Monday, August 15, 2011

Sweet Yeast Dough

Oh my goodness! I wish I had tried this a long time ago!

To make the sponge:

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1/4 cup warm water, 1 1/4 cups warm milk, 2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour. Beat until smooth then cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes. It will be really bubbly.

To make the dough:

Add the following to the sponge: 2 large eggs at room temp., finely grated zest of 1 orange or lemon (I used orange), 2 teaspoons salt, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth, then add3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) the butter should be cut in little pieces and be at room temp. Then add the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour 1/4 a cup at a time until the dough is smooth. The dough will not be firm like regular bread dough, it will be very soft.

Knead about four minutes (using flour as needed to prevent sticking) then place in a greased bowl turning once to coat. Then let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

After that you can do whatever you would like with it! The recipe suggests dividing into 6 portions and braiding (see braiding example below), which would be good because this dough is SO amazing!

I chose to divide the dough in half and make cinnamon rolls and an apple braid. I just used my favorite recipe for apple pie filling. (3 cups chopped, peeled apples, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. I mixed it up and let it sit in the fridge while the bread was rising. It's pretty wet, I just drained it all off...)

I dusted the top of my braid with cinnamon, nutmeg and powdered sugar. Then after it was done I glazed it with powdered sugar, vanilla and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Sorry, no pics of the cinnamon rolls...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peach Upside-Down Ginger Cake

Delicious! It's not super sweet (the cake title kinda throws you off!) so we had it for breakfast. Mmmm.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel and pit 6 (2-3 cups) ripe peaches and cut in thick slices.
Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 9 inch cake pan, or spring-form. (I recommend the cake pan because the butter and sugar leaked out the bottom of my spring-form). Put the butter in the pan and place in oven until melted (or stovetop works too). Then add 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.

Heat just until sugar is melted then arrange peach slices in a single layer. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream a stick of room temp unsalted butter (8 tablespoons) with 1/2 a cup of granulated sugar. Beat in 2 large eggs, 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla. In another bowl whisk 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg.

Add the flour mixture alternately with 1/4 cup boiling water to the creamed mixture.

Spoon over the top of the peaches. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.(woops, I had a little trouble as you can see by the one corner...)

Serve at room temp with chilled Amaretto Cream

Whisk 3 eggs with 1/2 cup sugar.

Scald 2 cups heavy cream plus 1/4 cup amaretto creamer in a double boiler (temp should be around 100 F). Whisking constantly add milk to egg mixture. Place in a saucepan on medium heat, stir constantly until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and if desired add 2 tsp almond extract. Refrigerate. Mixture will thicken as it cools.