Showing posts with label Bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bread. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sourdough English Muffins

Currently I am sitting in my office/bedroom, and really don't want to look out of the window on my right because it is snowing, again. I feel like an old lady for talking about the weather, but when it just starts snowing again and again after I thought we were finally over it, I can't really think about anything else. But while this still goes on, I spend my free days inside, painting, reading, cooking and baking. A week or so ago I started a sourdough starter, following the instruction in Peter Reinhart's book, Crust and Crumb.

Experimenting with sourdough is fascinating, within 4 or 5 days you go from water and flour, plus a little honey and raisins, to a dough that can actually leaven a bread. I was sceptical at first, still unsure whether the sourdough would actually work, but then I made the firm starter for the San Francisco Sourdough bread in Crust and Crumb, and it rose beautifully. The recipe does make a lot of dough, though, and while I looked at all that dough, rising on the counter, I decided to use half of it and make English Muffins out of it. I had made English Muffins before, and I really liked them and thought it was great to be able to make bread without having to turn on the oven and heating up the kitchen that much (and to actually save some cash, apparently the gas bill for our apartment has doubled or tripled since I moved in [oops]). The resulting English Muffins are not that different from the standart English Muffins that I made before, they are not really sour, but they are so delicious and a great way to experiment with sourdough or use some of it up if you happen to have way too much starter after feeding it daily those first days.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Peter Reinhart's Yeasted Bagels

Bagels are not really big in Switzerland. Neither are doughnuts, but those are a project for another weekend. We have a little café in Berne that serves different sorts of bagels with different fillings and I actually love having lunch there, but other than that, I don't know of any place that serves bagels.
Which is actually just a way of saying that I loved these bagels but don't know if they actually are good compared to other bagels. If you do try these please let me know how they compare to your favorite bagels.

Working with the bagel dough was really different from other doughs I have made in the past. It was really stiff and hard to knead, and then really soft when I formed it. It is always so astonishing to see all the different things that can be made from flour and water and a few other things.

Yeasted Bagels
slightly adapted from Peter Reinhart's recipe in Crust and Crumb.
note: This will make more poolish than you need for the bagels, but it is really difficult to make less than required here since measuring out 1/16 of yeast is kind of difficult. If you are looking for another recipe to use the rest of the poolish in, this post describes the Sweet Rustic Bread from Reinhart's book that uses two cups of poolish.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Combine the ingredients for the poolish in a mixing bowl, stir everything together and whisk for 1 minute or so. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 3-5 hours, then refrigerate the poolish overnight.

yeasted dough
1 cup poolish
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cup bread
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey

The next day, measure out the poolish and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so.
Stir the yeast into the water and let it sit for 3 minutes.
Combine the poolish, flour, salt and honey in a bowl, add the yeast-water. Stir the dough together with a spoon, then knead the dough for 15 minutes until fairly smooth. The dough will be dense and rather dry. Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces, and roll those pieces into balls. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them rest on the counter for 5 minutes.
Poke a hole in the center of each piece of dough with your thumb. Depending on the size of hole in the bagel you want, continue to expand the hole using your thumbs. I only poked a hole in the bagel and left it at that because I intended to use the bagels for burgers.
Place the shaped bagels about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and dusted with cornmeal. Cover the sheet in plastic wrap or enclose it in a plastic bag and let the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours until the bagels have increaded in size (about 25%, says Reinhart).
Refrigerate the dough for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the pan of shaped bagels from the fridge. Let them warm up for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Reduce the heat of the burner until the water simmers and does not boil vigorously. Gently drop three or four bagels into the simmering water, and poach them 1 minute on each side. There should be enough room for them in the pan so they don't touch each other. Remove the bagels using a slotted spoon, place them back on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a mixture of seeds, if you like. Repeat until all bagels are poached.
Bake the bagels for 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 5 minutes if the bagels don't seem to brown evenly. Let the bagels cool down for at least 30 minutes fore eating.

Makes about 10 bagels.

Monday, September 3, 2012

White Bean Crostini

I slept in today, and still I am really tired. I cooked the whole weekend, preparing food for my fathers birthday party. I made quite a few things, with the help of my boyfriend, but to be honest, I did not have the energy or time to photograph a thing. I really wanted to share more of what I cooked, but after standing in the kitchen for two days straight, and not sleeping much (because I still wanted to go to that other birthday party), I crushed into bed for a 20 minute nap once the guests were happily eating.I am okay with that. I enjoyed cooking for my father, and his guests. Watching my father and his family and friends and coworkers connect over the food I made, I knew that every minute spend in the preparation was a minute well spent.

Of the things we made, the one my boyfriend and I loved most were these white bean crosti
ni. I losely adapted them from a recipe out of the Mozza cookbook. The idea to pair a white bean puree with caramelized chicoree is theirs, but I did not follow the recipe for the white bean puree. Their version asks for lots of garlic, but mine is more mellow and subtle, only using lemon zest and olive oil, plus salt. I exceeded my garlic limit after making the garlic confit from the same cookbook, and really, I think the puree was better for it. As much as I love garlic, sometimes it can be a bit too much, and overpower other more sublte notes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rye Tea Sandwiches with Avocado-Wasabi Salsa and Cucumber

(I wrote this a few days ago, but did not have time to make these sandwiches before today, as I imagined last week.)
When this post is published I will already have settled into my new home, not that far away from my old, but nevertheless in a very different life. Moving in with my boyfriend has been a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. While I am really happy about getting to know him better, about being closer, about taking this leap, I know it is also going to be a challenge, and for the past few weeks we both were a bit scared, too. Scared because we don't know how this is going to turn out, if our ways of seing the world really are going to fit together.

It is difficult to acknowledge these feelings when it all is supposed to be unicorns and rainbows. But I guess that is just normal for any big change in life, they are happy events, but also scary. I know that if I'm ever going to have kids, I will feel the same. Big move. Marriage.
In the next few weeks we are going to ease into this thing, into living together. And I am looking forward to it. These are good changes, and I think I'll especially enjoy not having to carry around fresh/worn underwear all the time, while moving between his home and mine.
This weeks pick for the Food Matters Project was for Updated Tea Sandwiches, and I think this recipe comes at the perfect time, being so simple. After days of packing and now unpacking, and eating out, I wanted to ease back into the kitchen and start cooking in this new environment.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cucumber Jalapeño Bruschetta

When I saw that this weeks pick for the Food Matters Project was Bruschetta I was quite happy. In these days at the end of the semester I often rely on bruschetta/crostini/tartines (or whatever you want to call them) for a quick lunch or dinner. And amidst the chaos inherent to the end of semester (please tell me it is normal to have the semester end in a bit of stress and chaos) I also plan to make a few things I have on my DIY pinterest board.
I have been spending way to much time online, unproductive time online, that I would rather spend creating stuff. I dont know yet if this will influence my blogging, I am thinking about sharing some of the projects I want to make.
But back to the bruschetta. I had a cucumber left from making sushi and the jalapeños from the salsa last week so I decided to use these for my bruschetta. Cucumbers are not in season, but I find them to have more or less the same taste throughout the year so once in a while I buy one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ethiopian Spiced Salsa

All through making these (which is not too long, but still) I told myself: "Lena, what ARE you doing here??" But I just got an Ethiopian cookbook (it is the zine by Kittee Burns: Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food, and it is just great) and really all I can think of is berbere and lentils and injera. And while I dont have the time right now to cook up an Ethiopian feast, I still want to incorporate these spices into my cooking.

This is how I ended up adding berbere to this salsa as I went and then ate it with slices of avocado spread on sourdough bread. And it was really a great lunch, spicy but not really hot with lots of flavor. I usually don't make salsa, but it was great giving it a try for this weeks Food Matters project recipe. And I might just come back to using this concept whenever I have different vegetables around and need a quick but nurishing lunch.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Bread

I noticed a while ago that even though I called this blog Mrs. Garlic Head, I don't really have any recipes on here that reflect my love for garlic. What a shame! I have been toying with the idea of making a garlic pull apart bread after I saw the cinnamon pull apart bread on Joy the Baker. The idea is genius, and so much fun. This weeks recipe for the food matters project gave me just the motivation to give it a go that I needed.

And it turned out really well. It was fun to make and fun to eat, the only thing I would change next time was to make it for company, not just myself. And I think I want to share some garlicky recipes with you, in the near future. I really need to live up to my name.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tartines with Asparagus, Fennel Confit and Sheep Milk Yogurt

You may have seen from my last post, that I was away for a few days.(I only just saw that I did not actually post the post I am talking about here, it is up now: 5 things i love right now) My boyfriend and I spent the last 5 days in Berlin, eating our way through all the amazing restaurants they have there. I think I'll share some photos and stories later on, but I just got home, wanted to make this weeks recipe for the food matters project and share this here with you. I am back, and happy to be cooking again. After 5 days of eating out I really started to get a bit detached from myself.

These tartines were inspired by Heidi from 101cookbooks. I love pizza and it is probably the only recipe that I make quite often, but right now I really did not fancy making pizza.
So when I saw Heidi's recipe for her asparagus tartines, I knew I wanted to make something similar as soon as I get home. This is what I came up with

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vegetarian Sausage and Bean Flatbread

The inspiration for this weeks recipe took quite a while to come to me. It must have taken a long detour, because for the whole week, I just did not know what to do with the cassoulet. My mistake was to google pictures, and really, it looked like the last thing I would want to eat.
So I had zero inspiration to do something with these ingredients. I decided half-inspired to try to make vegetarian sausage to use later in the week for this weeks recipe.
It wasn't until Saturday that inspiration came by for a short visit before leaving again. Put it all in or on something, instead of cooking it all together as a stew. Well, that is how I ended up deconstructing the original recipe for cassoulet.
Maybe I'm taking the recipe a bit too far from the original,  somehow I usually end up with something completely different. But it is just how I cook. I am more inspired by the ingredients than by the recipe itself. I try working with the combination of flavors or the idea I see in the recipe. Only really rarely do I go out and buy just the right thing to make this recipe I read about. And really, this is how I would love you to read the recipes I post here. You certainly can follow the recipe, and it should hopefully turn out as well as when I made it, but more than that, I would love you to go from the idea you see in my recipes and turn it into your recipe. To me, this is what makes cooking fun, why I keep cooking, throwing together food to turn it into meals.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Best Bread I Ever Made (So Far)

I wanted to bake my own bread for quite some time now. I go through phases like that. I start making my own yogurt. I experiment with making my own skin care products. I get obsessed with some sort of plant or animal. Most of the time, our relation stays superficial. I can tell you a lot about how to set up a fitness routine, but after a few months of consistently running three times a week, I just got tired of it. I took best care of my orchid for quite some time, now it doesn't exactly thrive. I am known to order books in the libary to learn something new, and once they arrive, I'm already interested in something else.
But bread baking and I, we entered into a different phase in our relationship. At least that is what I hope. I feel too old for this short affairs, I need something longer lasting.
I can't remember our first date, but I can certainly recall that our relationship did not have a completely smooth start. There were some hard loaves, too much whole grains, but we've come to a place where it just feels right.
This loaf feels right. He's doesn't raise false expectations with a sparkly exterior (although I think it looks really appealing), isn't all dressed up in fancy seeds or perfumed with garlic, butter, or herbs, but I'd say he is the right loaf to share the rest of your life with.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Soft Pretzel Hamburger Buns

I'm a bit reluctant when it comes to talking about weight and calories etc on this blog. I rarely think about these things when I think about eating. And reading about little girls already being on a diet because they think that they are too fat makes my heart ache. Because losing weight should not be one of the things that matter most to anyone, life is way better than that.

I want to be healthy and moderately fit. This also means that I don't want to weigh a ton, or that I really should not be sitting in front of the computer all day. It also means that at some point I have to stop baking muffins and cookies and more muffins so often. Because, as you might have seen, I have been baking a lot. I still want to bake, to enjoy sweets as part of a balanced diet, but for a while I want to stop baking with flour and sugar. Because I know they do nothing for my body, and when I eat too much of them nothing for my soul. Because a treat is only a treat when it is occasional, but lately muffins were part of my daily diet.
Well, this means that I am back to posting about real meals more often now.

And I'm starting today with homemade hamburger buns. Soft pretzel hamburger buns. Because we can. And Michael Pollan says: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you make it yourself. And because I made black bean burgers to go with them that I would not consider junk food. More on them later in the week, though.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oat and Rye Soda Bread

Last Saturday my boyfriend and I took an early morning train to Milan, and from there another train to Genoa. This has become almost a tradition for us, to sneak away for a few days during semester. Last spring we went on a short trip with our bikes over easter, and a year ago we went to Munich. Genoa was actually really beautiful, and unlike other Italian towns not overcrowded by tourists.

Oh, and the food. Probably the best thing we ate was a Rosemary Ice Cream, I'll have to try to recreate this at home, the flavor was really subtle and so unexpected. My boyfriend laughed at me, but my souvenirs were 3 bags of farro, 2 bags of chickpea flour and one bag of chestnut meal. Oh and a bag of pearled barley and one of whole wheat couscous. (I almost forgot the Scamorza, oops) I have to confess, I might have a slight obsession with food. I missed cooking though, eating out every meal of the day is a bit uncomfortable for me. I find myself craving things I just cannot get at the moment. Like in France during our summer holidays, when I really needed some lovely little Italian bruschette, with fresh tomatoes or mozzarella. Go try to find a good Italian restaurant in France...

Well I'm back home and back in the kitchen now. To my surprise, I find my self baking a lot. I also came to appreciate the soda and other quick breads. While I love making real yeasted bread (I enjoy kneading) I just don't seem to find the time for all the steps necessary to make a good bread. The no-knead bread is great, but it requires some planning... This is a great bread. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No-Knead Bread with Leek

I made this bread last winter, last year in fact. I haven't made a no-knead bread since, I don't know why exactly. It was mouthwateringly delicious. It crackled while it cooled down. It is beautiful.
Since then I missed out on this. I bought supermarket bread, which is bland in comparison. It is not freshly baked. It is not that crispy yet moist. And most important, I did not make it myself.
I'm still on vacation, but once I'm back I want to start a bread baking routine. And I have to take up my cookbook challenge again.

P.S.: I used the regular recipe for no-knead bread on the homepage of the Sullivan Street Bakery and just added leek, the white part, cut in rings. It made the bread even moister and added lots of flavor, but less suited to breakfast.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baking Bread

I love the idea of making my own bread. I love the smell in the house and the satisfaction that lies in cutting off the first slice of bread of a new loaf. But until now, I never consistently made my own bread. Or anything close to consistently. Usually I bake a bread every few months, think that I should do this often, and then go weeks without. I want this to change. I want to be the person who bakes bread. For the flavor. For the relaxation. And for the smell in the apartment.

I'm away on vacation again. Three weeks of cycling through France with my boyfriend. I'm looking forward to the croissants now, and when you read this, I might just be eating one right this minute (sorry!).

But before I left I made the Easy Little Bread Heidi posted just a few days ago. It really is an easy recipe, you basically just throw everything together, let it sit for 30 minutes and then bake it. No long waiting, no kneading. On some days I prefer a lighter, airier (is that a word?) bread, like the No-Knead Bread. But I just ate the first piece now, with a glass of beer, and it is just wonderful. I somehow taste bananas in there, don't ask me why. The bread is dense but moist and has a deep flavor.

Easy Little Bread
adapted from the recipe on, from the book Gran's Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker
3dl warm water
1 package of dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
265g whole wheat flour
100g rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter

Sprinkle the yeast on to the warm (not hot) water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the honey and let it sit for about 10 minutes (until the yeast blooms).

Melt the butter in a pan, and brush a loaf pan with it. (we have adjustable cake pans in Switzerland, they range from 20-35 cm in length,  I used it at 25 cm length. Heidi suggests using a 8 cup loaf-pan)

In a bowl, mix flour, oats and salt. Add the liquid ingredients. Pour the dough in to the pan, cover it with a damp cloth and let it rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 350F), put in the pan on a rack (in the middle of the oven) and let it bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the bread out right away. Let it cool on a rack. 
Don't cut off a slice when still hot, wait until it is room temperature. I don't know right now why this is, but I believe the masters and wait, impatiently, but I wait.