Posts Tagged ‘bread’


30 January 13

Brioche (Photo credit: joana hard)

Brioche is supposed to be a difficult and intimidating bread. Well, I don’t see that unless you decide to do things the hard way. Like any other bread, brioche can be made pretty much by the numbers if you do things correctly.

This is the size for two small bread pans or one Pain de Mie pan.

520   g   bread flour
  g   high gluten flour
63   g   cold water
6   cold eggs
  g   salt
82   g   sugar
1   pkg   yeast
3   sticks
  cold butter
1   egg, beaten with a dollop of water

This stuff is not really bread. It is not really pastry either. It is a bridge between the two, and shares characteristics of both. It is rather magical the way it does. Those who are totally nuts might think about doing this by hand. Those who are sane will use a good mixer.

First rule – everything must be cold. This is not optional. You must refrigerate all ingredients overnight. This includes the flour, water, salt, sugar, and yeast. Also refrigerate the mixing bowl and dough hook. Only take things out as you need them. Work quickly and all will be well.

Mix everything except the butter on first speed until everything is incorporated, usually about 3 to 5 minutes. Mix on second speed 5 to 7 minutes until the dough is strong and tough.

Meanwhile beat the cold butter with a stick between sheets of plastic wrap until pliable (but still cold). Use a French style rolling pin (just a tapered stick), not an American, which has ball bearings. If you don’t have a good French rolling pin then use a cut off broomstick or something similar.

With the mixer still running toss in chunks of the butter. You can toss them in one after the other; you don’t have to wait for the preceding to incorporate. Another 8 minutes and the dough should be smooth, silky, slick, and deliciously buttery.

Turn it out into a lightly floured bowl and wrap with plastic wrap so that NO air gets to it. I do a wrap around the dough and then a layer across the top of the bowl secured by a large rubber band. Works well.

Rise for 1 hour. This is not going to double in size. Don’t panic, just fold it and keep on going. Rise for 2 hours, fold. Rise for 3 to 4 hours, fold and place in the refrigerator overnight. You will note that there were 3 rises, and between 6 and 7 hours rise before you put it in the refrigerator. The reason that the last one is 3 to 4 is that I won’t stay up an extra hour.

The next morning set it back on the counter and let it warm just enough so you can handle it. Fold, divide, shape it whatever you like and let it rise some more. You want about 50% of your form filled. Rise until 85% or a little more of the form is filled. Do an egg wash for anything but a Pain de Mie pan.

Bake at 375°F to 380°F. Time is dependent on the form. For a small bread loaf (this recipe makes two), you are looking at around 40 to 45 minutes. Set the pan on top of an airfoil cookie sheet in about the middle of the oven. If you don’t have an airfoil pan you can double stack just about any type of jelly pans. What you are doing is keeping the bottom from burning. Take a look at things somewhere around 20 minutes and if it is starting to get too brown tent with a bit of aluminum foil.

You really want to use a good digital insertion thermometer. That is really the best way to tell when it is done. 205°F is the target. It is not a good thump test type bread. When it is done properly it will be golden brown and smell wonderfully rich.

Last caution: Be very careful to not under bake this bread.



24 December 12

[Once again, this is Herself, posting for Himself. Mainly, I forgot to log out and login under his ID.]

This is the plain lángos, similar to the fried breads that just about every culture has had at one time or another. Very near North American Indian fried bread. This is the HungarianCentral European – version. For more discussion see the Krumplis Lángos (potato lángos) recipe.

 450   g  flour (3 cups)
 1  pkg. yeast
 1  pinch   salt
 5  g  sugar (1 tsp)
 225   g  water (1 cup)
 10  g  unsalted soft butter (1 Tbs) 

Put everything in the mixer. 3 minutes first speed. 3 minutes second speed.

Put the dough ball into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 1 hour.

Depending on what you want to do with this divide into somewhere between 4 and 16 pieces. Either pat it out or roll it out to about 1/8” thickness.

Fry in 375°F oil until golden brown. Turn and fry the other side. Let them drain on a paper towel. Hungarian style: rub with cut garlic and sprinkle with coarse ground salt.

Lángos with cheese and sour cream

Lángos with cheese and sour cream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also good for making pocket sandwiches, tearing and dipping cheese, spinach, or whatever kind of dip. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, or honey, for a desert. Just spread butter or cream cheese or whatever for a nice bread side. Very versatile.

What’s in a Name?

19 November 11
Apple Cobbler.

Apple Cobbler Image via Wikipedia

Herself wanted to know what the difference was between a cobbler (which I make fairly often) and a grunt (I seldom do those).

Well – here are a few definitions:

Betty: A Betty is made with buttered bread crumbs. The one we’ve all heard about is the Apple Brown Betty, and this is the real way to make one:

4 slices white sandwich bread, tear into

large pieces or 2 cups coarse bread crumbs

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
6 apples peeled & cored & sectioned

into 8 pieces (Galas or Fujis do well)

2 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream

Oven to 375°F.

Chop up the bread by pulsing in a food processor until you get coarse crumbs.  Spread out the crumbs on a jelly roll pan (you really want those rims). Bake until a nice light gold brown – maybe 10 minutes. Cool completely, put into a bowl, add butter and toss or mix until completely coated.

Put apples, lemon juice (which keeps the apples from browning), sugar, spices, and half the breadcrumbs. Put into a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Cover with the other half of the breadcrumbs. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until breadcrumbs are brown, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on things. Stage 1 is over when the apples are fork tender and stage 2 is complete when the top is golden brown.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon if you like.

Buckle: The buckle is a kinda layer cake of a sort. The bottom layer is a cake. The middle layer is some kind of fruit filling, the top layer is crumbly. Some combine a couple of the layers together. Here’s a genuine Pennsylvania Blueberry Buckle:

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter

Oven to 375°F.


Use a good mixer unless you are a manual nut. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg. Mix in the rest. Gently fold in the blueberries. (This is one of those that combine the first two layers.) Pour into a buttered square baking pan – about a 9 incher.


Do the topping by hand. Mix up the sugar, flour and cinnamon, then cut in the butter until you have a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the topping over the mixture. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes. Use the toothpick test near the center. Cool it on a wire rack before cutting.

Cobbler: The cobbler is filling and crust melded together into a single layer. Here’s a peach cobbler:

500 g peaches
210 g sugar (1 cup)
150 g all-purpose flour (1 cup)
8 g baking powder (2 tsp)
4 g salt (1/2 tsp)
245 g milk (1 cup)
1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup)
Cream, whipped cream or

ice cream, if desired

Over to 375°F

—– Fruit —–

Blanche peaches for 1 minute, ice bath for 1 minute, slip peeling off fruit. Pit and cube. In a saucepan simmer with sugar and 70g (1/3 cup) water for 10 minute, stir often.

—– Crust —–

Mix together everything except the melted butter. Mix in the butter last. Spread in an ungreased 2 quart shallow pan. Spoon crust batter into the pan, then spread the fruit mix over the crust.

Bake 375°F 45 minutes or until the dough rises above the fruit and is golden brown.

Whipped cream or ice cream and a little cinnamon are good.

Crumbles and Crisps are pretty much the same animal. The technique resembles the topping of the buckle. The crumble can be sweet or savory. The sweet is the more common. A layer of stewed fruit has a crumbly topping of butter, flour and sugar sprinkled over it. For the savory variety (not usually seen outside England) use a base of meat and a topping of butter, flour and shredded cheese. Crumbles are a very recent invention – as in WWII – because the flour needed to make pies and such was so heavily rationed. By putting a crumbly crust on the top the amount of flour needed is cut by about 70% or so. I’m not going to bother with a recipe. If you want to make one just stew some fruit until it develops a bit of syrup, about 10 minutes. Put it in a buttered dish and sprinkle a crumbly crust make from cutting cold butter into a little flour and sugar until it is mealy.

Grunts are another upside down variety. A biscuit crust is put over a stewed fruit base. Similar to any of the rest. {{Herself Sez: I did some Google searching myself. The thing that tickled my funny bone is the description of the Grunt: “thought to be a description of the sound the berries make as they stew!” There is also a “Slump” which was simply another name for the Grunt. Very confusing until you let your research sort of cook down in your fevered brain!}}

Pandowdy – another one of the crust on top variety. Standard pie type crust is placed on top. Winds up being kind of like a standard covered pie without the bottom crust.

You may get the feeling that I don’t fool much with the last few since I didn’t bother to give you a recipe. You would be correct. They are very easy to do and you can either figure them out with about 5 seconds thought or look up a recipe on the net.

Krumplis Lángos

15 October 11

Theoretically the original flame baked flat bread was introduced during the Ottoman Turk occupation of Hungary in the 16th

2014-02-12 17.45.40century. An alternate theory is that they descend from the Roman hearth bread panis focacius, which is also an ancestor of the Italian focaccia, which I have written about elsewhere. Actually, both theories could be correct – since the Turks were Byzantine Christians until the Moslem conquest and Constantinople was the Eastern Rome. Things have changed a bit over the centuries. The bread is no longer cooked in front of an open flame, but has become deep fried. The basic version –lángos – is a standard bread kind of thing. These are the potato variety – called krumplis lángos. I’ll write up the plain lángos one of these days – they are good also.

340 g mashed potato (3/4 lb)
1 pkg yeast
 5 g sugar (1 tsp)
250 g all-purpose flour (1-3/4)
15 g olive oil (1 Tbs)
5 g salt (3/4 tsp)
125 g milk (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, cut in half

You know the basic drill for a mashed spud: peel it, whack it into about 8 pieces, put into boiling salted water for about 15 minutes. The test is to stick a fork in it. When the spuds are tender all the way through drain them and then mash them up. Put the mashed spuds and everything else except the garlic into the mixing bowl. Mix with the flat beater for about one minute, just to get things together. Swap the beater for the dough hook. Mix 3 minutes on first speed. Mix 3 minutes on second speed.

You will notice that the dough starts off rather dry, but becomes pretty loose and wet by the second speed mixing. This behavior is pretty typical of potato breads. Put the dough into a lubed covered bowl and let rise until doubled. Don’t be fooled, this stuff rises pretty fast, as in about 20 minutes or less should see the volume double.

You will find this to be some of the smoothest, silkiest dough that you have ever felt. Anyway, cut into four pieces, flatten on a floured board and form into rounds. Cover with plastic or a floured cloth and let rest about 20 minutes.

In an electric skillet, or a large fry pan heat up about 1 inch of good oil to about 375°F. Peanut or canola come to mind.

Flatten and stretch each piece to an 8” round on the floured board. Fry them one at a time for about 2 minutes 30 seconds per side. You are looking for a rich golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

The most frequent way of serving these is to cut a piece of garlic in half and rub it over the round while it is still hot, then sprinkle with a good coarse salt. A good Atlantic sea salt or a Himalayan pink do very nicely. Himalayan pink is actually from Pakistan, which I’m not fond of enriching, but I won’t let that get in the way of the taste buds.

Other common toppings include sour cream and minced dill, shredded Emmanthaler and/or Gruyere (try mixing in 1/3 Parmigiano-Reggiano). For a nice desert cinnamon/sugar or powdered sugar work well. Really, you can top them with anything you like.

People have referred to lángos – pronounced lon-gosh – as Hungarian pizza. I disagree. These have got a whole lot going for themselves and don’t imitate anything. They are their own wonderful flavor.

I suppose I should mention that these have spread all over Eastern Europe, popular everywhere. Mostly served in fast food joints or by street vendors.

Once you’ve done these you can pretty well knock them out while preparing the rest of dinner. Be warned that these are addicting and filling – particularly the original garlic and salt variety. {{Herself Sez: Yummmm!}}

Almond Biscotti

7 May 11

Legend has it that the twice baked treat that we call biscotti originates in the Italian city of Prato and should be called biscotti de Prato. Prato is in Tuscany – kinda’ North Central Italy. The original jobbies were supposed to be this nice almond version. These may go way back. We do know that something like these was being made in the medieval period. The first “official” recipe was somewhere around the 1800’s or thereabouts. People who like biscotti are nuts about this version. It is not hard to make at all.

{Herself sez: Well, pics will have to come later – we ate them up before I could get my camera out and set up! They are THAT good!}

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
230 g sugar (1 cup) – can be reduced to 200 g easily, or less by taste
3 eggs
3 g anise or vanilla extract (1 tsp)
320 g all-purpose flour (2 cups)
8 g baking powder (2 tsp)
dash salt
80 g chopped almonds (1/2 cup)
milk for brushing
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

You should use a mixer for this unless you have more energy and strength that good sense. You can use a flat beater or a dough hook. If you want to be really efficient use the flat beater until you add flour and then switch to the hook.

Cream the butter and sugar until nice and smooth. Use less sugar if this is too sweet for you. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for a few seconds. Anise may be the more traditional flavor if you have it. Remember vanilla wasn’t available until the conquest of Mexico. Interesting that both chocolate and vanilla come from the new world. Add all the rest except the almonds and mix together. Lastly add the almonds and mix briefly to evenly distribute. Traditionally you just use plain old almonds – not blanched or anything else. You don’t really have to chop them, when you slice the stuff you will cut the almonds anyway. Follow your own preferences.

Use the biggest pan that will fit in your oven. If you don’t have a good sized pan then use two smaller pans. Cover the pan with foil and then butter the foil quite thoroughly. Divide the dough in half and then spread it on the pan with a good space between. You will wind up with two strips 12” x 3” or 10” x 4” depending on the size of your pan. You will find it easier to just pat into place rather than trying to spread with a utensil. Keep them as far apart as your pan will allow and as square as possible. You don’t want the two strips to melt together. This will all make sense after you do it the first time.

Brush the top with milk and sprinkle well with sugar. You will probably use about 1/4 cup of sugar or a bit more when it is right. Bake at 375°F for around 20 minutes. You want a nice golden brown and it should be firm to touch.

When nice and brown remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 300°F. Slide the foil and pastry onto a wire cooling rack. Let it cool for 15 minutes. You have to be very careful with these steps as the pastry is rather fragile here. After it has cooled for the required time you need to get the pastry off the foil. The best way that I have found is to place the foil/pastry to the edge of the counter with the strips parallel to the edge. Support the strip from the bottom as you slide the pastry off the counter while peeling the foil down. When you have finished the first strip turn the foil around and do the other. This is the time to be very careful or you will crack the stuff. Slice the pastry with a good bread knife at a 45° angle. If the knife is not good and sharp you may rip the almonds around.

Put the slices with a cut side down on an ungreased baking sheet. You will do much better to use a jelly roll pan (the kind that had a lip all the way around). If you use a real non-stick cookie sheet the slices are likely to go sailing as it takes almost no movement to get the slice sliding. Bake them at 300°F for 10 minutes or so on one side, turn them over and do another 10 minutes. Just turn the oven off, crack the door, and let them cool for a while in the oven. After things have cooled off store them in a really airtight container.

Since these are so bone-dry they are traditionally served with something to dunk them in. Coffee and tea are well thought of. The old Italian tradition was orange juice after dinner. Try it – the reason most stuff (food wise) gets to be a tradition is because it is good.

Loaf Pan Sourdough Loaf

1 May 10

This is a nice loaf for loaf pans. (Not that you can’t do baguettes or free-form). It does pretty good for toast, sandwich, cheese toast and the like. This is a pure sourdough with no additional yeast added.

—–Overnight Starter—–

340   g   fed sourdough starter (1-1/3 cups)

303   g   water (1-1/3 cups)

340   g   bread flour (3 cups)

—–Next Morning Sponge—–

170   g   flour (1-1/3 cups)


170   g   water (2/3 cup)

14     g   butter or oil (2 tsp)

340   g   bread flour (3 cups)

19     g   salt (3 tsp)

—– Starter —–

Mix starter, water and flour together and cover. Substitute whole wheat or white whole wheat for half the flour if desired. Let ferment overnight.

—– Sponge —–

Mix in flour. Ferment 4 hours.

—– Dough —–

Mix in all ingredients. Mix 3 minutes low speed, 3 minutes second speed.

Ferment 4 hours, should be doubled.

Divide, shape, place into lubed pans, ferment until doubled – about 3 hours. This recipe makes 2 8-1/2” x 4-1/2” x 2-1/2” loaves, or one larger loaf.

Baguettes or free-form: Slash, steam. Bake covered 15 minutes at 450F. Uncover and reduce heat to 425F for 15 minutes.

Loaf pan: Steam. Bake at 400F for 45 minutes.

Not a purist’s French bread, since butter is added to the mix, and by French law only flour, water, yeast and salt are allowed in something called “French Bread”.

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