Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dill Pickle Bread, Because Weird is Fun!

I think it took me all of 5 seconds to decide if I would make this bread. Usually there's a whole lot of deliberation before I decide what baking project I will take on. I'll sit with several cookbooks, mark them with post-it notes, and anywhere from an hour to 3 hours later, I've made my choice. None of that happened with this pickle bread. I basically read the title, read the pickle ingredients it called for (just to make sure it sounded pickly enough for my satisfaction), and made my way to the kitchen. It was that simple.

This bread truly tastes like pickles. And sure, that is a little weird but it is surprisingly good. The texture is an absolute 10. Soft and chewy. And it has a sour flavor similar to sourdough.

I will say, using a cup of pickle juice pretty much means there's no juice left in your jar of pickles. And the recipe only calls for one chopped pickle. So I guess that means you have to eat the rest of the pickles right then, or host a pickle party that afternoon so they don't go to waste. Or I guess you can save the pickles for later. But since you've used up the pickle juice, what liquid do you put back in the pickle jar so the pickles will last? If you are a pickle expert, please advise in the comments below!

My brilliant mom made the suggestion that this bread would be perfect for a corned beef sandwich. Or how about pastrami! Makes sense since you eat dill pickles at the same deli where you get your corned beef or pastrami sandwich. Why not in the same bite? Jewish delis, are you listening?

Dill Pickle Bread
Adapted from a recipe on What's Cooking America

1 generous cup lukewarm dill pickle juice
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large dill pickle, finely chopped
3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

In a standmixer or large bowl, stir together the warm pickle juice, yeast, and sugar. Add in the oil, dill, salt, chopped pickle, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat until incorporated. Gradually add the remaining two cups of flour, adding an additional tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough forms a soft, elastic ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead the dough on a floured work surface. Place in an oiled bowl and turn once to coat. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto the floured work surface and shape the dough into a loaf by rolling or stretching it into a rectangle, then folding it in thirds like a letter, turning it over, and tucking the ends underneath.

Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then sprinkle the bottom and partway up the sides with cornmeal. Place the shaped dough into the loaf pan and cover. Allow to rise in a warm place about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a very sharp knife, make three diagonal slashes in the top of the dough. Brush the top with water. Bake for 25-35 minutes. If the bread starts to get dark brown but isn't done baking yet, cover the top with foil and return to the oven. To check for doneness, remove the loaf from the pan and tap the bottom with your finger. It should make a hollow sound. If it doesn't, return the loaf to the pan and return the pan to the oven to bake for a few more minutes.

When done baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool out of the pan on a wire rack.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Combine the sugar, yeast, and pickle juice...

Chop up a pickle or two!

Add in the oil, dill, salt, chopped pickle and 1 cup of the flour...

Add in the remaining 2 cups of flour...
Mix and add a tablespoon at a time of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl...

Knead the dough, then place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about an hour...

When the dough is ready, it will have doubled in size...

Shape the dough into a rectangle...

Fold the dough in thirds like a letter going into an envelope...

Tuck the ends under and pinch to seal...

Place in a greased loaf pan that has been dusted with cornmeal, cover and let rise about 40 minutes...
Once risen, slash the top of the loaf three times, then brush the surface with water...
Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 to 35 minutes...

Let cool out of the pan...

Slice and serve with butter or use for a corned beef or pastrami sandwich!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sally Lunn Bread: The Bread That Thinks It's Cake

I finally made Sally Lunn Bread. I've seen various versions of this famous bread in a lot of my cookbooks and couldn't figure out what the allure was. Why were so many cookbooks including it?

But by george, I've got it! Now that I've made it and tasted its richness and analyzed its dense cross section and feared I'd be home alone with the loaf eating all of it in one sitting, I understand. It's cake bread. Er, not cake, but cake bread. As in bread that has cake-like qualities. Notice the eggs, milk, and butter called for in the recipe. Your everyday white sandwich bread does not contain any of those ingredients. Sally Lunn Bread is special!

I just want to know, with a stick of butter already in the dough, is it wrong to slather a slice with butter before you pop it in your mouth? Don't judge me.

Sally Lunn Bread
Adapted from a recipe in Fast Breads by Elinor Klivans
Makes 1 large round or 2 rectangle loaves

1 1/4 cups milk, any fat content
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (one 1/4-oz packet)
3 large eggs

Choose your baking pan first. Use either a 9 1/2- or 10-inch tube pan or two 8x4- or 9x5-inch loaf pans. Butter the bottom and sides of the pan(s). I used two 9x5 but wish I had used two 8x4 so the bread would be taller (but either is fine!). Line the bottom with parchment paper and then butter the parchment. Yes, that's a lot of buttering.

In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the milk and butter until a thermometer reads around 130 degrees F. Remove from the heat and allow to cool considerably (if it's still too hot to stick your finger in it, it is not ready to use).

In a stand mixer, blend together 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast on low speed. Carefully add the milk-butter mixture and beat on low until smooth. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Beat in the eggs on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the remaining 3 cups flour and mix for 6 minutes. It's totally normal that the dough is a bit thin and sticky and doesn't pull away from the sides of the bowl. Avoid the urge to add unnecessary extra flour. And don't worry about kneading it. Simply scrape the sticky dough into the prepared pan(s).

Place the two pans side by side on your countertop and cover with plastic wrap or a towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour. It's ready when the dough has risen about halfway up the sides of the baking pan(s).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the bread until golden brown and the top is firm to the touch, about 50 minutes. If you're using smaller pans, the baking time may be less, so err on the side of checking the bread early. The bread should rise to the top of the pan(s). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a cooling rack and turn over so they are cooling right side up. Be sure to remove the parchment paper before they are left to cool.

To store the bread, place in a plastic bag and seal to keep airtight. Leave at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes great toast, especially after 3 days when it's not as fresh!

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Heat the milk and butter, then set aside to cool...

In a stand mixer, combine the yeast, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the flour...

Add the milk-butter mixture, then cover and let rest for 10 minutes...
Beat in the eggs...
Add the remaining flour and mix for several minutes...

The dough will be sticky and that's OK...

Scrape dough into two prepared loaf plans, cover and let rise for an hour, and then bake at 375 degrees F for up to 50 minutes...

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack in the pans for 10 minutes...

Remove from the loaf pans and cool directly on the wire rack...

Slice and serve!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Seeing Double: Double Chocolate Banana Bread

I love banana bread with chocolate chips. But what's one ingredient that could make it even better? Cocoa powder! That's the key here and it makes this bread double chocolaty!

Instead of making two large 9-inch loaves, I distributed the batter among 3 smaller loaf pans. Then, when the loaves were done baking and cooling, I immediately froze a few of them, knowing I alone could not eat that whole recipe before the bread spoiled! Ok, I probably could have eaten all of the loaves, but I wouldn't have been happy about it a week later.

When the bread has been sitting out for a few days and it's not as fresh as on day 1, it makes amazing toast. Try it with a little orange marmalade or even simply a light spread of butter. How about some peanut butter? Everyone knows chocolate, bananas, and peanut butter were meant for each other. Mmm.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Recipe adapted from The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook
Makes two 9-inch loaves

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
4 large ripe bananas, mashed
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans or three or four smaller loaf pans. You can mix and match sizes; just be mindful of the baking time as smaller loaf pans need less baking time.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the milk and bananas, beating until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa-sugar mixture, baking powder, and salt. Gradually, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Mix on low just until combined; be careful not to overmix! Gently stir in the chocolate chips (with a spoon, not the mixer). Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes (less time for smaller loaf pans), until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pans on a rack to cool for 15 minutes, and then turn the loaves out of the pans to cool completely. To freeze, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then place in freezer bags.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Combine dry ingredients with cocoa and 1/2 cup sugar...

Set aside...
Cream the butter and sugar together...

Add the eggs, one at a time...

Beat in the milk...

Beat in the bananas...

Stir in the dry ingredients/cocoa-sugar mixture...
Stir in the chocolate chips...

Spread the batter evenly into the pans...

Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 to 75 minutes...

Slice and serve...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Evan's Pumpkin Bread with Dates

My brother-in-law is a pretty picky eater. Understatement!!! However, there's pretty much no dessert I make that he won't eat. And that redeems him from whatever pickiness he has for other foods. As long as he eats (and loves) what I make, we can sustain a healthy relationship. And what's more, he often goes for seconds or thirds. What a mensch!

But it's not as often that he actually bothers me to make a recipe twice, still dreaming of that baked good he tasted weeks or months ago. This Pumpkin Bread with Dates is one of those recipes. He first tried it several months ago. And the thought of it has been lingering in his mind and on his taste buds ever since.

Every time I'd see my brother-in-law, he'd ask if I brought him some more of this bread. I got tired of saying no. So finally, the next time I visited him, I brought him a loaf. He couldn't believe it. A whole loaf just for him. Sure, I'm a nice sister-in-law. But to see the look on his face when his dream bread materialized in front of him, I'd do it again in a heartbeat; there was something in it for me, too.

Pumpkin Bread with Dates
Adapted from a recipe by Beth Hensperger in The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Muffins
Makes one 9x5" loaf or two 8x4" loaves

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/2 cup nut oil, such as walnut or almond, or sunflower seed oil (vegetable/canola works fine, too!)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (ground nutmeg works well, too)
1 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan or two 8x4-inch pans. You can use butter, shortening, or nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium or large bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, and oil. Whisk or beat until smooth, about 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Beat these dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until smooth and incorporated. Shouldn't take more than 2 minutes. The batter will be thick. Finally, fold the chopped dates into the batter using a large rubber spatula. Don't overmix.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan or pans.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until the top is browned and set and you can tell a crust has formed. You'll see a long center crack down the length. Insert a toothpick into the center and if it's done, the toothpick will come out clean. Transfer the pan(s) to a wire rack and let cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges of the loaf with a knife or metal spatula. Invert the loaf onto the rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Or give an entire loaf to your brother-in-law for major bonus points.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and oil...

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients...

Beat the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture...

Fold the chopped dates into the batter...

Spread the batter into the prepared pans...

Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 to 70 minutes, then let cool in the pans for 10 minutes...

Remove from pans and allow to cool to room temperature...

Slice and serve!
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