Friday, January 29, 2010

Bread Dough - Three flavours - part 3

For someone who does her own bread, and everything from scratch, I always in search for the best of the best, either in baking or cooking, and sometimes the keeper recipe, is not good any more . Test is part of the job, playing with the ingredients and the formula to take it to the higher level.

One of the things I am always trying are bread recipes, for sandwiches. My husband works in construction and I make sure that he has a good lunch and dessert in his lunch box every day.

My bread usually is based on a sourdough recipe...I love crusty bread, on the other hand my husband always complain about his crunchy dry bread, where I find myself whipping kind of luncheon salad to stuff his sandwich and make it more appetizing softer to eat.

A good Pain Au Lait bread is hard to find in North Bay, where I am used to good bread in Beirut, also my mom, makes good lavash (markouk Bread - from her I learned to do everything from scratch) its easy to find this bread in almost all the bakeries in Beirut.
I tested several recipes, some were good, but turned dry after several days.

Last week I was checking the Mennonite girls can cook blog and I stumble upon a good bread recipe called Lydia's White Buns, the recipe is rich like a Brioche Dough, but not overly rich that you cannot use it as a sandwich bread . I was very excited and had to give it a try.

I prepared a batch last night and made Michel a sandwich, and guess what, the lunch box was in the truck all day, with -27C temp outside, the sandwich survived the harsh cold weather, and stayed spongy , soft and Michel was extremely happy, he said this is the best sandwich bread he has so far.... Am I happy or what !!!!

Lydia's White Buns Bread
makes around 15 buns
2 cups of milk
2 large fresh eggs
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter + 1/4 cup of shortening I used lard as I don't use vegetable shortening
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbspt of yeast
6 cups of flour i used unbleached

step one: add the sugar and the yeast to the warm water dissolve and let it foam and rise.
step two: heat the milk , add the butter and lard and the sugar, stir to dissolve, and when it cools add the eggs and stir.
step three: add the yeast to the milk mixture which will cool, so it will not kill the yeast, stire then add it to the flour mixture and knead to get a nice smooth dough. Cover and let it rise for 90 minutes to two hours.
step four: punch the dough down when it rise. Let it rest again for 10 minutes, prepare your pans by either spraying them with oil, or using a parchment paper . you can oil your hands and grab a piece the size of a grapefruit then with the right hand squeeze the dough with your thumb and forefinger to get a ball the size of a mandarine, (i divided the dough into 7 buns and 8 small loaves and rolled each on the table to get a smooth round surface) cover and let the dough rest again... at least an hour and if more the better.
(I brushed the top with egg wash and sprinkled sesame seeds and poppy seeds this is optional)
Step five : bake your buns in a preheated 350F oven, I warmed the oven at 450F and when it was ready I lowered the heat to 350F and baked the buns until golden brown

Bread Dough - Three flavours - part 2

Delicious Raisin Bread II

Good morning dear readers... I started this posting late last night , by the time I finished part I, I was freezing from cold, the temperature was -28C.

This morning still -27C below zero, It's a good time for a nice warm cinnamon and raisin bread to fill the house with amazing aroma , at the same time warm your house.

I bet when you try my recipe, you will keep it as a favourite, and you will never buy a raisin bread again.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

makes three medium size or two large size loaves

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 cup of warm water (110F/45C)

2 pkg active dry yeast (if you have wild yeast add one cup and use one pkg of yeast)

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup butter (use 3/4 cup in the dough and save 1/4 to spread over the bread)

8 cups of unbleached flour

2-3 cups of raisin

2 tbsp of milk

3/4 cup of white sugar

2-3 tbsp cinnamon (use more if you like)


dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let it rise at least 1 minutes.

warm the milk add the butter and sugar and dissolve , let it cool. Whip the eggs with a fork, add them to the milk mixture, and when the yeast rise and get frothy add it to the milk mixture.

Sift your flour add the salt and the wet ingredients and the raisin, need well to combine and get a nice smooth dough. It's a beautiful dough and will not take long to mix.

At this time you have two options either to divide the dough into two freezer bags and leave them in the fridge overnight to rise slowly - which I normally do, or cover the dough and let it rise until doubled.

Divided the dough either into two large or three medium size balls.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick.. Moisten dough with the milk by brushing the face of the dough, mix together 3/4 cup of sugar with 2 tbsp of cinnamon and sprinkle mixture on top of the moistened dough. I even sprinkle more raisin in the center as well. Roll up tightly as if you are rolling a cinnamon buns. Tuck ends under. place in well greased loaf pan , brush the top with melted butter and let it rise until double. (at least an hour)

Warm your oven at 425F and when its warm enough, lower the heat to 350F, bake your loaves for 35-45 minutes depends on your oven. Remove the loaves from pans, and brush them with melted butter and let them cool before you slicing... if you can wait !!!

Enjoy a nice slice...and remember me

The dough will keep rising in the fridge. It was pouring over...

A batch for the Farmer's Market in a 24 liter bin

Note: All bread freeze excellent, you can warm up in a preheated 350F oven for 5-7 minutes and they will be fresh as newly baked.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bread Dough - Three flavours

Sunflower Sourdough Bread I

During the time when I was preparing the flower roses for the "cookies for peace event", I made my sourdough and let it rest. When I baked the cookies, I was thinking about a flower bread , and how I can create a flower with a yeast dough.

I came with the idea of doing a sunflower bread made with three layers and when it rise it will turn to a nice flower shape....

I have to admit this is my first time doing this, took some photos and wanted to share the step with you, maybe you will come with a more creative way to add to the steps:

A Sunflower Sourdough Bread

what you need is a sourdough or regular bread dough cut and shaped into three balls
an aluminium pie plate to hold the cut leaves
a sharp knife

who can resist a warm bread out of the oven

Step one: roll the first ball into a circle and make six cuts from inside out leaving 1/2 inch board
Step two: bring the pie plate closer to you, place the cut circle inside the plate, leave the border at the bottom edge of the plate , then flip each leaf inside out , so that the leaves are resting on the edge of the plate and the top of the plate is the support for the leaves when they rise.

Step three: take the second ball and place it in the centre.

Step four: roll the third ball into a circle and cut it into six leaves, similar to the first step, and insert it around the centre ball, making sure that the leaves when they open will be next to the first and not on top of it... you can adjust the position so they open next to each other to create the flower leaves shape. Cover and let the bread rise and double in size....

Bake in a preheated 425F oven with a water bath either in the bottom shelf or the top shelf, to create humidity, or you can sprinkle your bread with water....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Winter Olympic Games are coming to BC - Nanaimo Bars Challenge

The January Daring Bakers Challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren Choose Gluten Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars for the challenge. She based her sources on 101 cookbook and
It was a very nice challenge as I like to do everything from scratch..
though I didn't do the gluten free wafers, I used my own recipe for the wafers. Its an amazing recipe with wonderful flavour.
the Recipe for the Nanaimo Bars was overly sweet to my taste, and because it was a challenge I followed Lauren Recipe and not my own.

a mix of milk and semi sweet chocolate

Dark Chocolate for me

With open arms , we welcome every one to Canada

Homemade Graham Crackers:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup untoasted wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1cup unsalted butter - melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp good quality honey
in a food processor mix well to combine. Divide into four sections, roll between parchment or plastic paper to 1/8 inch cut the cookies either with a pizza roller, or rectangular cookie cutter. Bake in preheat 350F oven for 8-10 minutes.

the best Graham Crackers Cookies you tasted. You will stop buying the store brand.
Makes around 877 gms.

if you use lots of flour like me, couple bay leaves between your flour is garuanteed to keep humidity or insects away