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Maggie Glezer’s Purim Onion-Poppy Seed Loaf, Step by Step

Step by step through this amazing, decadent, savoury challah-based Purim treat!

I baked it straight from the book (my mother’s copy, now kind of floury and used-looking) but someone has kindly shared the recipe on The Fresh Loaf if you haven’t bought the book yet.  It is worth buying, however.  At least, if I had money to buy baking books, which I don’t.

Dough.  What a smooth, elastic and well-behaved dough this is.  Straight out of the book, a touch more flour into the food processor to stop it from sticking, and it is absolutely PERFECT.

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Snakes:  Roll out two 30-inch snakes and then roll them flat (about 30 x 4).

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Fill:  Spoon decadent luscious onion-poppy-butter filling along the length of both flat snakes.

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Seal:  roll up the flat snakes and pinch along the length to close.

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Twist:  Twist the two snakes together and fumble with the ends until they are a royal mess and then fumble some more to make them go together and not look too awful.  Ugh.  Allow to rise.

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Finish:  Brush with egg, sprinkle with poppy to conceal the poppy mess oozing out all over the place.

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Bake:  Bake until you think it’s certainly done, then turn and bake a little longer.  You don’t want this baby to be raw on the inside.

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Present:  Even as terribly flawed as this loaf is, I think it looks terrific in the middle of our Purim table!

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Close-up:  Mmm… it was gone before we even got to the main course.  So easy and fun to tear off a twist; so buttery (yes, I used real butter in the filling) and delicious.

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Eat & enjoy:  A happy loaf for a happy family Purim meal.  Perfect!

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Six Word Saturday: 14 Adar, 5770 (Purim!)

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Breadsticks?  Oy, do we have breadsticks!


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Bready, not sticky!

Needed bread in a hurry for last night’s supper, and luckily I had some dough left over from the breadsticks I made on Sunday evening!

So I quickly whipped it up into a boule shape, let it rise for an hour or so, and baked it at 460 with as much steam as I could muster.  It started to get very dark (even with just a couple of tbsp of oil!), so I tented it with tinfoil.

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What was incredible to me was the amazingly cracked crust on this bread!  I have been trying for months to achieve this effect, and here it happened almost entirely by lucky accident.  See?  Lovely!

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The bread was fairly dense, not artisany at all.  Almost the texture of a deli rye bread… because it was so highly kneaded, I guess.  But it was VERY well-risen, completely cooked through, and absolutely delicious.

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A neighbour stopped in and we invited her to stay for supper.

Neighbour:  “Why are you taking pictures of the bread?”  (bit of a pause while neighbour washed and came and ate a bite)  “Well, it’s delicious, anyway.”

Mmm… I think we will have breadsticks bread again some day!

Today’s Experiment: more breadsticks

seedy 010This post is an ongoing journal of my Purim breadstick experiments over the next day or two.  :-)

I am trying to put together a nice selection of not-too-junky (and not-too-expensive) food gifts to go in this years shalach manos (mishloach manot) baskets for Purim.

These breadsticks really seem to hit the spot.  Nice and crunchy; with the right seasoning on top, I think they’re just about right.  These have salt, pepper and sesame.  I may be a bit daring and try rosemary instead on the final product. 

What you see here (plus two breadsticks that got munched before I could take the picture) is the output of 1/4 of the recipe I’m using).  About a dozen; more if I make them shorter, which I’ll have to do if they’re going to fit in the baskets I’ve bought.  Maybe even twenty.

Which means a full recipe might make up to 80 breadsticks.

And then we divide:  4-5 breadsticks in each basket, times thirty baskets… about 120-150 breadsticks.

Okay!  I can definitely do this… but it’s sure going to be tiring.

More later!

Six Word Saturday: 7 Adar, 5770

Much Purim baking ahead this week…!

Simply beautiful!

Copy of challahs 002I have, with great sadness and resignation, given up on sourdough for the time being, at least until our house regularly goes over 20 degrees celsius during the day.

This week’s tweaked challahs (based on this recipe) are looking good so far. Soft, soft, soft, but they look perfectly-done in the centre.

I suspect they’re the same as what I made two weeks ago, but I got busy and forgot to record any specific impressions about what and how I made those ones.

So here’s the formula this time around.

For anyone looking for an EASY challah, this recipe is no-knead but it is not no-work. I am hoping to capture the best of all possible bread worlds: lots of moisture, no initial knead step, no food processor, and several long ferments to improve flavour. We shall see if I have struck gold…

Jennifer’s Experimental Do-Not-Knead Challah

  • 30g active dry yeast (or maybe I used 35g?)
  • 4 cups warm tap water
  • 45g kosher salt
  • 200g white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (canola)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1700g all-purpose flour

Step 1: Stir

Combine the water with yeast, salt, sugar, eggs, oil (in any order). Stir well.

And then – here’s the thing I love! – dump in the flour, just toss it all there into the MONSTER dough bucket, and stir until it gets too thick to stir.

Then, seal up the dough bucket well and roll it around on the table or floor (a little tough because the handle of the bucket tries to get in the way). Roll until dough is fairly well combined.

Make sure you “unsnap” the lid of the bucket slightly! If it is completely sealed, the bucket will expand and perhaps the dough will not. That happened overnight, and this morning the top and bottom of the bucket were bulging.

Let stand for 2 hours.

Step 2: Fold

Flour the top of the dough and dump it out onto a well-floured tabletop. Do not punch down!

With a bench scraper and floured hands, fold the dough 4-5 times. Dump it back in the bucket.

Step 3: Ferment

Refrigerate until the next morning.

In the morning, let dough come to room temperature in the bucket, maybe 1-2 hours.

Step 4: Fold Again

Flour the top of the dough and dump it out onto a well-floured tabletop. Do not punch down!

With a bench scraper and floured hands, fold the dough 4-5 times. Dump it back in the bucket.

Let stand for 2 hours.

Step 5: Form Challahs

(rushing now; Shabbos is soon!)

The folding steps should have made the dough workable enough that on a well-floured surface with well-floured hands, you can form it into whatever nice neat braids you like to make.

Let rise 1-2 hours.

Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mmm…. hopefully, Step 6 will be EAT AND ENJOY.

Good Shabbos!!!

Six Word Saturday: 30 Shevat, 5770


Sourdough fact:  House too darn cold!

Why, oh, why…

I think I’ve used this title before, but seriously.  Why will Maggie Glezer’s beautiful sourdough challah not work out for me?

This week, I was very respectful of the rise times for the sourdough and STILL the braids lost their shape and the breads flattened out miserably…

Will report back on the taste after Shabbos!

Dough, kneaded, before first rise, 10:00 p.m. Thursday night:

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Braids, braided, 1 a.m. Friday morning, after first rise:

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Out of the fridge, 9:15 a.m. Friday morning:

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Three hours later, 12:15 noon Friday, still not much growth:

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Oven preheated, as ready as they’ll ever be:

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Baked and yes, the braids are almost completely GONE.  :-(

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Sigh… these had better taste fantastic.  That’s all I can say!

Another Pletzl Plotz

glezer challah 004Well, I made this one last night with the leftover molasses-y rye dough. I think I will definitely NOT make that pumpernickel again. The molasses taste is too pervasive; it is the strongest note in anything made with it, and it throws the rye flavour off completely.

Not a disaster, but not a Happy Bread Night either… on to bigger and better things!!!

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Another Rye – but is it ryelicious?

I didn’t realize it was just last week that I made rye bread last.  Anyway, so I made it again!

This is actually an attempt at the Artisan Bread in 5 no-knead Pumpernickel bread… but rhe colour is disappointingly light.  Without the cocoa the recipe calls for, and perhaps also without the caramel colour, it really looks just like rye bread.

It does seem to have more flavour than just ordinary rye bread.  There is a really almost boozy sour note to the smell and taste.  I’m not sure why because it’s not fermented longer, but it could be due to the burnt-sugar substitute for caramel colour.  Everybody noticed the distinctive presence of molasses… I’m not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but it was surprising given that there are only 2 tbsp in the whole thing.

Anyway, I thought I’d show it off here anyway.  Will probably make again because of the complex interesting flavour.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it “ryelicious” like last week’s, but it’s decent eatin’ with lots of potential.

Ted says “I think it needed a stronger body of taste to it… the molasses needed something.”  Drat.  I really only made it because he likes pumpernickel so much, and there isn’t much you can do to create authentic pumpernickel in a home kitchen.

You can see how easy it was to make, anyway:

1)  Mix up dough, stir it around a bit in the bowl.  Let sit overnight, fridge all day.

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2) Form loaf mid-afternoon.  Let rise for a while.  Bake.

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3)  Slice and eat!

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Maybe I’ll work on “darkening” last week’s rye rather than bothering to try to fix this recipe.  Maybe include the cocoa but leave out the molasses…?

Anyway, not a flop, but not a rave either.

Six Word Saturday: 23 Shevat, 5760

erev 012Nearly perfect challah… really mellow Shabbos!

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Truelicious ryelicious breadlicious

Easy, easy, easy.  So easy I am – gasp! – chucking my rye sourdough starter because a) it’s been sitting in the fridge since October, b) it wasn’t that hard to start from scratch in the first place, and c) if we want the best rye bread, we can always use this recipe.

It is NOT all-rye, or even mostly rye.  Truth be told, it’s only one cup or so of rye tossed into plain old Artisan Bread in Five no-knead dough.  Still and all, a masterful flavour.

Let me just say:  I first bit into this when it was hot and fresh, and was wowed by the hotness and freshness of it.  We had to run out on an errand in the middle of supper, and I took along a piece of bread to munch on (it was quicker than bentching). 

By the time I got a chance to bite into it, it had thoroughly cooled off… and was, if anything, even better than fresh.  SO moist, SO flavourful.  SO subtly rye, SO subtly sour; truly great bread.

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See how lovely it looks beside this crockpot Miami-Ribs supper???

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Although I don’t usually give formulas, this one is so ridiculously easy, it would be a shame not to.  Plus, otherwise I’d have to keep the piece of paper with the instructions hanging around forever.  This way, I can just read it online here!

Ryelicious No-Knead Bread

81% = 708g = 3 cups lukewarm water (mine was preboiled and still warm)

.017% = 15g = 1.5 tbsp instant yeast

.026% = 22.5g = 1.5 tbsp kosher salt

12% = 102g dark rye flour

88% = 770g unbleached all-purpose white flour

As with all other AB5 breads, stir – don’t knead.  Let sit at room temp for 2 hours, fridge at least overnight.  Handle minimally with floured hands and surfaces to form boule, bake 40 minutes in preheated presteamed 460 degree oven.

Walah.  Nice, nice bread, and there’s even still some dough left over for tomorrow. 

Now … must start thinking about challah for this Shabbos!

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