All the eggs -> best French toast I’ve ever had

So let me start this off by saying that this recipe is absolutely not healthy. Especially not with the modifications we made as we went along. But so very tasty.

See a couple friends of ours had a baby. We may have mentioned this before 🙂 But we all still want to play boardgames, Shadowrun, and the other various geeky things we do together. We just… need to work around the baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule. Which will work better if Adam or I cook dinner in their kitchen whilst the baby’s sleep routine goes on. This was the first week we tried this out so, 1) breakfast for dinner, hurray! and 2) most of the prep-work the night before. Basically, just needed to slide the baking dish in the oven when we got there and off we were going. Plus, Adam and I have this bag of bread cubes in the freezer, made up of the left over heels and things of bread loaves. This is totally the type of thing we’re supposed to use them for.

This recipe completely fit all the things we wanted of it – no prep work at gaming, stuck it in the oven and didn’t need to do anything more than pull it out later, served a small crowd and was tasty.

10/10, would cook again. 🙂

I mean, it turned into dessert for dinner, but I cannot fault the protein content for that – not with an even dozen eggs in the recipe. I blame sweet things, specifically the leftover cream cheese frosting from the earlier cinnamon rolls. Seriously, the frosting portion of that recipe made about twice as much as I could pour over the rolls.

Baked Chai French Toast

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 12 big servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 21; Breakfasts: 2 recipes left

Chai Spice Mixture

  • 1 1/2 tbsp (4 1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 ground ginger
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the spice mixture ingredients; set aside.

French Toast

  • 12 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Chai Spice Mixture
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (for greasing a 13×9 inch pan)
  • 9-10 cups (or just a really big bowl…) of cubed day-old (or more…) bread (challah if you’ve got it)

Topping

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar mixture
    • OR 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1 1/2 tsp Chai Spice Mixture
  • pinch salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter cold and chopped into small pieces

Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, soft
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and 4 tbsp of Chai Spice mix.
  2. Grease a 13×9″ casserole dish with the butter; layer the cubed bread in the dish and gently press down. Briefly re-whisk the liquid ingredients then pour over the bread in the pan (try to cover all the exposed bread). Cover (preferably with the pan’s lid, but plastic wrap otherwise) and refrigerated for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Make the topping by combining the flour, sugar-spice mixture, salt, and butter; combine until crumbly.
  4. Uncover the pan and gently press the bread down, such that some liquid begins seeping up. Spread the topping mixture evenly over the bread. Bake until the top is golden and crumbly, about 45 minutes.
  5. While the French Toast is baking, make the frosting – beat the cream cheese, milk, vanilla and sugar together. Add more powdered sugar as necessary to get the consistency you like.
  6. Once baked, allow the French Toast to cool for a few minutes. Then slice, pour as much frosting as you like over the top, and serve.
Advertisements

Punching dough, or the lack there of

I’m still on the fence about this recipe. On the one hand, it made a nice sourdough-like bread. On the other, I didn’t get to punch dough. Yeah, I actually like kneading bread. Also, without the kneading, the timing/pace of making bread really changed. Maybe its just that I learned on breads which use kneading and got used to planning doing other stuff around that rhythm. But letting the dough rise for 6 hours is kind of awkward. 6 hours isn’t an overnight rise, so I cannot start it the night before and bake the next day. Maybe if it rose in the refrigerator? and finished up on the counter? Anyway, I also find 6 hours an awkward amount of time to do other things around, if I’m running errands outside the house. Or you know, hanging out with friends. Pretty much, I’d need to be in the house all Saturday. Or Sunday. ‘Cause that’s when I’d have time.

But… really nice sourdough taste. Also no bread shaping (which is nice). And a nice round loaf.

I have a feeling this one is getting copied out but will mostly sit unused in our binders.

No-Knead Bread

Originally from TheKitchn.com
Makes 1 loaf
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 28; Bread: 0 recipes left

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups barely warm water
  • Olive or canola oil
  1. Add the flour to a bowl; add the yeast and salt, then stir thoroughly.
  2. Pour in the water and stir thoroughly. The dough should look shaggy and a bit rough. Lightly oil the top of the dough with olive or canola oil, then turn over the dough and oil the other side. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a towel. Set in a warm corner and allow to rise for 6 – 8 hours, at which time it should look wet, bubbly, and stretched.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly oiled countertop; fold the dough over itself once. Recover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.
  4. About 20 minutes before the dough finishes rising (about 40 minutes after set out to rise), place an oven-safe Dutch oven or pot in the oven and turn the oven on to 450°F.
  5. Once the dough has risen, shape it into a round ball – at this point, you can slash or cut an X in the top of the ball. Now drop it quickly into the Dutch oven, place the lid back on and place the pot back in the oven.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue backing for 15 – 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Slice and serve.

Challah for Rosh Hashanah

Need more of a challenge with challah? This is not it 🙂 On the other hand, it’s a sweet dessert bread full of yum – apples and honey. So, challah is traditionally served every Friday as part of the Shabbas ritual. But for Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s in the Jewish calendar – typically sometime in October), the challah should be round – symbolize the cycle of the year(s) – and include apples (more roundness -> cycles) and honey (for the wish for the sweet beginning to the new year).

This is not a whip it up on a weeknight recipe – it’s the one I was yelping about the three rises for the Purim party. None of this rises is an overnight one, so make sure to budget enough time during the day. It is quite tasty though; worth the time. Make sure to allow it to bake through otherwise the center will be goopy.

Apple Honey Challah

9″ round loaf
Original from Cherry on My Sundae

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm (100-110°F) water – do not go too hot on the water, or you will kill the yeast and the bread will not rise.
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2/3 cup honey, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tart apples, peeled & diced
  1. Combine the yeast and water; set aside for 10 minutes. It should become frothy.
  2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in the microwave or in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and allow to cool. Combine the butter, bread flour, 1/3 cup honey, eggs, yolks, salt, and the yeast mixture. Mix until a dough forms. Knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook or transfer to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes; Or until smooth.
  3. Transfer dough to a bowl, preferable buttered or slightly oiled and turn over once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size.
  4. Remove dough to a floured surface and shape into an ~8.5″ x 14″ rectangle. Top with the apples, fold over, and knead the dough to incorporate. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the lowest position. Butter or oil a 9″ round cake pan.
  6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll into a 24″ long rope. Coil the dough into a circle in the cake pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
  7. Meat the remaining 4 tbsp butter and 1/3 cup honey in a sauce pan over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Brush half of this mixture over the dough. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and firm.
    Apple Honey Challah baking
    Brush the other half of the butter-honey mixture over the bread. Or just pour it over the bread; if you do, place a pan, plate, or something else to catch dripping honey under the cake pan. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove from the pan, and allow to finish cooling on the wire rack.
    Apple Honey Challah cooling

My first request! – Challah

I may have mentioned I made a round challah for the last Feastly – took pictures and everything too. 🙂 Which lead to a discussion on Sunday about learning to make (standard) challah, my offering a copy of the recipe to my guest, and his statement ‘why not post it on the blog?’. Easiest method of transmission. BRILLIANT!

A bit of history: For a while, I was making this challah every weekend. And by ‘a while’, I mean about 5-6 months. And then got bored and tried something new. So weird like that – doesn’t mean I stopped liking this particular challah recipe (it’s not like I wandered off to try new challah recipes), I’d just gotten acclimated to the taste (so it wasn’t as ‘wow, that’s so good) and not the work. This one doesn’t require that much work – if you’re used to making bread. And challah was one of the first breads I learned to make. Which is like deciding to learn how to ski by going down the intermediate trail the first time you strap on skis – not really a huge risk of death, destruction, injury, and/or mortifying embarrassment, but probably not the best idea for two reasons:

An overnight rise

Braiding

Most breads have a rise time, which makes baking bread have a different rhythm than baking other tasty things. This challah involves refrigeration for 4-12 hours, which is a whole different rhythm than other breads – easiest way is to shove the bowl in the refrigerator at night and come back in the morning, which spaces baking out to two different days. I may have mentioned that I learned stir-fry first so I wouldn’t be able to walk away from what I was doing? Yeah….

Traditional challahs have a 4 strand braid, and being the stubborn ‘purist’ I can be, that’s the one I started with while learning this recipe. Whee. Speaking of tradition, challahs are usually served as part of Shabbas – Friday nights at sundown, the demarcator as to when observant Jews start performing no work, because Saturday is the day of rest. Which meant I was being a very bad Jew by starting my challah on Friday nights after work and finishing up on Saturday. Good thing I’m not very observant.

Just go with a 3 braid (done like you’d braid hair). Unless you’re bringing this to an observant family’s Shabbas dinner. Or trying to impress someone. Orrrrr just looking for a challenge. Look, what I’m saying is that the number of strands to your braid don’t affect taste, just looks and you should have fun with it. If you want to learn a 4 strand braid, check out these youtube videos: 1 from NYBakers and 1 from CookingOutsidetheBox. I’ll be trying the second one next time I make a challah.

Challah

make 1 loaf
Original from the Joy of Cooking

Used pre-long-rise

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water – warm (105°F – 115°F)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour

Use post-long-rise

  • rye flour, optional
  • 1 egg whisked with a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp poppy or sesame seeds, optional
  1. Combine the yeast and water; allow to stand until yeast is dissolved – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the all-purpose flour, eggs, egg yolks, oil, honey, and salt. Mix until thoroughly blended, then gradually stir in the bread flour.
  3. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. It should no longer stick to your hands or the bowl. Transfer to a boil and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise, preferably in a warm  (75°F-80°F) place, until doubled in volume, 1-1.5 hours.
  4. Transfer dough to a clean work surface, punch it down, and knead briefly. Transfer back to the bowl and cover; refrigerate covered until nearly doubled again in volume, 4-12 hours (really, just stick it in the fridge overnight).
  5. Divide the dough equally into the number of strands you’re using. Roll on an unfloured work surface into balls then allow to rest, loosely covered, for 10 minutes. Roll each ball into a rope – if using 3 balls, you want the ropes about 13-14 inches long and 1.5 inches thick; if using 4 balls, 10 inches long and 1 inch thick. Dust with rye flour, if using (keeps strands more distinct after baking). Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal (makes the loaf easier to remove post baking; also taste). Braid the ropes together.
  6. Set loaf on the baking sheet and brush the egg-salt wash over the top of the loaf. Loosely cover loaf with a lightly oiled sheet of plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until not quite doubled, about 45 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to 375°F. Brush loaf again with egg-salt wash then sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, if using. Bake until crust is gold brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped – 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack before serving.

Feastly ChallahP.S. SIX strands!

Next, Tuesday? The Apple-Honey Challah I made for the last Feastly

Bread a la Two Ovens

Recipe Count – 41 left
Section Count – Bread: All done. No More. Is complete. For now.

I like bread.

Being a kitchen chemist, bread is something I’m fairly good at making (at least I think so; no complaints from Adam anyway) – my thought process and approach just fits with how baking works. Which is not say I haven’t made bricks instead of bread before. Using too hot water (killed the yeast), not paying enough attention to my substitutions and the math needed (gluten content changing -> not enough/too much yeast), and so on. All that said, Dutch Oven Bread is one of the easier bread recipes I’ve made. Not necessarily the fastest, but definitely easy. Possibly a good one to use for a first go at baking bread.

Dutch Oven Bread

Adapted from Ruhlman’s Twenty

  • 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (do NOT use whole wheat flour if it’s not pastry flour. Use all-purpose flour instead)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • olive oil

Yep, that’s it. That’s all the ingredients you need. I don’t know about you, but that’s stuff I just keep lying around in the pantry.

  1. In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, water, yeast, and salt. Alternatively, use a big bowl and mix well – it’s just easier with a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. When it looks smooth, pull a small piece off and try stretching it. If it stretches to the point of transparency, it’s ready.
    Mixed
  2. Cover the bowl with a pot lid, kitchen towel, or plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size and does not spring back when poked with a finger. Should take 2-4 hours. My favorite place to leave rising dough is on top of a running clothes dryer – the dryer keeps the air warmer than the rest of the house. Helps that our dryer is in a smallish enclosed area.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface (wooden cutting boards are great for this) and knead for a bit. Shape roughly into a ball, cover with a towel, and let stand for 10 minutes or so.
  4. Shape dough into a tight ball (the tighter the better) by rolling it between your palms on the work surface.
    Pre-rise
  5. Coat the bottom and sides of your large Dutch oven (or other heavy oven-proof pot) [5 1/2 quarts/5.2 liters or larger please] with olive or vegetable oil. Put the dough in the center of the pot, cover with the lid, and allow to rise again for 30-60 minutes (less for warm areas, more for cold).
    Post-rise
  6. Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.
  7. Rub olive oil gently over the top of the dough and then score an X in the bread with a sharp knife. This allows the dough to expand freely while cooking. Also, looks pretty. If you like, sprinkle the dough with kosher salt. Cover the pot and put in the oven.
    X'd
  8. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F/190°C, and continue baking until the bread is browned and cooked through, roughly 15 minutes. If you have a digital thermometer, the internal temperature of the bread should be around 200°F/95°C when done.
  9. Allow bread to rest on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. This is one of those steps that I found really counter-intuitive as I was learning to make bread. Wouldn’t you want to eat hot fresh bread right out of the oven? Trust me, allowing the bread to rest and redistribute moisture evenly, actually does make it taste better.

This one is kind of a rustic bread, except cooked in a Dutch oven (a really big pot – yeah, I don’t know why they’re called that. Should probably research that) instead of on an oven rack. Produced a dense, but not chewy, crumb – went well with Adam’s soups and stews as our dinner bread. We used it for sandwiches (peanut butter/almond butter and jelly), which was tasty but made for some funny looking sandwich slices. Being of a round shape and all.
Bread