Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti (Mandelbread)

Crispy double baked lemon-poppy seed cookie. 
The cookie recipe is inspired by Judy Zeider (The Gourmet Jewish Cook)

Biscotti and Mandelbread are easy to make. No special equipment required other than mixing bowls, spoons, parchment paper and a baking sheet. No need to own an electric mixer. 

Choreography: Easy!! Mix the dough, no waiting, shape, bake, slice, bake again and voila! The best biscotti you've ever had. 

1 c sugar
1 c neutral oil (I use canola)
3 large eggs 
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon oil 
zest of one lemon
4 c all purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c poppy seeds 
1/2 c lemon baking chips (optional) 

  • Measure all ingredients, preheat the oven to 375 degrees 
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Mix the sugar and oil completely. Add the flavorings, salt, and zest and continue to mix
  • Combine the flour and baking powder

  • Add the flour into the egg mixture. Stir until about half integrated and add poppy seeds and chips. Mix well

  •  Divide into 3 portions. Form into logs on parchment lined cookie sheet
  • Slip the cookie sheet into the oven, lower the heat to 350 degrees and partially bake for approximately 25 minutes 

  • Remove the cookie pan and working quickly, slice the cookie bar into 1/2 inch slices. Slip back into the oven and continue to bake for 15 minutes.  Turn off the oven and cool the cookies in the oven. 

  • Cool and store in a closed container for 2-3 days at room temperature. If the cookies are left for longer, store, covered, in the refrigerator. Alternately, double wrap and freeze the cookies. 

  • Other biscotti and mandelbread recipes found on Breadandbabka: Chocolate chili biscotti and Maple Walnut Biscotti

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whole Wheat- Walnut Sour Dough Bread

This bread, adapted from a recipe in Amy's Bread, is a chewy whole wheat bread,
filled with walnuts and cracked wheat with a hint of maple. 

This sour dough bread requires a ready, ripe, medium stiff sour dough starter (rye , white or a combination).  The bread ingredients are mixed,  can be hand stretched & folded, covered, and left to enjoy a slow cool rise  (8-10 hours).  The nuts and cracked wheat are kneaded in after the first proofing period. The second proof should be carried out in a warm draft-free location (a less than 100 degree oven or proofing box is perfect) for about 90 minutes. Bake in a very hot oven, preferably on a baking stone, with steam. 

2 oz warm water mixed with 3/4 tsp instant yeast 
9 oz whole wheat flour
4.5 oz bread flour 
1 oz corn meal
1 scant Tbsp kosher salt 
8 oz cool water
8 oz sour dough starter  (see: Sour Dough Starter ) 
2 Tbsp maple syrup (dark is best)
6 oz chopped walnut pieces (toasting is optional)
5 oz cooked and  cooled cracked wheat (4 oz boiling water mixed with 3 oz cracked wheat)
2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil for greasing the bowl 
Additional all purpose flour to dust the kneading surface and to dust proofing basket (if one is used) 

  • Combine and stir 1/4c water and yeast. 
  • Combine flours, corn meal, salt in another bowl 
  • Add the 8 oz water and maple syrup to the yeast mixture and then mix in the dry ingredients
  • Mix to form shaggy dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface 
  • Stretch and fold to form an organized dough that is stretchy. The dough will be slightly tacky. (About 5-8 minutes)  or knead in a stand mixer for 3-4 minutes until a smooth stretchy dough is formed 
  • Grease the mixing bowl, place the smooth dough into the bowl, turn so that all sides are greasy and cover with plastic wrap  

  • Place in fridge and allow to proof for 8-10 hours 
  • IN THE MEANTIME, chop the nuts and prepare the cracked wheat , set aside 

  •  Fold the walnuts and cracked wheat into the dough. Deflate and stretch & fold several times to evenly distribute the ingredients. 
  •  Divide the dough into two roughly equal pieces. Roll into a round shape
  • Flour a lined proofing basket and place the dough seam up. Place in warm draft free space and allow to rise for 90- 120 minutes, until the dough is approximately doubled in bulk 

  • When the dough has been proofing for about an hour preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, heat it in the oven.  Place a pan of water, or fill the oven steam pan with water 
  • When the oven is hot, turn the proofed dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and slip onto the hot baking stone.

  • Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.
    This bread stores well at room temperature for 2-3 days. Re-heat for a few minutes to re-crisp the crust.  As the picture shows, this bread slices beautifully. 

Other sour dough recipes on Bread and Babka include Sour Dough Oatmeal Loaf  and Sourdough Honey Challah

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sourdough Olive and Artichoke Bread with six grain flour mix

Sourdough baking requires time. The starter needs to be fed and then given 8 or more hours to rest and mature. The bread itself takes about five hours to prepare, proof and bake. It's not difficult to do and there is leeway in the proofing times, you just need to prepare yourself for a process that can't be rushed. I baked this during a snow storm in January, 2018, it was a very good snowy day project. It yields a bread with a wonderful crust and moist crumb. The flavor is a bit salty with a complex cereal flavor.

This bread is worth the trouble if you like working with sour dough bread. The dough does have a bit of commercial yeast, which helps the process move along.

The evening before you plan to bake. Refresh your starter, allow to rest and proof for 8-12 hours at room temperature. When ripe, measure off 12 oz for baking.

On the day you bake, mix the dough. Allow to rise in a warm location for about 90 minutes. Add the olives and artichokes, mix , and allow to further proof for about an 30 - 45 minutes. The dough will remain loose and sticky.

On a flour dusted work surface, stretch and fold the dough 6-8 times. Divide into four portions. Shape into rounds and proof for about an hour. Slash top of each loaf and bake in a hot oven. Cool completely before slicing.

For a good demonstration on the stretch and fold technique see Peter Reinhart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1timJlCT3PM

12 oz fed and ready sour dough starter (fed and rested 8-12 hours)
2 iz warm water mixed with
1/2 tsp instant yeast
8 oz room temperature water
4 oz  grain mixture (e.g. six grain mix, ancient grain mix, 10 grain cereals)
       for the bread pictured, I used King Arthur six grain mixture
13-14 oz all purpose flour
1 Tbsp kosher salt
4 oz roughly chopped kalamanta olives
6 oz roughly chopped canned artichoke hearts
cornmeal for sprinkling baking surface


  • Feed your starter and set aside at room temperature (around 75 or 80 degrees if you can arrange this). Let rest for 8- 12 hours or overnight.

  • When the sourdough starter is ready, measure 12 oz and place in a bowl with 8oz water. Mix.
  • Mix the yeast and 2 oz water and add to the starter. Mix well and allow to rest for approximately 10 minutes. 
  • Combine the flours and salt. Mix. Add starter and begin to mix at slow speed. Increase to medium speed and knead for approximately 4-5 minutes. The dough will be on the soft side and sticky, but it will pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a dough ball. 

  •       Cover and proof the dough for approximately 90 minutes. The dough will not quite double in bulk. 

  • While the dough is proofing, roughly chop the olives and artichoke hearts. Set aside until the dough has proofed.

  • Add the olives and artichokes to the dough. Mix well. The dough will become a bit raggy and sticky. Cover and allow to rise for about 30 minutes. It will increase in volume, but not double. 

  •  Sprinkle flour on a work surface. Place dough on the surface and rather than knead, you'll stretch and fold 6-8 times. The dough will begin to hold it's shape and become stretchy. See link above for Peter Reinhart's tutorial on the stretch and knead technique. 

  •  Line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  • Divide the dough into quarters. Stretch and fold to form 4 small balls of dough. 

  • Allow to proof in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until almost doubled. Your oven can be heated to 100 degrees and then shut off or if you have a proofing cycle or a proofing box, these are good options.  Wild yeast is more sensitive than commercial yeast to ambient temperature - your dough won't rise well if you place it in a spot that is too chilly or drafty. 
  • You can bake these breads on a parchment lined baking sheet or a lined ceramic baking slab. 
  • About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and slip a pan of water onto the bottom shelf. A hot, humid oven is key to baking a crispy crust. 
  • Slip the bread into the hot oven, lower the temperature to 400 and bake for about 35 minutes. Check for doneness, the crust should be golden brown and on the darker side and the outer dough will be hard , crisp and sound hollow when tapped. You can take the temperature of the baking bread - you want the thermometer to register between 190 and 195 degrees. If you plan to cool, wrap and freeze the bread for a later use, 190 degrees is fine. This will allow you to defrost and re-heat the bread. 

Cool completely before cutting into this bread - the inside will be gummy if the dough is hot. 

The bread slices nicely when fully cooled. You can store , covered loosely in a bag for a couple of days; otherwise, double wrap and freeze for up to a month. Always remove from wrappings before defrosting.

Another bread that I have on the blog that uses a starter is Korn Bread (Kornbroyt) a delicious type of rye bread.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Winter Galette : cranberry, apple, maple


Galette's are easy(ier) than pie 

I love making galette's, which allow for more imperfections than making a beautiful pie with pinched edges. You needn't worry about rolling out a perfect circle when you roll out the dough and you can patch holes or tears prior to filling. It's easier to move the unfilled pastry dough onto a piece of baking parchment paper before filling and folding over.  The filling ratio for each galette is approximately 5 c of filling to one crust. The crust is sprinkled with a crumb filling to help absorb the fruit juices. 

Pie crust is not a health food. Making it pareve means margarine and/or Crisco, which is not any healthier than butter and lard. The ratio of fat to flour is high (about 1:2), so  suspend your commitment to health for this short period of time you make and consume anything with a "short" crust. 

I avoided making pie crust for years - not because of the health issue, but because it seemed like it was harder to make than it actually is. I use my food processor, which may not be the way a purist would do it, but it's fast and works. Most times that I bake I think of the TV show Lassie (I'm aging myself).  Timmy's mother often had pies cooling on the windowsill of the kitchen. We lived in an apartment in Brooklyn - the pies, if they could have existed, would have fallen down onto the street. So much for my pie baking fantasy. 

Here is a method for making a really good pareve pie (short) crust. You can vary it a bit by adding small amount of flavorings that will enhance the filling you are using. For example 1/4 tsp vanilla, cardamon or cumin really add interesting nuance to the crust and the resulting pastry. 

Short Crust (adapted from The New Basics Cookbook,  Rosso & Lukins, 1989) 
2 1/2 c all purpose flour 
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2-3 Tbsp granulated sugar,  cinnamon sugar or vanilla sugar and 1/4 tsp cardamon (for sweet filling)
       or 1 Tbsp herbs (e.g oregano, basil, chives, marjoram) for savory pies 
1/4 c (1 stick) margarine , do not use "spreadable" margarine 
1/4 c Crisco 
up to 1/4 c ice water (add slowly , as needed) 
  • Add flour, salt and flavorings to the container of a food processor
  • Add cold margarine and Crisco in pieces to the container (about 1 minute)
  • Whirr until mixed and without stopping slowly add the ice water until the mixture pulls together in a ball (about a minute)
Divide the dough into 2 portions, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 1 hour (up to 2 days). If you are not planning to use the crust within 2 days, double wrap and freeze. To defrost, unwrap and allow to come to room temperature (about 45-60 minutes). 

This crust will make 2 medium galette, 2 single crust pie crusts or one double crust pie. 

1. Have pie crust dough prepared and ready to be rolled out
2. Prepare filling ingredients
3. Preheat oven (it must be hot- 400- 425 degrees) 
4. Roll out the crust, brush away excess flour 
5. Move crust to pie pan or baking sheet and fill  
6. Egg wash, sprinkle with sparkling sugar 
7. Bake 
Total time, with a crust that is prepared and ready to be used is usually less than 90 minutes 

food processor (for making the crust)
baking sheet, lined with
    baking parchment paper 
measuring cups, spoons, spatula 
bowl, paring knife 
large flat cookie spatula (for moving the dough) - this is optional, but a handy tool

Apple Cranberry Maple filling: 
2 c chopped walnuts
6 oz fresh (or frozen) cranberries 
12 oz peeled, chopped apples (approximately 2 apples)
12 oz peeled, quartered & thinly sliced apples (approximately 2 apples)
1 tsp orange oil 
2 tsp gingerbread spice mix
1/2 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch salt 
4 tsp instant clear jel (available from King Arthur Flour) or other pie thickener
1/4 c maple syrup  (I prefer dark maple syrup for baking)
1/2 c granulated sugar

Cake Crumb: mix ingredients and keep in a jar for those times you need to use for pie baking.
1c sugar
1c bread crumbs
1 Tbsp vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 large egg mixed with 1 tsp cold water (for egg wash)
2-4 Tbsp sparkling sugar or demerara sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2.  Roughly chop the cranberries and nuts in a food processor
3. Set the sliced apples aside.
4. Prepare the chopped apples and spices, combine the clear jel and sugar, measure the maple syrup.
    Mix together in a large bowl with the cranberries and nuts. 

5. Dust the work surface with a flour, roll out one portion of the dough to a rough circle or oblong that is approximately 12-14 inches in diameter . Sprinkle 1/3- 1/2 c cake crumb on top of the crust

6. Slide a piece of parchment paper under the rolled out dough. If the dough tears or there is a hole, patch with another piece of dough

7. With half of the apple slices, create a circle frame (2 slices deep). Fill the well that is created with half of the fruit filling

8. Fold the edges of the dough up and around the fruit filling. The fold over should be about 2 inches toward the center of the pastry. 
9. Brush away any loose flour Brush the exposed dough with egg. 

10. Repeat process to make a 2nd pastry. You can bake 2 on a large baking sheet, or place one pastry on each of 2 baking sheets. If you are baking with 2 baking sheets, rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time

11. Slide the pastry into the oven. Lower the temperature to 400 degrees and bake approximately                    25- 35 minutes or until deep golden brown and bubbly.  Do not underbake.

12. Cool before serving, the juices will firm up.
13. This pastry freezes well for up to a month. Double wrap and freeze. Unwrap to defrost and warm 
     in the oven at 400 degrees for about five minutes. 

Other tarts/pies you may be interested in making include
Fig and Goat Cheese Tart
Viennese Style Fruit Tart
Mixed Berry Tart