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Not as exciting as it sounds

erev Shabbos 047I came across a recipe for Blender Challah yesterday and the name just DREW me in.   A blender!  For challah!  It just sounded so cool!

It’s not quite as exciting as it sounds.  You use the blender for maybe 20 seconds at the beginning.  Basically, you make a slurry with all the ingredients, plus 1/3 of the flour, in a blender (I used my Cuisinart food processor) then stir the slurry into a bowl of dry flour. 

This is almost what I do with no-knead doughs, except I use my Danish Dough Whisk, so the slurry doesn’t get as well-mixed, I suppose.  And I don’t pre-mix some of the flour – just dump it in all at once.

So I guess this recipe gives you a well-mixed base, probably better mixed than the no-knead, and ultimately a not-overmixed, probably cakey-type dough. 

It appealed to me in part because we’re having a Rock-Bottom Shabbos where there is no grocery money so I have to make a smaller batch than usual.  Blender Challah calls for only 3 cups of flour – about half the size of some of my recipes.  But I was totally hoping you could do the whole thing in a blender.

It looks tiny in the bowl (picture above) and very lumpy and weird, but smoothed out and grew prodigiously and actually made two very decent-sized loaves.  After 1.5 hours, the dough was silky-smooth and, with a bit of oil, fairly easy to handle.  I left it on the table rolled out for a few minutes when I was called away at one point, and it loosened up considerably – it was quite saggy by the time I got back.

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Then I got involved in a bunch of other stuff and almost let it overrise… but as it was, I think it was just about perfect.

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Elisheva requested extra egginess on top, so I egged it very heavily and then used poppy seeds because they’re my favourite.

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I will report back after Shabbos on how these tasted!

Barley Semolina Bread

Recipe here if you’re curious, but truthfully, this wasn’t an outstanding bread… possibly because (mea culpa) my barley flour had actually expired.  That may explain the slight bitter taste that only I could detect, though that may just be an effect of barley in general.

What WAS nice was having my hands in a lump of dough again.  This dough was beautiful to work with; silky-smooth and damp, but not too damp.  The recipe made two beautiful bâtards, just enough for the family plus a bit left over.

Served with a nondescript soup, this was not my best bread meal ever… but definitely not the worst, by far.

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Slashed deeply, I thought, but not deeply enough…

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… to really open up during baking or…

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… to prevent a wee bit of a blowout out the side.

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Sliced beautifully, though!

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And it was quite nice with a bit of butter.  But then, what isn’t?

So why is it that warm weather seemingly gives me this compulsion to work with BREAD?  Shouldn’t I be at it more in the wintertime, when we’re allowed to lounge around indoors heating up the place and eating carby survival things???bar

Naomi bakes Neapolitan Cake

More pics from erev Shavuos… making my grandmother’s Neapolitan Cake.  She was not impressed to be the fourth generation making this cake, but I was.

Pressing the cookie dough into the pans.  This would probably make AMAZING cookies, by the way.  Just regular cookies.  Check out the recipe – it goes together SO quickly and easily!

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She also helped mix the pudding, but I didn’t get a picture of that step.  Here, she’s dumping toasted almond slices haphazardly on top until I stopped her and told her to spread them out a little more…

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Delicious!

How it turned out!

Here it is… the Buttermilk-Parmesan Herb Bread from Shavuos!

Shaped and resting …

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Risen nicely – thanks to the scorching hot day…

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Baked and delicious!

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With all that milk and cheese, the crust was much softer than I usually like, but the bread makes up for it (yes, there are still leftovers) by being extremely flavourful and tender.  Mmm, indeed!

Mmm….

All-dairy Shavuos means

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Buttermilk-Parmesan Herb Bread!!!

(adapted from Artisan Bread in Five, of course!)

The herbs above are golden oregano, sage, thyme and (hard to see) chives. The chives made a huge mess when I tried to purée them in the small chopper. I really should have just chopped them by hand… :-(

Anyway, here’s the basic formula I’m using:

  • Herbs, above, puréed with a bit of oil
  • 1755g (13 cups) a.p. flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 cups buttermilk (subbed 2 cups milk w/2 Tbsp vinegar added, let rest 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • Mix, rest, shape, bake.

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