Showing posts from September, 2009

Why, oh why?

When I try to make challah with honey, it always, ALWAYS fails???   I had a theory that the honey was killing the yeast, but no, that's dumb.   Everybody uses honey. Why can't I?!?

Delicious Vesuvius Roasted-Garlic Potato Bread

Why Vesuvius???  Well, look at this thing!  Clearly hauled out of the rubble of some destroyed ancient walled city. NOT MY FAULT!  My oven is broken !  I am using an oven that is older than I am… possibly as old as this house! But check out the inside!  It is indeed delicious, soft, moist, roasted-garlic potato bread:               I am becoming a huge fan of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day concept.  The basic idea is:  once a week, create a basic dough that you keep in the fridge, and tear off pieces as you want to bake.  Let the pieces come to room temperature and bake – wah-la! – five minute “artisan” bread! I made their Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls last week for Rosh Hashanah, but had a whole lot of dough left over in the downstairs fridge.  And I was also feeling tantalized by their Roasted Garlic Potato Bread (We love garlic!  And we love roasted garlic even more!!) but I couldn’t just throw away the dough that I had left over and start fresh with a n

Jennifer’s Reliable Challah

Forgot to take pictures before cutting into this challah. This was the one I made for the kids’ challah-making last Wednesday, but it was also a test run of the recipe I used for the entire Yom Tov. The main difference from what I usually do is that instead of 5 cups of wheat flour, I used one cup of stone-ground spelt (courtesy of my baker sister, who gave me a free sample!), plus two cups of bread flour and two cups of all-purpose. It was delicious, and I’m constantly amazed at how the spelt makes the bread so soft and lovely. Not at all like whole wheat, which I don’t usually enjoy in a Shabbos or Yom Tov bread. The spelt does give a bit of an unfortunate grey cast to the bread (not as much as barley, though!). I like to think that when people see it coming, they kind of brace themselves for “healthy”-tasting bread, and are then pleasantly surprised when it is so soft and cakey! In this picture it looks a bit too damp and soggy in the middle, but that’s probably because I cu

Best and Easiest Outta This World Beer Bread

(warning:  this is a quick bread – sorry if you were hoping for yeast!) Ted had a can of beer sitting in the fridge for TOO long.  And the rule (my unwritten rule) is that after TOO long, beer is no longer a beverage; it becomes an ingredient. (Secretly, I don’t think beer is much of a beverage at any time; can’t really stand drinking the stuff.) The words Beer and Bread were floating through my brain this afternoon.  And a quick and lazy Google search revealed a Recipezaar recipe that had absolutely the most rave reviews I have ever seen:  456 reviews, and an overall rating over 4.7 out of 5! Of course, I had to make it:  humbly entitled Beer Bread , and posted by a guy named Gerald Norman . I have to say, this was amazingly FAST and easy to mix!  The recipe coaxes readers to sift and sift and sift, and for once, I actually did.  Then you pour in the beer, stir, pour it into a pan and bake. This is easily the most yeasty quickbread I’ve ever had; if people don’t know you

Let them eat…

Not exactly bread, but more appropriate for this blog than my other one, being baking-related. Yes, it’s HONEYCAKE season! The one week of the year when we don’t have to ask, “what’s for dessert?” Because I love honeycake!  We all do.  It bakes up in huge batches, freezes amazingly well (especially if you reheat it in the oven) and contains a lot of all the good things in life:  sugar, oil, flour, honey, coffee. We eat honeycake from the minute Rosh Hashanah starts ‘till the minute Simchas Torah is over… I usually find one last frozen one for the very last day! I use Norene Gilletz’s recipe from Second Helpings, Please! , which is fairly accurately reproduced online here .  (however, forget the stuff she adds about cinnamon, raisins or nuts… this is a great cake; don’t mess with perfection!) I used to have an actual copy of the cookbook, but it fell apart from too much love.  And anyway, there were only a few recipes I used regularly… so now I just get them online when I n


While you're waiting for more BREADLAND posts, there's always my regular blog .   Two tags over there that may interest you if you're just here for the tasty times (clicking these will eliminate the perhaps-less-than-fascinating gardening, childrearing, deep-philosophical and consumer-kvetch posts):   SUPPERS:  (things we eat for supper; lots of unappetizing photos of meals that tasted truly great) FOODIE:  (all sorts of food stuff, thoughts, reviews, raves, etc; everything that isn't supper)   Enjoy!!!

Sourdough Hybrid Challah... the taste test

To put it bluntly:  Despite a very promising rise, the Hybrid Sourdough Challah was a letdown, flavourwise.  Drat, drat, drat! Nobody spit it out, but nobody said "mmm" either.   The loaves were truly gorgeous, but the bread tasted overly dry and the flavour was bland, to say the least.  Not enough salt, not enough sugar, not enough ANYTHING.  Maybe that's because I had a cold and couldn't taste it...?   Anyway, it wasn't Happy Bread, which puts me back at the drawing board, sourdough-wise.  I will climb this mountain, but I think that for Rosh Hashanah and the other holidays coming up, I'd better back off and go back to my regular " challah" recipe.  (which is just plain bread with a bit of extra sugar added)   Technically, any bread can be called "challah" if it has a small portion taken from the dough which is set aside, a remnant of the ritual in the Jerusalem Temple?  We don't feed it to the priests anymore

The “I Give Up on Sourdough” Hybrid Sourdough Challah

Yup!  I have officially given up on trying to produce a delicious sourdough challah.  All attempts so far have either been completely leaden and barely-risen or just plain WEIRD (the “sweet-and-sourdough” challah I made with honey; it was really WAY too tangy, and the sweetness just put it over the top). So this week I’m making a “hybrid.”  Yup, it’s not just for cars anymore… this hybrid challah will hopefully offer the best of the sourdough and commercial-yeast worlds. First, I made a sponge, from this recipe , and left it overnight.  It easily tripled or quadrupled its size (see above). Then, I took about four cups of flour and mixed my regular challah things in:  salt, sugar.  I used less sugar than usual – I don’t want a repeat of the sweet-and-sour effect.  And 1 tbsp of Fleishman’s Instant Yeast.  Gasp.  But I have just NOT gotten the leavening power yet out of wild yeast that would make me comfortable serving the breads to my family as a Shabbos treat.  If it’s too den

Meet the Starters!

Yes, that IS a layer of “hooch” – alcoholy-yeasty liquid – risen to the top in Batch “B”.  It keeps on happening; the books and websites say not to panic.  Some tell you to pour it off, others say just to mix it in.  I do a bit of both:  pour off what I can, mix in the rest! Batch “A” is beautiful here… all bubbly and nice.  That’s the one I’m using for tomorrow’s challah.  I think I will not be using much of it, and definitely adding a bit of commercial yeast… having trouble getting any good rising power with either of these starters. Frown and double-frown.

Another use for sourdough…

This is the Sourdough Corn Bread straight out of the Joy of Cooking. Easy, easy!  Felt like cornbread, made cornbread!  Mix and pour. Came out very flat; it’s meant to be baked in a skillet, but I used these lovely tinfoil cake pans instead. I couldn’t taste the sourdough much, but Ted said he could.  The way my sourdough baking is going (badly), not tasting the sour in the dough may be a good thing.  Frown.

Sour d’oh!

From a few weeks ago: I did it!  After four attempts, today’s bread was a SOURDOUGH SUCCESS.   I feel like I have successfully scaled Mount Sourdough. Here is the outside of the loaf, which I made based on the recipe here (scroll down to find recipe and technique).  There seem to be two schools of sourdough thought:  the uptight “do it exactly right or you will screw up and your starter will DIE” school, and the more laid-back “it’s yeast… it wants to ferment; just step back and let it GO.” So the recipe I used follows the second, mellow school and really made me feel at ease with the dough, including the tip (doh) that sourdough takes longer to rise than commercial-yeast-driven bread.  I never knew that!!!  Obvious, but true. For once, we were eating fresh bread and it wasn’t Shabbos, so I took the liberty of snapping pictures of the Opening of the Bread.           Look at those thick, yummy slices! Elisheva was really worried that the bread would be literall

Now that’s GOOD bread…

Here’s another link to the Oatmeal Bulgur Bread recipe , because it is SO good and SO easy! It does take a few hours’ planning, but doesn’t all good bread? Believe it or not, this is made with 100% white flour (despite the recipe’s instructions to use whole wheat). The amazing texture comes from bulgur, soaked in the first step and then mixed with oatmeal (you can’t tell it’s in there, but it gives the bread a creamy softness). This is made with milk, which I rarely use in breads, mostly for kashrus reasons.  All regular bread is supposed to be either pareve or clearly marked as dairy.  I forgot to do it with this one… oops!

More delicious kosher morsels!