Monday, February 26, 2018

Rosie Makes A Quick Sandwich Loaf.

I make bread.
A lot.
The Hawthornes never buy bread at the store.
I always have homemade bread on hand.

And I make all sorts of breads.

I make baguettes:
 I make ciabatta:

 I make filone:


 I make boules:

 I make "artisinal" breads:

 I make penis bread:

You name it.
I make it.

I like making bread.
Whether I make it by hand and knead it, like I did in the "old days."
Or whether I make it in my Cuisinart (my baguettes) or in my KitchenAid (my ciabatta).
Making bread calms me.
It's a process.
And I can spread out that process all day long.
I'm not tied to exact times.
I can just work with the dough.

Now, I have worked on a "recipe" for a sandwich loaf which can go from mise en place to sur la table in under 3 hours.  Actually, I've made it in 2 hours, but then I'm an over-achiever.  You read that correctly. Two hours!

And you have a wonderfully flavorful, beautifully textured, aromatic, tasty loaf of sandwich bread.
It's perfect for ... well, sandwiches...  but also breakfast toast - cheese toast or cinnamon toast or French toast, and for croutons.  And it's lovely when it comes right out of the oven and I can schmear some softened butter all over it.

Here's my sandwich loaf.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Rosie's Sandwich Loaf 

1 ¼ cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 TB unsalted Plugrá butter, melted (my preferred butter)
2 TB wildflower honey
3 ¼ cups King Arthur unbleached bread flour plus extra for dusting the work surface
1 tsp kosher salt
A little oil for greasing the bowl
Egg wash (one egg mixed with 1 tsp water)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, pour in the water.  Sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar.  And wait.  For the yeast to proof.  The yeast needs to “prove” it’s alive by eating the sugar (Yeast is hungry!) and producing carbon dioxide and alcohol.  In other words, the mixture will get bubbly and foamy and poofy.  It’s alive!  Pour in melted butter and honey, preferably honey that comes from hives about ½ mile away from you that’s produced by bees who’ve feasted in your garden.  But that’s just me.  Stir in the salt, then slowly and gradually add in the flour with the motor running at low speed.  When all the flour has been added, increase speed to medium high and knead for about 3-5 minutes.  You want the dough to pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a couple of minutes.  The dough should be pliable and elastic.  Pour a little oil in a bowl and place the ball of dough in, turning to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 40 minutes or so, until almost doubled.

 Here’s a Rosie Tip:  Wet a kitchen towel, nuke it for 2 minutes, then place the bowl of dough in the microwave on top of the hot towel and close the door.  The heat and steam from the hot towel will give the dough a little boost in rising. 

After rising, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead again, by hand,  for 2-3 minutes.  Form dough into a tight elongated shape and place, seam-side down, in an oiled 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  Let rise until dough is slightly above level of pan.  (You can use the microwave trick again.)

While the dough is rising, heat oven to 350°.

Gently brush top of dough with egg wash and place in oven.
Bake 7 minutes, then rotate pan halfway.
Bake another 7 minutes, then cover loaf with foil.
Continue baking for 20-25 more minutes.  If you have an instant-read thermometer, internal temperature should be 200° and the crust will be a lovely golden brown.  Remove from oven and leave in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack.

I like to slice while the bread is still warm from the oven and slather on some softened unsalted Plugrá butter, letting it melt into the nooks and crannies of the crumb.  

If you want to go from divine to sublime, squish a few tablespoons of Plugrá butter into a small bowl and stir in a few drops of black truffle oil.  Truffle oil is intense, so go easy on it and taste test.  Once you get the right combination, spread on the warm bread and experience a profound taste sensation.  You may thank me later.

Here are the how-to's:

 Using the dough attachment, combine all ingredients until you get this shaggy mess.

Work by hand a bit until dough all comes together, then place back in a buttered bowl to rise.

Let is rise.

Work again on a lightly floured surface for a minute or so until dough is soft and pliable.

Place in a buttered loaf pan.

Let is rise in a warm place.

Gently brush egg wash over top of loaf.

Let rise and ...

Is that not a beautiful loaf?
Remove from pan and let cool on a rack.

Lovely texture!

The best way to enjoy bread is right out of the oven,
while it's still warm.
You might want to try some unsalted butter
with a few drops of black truffle oil.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

More Goodies From Rosie - A Trifling Affair.

About the only culinary item of consequence (meaning deliciousness)
to come from England is the trifle.
And there is nothing trifling about it.

By definition, the English trifle is a dessert made with layers of sponge cake soaked in sherry, fruits, and custard.  It may be topped with whipped cream.  It is, simply, divine.

Today, Rosie is making "moreovers."  Remember, she doesn't do "leftovers."  She takes what's left and makes something that's more than the sum of its parts.  I'm making Moreover Trifle today.  Just because I can.  I had a poundish-type, orange-flavored cake which the Hawthornes had been enjoying for a few days and I wanted something different.  Something more.  Hence, the Moreover Trifle.  I'm taking the rest of my cake, cutting it into cubes, and layering it with a quick, no-fuss caramel sauce and whipped cream.  Score!

This is Rosie's Orange Bundt Cake.  I wouldn't call it a pound cake, but it comes close.  Typically, a pound cake is a type of cake made with a pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.  My cake doesn't meet those specs, but the texture is similar to a pound cake.  I also amped it up a bit by poking holes in the cake and drizzling a rum glaze over it.  Now, a Bundt cake doesn't refer to a specific type of cake.  It refers to the actual pan the cake is cooked in.  All Bundt pans have a hole in the center and they generally come in various designs so that the cake is decorative in and of  itself and doesn't require any additional decoration, like frosting, which would hide the complex detail of the pan. 

Whatever you call it, 'twas good!

 Rosie's Orange Bundt Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1/6 cup skim milk
1/6 cup heavy cream
zest of one orange
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 TB vanilla

Heat oven to 350°.

Grease bundt pan with Crisco, then lightly flour.

In a medium bowl, sift together, flours, salt, and baking powder.

In mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter.  Gradually beat in sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down sides of bowl. 

In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, cream, orange juice and zest, and vanilla.

Add 1/3 dry ingredients to mixing bowl on low speed.  Mix until almost incorporated.  Add 1/2 of yogurt mixture and combine.  Repeat with another 1/3 of dry, then remaining yogurt mixture, and ending with dry ingredients.  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.  Mix until just incorporated.  Be careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake approximately 65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15-20 minutes. then invert onto serving platter. 

Optional rum glaze:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 TB rum
Melt butter and sugar.  Pour in rum.
Stick inverted cake with skewer and slowly pour rum glaze over top, letting it soak down into the holes.

 And, for the step-by-steps:
 Sift dry ingredients.

 Whisk yogurt mixture.

Have everything ready at hand.
Butter and sugar are beating in the mixer.
To get eggs to room temperature in a hurry, set in a bowl of warm water.

 Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and spread evenly over top.


 Skewer the inverted cake and...

... pour the rum glaze over it.


Very nice texture and crumb.
Lovely orange flavor.
Hint of rum every now and then.

This cake is fine just as is, but, like I said, I'm going for "Moreovers."
We ate the cake down to the last quarter, then I wanted something MORE.
I decided to cut the cake into cubes, whup up some cream, make a non-fussy caramel, and then layer it all in a parfait glass.

For the whipped cream:
I always chill my bowl and beaters before whipping cream.  Just set them in freezer for a few minutes.  The cream whips better when everything is chilled.  Beat about 1 cup whipping cream until thickened.  Whup in a few tablespoons of sugar (Taste test!)  and a couple teaspoons of vanilla.  Whip until thickened.

Most caramels require diligence while making.  One must stand over the melting sugar and patiently watch it until it turns the perfect amber color.  Not so this caramel.  This is a quick, mix-and-go caramel and no flavor is lost in the process.

Rosie's Quick, No-Fuss Caramel Sauce 
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
Melt butter and brown sugar over medium low heat.
Whisk in cream and vanilla until smooth.

Find some pretty parfait glasses (Wine or champagne glasses work just fine.) and start layering cake cubes, a drizzle of caramel, and the whipped cream, and the caramel and the cake and the whipped cream...  You get the picture.

Here are my cake cubes, whipped cream, and caramel sauce.

 Plop.  Spoon.  Drizzle.  Layer.  Repeat.

Got leftover crumbs?
Not a problem.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Breakfast At The Hawthornes.


Generally, when I make pancakes or waffles, I don't measure anything.  I just throw together flour, baking powder and/or soda, milk or buttermilk, sugar, vanilla, and eggs into a bowl and hope for the best.  And it always comes out good.

However, if I want The Best Pancakes and The Best Waffles, I have two tried and true recipes that will deliver.

First, the pancakes.

The Best Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 TB sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 stick (4 TB) unsalted butter, melted
Whisk together dry ingredients.
In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
Slowly stir liquid mixture into dry mixture.
Gently stir in butter.
You want lumpy.
Let rest 5 minutes before cooking.

 Lumpy batter.
Lumpy is good!

 Melt a little unsalted butter in a skillet of medium heat and ladle in the batter.
When bubbles form, it's time to turn over.

 Now, The Best Pancakes must be accompanied by The Best Syrup.

Rosie's Pancake/Waffle Syrup
4 TB butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
handful each of sliced strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and coarsely chopped pecans

Melt butter and brown sugar over low heat.  Stir in syrup and vanilla.  Heat until bubbling.
Turn heat to low and add fruits and pecans.  Keep warm.

Now, for The Best Waffles.
Start on these the night before.  They have yeast in them and the batter needs to rest and rise overnight.

The Best Waffles 

1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup skim milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Sprinkle yeast over the water with a pinch of sugar.
Stir to dissolve. 
While yeast is "proofing"(It's proving it's alive by eating and emitting carbon dioxide and getting foamy.), melt butter and heat milk and cream. You want the milk and cream warm, not hot.  Add melted butter and warmed milk and cream to the yeast mixture.
Add flour, sugar, and salt to liquid mixture and whisk until smooth.
 Cover bowl and let stand at room temperature overnight.
In the morning, whisk in baking soda, beaten eggs, and vanilla.

Heat up the waffle machine.
For the first waffle, I use butter.
None for the rest.
I cook my waffles a little longer than the machine calls for.  I like crisp.
Crisp is good.

We like to put these in the toaster oven before serving,
 to crisp them up even more and make 'em even better.

Yeast, warm water, and a sprinkling of sugar.
Proof the yeast.

 Whisk in the melted butter, milk, cream, flour, sugar, and salt.

 Whisky! Whisky! 
Cover and let rise overnight.

 The next morning, it's all poofy!

 Add in eggs, vanilla, and baking soda.

 Whisk until smooth.

Then ladle into the waffle iron.
I like to cook for a bit longer than called for, then let set the waffles in a warm oven to crisp up even more.