Monday, July 13, 2020

Country Bread Loaf (with 50% pre-ferment)

Jeffrey Hamelman's Country Bread, with a twist. 

Baking during a pandemic has given me more time to play around with old favorites. This bread is made with a 12-16 hour pre-ferment, which for less experienced bakers is a bit less fussy than working with sourdough. Hamelman's instructions call for shaping the dough as a "boule" or "battard,"  but the book was written in 2004, before many of us had Emile Henry or other covered clay bakers. This dough makes 2 sizable loaves, so here I baked 1/2 in an Emile Henry loaf pan and the other half I formed into two smaller loaves and baked in a ciabatta pan. 

Hamelman's original recipe calls for about 900 g of bread flour, for these loaves I replaced about a quarter of the flour with einkorn flour. He also calls for 1.8% salt, which, for us, is not quite enough. I increased the salt to 2% and do not add it at all to the pre-ferment. The dough is firm, at about 68% hydration. 


  • stand mixer, flexible scraper, silicone spatula
  • scale , mixing cup, measuring spoons
  • covered ceramic baking pans (although you can use two large loaf pans)
  • surface to allow bread to cool 
  • make the pre-ferment, allow to rest 12-16 hours 
  • make dough, add pre-ferment , proof 2- 2.5 hours (with 2 stretch and folds in the bowl). You can slow this down- up to about 8 or 10 hours- if you place in the fridge, turn out, give it a few quick stretch and folds and bring back to room temperature
  • bench rest  (20-30 minutes)
  • final proof (approximately 1 hour)
  • bake 
  • enjoy! 
Ingredients : 
  • Pre-ferment (NO salt added here) 
    • 454 g bread flour
    • 272g slightly warm water
    • .5 g instant yeast (it's about 1/8 tsp)
  • Dough
    • 113 g einkorn flour
    • 340 g bread flour
    • 346 g slightly warmer than room temp water
    • 6.5-7 g kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
    • 2 g instant yeast (1/2 tsp)
    • all of the pre-ferment 

  • Make the pre-ferment 
    • In the stand-mixer bowl - disperse yeast in the water
    • Add the flour
    • On low speed, start mixing, make sure to get the dry bits incorporated into the dough
    • The mixture will be on the dry side and take a couple of minutes to come together. Add 1-2 Tbsp water if needed 
    • Increase speed and mix for another 2-3 minutes. Move the dough into a large mixing bowl
    • Cover with either plastic wrap or a wet flat weave dish towel and let stand at room temperature for 12-16 hours. The resulting starter will be puffy and bubbly 
  • Making the dough
    • Measure and pour the water into the stand mixer bowl. Hold back 20-30 g of water and pour it into a small ramekin 
    • Add the yeast to the mixing bowl 
    • Add the salt to the ramekin and mix with the water 
    • Add the flours into the bowl, start mixing on slow speed. 
    • Pour the salt water into the mixture 
    • Start adding the pre-ferment in chunks (about 5 additions). Make sure that the pre-ferment is dispersed within the dough
    • Increase the speed (speed 4 on a Kitchenaid) and work the dough for 3-4 minutes until smooth. You may find you need to add 2-3 Tbsp of water
    • The dough should be around 75 degrees, which in my kitchen is just about room temperature. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let proof for about an hour 
    • After an hour the dough will begin to look puffy. WET your hands,  stretch and fold 4x (moving the bowl 1/4 of a turn for each stretch and fold.  Cover and let proof and repeat in another hour
    • If the dough is quite puffy and stretchy, you're good. If not, wait another 20-30 minutes. Einkorn makes the dough a bit more sticky than 100% wheat flour, so keep a light dusting of flour on your hands once the dough is on a work surface.
    • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, stretch and fold quickly, divide into 2 parts for two loaves or smaller (e.g. 3 oz portions for rolls). Cover with a plastic covering and let rest 20-25 minutes. Again, the dough will be a bit sticky, but stretchy and substantial.
  • Shaping and Baking 
    • I shaped the half dough piece into a rectangle and placed into a ceramic loaf pan. You don't have to grease or line an Emile Henry ceramic pan, but I have found it easier to line with parchment. You can use a metal loaf pan, greased and floured with either rice flour or cornmeal. If you are using a metal loaf pan, bake uncovered.
    • The 2nd half I shaped into 2 smaller logs and placed in a ciabatta pan. 
    • Let rise about an hour. 
    • Start preheating the oven to 450 degrees after the dough is proofing for about 20 minutes
    • These breads were baked in a preheated oven, in a room temperature ceramic pan, that had been liberally sprinkled with rice flour or corn meal (on the pan and around the raw dough) 
    • For the ciabatta - bake, covered, for 25 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes more
    • For the loaf- bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes more 
    • If the lid sticks to the pan bottom - CAREFULLY remove the ceramic pan from the oven, place on stove-top grid and using a thin metal spatula (a frosting spatula will work well), pry into the space between the lid and base and wiggle a bit. This will loosen the lid from the bit of dough that rose into the space between the top of the pan and the lid.  After the pan is completely cool and the bread has been removed, soak the pan with warm water and the burned bit of crust will come right off. 
  • Cool the bread before removing from the pan. The breads will shrink back away from the sides of the ceramic pans and should be relatively easy to remove
  • The crust of this bread is thin and crackly and the crumb is light . 

This bread makes great sandwiches !
The stored bread can be crisped up by rewarming for a few minutes. 

Another great sandwich bread you may want to try is: Sourdough Oatmeal Loaf


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pandemic Era Sourdough Loaf

Pandemic Era Sourdough Loaf  

This recipe make one large size loaf

(Recipe is modified loaf from Maurizio Leo , The Perfect Loaf, “Sourdough with AP flour”)

 This loaf is one of the millions of loaves made all over the world while the world is mostly shut down and we're all home baking. History books will make note #pandemic baking #bakinginthetimeofcovid #covidbaking as the moment non-celiac individuals rediscovered the wonders of gluten. 

·         You can make this loaf with all AP flour. We liked the texture and taste of this version with wheat and rye.

·          This loaf is made in a regular loaf pan with good results.  For photos showing the same bread baked in a covered Staub round Dutch oven, see the end of the posting. 

Don’t skip the steps, this is the procedure I use for almost all sour dough bread. It’s a combination of several baker’s techniques, and it almost always works (baking sourdough bread is mostly science, part art - sometimes dough it out of control).  The proofing times can be played with, you can slow down the proofing by placing in the fridge. Proofing can be sped up (but don't rush too much) by using a proofing boy or placing dough in a warm oven. Turn the oven onto 100 degrees, place dough in the oven and SHUT OFF THE OVEN.  Another way to use your oven as the proofing box is by turning on the light in the oven that is NOT turned on. The bulb will create a heat. If your oven has a proofing cycle, I would not recommend it for sour dough breads, I find the proofing to be too warm for sour dough.

In this time of flour shortages, make sure you have enough flour. 

The WHOLE RECIPE will use:

460 g flour  (I mix up the flour, you can use entirely all purpose)

340 g water

9 g Diamond Crystal kosher or sea salt (sea salt is no better than kosher salt. Don’t use Morton’s kosher  

      salt, the crystals are different size, the measurement will be wrong).

92 g sour dough starter (any starter, rye, wheat of combination works equally well)

½ tsp instant yeast

2-3 Tbsp wheat flour or corn meal or rye flour for dusting the pan (optional)



Large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer

Scale , measuring spoons

A metal loaf pan (the large size)

                This loaf can be made in a smaller size (4 qt) round covered baker.

It is too small a loaf for the Lodge cast iron combo pan.  If using a covered baking pan, preheat

the pan in the oven and transfer on parchment into the pan.


1.       .Autolyze :

Measure off and combine in a bowl a beginning amount of water and flour.   

If you are going to work by hand, a big bowl will do, if you are going to use the kitchen aid, do this in the kitchen aid bowl.

a.       200 g water

b.       100 g  bread flour

c.       100 g rye flour

Mix with a spatula or spoon. Cover bowl with a very damp flat weave (not terrycloth) dishtowel and let rest 30 -60 minutes

2.        Add Sour Dough starter (you might see this step called “Biga” ):

a.       Stir in starter, cover with wet cloth, leave at room temperature 8-12 hours (overnight)

It will be puffy and wet – but not soupy.

3.       Add to aged starter mix:

a.       100 g water (you are holding back 40g of water until later)

b.       260 g bread flour

c.       ½ tsp yeast

You can either mix this in the kitchen aid , speed 2 for 2-3 min and then speed 4 for 3-4 minutes and let rest, covered, for 2 hours OR You can mix it in the bowl with a flexible scraper and then with very wet hands do a cycle of stretch and folds 4 x over 2 hours. You can slow down this process and place the dough in the fridge for up to 8-12 hours and more or less ignore. In this case, it will work more or less like a no knead bread. 

While it’s resting, you can use saran wrap to cover, or if the bowl is big and the dough will not touch the top, a wet towel will work. Don’t let the plastic or towel touch the dough (this is different than regular yeast doughs, where it won’t matter if the saran is touching the greasy dough).

4.     After 2 hours  (or have chilled in the fridge) you will see the dough almost double, but it’s still gloopy. You’re going to add the salt now and you will see the dough “seize up” and become more bread-dough like and stretchy. Salt improves stretchability, but it also steals water from the flour and yeast, so this is a technique of adding the salt after most of the proofing is done. 


Combine (mix with a spoon or your finger, you don’t need to have it totally dissolved)

a.       40 g  warm water

b.       9 g salt


5.       Stretch and fold the dough one full time around (it’s 4 stretch folds, moving the bowl around ¼ of the way until you’ve made a circle).  You can either let it rest in the bowl for 30 minutes or a better way of doing it is to: pour the dough out onto a floured surface and using your flexible scraper, slide the scrapper under one side of the dough, bring up toward the middle , continue around the bread, so that all around the bread you’ve folded it toward the center. This will increase the tension of the skin of the bread. This helps the dough to hold it's shape and will form a better crust.


6.       Using the scraper, place the dough in a metal loaf pan. Either grease/flour (you can use cornmeal or rice flour for this) OR you can line the pan with parchment paper and skip the grease /flour part.  Let rest until it gets puffy, 30-45 minutes.


7.       Seeding and Baking:

a.       While the bread is resting in the loaf pan, heat the oven to 450 degrees and place a pan (best to use a cast iron frying pan if you have one) filled with water onto the bottom shelf or oven floor. Be careful when you open the oven later on, there will be steam in the oven that will rush toward your face.

b.       When you are ready to place the dough in the oven, use a lame, razor or scissors and slice a few well spaced slits along the top of the bread. This helps with oven “spring” and will increase the rise of the bread. 

c.       Spritz the top of the dough liberally with room temperature water and sprinkle any seeds or combination of seeds, dried onion, za’atar on top.


8.       Be careful opening the oven (it is steamy !!!!).

a.       Place pan in the middle of the middle shelf of the oven , close the oven door

b.       Immediately lower the heat to 425 degrees, bake 20 minutes and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.

c.       Lower heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for approximately 15- 20 minutes (check after 15 minutes).  I use the color of the bread to indicate doneness, if you want to use a thermometer, the inside of the center of the loaf should read 190- 195 degrees.

 Let the bread rest for 10 minutes when you remove it from the oven, and then turn it out of the pan. Cool on a rack. This will help it remain crusty.

Pictures below, same loaf made, unseeded, in a Staub covered baker. 


 If  you are looking for other sourdough breads, you can check by search terms. If you happen to have whole wheat flour (also at a premium right now) check out : Whole Wheat & Walnut Sourdough Bread

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sourdough Wheat and Barley Rustic Loaf

I played around with barley bread recipes after visiting Orkney and Shetland (Scotland), where barley is a staple grain for eating and making Scotch (whiskey) and beer. Bere barley, an ancient barley variety, is not available outside of the UK. The dough made with bere barley is a bit "springier," off-white in color and a bit sweeter than when made with American barley. In any case, the resulting bread is very chewy, has a great crust and nice sweet yeasty smell. 
Barley, like wheat and rye contains gluten and is not safe for people who are gluten sensitive. The percentage of gluten in barley is much lower than wheat; therefore wheat flour is required in order to make a good textured bread (rather than a cracker). 
This is a slow rising bread, don't rush it, it affects the texture of the finished product. The process will take approximately 36 hours to complete once you have ripe sourdough starter. 
You can stretch it out for another 12 hours or thereabouts, modifying the process to work around your busy day. 
The ingredient list and steps look more complicated than it actually is. 
The secret is to take it slowly and build the dough. 
 I'm showing the bread baked as six smallish (~ 210g/ 7 oz.) baguettes, you can bake it as one large round sourdough loaf in a 3 qt. Lodge cast iron combo-cooker. 

  • Ripe sour dough starter (the starter should have been "fed" 8-10 hours prior to using it)
  • Mixing starter and initial amount of flour (with an 8hr- overnight proofing period)
  • Completing the wheat dough (another 3 hours, but can be "retarded" by allowing to proof in the fridge for up to 8-10 hours)
  • Adding barley flour, proofing for an hour or two
  • Adding salt and a bit of water. The salt will modify the yeast activity and the dough will become more elastic. Proof for another 30- 60 minutes or again, you can retard the dough's activity by chilling for up to 8-10 hours. 
  • Bench rest 30-60 minutes, Shaping and rest for 30-60 minutes
  • Bake 
  • Get ready for an exceptional bread eating experience !

  • scale
  • large mixing bowl
  • flexible bench scraper 
  • covered baguette baker (I use the Emile Henry 3 baguette baker)

Initial dough: 
  • 25 g ripe sourdough starter (mine is 1/2 wheat, 1/2 rye)
  • 25 g bread flour (I use King Arthur flour)
  • 25g room temperature water  
First build: 
  • 500 g water
  • 250g bread flour
  • 250 g all purpose flour
  • 30 g honey 
2nd build:
  • 135 g barley flour (different barley will give you different dough colors) 
Final build 
  • 10g kosher salt mixed with 30g water 
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the initial dough ingredients with a flexible spatula. Make sure to break up the globs of sour dough starter.  Cover with a very damp dish towel and let rest at room temperature for at least 8 hours. It will be puffy like melty-marshmallow when it's ready. 
  2. Add the ingredients for the first build. Again, vigorously stir with a flexible spatula. Cover a very damp towel, allow to rest at room temperature for 3-5 hours. It will begin to bubble. If it is not bubbling, place in a warmer spot (you can pre-warm the oven to 100 degrees and SHUT OFF the oven) and let it sit for an hour or so more.  Perform 2- 3 sets of stretch & folds over the 3-5 hours the dough is resting. Stretching and folding the dough in the bowl will improve the gluten structure and help the bread to bubble and rise. Your working hand must be very wet, this will keep the dough from sticking to your hand AND makes it easier to stretch and fold. The elasticity of the dough will remarkably improve after just one set of stretching and folding.
  3. Mix in the barley. This will be difficult, the barley does not hydrate easily. Start off with the spatula, but I find that mixing in by hand (with a stretch and fold motion) works well. Make sure your hand is very wet with warm water, another 1/2- 1 oz or so of water mixing in will not ruin the dough. You want to blend in all of the barley flour.  Let rest for 1-2 hours. 1-2 sets of stretch and folds during this time. You should see some largish bubbles right under the skin of the dough. 
  4.  Pour the salt water over the dough and stretch and fold, incorporating the water into the dough. Rest 30 -60 minutes OR place in fridge and retard the proofing over night.
5. The dough will be sticky, flour the work service and keep your hands wet. Stretch and fold the dough and portion out six balls, approximately 130 gms (~7 oz). Flatten out the balls into a disk that is about 3- 4 inches across, pulling the edges up toward the center of the disk. Turn so that the seam is on the work surface. Repeat for all six balls. Cover with plastic or a well floured flat weave dish towel. Let rest 30-60 minutes (this is a "bench rest")

6. Dust the wells of the baguette pan with corn meal or rice flour.

7. Shape each ball by flattening to a 6x4 rectangle. Fold long edge over to the center of the rectangle and flatten edge with finger tips. Repeat with the other long edge. Bring both edges together and pinch the seam. Roll lightly , while simultaneously stretching , forming a baguette that is approximately 16-17 inches long. Place in the pan wells. Sprinkle cornmeal or rice flour on the top of the loaves. 

There are 3 wells in the Emile Henry baguette pan. You can be extravagant and purchase 2 pans or bake the initial 3 loaves , cool the pan on the stove top for about 20 minutes and then carefully, without directly touching the hot clay pan, repeat with the remaining 3 baguettes. 

Alternately, you can use an aluminum baguette pan, although the crust will not be the same. 

Let the shaped baguettes rest for 30 minutes and then use a lame or sharp herb scissor to slash the baguette. Slashing will help the bread rise during baking and creates a beautiful design on the baked bread. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees at this time.

7. Cover and bake in your pre-heated oven.  25 minutes covered. Uncover and continue to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. Cool completely before removing from the pan. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Really Delicious Falafel

This recipe is an amalgam of the falafel recipes 
from Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook and Adeena Sussman

It's the eighth night of Hanukkah and we have a last shot at eating something fried for the holiday. I re-learned something when I tried making these a couple of days ago (you are looking at a 2nd batch of falafel balls), which is sometimes the ingredient list & subsequent instructions really do make a difference in the final product. So a word of caution: do not try to substitute canned beans for the dry chickpeas in this recipe, it will not work.  This mean you have to plan ahead if you plan to make this recipe. The resulting falafel are not dry or cakey, which is often the case with pre-made frozen falafel balls. You can alter the spice mix to your liking, the constant for falafel are the chickpeas, onion, garlic, salt and cumin. 

Choreography: This recipe needs to be started a minimum of 10 hours before cooking. The actual cooking takes under an hour. 
  • Soak a 1 lb package of dried chickpeas  (garbanzo beans) for 10-24 hours
  • Blend everything in a food processor 
  • Fry, blot on paper towel and try not to eat the entire batch before the guests arrive 
  • Food processor (if you have an 8 cup or larger capacity, you'll be fine. If it's smaller, you'll have to process the beans in batches 
  • Colander 
  • Small saucepan or a deep fryer
  • Measuring spoons, cooking spoon to flip the falafel (if you are using a saucepan)
  • Small bowl to mix the spices 
  • 1 lb package dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo, Egyptian peas)
  • A large handful of Italian parsley (leaves and smaller stems)
  • A handful of cilantro (Optional: I don't ever use cilantro, but many people love the taste)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small-medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled 
Spice mix (combine in a small bowl):
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) - if you are using Mortons, use 3/4 T 
  •  1/8- 1/4 tsp chili powder. We use "GoldStone Farms," which means that it's made from the Thai and Jamaican chili's we grow in the garden - so I go very lightly as home made chili powder is generally hotter than the commercial type. 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground corriander 
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • Neutral oil for frying 
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm water if needed for consistency of the mixture 

  1. Pour the beans into a large bowl, rinse, and cover with boiling water, so that the water submerges the beans and rests about 2 inches above the level of the beans. Cover and let rest for 10- 24 hours. You can check in several hours and add a bit of water if it looks like the beans are absorbing most of the water. To determine when the beans are ready, they will not soften completely, but you will be able to press your nail into the bean 
  2. Mix the spices and baking soda in a small bowl. Make sure to break up any baking soda lumps as you mix the spices
  3.  Pour half of the chickpeas into the food processor bowl with the garlic, onion, carrot , parsley and cilantro (if using). Add 1-2 Tbsp warm water if needed.  Process until it resembles course sand. Add the remaining beans and 1/2 of the spice mixture. Process again. Blend in remaining spice mixture, process until the spices are mixed in and transfer to a bowl. 
  4. The mixture should look like wet large grain sand. There should be no water puddling at the bottom of the bowl.  Take a tablespoon of the mixture and squeeze in your hand, it should hold together. If it doesn't form a ball, process until the pieces are finer. If this doesn't do the trick, try another 1 Tbsp of water. 

     5. Heat 2 - 3 inches of oil in a small sauce pan
     6. There is a small instrument specifically used to form falafel balls called a pal-ed falafel scoop. 
         If you do not have one, use a tsp to measure out about 1.5 tsp of mix into your hand. Squeeze 
         into a ball and ease into hot oil. 
      7. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then rotate so that the entire surface is cooked and turns golden. Drain. 
      8. Don't crowd the falafel balls in the oil, continue until all of the mix is used up. You will be able
          to make approximately 36 pieces. 
       9. Serve with tahina sauce (which is not the same thing as tahina paste in a jar or bottle), in a pita
          with salad and pickles or with as a snack with a a sauce like spicy mayonnaise (mayo mixed               with garlic and a bit of hot pepper in adobo sauce).

Enjoy hot or at room temperature. The falafel can be wrapped and refrigerated for a day or two. You can double wrap and freeze for a week or two as well. 

Another  "chickpea" recipe you might be interested in: Chicken Meatballs with Chickpeas and Chickpeas and Zucchini

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Brisket stuffed Corn Muffins

Thanks to Emeril Lagasse for this corn muffin idea. 
No worries for those who keep kosher, the meat is pulled brisket, the corn muffin batter is pareve. 
Yield: approximately 30 muffins

This cornbread is on our menu for Thanksgiving this year. You needn't follow the recipe, but rather the methodology.  If, however, you have never made pulled brisket or cornbread, you can easily follow the recipe below.  The recipe is made in two parts; the meat will take 6-8 hours and then must cool fully. Corn muffins are assembled in 15 minutes and cook for another 15.  The corn muffin recipe is inspired by a Rosso/Lukins recipe in The New Basics Cookbook. 

roasting pan
forks or meat shredder
aluminum foil 
mixing bowl and measuring equipment
muffin pan
muffin paper cups 

For the pulled brisket:
2.5-3 lb brisket (2nd cut, the fattier the better) or non-pickled deckel 
2 c of your favorite BBQ sauce . Our favorite BBQ sauce is a brown sugar- molasses based sauce. 
1/2 c red wine 

For the corn muffins:
2 c cornmeal (I like to use yellow cornmeal for this recipe)
1 c white whole wheat flour
1 c unbleached all purpose flour 
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 heaping Tbsp. brown sugar
1 15oz. can creamed corn
1 15 oz. can, or 1 c frozen corn kernels
1 c soy or almond milk
1 c non-dairy sour cream substitute
1 Tbsp. vinegar
4 beaten eggs
scant 1/4 c vegetable oil

I. The night before you plan to bake:
- place the meat in a roasting pan that is close to the size of the piece of meat. Pour BBQ sauce and wine over the meat. 
-wrap the pan in foil , you want to prevent any evaporation while the meat is roasting/braising 
-bake at 225 degrees for 6-8 hours . I do this overnight, setting the oven to turn off after 8 hours. 
- cool and then unwrap the meat. The meat should be fork tender and falling apart 
- using 2 forks, shred the meat. If strands of muscle are long, use a knife to cut across the strands making short strands that will fit into a muffin cup
-pour the liquid into a small saucepan and reduce sauce until it is thickened  (honey-like consistency)
-pour the hot sauce over the shredded meat and set aside (or cover and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days)
-meat will be saucy and "wet," but sauce should not be running in the pan 

II. Making the muffins:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees . Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups. 
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (cornmeal, flours, salt, pepper, baking powder, baking soda)
2. Mix the faux sour cream, non dairy milk, vinegar, oil, both types of corn, eggs
3. Combine the two mixtures, mix well and spoon 1 Tbsp of batter into each cup 

4. Place (and press slightly) about 1 tsp of meat into each muffin cup. Top with corn muffin batter.

5. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and remove muffins from the hot baking pan. 

6. Enjoy the muffins warm or at room temperature. These muffins can be cooled, double wrapped and frozen.  Unwrap prior to defrosting. Warm in an oven at 325 for 10 minutes after defrosting. 

Other Thanksgiving favorites on Bread and Babka: Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls 

Happy Holiday !

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Applesauce Coffee Cake (pareve, no nuts)

               This cake is modified from Applesauce Crumb Cake in Kosher by Design (S. Fishbein)

It's November on the US Eastern seaboard. It's cold all around: the weather, the politics, the mood of all of us who suddenly had to grab our down jackets just 24 hours after a balmy, sunny 65 degree day.  
I usually make dessert for Shabbat on Thursday, leaving cooking to Thursday night and the very early morning hours on Friday. In reality, I usually think about what I'm going to make for dessert for two or three days prior to Thursday since I love making sweets and because it's the only time we have a planned sweet at the end of any meal (as if week-night dinners are actually a planned meal). 

I'm partial to both chocolate and fruit and even though we're limited to apples locally (and lots of trucked-in out of season fruit), I have a chest freezer with lots of summer fruit that was purchased and packed up while the choices were abundant and prices cheap. This is the same freezer that I promised my husband would only be used in the few weeks prior to the fall holidays and then again in the spring before Passover. This is one of our family jokes- the way we over stock groceries, freeze anything that can be frozen (you never know when you'll need 2 oz. of fresh lemon juice, right?) and live by the motto that you never know when you'll need that one esoteric ingredient. The freezer is never empty and is never shut off. If you love to bake or cook and freeze, an extra freezer is a game-changer. 

Which brings me to this applesauce cake.  We do have a freezer with blueberries, sliced peaches, and fresh figs ;however, this is the week that I didn't think about dessert until an hour before I had to make it. So forget a fresh fruit dessert this week, everything is frozen. We do happen to have applesauce (just in case.....) and so applesauce became the central ingredient of whatever dessert we would have for Shabbat.  Even better (when you have a 32 oz. jar of applesauce)  this cake takes 16 oz of applesauce. It's not as stunning as a beautiful apple galette or crumble, but it is a simple comfort food all the same. 

The cake is assembled in 3 layers.  The fat-flour mixture is the basis of both the cake batter and crumb topping. The applesauce is added as a layer over the cake batter base. The cake is baked in a rectangle baking pan.  Beginning to end it's mixed and baked in under 2 hours. 

2 qt. rectangle pan (I use a 2 qt. Pyrex baking dish, measuring 7 x 11 inches)
mixing bowl, measuring equipment 
electric mixer or stand mixer
parchment paper (to line the pan)

Cake batter:
1 1/2 cup margarine (3 sticks). You can use butter or a combination of vegetable shortening and margarine.
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
4 c (18 oz.) all purpose flour
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 extra large eggs (added after the crumb portion has been removed)

Applesauce layer:
16 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla 

Crumb topping:
1/3 of the batter prior to the eggs being added
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c cinnamon chips or cinnamon bits (I use cinnamon bits, available from King Arthur flour)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut and line a baking pan with parchment paper
2. Blend the flour, salt and baking powder and stir
3. Cream the fat and sugar, add the flour mixture, blend well and set aside about 1/3 of the mixture. Blend in the eggs after the crumb portion has been set aside
4. Press the cake batter into the prepared pan
5. Combine the applesauce layer ingredients and spread over the cake batter base 
6. Combine topping ingredients. The flour mixture will be grainy, which is ok, since it will make a crumb-type topping.  Spread over the applesauce
7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean 
8. Cool before slicing.  The cake will stay well, covered for 2-3 days. The cake can be double wrapped and frozen (use within 4-6 weeks)

Another time, with a bit of planning, another great coffee cake  (made with blueberries) can be found here: Blueberry Crumb Spice Cake 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Chicken meatballs with zucchini and chickpeas

This is a totally accidental dish influenced by Ottolenghi's recipe for Chicken with miso and ginger (Ottolenghi's Simple, Ten Speed Press).  

I was looking to throw dinner together quickly and was thinking that something Persian-ish with ground chicken and chickpeas would hit the spot; however, I also had Simple on the counter and started leafing through it. The ground chicken was already defrosted and the can of chickpeas on the counter. A few zucchini were either going to be used or thrown away and it has been too cold to walk over to the compost pile. Such is the beginning of a really good, quick chicken meatball dish, which with the addition of steamed brown rice, is a delicious winter mid-week meal. This is the kind of dish you can play with and embellish as you see fit.  The recipe serves 3-4. 

The recipe calls for ginger. You can use fresh ginger, or ginger that has been peeled and preserved in sherry. 

  • start the brown rice
  • mince the flavorings (ginger, garlic, whites of scallion, parsley)
  • measure out miso (I keep miso frozen in the plastic packaging), liquid ingredients 
  • roughly cut up zucchini , open and drain the chickpeas 
  • mix the ground chicken with breadcrumbs (gluten or gluten free) and flavoring. Meatballs will be dropped directly into the sauce as they are formed 
  • Cook for 15 minutes, finish the rice and serve hot 
  • mixing bowls, measuring spoons/cups , mixing spoons 
  • large heavy frying pan or well seasoned cast iron frying pan 
  • whatever pot you like to make rice in 
  • For the meatballs:
    • 1 lb ground chicken, mixed with 
    • 1/4 c bread crumbs, 1 tsp roasted sesame oil, S&P to taste, 1/2 tsp (or more) granulated garlic  
  • For the sauce: 
    • 2-3 Tbsp neutral oil 
    • One 2inch piece of ginger, finely minced
    • two cloves of garlic, finely minced
    • 3-4 scallions, mince the white parts, roughly chop the greens
    • Several tablespoons of minced parsley
    • a pinch of hot pepper flakes (to taste)
    • zest of 2 small lemons
    • juice from the two small lemons 
    • heaping 1/3 cup red or white miso (you can find several brands that are marked kosher)
    • 1/4 cup white wine or mirin 
    • 3-4 Tbsp dark maple syrup
    • 3-4 Tbsp soy or terriaki sauce 
    • 2 zucchini, cut into chunks 
    • 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 
  • Make rice according to your favorite method (using 1 cup of  your choice of brown rice)
  • Mix the chicken with oil and spices. Cook a small sample amount to check the spices. Shape 1 inch balls, let rest on a plate or sheet of waxed paper  
  • Sauté the ginger, garlic, white parts of the scallion 
  • Add the miso and liquid  ingredients and swirl the mixture in the pan , lower the heat to a very low simmer, add water if the sauce thickens too much
  • Gently add the meatballs, cover and simmer 5 minutes
  • Add the zucchini, cover and simmer 5-10 minutes. Don't overcook the vegetable
  • Add parsley and chopped scallion greens and beans 
  • Heat through, serve plated with rice. Enjoy !
I don't have many main-dish recipes on this blog, but you may be interested in Mafrum, another combination of meat with hearty vegetables. The recipe I use is from good friends in Israel, but the method is from Ottolenghi.