"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." Julia Child

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

semolina bread

With a salmon fillet left-over from Sunday, semolina bread sounded like a delicious complement to a  mixed green salmon salad.

Yield: 4 small boules
660 calories per boule
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 10 hours to 28 hours, depending on the duration of the starter proof

the starter
3/8 cup lukewarm water (this is equivalent to 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons) 
¼ cup water
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon yeast

the dough
1¼  warm lukewarm water
1¼  teaspoon yeast
3¾ cups semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt

The day before: Making the starter
1. Mix together the 3/8 cup lukewarm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Combine the flour, remaining 1/4 cup water and yeast mixture in a medium sized bowl, mixing with a spoon until a loose dough forms. Use your hands to knead the dough into a ball, which will be thick and wet.

3. Place in a well-oiled bowl, cover, and set aside at room temperature. Unless the recipe states otherwise  I like to cover my dough with both plastic wrap and a towel. The starter should proof at least 6 hours, and can be kept at room temperature up to 24 hours.  Here are some tips on starter maintenance.

The day of: Making the dough
4. Mix together the lukewarm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.

5. In your stand mixer, combine 1/3 cup of the starter, semolina flour, salt, and yeast mixture.  With the dough hook, "stir" the mixture. (See step 3 for recipe ideas for your unused starter.) Because my kitchen is small, I've found labeling my airtight canisters to be very helpful. I ordered custom, vinyl labels from CuttinCrazy on etsy.

6. Slowly increase the speed (to 2 or 3) and knead until a smooth dough forms, about 5 minutes. The dough is very dry and you may need to adjust the dough during the knead and form into a ball once or twice by by hand to ensure a well-blended and cohesive dough forms. 

7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let rise until dough has doubled in size, about 1½ hours.

8. Roll dough out onto slightly floured surface. Divide into four equal pieces and shape each into a boule, placing on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and covering with plastic to rise until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

9. About 30 minutes into the proof, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

10. After the dough has risen, brush the boules with egg wash, desired topping, and score the boules with a tic-tac-toe pattern.

11.  Arrange a water bath and bake for 25 minutes, until loaves are golden brown.  (See step 9 of “carbs, glorious carbs!” for more information on water baths)

Other modifications:
  • Make two large loaves or small rolls instead of boules. 
Original recipe found here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

carbs, glorious carbs!

This afternoon some friends came over for a laid-back pre-Oscar lunch, so I got to try out a few recipe modifications I've been thinking about and use some of the sourdough starter I've been maintaining for the past two weeks. 

Our menu:
  • Sriracha marinated pork tenderloin and salmon fillets 
  • Rosemary and mint oven roasted brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes
  • Wild yeast baguettes 
  • Blackberry and nectarine custard pie
Let's focus on what really matters, the carbs.

Wild yeast baguettes 

Yield: 6 baguettes
430 calories per baguette
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: Overnight proof required, about 20 hours

1 cup sourdough starter, fed about an hour before use 
1½ cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2½ teaspoons salt
5 cups high gluten flour

The day before:
1. Combine warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes. 

2. Combine the starter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast mixture, mixing with a spoon to form a smooth dough. 

3. Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl for about 2 hours and then refrigerate overnight (up to about 18 hours). I covered mine with both plastic wrap and a towel. The photo below is after the 2 hour rise.

The day of:
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 6 pieces. On a floured surface, gently shape each piece into a baguette. 

5. Place into a baguette pan.

6. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 3 hours.

7. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

8. Brush the baguettes with egg wash and topping.

9. Place water bath below the baguette pan. A water bath  is a pan of water that is placed into the oven to provide a constant, steady heat source that ensures even, slow cooking. 

10. Bake the baguettes for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're a very deep golden brown.

11. Remove the loaves from the oven and cool.

Other modifications:
  • Use a parchment lined baking sheet instead of a baguette pan.
  • Don't include a topping with the egg wash.
Original recipe can be found here. 

Blackberry custard pie

Yield: 8 slices
160 calories per slice
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes

2 cups washed blackberries
1 large nectarine, sliced about ¼ inch thick
¼ cup melted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dried lavender 
3 large eggs
¾ cup almond milk
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease a 9-inch pie dish. 

3. Arrange blackberries on bottom of the baking dish, keeping the fruit fairly flat. Pinwheel the nectarine slices on top of the blackberries.

4. Combine the butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, eggs, almond milk, dried lavender, and salt in a medium sized bowl and blend with a hand mixer until all ingredients are well blended. 

5. Slowly pour the batter over the fruit, making sure to evenly distribute it around the pan.

6. Bake the custard until golden and firm to touch, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Other modifications:
  • Change up the fruit depending on your tastes or the season.
  • Substitute almond extract for the vanilla.
  • Use clove, nutmeg or cinnamon instead of lavender with pomaceous fruits. 
  • Use dairy milk: The custard will be a little more dense and, if you use whole fat milk, taste a little richer.
Original recipe can be found here

Saturday, February 23, 2013

dog treats

Henry and I live in a very dog friendly community. The apartment complex allows dogs of any size, maintains two fenced dog parks, and a subset of us residents stay connected through a yahoo group, go on weekend hikes, and convene regularly for puplucks. 

Tomorrow, a neighbor is hosting a "Welcome Home" brunch for the puppy she recently adopted. Homemade dog treats seemed like a great pupwarming present. Of course, Henry got to taste test the homemade biscuits.

Yield: 40 treats, using a large (16) and small (24) sized bone shaped cookie cutters
1,510 calories per batch  (roughly 40 calories for a large bone and 20 calories for a small bone)
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

1 cup wheat flour
½ cup quick oats
¼ cup nonfat dry milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup cold water, or enough to make a cohesive dough

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Combine the flour, oats, dried milk, and salt in stand mixer bowl and “stir”, about 30 seconds.

4. Turn off the stand mixer and add the egg, blueberries, and peanut butter. Return to stir, creating a crumbly mixture, about 1 minute.

5. Increase the the mixer to a speed of 2, and slowly add in enough of the cold water to form a cohesive dough, about 1 minute.

6. Form the dough into a ball and roll it out about ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface. I used oat bran.

7. Cut the biscuits with your cookie cutter, placing them about ½ inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. I like to first pull away the scraps and then use a spatula to slowly work the biscuit of the counter top. 

 8. Re-roll the scraps, continuing to cut biscuits until you've used all the dough.

9. Bake the biscuits for about 25 minutes, or until dark golden brown. The biscuits should be crisp and dry all the way through.  My large biscuits took about 25 minutes and the small bones baked in 15 minutes. 

10. Remove the biscuits from the oven and let cool.

Other modifications:
  • Don't have cookie cutters? No worries! Just divide the dough into your desired portions, roll them into balls, and use the bottom of glass (or your hand) to squash into a flattened disc.
  • Are the biscuits browning too fast? Bake at 300 degrees. 
  • If your dog has dietary restrictions, this recipe may better meet your needs. 
  • Go all out and add ¼ cup shredded cheese or substitute chicken broth for the water.
Original recipe can be found here.