Archive for the ‘breads’ Category

zucchini bread

zucchini bread2

 

vegomelet2

 

 

 

zucchini bread1

 

vegomelet1

 

zucchini bread3

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persimmon coconut bread

persimmon coconut breadpersimmon jam on persimmon coconut bread

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panettone

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zucchini bread

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adelina’s panettone

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cornmeal crust

I remember that cornmeal was a real staple ingredient at least in my town of Duronia, while I was growing up quite a few years ago. It was used in so many different ways. From bread to desserts and everything in betweeen. Of all the dishes that were made with this yellow flour, polenta was of course the most popular.

My mom used to make this delicious vegetable soup and would always bake a crusty cornbread to go with it . The cornbread was broken in pieces by hand, like croutons, and sprinkled over the soup. When she was in a hurry she would make the cornbread very simply, adding nothing else but a little salt and pepper, but if she had more time she would add fresh ground pork which was stir fried with onions and garlic and then would add mountains of parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and basil.

I came across a similar recipe the other day and it brought back so many memories. I made it to accompany the best version of soup that I could remember from the old days.

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ingredients

1 1/2 cups (course grind) cornmeal
salt / pepper
4 cups onion, chopped (about 3 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 cups water

1/2 lb ground pork (optional)

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Preheat the oven to 350*

line bottom with parchment paper  (9 x 12-inch baking dish)

In a medium bowl combine the corn meal with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.

To caramelize the onions, heat a splash of olive oil in a large thick-bottomed skillet with a pinch or two of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring and scraping the pan occasionally – more often as the onions begin to get increasingly brown. Continue cooking until the onions collapse and turn deep brown in color. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the water and cornmeal mixture, bring back up to a boil and stir until it is thicker than a heavy frosting – about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and 2/3 of the onions. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it to an even thickness, and drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the cornmeal begins to pull away from the sides of the pan a bit.

Serve topped with the remaining onions (and more grated cheese if you like).

If you decide to add the ground pork, stir fry it with half the onions and add it to the cornmeal at the same time as when you add the cheese.

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cornmeal pizza crust

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Delicious, easy and quick to make. I got this recipe from the cookbook, “Passionate Vegetarian”, by Crescent Dragonwagon.

This cornbread was a great accompaniment to the “black bean soup” I made on the same day.

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ingredients

1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt ( I replaced with a little garlic)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 to 3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup water)

1 large egg

1/4 cup mild vegetable oil, such as corn, canola, or peanut Pam

2 to 4 tablespoons butter ( I replaced with 2 tbsp olive oil)

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Preheat oven to 375*. Make sure your oven’s accurate, too; it really needs to be up to temperature to get perfect results.

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and sugar. (If baking powder or soda appear at all lumpy, sift them in). Stir well to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and oil.

Spray a 9 to 10 ¼ -inch cast iron skillet with Pam (our skillets are 10 1/4 inch; this size is called a Number 7). Put the skillet on over medium heat, add the butter, and heat until the butter melts and is sizzling seriously. Tilt the pan to coat the sides of the skillet.

As the butter’s melting, quickly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and, using a wooden spoon, stir the wet and dry together with as few strokes as possible — only as many as are needed to combine the two. Don’t beat it; don’t smooth it out.

Scrape the batter into the hot, buttery skillet — if you’ve gotten it hot enough it will sizzle as it goes in — and pop it in the oven immediately.

Bake until golden brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve, hot, cut in wedges.

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whole wheat & walnut bread

This past weekend I wanted to bake some more of Lahey’s amazing bread so I started around 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon. I decided to prepare 2 loaves,  a walnut bread and a whole wheat.  By Saturnday morning around 8:00 both loaves were ready.  The smell of the breads baking in the oven reminded me of our trip to Italy, when we passed by the local bakery in Agnone.  You have to stop and walk in, the smell and the warmth is intoxicating.

Video: How to make Sullivan St. bread at home

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Adapted from: “My Bread,” by Jim Lahey.

Yield: One 10-inch round loaf; 1 1/2 pounds

Equipment: A 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy pot

ingredients

2 1/4 cups (300 grams) bread flour

3/4 cup (100 grams) wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) instant or dry active yeast

1 1/4 cups (300 grams) cool water (55 to 65 degrees)

Wheat bran, cornmeal or flour, for dusting.

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In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt and yeast. Add the water, and using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to gently scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

Place a cotton or linen tea towel on your work surface and very generously sprinkle it with wheat bran, cornmeal or flour, using at least ⅓ cup. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam-side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Thirty minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees, with a rack positioned in the lower third, and place a covered 4½-to-5½-quart heavy pot in the center of the rack. If using a lid with a plastic handle, be sure that it can tolerate high temperatures. You might have to unscrew it and plug the hole with aluminum foil.

Using thick potholders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam-side up. (Use caution: the pot will be very hot.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burned, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or potholders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place on a rack to cool thoroughly.

Makes one 10-inch-round loaf.

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Pan co’Santi – Walnut Bread

Yield: One 10-inch round loaf; 1 1/2 pounds

Equipment: A 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy pot

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ingredients

bread flour – 3 cups (400 grams)

raisins 1/2 cup (85 grams)

chopped walnuts 1/2 cup (50 grams)

table salt 1 1/4 teaspoon (8 grams)

ground cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon (2 grams)

instant or other active dry yeast 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams)
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freshly ground black pepper- pinch

cool (55 to 65 degrees F) water 1 1/2 cups (350 grams)

wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting

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In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. If it’s not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place the covered 4 1/2 – to 5 1/2 -quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution–the pot will be very hot; see photos, page 55.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack.

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ciabatta (no-knead bread)

Jim Lahey, owner of  Sullivan Street  in Soho, is the pioneer of no-knead bread techniques. Simple to make, the downside is that you wait 12 to 18 hours for the dough to rise. The results are well worth the wait. If you like making bread, after you try Jim’s method, you will love making bread. The results will surprise you every time.

With no special techniques, equipment or ingredients, Jim’s method achieves the crisp, crackling crust that bigger bakeries normally have to rely on giant steam ovens to achieve. So passionate is he for everyone to succeed with their bread-making, he published his recipe and released an online video.

His book “my bread”  has step by step instructions and full colour photographs of finished loaves. Today I started making a ciabatta loaf. I sarted making it at 1:00 pm so it will be ready to cook tomorrow morning bright and early. So here is the recipe if you want to try it.

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CIABATTA

ciabatta bread started 1:00 pm / baked it the next day at 8:00 am

Makes 2 loaves.

Notes: This recipe is adapted from “My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method” by Jim Lahey. He recommends using a Romertopf clay baker to capture the steam during baking, and that makes a wonderful loaf. But a darn good loaf also is possible with a pan of water and, ideally, a pizza stone. Instant yeast is sold as “bread machine” or “rapid-rise” yeast. This recipe must be started a day in advance of baking.

ingredients

3      cups of bread flour

1 1/4     tsp salt

1/4 tsp     instant dry yeast

1 1/2 cups     cool water

additional flour for dusting

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1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°F. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

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three flour bread


This three flour bread was my son Marco’s first attempt at breadmaking. I didn’t get a chance to taste it but from the looks of it and Marco’s comments I think it was a great success. I gave him a basic bread recipe and he added a few spices and decided to use different flours.

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ingredients

3 1/2 cups of flour in all

– 2 cups white

– 3/4 cups kamut flour

–  3/4 cups whole wheat

1 tbsp potato starch

1 pack of active dry yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

sprinkle of nutmeg

sprinkle of cinnamon

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Prepare yeast following package directions and set aside

Mix all dry ingredients together on a flat surface

Make well in the middle and add the yeast and water to mix together until ball is formed

Place in a warm place and let rise until double in size

Place dough on baking sheet and shape it to your liking

Let rest for 30 minutes

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 35 to 45 minutes

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