I intended to make soft pretzels yesterday, but somehow they turned out like pretzel-shaped rolls. Not at all what I intended. I think I will be having a do-over on this one.
More fun with laminated dough — I also made croissants! Believe me when I say they were beautiful — plump with a little curve to them — before I baked them. When they came out of the oven they were more straight across, kind of like… I don’t know what. But the layers were clearly defined and they were buttery like you read about. C. told me I “should make these all the time.” I’m delighted he loves them, but I fear I might have to go live in a padded room if I make them too often. Or maybe worse, I might get really good at them and the world would experience a butter shortage due to our croissant consumption habits.
This weekend, I tackled a longtime baking fear of mine — laminated dough. Ever since I watched Julia Child make puff pastry on one of her shows (I was so traumatized I couldn’t retain that information), I thought — “that is something I will never, ever, make.”
I made these sub rolls to accompany my slow-cooker barbecued pulled pork. I also learned a few lessons that you might not have expected during this process.
(1) I cannot fit two half-sheet pans and a steam pan in my oven at once.
(2) If you keep opening the oven door to try to figure out how to squeeze two half-sheet pans and a steam pan inside, the oven will cool down…
(3) … a lot.
(4) If you smell smoke and the oven is on, maybe you should check it out.
(5) Parchment paper may smolder at temps over 420 degree F just like the box says (even though this never happened to me before at much higher temps).
(6) Sub rolls are very forgiving.
(7) A 14-year-old boy can easily put away 3 pulled pork subs in one sitting.
I’m not a chocolate person. I like chocolate and all, I just don’t crave it like some people. However, a lot of people L-O-V-E chocolate. A lot. And when L. needed to bring a goodie to one of his teen gatherings, I thought why not something chocolate? Well, that, and I have lots of chocolate to work with in my kitchen.
Panettone is an Italian yeast bread (almost like a cake though — light and sweet), enriched with eggs, sugar and honey, and dried or candied fruits. It’s traditionally eaten at Christmastime and there are many legends surrounding its creation. I’m actually a fairly recent convert to panettone. For years, I’d see those blue and red boxes in stores during the holiday season, but I hesitated trying it because I feared it would be heavy and fruitcake-like. A few years ago, I finally gave in to curiosity and discovered that panettone was more airy bread than cake and had just a touch of sweetness — I loved it!
This is the same recipe as last week, but with the instant yeast boost. As you can see, these boules have a bit more oomph than the earlier ones. Also, for this batch I used a higher protein flour than what was used in my last attempt. And finally, I read an interesting post about how different scoring might affect how breads expand in the oven from this post at The Fresh Loaf, and tried something new here. The vertical scoring is supposed to encourage the loaves to rise upward rather than spread outward. All in all, I’m much happier with this batch!
More bread from my sourdough starter. I made two sandwich loaves of rye bread, sans caraway seeds. Personally, I don’t feel like it’s real rye bread without the caraway, but I wanted to make it accessible to everyone in the house and not everyone shares my fondness for seeded rye bread. This is my first batch of yeast bread in loaf pans since my very sad white sandwich bread (which I overproofed), and I have to admit that it was very nice to not have to think about shaping the dough for once. And thankfully, this rye turned out perfectly and had that lovely sourdough tartness you would expect.
Tuesdays with Dorie is a group of very dedicated baking bloggers who, once a week, select, prepare and post a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. Although I own the book and I’ve often considered participating, I haven’t yet, I think mostly because I’m frightened what weekly goodies will do to my waistline. So today, I thought I would have my own day with Dorie. I baked her Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters (page 73 for those who wish to follow along).
Maybe it’s because I’ve been so (relatively) good in the past week, but the combination of oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate came to me several days ago and just sounded so appealing. I proceeded to google cookie recipes with that combo only to discover that I already had such a recipe in my own house! I actually halved Dorie’s version since I wanted to continue being (relatively) good, and opted to use creamy peanut butter (it’s what I had in the house) and semisweet chocolate chunks (ditto) instead of bittersweet chocolate. The house smells amazing — baking brown sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon and chocolate — and (mmmmmmm) the cookies are even more amazing.