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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

classic baguette

Last month, I started and maintained a sourdough starter using all-purpose flour.  After reading through various blogs, I decided to try my hand at a sourdough starter that used rye flour, substituting it for what is outlined in this recipe. 

Yield: 3 baguettes
700 calories per baguette
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: Up to 20 hours

for the starter
1/2 cup lukewarm water
A pinch of yeast
1 cup high gluten flour 

for the dough
1 teaspoon yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
all of the starter
3 ½ cups high gluten flour
2 teaspoons salt

the day before:
1. In a small sized bowl or Tupperware, combine the lukewarm water, yeast, and flour. Stir, cover, and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours, or overnight.

the day of:
2. Take out starter, it should have risen and become bubbly. If it hasn't, your yeast may not be working. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of yeast in 1 tablespoon lukewarm water with a pinch of sugara Add to your starter and wait 15 minutes. If nothing happens, replace your yeast, and begin the starter process again.

Because I used a starter I began cultivating over 5 days ago, my starter didn't look super active. I dissolved pinches of yeast and sugar along with a tablespoon of lukewarm water to get it going.

3. Combine the lukewarm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. (See “loaded baked potato pinwheels” for more in fermenting yeast.)

4. In your stand mixer bowl, combine the flour, salt, and all of the starter. (I used 1 ½ cup of my rye starter.)

5. Using the dough hook attachment, “stir” until a shaggy dough forms.

6. Slowly pour in the yeast mixture, kneading on “stir” until a cohesive dough forms.

7. Increase your stand mixer speed to 2 or 3 and knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 5 minutes.

8. Turn the dough out onto a counter top and knead by hands a few turns, forming a ball.

9. Place the ball into a large bowl, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

10. After an hour has elapsed, punch down the dough. Re-cover with plastic wrap and set-aside.

11. After another hour has elapsed (120 minutes after first set the dough aside to rise), punch down the dough, re-cover with plastic wrap, and set-aside.

12. After another hour has elapsed (three hours since you first set the dough aside in step 9), turn the dough out onto your counter top and divide into three pieces.

13. Roll each into piece out into a rope and let rest for 15 minutes.

14. Fold each rope in half, squeezing to release air bubbles, and shaping into a baguette by gently rolling on the counter top to stretch the log accordingly. You want to be sure to knead out the air bubbles, or the result will be a humongous, lopsided loaf. Sadly, this was a lesson learnt through experience.)

15. Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, or baguette pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

16. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until very puffy, about 90 minutes.

17. I also made stuffed baguettes with one portion of the dough by cutting the dough into four pieces, rolling each piece out, filling each with smoked gouda and bacon and forming a jelly roll. (See “loaded baked potato pinwheels” for more cooking bacon and forming pinwheels.) I gave the stuffed baguettes about 30 minutes to rise.

18. With about 30 minutes remaining in the final proof, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

19. Cover the baguettes with an egg wash and score.

20. Arrange a water bath and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the baguettes are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped(See step 9 of “carbs, glorious carbs!” for more on water baths.)

Original recipe found here

Friday, March 29, 2013

roasted nectatine greek yogurt chocolate cake

My love for the Greek yogurt knows no bounds. I love eating it plain, but also like finding neat ways to cook with it that isn't green goddess dip. Given my recent half and half as the dairy binge, I decided to reel it in with this easy recipe, but upcycle it by adding roasted nectarines.

Yield: 1 bundt cake
165 calories per slice, if cut into 12 slices
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

4 large nectarines, or about 3 cups of a fruit of your choosing
1 (18.25 ounce) box of cake mix
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 cup of water

1. Wash the nectarines and cut them into large pieces, placing the pieces on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. They're going to caramelize, so you may want to line your baking sheet with aluminum foil.

I tend to cut myself a lot more than I'd like to admit.
I've found that the easiest way to cut stone fruits is to 1) cut the fruit in half, along the pit 2) pull the two pieces apart 3) turn the side with the pit over, and cut it in half 4) pull the pieces away from the pit

A: Add depth to the flavor and remove excess water 

3. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, Greek yogurt, and roasted nectarines.

4. Stir until blended. The mixture will be a little lumpy and thick.

5. Add the water and mix until smooth(ish).

6. Evenly scoop the mixture into a well greased bundt pan.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until the cake is done. (See step 7 of "lavender greek yogurt cupcakes" for information on testing for cake doneness.)

8. Turn out onto a plate or cake stand to cool.

Invert the plate or cake stand base on the bundt pan, turn it over, lift off the bundt pan.

9. Garnish, as desired.

Original recipe found here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

cinnamon rolls

This cinnamon roll recipe is easy to execute and allows you to try creative flavor combinations with your filling. Blueberries and chocolate? Strawberries and Nutella? Bananas and marshmallows? Apples and cinnamon? Dare to dream! Just remember that fresh fruit adds moisture and that may impact the texture and baking time. If you opt for a large stone fruit, you may want to first roast it in the oven to remove some of the water.

Yield: 12 rolls
290 calories per roll
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes

the dough
¾ cup almond cup milk
¼ cup butter
1¾ cups whole wheat flour
1½ cup high gluten flour
2¼ teaspoons yeast
¼ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 eggs

the filling
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup butter
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes or chocolate chips

1. Combine the lukewarm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let aside for 10 minutes. (See "loaded baked potato pinwheels" for more on fermenting yeast.)

2. Heat the milk and butter in the microwave for 90 seconds, or until slightly melted.

3. Combine the yeast and milk mixtures and gently beat in the egg.

4. In your stand mixer bowl, combine the flours, sugar, and salt. With the dough hook attached, slowly "stir" wet mixture to form a dough.

5. After a cohesive dough forms,  increase the mixer speed to 2 and knead for about 2 minutes, or until a smooth and elastic dough forms. If your dough seems dry, because of the wheat flour, add additional water about 1 tablespoon at a time).

6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few turns, forming the dough into a ball.

7. Place the dough into a bowl, cover with a damp cloth, plastic wrap, and a towel. Let rest for 30 minutes.  

8. In a small microwave safe container, like a Pyrex measuring cup, heat the remaining ½ cup of butter in the microwave until melted, about 90 seconds.

9. Mix the brown sugar into the softened butter.

10. On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and cut in half. Roll out one dough section into a 
11 x 17 inch rectangle, spread half of the brown sugar mixture (about 1/2 cup) on top of the flattened dough, being sure to stay about 1 inch clear of one of the left edge because the fillings spread as your roll.  Lightly covering with 1/4 cup of the sweetened coconut flakes, or fillings of your choice.  

11. Form a jelly roll by rolling the dough into a log, starting on the long side. Make sure you pinch the seam, sealing the roll so toppings don't escape and/or so the roll doesn't explode. 


12. Cut into 6 equal size rolls and place cut side up in a parchment lined pie tin, casserole dish, or 
lined muffin cups. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover the rolls with a damp paper towel, plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

13. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

15. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

Other modifications:

  • Love doughy cinnamon rolls: Use all high gluten flour or all-purpose flour.  Using wheat flour makes the consistency of the rolls more dense and grainy.

Original recipe found here.