Friday, September 25, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Kaiser Rolls

I made these sourdough Kaiser rolls with my virtual bread baking partner (she made some lovely pretzel buns). I converted the recipe from conventional yeast and was quite pleased with the results. They don’t really look like Kaiser rolls to me but I think it’s mainly the shape and I can work on that. The slashing on top is uneven but I can also work on that.

They were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and I am happy with the crumb. I will definitely make them again.

I remember eating kaiser rolls quite often when I was younger. When I first moved to Chicago I would eat at least once a week in a small diner around the corner from my apartment. I almost always ordered the tuna salad plate. It came with tuna salad, cole slaw, french fries and a kaiser roll. It made the perfect tuna salad sandwich.

I don't see them much anymore. I suppose they have fallen out of favor. I am happy to have discovered this recipe that comes close to what I remember so I can enjoy them again.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
210g (about 1-1/4 cups) active starter
425g (about 1-3/4 cups) water
360g (3 cups) bread flour
240g (2 cups) bread flour, or more as needed
16g salt
24g sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 egg white
1 tsp water
Poppy seeds

Combine the starter and water and mix well. Stir in the salt, sugar and oil and then add the 360g of flour and mix well. Gradually add the rest of the flour, about a half a cup at a time, until a stiff dough forms.

Remove from the bowl and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, then place in a greased bowl, cover, and let stand until doubled, about an hour and a half.

Punch down the dough and divide into 16 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by pulling the sides down and pinching the dough together on the bottom. Place the balls two inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

With floured hands push down gently on the tops of the rolls to flatten them out to about 5 inches wide. Cover again and let rise until almost doubled, 30 to 40 minutes.

After the first 10 or 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 400° F.

Combine the egg white with the water and beat well. Brush the mixture on the tops of the rolls and then sprinkle the poppy seeds generously over the egg brushed egg whites. Make five slashes on the tops of each roll starting from the center out.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until well browned. Cool on wire racks.

adapted from The Wooden Spoon Bread Book: The Secrets of Successful Baking, by Marilyn M. Moore (The Atlantic Monthly Press 1987)

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Baking Class: The Chocolate Cake

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I got home from Wisconsin last weekend with very little food in the kitchen and was craving something sweet. I don’t really eat sweets these days and don’t keep many ingredients around.  What I did have was a container with extremely sour milk along with flour, sugar, butter and cocoa.  And an old family chocolate cake recipe that calls for sour milk (although we usually just make our own by adding vinegar to regular milk).

While it was in the oven I realized I did not have any confectioners sugar or milk to make icing and if I was going to the trouble to make a chocolate cake I wanted something on it. So I whipped up a quick batch of chocolate syrup and poured it over the top like a mirror glaze. It tasted delicious but the sauce gradually seeped deeper into the cake, making it sticky and difficult to eat. But it was just what I needed.

This is what it looks like with the proper icing. The milk for this one was made sour with vinegar as opposed to using sour milk, and you can see the difference in the crumb. Both are delicious, but it is just a touch better with actual sour milk. Enough so that I always let the last bit of milk go sour in my refrigerator just so I have it on hand when I want to make this cake.

You may wonder why it is called The Chocolate Cake. That is how it was always referred to when friends would ask us to make it. You can see the story behind it in this post from 2010.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Baked Goods (Sweet/Savory)
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour milk (add 1 Tbsp vinegar to make it sour)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 stick softened butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa
1 to 2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
milk, as needed

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Pour into 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

For the Icing:

Combine the butter, 1/4 cup of the cocoa, 1 cup of the confectioners sugar, the vanilla, and about two tablespoons of the milk in a medium size bowl and beat until well blended. Add more cocoa as needed for the flavor and more confectioner's sugar as needed to reach a spreadable consistency.

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Ethiopian Style Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Soup Ethiopian Style. I usually make it with sweet curry powder and ginger but berbere spice makes for a nice change. The yogurt tames the heat just the right amount.
Home Cookin v9.75 Chapter: My Recipes
2 10-oz packs frozen carrots, or 6 cups cooked sliced carrots
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp berbere spice mixture
4 cups vegetable stock
juice of 2 large or 3 small blood oranges (approximately 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper to taste
yogurt for garnish

Saute ginger and onion in oil over medium heat. Add the berbere spice mix and cook for about a minute to let the spices bloom.

Add the carrots and stir everything together until the carrots are coated with the spices. Add 1-1/2 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots and onions are tender.

Remove from the heat and puree either using a hand mixer or a blender. Return to the heat and add the rest of the vegetable stock and the blook orange juice. Add more water as necessary to reach the desired consistency.

Serve garnished with the yogurt.

Adapted from Arielle's Recipe Archive from the newsgroup.

Exported from Home Cookin v9.76

Monday, September 14, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Bolillos

When I lived in Texas we would take regular trips down to Mexico, usually Nuevo Laredo but sometimes Monterey or Mexico City. My first stop in whichever city it was would always be to a panaderia for fresh bolillos and a market for avocados and that would be my breakfast pretty much the whole time we were there. Crispy crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. So yummy!

Unfortunately, these are nothing like the bolillos I remember from those days. They are almost crispy crusty on the outside but although chewy on the inside, they are quite dense. If anyone has a recipe for bolillos like the ones they make in Tamaulipas I would be most grateful.

But in the meantime I can live with these.

I posted a recipe very similar to this back in 2017 but this updated recipe is the one that should be used.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
makes 10 rolls

240 g (2 cups) active starter
460 g (1-1/3 cups) water
720 g (6 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2-3 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp cornstarch

Add water to starter and mix well. Stir in the melted and cooled butter and the honey and then add about 300g of the flour and the salt. Mix together until a soft dough is formed, gradually adding in as much of the remaining flour as necessary to keep it from sticking.

Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled anywhere form an hour to a couple of hours. Punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it briefly and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Preshape them into balls and let them rest for 20 minutes, then shape into batards about 4 to 5 inches long. Place the rolls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Slash the rolls and let rise until doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Combine the cold water and the cornstarch in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Just before baking, brush the rolls with the warm cornstarch mixture. Bake until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and take the rolls off of the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.

adapted from a recipe found at Key Ingredient
Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Beet and Fennel Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I made this beet and fennel salad from PrairiErth Farm beets and fennel and fresh locally grown onions and dressed it with a mustard seed vinaigrette.

I love the combination of beets and fennel. They are just one of those flavor combinations that seem made for each other to me. Just before serving I topped it with toasted walnuts and freshly chopped chives from Smits Farm.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
Mustard Seed Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp juice from the supremed orange 1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:
1 bunch (3 large or 4 medium) beets, boiled or roasted and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1/2 of one small onion, thinly sliced
1 mineola tangelo or orange, supremed with the juice reserved
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, for garnish
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, for garnish

Combine the mustards and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until they are well incorporated. Add the olive oil gradually, whisking continuously, until you have an emulsion. Add the crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. If using right away, set aside. Can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.

Combine the beets, fennel, onion orange segments and dill in a large bowl and mix well. Add the vinaigrette and mix well.

Let sit for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend before serving. If refrigerated, take out an hour before serving.

Garnish with more dill and the toasted walnuts.

Created August 28, 2020

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, September 11, 2020

Baking Class: Skillet Cornbread with Fresh Corn

There are two camps when it comes to cornbread. There is the soft, cake like version of the north that mixes flour with cornmeal and adds sugar, and there is the southern version with no flour and no sugar. One look at these photos should tell you into which camp I fall. While I have had some versions of the northern style that are quite delicious, none come close to this 100% cornmeal no sugar cast iron skillet cornbread.

I found this recipe in a cooking newsgroup that has been around since the early days of the worldwide web and it is a keeper. You put whatever fat you are using into a cast iron skillet and let it heat up in the pre-heating oven. When it is smoking hot you add the batter. That is the secret to getting a nice, crispy crust. And the lack of sugar gives it a more intense corn flavor. The texture is coarse but when done right it is soft and bursting with full corn flavor, especially with the additional fresh Smits Farm corn I added to the batter. You have to look hard to see the kernels in there but every single bite just pops with that sweet corn flavor. I’m enjoying just eating it for breakfast but it is spectacularly good for sopping up a mess of beans.

I use coarse cornmeal for this recipe. I am sure it would be quite lovely with the finer grind as well.

Home Cookin 9.81 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
Makes 6 large or 8 small pieces
1 Tbsp lard, bacon grease or grapeseed oil
2 cups cornmeal (preferably yellow)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh cut or frozen corn kernels
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, well beaten

Put the fat in the skillet and place the skillet in the middle rack of the cool oven. Turn the oven on to 450° F and let the pan heat up while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

Combine the cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well. Beat the egg and add it to the buttermilk.

When the oven is up to temperature add the fresh corn and then the buttermilk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together quickly. Pull the skillet out of the oven just long enough to quickly pour the batter into it and return it to the middle shelf.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

adapted from a recipe found on the newsgroup (which has deteriorated into a bunch of old posters who constantly argue with and snipe at each other and rarely talk about cooking anymore)

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Two Egg Kale Frittata

I love frittatas but it takes me four days to eat one and now that I am only cooking for myself that’s sometimes more than I want. So I recently made this two-egg version when I wanted it for breakfast one morning but did not want to be eating it for the rest of the week. I had some cooked kale in the fridge so I chopped some onion and cooked it with the kale in my smallest skillet and then poured two beaten eggs over that and cooked it on low for a few minutes then topped it with mozzarella left over from pizza night and some grated Pecorino Romano and finished it under the broiler. Delicious!
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup cooked kale, leaves and stems
2 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, gruyere or any other hard cheese)
2 tbsp grated Parmagiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Creack the eggs into a small bowl, season with salt and pepper, and beat with a fork until the yolks and whites are well blended.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the onion and cook until it is soft, about three minutes. Add the kale and cook long enough to heat it through.

Pour the beaten eggs over the mixture and stir just enough to distribute the eggs over the skillet. Turn the heat to low and cook for about five minutes, until the bottom is set.

Sprinkle the cheeses over the top and place the broiler (wrap the handle in aluminum foil if it is plastic) until the cheese has melted and is golden, about 2 minutes.

Can be served immediately, or at room temperature.

8/25 2020

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, September 04, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Pizza Crust

I have been enjoying the fresh corn from Smits Farm all summer and have been making all of my favorite corn dishes. One thing I had not made in a while was a corn and zucchini pizza, which is one of my favorite combinations.

I've been working on my sourdough crust and I believe I have found what works best for me. I had originally converted my original conventional yeast recipe into a sourdough recipe without making any other changes with some success, but when I switched to using all 00 flour (which makes the best pizza crust, in my opinion) the dough did not seem to stretch out as far as my earlier white whole wheat/bread flour combination so I tweaked the proportions and came up with this recipe, which is perfect for two large or three smaller pies. If it seems too intimidating to make three pizzas all at the same time, the dough will last up to about six days in the refrigerator and can even be frozen. I am sure this is not going to be my final, final recipe as there is always room for improvement, but I have not felt the need to experiment any further with it which is always a good sign.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
175g (about 1 cup) active starter
360g (about 1-1/2 cups) water
585g (about 4-3/4 cups) 00 flour
3 Tbsp olive oil
12g (1-1/2 tsp) salt
6 (1-1/2 tsp) sugar

Add the water to the starter and mix together well. Add the oil, then stir in the sugar and salt.

Add the flour, a cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking.

Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, anywhere from one to five days.

When ready to make the pizza remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Depending on the size of your peel, baking stone and oven separate the dough into two or three balls. Using a little flour if necessary, pat out the dough to your desired thickness and place on the baking sheet or pizza peel. Top as desired and bake in a preheated 450° to 500° oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

15 February 2020

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81
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