Tag Archives: dough

Chewy [spicy] treats…

So with a snowy, wintry day upon us it was yet another perfect day to do some baking!
On today’s baking sheet… soft ginger cookies with pieces of crystallized ginger baked in. A simple cookie mixture that created a beautiful cracked, vintage looking edible.
This whole batch began by sifting flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, canola oil, molasses, dark brown sugar and one extra large egg were mixed together. Once combined, the flour was added into the wet ingredients. After folding in the crystallized ginger, scoops of the dough were rolled out in turbinado sugar, lightly flattened and baked until cracked and gorgeous.
Chewy, spicy and a perfect pairing with a cup of tea… the best way to endure a cold winters day!

at a low simmer…
-R

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Freshly baked beauty…

With a stormy day forecasted today and a very sick other half, I felt the need to stay put…
After playing chauffeur to the doctor, once home I decided to make a loaf of bread, from my favorite ‘bread man’ Paul Hollywood, that I haven’t made in quite some time. This loaf is absolutely gorgeous when baked, but just so simple to prepare…
A combination of bread flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and water was kneaded in my mixer until pulled together and completely incorporated. Once smoothed and slightly elastic, the dough was set to rise in a lightly oiled bowl. The first rise took roughly three hours… After that rise, the dough was ‘knocked back’ and formed into a cylindrical shape. The dough was placed on a sheet tray and covered for a second rise. For this rise, I allowed the dough to nap for another three hours to develop an even stronger flavor.
Upon completion of its second rise, a spritz of water, dusting of flour and four deep slashes prepared this beautiful ‘bloomer’ for its bake. The scent of fresh bread baking wafted throughout the house and made the urge for a warm slice inevitable! As soon as baking finished off, a crusty golden and luxurious loaf emerged, and so did a slice to make certain it was as delightful as I expected…
Tonight this enticing bloomer will get a nice toast and slather of Nutella for some naughty goodness!

at a low simmer…
-R

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who you calling honey!!

So after an evening of rising away, this morning was the bake-off of my gorgeous lavender honey and toasted almond sourdough!
This is not a bread that you suddenly think… ‘I think I’ll whip up a loaf of sourdough bread’, since this is a plan-ahead idea! Actually at least a week since you have to prep up a starter for the sourdough. I have a starter that I made months ago slumbering away in the fridge, however that is made using wholemeal flour, while for this loaf, I made a new starter of white bread flour.
Once my newest starter was fragrant and active, it was time to get baking! The recipe I used was that of Paul Hollywood and like most of his recipes, this one did not disappoint!!
It started with strong bread flour mixed with my starter and salt, along with some tepid water to bring everything all together. Once combined, a good kneading was necessary to activate this bad boy and give it that rise it so desperately needs. After its first rise [five hours], the dough is formed out into a square, spread with lavender honey [see my earlier post on this] and scattered with toasted sliced almonds. The square dough is rolled into a cylindrical form and rolled into a ‘crust’ of more toasted sliced almonds… After the loaves are covered with the almonds, they are off to rest for an additional nine hours [this was the overnight part] to rise again!
Once morning arrived, it was off to bake in a 375 degree oven for thirty-five minutes until golden and when tapped… hollow!
A slight cool down, a beautiful tear and it was time to devour with a luxurious cup of lady grey tea…

**if you are interested in the recipe, you can find it in the Paul Hollywood cookbook, ‘How to Bake’. I highly recommend the book**

at a low simmer…
-R

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A rainy day masterpiece…

So on this yet again, rainy day… I decided to pull another interesting dish from my new cookbook! This recipe had quite a few steps involved so the prep work began in the early AM hours.
The entire bang started by marinating a boneless leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, extra virgin, salt and crushed peppercorns for roughly eight hours.
While my meat was marinating, I began mixing rye, white and wholemeal flours, along with salt and then yeast in my mixer. To pull everything together, in went some water. Everything was kneaded and then it went into an oiled mixing bowl and set off to rise. As soon as the dough rose, I stretched it out into a rectangle, made some imprints with my fingertips and then pricked the dough with a fork. Again it was time for another rise and then a bake! The baking time was only thirty minutes and then off to cool.
While my bread cooled, the lamb was grilled until perfectly cooked… Then it was onto the fun part, to serve this gorgeous dinner up! The freshly baked bread [trencher as the recipe is called] is decorated watercress, haricot vert, scallions and radishes. On top of this vibrancy, were slices of the succulent lamb, along with its sexy juices…
As the finishing touch, a dressing of crème fraiche, lemon juice, salt and english mustard.
The flavors were incredible… earthy from the rosemary, citrusy from the lemon zest, cool yet spicy from the dressing, while the ‘trencher’ tasted nutty and light, while soaking up all the goodness…

at a low simmer…
-R

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A rainy day masterpiece…

So on this yet again, rainy day… I decided to pull another interesting dish from my new cookbook! This recipe had quite a few steps involved so the prep work began in the early AM hours.
The entire bang started by marinating a boneless leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, extra virgin, salt and crushed peppercorns for roughly eight hours.
While my meat was marinating, I began mixing rye, white and wholemeal flours, along with salt and then yeast in my mixer. To pull everything together, in went some water. Everything was kneaded and then it went into an oiled mixing bowl and set off to rise. As soon as the dough rose, I stretched it out into a rectangle, made some imprints with my fingertips and then pricked the dough with a fork. Again it was time for another rise and then a bake! The baking time was only thirty minutes and then off to cool.
While my bread cooled, the lamb was grilled until perfectly cooked… Then it was onto the fun part, to serve this gorgeous dinner up! The freshly baked bread [trencher as the recipe is called] is decorated watercress, haricot vert, scallions and radishes. On top of this vibrancy, were slices of the succulent lamb, along with its sexy juices…
As the finishing touch, a dressing of crème fraiche, lemon juice, salt and english mustard.
The flavors were incredible… earthy from the rosemary, citrusy from the lemon zest, cool yet spicy from the dressing, while the ‘trencher’ tasted nutty and light, while soaking up all the goodness…

at a low simmer…
-R

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the crowning glory…

Like a kid in a candy store, I anxiously awaited for the postman to arrive with that brown boxy item… once the box arrived I tore straight into it and from it emerged my version of the bible… my newest cookbook… ‘bread’ from the master Paul Hollywood!
Thumbing through the glossy, picture laden book was painful, as I wanted to make every single recipe listed, but I was on a mission for one perfect puffy, stuffed and twisted doughy element of perfection… The ‘savoury brioche couronne’.
As soon as I knew what ingredients I was missing, it was off to the market to gather them up and then back home to start off baking… This was such an incredible treat to make, although like most breads… time consuming!
It began with the combining of flour, yeast, salt, milk, eggs and butter… After this all was incorporated, the dough was set aside for it’s first rise. Next the dough was rolled out to a rectangle and topped off with salty, thinly sliced prosciutto, torn mozz and julienned basil! Rolled tightly together into a large cylindrical shape, the dough was then sliced down the center and then twisted together and wrapped into a circle.
As soon as this was done, it was bagged up and off for its second slumber to rise again…
Once the dough was puffy and ready for its tan, it was glazed with an egg wash and some grated pecorino. Into the oven for thirty-five minutes until swollen and golden!
The scent flooded the air as the couronne baked away, but as for the taste… well there are so many words to describe, but I prefer divine…

at a low simmer…
-R

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hands off my buns!

For a nod to the upcoming Easter holiday, I decided to whip up a batch of hot cross buns… these spicy orbs of golden delight take a bit of time to prepare, but the outcome is entirely worth the effort!
The standards for creating these little heartbreakers are flour, sugar, salt, some mixed spices [pumpkin pie spice works as well], yeast, butter, an egg, whole milk, water, raisins, currants, as well as lemon and orange zest!
Everything for the dough is combined in the mixer, minus the fruits and zests… After a good ten-twelve minutes of kneading in the mixer, the fruits and zests are added in until incorporated. Once combined, a layer of plastic wrap covers the dough and it’s off for a nap in a warm spot until the dough rises in volume…
The dough, once risen, is separated and rolled into mounds, then set aside to rise again. As soon as they have risen the second time, a cross is piped along the tops of each bun and it’s off to get baking!
As soon as the buns are golden, a quick brushing of a syrupy glaze is gently slathered over each to finish off these treasures!
Warm out of the oven with a spread of butter or preserves [or hell both] is the best way to enjoy… guaranteed these don’t make it until Sunday!

at a low simmer…
-R

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French pastry Sunday baking…

Today was an amazing Sunday! A fun-filled day of baking with my niece who is an outstanding executive pastry chef. Get the two of us together in a kitchen and only delicious eats could be made!
We started off by preparing dough for freshly made croissants. After rolling out, folding and resting the butter-filled dough a few times, it was eventually time that we fill with an almond paste filling and bake off these gorgeous pastries. Flakey layers of buttery seduction with a sweet nutty interior made me think of breakfast in the European countryside with a captivating cup of freshly pressed coffee and the breeze blowing past…
In addition, French macarons were whipped up with a homemade pistachio filling. These light and chewy, pillowy sandwiches practically melted in our mouths, and one, two, three… well who really counted! All I can say is these were absolutely delightful.
The day could not have been better spent, or more enjoyable. I’m looking forward to our next baking adventure together and what incredible edibles we will create!

at a low simmer…
-R

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shortcuts don’t always cut it…

So as a last hurrah to the unofficial end to summer, what better way to celebrate than with… homemade pasta! Yes I’m sure everyone thought I was going to say burgers on the grill… well that would have been the case, but unfortunately the sun wasn’t shining when it was time for making dinner. An overcast and slightly rainy afternoon pretty much nixed grilling for me this time!
Homemade pasta seemed like a nice and fun idea to do. I enjoy making pasta and just picked up a brand new pasta extruder machine from my favorite specialty kitchenware shop this past weekend. Having been the first customer to buy this product, the associates couldn’t offer much in the way of use. So it was pretty much up to me to attempt figuring this machine out and hoping it was worth picking up.
I am partial to my own pasta dough recipe, but instead followed the recipe from the machine’s booklet… the pasta kept climbing the wall of the interior bowl and unfortunately needed constant encouragement to work its way into the extruder and took way too long to expel through the disk. Also I felt there was a great deal of waste at the end of the extrusion process.
Into salty boiling water and then tossed into the cannellini bean sauce I made and it was time to eat!
I have to say… I was NOT a fan of this pasta. My personal feeling of the machine is that you do not achieve the same kneaded texture as when done by hand. Also the pasta was very ‘doughy’ tasting in my own opinion.
Needless to say a trip back to the specialty kitchenware shop is in the cards tomorrow to return this item and get something worthwhile… there is plenty to choose from so that shouldn’t be a problem…
Lesson learned… sometimes the most promising gadgets that are supposed to help simplify don’t deliver the quality and taste as a cooks best tools… two hands!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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a savory meat pie!

Today I prepared a dish that I grew up having. It’s an Italian Easter pie! It’s a ‘meat’ pie full of different meats and cheeses. The filling is ricotta-based and absolutely incredible!
I started off by making the crust… flour, salt, shortening [the only place I would use this], eggs and ice cold water. Prepping the dough is a breeze because I quickly work it together in the food processor! Once combined, I form it into a disk and chill it in the fridge for a bit.
While the dough was chilling, I started on the filling. Ricotta cheese, grated pecorino romano, eggs, salt, minced parsley diced mozz, a variety of diced cured Italian meats! A quick mix in a large bowl and set aside.
Once chilled I halved the dough and rolled out one portion and placed it into a springform pan, poured in the filling, covered it over with the other half of dough, brushed with an egg wash and into the oven till golden and cooked through!
Salty and creamy with a wonderful toasty crunchy crust! Perfect for a Sunday dinner or a weekday lunch!

at a low simmer…
-R

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