Father’s Day Fare

•June 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Since my Dad has more stuff than he wants or needs, I figured I’d make him dinner for today.  On the menu are Garlic & Herb Pork Loin, Smashed Potatoes, Potato Water Bread, and Paula Deen’s Bread Pudding, topped with Cream Anglaise.

I adapted one of James Beard’s recipes from” Beard on Bread,” just making a few changes. Here is my version:

Potato Water Bread

Potato Water Bread

Potato Water White Bread based on James Beard’s Basic White Bread

1 2/3 cups warm potato water with as much of the potato starch as possible

2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (any yeast will do)

2 tsp sugar

3 ½ to 4 cups AP flour

2 tsp salt

Place the yeast in a medium bowl with the sugar and about a cup of the warm potato water.  Allow to proof 10 mins or as necessary.

Put 3 ½ cups of the flour in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle.  Add the balance of the potato water and begin to mix.  Add the yeast mixture and finally the salt.  Mix until the dough comes together (you can add more water or flour if you need to)  and then remove to a lightly floured board and knead for a few minutes.  The extra half cup of flour is to use on the board if you still have some left.

Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough.  Cover and place in cold oven on middle rack.  Place a pan of boiling water underneath, on the rack below.  Allow to rise until doubled, which may take 40 to 90 minutes.

Turn out onto floured board, knead and shape into one large or 2 small loaves.  I prefer one loaf from this recipe.  Place your loaf in a well greased pan or let it take a free form shape on a cookie sheet.

Cover with a towel, place over a pan of steaming water, and allow to rise until doubled.

Spritz top of loaf with water before placing in oven.

Bake at 375F for 20-40 mins until internal temp is between 190-210⁰F;  200⁰ is ideal.

This was the best bread of the week.  It’s a country style, chewy without being tough, and having a crust somewhat like a french loaf.  The potato water really makes a difference, as does the reduction of the salt in JB’s recipe from 1 tablespoon to 2 teaspoons.  Note that I do salt my potatoes when I boil them, so some of that salt remains in the water.  Another thing that makes a big difference, and I do not know why, is that I add the salt gradually, at the last minute.  Sometimes I add the salt as I am kneading on the bread board.  It seems that the later I add it, the better the texture of the bread.  Maybe Alton Brown can explain it;  all I know is that it works for me.

Buttermilk bread

•June 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Since I had buttermilk that was reaching for its sell by date, I decided to use it up in another loaf of James Beard’s buttermilk bread.   The texture is ever so much better than the (sort of) Brioche in the same book.  As we have had really hot weather the last week or so, I notice the bread just isn’t as nice as that made on rainy days.  Maybe that was part of the problem with yesterday’s bread.  Anyway, today’s loaf is much better.

Today’s baking

•June 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

OK, the JB brioche (which isn’t real brioche) did not turn out as well as I’d like.  It seems to me that breads that call for ‘no kneading’ just don’t have the texture that a kneaded bread has.  So I might try it again and knead it, adding flour as necessary, or I may make it the same way and change it by preheating the pan(s).  Or both.  Stay tuned for results.

We made my hubby’s favorite ginger snaps, which turned out great, and we made cream cheese filled, pumpkin whoopie pies  Those are wicked good, too.  All in all, a good baking day!.

Friday baking day

•June 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Carolyn came over again last Friday, and were we ever busy!  We made Sally Lunn bread from Beard on Bread, and we made pate sucree for tiny tarts, also that awesome lemon curd from the CIA book, and we fooled around with making some petit fours.

Had a few problems with the petit fours:  Carolyn’s cake was very light and tasty, and petit fours are easier with a tasty dense cake.  I prefer to use a traditional pound cake recipe:  a pound each of butter, sugar, flour and a dozen eggs, and a teaspoon or two of vanilla, almond or half of each.  The last time I melted a few squares of unsweetened chocolate to the batter, too.  Makes a dense cake, perfect for fondant and/or dipping.  Anyway, there were a few accidents, which had to be eaten to conceal the evidence.  Oh, dear.

We bought some new tartlet tins and had to try them out.  Our tired and true pate sucree recipe did not disappoint, although the lemon curd had to endure several heatings in order to properly thicken.  I guess we were just too anxious.  Eventually, all worked out, and we had lemon-raspberry tarts.

The Sally Lunn bread was very tasty, but kind of fell apart, so not so good for sandwiches.  Excellent under poached eggs, however.

Later in the week I made JB’s buttermilk bread, which was both flavorful and good for sandwiches.

Today, I whipped up a batch of Beard’s Brioche, which is not ‘real’ Brioche, but rather a quick and easy substitute.  The dough came together in about a minute in the mixer, and this soft dough had a quick first rise in the oven over a steaming pan.  The dough is soft and buttery, and the recipe calls for no kneading, just shaping into 2 loaves and allow to rise a second time.  We’ll see haw this works out.

Carolyn & I will be making whoopie pies today.  This is a first for me.  Whoopie!

James Beard’s Refrigerator Potato Bread

•June 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This is a rerun of this bread.  I liked it so much the first time, I decided to make it again.  I had both time challenges this week and have been dealing with a boil water order from our water department.  We had 12 inches of rain in 3 days and raised the turbidity of the water, so all of the residents have spent a considerable amount of time boiling and saving water.  So, with that in mind, I prepared the dough and left it in the fridge for 2 days.  The dough had risen somewhat and become rather stiff, in contrast to the usual very soft dough coming out of the cooler.  I let it rise twice in the bowl before forming 2 loaves in regular loaf pans.  It has just come out of the oven smells great, and I can hardly wait to tear into it.  Practicing restraint.

Free Form Loaf

•June 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday I made James Beard’s White Free Form Loaf.  My only change was to add a little sugar to the yeast to proof.  It made a rather large free form loaf.  I would have preferred this bread in two loaf pans, and I’d reduce the salt by a teaspoon.  So I’ll make it again with those changes.

Treats from the CIA

•June 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday, my buddy Carolyn and I made James Beard’s Basic White Bread from Beard on Bread, and we made from Cooking at the CIA: Individual Chocolate Custards and Lemon Tart.
So far, all of the James Beard bread recipes have been a hit, and this one is too. I do think I preferred it the way I made it the first time, reducing the salt from one tablespoon to two teaspoons. The bread rose faster and seemed airier.
What can I say about the chocolate custard other than, “Oh, yes, do try this.” You must at least double the recipe. I topped with unsweetened whipped cream for a little bit of heaven.
Now the Lemon Tart from the same book was more of a good news/bad news story. First the good news: the lemon curd is seriously outstanding. Seriously. Make this.
The tart dough, while having a lovely lemon shortbread flavor, was way too soft for its own good, and we had to add more flour just to be able to roll it out. I have no idea why it called for self rising flour, and the oil contributed to the overall mushiness of the dough. We preferred our old standby pate sucree recipe.
Today I made panne cotta. Maybe I’ll even share with the DH.