Breads

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

 

Remember that bread-baking kick I was on a few weeks ago?

Yup……still on it.

Told you I needed an intervention. 🙂

But in my defense, I think Focaccia could be considered almost “pizza-like”.

 

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

 

I stumbled upon this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck awhile back and was happy to give it a spin. Dara’s site is fabulous and chock-full of delish recipes! And this focaccia is no exception.

It came together quite easy and the flavors were well balanced.  I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes on hand and decided to substitute them with sundried tomatoes—a tasty alternative! Just be sure to allow the focaccia to bake for 2/3 of the cooking time before adding the sundried tomatoes—or else they’ll burn! And that is definitely No Bueno.

As for my bread-baking obsession, I assure you that it’s currently under control.

Well….temporarily at least. I am ALL out of yeasts. 🙂

 

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Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Tomato & Rosemary
From Cookin’ Canuck

Ingredients:

1 Package Dry Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Teaspoon Honey
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, divided
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Sundried Tomatoes, sliced
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, needles removed from stem
1/3 Cup (packed) Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

In a medium bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and honey. Let rest until yeast blooms and bubbles form on top, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove dough from bowl and press it into a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking sheet until it touches the edges. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough. Drizzle the dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let rest until the dough becomes puffy, about 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion slices, cover and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Top the dough with caramelized onions, rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and salt. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes and add sundried tomatoes. Return to the oven and continue baking until the focaccia is golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack. Cut into pieces and serve.

Breads

“Bloomin’ Herb Bread” and a Bread Baking Binge Confession

Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread

 

I’ve really been trying to keep up with my goal of baking more bread.

But I may have gone a little over board last week. Over the course of 7 days, I had made the Simple Bread, Focaccia, Pizza Dough, Garlic Naan, and this Bloomin’ Herb Bread. I was on a Bread Baking Binge! Yeah, say that three times fast.

 

Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread

 

But the moment I saw this Bloomin’ Herb Bread on The Pioneer Woman’s site, I just HAD to make it. It looked so gorgeous with it’s golden bloom–I couldn’t resist!

 

Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread

 

And when I finally cut into it and took a bite—-it was H-E-A-V-E-N! I can’t even justly describe the flavor and texture of it. Crunchy, buttery-like crust with a soft but structured interior. SOOOOO GOOOD! I chose rosemary to flavor this bread but I think thyme or chives would be lovely as well!

I had intended to have it alongside with the Corn Chowder but the next thing I knew it, I had pulled out the Balsamic Vinegar and Premium EVOO and inhaled a good portion of it! I couldn’t stop myself! I’m a sick….sick, bread-lovin’ woman.

But in my gluttonous defense, I did share with Bella. That puggle loves bread as much as her Mama does.

 

Bella Loves Bread

 

I did, however, enjoy some the next day with the Corn Chowder and later on that week, grilled the last pieces to make a delicious Chicken Sandwich.

I’m not ashamed to say it….it was a DARN GOOD Sammy!

 

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

 

If I keep on going on like this, I may need a Bread Baking Intervention…

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Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread
From The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

20 ounces, weight Bread Flour (all Purpose Is Okay, Too) – About 4 Cups
8 ounces, fluid Water
4 ounces, fluid Melted Butter With Chopped Herbs Of Choice. We Like Chives, Rosemary Or Thyme.
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Active Or Instant Yeast (if Active, It Would Be Best To Sprinkle Yeast Over The Water To Let It Start To Work Before Mixing It In)

Combine all ingredients together in the KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook (it can be done by hand…it just takes longer).

I mixed them together for about 10 minutes or so until I could successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough. This is where you can pull off a small chunk of the dough you’re kneading and stretch it gently to see if it is somewhat translucent. If you can do this without it tearing, it’s ready. Once this elasticity has been achieved, the dough can sit out with plastic wrap over it for 1-4 hours to double in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

After the dough starts rising, it should be kneaded for a minute or two so that the yeast can redistribute. Form it into a dome and place in a covered cast iron pan after coating it with olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Cut a large ‘X’ into the surface of the bread dough so it can bloom!

Bake on the center rack of your over for 30 minutes with the lid on, them remove the lid to finish it off for another 15 to 30 minutes.

Breads

Simple Gal….Simple Bread

Simple Bread

 

I love the smell of the Ocean, Clean Laundry, and Garlic cooking. I love the scent of Gardenias and Jasmines in bloom.

And I absolutely love the smell of Cookies and Fresh Bread baking.

I am a Simple Gal really.

That’s why this recipe stopped me in my tracks with only two words…..SIMPLE BREAD.



Simple Bread

 

And it truly is. There are only a few ingredients, has a short “proofing time”, and is not the least bit complicated. Just for a little special touch, I added some fresh thyme to the dough and a little sprinkle of sea salt before placing it in the oven. Delicious.



Simple Bread

 

Crusty, Warm Bread + No Fuss = Simply Happy Gal


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Simple Bread
Slightly adapted from Marcia Passos Duffy

Ingredients:

5-6 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme (optional)
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
Sea Salt (optional)
2 Cups Hot Water (120-130 degrees F.)
A cake pan of hot water

Mix 3 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, thyme and salt.  Pour in the hot water and beat 100 strokes (or 3 minutes with a mixer).

Stir in the remaining flour until the dough loses its stickiness.  Turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 8 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth.  Let rise for 15 minutes in a warm spot (away from drafts).

Punch down and divide the dough into two pieces.  Shape into round loaves and place on a greased baking sheet.  Cut an “X” one-half inch deep in each of the loaves with a wet sharp knife. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt.

Place baking sheet with loaves in the middle of a COLD oven.   Place a pan of hot water on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown.

Breads · Reviews

Why Hello, Sopapillas….

Sopapillas with Honey

Hello Dear Friends! My sincere apologies with being MIA but I was out of town for several days. A part of my adventures included a quick road trip with my big brother from Houston to Orange County—that’s 1,600+ driving miles we clocked in! And although the drive was done in 2 quick days, we did stop for some great eats on the road back to California.

One such memorable pit stop occurred in Las Cruces, Mexico. Nopalito Restaurant is a family owned establishment that features New Mexican cuisine at its greatest. I, of course, inhaled my delicious lunch that included a cheese enchilada, crispy taco, and a flauta—all smothered with their yummy chile verde. It was DARN GOOD! But as tasty as our entrees were, it was our dessert that had me.

My brother had insisted that wherever we ate for lunch while in New Mexico, we needed to order Sopapillas. I had never heard of Sopapillas, let alone try them before. But when he said it was a flat bread that was fried, I was ALL over it. Our awesome server brought over a basket of our freshly fried Sopapillas with a bottle of honey. It was SOOOOO good! The bread was crispy but not greasy and the dough was slightly sweet and further enhanced by the floral notes of the honey. And I’m not the least bit embarrassed to admit that I had polished off my entire Sopapilla before my brother even had his second bite. Heheheh…. it was good.

Headed to Las Cruces anytime soon? You must stop by Nopalito Restaurant. Delicious food, friendly service, great prices…and of course, Sopapillas.

Nopalito Restaurant
310 South Mesquite Street
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88001
(505) 524-0003

Breads · Desserts/Pastries

Cocktail Buns….Take 1

Cocktail Buns

 

For the past few years, I’ve been pretty obsessed with Cocktail Buns– a Chinese bread/pastry filled with a sweet and sugary coconut filling. I really blame it all on TC Pastry located in Daly City, California. Hands down, they have the BEST Cocktail Buns–EVER! Somehow, their rendition is always extra fluffy, extra buttery, and just extra GOOD. And at 60 cents a pop, you just can’t beat it!

Sadly, now that I’m no longer in the Bay Area, I miss my regular fix of Cocktail Buns and needed to take matters into my own hands. My sister recommended trying out the Corner Cafe’s version which used a good amount of milk powder in the recipe. What further intrigued me was the use of a “water roux” in the bread dough.

Like most yeast products, this recipe did take some time to come together and required a few proofings. The end results produced an OK product for me. Right out of the oven, the bread was pretty flavorful and had a nice texture. However, I found the filling to be too dry and not sweet enough. Perhaps next time I’ll add a tablespoon of condensed milk to assist with the moisture.

Sadly, my Cocktails Buns paled in comparison to TC Pastry…..they are after all, “dee best”. But until I can make a visit to the Bay again, I’ll just need to go back to the drawing board. 🙂

 

Cocktail Buns

 

So, if you’re in the area, you MUST go to TC Pastry and pick up a dozen or so Cocktail Buns. They also have some delicious and affordable Dim Sum. Ugh…I’ll be so jealous. 🙂

TC Pastry
67 Saint Francis Square
Daly City, California 94015
(650) 755-8612
Hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 8:30 am – 7:00 pm

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Cocktail Buns
From Corner Cafe

Ingredients:

Cocktail Buns:
1/2 portion Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough
1/2 egg, lightly beaten for eggwash
White sesame seeds

Cocktail Bun Filling:
100g softened butter
45g plain flour, sifted
50g milk powder, sifted
45g caster sugar, sifted
20g desiccated coconut

Mexican Topping:
30g softened butter
10g caster sugar, sifted
20g plain flour, sifted

Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough:
375g bread flour
100g plain flour
35g milk powder
75g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 sachet (7g or 2 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
40g butter, cubed

Water-Roux Paste:
25g (just under 2 tbsp) bread flour
125ml (1/2 cup) water

Prepare the Water Roux. Mix flour and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches 65ºC. It should have thickened to a paste at this stage, that is when you stir you can see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, place a cling film over the paste and leave until lukewarm, or room temperature, before using. (Alternatively if you don’t have a thermometer, cook as before until it starts to thicken, then continue to cook for about 1 more minute before removing from heat.) This water roux can be kept in an airtight container after cooling in the refrigerator for 1 day if not used immediately. However DO NOT USE if it turns grey in colour, that means it has gone bad.

For the Bun Dough: Sift bread flour, plain flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt onto the working surface. Add instant dry yeast and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well. Add lightly beaten egg and lukewarm water roux and mix in. Gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form into a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. During hand kneading, the dough also needs to be thrown onto the working surface once every few minutes between kneading to improve the dough structure. (I usually just pick up the dough to about head-high and throw it down onto the working surface 10 to 20 times every few minutes between kneading.)

Knead in butter until incorporated. (In many cookbooks, they mentioned that the dough at this stage should be able to be pulled and stretched into membrane, but it’s hard to achieve with hand kneading. I usually stop kneading when the dough sticks to the work surface and stretches like chewing gum when pulled!) Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size in a large greased bowl, cover with cling film (should take about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). Optimum room temperature for this first prove is 28°C with a humidity of 75%. To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain if it is ready. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further.

Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then divide into 16 equal portions. The easiest way is to first divide equally into 4 larger portions first, then divide each of these again into quarters each. Form each into balls and let rest for 10 minutes.

Prepare the Cocktail Bun Filling: Mix everything together. Divide into 8 equal portions.

Prepare the Mexican Topping: Cream softened butter and sugar until pale. Fold in flour. Transfer into a small freezer/snack bag with a tiny cut at one corner for piping (or use a piping bag fixed with a 1/2cm or smaller round nozzle).

Assemble. Take one of the 8 small divided balls and roll out with a rolling pin into a flat circle. Place one portion of the Cocktail Bun Filling in the centre of dough circle. Gather the outer edges of the dough circle and wrap up the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal in the filling. Roll the sealed dough with your palm on the work surface lightly up and down to shape the dough into a cylindrical shape. Repeat with the other 7 dough balls. Let rise, lightly covered, until double in size on a lightly greased tray. When ready, brush with eggwash. Then sprinkle a little sesame seeds onto the buns and pipe 2 lines of the Mexican Topping on top of each bun. Bake in preheated 190°C oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Breads · Side Dish

Potato Rosemary Rolls

Potato Rosemary Rolls

 

Ever since I saw these Potato Rosemary Rolls from Two Peas and Their Pod, I just had to have them.

The only reason I waited so long to make them was because I never had extra mashed potatoes on hand—and they are a key component to these whimsical little rolls. But as soon as I got my hands on some, I was all over it!

And although my rolls didn’t turn out half as pretty as theirs (how did they make their clovers so perfect?!) they were delicious! Soft, fluffy, and slightly sweet. The only note I would make was that it took 90 minutes for the dough to double in size during the first proofing—twice as long as the recipe stated. But that always seems to be an issue I have.  🙂

 

Potato Rosemary Rolls

 

You’ll just love how your home will smell when these rolls are baking. Just heavenly! And they are just divine right out of the oven—-is there anything better than hot freshly baked bread?

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Potato Rosemary Rolls
From Two Peas and Their Pod

2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup shortening
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup scalded milk
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1. In a small bowl, put the yeast in the warm water and stir with a spoon. Let sit for about five minutes or until the yeast starts to bubble.  Scald the milk and let it cool for two minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, shortening, and salt. Add the milk and stir in one cup of the flour. Next, add the yeast mixture and the beaten eggs. Add the mashed potatoes and rosemary and stir. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough comes together.

3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and let rise in a warm spot for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

4. Punch down the dough. To form the rolls, pinch off about a 1/2 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place three balls into a greased muffin tin. Continue forming rolls until dough is gone. Let the rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Bake rolls at 375 degrees F for about 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Makes about 30 rolls

Breads

NY Times: No Knead Bread Boule

I have a confession. I have an EXTREME fear of working with yeast. AND I am intimidated with kneading doughs. Both are somewhat problematic since I LOVE carbs!

So when my sister recommended I try a No-Knead bread recipe she saw through the NY Times–I was ALL about it! Upon scanning the recipe, I was a tad skeptical of how simple it sounded but I was up to giving it a try.

True to form, it was easy to do. It just took A LONG time for the dough to rise and I’ll be honest–I am not always known to be patient. But the end results were delicious and you just can’t beat the amazing aromas of fresh baked bread as it fills your home.The bread does have a yummy flavor, great-crunchy crust, and wonderful air pockets when you cut into it.

Word to the wise, you need a lot of flour on the dough to ensure it doesn’t stick. However, you will need a heavy duty pastry brush to dust it all off when it’s finished cooling.

This recipe has made a believer out of me. 🙂

After the dough has fully rested.


Removing the lid before continuing to bake.


Ta-Da! You won’t need to buy bread again!

 

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NY Times: No-Knead Bread Boule


Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

Ingredients:

3 Cups All-Purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ Teaspoon Instant Yeast
1¼ Teaspoons Salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.