Tag Archives: yeast

Cuban Bread

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Strapped for time but still want to make some great bread? This recipe is perfect because it has no rise time! It makes two cute little boules that can be served with just about anything, we dipped it in the Parmesan Pesto Fondue and it was absolutely perfect.

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Although this version of the recipe uses a standing mixer it can absolutely be done by hand and still be a simple and quick recipe. This bread was baked by the amazing Sharon Terry, I don’t think there is anything this woman can’t do.

Cuban Bread
Adapted from a Bernard Clayton recipe

Ingredients
5-6 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups hot water
2 TBS yeast
2 TBS sugar
2 tsp salt

Method
Put the hot water and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the ingredients on a low speed. Add in sugar, salt, and about little bit of flour (less than 1 cup). When barely mixed, switch to the paddle attachment. Keep beating on medium/low while adding more flour (about 2 cups in all) or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 10 minutes. Add more flour as necessary so that the dough stays on the dough hook, approximately 5-6 cups of flour total. After 10 minutes have passed, ease the dough off the hook and let it rest in the mixing bowl for 5 minutes.

Shape the dough into 2 equal boules and cross slash them. Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet and place them in a cold oven set to 400°F. Bake for 45 minutes or until the boules sound hollow when tapped.

Panettone

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Every Christmas for as long as I can remember my parents have bought a panettone for my grandparents to eat when they were here visiting us for the holiday. Until this year, however, I’d never tried panettone because my parents had always told me that the store-bought stuff is gross, stale, and generally not worth eating. This year, however, I made panettone for my grandmother. I tried it and I was pleasantly surprised only because I’ve never really heard anything positive about panettone.

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I used golden raisin, dried cranberries, and dried apricots in my panettone, but you could make a more tropical version using pineapple, mango, and papaya; you could really go crazy with dried fruit combinations.

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My orange zest was really moist, I’m not sure why, but it really didn’t adversely effect the recipe. In fact, it might have been a good thing, because I didn’t use the 1/8 tsp of orange oil that the recipe called for. The only problem I did have was that the fruit on the outside got a bit burnt, probably because of the high sugar content. I did cover the panettone with foil after about 25 minutes, but the fruit was already burnt.

Panettone
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

Biga (Overnight Starter)
3/4 cup (3 1/8 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
1/16 teaspoon yeast (just a pinch)
1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) water

Dough
all of the biga (above)
2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces) sugar
2/3 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup slivered dried apricots
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons orange zest

Method
The Biga: Combine the biga ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cover, and allow them to rest overnight (8 to 12 hours) at room temperature.

Dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and mix and knead them together—by hand, mixer or bread machine—till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk). Gently deflate the dough, and knead in the fruits.

Shape the dough into a ball and shape into a free-form ring on a well-buttered cookie sheet (you can use a ring pan if you have one). Cover the ring or pan and let the dough rise about 1 hour, using a buttered drinking glass to keep the free-form ring open if need be.

Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes; reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake an additional 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 15 minutes (for a free-form ring), tenting with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the panettone from the oven and cool completely.

Quirky Product

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Instant Success is a brand of yeast I encountered in a Chilean grocery store. I’m sure it does glorious things to bread, but I got dreaming about how amazing my life could be if it were actually instant success.

Rosemary Olive Bread

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Yum!

A delicious bread with a lot of character, it definitely holds it’s own against flavorful food. It also makes some of the most delicious toast I’ve ever eaten.

Rosemary Olive Bread
As seen on Baking Bites

Rosemary Olive Bread
3 cups bread flour (I used AP with no adverse effects)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary (feel free to use more)
1/2-1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsley chopped (feel free to use more)

Combine yeast and warm water until yeast becomes creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add olive oil, salt, sugar, rosemary and olives into the yeast mixture and add flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Move dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Shape dough gently into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and let rise, covered with a damp towel, for 30 minutes. Dust the bread ligtly with flour, slash the top and put into the oven.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Place on a wire rack to cool. Devour!

Julia Child’s French Bread

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I attempted this recipe in the wake of the Daring Bakers. Mine was a dud, it had excellent flavor but it was really dense. I did lack a few instruments (like a bench scraper), but I did the best I could. Maybe I had sub-par yeast, but I’ll never know because it was an all day recipe that I don’t particularly feel like repeating.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

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This unidentifiable blob soon turned into some amazing whole wheat pita bread. I had a little difficulty getting it to ‘pop’ while baking, perhaps in future endeavors I will be able to figure out why. Any tips?

I originally found this recipe on The Kitchen Sink, where you can find more detailed step-by-step photos.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Gourmet

1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115°F)
2 cups bread flour or high-gluten flour, plus additional for kneading
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets

Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

While yeast mixture stands, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack (you could also use a pizza stone if you have one, just make sure it preheats with the oven). Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm.

Chocolate Babka

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Need I say more? This chocolate babka is to die for!

I originally wanted to make chocolate babka because I love the babka that appears on my family’s doorstep every Christmas courtesy of Zabar’s and my godfather. When I came across the recipe that Deb at Smitten Kitchen determined to be the best after all of her trial and error I knew it had to be good. The cinnamon really is an underestimated element here, don’t skimp or your babka will lack that extra oomph!

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I have made this babka three times and it has received rave reviews every time. However, from these three times I have learned a few things:

1. DO NOT USE CHOCOLATE CHIPS! I cannot emphazize this enough. I know it seems like a genius time saving plan, but don’t do it! Some chips will retain their chip-shape and it will break your heart when you pull it out of the oven. Trust me.

2. The original recipe says that you should roll the dough out to about 1/8 of an inch thick, but I have found that this is a) nearly impossible and b) if you do roll it that thin you have issues with tearing dough in the twisting step. Roll it thin, but not too thin. Trial and error is best here, each batch makes 3 loaves so there is plenty of time to learn.

3. The original recipe recommends that you bake the loaf/loaves at 350 for 55 minutes and then lowering the temperature to 325 for another 15-20 minutes. Through an error of my own the first time I baked this I learned that i prefer it baked at 325 for the entire baking time, although it does take a bit longer. Following the original instructions will yield a lighter, airier bread portion of the bread, but I prefer it to be denser (hence the lower baking temperature). It’s just a matter of personal preference.

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Ready for the oven!

I know it is a long and involved recipe, but don’t be daunted! It was the first yeast bread I ever made and it turned out great!

Chocolate Babka
As seen on Smitten Kitchen

When shaping the babka, twist dough evenly throughout the length of the roll a full 5 to 6 turns. The babka can be prepared up to step 8 and frozen for up to a month before baking. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours, and bake.

Makes 3 loaves (you could downscale the recipe, but they freeze really well)

1 1/2 cups warm milk, 110 degrees
2 (1/4 ounce each) packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
2 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped (use a food processor if you have one!)
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Streusel topping (below)

Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment*, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks butter, and beat until flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter until well combined; set filling aside.

Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon cream; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.

Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.

Heat oven to 350 degrees**. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.

Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.

*Don’t sweat it if you don’t have one, I have made it with a stand mixer and by hand, it doesn’t change the quality at all!
**Or 325 if that’s what floats your boat (see note above).

Streusel Topping

Makes 3 3/4 cups (this is way more than I have ever needed, feel free to downscale)

1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.