Feb 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Loaf

February must have been a stressful month for me, I was just looking at the previous posts..and they're all bread. Bread is always my escape...I love kneading bread. Especially pounding the dough against the counter, the rhythmic sounds of the dough as it hits the counter is very soothing.

I saw this Peanut butter loaf on Angie's recipes awhile ago, and I finally decided to make it. The technique to make this loaf is similar to the laminated dough method required for any type of flaky bread, such as the Danish braid or a croissant. It's a bit difficult and time consuming to do, but I enjoy it.

The result is a very rich bread with a lot of peanut butter flavor. Imagine a cinnamon roll with the peanut butter as a filling. I think next time I make this, I will definitely decrease the amount of peanut butter. It was a bit too heavy for my taste. Too much peanut butter and not enough bread. Here's the recipe.

Peanut butter loaf
from Annie's recipes
total time: 3 hours

245 g Bread flour
130 ml Warm water
4 g Active dry yeast
20 g Sugar
1/2 Egg
4 g Salt
22 g Butter
120 g Creamy or crunchy peanut butter

1. Dissolve sugar with warm water in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle dry yeast over and let proof for about 10 minutes. Add in bread flour and egg. Stir at low speed until a rough dough ball formed. Stir in salt and butter until evenly dispersed. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until a soft and elastic dough has formed. The dough should pass the windowpane test. (stretching the dough to see if it thins out).

2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and let proof until doubled at room temperature. Coat one of your fingers with flour, then press it gently into the center of risen dough to the bottom. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready.

3. Press down the dough, round up, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Flatten the dough and roll into a rectangle, about 30cmx20cm. Spread the peanut butter over the first two-thirds of the dough rectangle. Leave 1cm unbuttered all the way around. Fold the unbuttered third over the center third of the rectangle. Fold the buttered third top down to cover it. Give the dough a 90 degree turn to the left. Gently roll out the dough into a long strip 45cm by 18cm and fold the two shorter ends to meet each other in the middle. Rotate the dough 90 degree to the left again and roll it out into a 40cm by 18cm rectangle.

4. Roll up the rectangle along the long edge. Moisten the edge with water, and lightly press to close. Cut the loaf into three 6cm thick sections. Place them with cutting side up in a loaf pan lined with baking paper and let proof until double in volume. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the loaf until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Feb 21, 2009

Divine breadsticks

I made some pasta last night for dinner and I wanted to make a treat to go with it. I thought about making a cheesy garlic bread, but decided on a more figure friendly cousin, the breadstick. I found this recipe for Divine breadsticks from My Kitchen Cafe. I have had this recipe bookmarked for awhile, and was happy to have a chance to try it out at last.

The result?! I think these breadsticks were the star of dinner last night. They completely outshined the main course! =P They're so quick and easy to make. They're soft on the inside and have a slight crunch on the bottom from the oil in the pan. mmm..yum! Here's the recipe.

Divine Breadsticks
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe
makes 20 breadsticks
total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp of herbes de provence (see note)
2 tbsp olive oil for the pan (see note)

1. Combine the sugar, yeast and warm water together. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until it's frothy.

2. Mix the flour, salt, and herbs together. Gradually add in the water mixture. Stir until a rough dough is formed. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and allow the dough to stand for 10 minutes.

3. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into strips. (see note)

4. To make the twists, hold the middle part of the strip and wrap the ends around each other. Continue with the rest of the dough. Sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese, or any other flavoring you prefer.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes or until the breadsticks are a light golden brown.

  • The original recipe does not call for the herbes de provence, but I added it to create a subtle flavor in the dough. I think I might add more next time.
  • The original recipe says to use butter instead of olive oil. I didn't want to bother with melting the butter, so I used olive oil instead.
  • The dough after resting 10 minutes was still very sticky for me. I coated the top and bottom with flour in order to be able to roll it out.

Feb 17, 2009

Melon Pan

oh boo =( I made crackle melon pan...melon pan is not supposed to crackle!!! Melon pan is this wonderful Japanese bread that is composed of a sweet bread with a cookie topping. The cookie part is supposed to cover the entire cookie, not just parts of it. It has a faint taste of melon in the cookie portion, and I have also seen it with pastry cream inside.

Although the melon pan does not look authentic, I have to say that I like the taste. The bread part is very soft, and the cookie portion is just the right amount of sweetness (for me at least). This recipe comes from a bread recipe book that I bought in Japan. Here's the recipe. Thanks to Mrs. K. for the translation!!

Melon Pan
makes 10 mini buns
total time: 2 1/2 hours

for the bread:
160g bread flour
40g all purpose flour
4g instant yeast
10g sugar
3g salt
10g milk
20g softened butter
120g water

for the topping:
200g all purpose flour
2/3 tsp baking powder
94g softened butter
87g sugar
40g egg
two to three drops of melon essence

1. Combine all the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Combine the milk and water together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and knead the dough until it's no longer sticky.

2. Smear the butter into the dough and continue to knead until the dough no longer feels sticky.

3. Shape the dough into a round ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise in a warm area for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, or until double in volume.

4. In the meantime, prepare the cookie dough. Mix the butter and sugar together. Gradually add the egg until it's incorporated. Then add the melon essence and set aside. Sift the baking powder and flour together. Mix the butter mixture with the flour mixture taking care not to over mix. Divide into 10 equal pieces.

5. When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and gently punch out the gas. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll into rounds, pinching the bottoms closed. Cover the small doughs and let rest for another 10 minutes.

6. In the mean time, roll out the cookie dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, parchment or wax paper. Roll into circular pieces large enough just enough to cover the small doughs. Place the cookie dough on top of the bread dough (see note).

7. Coat the exterior with sugar (see note). Allow to proof again for another 30 to 35 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the buns for about 10 to 12 minutes.

  • I did some research after these came out all broken apart. Happy Home Baking suggests that when you place the cookie dough on top of the dough, you leave about 2 to 3 cm uncovered to allow the dough to expand without breaking the cookie dough. In Wild Yeast's recipe, she puts the cookie dough on after the dough has already risen. I will probably do combination of both next time I make this recipe.
  • I didn't end up coating the cookie portion with sugar on top. I wanted to minimize the amount of sugar in my recipe.
  • These buns don't get much color. I baked mine for about 11 minutes and checked the internal temperature. The temperature was 190 degrees, the correct temperature for sweet bread. I wouldn't bake mine any longer as the texture was really soft.

Feb 4, 2009

Tender Focaccia

This was such a fun recipe to make. Not because there was any special technique involved, but because I got to bake with my friend! I rarely bake with anyone, because baking and cooking is normally my time to de-stress and unwind, but it was so much fun baking with my friend. We spent the rising time watching Ugly Betty, which I am now addicted to. heehee =P

This recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose baking cookbook. The most unusual part about this recipe is that it calls for potato flour or potato flakes. The reason to incorporate the potato flakes/flour is to keep it moist. I made a similar recipe from Baking Illustrated using an actual potato. Between these two recipes, I prefer the King Arthur recipe by far. The name of this recipe says it all, it is a very tender bread. The bread is very soft and very filling, probably due to the potato. Here's the recipe.

Tender Focaccia
King Arthur Flour All Purpose baking cookbook

2 cups (16 oz ) boiling water
3 3/4 cups (16 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz) potato flour, or 1/3 cup (3/4 oz) potato flakes
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz) nonfat dry milk
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp (7/8 oz) olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tbsp to grease the pan and the surface of the dough
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt, sea salt, or fleur de sel, for topping

1. Put the hot water and 2 cups of the flour in a large bowl and beat for several minutes to develop a smooth batter. If you have the time, add 1/8 tsp yeast once the batter has cooled to lukewarm, and set the sponge aside for several hours or overnight; this helps develop flavor in the finished loaf, as well as the soft interior texture.

2. Whisk the potato flour with the remaining flour, dry milk, yeast, and salt. Add this to the batter a little at a time, while continuing to beat. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Beat, by had with a large spoon or with the paddle attachment of a mixer set at medium speed, for 8 to 10 minutes, changing to a dough hook when the dough begins to hold together.

3. After the dough has become smooth and shiny, put it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 30 minutes. The dough should have increased by about 1/3 and be puffy looking. Don’t punch down the dough, but pull the sides of the dough up and over in a folding motion. Do this several times to release some of the gas, then let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.

4. Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a 12 or 14 inch round pan, or 1 tbsp olive oil into each of the two 8 inch round pans. Place the dough in the oiled pans, gently stretching it to fit. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then stretch it out a little more. At this point you may refrigerate the dough in the pan, tightly covered, for up to 24 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

6. Just before baking the focaccia, dimple it with your fingers, brush it with a little olive oil, and sprinkle it with coarse salt or a few sprigs of fresh herb. Bake the focaccia for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s deep brown all over. Remove it from the pan and cool it for 15 minutes before eating. Serve with flavored olive oil, or split for sandwiches.
  • I actually needed to use an additional 1/2 cup of flour. The dough was way to sticky.
  • For the two rises, I had to let the dough rise for about 45 minutes (an episode of ugly betty =P)
  • The recipes says that you need to bake it for 25 to 30 minutes, we only baked it for about 15 to 20 minutes.

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