Bread Baking Babes (BBB) November 2010
How could I, a child of people who had been children during the great depression make something edible that is designed to be merely looked at? And not eaten! It just goes against the grain (no pun intended).
And then once I looked at the ingredients list and saw butter and milk powder and reasonable portions of other ingredients, as well as the instruction that the left-over dough could be used to make bread sticks or buns, I wondered why we weren’t supposed to eat the cornucopia.
So I decided I’d make a little cornucopia to fulfill the November Babe task, just in case it wasn’t edible. And I’d make LOTS of things to spill out of the small basket. Then it would really be a horn of plenty! I even purchased a small stainless steel cup to use as a form.
My sister was already coming over on Monday to spend the day making Vina Terta; just a day before the deadline for making cornucopia. I told her I’d be making it after we finished together and she got very excited and begged to help. How could I say no?
She was thrilled and kept babbling happily about the grapes she wanted to make to fill the cornucopia. I would NEVER have thought of filling it with grapes! I was just going to make little buns to be spilling out.
We mixed and kneaded the dough for the cornucopia and made the vínarterta and had lunch.
Once we’d finished baking the cake, the cornucopia dough was almost doubled and we started putting things together for shaping it.
me: Here’s the mold. Isn’t it cute?
she: That’s WAY too small!!
me: Really? I think it’s fine.
she: But there’s no way that the grapes will fit.
me: Sure they will. Cornucopias are supposed to be too small for all the stuff going into them.
she: [firmly] It’s way too small.
me: No no. It’s fine.
Of course, you know who prevailed here, don’t you?
I rummaged around through various cupboards and found a larger steel cup – the kind used for making milk shakes. My sister still thought it too was too small but finally conceded reluctantly that it would have to do.
I covered the cup with parchment paper. Susan suggest oiling the form but because I know everything there is about everything, I made an executive decision that oiling was unnecessary. And we started molding the dough.
I made a 4 strand braid and looped it around the mouth of the cup.
me: [hysterical giggle] that’s horrible!!
she: [laughing] I like it
me: No. 2 strand will be better. [disentangling 4 strands and turning the rope into a 2 strand rope]
she: [magnanimously] You’re right. That’s better.
After some argument about the placement of the ring on the cup – whether it should be flush with the edge or at an angle, once again, I bowed to my sister’s superior judgement to make a wider mouth for the basket.
Then we started to make single strand rings to stack up on top of the double strand lip.
she: Whoa. That’s not nearly festive enough.
me: I think it will look great.
she: too ordinary
me: one of the other Babes wove her dough (see Lien’s fabulous cornucopia)
she: let’s do that!!
me: I don’t know. It looked REALLY hard. How about if we just roll out a sheet of dough and drape it like this [wrapping sheet of dough around form]
she: No… that’s too ordinary too. Let’s make a lattice.
me: [reluctantly] okay…. if it doesn’t work, we can always scrap it and start over.
We made the lattice. Naturally, because we didn’t actually measure anything first, it was only large enough to cover half the cup. And getting it onto the cup was a whole other interesting -+cough+- exercise. (Thank goodness for our superpeel!)
We made a second lattice and laid it down under the cup then joined the horizontal strips as best we could. Near the top, we wove strips into the leftover long pieces, then munged them all together into a curvy point.
Ha!! It looked a little messy but hey! We thought it might just work. And into the oven it went.
We immediately began to form the filling for the cornucopia. I was just planning to make little buns but B really wanted to make grapes. When I saw her grapes, of course, I made grapes too. And then I saw that she had made some plums. “Monkey see, monkey do”. I made a couple of pears. She made some carrots. And then she took a piece of dough and started pinching it together – WHAT IS THAT???
me: Is that garlic?
she: No!! It’s a fig!
me: Hmmm. I guess. But it looks like garlic….
We decided (okay… my sister insisted and I agreed that she was right again) that we should glaze some of the fruit. We used milk wash, apricot jam or beet pickle juice (remind me to rave about the beet pickles I made after reading fellow Babe, Katie’s recipe!!)
After about 25 minutes, the fruits were ready to go in the oven. We took the cornucopia out of the oven to see that it was a beautiful golden brown. It looked done. I was sure it was done.
Naturally, I had forgotten to read in Susan’s recipe that the form was to be removed half way through the baking. But luckily my sister was there and knew intuitively that the bread on the inside was not yet baked. She said we had to remove the form.
We were a little concerned that it might break the basket but happily, the form slipped out very easily. (Isn’t parchment paper great?) We then covered the basket with aluminum foil tent (ha!! I remembered reading that part) and put the basket back in the oven to continue baking so the inside would get done.
Finally, all the bread was baked and cooled. (It took no time to cool.) We began to assemble the cornucopia. We’d just finished laying it out when our neighbour dropped by. We dragged him into the kitchen to show off the cornucopia.
Neighbour: Wow!!!! That’s amazing. Oooh look! Carrots! and a Pear! Hey!!! Cool Fig!
This is beyond my wildest dreams!!
I have to confess that I didn’t really think it would work. But (as usual) I was wrong wrong wrong. This was insanely fun.
And the best thing is that the whole thing is indeed edible. Even the basket. It was DELICIOUS with coq au vin. The basket part is perhaps not the best bread (a little tough) but the “fruits” are really delicious. I particularly liked the tang of the beet pickle juice on the “red grapes”.
Thank you, Susan, for a splendid afternoon and equally splendid dining that evening!
Of course, I know that you will want to make cornucopia too! Here’s the recipe we were to have followed.
And here is what I did to it:
based on Susan’s take on the recipe for ‘Light Yeasted Decorative Dough’ in “Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes” by Jeffrey Hamelman
makes one 12-inch cornucopia, several little buns and a small round loaf
- 81 gm lukewarm water
- 3 gm active dry yeast
- 400 gm boiling water
- 44 gm butter
- 44 gm instant skim milk powder
- 20 gm sugar
- 800 gm unbleached all-purpose flour
- 75 gm atta (durum flour)
- 13 gm kosher salt
- Mixing Pour lukewarm water into a small bowl; add yeast and whisk well. Set aside.
- Put butter into a large mixing bowl and pour boiling water over top to melt the butter.
- Whisk in milk powder and sugar.
- Stir in flour and salt. Check that the temperature is “baby-bottle” temperature before adding the yeast mixture. Stir to combine. The dough should be pulling away from the side of the bowl. Don’t worry if there is still a little flour in the bowl.
- Kneading Dump the rough dough on a board
- Hand wash and dry the mixing bowl. (Yes, this step is important. It prepares the rising bowl, gets your hands nice and clean AND allows the dough to rest a little.)
- Knead the dough by hand 10 to 15 minutes til it is smooth and elastic. Use your dough scraper to keep the board clean. If necessary, add a tiny bit more flour if the dough seems sticky but try not to add too much. For me, this dough was on the stiff side.
- Proofing: Put the kneaded dough into the clean bowl. Cover the bowl and leave in a non-drafty area of the kitchen to rise until the dough is about doubled.
- Shaping the Cornucopia: Cover a steel cup with parchment paper to form a cone. Pull a small amount of dough from the bowl and put the cover back on to keep the dough from drying out.
- Turn the oven to 350F
- Form two long ropes and twist them together to make the rim of the cornucopia. Wrap it around the wide part of the cup and press the ends together to form a ring. Make sure the seam of the ring is placed on the bottom of the cornucopia.
- Remove a little more dough and roll it out relatively thinly. Use a pizza cutter to cut it into strips. Form a lattice and place it under one side of the cup. Roll out another piece of dough to make another lattice. Drape the lattice over the top side of the cup. Trim and pinch the horizontal strips of the lattices together. Weave a strand through the top part of the lattice and pinch it together into a curvy point. Make sure that the parchment paper is kept free so that it will be easy to remove. Make sure the 2-stranded rope is flush with the lattice all the way around.
- Baking the Cornucopia Place the cornucopia bottom side down on a parchment covered baking sheet and put on the second to the top shelf of the oven to bake for about 25 minutes.
- Shaping the Fruits: Use the rest of the dough to make small buns. Shape them into grapes, plums, etc. Place them on a parchment covered baking sheet. Glaze them with milk wash, jam, beet pickle juice, or whatever strikes your fancy.
- Baking the fruits After the cornucopia has been in the oven for 25 minutes, remove it from the oven. Carefully remove the form from the center of the basket. It should pull out quite easily. Cover the cornucopia with a foil tent to prevent it from browning further and put it back in the oven along with the “fruits”. Bake for about 25 minutes until the bread is light to lift and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- When the bread is done, remove to cool onto a footed rack. Wait until the bread is completely cool before assembling the cornucopia (the bread is still baking when it’s hot out of the oven).
* Susan’s recipe has about twice as much sugar. Because this was to be served with dinner, I decided to halve the sugar.
* Susan suggests shaping the cornucopia immediately after mixing the dough. But because we were planning to eat it, I allowed the dough to rise to double first before shaping it.
* If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after the loaf has cooled completely. To reheat UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.
Initially, I imagined that I was going to make the cornucopia in time for Canadian Thanksgiving. But that got nixed because I had the plague on Canadian Thanksgiving so we had to postpone our Thanksgiving feast to the end of October.
I thought that the cornucopia was going to be really really hard to make (it’s NOT at all difficult to do! In fact it is one of the easiest breads to make) and so decided that it would just be too difficult to pull off along with roast stuffed chicken, cranberry sauce, etc etc. So I once again postponed making the cornucopia again until the last minute.
I actually made the November bread one day before the BBB deadline. And I imagined that I would post it on time. Ha. But it’s still 16 November somewhere in the universe, isn’t it??
The cornucopia and its contents are all demolished now. We finished it off for breakfast yesterday. It was delicious!
Thank you once again, Susan!
Susan (Wild Yeast) is the host of the November 2010’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:
Since November is Thanksgiving month here in the US, […] I am asking you to make a cornucopia, a symbol of bountiful harvest and giving thanks, from slightly-yeasted decorative dough. […] Because it’s a “horn of plenty” and not a “horn of gaping emptiness,” a cornucopia does need to be filled.
If you’d like to bake along (of course you do!!) and receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site, bake the cornucopia and post it before the 29 November 2010.
For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBB, please read:
- BBB Kitchen of the month: Susan (Wild Yeast): Cornucopia November 2010
- BBBuddy guidelines
- about the BBBabes
Please take a look at the other Babes’ results:
- Karen, Bake My Day BBB bake: Merlin’s hat or Cornucopia! / Hoorn des overvloeds van brooddeeg
- Katie, Thyme for Cooking: Bread Baking Babes make Cornucopias
- Lien, Notitie van Lien: Bread Baking Babes in November
- Natashya, Living In The Kitchen With Puppies: The Bread Baking Babes Make Bread Dough Cornucopia!
- Pat (aka Elle), Feeding My Enthusiasms: The Babes in Harvestland
- Sara, I Like to Cook: Bread Baking Babes – Cornucopia
- Tanna, My Kitchen in Half Cups
- Susan, WildYeast: Cornucopia
Please remember that the BBBabes’ anniversary is coming up in February. We’d like you to pick the Anniversary Bread recipe for February 2011.
- What’s your favorite bread?
- What bread haven’t you ever been able to get to turn out the way you want?
- What bread scares you the most?
- What’s the bread recipe you’ve baked the most?
- What bread do you dream about baking?
- What bread do you…?
Scour your bread-baking cookbooks, recipe boxes and bread-baking sites to make your choice. We’ll ask you to submit your desired recipe soon. And after we’ve narrowed the list down to a manageable number of choices, we’ll ask you to vote on one for us to bake and post for our anniversary in February.
Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:
edit: I completely forgot to add this most amusing post that Susan pointed to: