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Beer Bread: Step by VERY easy step!

Fast becoming a family favourite, so I thought I’d post a step by step.  Dunno why; it really is just mix and pour!
But first, you’ll need the recipe.  It’s here.  
Instead of sifting, sifting, sifting like the author suggests, I just whirred everything together in the food processor with the steel blade.  And instead of measuring out 3 cups of flour, I used (note added 11/30/11:  I think this 305 is meant to be 405g - oy) 305g of all-purpose.  The whirring accomplishes way  more than sifting anyway… blends all the dry stuff together so you are guaranteed no lumps!
Once the dry stuff is whirred, toss it back in a bowl and add the beer.  Stir, stir, stir, until it is uniformly wet.  I don’t get a “pourable” consistency as the recipe suggests.  It is thick and sticky when ready.
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Plop it into a baking pan.  Don’t worry; you oil the bread so much it won’t stick.
 beerbread 002
Pouring oil over.  The recipe calls for butter, which is nice, but canola works surprisingly well and makes this bread vegan, which is helpful for a Vegan Vursday menu.
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In my review of this recipe, I said not to bake at 375 for the full hour suggested, but today, I forgot and DID bake it for the full hour.  It came out fine.  I wonder why last time it was too dark?
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Slice it open, and enjoy!  If you have soup or really love fresh bread, it doesn’t even need butter!
 beerbread 007

Six-Word Saturday: 11 Iyar, 5770

Vanilla challah?

Breadsmith:  “Sure!” 

Us:  “Nope.”

Breadsmith Challah with Naomi Rivka

Mostly just the pics this time, continuing with this week’s Breadsmith Challah, courtesy of Maggie Glezer.  Couldn’t find the recipe online, so I guess you’re just going to have to buy the book – or borrow it from my mother, like I did!

Naomi decided to get in on the action, which is great… I haven’t baked with the kids in a VERY long time.

This dough is perfect for working with kids.  Gorgeously silky and well-developed, as opposed to my usual no-knead wet dough, it feels almost plasticky, like chewing gum.  No flour needed on the table, and it leaves just the slightest oily sheen on everything it touches.  My hands actually feel nice and soft after working with it for a while!

Divvying it up:  exactly the same weight, but even after seeing that, Naomi chose the one on the left because “it’s bigger.”  Thank you, Piaget!

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Here she is, “smoothing” it out and getting ready.

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Scaling her own little bits and pieces.  Mostly reading the numbers backwards:  “it’s 39!”  (translation:  93 grams)  You’ll notice she has a REAL serrated steak knife, albeit a small one.  Nothing else works well for actually cutting the dough, and she loves being able to do it herself.  I had to show her how to saw the knife.  I used to give just a butter knife, but that is only good for poking holes in the dough, not actually cutting it.

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Meanwhile, I am efficiently rolling out my snakes and tapering the ends beautifully for the fancy Maggie Glezer six-braid I am determined to perfect!

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And here it is!  Gorgeous.  You cannot see in this picture how very small it is, though the snakes above should give you some idea.  It is just a bit longer than my hand, from palm to third finger-tip.

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And here, after much deliberation, and a bit of frustration because she can’t really roll snakes yet, is Naomi Rivka’s hybrid “snakes, ladders and ballies” version.

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Yum!  She is demonstrating eating it all up in a single bite!

Just-before-Shabbos-Postscript:  Here they are, ready to go into the oven:

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And baked at last!  It feels like they are bouth nice and light and pouffy

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… and you know what?  Naomi’s really does look bigger!

Maggie Glezer’s Breadsmith Challah

meals 003Being Canadian, I have never heard of Breadsmith.  Apparently, it’s a chain of artisan bakeries in the US which have many kosher locations.  Yay!  Nothing like that here, though.

Still, Maggie Glezer speaks fondly of their challah in her book, The Blessing of Bread, so I decided to tackle it.  In fact, she says it was so good she made an exception to her no-bakery-challah rule for the book.  I hope she’s right!  At least, the ratio of sugar to flour looked good (1/3 cup to 4 1/2 cups, which is about what I like; maybe a little sweeter than I like), and it’s not too eggy (one egg plus one tablespoon of beaten egg), which sounds good after months of pretty eggy challahs.

Funny:  I just came across this list of “You know you’re a true breadmaker when…” and one of the items on the list is “.... you think making a 4 hour yeasted bread instead of using your starter is ‘cheating’.” 

Because that’s what I was thinking as I threw this together in the food processor.

Which, by the way, I have to say I love about Maggie Glezer’s recipes:  they are all scaled (and I do mean scaled, with proper weights in grams and ounces) to easily fit in a home mixer or food processor.

My food processor, being a 14-cup model rather than a 7-cup model, is great for mixing up recipes of this size.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite big enough to double.  It can only really hand recipes up to about 6 cups of flour.  More than that and it’s just too tough going.

The timing is a little different when you’re mixing in a food processor instead of a stand mixer.  For this recipe, Glezer recommends 5 minutes of initial slow mixing in a mixer, followed by 10 minutes at a medium speed. 

While she acknowledges that this is a lot of mixing, which will heat up the dough and excite the yeast, this is altogether TOO much mixing if you’re using a food processor.  So experimentally, I mixed the recipe for 2 minutes and then checked the gluten development (that’s what I’m doing with the sheet of dough in the picture above).

Because the dough did get a little holey when stretched out, I then mixed it for an additional minute, before I decided that any longer would certainly either burn out my machine or kill the yeast with the heat.

So now I’m waiting for it to rise.  She says leave it an hour and a half, but it hadn’t really risen very well at that point… so I guess I’m also concerned that I have somehow messed up or killed the yeasts. 

I have chunked the thing into a warm oven to rise, because it is actually fairly cool on the breezy table where it was rising. 

And we shall see.

Six-Word Saturday: 4 Iyar, 5770

 I love that bread is vegan…newedging 001 




(Taken on Vegan Vursday, a tradition I am trying to create by committing to ONE meatless-dairy-free-egg-free supper each week.  Shown here:  pan-fried frozen-tofu cutlets with braised veggies and mushroom sauce, alongside super-easy super-yummy no-knead focaccia.)

The easy-bread wagon! No-knead Focaccia!


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Hmm… the spell checker is telling me it should be “boccaccio” but I really don’t think that’s right.  What do spell checkers know about bread, anyway???

This rosemary-olive-oil focaccia is apparently swiped directly from “No Need to Knead” by Suzanne Dunaway, courtesy of this site. (phew!  now I can close the window that’s been sitting open all day)

It looked  slightly more impressive before I drenched it with too much olive oil and decided (dumb!!!) to gently “pour off” some of the oil.  The dough LOOKED like it was seated firmly in the pan, but of course, being a soft, wet dough on a well-oiled cornmealed pan, it basically sloshed off the pan, folded itself in half and chucked itself right back into the bowl.

Fortunately, I was able to unfold it all very quickly so all the cornmeal stayed on the bottom.  It was still drenched in olive oil, but most of it soaked in as it rested on the table after baking.

Will report back later with The Flavour of the Bread!!!

Six Word Saturday: 27 Nisan, 5770

newstuff 018This Challah has a secret:  keys!keys 003

I don’t usually explain myself when I do these six-word things, because brevity – as they say – is the soul of 6WS.

But this one’s kind of neat:  the Shabbos after Pesach (sorry:  the Sabbath following the holiday of Passover), it is customary to hide a key in the challah.

The Yiddish word for key is schlissel, and the challahs this week are known as schlissel challahs.  Some people also (or instead) have the custom of making the challah in the SHAPE of a key – kind of a neat thing, but I decided against that.

Actually, when I was making the challahs, I wrapped the keys up in parchment paper but forgot to put them in.  Doh!

So I had to gently roll two of the challahs over, slice open the bottoms, stick the keys in and pinch the bottoms shut.  (sounds rude when I put it like that, doesn’t it?!)

So what’s the symbolism of the key?  I believe it’s considered a segulah (sign, omen?) for prosperity:  a way of “unlocking” one’s mazel (luck, fortune) for the rest-of-year to come.

The traditional Yiddish greeting after Pesach is “a gezunten zumer”, which means “a healthy summer”, but I think I’ll say here “a gezunten broit” – a healthy bread!  It’s nice to be back in the squish of the dough. 


One-Pan One-Cup One-Spoon Brownie Recipe

newstuff 001Are brownies cake? I feel like I haven’t posted here in forever. I do have a batch of challah on the go, but I decided that because cakes fall within the mandate of this blog, and because this is a super-easy no-mess brownie recipe, I can make a home for it here.

(Along with a bit more reminiscence than I usually include on this blog, so I have moved that stuff over to my regular Adventures in MamaLand blog so as to keep this blog entirely baggage-free. Click here if you love the baggage!)

These brownies are adapted from a recipe I originally found at, a site which has since vanished, so I thought I’d memorialize it here.

Note: Decide ahead of time if you’re using solid chocolate (unsweetened, bittersweet or semi-sweet are all fine) or subbing cocoa and oil. Either way, the recipe will be fine; you just have to plan ahead a bit!

You will need ONE baking pan; one teaspoon measure and one half-cup measure. That’s all! Nothing else to wash!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. Place a stick of butter (half cup = 105g), half-cup of margarine, or even half a cup of canola oil in a 9 x 9 x 2 baking pan.
  3. If your oil is in solid form (ie butter/marg), slide the pan into the oven to melt it. But wait! See step 4.
  4. If you’re using solid chocolate (I used semi-sweet today), put 2 oz = 60g in the pan with the butter/margarine/oil and set it in the oven to melt together.
  5. When mostly melted but not burnt (about 10 minutes?), remove from oven and stir together well.
  6. If you didn’t use solid chocolate, add cocoa and vegetable oil now to the melted butter/marg (or in addition to the Step 2 oil if you used liquid oil to begin with): Add 2Tbsp oil and 6Tbsp cocoa to the liquid butter/margarine/oil.
  7. Now get out your spoon and half-cup! Add, in the following order, stirring well after each addition:
    • Between 1/2 and 1 cup of granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your chocolate is or isn’t; use 1 cup for pure unsweetened chocolate or cocoa/oil)
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs (you could and perhaps should reverse the order of the flour and eggs to get them mixed in better)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips (I used a few chocolate lentils – ie kosher Smarties - we had left over from before Pesach).
  8. Pop the pan into the oven , and bake for 25-30 minutes.

That’s it! Looks perfect… I’ll let you know after Shabbos how it tasted! (to be served with pareve coffee / homemade praline ice cream) (click the link for the praline recipe).

brown 001Post-Shabbos p.s.: The brownie was GOOD. Very good. Ted loved it, and so did the kids. Needed more chocolate lentils, but that was all we had. And, in my opinion, it needed to be gooier (gooey-er?).

It was a wonderful cakey brownie, but I like my brownies on the super-moist side. Hmm... not the best Shabbos for baked goods, but it was nice to have them be flour-based for a change.

Six Word Saturday: 20 Nisan, 5770 (Pesach)

Sorry, cannot post:  abstaining from leaven!  :-)))

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