Archive for the ‘ bread ’ Category

I’m still alive, and I’m in pastry school!

So, I know that I haven’t blogged for a very long time, and my deepest apologies. I’ve been busy, and I’ve also been lazy as well. I have still been baking and cooking in my life away from my blog, I just haven’t been letting the world know it. I know I should have at least started blogging about 3 or 4 weeks ago to let you all know that I’m in pastry school! I’ve been learning awesome things, meeting great people, and baking my life away. Week one was going over the basics, such as piping, making pastry cream and pate a choux, sweet dough, meringues, and buttercreams. Week 2 and 3 was when it got exciting — the Breads section of my course. I never really made breads at home because I’m sure I mentioned before, that I have (or had) a weird fear of yeast. Yeast scared me. I would get nervous, and unsure that my product would proof, but now I feel confident! I made pain de mie (toast bread), whole wheat bread, pain a la biere (beer bread), french bread, baguettes, farmer’s bread with walnuts, pain brie (sailor’s bread, which i have to say was one of my favorites, super tasty) sourdough, and more. Continue reading


My first time with bagels.

So apparently February 9th was national bagel day, so what did I have to do? Make bagels! I’ve never made bagels before. I’m actually pretty new to baking breads in general. I’ve had this weird fear of yeast, and I think it stems back to a couple years ago where I wanted to try and make bialys but I failed to follow directions correctly, which in turn made the recipe a flop, which happened to be my first time using yeast. So since then, I was afraid of using yeast, but now I am breaking out of that shell, and want to use yeast as much as possible, because these bagels gave me hope! I was nervous, but I knew it had to be done. I turned to my King Arthur Flour All Purpose cookbook, flipped to the bagel section, and decided it was time. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I threw out my bread flour a while ago when i was cleaning the cupboards, because it was old, so I had to trek out in the Chicago blizzard for some bread flour. I was determined (and I also didn’t feel like being trapped in the house all day, so it was a good excuse to leave).

I was actually pretty surprised at how easy this recipe was. I expected it to be difficult, but I was wrong. I only had to let the dough rise for about an hour and a half, then another 30 minutes after separating into 8 individual pieces. Then after that, I had to poke a hole in the middle of the dough to give it that bagel shape, which wasn’t too difficult. I think the hardest part of everything, was lifting the dough back up off of my pan without losing its shape. I will figure out a better method for it next time (oh and there will definitely be a next time, and a next time, and a next time.! ). And for anyone who didn’t know, bagels go into a quick hot water bath before getting baked. About 2 minutes on one side, and turn them over for another minute – although I have also read that it also depends on how chewy you like your bagels, to how long you should let them stay in the water. But its usually no more than 4 minutes.

So after the bath, I popped em onto a bakingt sheet, brushed on an egg white wash and sprinkled a good amount of sesame seeds onto the bagels. Then into the oven for about 25 minutes. I  was supposed to flip them over half way through in order to keep its puffiness, but oops, i forgot. I remembered when there was about 5 minutes left, so i did it anyways.  I admit, when I took them out, they weren’t as puffy as bagels should be, but it didn’t bother me much, because honestly, these bagels were great. They just screamed FRESH BAGELS! I’ve never had a fresher bagel in my life – and this was great. They had the right amount of chewiness, and the taste was so great. I will definitely make them again, perhaps this weekend. I’d love to make them with an everything topping, because that would just be the ultimate bagel.

Highly recommend to anyone out there, to try and make their own bagels. It’s not difficult at all, and you will impress everyone you know by telling them you made your own bagels! And who doesn’t love bagels? In other news: I’ve had a ton of chorizo in my kitchen, and I want to use it up, so with some leftovers I decided to make chorizo burgers. I mixed them with ground turkey and ground beef, and they came out superb. I added a whole bunch of random spices to the mix, and then grilled them on a stovetop grill. And what better to go with chorizo burgers, than the lovely avocado. I maded a simple avocado slaw: green and purple cabbage, 2 avocados, a little bit of sour cream, cilantro, salt and pepper, and ta da! delicious avo-slaw. I popped these bad boys on a challah roll, and it was some seriously good eats.

What food is called for on Superbowl Sunday?

Chili! Obviously! And whats the one thing you have to have when you have chili? Cornbread! And what goes great with everything and makes everything better? Bacon! So the superbowl is a great excuse to cook up a big pot of chili and cornbread. My boyfriend saw this recipe for peanut butter chili on The Peanut Butter Boy and demanded i make it. First of all, for all of you who are thinking "peanut butter in chili?" don’t fret, because it is seriously delicious. I put way more peanut butter than was called for in the recipe, because I also just started adding a bunch of random stuff into the pot. I could taste just a hint of peanut butter in the chili and let me tell you, it is good. The recipe calls for lean ground turkey and lean ground pork, and instead i used 1/2 lb of ground turkey, 1/2 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb of chorizo pork. i thought the chorizo would help add to the spice of the chili. For some reason I couldn’t get the chili to a spice level i was comfortable with. I like my chili realllly spicy, and this wasn’t that spicy. ( I added tons of chili powder, and added hot sauce as well to help make it a little spicier). I really love making chili though, because I like adding everything but the kitchen sink into it. And no matter what I add, and how much, it only tastes better after each test. As for the cornbread, Flour girl tweeted a recipe last week or so about a bacon cornbread she was baking. I saw the picture, and knew I had to bake it. I could eat cornbraed all day, and with everything. And what better way to make it with bacon! It was a recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which I really need to get my hands on this week. The recipe stated to soak the cornmeal in buttermilk overnight, and I completely forgot to do that, so luckily I was able to soak it for about 4 hours this morning. This is probably a necessary step in order to make the cornbread deliciously moist. I was able to make oven baked bacon for the first time ever today, and let me tell you, I am never going to fry bacon again ever. It was sooo easy, and the bacon turned out PERFECT. I highly recommend to all you bacon lovers, that you bake your bacon, because you will not be disappointed. This will make you love bacon even more than you already do, and I know you never thought that was possible. must serve chili and cornbread with beer. so yum. look at those delicious perfectly crisped slices of bacon. they barely shrunk, AND i didn’t have to suffer through the splashing bacon grease. and clean up is a breeze =)

bacon cornbread recipe:
from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

1 cup (6 oz) coarse cornmeal
2 cups (16 oz) buttermilk
8 oz bacon (approx. 10 slices)
1 3/4 cups (8 oz) flour
1 1/2 Tbsp (.05 oz) baking powder
1/4 tsp (.16 oz) baking soda
1 tsp (.25 oz) salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) white sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) brown sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp (1.5 oz) honey
2 Tbsp (1 oz) butter, melted
2 1/2 cups (16 oz) corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp (1 oz) bacon fat or vegetable oil)

1. the night before making the bread, soak the cornmeal in the buttermilk. cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

2. the next day, fry the bacon or cook it in the oven. drain off the fat into a can or bowl and save for greasing the pan. when the bacon has cooled, crumble it into coarse pieces.

3. preheat the oven to 350. sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. stir in the sugar and brown sugar. in another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. dissolve the honey in the melted butter and then stir the warm honey-butter mixture into the eggs. add this to the soacked cornmeal mixture.

4. add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the batter is blended and smooth. stir in the corn kernels until they are even distributed.

4. place 2 Tbsp of the bacon fat in 10 inch cake pan or a 9×13 inch baking pan. place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the fat gets very hot. remove the pan, tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides and pour in the batter. sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top, gently pressing them into the batter.

5. bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes, until the bread is firm and a tester comes out clean. allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. for muffins, fill muffin tins to the top and bake at 350 F for the same amount of time.

Oven-Baked Bacon

preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly lay out the bacon. (i was able to fit approx 10 slices)
put on the center rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top and bottom of the bacon are evenly browned. (you’ll be able to know when it’s done, bake to you’re preferred level of crispiness).

I’d also like to thank Jamie of My Baking Addiction for randomly choosing me as her Rose’s Heavenly Cakes book giveaway!

I am super stoked, as I have never won anything in my life! And I knew this was a book I had to add to my cookbook collection. I’ll be eagerly awaiting it’s arrival, and prepared to bake some beautiful delicious cakes!

KAF Whole Grain Baking: Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread

So a couple weeks ago I bought the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook. I want to be able to include more whole grains in my diet, and I figured since I consume a good amount of baked goods (probably more than i should), it would be nice to be able to ingest at least some good-for-the-body-good-for-the-soul nutrients.*  the book is filled with tons of recipes ranging from pancakes to oatmeal, to pies and cookies, and of course breads, and all recipes consisting of whole grains (but NOT ALL are 100% whole grain). so since i’ve had the book for a while, I finally got around to baking one of the recipes.

i decided to bake the Lemon-Poppy seed bread. i loveee lemon poppy seed muffins, and I’ve had an unopened jar of poppy seeds for quite some time, and figured this was the time to put them to use (originally purchased them to make poppy seed bialys, which was a fail, but that’s another story). i happened to have most of the ingredients on hand already, except for the lemon yogurt which was called for in the recipe. i also, couldn’t find a “good” lemon yogurt in stores, only ones that used far too much artificial crap and high fructose corn syrup, and so instead i decided to use regular plain yogurt with lemon extract added. the result was not bad at all. it didn’t give off that oh-so-lemony taste, which i think would have, if i were to include the lemon yogurt, or if i were to add more lemon extract or zest. i did add the optional glaze that is in the recipe, because, glaze makes everything delicious, and i’m glad i did. the glaze added that extra lemon zing to it, and a little sweetness, which i always seem to need. i really enjoyed this bread, and think i will make mini muffins with the recipe next time. the whole grains that were included in this recipe were white whole wheat flour and oat flour, and it is not 100% whole grain, because unbleached all purpose flour was still used.

i’m hoping to bake more this week from this cookbook, so stay tuned! 


Note: this is not a “healthy” cookbook. it is even stated in the intro, that it is not intended to be a book lecturing its readers on including more whole grains into their diet. its about flavor, and trying to come up with recipes that taste great, without being complete energy dense foods.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour: Whole Grain Baking Bread:

1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c oat flour
3/4 c unbleached AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
3/4 c lemon yogurt
1/4 c poppy seeds

optional lemon glaze
1/2 c confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp milk

preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan
1. whisk together the flours w/ the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

2. cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl til fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, scarping sides and bottom between additions. add lemon zest then 1/3rd of the dry ingredients. add the lemon juice, then another third of dry ingredients. mix in yogurt and poppy seeds, then remaining dry ingredients.

3. pour the batter into prepared pan. bake until toothpick inserts in the center comes clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes. remove from oven, place on a rack, and cool in pan for 15 to 20 minutes. after, run a table knife around edges of pan and tip bread out. return bread to rack to cool completely before glazing. to make glaze: whisk together all ingredients until smooth. brush or drizzle on top of cooled bread.

nutritional information per seving ( 1 slice, without glaze) 14 g whole grains, 204 calories, 8 g fat, 4 g protein, 17 g complex carbs, 13 g sugar, 3 g dietary fiber, 45 mg cholesterol, 169 mg sodium.

baked goodies and moroccon chicken goodness.

this week i realized how much food is apart of my life, and my passion for baking, cooking (and eating). i knew i always enjoyed doing it, but something really hit me this week, where i realized that this is what i love doing. i made use of the several times this week, and thought i was about to break my hand mixer (seeing that it’s my mom’s which she had since her wedding. 30 years old!) it’s probably time to invest in a good mixer, preferably the god of all mixers:

Someday :) Anyways. Here’s what went down in the kitchen this past week: better-than-brownies chocolate cookies. i found the recipe off on The Brown Eyed Baker’s blog, and they looked sooo good and chocolately and fudgey delicious that i had to try them. i did enjoy them, but they were a little too rich for my taste, since it was made with bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate, the chocolate flavor was intense. if i were to make them again, i would substitute some of the bittersweet chocolate with milk, just to lighten it up. but i do enjoy my share of dark chocolate every now and then :)

Better-than-Brownies Chocolate Cookies, recipe here

drench it in a glass of milk and it’s even better! milk is required to eat this cookies, they are far too rich to eat without!

next up: bread baking 101. I have Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet Cookbook, which has a bunch of yummy looking healthy recipes, and the one I chose this week was just a simple Whole Wheat Bread. It turned out pretty decent, soft, whole wheaty, bready. I had a slice with nutella and oh my, nutella makes everything so freakin good.

serve atop with some fruit preserves, nutella, butter, peanut butter, or even make a turkey or vegetable sandwich with it. the good thing about it, its versatile.

then we have my first ever cheesecake, made specifically for National Cheesecake day which was yesterday, but I didn’t really get to enjoy it until today because I wanted to let it chill overnight, and I started baking it pretty late. instead of a simple new york cheesecake, I opted for something more, but not too crazy: banana cream cheesecake. i was going through my bookmark of blogs, searching each for the perfect cheesecake recipe when i found it. it was so simple, yet so good. who doesn’t love banana cream pie? and then cheesecake! well honestly, i’m not a hugeee cheesecake fan, but i do enjoy it every once in a while. my favorite being tony’s mother’s cheesecake, which is just so soft and cheesecakey goodness. yum! topped with strawberry preserves oooh yeah. well anyways, i attempted to bake my first cheesecake, this is where i thought my hand mixer was going to give out. it was overheating and it’s not as powerful as one would hope to blend together 4 boxes of cream cheese. yikes. but it definitely turned out good for being my first cheesecake. i know that in the future when i have made many more cheesecakes, they will just get better :)

unfortunately i didn’t have a springform pan to make the cheesecake with, and i didn’t want to purchase pie pans, so i just used a 9inch cake pan, which turned out to work just fine. i didn’t want to over fill the pan, and so i ended up having leftover crust pieces [made of nilla wafers! so good] and a good amount of extra batter. so i filled out 8 cupcake slots, and made cheesecake cupcakes too!

Banana Cream Cheesecake. recipe here

this picture does no justice to how it tastes.

how cute! topped with a nilla wafer and whipped cream, deelish!

lastly, is a recipe from August’s edition of the Rachael Ray magazine. there are a bunch of recipes in this issue that i want to try, but seeing that i had almost all of the ingredients for this dish was perfect. it’s a Moroccan Skillet Chicken with Pine Nut Couscous. and yes it tastes as good as it sounds:

i just love couscous. with pine nuts especially! the two just pair together perfectly, and it goes so well with this moroccan dish. it uses so many flavorful spices; sweet paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon! yum! and anything that adds green olives is okay in my book. and the lemon slices and lemon juice add a citrus-like and almost refreshing taste to it. i would definitely make it again in the future, especially since all you really need is the spices and you are set!

i don’t know if i am going to cook anything up today, but i’m probably going to take a pause from baking, seeing that my refrigerator is getting full!