Bagels with Asiago (BBB October 2016)

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Bread Baking Babes October 2016 summary: recipe for Bagels, based on recipes in “Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Every Day” and an article by Peter Reinhart in “Fine Cooking”; being a bagel purist; Asiago cheese; new digital scales and why they should be thoroughly researched in advance; how to turn a two day process into one of three days; a Bread Baking Babes project; World Bread Day; World Food Day; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) October 2016: Asiago Bagels

Asiago and Bagels There’s nobody so adamant as a recent convert…

It should be noted that I did not grow up eating bagels. In fact, I had never even heard of a bagel until I was in my twenties; the first bagel I ate was with some university friends in a bagel shop in New York City. The shop offered all kinds of toppings, including: butter, cream cheese, liverwurst, peanut butter and jelly, and of course, lox and cream cheese…. Because I had never had a bagel, my friends suggested that I try a traditional topping of cream cheese on my poppy seed bagel.

I tried it. I was in heaven.

It. Was. The. Best. Bun. I. Had. Ever. Tasted.

So, when Karen (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) told us that she had decided on bagels for the BBBabes’ October 2016 project, I jumped with joy. (continue reading )

Sifting: the key to lofty whole wheat bread (Bookmarked)

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summary: recipe for 75% whole wheat bread; Ken Forkish’s 75% whole wheat bread using Michael Pollan’s method; sifting the wholewheat flour; bookmarked;

Bookmarked Recipes - last Sunday of the MonthBookmarked Recipe: sifted whole wheat bread

whole wheat bread Early this summer, we were reading Michael Pollan’s book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. And we were really intrigued by his 100% whole wheat bread making method.

The bran was still undermining the gluten, either by puncturing the gas bubbles or by weighing them down, giving me a too-tight crumb. I hit on a slightly wacky idea: I would remove the bran from the inside of the bread and put it on the outside, where it could do no damage to the gluten. So, before mixing my flour and water, I sifted the chunkiest bran out of the flour, maybe 10 percent of the total volume. In effect, I was making white (or whitish) flour circa 1850, pre-roller mill […] It still had the germ, but only those particles of bran small enough to slip through an ordinary sieve. However, I reserved the sifted bran in a bowl, and after shaping the loaves, I rolled them in the stuff, making sure that every last shard of bran was taken up by the wet skin of dough.
It worked: The trick allowed me to bake an airy and delicious loaf with a toasty, particulate crust-all the while preserving my claim to a “100 percent whole-grain” bread.
– Michael Pollen, Part III: Air, the education of an amateur baker, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

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Sour Grapes… OR …making the best of Concord Grapes

summary: green apples; concord grapes are awfully sweet; how much concentrate about 8 lbs of grapes makes; not making jelly; grape onion focaccia; information about Not Far From the Tree; (click on images to see more photos)

apples and grapes There are so many volunteers for Not Far From the Tree now that it isn’t entirely easy to get in on a pick. So when I saw the opportunity to pick green apples AND two kinds of grapes (green and blue), I jumped at it.

I was excited about getting to pick apples. But when I learned that the grapes were concords, I was a little less excited. I’ve never been a fan of concord grapes. They’re so sweet. I’m especially not a fan of concord grape jelly or juice. To me, they both taste a bit like kool-aidy medicine.

Still, the bounty was huge. This despicably hot and rainless (until now) summer was pretty terrible for apricots and plums here in Toronto, but it has been quite good for apples and brilliant for grapes. So we happily picked little green apples (no idea what kind but they are a sweet/tart and not terribly juicy – probably ideal for making cider) in the front yard and masses and masses of grapes in the back yard. (continue reading )

Last Hurrahs of Summer: Coconut Rolls (BBB September 2016)

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BBB September 2016 summary: recipe for Coconut Rolls or are they buns??, based on a recipe in “HomeBaking” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford; substitutions and alterations; malfunctioning scales; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) September 2016: Coconut Rolls

Coconut Rolls

I was beginning to wonder if summer would never end!

Finally, early this week, the night temperatures dropped below 20C. And we felt comfortable turning on the oven. But I really got thrown off by the long hot summer. Even though we’ve been watching the happy parade of children walking to school every morning since Labour Day, it didn’t occur to me that the middle of the month was so close.

So. I’m sorry to say that I’m late. In my defense, I baked on 16 September….

This month’s project is based on a recipe in the stunningly beautiful cookbook “Home Baking” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford. It’s such a wonderful book that it has been translated into other languages, including Dutch. There are bread recipes from all parts of the world.

We have no idea where the Chinese bakery tradition of soft white filled buns comes from, but in Taiwan, in Hong Kong and even here in each of Toronto’s Chinatowns, we can always find a bakery with a dazzling array of them. The first bun shops I ever saw were in Taipei; they’re still my favorites. […] Rick (alias Cinnamon Roll Rick) arrived for a visit. Within a day, he’d found the bun shops and came running to find out which buns were my favorite. I’d never noticed the bun shops and I thought he was crazy. But he was right. And for the next six months we ate a ton of sweet buns.
– Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid, Taipei Coconut Buns, Home Baking, p.252

Apparently, the coconut buns were their absolute favourite flavour and that’s what they include in the cookbook. Well! Clearly, even if Lien hadn’t chosen them for this month’s project for the BBBabes, we had to try them.

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