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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lessons in Reading – Pretzel Croissants (BBB March 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Pretzel Croissants; adapting to time constraints; Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and Bake Your Own Bread; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) April 2014

Sigh. I was GOING to post on time. I really was!

pretzel croissants Last month we simply paddled in our pools. This month we’re with the big kids getting complicated.

Yup. Heather (girlichef) thinks we’ve been taking it too easy.

You must read ahead. I’m serious, give yourself time to prepare. It’s not difficult, but it isn’t a “bang-it-out-quickly” type of challenge. [...] It’s actually not one, but TWO of my favorite things rolled into one package: soft pretzels and croissants. Two things that I find utterly irresistible. [...] I couldn’t get past the thought of combining the two. [...]

I love the process, and the resulting feeling of accomplishment, of making a laminated dough; multiple folds…extra care…nurturing. You just can’t help but feel like a rockstar when you pull flaky, buttery croissants that you made from scratch from a hot oven. Just try be modest. [...]

Now, the pretzel-half – do they really taste like pretzels? Sadly, not so much. Slightly, at best. But the beautiful burnished outside definitely resembles a pretzel. [...]

Are they worth making? Heck yeah, they are.

-Heather, Pretzel Croissants {Bread Baking Babes}

But really, Heather didn’t need to sell ME on these. She had me at the word “croissants”.

(continue reading…)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Water Sports (BBB March 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Water-Proofed Challah; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and Bake Your Own Bread; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) March 2014

snow Last month was a baptism by Fire for new BBBabes. This month it’s Water (Eeek what’s next month? Earth?)

Last Monday, we thought maybe spring was arriving. It was above freezing and the ice on the roads cleared so we were able to ride our bikes. But the party was over the next day. Of course it was. Snow started falling in the early morning and this was how it looked by 11:00am.

But Pat (Feeding My Enthusiasms) lives in Lotusland where the flowers have been growing for weeks. She chose a water sport for us this month…

Although the dough in this recipe is fairly difficult to handle, it makes a very delicate, brioche-like bread with a rich, buttery, eggy taste. It is extraordinarily good, ideal for tea or for eating with butter, jam and marmalade, and toasts extremely well. [...] The bread is called “water-proofed” because the dough is submerged in a bath of water for the first rising.

-James Beard, Beard on Bread, 1973

water-proofed bread And you thought the Winter Olympics were over. Not a chance. Let the games continue!

The dough itself isn’t too hard – as long as you don’t mind kneading really really slack dough (no worries, it’s not nearly as slack as the dreaded “coccodrillo“)

Not to frighten any would-be BBBuddies, but this is not the easiest method to proof dough. However, what I learned is that it’s a good idea to be very liberal with the flour on the tea towel.

(continue reading…)

Monday, 10 March 2014

this IS the best carrot cake

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summary: We make the best Carrot Cake with so much cream cheese icing, it will make you sick; Happy Birthday, T! (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos)

T’s birthday is in early January. We’re always so full from Christmas that he always defers his cake until later. The other day, he said, “Isn’t it time for my birthday cake?”

carrot cake As always, the kind of cake was left to him. I was surprised when he didn’t choose Black Forest cake and instead decreed that it would be carrot cake. Yes!! J’adore carrot cake!

It’s easy to make. And. It. Is. Delicious.

And good for you! Think of all the vitamins!

The practice of combining cheese, fruit, and nuts dates back to ancient times. These were often served at the end of a meal because they were thought to aid in digestion.

- Food Timeline: History Notes

Hmmm, do you think the ancients meant cream cheese? And if some vegetables are added, will it be even better for the digestion?

(continue reading…)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Snow? Again??? Taking Comfort with Chocolate (Bookmarked)

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Nutty Chocolate Bark with Cardamom and Coffee - SAVEURsummary: recipe based on SAVEUR magazine’s Chocolate Bark; SAVEUR magazine comes through again! information about Bookmarked Recipes;

Bookmarked Recipes - last Sunday of the MonthBookmarked Recipes #33: Chocolate Bark

It snowed last night! Again. And… pretty, isn’t it? But. It’s March! :stomp: :stomp: Will this winter never end? :stomp: :stomp:

snow in March

Again?!

Luckily, we do have running electricity and the furnace, stove and oven are working. But we have to – eeeeeek – walk everywhere because bicycling on icy Toronto roads, in our neighbourhood where people LOVE to drive their cars and don’t really believe that two-wheeled vehicles belong on the road, is out of the question.

We are pining for spring and barbecue weather. (I’m beginning to wonder if it will ever come again.) In the meantime, we are comforting ourselves with hearty soups and stews. And finishing off the last of the Christmas goodies. (continue reading…)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Rgaïf, layered North African Flatbread (BBB February 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Rgaïf, North African flatbread baked on a griddle; a Bread Baking Babes project; the BBBabes are celebrating 6 years of bread baking together; submission for YeastSpotting and Bake Your Own Bread; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) February 2014 – 6th anniversary رغايف rgaïf

Rgaif (BBB February 2014)

Two reasons to celebrate!
1.) It’s the BBBabes’ 6th anniversary
2.) There are two new BBBabes; we are a dozen again!

(I’m just going to pretend that I’m not a day late posting this. I have trouble with remembering anniversaries on time…. )

Six years! Many BBBabes have been here since the beginning. Some, like me, joined a little later. We’ve said fond au-revoirs to some of BBBabes and to others we say hello hello hello! We’re very pleased to say hello hello hello to Aparna and Cathy. We can’t wait to see what new techniques they have for us in their apron pockets. Please join us in welcoming them!

Lien (Notitie van Lien) chose this month’s bread recipe, a layered North African griddle bread. Talk about baptism by fire! …although, it’s not quite as frightening as flourless sprouted wheat bread, the first bread I made as a BBBabe. Hmmmm, are we getting soft and only choosing easy breads? :lalala:

It is not often that you see women cooking on the street in North Africa unless they are making this bread. They stand behind large flat griddles on which they cook the bread, flattening it further with their fingers, not seeming to mind the heat. Some occasionally dip their fingers in a small bowl of oil to drizzle on the bread while it is cooking – this slightly greasier version is definitely better. My Algerian food shop in London has a very similar version to r’ghäyef, which they call m’arek or m’hajjib. Theirs is larger and has a spicier filling. In Tunisisa there is another, similar bread, m’lawi, which is left plain.

- Anissa Helou, Moroccan FlatBread r’ghäyef, Mediterranean Street Food, p.85

(continue reading…)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Just a hint of chocolate, eh? (BBB January 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Chocolate Prune Rolls; to knead or not to knead; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and BYOB; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) January 2014

Do you love rich dark chocolate? Then this bread is for you!

chocolate prune bread Last month we made bread that was called cake. This month we were to make cake that is called bread. When I first heard about the January BBB recipe, I was really excited. I couldn’t wait.

But then, after several days of Christmas and New Year’s excesses (ahem), I confess I suddenly wasn’t really thrilled about making something so sweet. But our fearless host for this month cast my worries aside with her enthusiasm about the recipe she chose for us to make.

[I]t is wonderful, a very nice bread with just a hint of chocolate

-Jamie, in email to the BBBs

So I got out my ingredients and plunged ahead to make a lovely slightly soft chestnut brown dough.

Hmmmm…. Just a hint of chocolate, Jamie? The bread I made was (I wonder if I miscalculated about the weight of the cocoa….) REALLY chocolatey.

It was good, but really chocolatey – in looks, aroma and flavour. (continue reading…)

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