cookbook that I picked up on the discount table some time back -- The Best Ever Book of Bread, by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shatter. Given my desire to learn how to bake a lot more, I thought it an excellent investment, and as I've been looking it over the past week or so it definitely looks like it's worth it.

I've been paging through it and dog-earing recipes that look like they're particularly worthwhile, and the first one I tried out was Monkey Bread. )

Rising time: 1 - 2 hours
Total prep time: 2 - 2.5 hours
Cook time: 35 - 40 minutes

Overall, I was pleased with the resulting monkey bread. (Side note: no one, even Wikipedia, seems to know where this name originated! Lots of theories, though.) It was sweet, sticky and tasty, with any number of chunks easily torn off for finger food. The coating-bits that popped free were incredibly delectable in and of themselves!

However, regardless of the tastiness of the coating the dough itself was a bit on the dry side and was a bit plain. I may end up adding a little more water and milk to the initial dough to aim for a moister end product, and perhaps a little additional sugar to the starting dough to get it sweeter.

Additionally, given my desire to use less in the way of throwaway materials in my cooking and baking, I'm curious to know what alternatives there might be to using plastic wrap/plastic bags during the rising process. I know I've heard of some just draping a damp kitchen towel over the top of the bowl/pan -- how has that worked for others?
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
One of the things I've wanted to do more this winter is try my hand at baking bread. I've got a handful of cookbooks with many recipes to try, but one of the first ones I wanted to try was a recipe card I picked up at Penzey's back around Yule.

It looked intriguing, and I'm definitely more of a fan of bread recipes that don't require yeast and substantial rising periods. I didn't know how it was going to turn out, as I'm usually not an enormous fan of drinking beer, but the result was astonishingly good.

Beer Bread )

Alternatively, instead of placing all the dough in one 8x4 bread pan, you can split the dough into a six oversized cup muffin tin. If you do so, reduce baking time to 28 - 32 minutes -- the smaller volume of dough in each cup means it will bake notably faster.

I admit I had my doubts about this when I first set out to make it, largely because I'm not a huge fan of Newcastle Brown Ale. (I've used Brooklyn Ale for a particular spicy Cajun stew before to great effect, though.) To my delight the Newcastle turned out amazingly well with the Savory Beer Bread option, so I urge anyone else who tries this recipe to experiment with beers of their liking.

Towards that end, I'm intrigued to try out the Sweet Beer Bread option using Redd's Strawberry Ale. Its alcoholic content isn't particularly high (3.2%?) but without any yeast in the recipe I believe it's the carbonation that's important.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
For Christmas, my ever-lovable sister got me an unusual cookbook -- "Homemade Winter", by Yvette Van Boxen. I was immediately intrigued by it -- it's laid out in a very nonstandard, flowing, I-just-wrote-this-recipe-down-by-hand manner. It's got scads of apparently hand-drawn illustrations to go along with the directions, so visually it definitely catches the eye.

This morning, I decided while making breakfast that I was going to give one of the recipes a shot -- Gingerbread, or Pan D'Epice. )

Mixing the dough is probably best accomplished with a standing mixer. I initially tried mixing it both with a wooden spoon and by hand, and the dough was so sticky as to coat my hands with scads of gingery flour that had to be scrubbed off under the faucet.

That said, I'm quite happy with the final, modified, result. The adapted recipe produced a lovely loaf of bread -- light, moist, subtly spiced, and quite delicious. I'll no doubt make it again in the future, keeping my modifications in mind.

Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Following through on my resolution to try at least one new recipe every week, I stumbled over an old printed recipe for garlic naan. That inspired me to pull out my copy of Bay Books' The Essential Asian Cookbook, looking for Indian recipes. Thus, being not too immediately hungry, I decided to try out both the naan and a recipe for Madras curry.

Madras Curry )

Naan )

This is finishing up cooking as we speak, although the naan still has a while to go -- I haven't even divided up the dough yet. The curry smells great, though, and I'm anticipating it'll be very tasty given all the spices that went into it.

ETA: The curry turned out quite good, though nowhere near as spicy as I was expecting. I had it with rice, and with the naan on the side. The naan was surprisingly tasty, considering it was my first time trying to cook it. It's very straightforward to fry up. I actually realized only after I'd mixed up the dough that it indicates "Portions: 14" -- so I made three pieces of naan and kept the rest on the tray to refrigerate. I can quickly fry up more naan each morning or night, given a little melted butter.

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March 2015

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