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.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Steamed Apple -Raspberry Pudding with raspsberry compote

I'm so excited about learning to make steamed fruit pudding, which are cake-like desserts poured into a mold, covered and then steamed in a boiling water bath on top of the stove. The process is ancient and started as a savory food preparation that was stuffed into an animal stomach or intestine and then boiled. "Black pudding" (blood sausage) is an early iteration of a pudding. As modern sugar production started in the 18th century and made sugar accessible to the average consumer, sweet fruit puddings developed.

British puddings are nothing like American chocolate or vanilla pudding, which are related to custard.  The batter for puddings have a higher egg to flour ratio than cake and the resulting texture is reminiscent of firm bread pudding. I'm psyched about how beautiful this one looked, but compared to some of the puddings I've seen on the Great British Baking Show this one is elementary. 

Thank goodness for my friend Norma, who explained that a "pudding basin," is basically a 2 quart heat proof glass mixing bowl. Via Facebook messenger she guided me through the process of creating this incredible dessert. The recipe is a modification of an steamed apple pudding from the British food bloggers, Hairy Bikers' and the BBC food website. 

The process of greasing the glass mixing bowl, mixing the batter , covering the uncooked batter and steaming takes a bit over 2 hours, most of which time the pudding is steaming. 

  • Grease a 2 quart glass mixing bowl (like a Pyrex bowl) with neutral oil or margarine 
  • Mix the batter until blended. Don't overmix, you don't want to create a gluten web, this is not bread
  • Line the bottom of the bowl with a piece of parchment paper and add fruit 
  • Cover with the batter, seal the bowl with parchment paper and then aluminum foil 
  • Set in a large stockpot, fill the pot with water so that it reaches about 1/2 the way up the bowl. Cover and gently simmer for about 90 minutes. 
  • Turn off the heat and cool the pudding in the water (much like you would cool a cheesecake baked in a water-bath) until cool enough to handle
  • electric mixer or stand mixer, mixing bowl, scraper, measuring equipment 
  • 2 quart pudding basin OR 2 quart glass (tempered/baking type) mixing bowl 
  • large stockpot
  • silicon mat that can sit at the bottom of the pot , between the pot and pudding basin. A silicon canning basket works well because it has side handles and will make it easy to remove the bowl after the water has cooled 
  • parchment paper, string
  • aluminum foil 
Pudding batter:
  • 1 pint (about 14-16oz) raspberries, blueberries or blackberries 
  • 6 oz  (1 stick plus 2 tbsp) margarine 
  • 5 oz sugar 
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced 
  • 1 tsp vanilla or Lor Ann oil's butter vanilla bakery emulsion (the flavoring is pareve)- optional, but adds an interesting twist 
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 6 oz (1 1/4c) self-rising flour 
    • if you don't have self rising flour, use 1 1/4c all purpose flour, a pinch of salt, 1.5 tsp baking powder 
  • 2 large firm apples, peeled, cored and diced 

Raspberry compote: 
Blackberries or Blueberries can be substituted 
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1/3-1/2 c raspberry preserves 
  • 2-3 Tbsp red wine (preferably sweet)
  1. Generously grease the pudding basin or mixing bowl 
  2. Cut 2 pieces of parchment, one for lining the bottom of the pudding basin and another one that is large enough to cover the bowl. You'll fasten the paper onto the top of the bowl with a piece of cotton twine (the kind that ties bakery boxes or trusses a turkey will work.)  Cut a hole in the center of the parchment paper which will allow the pudding to vent itself as it cooks 
  3. Tear a large piece of foil that is large enough to cover the bowl from the bottom UP to the top of the bowl. This piece of foil will fold up and then be loosely pleated at the top of the bowl to keep water from splashing onto the parchment paper. Don't close completely, you want the vent to allow steam to escape from the pudding 
  4. Place a small piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the bowl, forming it to cover the bottom and along the side for an inch or so
  5. Beat the margarine, sugar, lemon zest until fluffy and light. 
  6. Beat in half of the egg mixture , flavoring and then gently beat in half the flour
  7. Add remaining egg mixture and flour. Don't overmix. 
  8. Stir the apple pieces into the batter
  9. Boil several cups of water in a kettle (not in the stock pot)
  10. Drop the silicon mat into the bottom of the stock pot
  11. Drop the berries into the bowl, arranging in a single layer 
  12. Gently pour the batter into the  pudding basin, covering the berries
  13. Place the parchment paper, with the hole on top of the basin, tie around the top edge 
  14. Wrap the bowl in foil, loosely pleating at the top. Place in the stock pot.
  15. Slowly add the hot water to the side of the pudding basin, bringing the water to about half the height of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer, cover the pot and steam for 90 minutes. Monitor the pot and add additional hot water if necessary 
  16. Turn off the heat, partially remove the pot cover and allow to cool. I've seen video of using the string tied around the bowl as a means of lifting the pudding, but it looks treacherous to me. My silicon mat has handles, which allow me to life the bowl out of the water, if yours doesn't have that, let the cool a bit before removing the hot bowl 
  17. Remove basin from the water , open and remove the foil and parchment. The pudding should be solid, but a bit spongy
  18. Gently side a knife between the pudding and side of the basin to loosen
  19. Place a cake plate on top of the basin and invert. The pudding will slide out. The parchment will likely come out with the pudding, remove the parchment by peeling off the pudding
  20. Gently pour the compote on the pudding, allowing some to drizzle down the side . Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store the pudding covered in the fridge, covered loosely with plastic wrap 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lemon Filled Yeast Braid

This is a yeast "braid," adapted from King Arthur Flour's "Braided Lemon Bread."
Unlike the original, this version is pareve (non-dairy). It's a delicious not-too-sweet cake that reminds me of Danish for breakfast, without the fussy dough. 

This is a yeast cake, so it will look a bit fussier to make than a cake made with baking powder. If you follow the instructions this is actually a good recipe to use if you want to start learning to bake yeast cakes. The cake dough (rather than a batter) is constructed in steps, first a "sponge" ( a starter), then the dough. The dough requires two proofing periods (rising). The cake can be made over the course of a day or stretched out to fit parts of 2 days. Instead of a straight procedure, I'm describing the creation of this cake as "steps" with approximate time frames.  I use a KitchenAid stand mixer. This is a soft bread dough; however, if you are using a hand held mixer it may not be strong enough to handle this dough. In the event that you are going to mix and knead by hand you will knead, stretch and fold for several more minutes than the KitchenAid. Look at any YouTube videos on bread stretching and folding if you have any doubts. 

Sponge (Starter)
3/4 c barely warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)

The entire sponge
3/4 c faux sour cream or plain non dairy yogurt
1/2 c (one stick) margarine or shortening (I used 1/2 Fleishmann's margarine, 1/2 Earth Balance) . 
    Soften the margarine by leaving it out while the sponge is resting. 
2 large eggs, beaten and 1 egg white mixed with a tsp of cold water for an egg wash
1/2 c sugar 
2 tsp kosher salt 
2 tsp extract flavoring - I used 1 tsp LorAnn oil lemon baking emulsion and 1 tsp LorAnn oil Buttery      Sweet Dough flavor. You can also use a combination of vanilla and lemon extract or just vanilla.
     LorAnn oil flavors are available on line at their website as well as Amazon or King Arthur Flour 
 5c all purpose flour 
pearl sugar or sparking white sugar for sprinkling on the braids 

  • First filling: 2 cups lemon curd (it's hard to find a ready made pareve product, Blake Hill, from Vermont, is a grea product, but it's dairy. I tried this with home made non-dairy curd as well as My-T-Fine brand pudding and pie filling. When used as a cake filling, the difference is not really discernable 
  • Second filling: 1/2 c faux sour cream mixed with 4Tbsp. sugar 
The fillings can be made right after you build the dough. Cover and chill until you are ready to assemble the cake. The pie filling should be mixed gently with a spoon when you are ready to use it 


Sponge: mix the sponge ingredients together in the bowl of  the stand mixer OR in a large mixing bowl. Cover with a damp cloth, away from drafts and allow to bubble and rest for anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes 

Creating the dough
  • Mix the 2 eggs, sugar, flavorings and salt in a small bowl. Mix the faux sour cream, shortening and egg mixture into the sponge. Slowly (speed 2) mix until well blended, about 1 minute. You can do this by hand with a wooden spoon
  • Add the flour in three additions. It will look rough in the beginning, keep at speed 2 and after everything is blended increase to speed three. The dough will begin to come away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough doesn't begin or organize and come away from the sides of the bowl add another 2-3 Tbsp flour. Mix until smooth - about 4-5 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently until well blended. The dough will be sticky

  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap, place in a warm, draft-free spot (your oven or an oven heated- and shut off- to about 80 degrees or a proofing box will be perfect). Let this dough rise for about an hour OR place in the fridge and let rest for 4-12 hours. If you are chilling, bring the dough back to room temperature, for about an hour, before continuing 
  • Stretch and fold once or twice , divide the dough into thirds and let rest on your work surface for about 10 minutes 
  • Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper 

  • Roll out one piece of the dough to a rectangle that measures roughly 8x14 . Lightly score 2 vertical lines, about 1/3 in on both sides. Then cut vertical "wings" of about 1.5 inches along the two sides. The rolled out dough does not have to be a perfect rectangle, you'll be able to stretch and move the dough a bit  
  • Spoon 1/3 of the lemon filling along the center and then top with a strip of the faux sour cream
  • Vertically fold 1/2 - 1 inch from the top of the rectangle so that it is just covering the filling and then begin to uses the vertical wing strips diagonally over the center. Press the edges down. If you find that the ends of the strips don't "stick" use a pastry brush to paint a bit of egg wash to attach the strip edges. Continue to end, folding in the bottom edge. Using a large cookie spatula move the strip onto the parchment lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. 

  • Repeat the process with the remaining 2 pieces. Place in a draft free place and allow to rest/rise for 40-50 minutes. The rising breads will be puffy and increase in size by about 1/3
  • While the breads are rising, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Brush with egg wash (one egg white, stirred with 1 tsp cold water). Sprinkle with sugar slip into the upper shelf of your oven. Lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness after 25 minutes.  Cool completely before moving. 
  • The cooled baked bread can be double wrapped and frozen for up to a month or a bit more. 

  • The cake stays well at room temperature for a day or two (cover with wax paper or plastic wrap. If you are keeping it longer, it will keep in the fridge for another day or so. Because the filling makes the center of the cake moist you will need to use it within a few days or it will start to mold!  

Other "braided" cake you may like to try: Cheese Filled Babka