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Six-Word Saturday: 18 Teves, 5771

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Less and less yeast each week…I’ve been making the same challah for a couple of months now because it’s SOooo yummy.  My challenge (to myself) has been incorporating as much sourdough as possible, decreasing the commercial yeast a bit more each week.I haven’t really said much about this challah recipe yet.  It’s based on this one, but I use sugar instead of honey, and I leave out the egg.  I found it when I was searching for a sponge-based challah, and it seems like the ideal way to incorporate a sourdough, because it gives the starter lots of time to get going overnight.This week, I wanted to make exactly THREE challahs, so I multiplied the regular formula by 1.5…I’ve set up a spreadsheet to let me figure out how much of my 60% starter I can substitute in a recipe that either calls for another type of starter – or no starter.In the case of this challah recipe, the original calls for no starter, so I decrease the flour and water quantitie…

Six-Word Saturday: 12 Teves, 5771

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Birthday’s a’comin’… my wish list here.(yes, fo’sure “a’comin’” is one word!!!)

Black Forest Birthday Cake for a Neighbour

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Our neighbour’s birthday was on Wednesday.  She doesn’t have much family, and I figure everybody deserves cake, so I invited her for Shabbos dinner so I’d have an excuse to present her with THIS:It’s a black forest cake, made out of my basic chocolate cake recipe .  I sliced the layers and spread white icing and pie-filling cherries in between.  I toasted one layer and crumbled it in the food processor to make cake crumbs to press onto the outside, somewhat messily.In fact, it is a very messy cake, and not entirely a beautiful one, despite my amateurish efforts with the star tip.  The initial looks more like a T than a J, but, hey, it’s the thought – and the taste – that counts, right???

Today’s Project: Whole Lotta Bread!

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This is the Pumpkin-Oatmeal No-Knead Bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (which I still don’t own!). It’s a fun bread because it doesn’t taste like a “healthy” bread (being mostly white flour), but does contain token quantities of rye, whole-wheat and oat. It is a very easy bread to make, despite the sloppiness of the final dough.I baked these seven loaves, along with gingerbread and shortbread cookies, to fill up holiday parcel boxes whicih we mailed to members of our extended families. (actually, the 7th was for our supper: shhh…)I added cranberries and lightly toasted walnuts to make it into more of a “festive” bread.Anyway, ours was delicious with tomato soup this evening; soft and fresh. Almost too soft, I hope, because, this being Thursday, the others won’t arrive at their new homes until perhaps Monday.This particular loaf is one that would be delicious slightly stale and toasted, so I was hoping that even if the loaves aren’t completely fresh when they arrive, …

Six-Word Saturday: 5 Teves, 5771

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  “No knead” bread broke my mixer!Forgot to blog about this one during the week.  I have some wonderful, local Red Fife whole-wheat flour my sister gave me that I wanted to try out, so I decided to do the No-Knead 100% Whole-Wheat Bread from King Arthur Flour again.  I made it once before with spelt and it wasn’t fantastic.  This time around, it made a VERY dense loaf, but one that was eminently sliceable and eatable.This is an unusual no-knead bread because you use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) to mix the ingredients.  The finished “dough” is somewhere between a thick cake batter and a thin bread dough.  Definitely not kneadable.  And as the six words point out, really too heavy for what my cheapo hand mixer could take on, apparently.  (Luckily, I had a spare in the basement, albeit a tippy one I hate.)Once mixed, you let the dough rise in the loaf pan (mine’s a bit big, which the King Arthur blog warns about – it really does affect the hei…

It’s PURPLE!!!

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Elisheva made cimbuns again… but this time, she added just a few drops of food colouring to the icing. Mmm, purple!

The naked Sufganya (aka Jelly Donut!)

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These are the same as Friday’s, made once again with the Balthazar’s Chocolate Bread dough.They turned out great!  Much easier than I thought they would be, although the table is still a powdery, jammy mess. The sourdough wasn’t quite ready from its overnight rest when I had to mix up the final dough (it was fridge-cold when I started it last night – I didn’t give it any time to warm up first), but because the recipe calls for added yeast, I didn’t worry about it too much, and the dough still rose fabulously well.  It’s a moist dough, but far more workable (in my opinion) than the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day pain au chocolat.  If I was making it up as a loaf, I would definitely go with this recipe.I used a plain round cookie cutter, let them rise a bit before frying, and filled the heavy pareve enamel pot with oil so as to ensure a perfect yummy sphere shape for each sufganya.Et voila!  Here they are, fried up and naked, waiting for their powder…The jamming / jellying operatio…

Six-Word Saturday: 28 Kislev, 5771 (Chanukah Edition)

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Chocolate beignets… a newfangled Chanukah treat!I made chocolate-bread-dough donuts last year for Chanukah, but I think I used the Artisan Bread in Five recipe, which I remember as being on the potchke-dik side (long and involved process).This year, I went with the Balthazar’s Chocolate Bread recipe.  Chocolate bread is ideal for donut-making in so many ways – it’s definitely chocolatey but not too sweet.  My family didn’t like the bread as BREAD because the chocolatey look of it really throws you off and you’re expecting cake.  The Balthazar’s dough, based on a gentle sourdough or overnight starter, was VERY easy to mix up and to work with.  The trade-off seems to have been that the donuts were not very puffed-up; not very rich.Here are the steps, without much commentary, because it’s late and I’m tired.I tried filling with jelly and folding over… ugh, what a mess.  I stopped after the first four.Just cut the rest into nice rectangles.Fol…

Ted's erev-Shabbos Apple Galette

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I love a man who bakes!!!

They were delicious, too!

Our Annual Gingerbread House

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From this (assortment of motley house-pieces)… to this!  (triumphant gorgeous finished house!)…in a single evening, with kids helping and everything!More steps and photos on my other blog over here.

Six Word Saturday: 21 Kislev, 5771

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Gorgeous challah, fluffy-soft… no SALT!!! :-(Sad but true.  And we were taking it to neighbours’ for supper.  I just gestured to keep on sprinkling more more more salt… but salt sprinkled is NOT the same as salt incorporated in dough.  Blah.

Sourdough Cornbread Math for Vegan Night

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Once again, I am happy and amazed that bread – even the BEST breads – can be made not only pareve, but also completely vegan.  That’s because I have declared “Vegan Vursdays” and tonight, we are hoping to have bread with soup – a classic combination that’s perfect for a day like today.I found this recipe for Sourdough Corn Bread that looked good (though I might not go so far as to shape it into bread bowls), except it calls for starter at 100% hydration.  The starter that I’ve been building up all week is more of a stiff starter (I estimated 50, but that’s probably not right, either).At The Fresh Loaf, I found this primer explaining the math of how to convert recipes to use a stiffer or thinner starter, but it started giving me a headache.So – always my father’s child! - I broke it down using a spreadsheet.  You just plug in: quantity of starter called for, at what hydrationflour and water quantities from the recipehow much starter you HAVE, at what hydrationAnd it does the math:  how…

Nutella Pound Cake – why didn’t *I* think of that???

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I have been having a bit of a pound cake thing going lately, but I had never made pound cake before and thought it would be a huge potchke.  Then, earlier this week, as if reading my mind, the GourmetKosherCooking blog posted a recipe for Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake – perfect!Super-easy to throw together (providing you have enough butter!)… and utterly decadent and delicious.  Don’t tell anybody, but we ate it for breakfast!(Chocolate for breakfast:  just one more way we’re preparing for aliyah!)

Six Word Saturday: 14 Kislev, 5771

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Time to dust off the sourdough!No excuses… life is as “back to normal” as it’s gonna get, and there’s no reason I can’t bake good bread this week!(plus, now that I used up the last of the spelt, I have some nice whole wheat flour my sister gave me last week… and some rye to use up and some oat flour and… OMG, Pesach is coming!!!)

National Homemade Bread Day!

Did you know?  It’s today, November 17th!  I had no clue…And yet, I woke up, made a yummy baguette, and later served four pizzas to my family.  Just like any ordinary week.Sure feels nice that we don’t need a special day to honour home-baked breads!!!

Six Word Bread Saturday: 7 Kislev, 5771

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Breads I forgot to blog about!…Like Wednesday night’s excellent rye-licious loaf!  Exactly the same ryelicious formula as the first time, and it worked out beautifully.  I even used corn starch – properly, this time! – to create a lovely crusty sheen on top of the loaf.  Yes, it’s peanut-shaped, the result of a mis-handled transfer from peel to stone… but I’m getting the hang of it, really I am.  And yes, there was a bit of a blowout on the side.  I don’t know why my slashing is so unsuccessful lately.  But inside, the bread was perfectly baked and absolutely luscious with Alton Brown’s beef stew.Mmm…And then there were Thursday’s (vegan night) Scallion Pancakes.  Super, super easy, this is a boiled-water-and-bread-flour dough that mixes up quickly and it’s ready to roll after only about half an hour.  Yes, I truly am obsessed with flatbreads these days – I can’t wait for the next Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book, which is all about f…

Bake Bread Bold with “Stretch n’ Fold”!

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Stretch and fold!  I heard the term many times before I actually tried it myself.  Now, I do it all the time… and it’s improved my breads considerably.The stretch n’ fold is especially useful in developing a very wet dough, when you can’t or don’t want to do a lot of kneading.  It’s incredible when you The wetter the dough, the more you will need your trusty dough scraper, and perhaps a floured surface, but the goal here (as I understand it) is to incorporate as little new flour as possible.Before I say anything about stretching and folding, though, I want to add a big NO:  just say no to PUNCHING down the dough!  (hey, that rhymes)Even if a recipe says you should do it, and even though I did it for years, few legitimate bread recipes will ask you to pummel all the rise out of your bread.  The bread has been working SO hard to rise that you’d be shooting yourself in the foot to handle it so roughly.Worse, I used to interpret “punch down dough” as “knead it all over again, at great len…

Yummy chocolate-chiffon pie!

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My mother’s mother used to make chocolate chiffon pie… it was one of her hallmark baked things, along with her Neapolitan Cake.  I don’t  have a recipe, but I do know that she used gelatin in hers; many chocolate mousses call for it because it lends the mousse a longer-term room-temperature stability that whipped cream or egg whites alone cannot reproduce.I tried to make it once using the only kosher gelatin I could find:  fish-based gelatin, which I believe came in little silver packets, from France.  It was terrible.  The gelatin tainted the pie with a sour tang that I tried to convince myself was “lemony,” but let’s be honest… it was quite simply foul.Fast-forward to last year, when I noticed that Kolatin kosher gelatin was once again on the market.  It used to be all over the place here, back when I first started keeping kosher, but I don’t remember seeing an unflavoured gelatin at the time.  (Being new to keeping kosher, I may have just not noticed it; there’s a lot I used to ta…

Six Word Saturday: 30 Cheshvan, 5771

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Delicious challah… better the next day!Now that is an accomplishment, because I usually don’t like challah very much by Saturday afternoon.  I made last week’s amazing Super Wonder Challah.  I ran out of bread flour, so it was perhaps a little softer than last week.  That made it very hard to braid.  Didn’t help that I doubled the recipe and ended up with enough to make three HUGE loaves (>2lb) that spread like crazy in the pan.  So in the end, it was not as picture-perfect as last week, but absolutely just as yummy – if not more so.  And today, even yummier!  Hooray for pre-fermentation; definitely works for me, though it’s a mystery why prefermenting HALF the flour can make the bread tastier than prefermenting all of it (I usually make the entire batch on Thursday night, let it rise, and fridge it overnight).Elisheva said that this was the closest to storebought challah that I’d ever made.  She meant it as a compliment… perhaps realiz…

More delicious kosher morsels!