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Archive for March, 2011

Bagels

The dough was a dream to work with, and I had a lot of fun making these. The taste was really good even though I didn’t have the malt powder. The texture and chewiness was good, but I had a little issue with the height. They weren’t quite tall enough to slice easily. I wonder if making the hole in the middle smaller would help. 2 and 1/2 inches seemed really big. I made everything bagels, using Lick the Bowl Good’s everything spice mixtures. Annie’s Eats and Brown Eyed Baker have good pictures and comments.

Bagels

Yield: 12 large or 24 mini bagels

Ingredients:

For the sponge:
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ½ cups (20 ounces) water, at room temperature

For the dough:
½ teaspoon (.055 ounces) instant yeast
3 ¾ cups (17 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ¾ teaspoons (.7 ounce) salt
2 teaspoons (.33 ounce) malt powder OR 1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar

To finish:
1 tablespoon baking soda
cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions, or chopped fresh onions that have been tossed in oil (optional)

Directions:

1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl.  Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly.  It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir.  Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine).  The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth.  There should be no raw flour – all the ingredients should be hydrated.  The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 degrees F.  If the dough seems dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading.  If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achiever the stiffness required.  The kneaded dough should feels satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Immediately divide the dough into 4 ½ ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired. Form the pieces into rolls.

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Line two sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil.  Proceed with shaping the bagels by pushing a hole through the center and stretching out the hole to 2 ½ inches in diameter.

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pan.  Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”.  Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water.  The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water.  Take one bagel and test it.  If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days).  If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats.  The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

9. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500° F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda.  Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds).  After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute.  If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side.  While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-line sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour.  (If you decided to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.)  If you want to top the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water.  You can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or a combination.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven.  Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation.  (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.)  After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450° F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.  You may bake them darker if you prefer.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, 10 Speed Press, 2001.

 

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Spanish tortilla

This was one of those “tastes better than it looks” recipes. I tried flipping the tortilla once it had set, but it wouldn’t come out of the pan. So then I tried just sliding it out of the pan, and I found it was stuck in the middle. So it ended up a big mess on the platter. Ugliness aside, it was a good dish. It takes some work and time standing over the stove, but nothing too excessive. The hardest part is cooking it, finishing it, and waiting 15-30 minutes to eat it! Confession – I ate it warm. I utilized some tips from

http://www.cookingshow.com/979/spanish-tortilla-for-two/

http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to/spanish-tortilla.aspx

I would like to try this again to improve on my technique. I used sundried tomatoes instead of roasted red bell peppers, and milk instead of cream. The potatoes and onions need a lot of salt, and the capers on top add a nice touch.

Kittencal’s Spanish Potato Frittata

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced (or use half green and half red bell pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream or 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons capers (optional but good to use)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  2. Layer HALF of the potato, onion and red bell pepper slices in the skillet; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Repeat layering with remaining potato slices, onion and red pepper, then season again with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and cook until potatoes and veggies are tender, stirring frequently with a spatula (about 20 minutes).
  5. Sprinkle the thyme over and then cool slightly.
  6. In a bowl whisk eggs with cream, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the potato mixture to the eggs and whipe the skillet clean.
  8. In the same skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low heat.
  9. Pour the egg/potato mixture into the skillet.
  10. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese; cover and cook until the eggs are JUST set (about 10 minutes).
  11. Slide the frittata onto a platter.
  12. Sprinkle with parsley and capers.
  13. Cut into wedges and serve.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/spanish-potato-and-egg-frittata-148703#ixzz1HBvn90Qf

 

Baked chocolate chip cookies

I loved the deep caramel-y flavor of the NY times cookie due to the overnight chill, so I thought I’d try the Baked chocolate chip cookie recipe that calls for the same thing. I halved the recipe, and my first few cookies came out flat. I added a big tbsp of flour and re-mixed, and they came out much better. Great buttery texture, nice and chewy with a slightly crispy edge (just barely), and a dark yummy flavor. I actually bought the dark brown sugar instead of subbing light brown. One note – the cookbook authors stated to use slightly cold butter, which I did not do. They suggest taking the butter out of the fridge, measuring all of the ingredients, and then the butter should be good to use. I found the recipe on Sweet Pea’s Kitchen. I only used 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2  2/3 cups (16 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Scrape down bowl and add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.
  3. Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Cover the bowl tightly and place in refrigerator for 6 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Use your hands to shape into 2-tablespoon-sized balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, 1-inch apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes until edges are golden brown and the tops just start to darken.
  7. Remove baking sheet from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the individual cookies to the wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Green beans

I don’t like fresh green beans. Weird, huh? So I wanted to find a way to doctor up some canned beans. This was a good recipe, and it almost makes me want to try it with fresh ones. My only changes were sauteing the onion before adding everything else, and using chicken stock instead of water. Very basic, but better than straight from the can!

Country Green Beans (All Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until beans are tender.

 

French bread (sub) rolls

I made these into sub rolls instead of dinner rolls, so to ensure they wouldn’t be too small, I turned what should have been 16 rolls into 5 sub buns. After the second rise, they were massive! The dough was a dream to work with and it rose amazingly. The crust is good and pretty soft, which is perfect for paninis! They taste pretty delicious too. This recipe can also be found on All Recipes, and it’s called French Bread Rolls to Die For. It has tons of rave reviews! That version used bread flour, and I used 2 parts AP flour to 1 part bread flour. Gotta ration that bread flour! I was running low.

French Bread Rolls (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

*Makes about one dozen rolls (see my tutorial on shaping these rolls)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 tablespoon instant yeast (or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, give or take a few tablespoons

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl by hand, combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour (if you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, let the yeast proof in the warm water and sugar for about 3-5 minutes until it is foamy and bubbly before adding the oil, salt and flour). Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Judge the dough not by the amount of flour called for in the recipe but in how the dough feels. The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch.

Knead the dough in the stand mixer or by hand until it is very smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 8-10 minutes by hand. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled (this usually takes about an hour).

Lightly punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form the dough into round balls. Place the rolls on a lightly greased or silpat-lined baking sheet about an inch or two apart. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap taking care not to pin the plastic wrap under the baking sheet or else the rolls will flatten while rising. Let the plastic wrap gently hang over the sides of the pan to fully cover the rolls but not press them down. Let the rolls rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

*Freezable Option: I almost always make a double or triple batch of these rolls. Once they are baked and cooled, I place them in a zipper-lock freezer bag and put them in the freezer. I either take them out a few hours before I need them or I take them out frozen and microwave them for about 2-3 minutes on 70% power.

 

Soy honey dijon pork tenderloin

I usually sear my tenderloin, but to save some time and dishes I simply baked it like the recipe indicated. Plus, there was no way the garlic would have stayed in the pork. I did marinade the pork for a day before cooking. I cooked it to 138-140, and it was very juicy and tender. The flavors were really nice, and I had a lot of leftover pork that I put to good use! I made Cuban sandwiches several times and pork fried rice.
For the cuban, I made French bread rolls from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. The sandwich consists of lots of yellow mustard, sliced pickles, ham, thinly sliced leftover pork, and swiss cheese (I used gruyere.) It is extremely important that you rub the bread with butter and then press the sandwich while cooking in the skillet. The combination is amazingly good and this is one of my top five sandwiches, for sure.
My Favorite Pork Tenderloin from Monica H
  • 1 pkg. pork tenderloins (2 tenderloins, about 2-2.5 lbs.)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 T. country dijon mustard (whole grain mustard)
  • 4 T. honey
  • 2 T. fresh orange juice
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary OR herbs de provence
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 T. olive oil

Yield: 1 cup of marinade.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Take tenderloins out of package. Rinse and pat dry. Place in a 9×13-inch Pyrex sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Take a paring knife and poke holes in the tenderloins (on the top side only) about an inch deep. Peel garlic cloves and quarter each clove of garlic-lengthwise. If they’re really big, cut them a bit smaller- about the size of slivered almonds. Place the garlic slivers in each pocket. Set aside while making marinade.

In a measuring cup or in a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the olive oil. Then slowly drizzle the olive oil while still whisking.

Pour the mixture over the tenderloins and put into preheated oven. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, basting once halfway through the baking process.

Once removed from the oven, allow the tenderloins to rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes before slicing. Spoon the pan sauce over the tenderloin medallions and enjoy!