Brioche

Happy summer everyone! In addition to today being the longest day of the year, it’s going to be a fun day in Canada with many concerts and masterclasses and all of the other shenanigans that go on at music camp. I’ve been having such a great time seeing amazing people play and having the time to just focus on one activity! It was a little bit weird at first, not having any school or gymnastics to worry about, but having some time to devote just to music is really nice.

photo-4Some of the best experiences I’ve had so far have been the masterclasses that I have been able to attend here at the SMI-NAC. The first one I went to was on Tuesday night, and it was a voice masterclass with Benita Valente. I’m clearly not an opera singer myself, so in addition to seeing the spectacular performers, I got to see a little taste of what voice technique involves, which was very interesting. Then, on Wednesday night, Mr. Zuckerman and Ms. Kopec had a masterclass that was honestly one of the best event’s I’ve ever been to. It was just incredible, and I would go to it every single night if I could. Finally, last night, they had a chamber music site reading “party,” which is always fun. I get to play in one every year at a camp I do during August, and they did many of the same pieces, such as the Mendelssohn Octet and the Borodin String Quartet No. 2. As you can probably tell, I’m having so much fun.

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I also tried poutine for the first time, which was very delicious. Poutine is a dish made up of french fries that are covered in gravy and cheese curds. Obviously not the healthiest choice, but it was fun to taste! Speaking of food, let’s get rolling on these brioche buns! When I was younger, my mom would make challah, a Jewish egg-based bread every Friday, and this is very similar. It’s slightly sweet and it’s distinctive yellow color made it a blast to make and eat. The dough was sticky and a little bit hard to manage at times, but that’s what makes baking fun!

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Ingredients

  • 2 oz milk, scalded and cooled

  • 2 oz bread flour

  • 0.2 oz instant yeast

  • 5 oz eggs

  • 8 oz bread flour

  • 0.5 oz sugar

  • 0.2 oz salt

  • 6 oz butter, softened

Directions

Mixing- Sponge Method

  1. Whisk the yeast, milk and flour until the yeast begins to bloom (This technique is called making a sponge). Let rise until double.

  2. Using the paddle attachment on an electric mixer, gradually mix in the eggs and then the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.

  3. Beat in the butter a little at a time until it is completely absorbed and the dough is smooth. Dough will be very soft and sticky.

Fermentation

  1. If the dough will require much handling in makeup, as for small brioche rolls, it is easiest to retard the dough overnight. Making it up while chilled reduces stickiness.

  2. If the dough is to be simply deposited in pans, its stickiness and softness will not be problems, so it need not to be retarded. Ferment 20 minutes, then scale and pan.

Assembly

  1. The traditional brioche shape, called brioche a tete (it looks like a very small tart pan). However, brioches may also be baked as simple round rolls or as pans loaves in many sizes and shapes.

  2. For a small brioche, roll the dough into a ball.

  3. Using the edge of the hand, pinch out about one fourth of the dough without detaching it. Roll the dough on the bench so both parts are round (it will look like a lopsided pear).

  4. Place the dough in the tin, large end first. With the fingertips, press the small ball of dough into the larger one.

  5. For a large brioche, separate the two parts of the dough. Place the large ball in the tin and make a hole in the center. Form the smaller ball into a pear shape and fit it into the hole. The bake loaf has the traditional brioche shape.

  6. Make an egg wash (1 egg and a small splash of water, whisk) after proofing.

Baking

  1. For small rolls, bake at 400 degrees. For large rolls bake at 375 degrees.

From: Professional Baking

I couldn’t think of a more delicious way to start off summer. Enjoy!

Rayna 🙂

 

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Portuguese Sweet Bread

To say that these last few weeks have been busy is an understatement. I’ve been running all around the northeast between gymnastics and music, and school stuff is getting more and more stressful. It’s like I could use a second spring break already…and it’s only been one week!
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A few months ago, my mom made a delicious New England Anadama bread, and this reminds me of it very much. It’s slight sweetness makes it delicious to eat on it’s own, and the crust on top was golden brown and perfect. Toasted and spread with Vermont churned butter…it made waking up at 6:30 something to look forward to.

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Ingredients

  • 4 ounces milk
  • 2 ounces butter, cut into pats
  • 2 3/8 ounces sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 13 3/4 ounces all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • grated peel (zest) of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, white reserved
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

Directions

1) Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe cup, or in a saucepan. Heat to lukewarm, stirring to soften the butter. Set aside.
2) In a mixing bowl, the bowl of your stand mixer, or the bucket of your bread machine, combine the flour, yeast, and lemon zest; stir to combine.
3) Add the milk mixture, stirring first to make sure the sugar and salt aren’t left in the bottom of the cup or pan.
4) Add the eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Mix and knead until the dough is cohesive and smooth; it’ll be very sticky at first. If you’re using a stand mixer, beat with the flat beater for about 3 minutes at medium-high speed; then scrape the dough into the center of the bowl, switch to the dough hook, and knead for about 5 minutes at medium speed. It will have formed a ball somewhat, but will probably still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl. If you’re using a bread machine, simply let it go through its entire cycle, and skip to step 6.
5) Lightly grease the mixing bowl or a large (8-cup) measure, round the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl or measure. Cover, and let rise until very puffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you’re using a bread machine and the dough hasn’t doubled in size when the cycle is complete, simply let it rest in the machine for another 30 to 60 minutes.
6) Lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan.
7) Gently deflate the dough, and round it into a ball. Place the ball in the prepared pan, and tent the dough gently with lightly greased plastic wrap.
8) Let the dough rise in the pan for about 2 hours, until it’s nicely puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
9) Mix the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon cold water, and brush some onto the surface of the loaf; this will give it a satiny, mahogany-brown crust.
10) Bake the bread for 15 minutes, then tent it lightly with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s a medium golden brown and its internal temperature registers 190°F on a digital thermometer.
11) Remove the bread from the oven, and gently transfer it to a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for several days’ freeze for longer storage.

Courtesy: King Arthur Flour

What’s not to love?

-Rayna 🙂

English Muffin Toasting Bread

Happy April everyone! It’s been one hectic month, but thankfully, I have break from school this week and I’ve been really enjoying it. Lots of sleeping in, and lots of helping my mom test some (a lot) of recipes for her website, which is launching this weekend! I think it will be an awesome place for tons of delicious, chef-quality recipes for you to enjoy.

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Speaking of chef-quality recipes, let’s talk about this bread. I’m typically not a fan of foods that are trying to be other things (tofurkey, for example) so I was a bit skeptical at first. I can’t tell you how wrong I was. It had the recognizable crumb of an English muffin and had the hearty taste that you want slathered with butter any day of the week. As the recipe states, it is absolutely spectacular toasted, and I can’t praise this bread enough.
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Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. I dare you. 🙂

English Muffin Toasting Bread

  • 12 3/4 ounces all purpose flour
  • 1/2 ounce sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 8 ounces milk
  • 2 ounces water
  • 7/8 ounce vegetable oil or olive oil
  • Cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Directions:

1) Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2) Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
7) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
Yield: 1 loaf.
Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

Enjoy!
Rayna 🙂

(P.S. I tried formatting the pictures in a new way. What do you think?)

Crunchy Seed Braid

I hope you guys are having a great start to your week! I am fresh off of 2 weeks of sleeping in, due to state testing that only the sophomores have to take. Sleeping in every day has been great, to say the least, but it’s not going to be easy going back into my early routine! Thankfully, we have lots of delicious tea and coffee in our house, so I’ll make it through the day.

After trying the Vermont oatmeal honey whole wheat bread, I was hooked on using yeast. I dipped my toe into the sweeter side of yeast doughs with cinnamon rolls, but I really wanted to have an awesome seedy, healthy loaf. I know it may not seem like it because I run a blog dedicated to sweets, but I try to eat pretty healthily most of the time. I couldn’t go too crazy with the seeds on this loaf from King Arthur Flour, because I would have been the only one to eat it! While I do love whole grain bread, I don’t think I could eat an entire loaf. So, I only ended up putting poppy seeds and sesame seeds on this loaf, but I would love to experiment with chia seeds, flax seeds, and wheat germ.

Just a tip for those looking to make this loaf: make all of your loaves the same size! I didn’t read the recipe closely and thought it made 3 mini-loaves instead of one braid, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the size of all of the loaves. Still, this loaf came out hearty and crunchy and a great healthy option to make!

Ingredients:
Dough

  • 10 ounces lukewarm water
  • 1 1/4 ounces vegetable oil
  • 8 1/2 ounces Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 6 ounces Whole Wheat Flour, white wheat preferred
  • 3 ounces assorted nuts and seeds
  • 1 1/2 ounces traditional rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 7/8 ounce sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

Topping

  • 1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 3 ounces mixed seeds: poppy, sesame, flax, fennel, and anise are all good choices

Directions

  1. Mix all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead — by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, supple dough.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased, covered container, and allow it to rise for 60 to 90 minutes. It’ll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into three pieces. Roll/stretch each piece into a 24″ log.
  4. Brush the logs with the beaten egg white, coating them as well as you can.
  5. Sprinkle with the seeds. Roll them over, brush with egg white, and sprinkle on more seeds. Roll them around a bit, to coat as completely as possible.
  6. Allow the logs to rest for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Squeeze the three logs together at one end. Braid into a braid. When you get to the end, squeeze the three pieces together and tuck them underneath. Transfer the braid to a lightly greased or parchment-lined pan, brush with more egg white, and and sprinkle with any leftover seeds.
  8. Cover the braid, and let it rise for 1 hour, till the braid has become noticeably puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  9. Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Tent it lightly with foil (to prevent over-browning), reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the braid’s internal temperature registers 190°F. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 large loaf.
Does anyone want to make me a loaf?

-Rayna 🙂

Carl’s Cinnamon Rolls

Happy March! These past few weeks have been incredibly busy with everything from the final gymnastics meets before states (only 9 days to go!) and various orchestra performances and even beginning to talk about college with my guidance counselor! It’s crazy, but I’m glad that I finally have some time to take a moment to update you on what’s been going on around my kitchen.

I guess my blog has inspired my chef mom to create her own cooking blog/ web-zine, which I will be featured on once a month! The website is www.theweiserkitchen.com and my posts will be underneath The Weiser Baker. While I hope that you all will check out her website to see my original recipes, you should really explore the whole thing. Seeing that I’m the person who got to try all of the recipes posted, I can tell you first hand that everything is absolutely delicious and not something to miss. But for now, back into the world of swirly cinnamon goodness.

My adventure into the world of yeast begins again after taking a brief hiatus to tell you about one of the most wonderful banana bread’s I’ve ever made. Obviously, after making some savory bread, I needed to venture back into sweets, and this recipe from King Arthur Flour was just perfect. I love a good loaf, but a warm cinnamon roll that is oozing with cream cheese icing sounds just incredible. Does anyone want to bring me one now?

Carl’s Cinnamon Rolls
(To make 20 rolls)

Dough

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) milk
  • 4 3/4 cups (20 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (4 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, melted

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
  • 3/4 cup (5 5/8 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (5/8 ounce) ground cinnamon

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Manual Method: Dissolve the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in the lukewarm water. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, and mix until fairly smooth. Knead the dough, by hand for 10 minutes, or with your mixer equipped with the dough hook for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and supple. Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until puffy, 1 to 2 hours.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Check the dough during the final 10 minutes of the kneading cycle, adding additional flour or water as needed to produce a smooth, supple dough. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat and then roll the dough into an 18 x 24-inch rectangle.

Filling: Brush the dough with the butter, leaving a 1-inch bare edge along one long side. Combine the remaining filling ingredients — sugar, salt and cinnamon — and sprinkle them evenly over the dough.

Assembly: Starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a long log (not too tightly, or the centers of the rolls will pop up during baking). Make sure to finish up at the edge that isn’t brushed with milk or butter. Brush that edge with water and pull it up over the log, pinching to seal. Roll the log so it’s seam-side-down on your work surface.

Use a ruler to mark off 1 1/2-inch intervals, then use a serrated knife to gently cut 20 rolls; you may also loop dental floss around the log at each interval and pull, which gives you a nice, clean cut. Transfer the rolls to lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1-inch between each roll. These will fit on a full-sheet pan or two half-sheet pans.

Brush the sides of each roll with melted butter or vegetable oil, if desired; this makes the rolls easier to pull apart after they’re baked. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap, and set them aside to rise until puffy but perhaps not doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, reversing the pans midway through. They should be golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool slightly, as you prepare the frosting.

Frosting: Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture should be of spreading consistency, like a soft butter cream frosting.

Using a metal spatula, frost the rolls while they’re warm. Remove them from the pan, and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Eat them soon, or freeze them, well wrapped, for later use. (If you’re going to freeze the rolls, it’s better not to frost them before freezing.)

To Reheat Rolls: Remove the rolls from the freezer, and allow them to thaw, in their wrapping, at room temperature. This will take 1 to 1 1/2 hours, more or less. Remove the wrapping, and bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for about 7 minutes, or until they’re very hot. Remove them from the oven, and frost them. To reheat in the microwave, remove the rolls from their wrapping and microwave for no more than 30 seconds. Better still, heat them in a microwave set on defrost until they’re warm. Serve rolls immediately. Yield: 40 rolls.

Take your expectations for these, and double that by 20. Yeah, they’re that good.

Enjoy!

-Rayna