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Showing posts from July, 2010

Six-Word Saturday: 21 Av, 5770

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out! Blueberry, almond, lemon:  not my favourite…These Blueberry Almond Bars are from the Odense (marzipan & almond past products) website.  They are exactly as promised, but just as in the Lemon and Blueberry Upside-Down Cake, which I’ve now tried twice (once pareve, once with butter), the combo enthralls me in the description, yet evades charm in the execution.Maybe there’s something wrong with my tastebuds…?

Braggety, brag, brag…

No, not ME (for once!)!Just annoyed at the propensity of bakers to brag about their sourdough.  It comes up everywhere, like on this page I was just reading through, where somebody “complains” modestly that “I'm beggining to suspect my starter is a very hyper active one; my loaves are always beating the given times.”Yeah, well, I am beginning to suspect that you need to go back to tenth grade and take a spelling course.  And grammar.  And, well, snootiness.  Yeah; a snootiness course.Me, I’m proud to have an underperforming starter.  I think.  Off to go feed the beast!

The best bakey sale day ever!

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Well, for me, anyway.Here’s my menu/sign.  Very windy day; the sign kept blowing over:These signs just make me happy to look at, for some reason.  Maybe it’s Elisheva’s hand-painted magen david happy faces!I managed to sell out all the beer bread mix I made, 10 bags, I think, at $3 a bag.  Plus the entire loaf of beer bread, at 75 cents a slice.Absolutely the world’s BEST pletzl ever!  Here’s a picture of the two I made before baking; I took one with Ted’s camera, I think, afterwards.  They were golden and beautiful and rich and savoury and slightly sweet and ever so amazing.  I used the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day Master Dough instead of any kind of enriched dough.  The only special thing I did was mix it on Thursday night so it had three days to retard in the fridge.Muffins!  Blueberry, strawberry – both frozen because I didn’t have fresh-picked this time.  About three dozen, a giveaway at 50 cents each!And the “Very Vegan” brownies, which are entirely virtuous until you who…

Losing my braids! Sourdough Challah, part 2

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Okay, so if anyone knows what could cause Maggie Glezer’s sourdough challahs to lose the definition of their braids between rising and baking, please let me know!!!  (p.s.  this also happened the last time I baked this recipe – photos here and here)Continuing the sourdough experiment yesterday afternoon, after five hours’ rise time, we brushed the loaves with egg and sprinkled with sesame.  Naomi did the brushing.  We sprinkled the “quick-rise” same-day challahs for our neighbours with poppy seeds because they’re water challahs.  Don’t ask me why:  egg challah = sesame; water challah = poppy.Brushing on the egg:Sprinkling the seeds:Look how loose the braids are already, after brushing and sprinkling.  The dough looks quite slack to me now.  Overrisen, maybe???  That’s certainly never happened to my sourdough before…After baking, quick-rise same-day challahs, nicely done:Maggie Glezer sourdough challahs?  Not so much.  Y\ou can’t see it well here, but these were basically big puffed-up…

Six-Word Saturday: 14 Av, 5770

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out! Beer bread mix!  Comin’… get it!This is for tomorrow’s FunFair bake sale.  And yes, I know it ought to be “come n’ get it.”  But that would be SEVEN words, which is a whole ‘nother meme.  :-)))

The sourdough experiment worked!

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On Wednesday, I set about reviving a VERY old sourdough starter, and I am VERY pleased to report that the experiment was a success.So I decided to jump right in with both feet and attempt, once again, to make Maggie Glezer’s sourdough challah.  Last time, they didn’t rise well and turned out dense and weird… let’s see how it goes this time.Starter – last night, I took some of the revived starter and mixed it with some bread flour and water to make the quantity of starter required for the recipe.  It was actually below the level of the bottom line when first mixed (don’t you love these containers?!); I took this picture before bedtime, two hours later, and it had already puffed significantly.And by morning… here’s what it looked like!  An easy quadruple in volume, I’d say.  Pretty impressive for a starter many people would have thrown out.Here’s the finished dough, sitting, well, like a lump of dough.  She says in the recipe that it won’t rise much during its first ferment, and, indeed…

Baking Sale

Another funfair at our local park and once again, I’m having a baked-stuff table.  What am I making this time??Garden-herb beer bread (more info here and here – still not sure if I’ll sell this or just give samples again to people interested in buying the mix)No-Knead Pletzl – a whole one just to see if people buy it.Strawberry smash streusel muffinsVegan brownies w/Tofutti crm chs icing… and Ted’s unbelievably popular Triscuit pizzasPlus, more beer bread mix to sell!!  I’m going to mix it up ahead of time, ie motzaei Shabbos, rather than at the last second again this time.Yay, fun, wow!

Well, looky here…

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This is Day 2 of reviving the VERY OLD starter which began yesterday.  The starter indeed showed some promising activity by 8 am today, and even more so after its morning refreshment.This picture was taken about fifteen minutes ago (at about 6 hours) and, while it hasn’t quadrupled (the Maggie Glezer “gold standard” is quadrupling within 8 hours), it is definitely awake and alive.  It smells fairly strong, but not unpleasant.Now I’m wondering if it’s active enough to actually use in a pre-ferment tonight to start a challah tomorrow.  Risky… but we don’t have guests, or even big kids, so maybe it’s worth a try.

Reviving a VERY old sourdough starter

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I guess I’m wired backwards from the rest of humanity… for some reason, when the weather heats up, I start to think about baking.  Why???Anyway, the kids’ trip to Calgary tomorrow has reminded me of the effort I went to last summer to obtain a living sourdough starter – something I had found impossible here in Toronto, but very easy at the bakery in Calgary, which had a nice sourdough herb olive bread and happily shared some starter with me.A few months ago – quite a few; the jar said FEBRUARY ( :-o), I converted my runny pancake-batter sourdough to the Maggie Glezer “preferred” firm starter.  Firm starters are apparently more maintenance free (revive better; keep better), and are just as effective as a runny starter.  You only need to keep a little bit around and not much of it to start a new batch of dough.So here’s what I found in my “stiff starter” bowl when I retrieved it from the downstairs fridge.I should have frozen it – that’s what I would have done if I’d known I wouldn’t us…

Jim Lahey’s no-knead potato focaccia, continued

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Here are the steps, picking up where I pulled it out of the fridge yesterday morning.  The initial mix – and why I chose this recipe – is in this post from Sunday night.I’m still fasting, but so far I’m holding up okay and thinking about food isn’t driving me completely crazy. I’m making the blintz leaves in the background.Out of the fridge – nicely risen overnight & brought to room temperature:Plop – drop it on the pan!Smoosh – olive oil on my hands and spread it to the edge.  No trouble at all here… lots of pizza experience recently, I guess.Now drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fresh rosemary from the garden and – POINK!!!  Poink!  Poink!  All over.Bake ‘till golden brown on top.  Absolutely perfect underneath as well.  Where did all the rosemary go?  It looked like a lot before it was baked… afterwards, it just seemed kind of sparse.Sparse or not, the focaccia was delicious!Reheated this today with sauce and cheese to make “pizza” for the kiddies’ supper!

Oooh, easy sandwich loaf? And Jim Lahey’s potato focaccia!

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Well, I don’t really LIKE sandwich bread, and I don’t like whole-wheat bread particularly much.  But fresh, easy, no-knead sandwich bread?  This definitely looks like one to try for the future.This week, I’ve taken out Jim Lahey’s “My Bread” from the library, and for our before-the-fast meal tomorrow, I’m making an easy lasagna, along with Lahey’s focaccia, which I will sprinkle with olive oil, rosemary and a bit of kosher salt.  I am intrigued by this recipe because instead of plain water, the recipe uses a boiled potato, puréed in the boiling water.  The potato is supposed to add moisture, I guess, and if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I am unnaturally obsessed with the idea of mushing potatoes into bread.Now, I am forewarned:  this guy (oops – it’s a girl, or rather, a woman) had miserable failures the first few times he (oops - she) tried making this bread – to the extent that he (oops – she) had to throw out the PAN.  Okay, enough oopses!  SHE claims the potato starch …

Six-Word Saturday: 7 Av, 5770

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Why the weird dates? Click here to find out! Two new bread books inspiring discoveries…The two books are Artisan Baking Across America: The Breads, The Bakers, The Best Recipesand My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method(cover images below).Funny, because they seem kind of opposed in lots of ways.  Yet both are obsessed with creating the best bread in the home kitchen.Despite that tedious word Artisan in the title, Glezer’s book offeres riveting insight into the baking process, all the way down to the flour and beyond.  I have only just begun to delve into it.Lahey’s book is more hands-on and more evangelical in its approach, but it was a surprise in that I assumed that he, like Jeff Hertzberg of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Dayfame, came from a non-baking background.  True, he used to be a sculptor, but was also a professional baker, looking for a way to teach home bakers how to create professional-quality bread (or better) without complicated commercial kitchen equipm…

More from the Famous Challah

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So last night, I started making a new challah recipe from Recipezaar.  I mentioned how perfect the texture of the dough was, and it continued to perform well today.Here’s what it looked like when I finished kneading:Now here it is, going to bed in the fridge last night.  Already risen nicely.Out of the fridge this morning:And a couple of hours later, after our Shabbat Party circle time…. yikes, it’s escaping!Isn’t yeast amazing?  Isn’t dough amazing?Rolled the snakes the “proper” Maggie Glezer way – rolling pin to make a flattened obling, then roll them up “sideways” to make snakes.  I like how nice and pointy the ends look this way.And here is my “Maggie Glezer-style” 4-braid (kind of like how she does her 6-braid, only simpler!):And now, to pop it in the oven for half an hour or so…Golden brown and delicious!  Lookin’ good!  As usual, I’ll have to report back on the actual taste after Shabbos because I’m not cutting into these babies.That’s Ted’s rhubarb pie in the background, by th…

Yet another new challah (it’s FAMOUS!)

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Searching for an eggless or almost-eggless challah, I set out to see what the most popular one was on Recipezaar.  And, well, gack!  Recipezaar is apparently now food.com.   And my login doesn’t work… well, it sort of does, but kind of doesn’t.  I assume they’ll work out all the kinks eventually.But there IS one recipe that, with 77 reviews – apparently ALL five stars – seems to be the outstanding favourite.  And the pictures are gorgeous.  It’s called Tante B’s Famous Challah.First of all, let me just say that the recipe is PERFECT.  I rarely find a bread recipe that doesn’t need some kind of tweak.  Not this one.  I did ignore some of the technique; I use instant yeast, so no proofing or premixing required.  Plus, I used the food processor, not a mixer, for the initial step.I also “metricized”/scaled the quantities – at an equivalence of 140g Canadian all-purpose flour per cup – but otherwise have not changed a thing.  Here’s what I did:1.  Dry – pulsed in food processor to combine …

More delicious kosher morsels!