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No-Knead Roasted Garlic Potato Bread for Yom Tov, by weight

One reason I’m philosophical about making the Hated Challah is because it’s not our ONLY Yom Tov bread option this time around…!  Yup, I’m making Roasted Garlic Potato Bread.  Just ‘cuz I love it so. 

Love love LOVE the idea of swishing up a potato with yeast and flour, then tossing it into my brand-new economy-sized (aka tiny) cast-iron dutch oven (no brand name, which is a bad sign:  $30-something at The Bay).

I also wanted to metricize / weigh-icize my favourite / easiest recipe for this bread.

By the way, if you’re hesitant about making something with this much garlic, don’t be.  The garlic is pre-roasted, which mellows it, and it really is barely discernable in the final flavour of the bread.  On the other hand, if you want a REAL hit of garlic, consider roasting TWO heads of garlic to double the garlicky goodness.  Or roast some garlic afterwards and slather it on top!

No-Knead Roasted Garlic Potato Bread

Originally from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Adapted from version at the Plain Chicken blog using measurements given at the Artisan Bread in Five blog.  However, I get best results with a slightly lighter cup of flour – perhaps a difference between US and Canadian all-purpose flour.

Note:  Before starting this dough, roast two whole potatoes (three if they’re small).  I use organic, and roast them in the skin.  At the same time (but it’ll take less time), wrap up a head of garlic in tinfoil and roast it alongside.  Remove garlic when soft all the way through; ditto for potatoes.  Mash garlic into 1 cup of mashed potatoes.  Mine weighs around 258g with the garlic mixed in.  I leave skins on the potatoes.

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6.5 cups AP flour = 910 grams
3 cups water = 725 grams
1.5 tablespoons yeast = 15 grams
1.5 tablespoons kosher salt = 25 grams
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar = 20g
1 c mashed potatoes w/garlic = 258g


1.  In large bowl, combine water with yeast, salt, sugar.  Stir to combine well (don’t leave huge clumps of yeast like I did here!).

2.  Add potato/garlic mixture.

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3.  Stir vigourously until no huge potato lumps remain (skins will float about aimlessly… that’s okay).

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4.  Add flour all at once and stir vigourously.  This is where I wish I had my Danish Dough Whisk.  It has been ordered; I finally broke down.  It is on its way.

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5.  When it gets hard to stir, make sure all flour is more or less incorporated, then let it rest.  After 20 minutes or so, the dough will noticeably slacken and you’ll be able to finish mixing it.  I made the challah dough while I was waiting.

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6.  After about half an hour, the dough was MUCH looser (I hope it’s visible here), and I was able to finish mixing.

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7.  Let dough rest in bowl for 2 hours, then refrigerate at least overnight.

8.  (optional) Before putting it in the fridge, I took it out and did a few “stretch and fold” operations, then tucked it in for the night.

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9.  Remove from fridge.  This dough is easiest to work with when cool – use lots of flour!  I sprinkled the “peel” with semolina so it would slide off easily and to give the bottoms a nice texture.

10.  With the help of a bench scraper to prevent sticking, form into basic boule shape, or batard, or loaf, or any simple shape you want.  Don’t try to do anything fancy with a dough this loose.  I made two “big” 1.5lb (675g) boules and the rest (around 650g?) I dropped in a bowl with parchment.   bakin 006

(I was going to bake the small boule in my brand-new little cast-iron dutch oven, but it turns out that there was a SUBSTANCE on the inside of the dutch oven that needed to burn off… smelled foul when I opened it, so I’m going to cool it off and give it a good scrub before its first use.)

11.  Preheat oven to at 450°.  Allow stones etc to be AT temperature for at least half an hour before baking.  Meanwhile, allow loaves to rise 45 minutes to an hour.

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12.  Slash loaves.  Bake 40 minutes at 450°.  These turned out WAY ugly because a) I didn’t slash them right, and b) they slipped around as I plopped them on the stone.  The little one that was on the parchment paper turned out just fine.

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13.  Cool fully before slicing.  If you can wait that long.  (this is a good time to take out the butter to soften a bit)

You can see a little bit of potato skin in the bread itself, but it is nice and soft and lends a nice flavour and “hit” of texture to the bread, just enough to let you know that something interesting is going on…

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14. Butter (or not) and enjoy!!!

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Mmm… breakfast!

Hating this Challah already (but liking it a bit, too)

potto bread 009Why did I decide to make a NEW challah for Yom Tov? Am I asking for problems???

This is Aliza Sussman’s challah, the second-prize winner in the challah contest.

To begin with, the recipe reads weirdly: I had no clue what Shtybel #2 flour is (Israeli bread flour, as it turns out), or how much was in “2 bags” (2kg). Then, she also asks for “1 pack of fresh yeast”… umm, how much is in a pack? (50g, which seems like a LOT for the proportions here)

Finally, she says, “Add the ingredients one at a time and mix by hand after each ingredient is added.” Mix by hand after adding four eggs to over 2kg of dry ingredients?? That is a LOT of work. The water called for is only “1 ½ - 2 cups of warm water,” with the comment “want good consistency.” Gee, thanks.

I shouldn’t have taken it on, and definitely shouldn’t have dived in no questions asked. Actually, I did ask a few of these questions in the comments field below the recipe, but they have since been deleted from the page. I hate when sites delete your comments.

I ended up needing a full 3 cups of water even to get it kneadable. And then I had to divide the HUGE, unmanageable blob into quarters and run them through the food processor individually. Finally, I kneaded the thing back into some semblance of togetherness… but not really, because by then, my hands were exhausted.

You can see my hand in the photo, above, drooping from the exhaustion of trying to knead this HUGE unsatisfying dough. I’m going to let the thing rest overnight and see if it’s better-natured in the morning. :-(

Going to bed:

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Morning update!

… and out of the fridge!

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I started working this dough when it was cold & grouchy as anything! But a little oil on the strands and a little warmth really got them working quite nicely.

Blop! Out onto the table.

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Roll into flat circles, then roll up into “sausages.” This is the Maggie Glezer way to make the snakes for braiding.

Multiply by twenty strands – 4 x 5 challahs. After taking challah, this recipe divided pretty evenly into five 700g challahs (I find 1.5 lbs works okay for us on Yom Tov, and yes, it’s weird that I think in pounds, but there you go), so each snake is about 175g.

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Five challahs, all braided and ready to rise!

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Cover with plastic wrap and wait while the potato bread bakes…

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Fully risen; ready to bake.

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35 minutes later…

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If these taste as delicious as they look, perhaps I will change my mind about this recipe!!!

After Yom Tov Postscript:

Yup, I changed my mind - kind of! They were SOooo sweet and cakey and yummy. Of course, the "cakeyness" meant that when I took one to a Sefardi family for lunch yesterday, they couldn't use it as the main challah for the meal - if the dough is too enriched, apparently they can't use it for challah.

I am still irritated at what I can only assume is an inaccuracy in the measurement of water for the recipe. A full cup can't be accounted for just with local variations in flour, can it? And I felt the loaves were average-sized, but definitely needed at least another 10-15 minutes to bake - and that was on a fully heated baking stone.

Still, they shaped well, and everybody seemed to enjoy their rich sweetness. So I might choose to make this recipe again, for a special occasion. This sugary challah is definitely not everyday fare - and probably not even every-Shabbos fare, but perhaps a nice (if slightly difficult to make) once-in-a-while treat.

Edible Dough Crafts for Kids with Yummy Dough

dough 015Full description, steps and product mini-review at my regular blog.




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Six Word Saturday: 18 Tishrei, 5771 (Sukkos)

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!

OMG, fresh naan on Yom Tov!

image Nothing fancy at all. Basic batch of AB5 no-knead “boule” dough, stirred up on Tuesday. Oh, wait, not so basic… in place of all-purpose flour, I substituted half chapatti / durum atta flour.

Anyway, I mixed it up, then stuck it in the downstairs fridge. Hauled it upstairs on Thursday morning, when I had the good sense and timing NOT to make the naan immediately, but instead condition it slightly with a stretch and fold operation, then let it rest another 45 minutes.

Finally, rolled out the basic recipe into 20 about-equal circles (yom tov: kneading, yes, weighing, no, even with a non-digital balance).

Pan-fried dry on my new teflon pan – they DO work if you fry them on a regular pan, but I got lazy and didn’t want to take the chance of sticking. They almost all puffed up beautifully – the gorgeous “full balloon” look I love so much.

Served still-warm, our guests quickly gobbled them up with two pareve curries (potato-pea and spinach-tomato). One was left over but otherwise, they went like – well – Indian hotcakes.

I looooove fresh bread (did you know that already?) and often bemoan the lack of it on Yom Tov. So would I do this again in order to have fresh bread, considering it was a major “potchke” to roll and pan-fry these individually?

Maybe. It was really not much more trouble than, say, frying blintz leaves or making crunchy cheese. My only qualm was keeping the guests waiting while the last few cooked. They seemed to think it was worth the wait, however.

Here – eye candy to pretty up a bland post – is the Danish dough whisk I wish I owned but don’t. But I’ve got a birthday coming up!


Step by Step through Maggie Glezer’s Pan de Calabazas

This recipe jumped out at me the other day while flipping exhaustedly through my mother’s well-thumbed-by-me copy of A Blessing of Bread:  Pan de Calabazas – Sephardic Pumpkin Bread.  

The book describes it as a sephardic Rosh Hashanah bread, but I figure with pumpkins just coming into their own right now, it’s perfect for Sukkos.  Plus, Ted loves anything with pumpkin!

I am reminded of the Ashkenazi custom to dissolve a few threads of saffron to give your challah a lustrous yellowy-orange colour (perhaps in times and places when egg yolks were not as plentiful?).  In this case, though, the pumpkin (she says you can also use a sweet potato) also adds moisture, hopefully making for a long-keeping bread.

Here are the steps to creating this gorgeous orange challah.


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Fold laundry, come back 1/2 an hour later.

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Add in all the other liquids… (nice and sweet, but light on the egg; my favourite!)

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Then dump in the flour all at once.

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Whoops!  Wouldn’t be pumpkin bread without pumpkin, now would it? (you’re supposed to add the pumpkin with the other liquids… and yes, it is tinned)

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Shaggy dough, to say the least.

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Knead for a few minutes…

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… and then a few minutes more, until it is evenly pumpkin-coloured throughout, smooth and elastic.

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Dump in the bucket and fridge until this afternoon.

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Despite the distraction of a  million fruit flies, craft 2 decent 1.5lb 4-braids and 1 decent 1lb 3-braid.

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Done!  Set in downstairs fridge to rise overnight.

Mmm… perfect!

At Elisheva’s special request:  everybody knows the best part of honey cake is the sticky top layer.  So what better way to bake honey cake than in a muffin-top pan???

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Ahh… perfection.  Honey cake …that’s only an inch thick!

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(I’m also baking regular-sized cakes for Yom Tov tomorrow night!  These really just used a bit of “spare” batter.)

Six Word Saturday: 11 Tishrei, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!

Twenty-five hours without bread?  Oy!

Believe me, only when I’m fasting… and the fast itself was actually bracketed by a) a yummy challah, and b) some yummy Dempster’s parbaked baguettes, heated up quickly on my stone after the fast.  So it was probably not much MORE than 25 hours without bread.

And we’ll definitely make up for even that 25 hours with all the festive meals in the coming two weeks, just begging for really special sweet challahs…

Sicilian No-Knead Bread… again

Yes, I’m at it again.  And yes, I know we just had this bread – disaster-style – on Sunday.  I have vowed to do it right this time, because it’s simply SUCH GOOD BREAD.

(guess you could say I’m a gluten for punishment)

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Here it is, all mixed up.  Now, apparently, I just have to let it SIT for 12-18 hours.  Easy!

Cimbuns, Take 2

She’s at it again!  Big girl bakes her trademark cimbuns once again… this time because she bartered at school:  someone else’s snack today in return for fresh home-baked cinnamon buns tomorrow.

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That’s my girl!!!

Pane Siciliano – the sequel

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Monday-evening Postscript!

So I made Sicilian no-knead bread, aka Pane Siciliano, kind of.  And it turned out badly, kind of.

But it totally serves me right! 

Let’s see… shortcuts?  I used the wrong amount of flour, the wrong rise times (bulk and loaves), pulled it out of the oven too early, sliced it open hot.  Oy, vey, the things a fast day will do to you, and I wasn’t even, technically, fasting.

That said, this was AMAZING bread.  Utterly mindblowing.

Yes, the middle, though fully-cooked, was gooey because of being both underbaked and undercooled.  But the texture of the durum flour!  The flavour of the sesame seeds!  The crust was both crunchy and light – I told YM to think of it as the best breadsticks he’d ever eaten. 

And even the gooey middle (it reminded me of a Chinese red-bean bun I used to get at dim sum which was crunchy with sesame seeds on the outside and shiny with glutinous rice flour on the inside) was heavenly, in its own weird way.

I didn’t even take a picture of the inside of the bread – a first for me, but I was just SO ashamed that I hadn’t allowed this bread to take centre-stage properly.

I will definitely make it again.  Maybe even right now, if I can get off my bottom and get it done.  I feel addicted, like I must have more of this bread right this instant.

Still wish I had a dough whisk.

How does this happen?

It’s a fast day today and I decided to make a nice grainy bread like Ted likes for the end of the fast.

So how does it happen that when I sit down to Google a nice, fairly quick, easy grainy bread to use up some of the ingredients I have on hand: barley flour, oat flour, bread flour, a bit of Pioneer Village whole wheat… I end up falling DEEPLY in love with a Sicilian No-Knead Bread, totally different from what I set out to bake???

I have been obsessed with Pane Siciliano for a while. For whatever reason, I love pasta and semolina and everything related to it.

This bread is actually made with durum flour, which is a finer grind than durum semolina. Semolina is coarser, like corn meal. It works for bread in small quantities, and actually works well for pasta. I also keep it on hand because, like corn meal, it’s useful for sprinkling on a surface so breads don’t stick: the coarse grains act like ball bearings and your bread rolls right off!

I haven’t been able to find proper durum flour locally, but the comments after the recipe say that Indian brands of chapatti flour are basically the same thing. In fact, the author specifically mentions “Golden Temple Durum Atta Flour,” which is exactly what I happen to have on hand. Yay for me and my poori craving!

So this helps clear up some of the confusion I’ve had about flours for pasta vs bread, durum vs semolina vs… well, whatever.

In addition to the semolina obsession, I have been fascinated with the appealing look and concept of the sesame-seed sprinkling on top of proper pane siciliano – not to mention the beguiling S-shape it’s often formed into.

Finally, this recipe called to me because it uses barley malt. It actually calls for syrup, which I don’t have, but the comments say that the powder should work just fine. My sister gifted me with a big bag of barley malt powder, which has been in the basement freezer for way too long. But it looked and smelled just fine when I took it out, so I substituted 2 tablespoons for the 1 tablespoon of syrup called for.

Since it’s for tonight, I don’t have the time to let it sit and rise for 18 hours like the recipe calls for. I plan to add extra yeast (gasp!) to compensate.

So there you have it: I have taken a perfectly lovely recipe and am now going to butcher it and see what comes out the other end. Stay tuned for pictures!!! Or else a depressing, grim tale of failure… and either will be super-entertaining, right?

p.s. I really need a Danish Dough Whisk!!! It looks waaay cool when the guy in the video stirs his dough with it!

Six Word Saturday: 4 Tishrei, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!

Welcome the New Year with CHALLAH!!!

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Grama’s Neapolitan Cake

This is the most beautiful cake!  Elegant and delicious.  And I can’t stand the idea of Rosh Hashanah without it.  Sappy, but it IS like having my grandmother there, in some way.

It helps that it’s a really GOOD cake.  And one that tastes so much better, fresh and buttery, than anything you can buy in a kosher bakery.  It really is good enough to plan meals around.  It’s basically cookies, layered with pudding.  Cookies and pudding:  the ultimate comfort foods!

I found a lot of recipes online for a “Neapolitan Cake” which simulates the 3-flavour, 3-colour effect of Neapolitan ice cream.  Wrong!  Those are completely way off track.  This cake is nothing like that.

I discovered that many (most?) layered Neapolitan Cake recipes call for jam or something fruity between the layers.  Indeed, the classic “dolce alla napoletana” often features almonds and either plain cream or a fruit spread between the layers and then an exterior icing glaze.  Not necessarily ANY chocolate, anywhere.

So maybe my grandmother made this up.  Or maybe she ran out of fruit preserves so she had to substitute chocolate pudding.  Whatever and whoever – it’s a stroke of genius. 

A reassuring family cake to usher in a sweet year of comfort, surrounded by family.

(adapted from Kinnereth Cookbook, p. 305, Beck Posluns’s Neapolitan Cake) (Beck Posluns was my grama!)

Important Note:  Prepare at least one day before serving so that cake will soften.

1.  Cream together:  1 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg

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2.  In food processor, buzz with steel knife to aerate (or, the old fashioned way, sift together):  2-1/2 cups (350g) flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda.

3.  Add flour and baking soda to bowl along with 1 cup butter, melted.  Scrape sides until all ingredients are combined.

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4.  Blend into a dough (cookie dough consistency).

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5.  Divide evenly into four ungreased 8-1/2” pans.

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6.  With bare hands (slightly damp if the dough is too sticky), spread dough smoothly to edge of pan.

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7.  Repeat for remaining three pans (I know you knew that, but I had this picture I wanted to throw in!).

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8.  Bake 17-20 minutes at 350°, until golden brown.

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9.  Gently turn out onto towels to cool.

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Now for the pudding!

1.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve 4 tablespoons cornstarch in 1/2 cup milk. (= cornstarch slurry)

2.  In a bowl, combine 2 egg yolks, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa with cornstarch slurry.

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3.  In top of double boiler, combine 1/2 cup strong coffee and 1-1/2 cups milk.  Whisk in cornstarch mixture.

4.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth.  When ready, mixture will resemble chocolate pudding – because it is.  It will thicken slightly as it cools.  Turn off heat.

5.  Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vanilla.  Allow to cool completely.  (note:  you could probably add a tablespoon or two of your favourite liqueur at this step – but I never do)

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6.  When cool, spread pudding mixture generously (I always have leftovers) between cake layers and over top.  Try to keep the layers aligned as you build up the cake.  :-)

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7.  Sprinkle top evenly with sliced almonds which have been toasted (toast them in the an oven in a single layer at 300°, or in a dry frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes).

8.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Cake will soften and the flavours will meld until it is simply… luscious!

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(p.s.  And TWO are waaaay better than one!!!)

And in the morning, I went out to the store, bought sliced almonds, toasted them, sprinkled them (the top pudding had dried a bit overnight, but I put the almonds on when they were still hot from roasting, so I hope that will help them stick), and WAAAAH-lah!

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Looks a bit messy.  Trust me, when my grandmother made it, this thing sure looked ELEGANT.  Mine looks a bit ploppy, but believe me, it’ll be delicious.  (plus, the kids are happy because they got leftover pudding for dessert!)

שנה טובה!!!

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