Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple Bread.

First Pumpkin and now Apples?  It must be Fall. I have written a little bit about the Crusty Loaf style Apple Bread in the past, how it was the last bread out of the oven on any given day and it sold like hotcakes. We could barely frost it in time as the customers whisked the loaves out the front door.

Sometimes, I feel nostalgia for that place. Still. Even after 10 years. There was something about working there that I am not sure I will ever replace. I think it was the time in my life, the people I worked with and how everyday I really loved going to work, messing with the doughs, smelling the smells. I just loved it. I dont think I have loved any other job quite as much. I truly am a baker at heart. Even while doing desserts in other restaurants following my stint at the bakery, it just never satisfied me as much as working among all the doughs. I was always thrown off by the plating of desserts and presentation. All I wanted to do was produce the goods, hands in the batter, elbows in the dough. Now that I have been away from the whole work scene for over 2 years, it really has given me time to reflect on what I really enjoy doing and what I hope to do next. I hope to see myself in a bakery again someday. Someday.

Today, I made some Apple Bread. I have posted about it before, but this time, I will hand over a recipe too. This makes a nicely perfumed apple bread perfect toasted with a little butter and honey. Just lightly sweetened by the apples tossed with a little cinnamon sugar, the dough is chopped to pieces instead of shaped into the perfect loaf. So, this is a fun recipe to do with the kiddos. Of course, my kiddo is yucked out these days by anything overly sticky, so he just watched as I chopped the apples into the dough. and then, he told me to wash my hands. (despite this, I still have hopes that he too, will be a future baker)

Apple Bread.
adapted from the Bernard Claytons Book of Breads.

3 1/4 cup flour
2 1/4 teas dry yeast
1 1/2 teas salt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup warm water
2 Tabl butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 cup chopped apples, I used granny smith
1 egg
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
3 T brown sugar
1 1/2 teas cinnamon

put water, milk, melted butter and yeast in a bowl to bloom yeast. add flour by the cup and mix to combine. when the last of the flour is added, stir to develop the dough for a few minutes. it should be sticky but clear the sides of the bowl somewhat while stirring. add the salt and stir a couple more minutes to combine.

let rise for an hour.
in the meantime, toss the apples with the sugar and cinnamon.

dust a cutting board with flour, lightly and pour the dough, patting it into a rectangle. (see pics below) then, add the beaten egg to the apples, mix, and pour the apples onto the dough. fold the dough over the apples from either side and with a bench scraper or large knife, go ballistic on the dough. (not sure how better to describe this.) chop until it no longer resembles dough, but a big mess. (see pics)

scoop dough into a 8 by 4 inch loaf pan that has been greased and let rise for 45 minutes.
preheat oven to 375, and bake for 45 minutes.

Dough, just waiting patiently for the apples.

Hello, Apple and cinnamon sugar goodness.

Chop, Chop, Chop..

Look at me now!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Pumpkin, coming at ya.

I am not sick of it yet.

this time, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

I have tried numerous times to make a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie that is chewy. and, each time, I end up with something cakey. this time was no different, but I just accepted the results, and damn, they were pretty good. So, if you like Pumpkin, chocolate and a cakey cookie, this is yours.

1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teas baking soda
1/4  teas salt
1/2 teas cinnamon

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 walnut oil
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 teas vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips.

mix the dry ingredients together, set aside.
whisk the egg and sugar, pumpkin and vanilla. drizzle in oil and whisk to combine well.
add the dry ingredients and combine with a spatula. dont over mix! add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.

scoop by the heaping tablespoon, I got about 15 cookys.

bake at 350, 8-12 minutes. I would check them after 8, turn if needed. these took my new oven 8 minutes to bake convection style, but a conventional oven might need longer. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bread...
and we are back up and cooking with convection!

I find it hard to believe that in 5 years and some 185 posts, that I have never written about one of my favorite things. I love this time of year for many reasons. I actually do enjoy the rain sometimes. especially the smell it brings this time of year as it mixes with the scent of the falling leaves. kind of a musty tree and dying leaves smell? I love the smell of firewood, even though it is still not THAT cold just yet. some though think it is, so there is a little bit of that smell in the air too. and, I love love love squash and pumpkin anything. take a look here.

But, I just cant believe that I have never written about pumpkin bread. I love this stuff. This is something I will gladly buy at Starbucks in July. But, come September and October, I make it myself.

But, have you read about the great pumpkin shortage? I must have blocked it out of my mind. I guess last year was so wet, that the farms in the midwest that normally produce most of the US canned pumpkin supply, lost much of their pumpkin crops. leaving most stores barren of pumpkin and only 6 cans in the whole Libbys factory inventory.

So, when I went to the store yesterday, I was kind of bummed to see that indeed, there was no pumpkin on the shelf. BUT, there was butternut squash. just so you know, it makes just about as mean a pumpkin bread. So, I bought two cans, just in case.

Supposedly, this year has been a better one, so we should be seeing more pumpkin on our shelves just in time for fall.

In the meantime, make this bread.
or this one. (looks like I was lying a little bit. I have made a variation of this bread in the past..)
both breads adapted from the Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger.

1 c sugar
1/2 c plus 2 Tabl brown sugar, packed
14.5 oz can of butternut squash or pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup walnut oil
(I have also used canola, and even a half canola/olive oil mix with success)

2 1/3 c flour
1 1/2 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
3/4 teas cloves
3/4 teas cinnamon

preheat oven to 350. grease a loaf pan. I used a 9 x5x 3 pan.
mix the sugars, squash, eggs and oil. whisk to blend thoroughly.
in a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
add the dry to the wet and whisk to combine.

pour into loaf pan and bake for 50 min. chances are the bread wont be finished, but I like to set the alarm just in case, then reset it for shorter increments. all in all, it takes just over an hour to an hour and 15 to bake.

On another note, welcome the family, new and wonderful oven!

* I also made this same recipe a few days later into muffins with a struesal-ly topping. yum!

here is the topping recipe:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teas cinnamon
1/4 teas salt
6 Tablspoons Butter

combine dry ingredients, crumble in butter and mix until it resembles a coarse meal.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Fatty pancakes. oh so good.

I like to make Pancakes for Z at least once a week.

I had an extra bit of cream and egg yolks from some cake baking a while back and found the perfect place to put them. I call them fatty pancakes because they contain just that: butter, cream and egg yolks. and, surprise surprise? They were really good.

I thought I would share the recipe with you.

adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, but just slightly altered..

2 cups flour
2 Tablspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 yolks
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups Greek Yogurt 0% (original recipe does call for buttermilk)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup milk

whisk dry ingredients in a med bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. add the wet to dry and mix to combine. try not to overmix.

make your pancakes, and dont forget the butter and honey! mmmmm, good.