Monday, April 23, 2012

Sweet Saffron Bread

This Sweet Saffron Bread is one of the most delectable breads I've ever eaten.  The lovely aroma of saffron and the sweetness of dried currants that plump up and turn juicy during the bake is a really wonderful combination and something that I will surely crave for again and again.  Despite its somewhat complicated looks, this bread, from Dan Lepard's book "The Art of Handmade Bread," is actually a very easy bread to make thanks to his thorough instructions and minimal kneading technique.  There's absolutely no need for a mixer and the duration of the kneading is only for about 10 seconds each cool is that?!  All of the breads in his book seem to benefit from long rests as opposed to thorough kneading until a desired gluten development is achieved.  It's not quite the popular no-knead method of bread baking but it's very close to it.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Olive Levain

I think I've already made around 6 breads from Hamelman's book Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes and so far, I've not been disappointed with any of them.  This Olive Levain bread is definitely the tastiest one out of the 6 that I made and I regret only making one loaf instead of two.  I've developed this habit of halving bread recipes that make 2 or more loaves (especially if I'm a little uncertain about how they would taste like) and if I only knew that we would be finishing this within mere minutes, then I would've made two or even four loaves for that's really that good!  But since this bread includes, as Hamelman puts it, "high-octane" ingredients like kalamata olives, it would be extremely expensive to make 4 loaves at once given that I would have to buy a pound of olives just for them!  So I guess it will only be 2 loaves max the next time I make this LOL.  Hamelman did mention though that the amount of olives in the recipe can be decreased by about 20% which would still give the bread a distinct olive flavor.  Well, since I was baking this for our own consumption I didn't bother lessening the olives and went for the full amount which was 4 ounces for half the recipe.  I think you can even play around with the flavor of this bread by using a variety of olives or even the ones that have stuffing in them like anchovies, peppers, etc.  I'm going to try that next time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

THB: Cheese-Swirled Chocolate Bundt Cake

Early last month I made black-bottom cupcakes for ABC which were moist and intensely chocolatey cupcakes with luscious cream cheese and chocolate chip filling -- a variation of Abby Dodge's Emergency Blender Cupcakes recipe found in her book The Weekend Baker.  I was very pleased with this recipe because it was so easy to make yet had such a rich flavor that you wouldn't think that it only took a couple of minutes to whip up.  This month's first ever THB (The Home Bakers) recipe is for Cheese-Swirled Chocolate Bundt Cake from the book "Coffee Cakes" By Lou Seibert Pappas -- a cake very similar in concept to the black bottom cupcakes that I made wherein the same cream cheese and chocolate chip mixture is sandwiched between thick chocolate batter but this time, baked in a bundt pan instead of cupcake molds.  I changed things up a bit this time though by adding dulce de leche to the cream cheese filling and omitting the chocolate chips.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peach Tatin Cake

This Peach Tatin cake is from Tish Boyle's "The Cake Book" and is one of the many cakes I intend to bake from her book as each recipe I've read so far just sounds absolutely mouth-watering.  This is supposed to be her cake interpretation of the French dessert Tarte Tatin which is an upside-down tart with caramelized fruits but of course when turned into a cake, it becomes another wonderful version of my much-beloved upside-down cake -- I think the numerous posts I've made on upside-down cake is further testament to my love for this oh-so-comforting cake.  I just love how fruit (my favorite thing to eat) is the main star of the show and just by changing the fruit or the combination of fruits, you feel like you're eating an entirely different cake altogether. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Della Fattoria's Rustic Roasted Garlic Bread

The current bread book that captivates me so much right now is Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking"-- a paperback version of her award-winning book "Artisan Baking Across America."  This is not just a compilation of bread formulas like most bread baking books are but is more like a travel journal of sorts, where the author transports you to a particular place and time, vividly and eloquently describing her wonderful experiences in various artisan bakeries (both big and small) across the United States as well as her trips to the wheat fields that nurture the very heart and soul of bread baking -- flour.  Glezer, as she narrates her stories, has this amazing talent of making you feel like you're actually there, right in her shoes, talking to the local artisan bakers, witnessing their bread making skills and best of all, giving you a chance to taste what she's tasted through the well-written formulas in the book.  What makes this book even more noteworthy is the beautiful collection of photos that provides a little peek at this somewhat clandestine world of artisan baking in the US.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

ABC: Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

This month's ABC recipe is for buttery pull-apart dinner rolls, one of the yummy breads you can find in the Weekend Baker by Abby Dodge.  This was actually my second attempt at making this -- the first one (a chia seed variation) ended in disaster as my BM cooked the dough during its first rise instead of just proofing it LOL.  Good thing I only made half the recipe so at least not much was wasted.  For this second attempt though, I decided to make the full recipe.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TwD: Pizza Rustica

Another Tuesday with Dorie post from Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking with Julia" and the second recipe that forced made us whip up our very own pie dough.  It turned out to be quite an enjoyable process for me though as making the lattice (criss-cross) pattern and border crust was rather fun even though I didn't really do a great job at the weaving part LOL.  This week's hosts are Emily of Capitol Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home.  Should you wish to try out this recipe, go on over to their blogs and the recipe should be posted there.