Sunday, March 30, 2008

Smitten Kitchen's banana bread

The whole story of how this banana bread came to be (it's adapted from another blogger's recipe) is here.
I can vouch for the easiness of this -- I measured out the ingredients and Gaby stirred the whole thing up. We made three mini-loaves of this kind of bread, the first of our banana bread baking for the day.

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4-1 cup light brown sugar, depending on the level of sweetness you prefer (I used a little over 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cup of flour

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

garlic soba noodles

Hefk and I joke about Heidi Sw*nson, maven of 101 Cookbooks, because we love her and yet she mystifies us a bit. (The amazing black bean brownies... let's just say "amazing" is not the word I would have chosen, and there's a reason that recipe didn't make it to this blog.) Her recipes often sound wonderful but go inexplicably wrong, or have one or two really strange ingredients you can never find, or use 62 different kitchen implements that you have to wash afterward.

That said, I love her website; although I usually have more luck with Elise's recipes, I am a faithful reader and member of the cult of personality of 101 Cookbooks. And this garlic soba noodles recipe is the first one I've ever made that lived up to its reputation on the blog -- and how good it looked in the picture. This will absolutely become a staple for me... next time, I'll try baking the tofu to see if I can get the coating to stick a little better, but all of it was totally delicious the way it is. I bought panko to try instead of the breadcrumbs next time, too.

8 ounces dried soba noodles

3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan freshly grated
big pinch of salt
12 ounces extra firm organic tofu, cut into 6 rectangular slabs (I cut the pieces smaller than this, which may be why I had trouble with the coating)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

a generous splash of olive oil
1 bunch green onions, greens trimmed, thinly sliced
4 big handfuls of chard, spinach or kale - destemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated

a few baby radishes, sliced paper thin (I skipped this but I'm sure it would have been delicious)

Boil a large pot of water and cook soba noodles per packet instructions or until just tender. I like to salt my water generously as I would other pasta. Drain and set aside.

While the water is coming to a boil, get the tofu started by combining the bread crumbs, Parmesan and salt in a shallow plate. Dunk each piece of tofu in the egg and then press into the bread crumbs. Make sure each piece is nicely coated with crumbs. Place each piece on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces. Bake in a 375 degree oven or pan-fry in a skillet in a bit of olive oil until both sides are golden, flipping once along the way. Slice into strips and set aside.

Add the olive oil (and bit of salt) to a large skillet over med-high heat. Stir in the green onions, chard, and cook for a minute until the chard collapses. Stir in the soba noodles. Stir in the garlic powder and Parmesan. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with sliced radishes. Serve family-style or on individual plates - each nest of noodles topped with some of the tofu slices.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wild mushroom soup

This is also from Susan Mendelson's "Mama Now Cooks Like This," which is becoming one of my favorite cookbooks. Everything I make from it is really good.
The first time we made this, I followed the recipe exactly as written, and it was fantastic. Last night, I forgot a step (Ernie had the sink taken apart and I was maneuvering around him), and I improvised and it still ended up being really good. I think you should follow the recipe, though.

6 c. mixed wild mushrooms (portobello, shiitake, oyster -- I also add some button mushrooms here), sliced
3 shallots, finely chopped (I added 2 cloves of garlic, also finely chopped)
2 Tbsp. butter (last night, I used olive oil. both seemed to work just fine)
8 Tbsp. flour
6 c. vegetable or chicken stock (we usually use chicken)
1 c. half and half
salt and pepper
cayenne
chives, freshly chopped

Mix mushrooms and shallots/garlic, and divide into 4 batches.
In a large pot with a wide bottom, sauté one batch of the mushrooms and shallots in 1/2 Tbsp. butter over high heat. When the mushrooms start to color, add another 1/2 Tbsp. butter and the second batch of mushrooms and shallots/garlic. Repeat two more times.
Remove 1 c. of the cooked mushrooms and shallots/garlic from the pot and set aside.
Add flour to the pot of remaining mushrooms; cook and stir over low heat until all the flour is absorbed.
Slow whisk in stock and bring to just a simmer.
Add half and half and return to a simmer. Puree with hand mixer, blender or food processor.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir in remaining mushrooms.
Garnish with chopped chives.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shrimp cooked in garlic and olive oil

I looked through the archives to see if I had ever posted this recipe and it doesn't look like I did. Which totally surprises me, because this is a go-to recipe in our house, very quick and really tasty.

1 lb. shrimp (or more, if you like)
2 c. olive oil (or enough to cover the shrimp, it might take close to 3 c., I just eyeball it)
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed
2-3 shallots, sliced thickly (don't spend a lot of time on the shallots, just break them up a little)
Half an onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes if you're feeling feisty

Put the shrimp in a large bowl. Add everything else, stir to combine, let marinate for 30 minutes.
(You can skip this step if you don't have time. We sometimes do, and it turns out perfectly fine)
Heat deep skillet over medium heat. Add everything in the bowl, cook until shrimp is done.

And that's it. It's super easy, and really good. We usually eat this with some bread on the side, to dunk in the garlicky olive oil.

Tres Leches Cake

A few days ago, I posted a request for a tres leches cake recipe. I ended up finding several recipes online, of varying degrees of difficulty, and chose one that wasn't too easy (used a box of cake mix) or difficult (had a meringue topping that required stovetop cooking).

Here's the recipe that I used: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1585317
I sprinkled the top with cinnamon, but I hear that fresh berries or caramel are also an acceptable garnish.

To answer hefk's question, I was making this for a friend's birthday. He's originally from Mexico. We were doing steak and chorizo tacos (with homemade corn tortillas!) at another friend's house, and we were on tap for dessert. Enrique asked for something "creamy but not too sweet" and mentioned tiramisu. Since tiramisu doesn't really fit the Mexican "theme," Geoff and I decided on tres leches cake, a Latin American (I believe it's originally Nicaraguan?) dessert.

Enrique really liked it...in fact, he took home about half of the leftover cake. Geoff and I finished up our leftovers last night, a full 4 days after the cake was baked and topped with the tres leches, and 3 days after I frosted it with whipped cream. It was even moister last night than it was on Saturday, since more of the milk had been absorbed.

All in all, I'd call this recipe a success. I'd definitely make it again!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spinach Kugel

Our family was vegetarian for Lent this year, so I've tried a bunch of new recipes, some of which were great. I'll start posting them here, starting with the most recent dinner, Molly Katzen's Spinach Kugel.

30 min. to prepare/45 to bake/4-5 servings

preheat oven to 375 degrees
butter a 9x13 inch pan

2 lb. fresh spinach, chopped
6 oz. (3/4 C.) cream cheese
1 lb. (2 C.) cottage cheese
4 large eggs, beaten
1 C. matzo meal
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
lost of fresh black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
paprika for the top

1) In a heavy skillet or put, cook the spinach quick, with no additional water, over medium heat, stirring until it just begins to wilt (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and cut in the cream cheese while the spinach is still hot. Mix well, until the cheese is melted and well-distributed.
2) Add all remainig ingredients, except 1/4 C of the matzo meal, and beat well.
3) Spread into your prepared pan, and sprinkle the 1/4 C matzo meal over the top. Dust with paprika. Bake, covered for 35 minutes, then uncover it and let it bake 10 minutes more.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tres leches cake recipes?

Does anybody have a good tres leches cake recipe? Thanks.

Pork Tenderloin with Ginger-Plum Glaze

from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two
by Beth Hensperger

Serves 2, with leftovers (so, probably 4)

You'll need a slow cooker that holds 1-1/2 to 3 quarts.

1-1/4 pounds boneless pork tenderloin
1/2 cup store-bought plum sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 green onions (white and green parts), sliced, for serving

1. Place the tenderloin in a zipper-top plastic bag. Combine the plum sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sherry, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Pour over the meat, seal, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the meat and marinade to the slow cooker and arrange the strip of pork in the bottom. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, until the pork is fork-tender. (We let ours go for about 11 hours; it was fine, but a tad on the dry side.)

3. Transfer the pork to a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the meat into 1/2-inch-thick portions and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve hot.

The author recommends that this be served with steamed green beans or broccoli.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup

This is our lunch for next week. I tasted it as it was cooking, and it's really good.

Recipe found at 101 Cookbooks. I used it pretty much verbatim.

2 cups black beluga lentils (or green French lentils), picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cup water
3 cups of a big leafy green (chard, kale, etc), rinsed well, deveined, finely chopped (I was lazy and just bought the greens already chopped in a bag)

Saffron Yogurt
a pinch of saffron (30-40 threads)
1 tablespoon boiling water
two pinches of salt
1/2 cup 2% Greek Yogurt

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the lentils, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside. (I did this step last night, then finished up the soup today)

While the lentils are cooking, make the saffron yogurt by combining the saffron threads and boiling water in a tiny cup. Let the saffron steep for a few minutes. Now stir the saffron along with the liquid into the yogurt. Mix in the salt and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and salt and saute until tender, a couple minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, and water and continue cooking for a few more minutes, letting the soup come back up to a simmer. Stir in the chopped greens, and wait another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. (I needed a little more salt) Ladle into bowls, and serve with a dollop of the saffron yogurt.

Variations:

You can serve it with a poached egg on top,
or crunchy, fried shallots,
with a drizzle of chive infused cream,
or with chunks of tiny pan-fried butternut squash cubes. (Doesn't that sound good? pan fried butternut squash, yum)

White Bean Soup with Bacon

from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two
by Beth Hensperger

You'll need a slow cooker with a capacity of 3 quarts or so (I think ours is 3-1/2). This recipe made enough for 4 servings.

1 heaping cup of dried Great Northern beans or baby white beans, soaked overnight and drained (I used 1 can of Great Northern beans)
1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
5 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade
3 oz smoked bacon, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the beans, onion, carrot, garlic, tomato sauce, and broth in the slow cooker. In a small frying pan, cook the bacon until golden brown and a bit crisp; drain and transfer to the crock. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours, until the beans are tender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and adjust the consistency if desired with hot water or more hot broth. Serve hot.

Notes:
1. The night before, I chopped the onion, carrot, and garlic, put it in the crock, and put the crock in the fridge. I also cooked up the bacon, let it cool, put it in a baggie, and stuck it in the fridge. I threw everything in the crock in the morning.

2. We cooked ours for about 11 hours, and it turned out fine.

3. Next time, I'll probably put in a second can of beans, and add more broth, but that's because Geoff and I love white beans.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lemon squares

This is from a fantastic cookbook my friend Tara sent me for my birthday, called "Mama now cooks like this" by Susan Mendelson. It's got very nice recipes in it, and all the ones I've tried have been pretty easy, too.
I made these lemon squares for Ernie because I couldn't find a box mix, and he loves lemon squares. I don't think we'll be going back to a mix, these are really good.

1 1/2 c. white flour
6 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 c. butter

Mix until well blended. Press into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan, and bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. flour

Beat eggs, yolks and sugar. Stir in lemon juice. Add flour last.
Pour over baked crust. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes until set. Cool on rack, then chill at least 2 hours.
Use a thin paring knife to cut into small squares.

Asparagus risotto

From Simply Recipes. This was easy to make, and it tastes fantastic. Even Gaby likes it.

1 pound asparagus
3 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup water)
About 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option), can substitute some of the asparagus cooking water for stock -- I used 3 c. chicken stock, 1/2 c. asparagus cooking water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Prepare the asparagus by breaking off discarding the tough ends (about the last inch of the spear). Cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces (tips longer, base shorter). If your asparagus are especially large, cut into even smaller (bite-size) pieces. Bring a saucepan with a quart of water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus pieces for 2 minutes. At the end of two minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the asparagus pieces to an ice water bath to shock the asparagus into a vibrant green color and to stop the cooking. Drain from the ice water bath and set aside.
In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat 3 Tbsp butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.
While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
Add the wine. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
(Note the stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water or the cooking water from the asparagus.)
Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining 1 teaspoon butter, and the asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

The quintessential British Sunday lunch, and one which always goes down well with my husband. The closest thing to Yorkshire puddings in American cuisine is the popover, which is something I didn't grow up with. I've been trying since moving to Scotland to conquer the Yorkshire pudding, and this is the best recipe I've found so far. It is, according to the husband, almost as good as his mother's. High praise indeed.

All the recipes below are by Gordon Ramsay.

Serves 6 (but that's British serving sizes - I'd say it serves 4 hungry people)

For the roast beef:
1 3-rib (3-4 pounds) prime beef roast, bones attached (ask your butcher to remove the bones and tie the meat back onto them for easy carving) - I was naughty and just bought the beef from the supermarket, and the bones had been removed completely.

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Yorkshire pudding:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons veg oil (or the beef drippings) - definitely use the beef drippings!

For the gravy:
3 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled but smashed - I peeled mine, and you'll see why at the end
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, halved or 2 canned plum tomatoes, drained
1 cup red wine
2 1/2 cups beef stock
(I also added mushrooms)

One hour before cooking, take the meat out of the refrigerator to let it come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet or roasting pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Sear the meat on all sides, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat, still in the pan, to the oven and roast - uncovered - allowing 15 minutes per 1 pound of meat for medium-rare or 20 minutes for medium.

Meanwhile, make the Yorkshire pudding batter: In a blender combine the eggs, milk, flour and salt. Blend (or just whisk with an electric whisk - it just needs to be light and airy) until well combined and place in the fridge until ready to use (allow to rest for at least 30 minutes).

When the meat is cooked, transfer to a cutting board with a well, cover with foil, and allow to rest while you make the gravy and puddings (this gives time for the meat to reabsorb the juices lost in the cooking). Increase the oven to 450 degrees.

Put one teaspoon of oil (or beef drippings) into each section of a 12-hole Yorkshire pudding pan or muffin tray and put into the oven on the top shelf until very hot, almost smoking. As soon as you take the tray from the oven, pour in the batter to three-quarters fill the tins (it should sizzle) and immediately put back on the oven (I put them on the top shelf, which was at the highest level, and they rose so much that they stuck to the grill at the top of the oven and some burnt, so make sure they have plenty of room to rise! My husband assures me, though, that his mother always loses a couple to burning, and it's a sacrifice that must be made to ensure the others are perfect! I suppose our ovens don't cook very evenly). Bake until the Yorkshire puddings are well risen, golden brown and crisp, 15-20 minutes. Don't open the oven door until the end or they might collapse.

Meanwhile, make the gravy. (Actually, mom and I found the gravy took quite a while to reduce, so you might want to start it before putting the Yorkshire puddings in the oven). Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from the skillet or pan (you may have already done this for the puddings). Place over medium heat and add the thyme, garlic and onion and cook until the onion is softened. Add the tomatoes, wine and stock (and mushrooms if you use them) and bring to a boil, mashing the tomatoes into the liquid, until reduced by half. Pass the gravy through a sieve, pressing the vegetables to extract their flavour. Bring back to the boil and reduce to a gravy consistency (we didn't wait that long as the Yorkshire puddings were done, so the gravy was thinner but still delicious and then made a good base for the beef stew we made the next day with the leftovers).

Remove the ribs from the meat and carve the beef thinly. Serve with the warm gravy and Yorkshire puddings, roasted potatoes and vegetable of your choice. (Mom and I also kept all the smashed up veg from the gravy - which is why it was good that the garlic was peeled - and put that on top of our portions of beef, which was delicious).

Friday, March 07, 2008

Rustic Onion Tart

From: Simply Recipes, as usual. My favorite go-to food blog. Definitely check out her photos of this recipe - gorgeous! My future mother-in-law (who has an extremely limited food repertoire) initially turned up her nose at the idea of an onion tart, and apparently made a face when I mentioned caramelized onions (she didn't know what they were... I'm guessing she was picturing me melting yellow gooey caramel candies over the onions). However, she reluctantly agreed to try a piece of this. While I was away in another room, she finished her first piece and came back for seconds. "A big piece!" she told me. "It was fantastic!" Sigh.

1 pie crust (homemade or frozen)
3 medium sized red onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
Salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup (not packed) roughly grated Gruyère Swiss cheese

1 If you are making a crust from scratch, prepare the dough and let it chill in the refrigerator while you are cooking the onions.

2 Peel and slice the onions.

3 Heat olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and sprinkle a little salt over them. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened and are translucent. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are well browned. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 10 minutes more, until onions are completely caramelized. Remove from heat.

4 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes before rolling it out. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch diameter. Remove the crust dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

5 Place all but a couple tablespoons of the cheese in the center of the dough. Spread to within 1 1/2 inches from the edges. Add the caramelized onions, layering them on top of the cheese. Fold the edges of the crust dough over so that a small circle of onion is still showing in the center of the tart. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the tart.

6 Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

My mom and I made this when she was over to visit this past week, and it was amazing! Even without the raspberries, it's a wonderful moist chocolate cake recipe. The key is to use really, really nice chocolate and cocoa. I personally love Green&Blacks, but use what works best for you.

From the domestic goddess herself - Nigella Lawson (as heard on NPR but originally from Feast).

For the cake:
2/3 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup superfine sugar (I just used normal sugar)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp best unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda

For the filling:
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 cup raspberries

For the icing:
2/3 cup heavy cream
5 1/2 oz dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 cup raspberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line two shallowish 9 inch heart-shaped pans (or similar sized circular ones) with cut-out hearts (or circles) of parchment paper. (This is absolutely necessary because the cakes are so light and moist)

Pour the milk into a small pan with the butter and heat until warm and the butter has melted (or you can just stick a glass measuring cup in the microwave). When hot, add the vanilla.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, light and frothy, really frothy. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda.

Still beating the eggs and sugar, pour in the hot buttery vanilla'd milk and when incorporated, slowly fold in the flour-baking soda-cocoa mixture (I actually whisked it because I found it wasn't heavy enough to fold - just be sure to keep the air in the mixture).

Divide this mixture between the two pans and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning the cakes out and then turning them over so that they are sitting on the wire rack, out of their pans, the right way up. (And yes, the cakes seem to be a bit thin, but that's ok).

To fill the heart (after the cakes have cooled completely), whip the cream until thick but not stiff. Add the raspberries and crush with a fork, though not too finely, until the cream turns a wonderful pink. Sandwich the two cakes with this cream.

To ice, put the cream, the chocolate (cut into small pieces) and the syrup in a pan over low to medium heat, and when the chocolate seems to have all but melted into the cream, take off the heat and start whisking by hand until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour and then spread over the top of the cake, not worrying too much about drips.

Take out the rest of the raspberries and stud the chocolate topping with them, hole side down.

Then enjoy with a lovely cup of coffee!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread

I found this on a blog called baking sheet and was really, really happy with the way it came out. I find baking bread not as intuitive as I wish it were, but this recipe was very clear and ended up tasting way better than I expected, especially since all the flour is whole grain. I think the buttermilk helped in that regard -- nice chewy texture, not dense and heavy. Yay Baking Sheet.

My one concern: The recipe didn't say when to put the raisins in. I did it at the end of the kneading and it seemed fine.

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (approx 110F)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature or a bit warmer
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 - 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2/3 cups raisins

In a large bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Let stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Mix in buttermilk, honey, salt, cinnamon and whole wheat flour. Stir well.

Gradually mix in white whole wheat flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, adding a bit more flour as you go to keep it from sticking, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes (it won't get quite as smooth as breads made with other flours, but it will still be a bit stretchy).

Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Turn bread out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate. Shape into a rectangle, then form into a log by folding the short ends into the center, then pulling the long ends up and pinching them together.

Place dough seam-side down into a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan. Let rise for 45-60 minutes.

Bake at 375F for 35-40 minutes (until an internal-read thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads approx 200F). [I had to bake it for much longer, and the sad meat thermometer I was using never got above 160. But whatever, turned out OK.

Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and toasting. Makes 1 loaf.