Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bread Baking Buddies:Brioche Snowflake

When I saw this incredible bread I knew I had to try it.  I haven't baked with the group Bread Baking Buddies for ages, but this bread was too good to pass.  Plus it is so festive!   It is not for the inexperienced bakers, the brioche is not a beginner bread and the rolling and chocolate spreading were not that simple.  However, the end result is so beautiful!  In Italian we say "anche l'occhio vuole la sua parte", which means that even the eye has to be pleased.

You can find all you need to know in Lien's blog, and the original recipe with photos here.

Waiting for the snowflake to bake to take a final photo.

Few things...
  • I rolled the sections really thin in order to be able to create a nice layering effect, and in retrospect I should have chilled the circles before spreading the nutella since they were quite soft (even after   softening the spread in the microwave). 
  • I cut the staked circles to have a perfect circle before the twist.  The leftover made a  tasty although misshapen morsel. 
  • I used the top of the spread in the center of the bread before cutting, this made sure the cuts were even in the center.
 Can't wait to try it!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Turkey and Kale Salad

At the risk of committing a heresy, I confess that I don’t like turkey meat.  I find it bland in taste, and always dry, this year's Thanksgiving leftovers were not different.  Despite my finicky taste buds, I wouldn’t want to waste any food, the turkey and the people who raised it deserve better.  This turkey salad used ingredients I had at home and used up the leftovers, it was delicious and very nutritious.  This is just a starting recipe, change the nuts or any of the other ingredients according to your taste.  I threw in some cut grapes towards the end and it was even better, chopped apples would work as well.

Leftover Turkey Salad 

2 cups chopped turkey leftovers
1 cup chopped Tuscan kale
2 stalks of celery, chopped fine
A handful of dried cranberries
A handful of walnuts, chopped
1 big spoon of mayonnaise
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toss all the above ingredients and adjust the seasoning. 


Monday, January 27, 2014

No-Knead Chocolate Bread-Bread Baking Buddy

I can't remember the last time I baked as a Bread Baking Buddy, let alone the last time I baked bread.  First my gluten intolerance, then being burnt out by my professional baking kept me away from one of my the greatest satisfactions, getting my hands in some yeast dough.  Lately I have  started baking again to my family's happiness.

I saw this bread when it was chosen as bread of the month by the Bread Baking Babes, and I decided to make it for my family since they love bread and they are all serious chocoholics.   Plus I was also up at 2 due to jet lag so why not bake some bread?

I followed the recipe to the letter, except that I omitted the chocolate chips in the dough and did some extra mixing since the dough didn't come together easily. 

I used the gluten developing technique I learned from my friend and mentor DMG, which works great with very wet doughs and when a mixer is not available.  I know this is a no-knead bread but the recipe warned that the dough works better when chilled, I figured I would get some gluten going to make it easier to handle.

After the initial mixing, I transferred the dough onto lightly floured surface, and by hand pulled the dough and folded it few times until it looked more homogeneous.  After a 10 minute rest, I pulled and refolded it again.  After another 30 minute rest, I pulled and folded it a final time.  The dough was left to rise in a warm spot for another hour and thirty minutes.

The recipe was chosen by Jamie of Life's a feast blog and can be found in Jamie's post, to find the recipe in a printed friendly link check Lien's post.

I left out the prunes, and tried two versions, a chocolate roll inspired by Ilva of the blog Lucullian Delights, and a loaf. 

For the loaf, I cut a pound and a half off the main dough, covered with chips and pat it down into a rectangle, rolled it tight as long as my loaf pan. I transferred the loaf, seam down, into the loaf pan and let it rise for 90 minutes in a warm place.  I then brushed it with the egg wash and covered it with sugar.  

For the chocolate roll bread I used the remaining dough, rolled the dough into a thin rectangle, brushed it with egg wash (one egg beaten with one yolk), sprinkled some granulated sugar and enough chocolate chips to cover most of the rectangle (leaving one long edge free of chips to seal it).  I then rolled the dough into a tight roll, cut about 2 inch sections and arranged them into a buttered 8" pan (the type with a 2" edge).  I let the shaped breads rise for 90 minutes, and baked it until the internal temperature reached 200F.

This bread was delicious, best eaten warm, but it makes a lot of dough so next time I will either make half of the recipe or freeze the dough after the first rise.  Loved the challenge!


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