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Tag Archives: bread

Super Seed Bread

20 Sep

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I always assumed that there were approximately zero things I enjoyed about the end of summer—goodbye sunshine, warm weather, long sunlit days, eating dinner outside, picnicking, ice cream in the afternoon…need I go on?—but this morning, the first morning so far this school year that I have worn a scarf while taking my son to school, it occurred to me that there is, in fact one thing I enjoy about summer’s end. I get to start baking bread again.

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There are many people, of course, who take kindly to baking bread year round, and I wholeheartedly salute those people. But it remains a fact that I am simply not one of those people. During the summer, I prefer to not turn on my oven, and instead make a concerted effort to concoct all of our meals via the magic of a cutting board, a salad bowl, a grill, and/or a single burner on the stove. Eventually, come autumn, when the weather takes on its inevitable chill, and keeps that chill for the better part of eight months, the oven will come on, and stay on, producing breads and baked goods aplenty.

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I baked this particular loaf of bread before summer officially began in Portland. The weather was still rather chilly, and I was craving the comfort of a freshly baked loaf of hearty bread to keep me company. Packed with every type of seed I could find in the house, this is a bread for the ages. It is great for sandwiches, perfect as toast, and it will fast become your best friend if swiped with a touch of salted butter and drizzled with a wisp of honey. Best of all, however, is the fact that this bread seems to beckon people, particularly children, with its heavenly aroma and nutty bite, so, really, you won’t ever find yourself with simply the bread alone to keep you company.

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Last Year: Perfect Oven Fries with Truffle Salt and Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

Super Seed Bread

Scant ½ cup warm water

2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons honey-divided

¾ cup warm milk

1 tablespoon unsalted melted butter

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for kneading

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

plus more pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for top

vegetable oil, for brushing over the top

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the warm water with the yeast and one tablespoon of the honey. Stir to dissolve, then allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, until nice and foamy.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the warm milk, the remaining tablespoon of honey, the butter, and the yeast mixture. Stir to combine, then add 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, all of the whole wheat flour, salt, and the sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, and sesame seeds. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes (3 minutes with a stand mixer, 5 if mixing by hand), until a smooth dough forms. Lower speed to medium low, and continue to beat the mixture while adding the remaining 1 cup of flour, 1/3 of a cup at a time, until the dough becomes shaggy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface or, if mixing the dough in a stand mixer, replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and silky, adding just a teaspoon or so of flour if the dough is too sticky to knead. If kneading by hand, you’ll work with the dough for 5 to 6 minutes. If kneading with a stand mixer set on a lower speed, your kneading should be complete in 3 or 4 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball, then place in a greased bowl to rise. Make sure that every part of the dough gets greased at least a little bit, lest it stick to the bowl as it rises. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, a large lid, or a moist towel, and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour to 1.5 hours.

Carefully deflate the dough, then turn out onto a well floured surface. Grease a 9” by 5” loaf pan. Form the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 9” wide and 6” tall. Roll the dough into a tight loaf, pinching the seam closed at the end. Lightly brush or spray the loaf with just a bit of vegetable oil. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on your work surface, then roll the greased loaf in the seeds, covering as much of the loaf as possible.

Place the loaf in the greased 9” by 5” pan, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough has reached at least 1 inch above the rim of the pan, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the bread in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the bread has an internal temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

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Chocolate Orange Cake Bread

24 Oct

The logistics of how it happened are almost irrelevant. Maybe there were no logistics. Maybe it was just pure luck, or happenstance, or, on the other side of the coin, the other guys’ back luck coming into play at the worst possible time. Like I said, it doesn’t matter, really. What matters is that the San Francisco Giants are in the World Series, and now, because who knows how they managed to come back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit many, many times over, I can’t stop making black and orange foods because What If. What if the black and orange foods were the missing piece of the puzzle? Do you see what I am getting at here? I can’t stop now.

And so I continue. Today’s installment in the veritable cornucopia of evidence that I’ve compiled for the case against my sanity is a dense, intensely chocolaty little number that is flecked with orange zest and plumped up with orange juice. It’s a meet-up of those friendly flavors, chocolate and orange, and, once again, an entry into that familiar category of bread-or-cake. Not that it matters what you call it, of course. I mean, aside from delicious.

You can, of course, make this bread as depraved as you want. Depending on how rich and aggressive you like your chocolate treats, there is nothing stopping you from adding a handful of chopped bittersweet chocolate to the batter. If you are truly batty for the combination of chocolate and orange, you could also hunt down the ubiquitous holiday chocolate orange, chop it up, and throw in some bits for an even stronger kick of chocolate plus orange. However, I think this bread/cake is just perfect as it stands, with a deep chocolate flavor that is merely highlighted by the brightness of zesty orange. As for whether or not it can supply the same good fortune as black and orange foods of past? Well, we’ll find out in just a few short hours.

Last Year: Creamy Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa (seriously–I have dreams about this salsa, it’s so good)

Chocolate Orange Cake Bread Recipe

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar

¾ cup Dutch process cocoa

1 tablespoon espresso powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

Glaze:

1/3 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9” by 5” loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the vegetable oil until ingredients are uniformly coated by the oil. The mixture will look quite pebbly, but that is all right.

In a large measuring cup or a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange juice, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, whisking slowly until the mixture is just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in center of oven for 65 to 75 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then run a small knife around the perimeter of the cake to help release it from the pan. Turn pan over and gently invert cake out onto a wire rack, then turn cake upright and leave on wire rack to cool completely.

When cake has cooled, prepare glaze by combining ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until smooth. Pour or brush glaze over the top of the cooled cake.

Makes 1 9″ by 5″ loaf. Serves 8 to 10.

Classic Bialys

1 Oct

The bialy is an elusive creature. Most bialys I have encountered have been less than stellar, with a large number of them falling into the category of actually being just flat out terrible. It’s a lot like the search for a good bagel (at least, the search for a good bagel here in the Pacific Northwest). Mass produced grocery store bagels are just awful, let’s admit it. And grocery store bialys…well, so there are really no such things as grocery store bialys, since a bialy is not nearly as well known a commodity as a bagel, which actually has the benefit of saving the bialy from a fate as sad as that known by most bagels.

What I am saying is, a good bialy is hard to find. When I worked at a coffeehouse many years ago (as the vast majority of people who moved to Portland in the ‘90s were contractually obligated to do), I was always tasked with explaining to customers what those flat things covered with cheese that sat next to the bagels were. It’s a bialy, I would say, and then I would launch into an explanation of what a bialy was, only to end up having to close the speech by then warning whomever I was talking to that the bialys sold by that particular coffeehouse were not, sad to say, very good. They were, in fact, terrible. (Tangent: With the exception of some truly incredible cinnamon rolls and the twice-weekly batch of fresh shortbread cookies that I always made on my shift, the majority of the baked goods offered at this coffeehouse were just horrible. In particular, I will never forget the shamefully bad scones we sold there: chewy, tough little numbers flavored with almond extract and seemingly made by someone who had never, ever encountered an actual scone before in his or her entire life—seriously, these things were like tiny little loaves of flat, stale bread, and I never understood how the bakery we got them from was even allowed to call them scones.)

A good bialy is crisp on the outside, slightly chewy in the middle, and light throughout. The dough should have a deep flavor, like good artisan bread. The filling should be a nice dollop of sweetly sautéed onions and a touch of poppy seeds. That’s it. Those simple elements combined make one of the most pleasing savory baked goods known to all of humankind, which is why, I believe, the bialy tends to be grossly mishandled most of the time. Each element of a bialy needs to be top notch, giving every bite a component of flavor that stands strong with its companions to complete the overall taste experience.

These bialys, from Rose Levy Beranbaum, do just that. They are perfect in every way, from their chewiness to their strong flavor profiles. If I could go back in time and swap these into the pastry case at my old job, I totally would, just so people could have a proper bialy experience instead of the weird, bland, cheesy one that was sadly offered. Having not mastered the art of time travel, however, I shall simply keep making these lovely little bialys at home, sharing with you and everyone else I know the delights of a classic, delicious bialy.

Last Year: Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Tart

Classic Bialys Recipe

Adapted slightly from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible

For the bialy dough:

2 cups bread flour

½ teaspoon instant, rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 fluid ounces) warm water

For the bialy filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

generous pinch of black pepper

To make the bialy dough, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast, then whisk in the salt (keeping the salt from coming into direct contact with the yeast as much as possible). If using a stand mixer, fit the machine with the dough hook and turn the speed to low. Kneading on low speed, gradually pour in the water, mixing for about 1 minute until the flour mixture is moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and knead for 7 minutes. If kneading by hand, once the flour mixture is moistened, turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. The fully kneaded dough should be soft and elastic, and should not stick to the bowl or surface when being kneaded.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, then cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Firmly press on the dough to deflate it, then transfer it to a floured counter. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered, round each piece of dough by pulling the dough together to form a pouch, stretching it make a smooth skin, then pinching it together where the edges meet. Set each round on a floured baking sheet or tray, pinched side down. Lightly flour the tops and cover with plastic wrap.

Allow bialys to rise for around 2 hours, or until almost doubled in size. When pressed lightly in the center, the bialy should keep the impression.

While the bialys are rising for the second time, make the filling. In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, add the pinch of salt, then sauté over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Remove from heat, add the poppy seeds and pepper, then stir to combine. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Before preheating, place a heavy sheet pan on the floor of the oven. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest level, and place a heavy baking sheet or baking stone on the rack to preheat along with the oven. Line a rimless or overturned baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, and set aside.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, hold a piece of dough with both hands. With your thumbs in the middle and almost touching, pinch the center of the dough tightly between your thumbs and first two fingers and stretch the dough to around 5 inches in diameter, forming a crater in the center. Place the shaped dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet. In the center crater of the bialy, spoon a heaping teaspoon of the onion-poppy seed filling. I made three bialys at a time, since I only wanted to bake three bialys at a time.

To bake the bialys, slide the parchment with the bialys directly onto the hot baking stone or heavy baking sheet. Toss a handful of ice cubes onto the hot baking sheet placed on the oven floor (or, if you are way of misplacing the ice cubes, carefully tip the ice cubes from a small plate onto the hot baking sheet placed on the oven floor), then immediately shut the oven door. Bake the bialys for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and mottled with brown spots.

Remove the bialys from the oven on their parchment, then discard parchment paper and place bialys on a wire rack to cool until just warm.

Bialys will keep for a day at room temperature, but they are best (read: super phenomenally good) eaten the day they are made.

Makes 6 bialys.

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