Showing posts with label Breads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breads. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sweet Potato Buns – Great for Burgers, and Learning How to Bake Without Fear

Not only does adding sweet potatoes to a burger bun make it more nutritious, delicious, and significantly more beautiful, but it also presents the perfect opportunity to get pass your flour amount phobia, and finally be able to make dough by feel.

Every once in a while, I’ll get an email from someone whose dough was way too wet, or dry, and I always think the same thing; why would you stop? Some actually tell me they had to throw out the whole batch, which is insane. Your dough’s too wet? Add some flour. Too dry? Add some water.

No matter how exact a recipe is written, you simply can’t go by measurements, volume or weight, and expect perfection. There are too many variables that effect how much flour is needed – like a cup of mashed sweet potatoes, for example.

The best strategy is to not add all the flour at once, and only add enough to achieve the soft, slightly tacky dough seen herein. One of the great advantages of video is being able to see what the dough should look and feel like.

Once you get comfortable with not worrying about exact amounts, but rather exact results, the world of bread opens up to you and your new-found powers. Now, you just need to practice, so with that in mind, I really hope you give these amazing sweet potato buns a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 large, 16 medium, or 32 slider-sized rolls:

For sponge:
1 package (2 1/2 tsp) dry active yeast (I used Fleischmann's “RapidRise” Yeast)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup AP flour

Then add:
1 cup mashed orange sweet potato (also sold as yams)
2 tsp honey
1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour AP flour, as needed to form the right texture dough (see blog post)

- Bake at 400 F. for 15 minutes, or until browned. Large buns may take an extra few minutes, and the sliders-sized may take a minute or two less.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Easy English Muffins – A Model of Buttery Deliciousness

I don’t watch a lot of food television, but every once and a while I’ll catch a show where celebrity chefs sit around describing the best things they ever ate, and this English muffin was inspired by one served at the Model Bakery, in Napa, CA.

These muffins were fried in clarified butter, and looked (and sounded) absolutely amazing. I didn’t actually use their recipe, since I wanted to experiment with a simpler, faster method; but if it makes you feel any better, I did cook them in clarified butter.

Speaking of which, I’ve never done a video for clarified butter, but you don’t need one, since all we do is melt some unsalted butter (the only kind I ever use), and once it’s melted, take a spoon and skim off the white, foamy milk solids from the top. That’s it. Once clarified, you can use it without fear of the butter burning from high temps, or long cooking times.

If you want, you could just briefly brown each side and finish these in an oven until cooked through, but I did mine all the way in the pan, a la Model Bakery, and it worked out fine. They took about 7 to 8 minutes per side, and really took on a great buttery flavor.

Over the years, I’ve tried several different methods, including the traditional batter cooked in ring molds system, but I think this technique is much easier, and produces something very close to a classic English muffin. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 6 English Muffins (recipe can easily be doubled):

- First mix:
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
- Wait 15 minutes to see if yeast is alive, then add:
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg white
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup warm water
- Mix dough and let double
- Form 6 seamless balls of dough, press on to a lined baking pan, coating both sides  with non-hipster corn meal.
- Allow to double in size and fry in clarified butter for about 7-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let cool before splitting!
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sweet Potato Muffins – The Sweet Potato Pie of Muffins

Sometimes you don’t have a good reason for not loving a certain recipe, and that’s how it is for me with sweet potato pie. It just does not do it for me, and I don’t even know what “it” is. However, I thought the same flavors could work for a holiday-inspired sweet potato muffin, and I was thrilled with the results.

These are perfect if you have leftover sweet potatoes during the holidays, but if not, totally worth cooking a few just for this easy recipe. I microwaved mine for about 6 or 7 minutes, until they were very soft, but roasting, or boiling will also work.

By the way, we’re not using sweet potatoes for our sweet potato muffin; we’re using yams, which are actually just incorrectly named orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.  So, I guess never mind.

As I mention in the video, these muffins are just a little bit of frosting away from being cupcakes. I’ve never understood the allure of mini marshmallows on a sweet potato casserole, but something tells me some “fluff” would work well on these, as well. I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 24 Sweet Potato Muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups mashed sweet potato or “yams”
1 cup chopped pecans, plus more for the top
demerara sugar for the tops

- Bake for 25 minutes at 350 F. or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sandwich Rolls – Because Size and Shape Matter

As promised, here is our method for making your own sandwich rolls at home, and while “shocked” may be a bit strong, I think many people will be surprised at just how simple these are. Like, four ingredient simple. Sure you have to wait a few hours while it rises, but that gives you time to decide what sandwich to make.

Besides the super obvious reasons why these are better than the ones from the supermarket, you can make them the exact size and shape you want. We’ve all been there…you find the perfect sausage at the store, but the rolls in the bakery dept. are either too short, or too long, leaving you angry and disillusioned. 

Like I said in the video, you can pretty much use this technique with any yeast dough, and it just depends on what you’re going for. Speaking of which, a viewer who couldn’t wait for this recipe to make banh mi, used our no-knead beer bread dough, and reported they had great success.

This recipe is based on our French baguette, but if you happen to have luck using another one of our recipes, please let us know! I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 6 Sandwich Rolls:
1 package dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 cups warm water (100 F.)
1 1/2 tsp fine salt
19 ounces (by weight) bread flour (about 4 1/4 cups)
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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Salami Bread – Fourteen Inches of Delicious Pizza-Related Serendipity

What started out as a frustrating attempt to test some pizza dough, turned into what we’re calling salami bread. This 14-inch long loaf of delicious serendipity was a revelation, and I didn’t even get to use it for it’s most obvious purpose…to make the world’s greatest Italian submarine sandwich.

As I mention in the video, I’m not even sure I’d do a meat sub with this, but instead may just load it up with lots of Italian cheeses, as well as fresh and pickled vegetables. Then I’d find a picnic, where I could sit back to soak in the sun, and the compliments.

There are hundreds of possible variations, so that’s going to be your homework. Why wait until the unlikely scenario of having pizza dough, but no toppings? Let’s be proactive. But no matter how you roll, and I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one salami bread:
12 to 16 ounce ball of pre-made pizza dough
8-10 slices salami or other similar meat
1/4 cup tomato sauce, or other crushed tomato product
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to cover
scattering of freshly chopped herbs, to taste
olive oil, as needed

- Bake at 400 F. for 25 to 30 minutes until browned and cooked through.
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