Diet Wrecker

If you’re on a diet or otherwise trying to avoid sweet-stuff, seriously, abandon ship/post now. This one contains ALL the butter. Also sugar. Lots of sugar

Still here? Awesome, let me begin gushing about these cinnamon rolls.

These are not the typical cinnamon rolls with a cinnamon-sugar mixture laced through. These have a spiced cinnamon-brown sugar mix laced in, with cardamom and coriander. I would have used the star anise called for in the original, but a) we didn’t have any left when I thought we did and b) the grocery store didn’t have any on the shelves (what the heck Wegmans, weird place to fail on me).

Very, very addictive. We had a couple friends over for a little dessert party hang out – pretty sure all four of us had at least two rolls each. Which still left an entire pan of more. This, dear readers, is why I irregularly take baked goods into work – my desk is not in the same area as where we usually leave food for everyone. Therefore, no mindless snacking. Not saying I never eat what I bring in. Just, no where near as much as I would if we kept the excess in our apartment.

Fair warning, this is a long recipe, in terms of time. There’s two different dough rises and ingredients should come to room temperature before even starting. Look elsewhere for a quick dessert, but these can be made ahead, frozen, and then finished the day you need them.

Man, I really want another cinnamon roll right now…

Spiced Sticky Rolls
(with Cream Cheese Frosting)

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 2 nine inch pans, ~ 24 rolls
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 24; Desserts: 2 recipes left

Dough

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, lightly warmed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tsp butter, unsalted, at room temperature (if at all possible)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp (ish) of vanilla extract (pretty sure I accidentally poured in more than a tbsp…)
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups flour

Filling

  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon OR 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom OR cardamom seeds
  • 1 cup brown sugar, dark
  • 1 cup/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Icing

  • 4 oz cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/2 cup milk (or less if you like thicker icing)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, more if desired (for thicker icing)
  1. Dough:
    1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and set aside until a bit bubbly, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the milk mixture, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough becomes very thick.
    2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and warm, about 7 minutes OR switch the stand mixer to a dough hook and knead until taut and smooth, about 5 minutes.
    3. Wipe out your bowl and lightly oil it. Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, and then turn to get it coated with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm place, to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  2. Filling:
    1. Grind together any whole spices you are using until fine, then mix in the pre-ground spices. Mix the spices with the brown sugar, then cream the sugar mixture into the butter.
  3. Lightly grease two 9″ cake pans or one 9×13 inch pan. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 by 24 inches. You’ll want a big work surface for this. Once rolled out, slather the butter mixture thickly across the dough, making sure to spread it nearly to the edges. Roll up along the long side of the dough, into a taut and tight roll – this works better with two people rolling the dough in sync.
  4. Cut the dough roll into 24 individual rolls – we found our sharp chef’s knife worked better than a bench scrapper. Divide the rolls among the prepared pans, then cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°F
    1. Making tonight: Bake until just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes (ours were slightly gooily underdone [still delicious!] at 18 minutes). Drizzle (or douse…) with the icing (described below) and serve warm.
    2. Making ahead: Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool. Freeze in their pans or a freezer bag. To finish, allow to thaw in the refrigerator over night and bake in the morning at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Frost with icing (described below) and serve warm
  6. Icing:
    1. Beat the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar together. Add more sugar as necessary to achieve your desired thickness/consistency.
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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.

That really wasn’t a dough….

It was really more like softened butter mostly held together in a flour structure. I mean technically it was dough and it certainly baked like dough (like it should), but holy gods, that was the butteriest dough I have ever worked with. And I bake a lot! Not pastry chef levels of a lot, but for a home baker? What the [expletive] was I making, you ask?

Brioche

And for those of you who, like me, have/had never heard of brioche before, the Wiki page.

Yes, this one has chocolate. Adam taste tested for me. I don’t think he minded:Adam

Why the [expletive] was I trying to make a pastry involving three different rises (one 4-12 hours long), involving an ingredient that I can’t eat, and enough butter to kill half the cardiologists at the AMA? Well… I’ve never tried brioche before, and Adam is doing a French themed Feastly in July – I claimed the dessert in order to participate (and have an excuse to try more dessert recipes) so brioche seemed appropriate. And I definitely want to try the recipe at least once before serving it to people who’ve paid for a dinner.

Honestly, I think the only reasons this one worked for me on the first go are threefold:
1) I may have mentioned I’ve baked a lot?
2) We own a marble pastry board. Yes, I know that is utterly ridiculous. We put it on our wedding registry figuring that we were just noting things we’d buy eventually. Because I like making lists and this way we could export it and save the idea. And then our family and friends bought out our registry. We were very confused. Highly gratified, don’t get me wrong. But also confused.
The relevant bit being that we own a marble pastry board. Which really did make working with a very buttery dough easier.
3) Adam’s aunt and uncle own a bakery. Which means Adam has watched his uncle transfer very buttery, wet dough from one surface (like a marble board) to another (like a wood cutting board you’re comfortable taking a knife to the dough on). The trick is to lay down one layer of plastic wrap on top of the dough and then roll the dough onto a rolling pin, like you’re rolling up a scroll. … That may not be the best analogy there, but it’s the one I’ve got, so we’re going with that. 🙂 The plastic wrap keeps the dough layers separated, the rolling pin lets you walk the dough to the new surface and then you just unroll. It’s a neat trick. And thankfully one I don’t need to execute very often.

I would not recommend these brioche to y’all. I mean, they’re tasty and interesting. But heck, see above on how I got it to work. And that’s before I’ve mentioned that I started on Tuesday night, left the dough in the refrigerator about 8-10 hours longer than is called for, and finished up on Wednesday night. I’ll probably use these guys for the Feastly, but then I’ll be able to start on a Saturday morning (and I’ll be using an sweetened egg wash on the brioche before putting them in the oven next time). Also, marble  pastry board. Plus I like crazy hard baking challenges. I just don’t, in good conscience, recommend that anyone else try it. Unless you’re a pastry chef – ’cause then you’re probably giggling that I think brioche are kinda tricky.

So, from the Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary edition, I present

Brioche au Chocolat

make ~20-30 pastries
Recipe Count – 11 left
Section Count – Dessert Binder:  5 more left, Subsection – Dessert breads: 2 more

  • 1/3 cup warm milk, 105°F-115°F – original called for whole milk and although I used 2%, I would really recommend sticking with that whole milk – it’ll give a richer dough and really, that’s what you should be going for
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (i.e. leave it out on the counter at the start of the recipe and it’ll be soft by the time you need it)
  • Your favorite type of chocolate (dark or semi-sweet recommended)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1-2 tbsp milk or water, optional (I did not use it this time but will in the future, so am including it here)
  1. Combine the milk and yeast in the bowl you will be mixing in the flour – preferably the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Allow to stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, the eggs, sugar and salt; mix by hand or on low-speed, gradually stirring in the other 1 cup of flour. Mix until all ingredients are blended, about 5 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough: with a dough hook on low to medium speed for 7-10 minutes or by hand for about 15 minutes. Using a dough hook, the dough should clear the side of the bowl but may stick to the bottom. If kneading by hand, slap the dough down on your work surface, lift half of it up with both hands (it’ll be sticky and part will remain stuck to the surface), and slap it down over itself. Dough is kneaded when it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky.
  3. Vigorously knead the butter into the dough until completely incorporated and the dough is again smooth. Transfer dough to a buttered large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place (75°F – 85°F ideally) to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Refrigerate, covered, for 4-12 hours, until doubled. Do not leave in too long to rise or the dough will taste yeasty.
  5. Punch down the dough and roll out into an 18″x15″ inch rectangle. Cut into 3″ squares and place a generous sliver of chocolate on each square. Fold the dough over the chocolate and, if desired, brush with the egg yolk mixture. Place dough packets on an un-greased baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap (I used the plastic wrap we used to transfer the dough) and allow to rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  6. 15-20 minutes into the rise, start preheating the oven to 400°F.
  7. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve when reasonably certain chocolate will no longer burn your mouth. 🙂Finished Brioche

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