Saturday, May 30, 2009
The talented Ilva of Lucullian Delights chose the recipe this month and I loved it!
The recipe comes from the book Pane: Il Piacere di Preparare il Pane in Casa by Anna Gennari. Ilva chose to make pane di pasta tenera condita which she re-named Italian Knot Bread, which in Italian means flavored soft dough bread.
I adapted Ilva's notes and used Lien's ingredient list, since they were already written with instant yeast, which I used, and she halved the recipe.
Pane di Pasta Tenera Condita
200 g normal bread flour
5 g fresh yeast or 1/4 tsp dry instant yeast
170 ml water
- Dissolve the yeast in a little water and quickly work the dough together.
- Put it in a container, cover it with a half closed lid or kitchen towel and leave it for 15-24 hrs.
250 g biga
500 g flour (type 00)
200-260 ml water, lukewarm
15 g fresh yeast or 1 1/2 tsp dry instant yeast
25 g extra-virgin olive oil
30 g lard (or butter)
12 g honey
12 g salt
- Put the flour either in a big bowl or on a baking board, add the lard and mix it with your fingers until it has 'crumbled' and is completely mixed with the flour.
- Dissolve the yeast in little tepid water and add it to the flour. Mix as well as you can.
- Mix salt, olive oil and honey with the like-warm water and add it to the flour. Mix the dough until it holds together and then add the biga.
- Work the dough until it is smooth and doesn't stick either by hand or with a mixer.
- Put it into a bowl, cover it and leave to rise until it has doubled.
- After the dough has doubled, divide it into smaller parts, about 100 g/3,5 oz each.
To see how to shape each piece of dough please check Ilva's or Lien's websites.
1. Roll out each portion into 20" long stands and lay them out on a flat surface.
2. Make a semi-circle with the dough stand.
3. Twist the two end together.
4. Bring the two ends towards the upper part of the circle.
5. Lift/fold the top part over the twisted part.
6. Take the two end and join them together under the actual knot, this will make the knot part come out more and it hides the ends.
- Put the knots on baking sheets and let to rise until they have doubled in size.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven (200°C/390°F) for 30-35 minutes.
I absolutely loved this bread! It reminds me of the little panini I used to eat in Italy, which are always present at each child's birthday party, stuffed with butter and prosciutto. I will make it again in smaller size and keep it in the freezer for quick snacks.
The biga fermented for 15 hours only.
I decided to be lazy, and used all purpose flour for the bread. I also used butter instead of lard (both for a yuck factor, and because I have no idea where to find it). The a/p flour gave it a tender crust, and I believe that the OO flour will make this bread even more tender.
The strands were difficult to roll more than 16 inches, but I was able to form the knots as well. The shaped bread didn't look smooth at first, but once properly proofed it looked beautiful.
Baking was straightforward, the bread colored nicely.
The taste was wonderful, the crust soft, and tasty from the honey, the butter and the oil.
The bread passed the butter and jam test so it is a keeper indeed.
Thanks to Ilva and the other BBBabes! To see some of their creations check out their sites: Bake My Day (Karen), I Like to Cook (Sara), Living on Bread and Water (Monique), My Kitchen in Half Cups (Tanna), Grain Doe (Gorel), Notitie van Lien (Lien), The Sour Dough (Mary aka Breadchick), Cookie Baker Lynn (Lynn), Living In The Kitchen With Puppies (Natashya)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I had never tried making it until I bought an issue of Savor magazine where they showed in details how to stretch the dough and gave a recipe that proved really good and true to the original. I became a fanatic of strudel and made it over and over for months, always with apples. The strudel was always great but I didn't quite learn how to stretch the dough perfectly until I worked with DMG, who taught me how to pull the dough to its thinnest. I took to the task of making the strudel at the restaurant with lots of passion and loved doing it. His recipe had some bread flour and it worked like a charm every time.
For this challenge, I decided to make a traditional strudel with apples, but I used some port sour cherries I had in the fridge instead of the raisins. I made a lemon-thyme creme fraiche ice cream to go with it, and the combination worked well.
Because cherries are so plentiful now I also made a version with cherries to which I added pistachio streusel instead of the bread crumbs. I made a lemon verbena sabayon and the two worked well together.
Inspired by other bloggers, I finally decided to try something new as well, or should I say play with my food. I rolled to dough to setting #7 of my kitchen aid pasta attachment, then cut it with a round cookie cutter. I then sprinkled some powder sugar on each round before baking them at 400F for few minutes, until nice and browned. I then made a napoleon with the lemon verbena mascarpone sabayon, sprinkling some of the pistachio streusel I made last month on top.
You can find the complete recipe in Linda's blog.
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).
3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.
Thanks to Linda and Courtney for choosing this month's challenge and to see more creations check out the official site for the Daring Bakers.
Monday, May 25, 2009
This recipe was so much fun to make! I was totally intimidated before trying it, as bagels were not in my list of things that I wanted to try in the near future but I am sooo glad I joined this challenge, I needed a little push, and boy, was it worth it. I don't know why I was so scared, bagels are not that complicated.
Peter Reinhart is the guru of bread, his books are so informative, and the recipes very well written, they just make themselves if you follow the directions AND read the opening chapters. This recipe was no different, straight forward, very detailed, and so tasty. What I love about the Bread Baker's Apprentice is the amount of information on each bread and the detailed instructions on how to make each recipe. Thank you Peter for another keeper recipe.
PR highly recommends using high gluten flour for the best texture, but again, I was lazy and used the bread flour I already had. I will try them again with HGF I can buy in bulk at a local store.
The dough is much stiffer than regular bread and took a while to pass the windowpane test and had to be hand kneaded for a while. The dough is portioned and rolled immediately. After 20 minutes the little balls are shaped either by making a hole in the center of by rolling into ropes and then sealing the ends. I shaped them by making a hole in the center and it worked out really well.
The next step was what took the most because my house was cold. The shaped pieces are left to rise 20 minutes and tested in water to see whether they float (which correlates to the yeast having been activated and making CO2). Mine took at least 45 minutes and I ended up putting the trays in the sun for few minutes because I had to leave the house!
The bagels are retarded in the fridge overnight, which works great to improve the flavor and you can have fresh bagels he next morning. The boiling and baking were straightforward except that the bagels took longer to bake than the book said.
The end product was really flavorful, beautiful to look at, and worth the effort. Next time I will try to boil them less as they were a little chewy, and boiling too long is probably the culprit according to BBA.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The bread is partially leavened with a barm or a poolish. I decided to use my sourdough starter since it works so well and has the same consistency of the barm from this book. As I normally do with any recipe, I first made the recipe as was written to try substitutions later. The bread was straightforward, and it performed how described in the recipe. I used the stretch and fold method to develop more gluten since I never get to the window pane test in my kitchenaid mixer. How I wish I had the money to buy a stronger mixer to make bread.....
After the first proofing, I divided the dough in two since it was way too big in my opinion. I shaped the two parts into a boule and let is rise a second time. Baking was at 350F without misting the oven, or scoring the top. The final bread looked great and I glazed it with a mixture of water, sugar and honey like Reinhart suggests, and topped it with sesame seeds.
Bagels are next, can't wait!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
To know more about fava beans click here.
I collected 5 1/2 pounds of pods today, and after shelling them I had 1 3/4 pounds of beans. I made this simple salad, made with bulghur wheat, leeks, and fava beans. The beans were super tender and so fresh you could have eaten them raw.
Bulghur Salad with Fava Beans and Avocado
1 cup bulghur wheat
1 cup shelled, blanched and peeled fava beans
1 small leek
extra virgin olive oil EVOO
salt to taste
1 avocado, cut in cubes
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I will try again because the flavor and the consistency of the first gnocchi, the ones that fell apart, were pretty amazing.
Click here for the recipe, and here to see a video on how to shape the gnocchi.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The first bread we baked was the Anadama bread. In Peter's words this bread takes its name from the words that a hungry husband muttered when he realized that his wife had not only left him but departed leaving behind only a pot of cornmeal mush and some molasses. He muttered the words "Anna, damn 'her", mixed the mush and the molasses with some flour and yeast and this great bread was born.
Now onto the next challenge.....
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I scaled down the recipe by a third, since I had the exact amount of yolks from a butter cream I made the previous weekend. If I had read the recipe more closely though, I would have noticed that, even after scaling, it still makes 4 quarts of ice cream base. OUCH! Once I started though, I decided to keep going so I would have chocolate ice cream for ever. Nothing wrong with that!
Mess aside, this is an amazing ice cream, not too sweet and intensely chocolaty. Worth the effort.
Chocolate Ice Cream
adapted by Chez Panisse
1 3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cup cream
2 1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar
10.5 oz. bitter chocolate
1 c cream
2 3/4 cup cream
2 3/4 cup milk
Cocoa Nib Cups
Courtesy of Pastry Chef DMG
3 oz sugar
1 oz glucose
3 oz butter
1 oz milk
6 oz cocoa nibs
1 oz flour
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Bresaola is a wonderful dry cured meat from Valtellina, an area north-east of Milan, in the Lombardia region of northern Italy. The meat comes from beef, it is salted, spiced, and cured for 2-3 months. Bresaola is made from eye of round, and is lean and tender with a sweet, musty smell.
Bresaola is normally eaten raw, like prosciutto, thinly sliced, and simply served.
It is not easy to find this delicacy around town, but yesterday I was lucky enough to walk in DeLessio market on 302 Broderick Street in San Francisco, and when I spotted it in their display case I had to buy some. I have to go back there when I have more time, De Lessio shares the space with Falletti which has an incredible meat and fish display I didn't have time to savor entirely because of a time crunch.
I had Bresaola for lunch today, prepared like we normally do, dressed with some olive oil and vinegar, topped with some arugula salad, and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. So simple and oh so good.