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Middleburg, FL, United States
Sunday, January 31, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Soft whole wheat Sandwich Bread, Hamburger Buns and Apple Strudel Bread (2. HBin5)

                    I am still on cloud nine with last month bread breads.
The Epi was just so pretty. Almost as pretty as all that snow we finally received.
DSCF0820 I just love to look out my office window because this is what I see. To the left you see a “Zwetschgen” tree with a compost bin right underneath. The pole to the right was hosting “black beans” last summer.
As I was whipping up this batch of the soft whole wheat dough for the first challenge of this month bread braid I was wondering if my search for a quick and tasty hamburger roll was over. The eggs and honey should make for a nice and soft texture.


After an overnight chill I pulled up my sleeves and got to work.
I formed the loaf and placed it in an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan and covered it. I don’t cover mine with plastic foil but with a square clear pan like this.
DSCF0771                        The sandwich bread is to the left and the apple strudel bread is to the right
The picture above points to the fact that the apple strudel bread was next. I had a feeling that this was not going to be one of my favorites. I just love real Apple strudel to much. I will give it a try anyhow. 

                 DSCF0782 DSCF0793 


The loafs came out looking beautiful and the cut ones are not bad either. However the taste was not to our liking. I admit that the apple loaf ended up in the trash.

If you look close you can see my very small German kitchen. The stove is also my workbench. I simply place my wooden baking board over the glass top and voila i have more space to work on. 


This is how we enjoyed the sandwich loaf. Toasted, with butter and homemade jam. In this case grape-mint made in the fall of 2008.

So on my list I had.
   Pgs.. 92-93 Soft whole wheat sandwich bread
   Pgs.. 94-95 Hamburger buns
  Pgs. 233-234 Apple strudel bread
Aha, the buns are still open. Yup, i made them too. I had enough dough leftover to make four buns.



As beautiful as those buns look the taste did not convince me and so my search for a quick and easy bun goes on….
So was it worth baking these recipes?
You bet it was. Though the taste was not really to my personal liking I am still glad I tried and I know that these recipes will be loved by many.
So get yourself a book and try them yourself. Next report on HBin5 will be on the 15th but until then I will post some other goodies.  So don’t forget to mark my page and come back often.
Sunday, January 17, 2010

PostHeaderIcon All in a days work! Epi, Wreath, Crackers and Apple Pie (1 HBin5 –Master dough-)

I was very excited today to get into my kitchen and to shape some breads I had never done before.

On my list to do where the Epi and wreath shape as well as some crackers from this book.
I mixed up the Master recipe last night and was all ready to go.

First on my list was the Epi on page 71-72.
The shaping was quite easy but I think I need some more practice with the cutting of the ears.
The look was not the best but they tasted great. I will definitely make these again in the future. This would be a great bread to take to a potluck or party.

Next on the list was the wreath shape on page 73.
It’s very similar to the Epi with the cutting so that gave me some more practice

I like this look a lot and can imagine serving this with a
bowl of some sort of a spread in the middle.

This loaf will go in our freezer for future use.

The last bread on my “to do” list was not a bread but some crackers from page 233-34.
I have never made crackers before.
DSCF0851  DSCF0852 

I used Lawry’s seasoning with some chili powder and baked them for 7 minutes.
They came out crispy and only a few puffed up. Oops, I forgot to prick them prior to baking.
The taste was alright but not that good that I would want to make them again.
We ate the crackers and some of the Epi tonight with a bowl of kohlrabi-potato soup.                                
                                     It was a great combination.
Since the oven was hot and I still had dough for one pie in the fridge I made a quick
apple pie for dessert.

I rolled it out
Grabbed a jar of pie filling from the pantry
Topped it with some crumbs and baked it (350F/45 min.).
DSCF0874 DSCF0880
Here are the fruits of today's "labor of Love"
Here is my go to pie crust recipe. This recipe is so easy to make, easy to roll and it comes out nice flaky with a great taste. It has never failed me.

Makes enough for three single pies.

3 1/4c flour
1 tsp salt
1c (226g) cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
About 1/2c cold milk (possibly a little more)

Place flour, salt and butter in a bowl and mix it with a dough hook until its all combined
(looks like coarse sand). Add enough milk so that the dough will come together.
You can use it right away or put it in the fridge until needed.

75g butter (unsalted) (2 5/8 oz.)
150g flour (5 3/8 oz)
75g sugar (2 5/8 oz.)
Cinnamon to taste

I melted the butter today because I had no room temperature one at hand.
This works just fine but makes a crunchier crumb.

Mix with a fork and top pie.
Bake at 350F / 180C (cover top) for about 45 min.
This was a fun day!
I look forward to making the Epi and wreath again in the near future.
Why not give it a try yourself?
If you do let me know how it turned out for you.
Wishing you all a blessed week!
Update: You can also simply top with another crust like this
Saturday, January 16, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Walnut Wedges of Decadence as seen on "Food Vagabond"

Two days ago I linked from this blog to this recipe and the nut bowl below no longer had to fear to become squirrel food in the future
I was a bit hesitant to try because of the caraway seeds used in this recipe.
I mean, what do seeds that I usually use in cabbage dishes and bread would taste like in a dessert?
A day after seeing the recipe I decided to bake it.
Results:  The dough was quick and easy to assemble.
               I thought that the crust would bubble up quite a bit since it was not blind baked
               but this did not happen and it came out just right.
I added an oven guard underneath because I thought my Springform
might leak but that did not happen either.

I followed the recipe pretty much except I only used 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds (I was to chicken to use the whole tsp) and I used chocolate sprinkles rather than chopped chocolate and I forgot the orange peel.
I was expecting the caramel to thicken up more but even after a few extra minutes that did not happen. So don't be surprised if it does not thicken up it will still be just right when it's done. The chocolate sprinkles did not really melt but added a nice look and a chocolaty taste to it.

Verdict: I was really surprised how well it turned out. After the initial taste I was not quite sure what to think of it but it grew on me. I served this today at a church fellowship and everyone who tried it liked it.
The biggest surprise was that the kids seemed to like it the most. I really did not expect that. The second surprise was my 15 year old son who was disappointed that I did not keep a slice for him for later on.
                           I will make this again and it will be on our Thanksgiving table.
Changes: I will follow the recipe to a “T” next time
Springform: I used a 28 cm / 11 inch form and cut the pie into 16 slices

PostHeaderIcon When your freezer calls your name (Zwetschgenkuchen)

Since I am not quite ready to post the first bread of the HBin5 challenge I thought I would share the goods I baked yesterday with you.
I still have quite a few bags of frozen "Zwetschgen" in my freezer and I need to use them up so I thought I would bake what the Bavarians call a "Zwetschgendatschi" and we Schwabians call a "Zwetschgenkuchen".
               This recipe is easily changed to take any type of fruit as topping.
If you don't have Zwetschgen or plums in your freezer why not try some seasonal fruits. Apples would be a great choice or even some Jam you want to use up. I have canned homemade apple pie filling in my pantry and I often use it on top of that yeast dough instead of making a more traditional apple pie. You could also just top it with some crumbs to make it a crumb cake or some butter, cinnamon and sugar. You see if you can think of it you can top this dough with it.
Dough: • 375 g flour (13 1/4 oz.)
• 8 g yeast (2 1/4 tsp, or 1/4 oz.)
• 50 g sugar (1 3/4 oz.)
• 75 g melted butter (2 5/8 oz.)
• 250 ml milk (8 oz, or 1 cup)
(I melt the butter and add the milk, you want this luke warm) • pinch of salt

Mix all of it to form a soft tacky but not sticky dough
Cover and let rise until doubled (about 45 min.)
  butter a baking sheet (mine is 33cm x 41 cm / 13 inches x 16 inches)
Take your dough and roll it onto your baking sheet
DSCF0811 DSCF0808
Now for the Plums. I use frozen ones. To use them I get them out the day prior and defrost them. I put them in a salad spinner and let the juices drip off over night (fridge). When I am ready to use them I pour off the juices and give them a quick spin. Now you are ready to use them.
                                                     Layer the Plums on the dough


Our last step is to make some "Streusel" for our topping. You certainly can use your favorite here or you can use mine.

                                    300g flour (10 5/8 oz) 
                                    200g sugar (7 1/8 oz) 
                                    165 - 200g butter, room temperature (5 3/4 - 7 1/8 oz.)

Depending if you want bigger pieces and a denser streusel. I use about 165g and it makes a drier streusel. Mix it up in your kitchen machine (dough hook) or by hand.
Cover your Plums and bake for about 30 min at 180C or 350F. Keep in mind that every oven is different. I have to set mine to about 160C to get it to 180C. You want it golden not dark.
                      Enjoy! This makes a great cake to take to a potluck

           If you decide to make it please let me know how it turned out for you

Update: My new pan is 14x17 inches (36x43 cm). Just to show you don’t have to be exact. It’s a guide so you know what size the dough approx. covers.

PostHeaderIcon Welcome to 2010!

Hello cyber-world, a new year, a new adventure and my very first post on this new blog.
I am quite excited to finally getting this blog out there.

About a year ago I was introduced to Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois book ABin5 when I ran across an article in this Mother Earth News edition.

I was hooked right away because the crust and crumb reminded me so much of the bread I grew up with.
Right away I started to alter the recipe to add more fiber by simply exchanging at least half of the flour for whole wheat as well as adding wheat bran or flaxseed to the mixture.
It worked out well.

The end of last year the new HBin5 came out and Michelle who hosts this Blog announced the start of a new baking group.

I ordered the book and signed up and with that committed to report on a regular basis as we bake through this book. So here I am the official owner of a spanking new Blog and I would love to share the ups and downs of my baking adventures with all of you.

Starting next week I will post January’s breads not just the successes but the failures as well. Since we bake about 6 breads a month and my oven asks to be used more often I will also post and share some other goods with you. I hope you will visit me often.