Category Archives: bread

Challah

Challah, or hallah, is a delicious bread with a deep brown crust and soft white crumb. Challah has become the best-loved egg bread in much of the United States. Baking challah at home is a joy because of its tantalizing aroma and wonderful fresh taste.

[Credit: PhotoDisc/Getty Images]

Credit: PhotoDisc/Getty Images

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 3 1/4 hours rising time

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 medium loaf (about 16 servings)

Keeping kosher: Pareve

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)

1 envelope dry yeast

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar

About 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (more, if needed)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus a little for bowl and baking sheet

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)

  1. Pour 1/4 cup warm water into small bowl.

  2. Sprinkle yeast over water.

  3. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over yeast.

  4. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    Stir if it’s not smooth at the end of 10 minutes.

  5. Sift 2 3/4 cups flour into a large bowl.

  6. Make a large deep well in center of flour.

  7. Add yeast mixture, remaining sugar, oil, 2 eggs, remaining water, and salt to well.

  8. With a wooden spoon, mix ingredients in well until blended.

  9. Begin mixing in flour with spoon.

  10. Mix with your hand when it becomes difficult with the spoon.

    Mix until ingredients come together as a dough. The dough should be soft and sticky.

  11. Knead the dough, adding flour by tablespoons if necessary to prevent excessive sticking, until dough is smooth and feels elastic, about 7 minutes.

    To knead, push the dough away from you against the work surface with the palm of your hand. Turn dough and fold the top third down toward you. Repeat.

  12. Oil a large bowl.

  13. Put dough in oiled bowl and turn dough over to oil all surfaces.

  14. Cover with warm, slightly damp towel or plastic wrap.

  15. Let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 1/4 hours.

  16. Remove dough with rubber spatula to work surface.

  17. Knead dough again, this time lightly.

  18. Clean bowl to remove any bits of dough.

  19. Return dough to bowl, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.

  20. Lightly oil baking sheet.

  21. Knead the dough lightly on work surface.

    Flour it lightly only if the dough sticks.

  22. Shape dough in a rough log and cut in 3 equal parts.

  23. Knead one part briefly and shape in log.

  24. Roll back and forth firmly on working surface, pressing with your hands and elongating log from center to edges as you roll.

    You want to form a smooth rope about 20 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.

  25. Taper rope slightly at ends.

  26. Repeat Steps 23 through 25 with other two parts of dough.

  27. Put ropes of dough side by side, with one end of each closer to you.

  28. Cover the far end of the rope on your right side with end of center rope and then with end of left rope. Press to join.

  29. Bring left rope over center one.

  30. Continue bringing outer ropes alternately over center one, braiding tightly.

  31. Pinch each end and tuck them underneath.

  32. Set braided bread carefully on oiled baking sheet.

  33. Cover shaped loaf with a warm, slightly damp towel.

  34. Let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  35. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  36. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt.

  37. Brush loaf gently with beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds.

  38. Bake challah about 40 minutes, or until top and bottom of bread are firm and bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.

  39. Carefully transfer bread to rack and cool.

Leave a comment

Filed under baked, bread

Bread Pudding


Title:

Bread Pudding

From: Simply Recipes

Ingredients

Bourbon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Method

Bourbon Sauce:

In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle.) Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Bread Pudding:

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

3 Pour butter into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made. Makes 8-10 servings.


Leave a comment

Filed under bread, dessert, pudding, sweet

Frannie’s Fine and Fabulous Cornbread

Title: Frannie’s Fine and Fabulous Cornbread

From: A Southern Grace

Ingredients:

(I made a half-batch, which is why mine’s so thin)
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1 egg, slightly beaten
scant 2 cups milk

Spray an 8-inch cast-iron skillet with nonstick spray, toss in shortening, and place into an oven preheated to 450F.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, egg, and milk; mix until combined. Remove melted shortening from oven and pour into mixture; stir until blended. Pour batter into the skillet and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Turn out onto a plate, slice, serve, butter, and consume.

Leave a comment

Filed under bread, butter, cornbread, southern

Baked Potato Bread

Title: Baked Potato Bread

From: The Fresh Loaf

Ingredients:

Makes 2 small (one pound) loaves or one large loaf

1/2 cup mashed potatoes
3 to 4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (I’ll explain the ambiguity below)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cooked bacon
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

To begin, chop up two or three slices of bacon and fry them up. Remove them from the heat.

Mix the mashed potatoes, yeast, salt, and 2 cups of the flour together in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. If you have active dry yeast and want to substitute, read this. Add the sour cream, water, chives, and bacon and mix together until all ingredients are combined. I also mixed in the bacon fat, which there was about a tablespoon of in the pan, because it improves the flavor of the loaf.

At this point you’ll have a very wet, sticky mess, probably more of a batter than a dough. Add additional flour a handful (1/8 cup) at a time and mix or knead it in.

(I lost track of exactly how much extra flour I added, but it seems like it was around 9 or 10 hands full. I added 4 or 5 hands full and mixed them in while the dough was still in the bowl, then I poured the dough out onto a well-floured cutting board and added more, kneading it with my hands which I repeatedly dipped in flour to keep the dough from sticking to them. After 5 or 10 minutes of this I ended up with something that was still quite sticky, but was definitely in the realm of a dough and not a batter: it could be formed into a ball and generally held its shape.)

Once you have combined the ingredients well and gotten the balance of flour and water to a level that seems acceptable, return the dough to a well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes at room temperature or until it has doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape the loaf or loaves. Notice how moist and gummy my dough was when I cut it to shape it into two loaves:

One probably could add more flour and make an acceptable loaf of bread with a drier dough, but I’ve been finding that I get better results the wetter I am able to leave it. But this really is an art, not a science, so use your own best judgement.

At this point you need to shape the loaves, cover them loosely and let them rise until they double in size again, about 45 minutes. You could put them in greased baking pans and let them rise and bake them in those. I wanted round loaves, so I put them in a couple of couche lined baskets:

Professional bakers use these kinds of baskets, which are very nice but completely out of my price range. I found two small baskets at Goodwill for 49 cents each and have found that they help keep the shape of my rounds very well.

The baking couche I got from a neighbor who works in bakery. It works very well, but you can fake the same thing with a well floured kitchen towel (the linen kind, not a fuzzy one).

As you can see in the picture above, I placed the baskets on a table, the couche over the baskets, and the dough in the floured couche in the baskets. I wrapped the edges of the couche around the balls of dough and let them rise. When they had risen I simply unwrapped the loaves and shook them out of the couche onto my peel (which I dust with semolina flour) and threw them into the oven.

While the loaves are rising again, preheat the oven to 425. If you have a baking stone, be sure to put it in early to heat.

When they have doubled in size (as I said before, about 45 minutes after shaping), put the loaves in the oven to bake. I baked them at 425 for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 and baked them another half an hour. The loaves are done when the internal temperature reaches the 185 to 195 degree range (as read with an instant-read thermometer) or when they are nice and brown on the outside and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. For me this took about 35 minutes.

And there we have it. The bread was wonderful while still warm with a pot of soup, but I actually think I preferred it the next day cold. With the bacon fat and sour cream, there was plenty of fat in the bread so it didn’t need to be buttered; just plain it was rich and moist enough.

Leave a comment

Filed under bacon, baked, bread, potatoes

Feta and Chives Cornbread

Title: Feta and Chives Cornbread

From: A year in Bread

Ingredients:

Flour 1 1/2 cups 355 ml 6 3/4 oz 190 gr
Cornmeal 1 1/3 cup 295 ml 6 3/4 oz 190 gr
Salt 1 1/2 tsp 8 ml 1/4 oz 7 gr
Sugar 2 tsp 10 ml ~1/2 oz 14 gr
Baking soda 3/4 tsp 4 ml 1/8 oz 3-4 gr
Baking powder 2 1/2 tsp 13 ml 3/8 oz 11 gr
Feta cheese crumbled 1/2 cup 20 ml 3 oz 85 gr
Chives fresh, chopped 1/4 cup 60 ml 1/2 oz 14 gr
Eggs 3
Buttermilk 1 1/2 cup 355 ml 12 oz 335 gr
Butter 1/3 cup 80 ml 2 5/8 oz 75 gr

Preheat oven to 425F (220C).

If you are making this cornbread in a cast iron skillet or similar heavy dish, and I do recommend it, place it in the oven while it preheats. Otherwise, grease a 10″ round pan and set aside.

Place flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in bowl and stir to combine. Add crumbled feta cheese and chopped chives and toss gently to coat.

Beat eggs lightly and combine with buttermilk. (If you don’t have buttermilk, put 2 tsp of white vinegar in a measuring cup, add milk to the 1 1/2 cup mark and let sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes before using.)

If you are not using a preheated baking pan, melt the butter, let cool a bit and add to liquid ingredients.

Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and mix gently until just combined.

If you are using a preheated pan, cut the butter into several pieces and toss them into the hot pan just before adding the batter. Otherwise, just add batter to pan and place in preheated oven.

Bake at 450° for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Turn out onto rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Leave a comment

Filed under baked, bread, cheese, cornbread, feta

Perfect French Bread

Title: French Bread

From: Steamy Kitchen

Ingredients:

Secrets to Perfect Loaf of French Bread in 3 Hours

Usually, my stand-by recipe is the No Knead Bread (because its so darn easy) but it does require you to mix the dough at least 12 hours prior. When I only have a three hours, this is my recipe which is based on trial-and-error from baking over 40 loaves in the past 8 months. The techniques are a combination of things I learned from Pamela Anderson (no not arm candy, the chef Pam Anderson!), the original No Knead Recipe published in the NY Times and Rose Levy Beranbaum (author of the Bread Bible)

Secret #1: Knead dough with dough hook for 2 minutes. Let it rest for 7 and then knead again for another 3 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, then your formula is 6 min-7 min-7 min. Letting the dough rest at this stage allows the gluten to relax, redistribute, and get all cozy. It results ultimately a smoother, well-mixed dough. After the brief rest, you’ll feel a difference in the dough. Its more supple and soft.

Secret #2: Pinch! When you form the dough into a loaf (see photo below) pinch all ends tightly to create a seal. Basically, you are creating surface tension so that the gas from the yeast (or as Alton Brown describes “When the yeast burps”) the dough expands up and out evenly. If I don’t create this surface tension, the dough in the oven will just go “blah” like Al Bundy on the couch. Something called gravity makes the dough expand down and flat.

Secret #3: Use a pizza stone, cast iron dutch oven or my favorite Pampered Chef Covered Baker. Just make sure that your loaf will fit into the vessel. Stone or cast iron retains heat and radiates the heat of the oven evenly. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, just use a good quality, thick baking sheet inverted.

Secret #4: Steam = thin, crunchy, beautiful crust. In the No Knead recipe, there is a high proportion of water to flour. Because the No Knead dough rests for multiple hours, lots of water in the recipe works. In this 3 hour french bread recipe, you can’t do that. To make steam (a.k.a. crust) – you have to do one of 2 things, depending on the baking vessel.

-> Pizza stone or baking sheet: Once you put the bread in the oven, throw 1/2 cup of water on the oven floor (electric oven) and immediately close the door. No, it won’t harm the oven. It’s a technique that professional bakers recommend for home ovens (professional ovens have a built in steamers). Once the water hits the hot oven floor, it creates steam, which creates the crust.

-> Covered baker or dutch oven: You’ll need less water – about 1/4 cup. Once you put the loaf into the very hot pot, throw in the water and over the lid immediately. Put the pot directly in the oven. Because you’ve pre-heated the oven AND the pot for 1 hour, the trapped water in the pot will create steam. If you are shy about throwing water in, grab a pie pan or loaf pan, preheat it along with whatever you are baking on, and throw the water in that instead of the oven floor. Basically, cold water in hot pan + hot oven = steam. I have an electric oven (heating element is on the top of oven). Some bakers throw ice cubes in, but I prefer water.

Secret #5: Timing and temperature:

  • Have an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature of the bread should be 190-210F.
  • All ovens are different and I’m sure our loaves will be different shapes.
  • The timing in the recipe below is just a guide for you – this is what works in my oven and how I shape my loaves.
  • Please make sure that you check the internal temp of your bread to gauge doneness.

French Bread Recipe

4 cups bread flour
2 tsp active quick rising dry yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

1. Put 1/4 cup of bread flour on your clean counter top and reserve. Place remaining 3 3/4 cups bread flour in your mixer bowl. Spoon the yeast on one side of the bowl, and the salt on the other side. Pour in the warm water and with your regular mixer paddle, mix on low speed until the dough comes together in a mass. Switch to the dough hook. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Dough should clear the sides but stick to the bottom. If it is too sticky, add 1 T of flour at a time. If too dry, add 1 T of water to dough to adjust. After 2 minutes, let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

The dough should look like this during the rest:

French Bread

2. Turn the mixer on again and mix for 3 minutes. Take the dough out and place on the counter. Remember that 1/4 cup of flour that we reserved? We’ll use it now. As you knead the dough by hand, incorporate more flour as you need. You might not need it all. Knead by hand until the dough is very satiny, smooth, tight and formed into a nice, compact ball:

French Bread Dough Ball

Place this dough in a large lightly oiled bowl (I use Pam spray). Turn dough over so that all sides have a thin coating of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place for 1 1/2 hours. Dough should almost double in size. Punch dough down and form back into a ball. Poke your finger on the surface – the dough should give into the pressure and slowly creep back up.

3. About 1 hour into the rest stage, preheat your oven to 450F (convection 425F). Place your pizza stone, inverted baking sheet or covered cast iron pot into the oven to heat up.

4. Ok, here’s the fun part. Cut the dough into half – you’ll shape one half at a time (keep the other piece under wraps) Pick up the dough – stretch it out until it forms a big rectangle. On your countertop dusted with flour, fold over the ends like this:

French Bread

Now do a little “karate chop” lengthwise down the middle of the bread and stretch out the long ends again. Fold over in half. The karate chop helps get the middle tucked inside. Pinch all sides shut. This is important – you want to make sure that all ends including the short ends are pinched tightly to create a seal. This allows the bread to rise & expand up and out evenly. If the bread looks a little lopsided, you can try to fix it by letting it rest 5 minutes and gently stretching it out again. Just don’t knead the dough again – you’ll pop all the beautiful gas that took 1.5 hours to create!

Here’s what it should look like:

French Bread

5. Turn the bread over so that its seam side down. Cover the loaf with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat with the other dough halve. Leave the loaves to rest on your well-floured pizza peel or cutting board for 30 minutes. After resting, take a sharp paring knife and make 3-4 shallow, diagonal slashes on the surface of the loaf. This allows the steam in the bread to escape so that it expands evenly during the baking process:

French Bread

When you are ready to bake, remove your baking vessel. Carefully slide the gorgeous loaf into or onto your baking vessel. I like baking one loaf at a time. The most important equipment to have is an instant read thermometer to measure temperature of the bread.

If you are using pizza stone or inverted baking sheet: You can probably fit both loaves on it at the same time if you wish. -> Get a 1/2 cup of water ready next to the stove. Open the stove, put your bread in the oven and throw the water on the oven floor. Immediately close the oven door. This creates your steam. -> Bake 20-25 minutes. Check temperature of the bread – internal should be 190-210F. Remove and let cool before cutting into it.

If you are using a long cast-iron pot or covered baker: -> Before closing the lid on your pot/baker, put 1/4 cup of water directly in the pot. Cover immediately. Put pot in oven. -> Bake 10 minutes. Remove lid of pot. Bake another 14 minutes. Check temperature of the bread – internal should be 190-210F. Remove and let cool before cutting into it. Repeat with other loaf. (For convection ovens- bake 8 min covered, 10-12 min uncovered. Check temperature of bread) To re-crisp the crust, put in 375F oven for 5 minutes. Eat one loaf, share the other loaf with a friend!

French Bread

Leave a comment

Filed under baked, bread, french

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

Title: Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

From: Paula Deen

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Directions

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.


Leave a comment

Filed under bread, breakfast, french toast, sweet, syrup