Archive

bread

20160105_080255[1]

Waking up to breakfast smells is probably one of the best ways to wake up. I don’t have a personal breakfast chef, so if I want breakfast at home, then it’s up to me. Overnight oats are terrible lie of a breakfast, but overnight French Toast (which is really just a lightened up bread pudding with a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg) is a fantastic alarm clock for your olfactory system.

Enjoy a scoop with some greek yogurt and maple syrup and you’re pretty golden.

20160104_204338[1]

No hard and fast recipe:
Half a loaf of old bread, sliced.
Whole Milk
A little bit of sugar.
2-4 eggs. I probably settled in the middle at 3. Also a good way to use up yolks.
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Vanilla extract if you want it.

Heat the milk and sugar up, temper the eggs and add to the milk & sugar. Toss in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Butter/oil up a baking dish. Layer the bread slices.

Pour milk and egg mixture over bread slices. Cover, let soak overnight.

If you don’t have an oven that you can program to bake at set times, sorry, you’ll have to wake up in order to bake this. Otherwise bake it at 325-350 for an hour before you want to get up. Take off the foil 20-ish minutes at the end of baking to firm up the top.

20151129_171206[1]

Breadku:

This is tasty bread
What I wanted homemade bread
to be as a child

20151129_171243[1]

Homemade bread was always great as a kid for the first hour or two out of the oven, until it turned into a hard, grainy and dry loaf later on. But these were the dark ages. Days without internet feedback with trial and error, and documented recipe nuances. I recently had a flashback of this when I tried some bread made in a bread machine at a demo, with that familiar toughness and dryness. The kind that leads to cotton mouth and easily gives way to crumbs.
This oatmeal toasting/sandwich bread from King Arthur Flour is what I always wanted in a homemade loaf of bread. It turned out wonderfully. It uses all bread flour, and a hearty cup of oats. The bread stays soft after you cut it. All hand kneaded and baked over here. I remain skeptical of a bread machine’s ability to put out a decent loaf of bread, even sandwich bread.

Half of this loaf went to a dear friend. The rest I sliced up for ease of consumption (while the Mr cringes at my knife skills, I still remain the only one in our household who is able to slice an even slice of bread from a loaf). It retained moisture overnight and made for both good toast and sandwich bread the next day. Even pre-cut it retained moisture and pliancy. Consider this a sandwich bread we’ll keep on rotation in our kitchen.

20151129_171418[1]

I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly, using 1 T molasses and 1.5 T sugar in place of the 3 T sugar, and approximately 2.5-2.75 C of bread flour in total (2 mixed in initially, the remainder added during hand kneading).  Butter slathered on top for a nice and soft loaf overall. Seriously, that interior was nicely springy and soft.

20150321_203237

Holy moly these rolls were good. I found the recipe for Cheesy Herb Rolls on Oh, Sweet Basil.

I couldn’t not at least try to make them. Except I hardly ever have dairy milk in my pantry. But not to worry! They are easy to make with powdered milk! And SO freaking good. I should make more cow-milk rolls. That milk just makes things so tender.
20150321_203354

Follow the link above to Carrian’s recipe. I swapped out the 1/2 c half and half and 1/2 c milk for the equivalent of 1 C of milk using powdered milk. My herb mix was a little different. I used grated romano and whatever dried herbs I had – mainly oregano, thyme, dried onion (go with your nose. If it smells good it’ll be good as a mix).
20150321_203653

SO MUCH POOF

_1070065

This pumpkin tang zhong is so good, it’ll fool folks into thinking it’s a rich brioche! It’s also very lightly pumpkin-y, so it’s great for year-round eating.
_1070061

I think the little rolls of dough are so precious. Plus they wind up being tasty mini bread loaves if you choose to separate them from the main loaf.
_1070063

I used Christine’s Recipes Tangzhong Pumpkin Loaf bread. I have a scale, so this was easy to whip up for me. It’s also easy to change the original tangzhong quantities for 1 recipe’s worth of tangzhong (in the past I’ve wound up having a lot of excess tangzhong hanging around).

Here’s what I did, with a few tweaks:

120g tangzhong (22g flour + 3.5oz/98g water) mix this up, cook over medium-low heat until it become a bit pasty

100g pumpkin puree
1 egg
3.7 oz water
50g milk powder
pinch of salt
40g sugar
2 t active dry yeast
25g melted butter
350g bread flour (if you only have AP, you can toss in a 1-2T of vital wheat gluten to bump things up a bit)

You can mix everything all together (sweet), or do the traditional proof the yeast in some water and sugar, then add everything else in.

Mix it up, let it double in size (~45-60 minutes), then form into mini loaf rolls and proof in bread pans.

Before you bake it, brush it with a beaten egg to get that nice and glossy top.
_1070067

So poofy! I had to insist this was NOT brioche, but at least one person tried to insist it must be brioche because it was so tender, fluffy, and golden (thanks to the pumpkin, not tons of egg yolks).

Go forth and tang zhong!

P1060563

Panmarino bread with some soaked toasted onions and dried chives. This was a great bread. I did a pinch of yeast in the preferment the night before, and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast the day of baking. It rose beautifully. some big airy bubbles at the top, and a tighter crumb near the bottom where I moved it around (and thus compressed the dough) a bit. So savory and great.
P1060564

Grace Hill Farm Hilltown Blue. A blue cheese with some real kick to it. Very punchy and bold.
P1060565

Makes the maytag look tame by comparison.
P1060566

Tower of cookies! Crannberry & white chocolate on top. Compost cookies on the bottom.
P1060567

Tortilla chips, a handful of random baking chips, and some browned butter. Yaass.
P1060569

Alfajores from Argentina from our traveling cousin. Shot with my new macro lens from my brother-in-law, CVS.
P1060570
P1060571
P1060572
P1060574

These were like bricks. Thick, and rich.
P1060577
P1060581

Macro meat!

P1060584

Macro ribs!
P1060589

Macro fat cat!
P1060597

Macro buffet lunch from First Choice in Troy.
P1060612

More cat portraits.

Hooray, the holidays are over, now everything can go back to normal.

P1060361

Went to Amherst for an early Thanksgving with the in laws. So much delicious food. Papa Amherst got this as a freebie turkey, and brined it into this delicious beauty. That man can make anything taste awesome.
P1060360

Looks like I was so excited for dinner, I forgot to take pics of the rest of dinner. But so good.
P1060371

And dessert! Blueberry pie, pecan pie, and white chocolate pie with quince drizzle.
P1060342

Papa Amherst makes such good pie crust. Crispy, flaky. So good.
P1060344

I brought a white chocolate tart with a bit of quince and rosewater jam. The white chocolate didn’t quite set up at room temp (too much cream), but the metered dose of quince + rose jam cut the richness a bit.
P1060345

Papa Amherst’s mom used to make quite the spread during the holidays, and it’s a trait he’s picked up. He also made pecan pie (!). So good!
P1060347

New fireplace
P1060354

And pensive pup photos.
P1060392
P1060388

Queen of the blankets. All of them.
P1060405

We checked out Oriental Flavor in Amherst, the new Sichuan/Canto restaurant downtown. The name is super generic, but they’re legit Chinese food in Amherst.
P1060399

They had BEEF TENDON on the menu! $8 or $9 for a plate of spicy Sichuan-style beef tendon served cold and chewy. It would have been a bit much for one person to eat, so it’s a nice app to split for a group.
P1060400

They also had har gow and xiao long bao on the menu. I was skeptical, since it’s a pretty small restaurant (give or take a about a dozen tables) and it wasn’t super busy, but I asked and they said they made them both fresh daily. The har gow were very good! Pliant and supple-soft rice noodle exterior, and a fresh shrimp interior.
P1060402

The prices are a bit on the high side, but hey, it’s cheaper than a road trip to Flushing if you live in Western Mass. Soy bean wrapped pork is in the background. This was too sweet and I suggest skipping it if you’ve had it before. Turnip cakes were good and worth ordering – nice crispness to them. Siu mai in the front.
P1060403

Go for the har gow, skip the XLB. In some ways, the per-prepared ones may have been a better way to go than putting forth the effort of making these themselves. They seemed to be made with wonton skin type wrappers, which meant they all cracked and lost all soup, kind of defeating the purpose of ordering soup dumplings.XLB are the popular kids in dim sum now, so I get why they’re on the menu. The meat inside was a dense meatball, and a bit on the sweet/bland side. Though to be fair, they are taking on two very difficult dim sum dishes to make from different regions of China. Har Gow = Cantonese/Hong Kong style. Xiao Long Bao soup dumplings = Shanghai. I’d be more surprised if they did both very well. They could also probably scratch this from their menu, since they’re more disappointing if you’ve ever had a true soup dumpling.
P1060404

Seasonal veggies were also very nice. I wound up eating most of the garlic ^_^

P1060407

After that, the ladies split off and went shopping for horrific christmas gifts crafts.

P1060413

As opposed to the slutty earrings I’ve been wearing all these years. Just kidding, I hardly ever wear earrings, and even then it’s mostly stainless steel industrial/unbreakable stuff.
P1060419

They also had sweet straw/hay sculptures.
P1060422

P1060244

Happy 1-Year-in-Saratoga Birthday to TC Bakery-Paris! They turned one more than a few weeks ago, and invited a few folks up to celebrate the joyous occasion.
P1060245

Our fabulous hosts getting ready. I went with someone who is very particular about getting there on time, so we arrived right when the ball began.
P1060248

They put out a few trays of some of their popular treats.
P1060250

Like their delicious sandwiches, with baguettes made in-store. So delicious.
P1060253

They were also deputing their new Gateau de Reves (dream cake!). I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but this rich and decadent affair was hard not to like. TC describes it is “4 layers of Rich chocolate cake, 2 layers of dark chocolate mousse, and a layer of our whipped salted caramel. A second coat of whipped caramel on the outside of the cake, and glazed with our rich Valrhona Cristal Glaze“. I would also be one happy camper with a piping bag full of whipped salted caramel. Fantastic.
P1060254

The shop was also open, so I took the opportunity to buy one of the ispahan macaron ($6.95). A softball-sized macaron is filled with rose and lychee infused buttercream, and dotted with fresh raspberries along the border.
P1060255

The deliciousness ROI  is high with this confection.
P1060256

I’m also not quite sure what the portion size is on this, but I’m assuming it’s not an entire macaron. Still, I soldiered on.
P1060258

The fine folks at TC Bakery-Paris were also kind enough to send a few local food bloggers off with goodie bags. I get such warm fuzzies when I see goodie bags! They remind me of childhood. Except these are filling with artfully crafted treats (and a judicious amount, thankfully).
P1060261

Toffee pieces and olive sables! The olive sables straddle savory and sweet in a wonderful way. The dough itself is lightly sweet, and the olives hold up well to the slight sweetness of the dough. The size of the olives also gives just the right amount of salinity without being overpowering.