Monday, November 12, 2012

Portuguese Sweet Bread with Honey

Eek, five months. Well I have two words for you.

1. Morning sickness, horribly severe, lasting from the beginning of July until the end of September (but as unpleasant as it was I did lose 10 lbs, and considering I started this pregnancy at a weight I was not happy with I guess it was a good thing)

 2. Low platelets (Anemia) which equals no energy. But I am still alive and kicking and finally tried this recipe which was DIVINE! I really wanted to try french toast with it, but it didn't last long enough for me to get around to it.

Anyway, here we go.
To make the sponge:
Combine 1 1/2 Tablespoons (1 1/2 packages) active dry yeast
1/2 a cup of warm water
1 cup warm milk (I like to heat mine in the microwave for 30 seconds)
1/4 a cup sugar
2 cups all purpose unbleached flour

Beat until smooth and then cover with plastic wrap and let sit about an hour.
To make the dough:
Stir down the sponge.
Add 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons of salt (note teaspoons, not tablespoons, most yeast breads call for at least a tablespoon so this is different)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
and then 1 cup of flour. Beat hard until creamy then add the remaining 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour half a cup at a time. Note that since this is a sweet bread the dough should be soft and not as firm as a typical loaf of bread.
Knead 2-3 minutes, dusting with 1 tablespoon of flour at a time as needed if it starts to get sticky.
It will look something like this. Able to hold its shape, but still kinda "oozing" around!
Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let raise 1 1/2 hours.
Divide the dough into two equal portions and place on a large baking sheet (I used an airbake pan)  Let raise about 30 minutes. If desired you can brush on some egg beaten with water/milk for a nice shiny look. The dough did end up coming together, so I think next time I will either keep an eye on it and raise for less time, use two separate pans, or make three loaves instead of 2.
Bake at 375 F for 35-40 minutes.  Then transfer to cooling racks.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


This bread originates from Poland, traditionally it has an almond filling. This particular recipe offers two options for a filling. Since I didn't have almond paste I just made the chocolate filling. Oh my deliciousness!!! It reminded me a lot of cinnamon rolls, the only difference was the filling. Five stars for sure!
For the yeast: I used a mug, you can use a cereal bowl or whatever other small bowl you have. In the container put 1/4 a cup of warm water, 1 packet (1 tablespoon)of active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let it raise until foamy (like in the picture above).

In a mixing bowl (or bowl for your mixer): 1/4 a cup sugar, 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 a teaspoon almond extract, 3/4 a cup of warm milk (I like to microwave in a tall plastic cup for 30 seconds) and 3 large eggs at room temperature.

To this add 1 cup of flour and beat until smooth anywhere from 1-3 minutes. I'm pretty aggressive at stirring so I take about a minute :)

Once it's smooth take the remaining 3-4 cups of flour and add 1/2 a cup at a time. I think I ended up using more then it called for. As soon as you have a nice ball of dough that you can handle without getting the "dough hands" (note picture above!) then you know it's ready.
Knead for five minutes, if it starts to get sticky dust with 1 tablespoon of flour at a time. Then put it in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Let rise 1 1/2 hours (or until doubled)
Chocolate Filling: 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 3 tablespoons unsweetened powdered cocoa, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 4 tablespoons (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter. Mix all ingredients except butter, then  cut in the butter until crumbly.  You can also use your hands.

Once dough has risen roll it out in a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the filling, then roll it up starting from the short end. Pinch the seams to seal it, then holding one end twist it 6-8 times to form a rope. Place in a greased and floured 10-12 cup kugelhopf mold or a tube pan.
Form into a flat coil and place in the pan (as you can see I didn't do the best job forming a "flat coil" hehe ) once it's in the pan you can pinch the two ends together. The pan should be no more then 2/3rds full. Cover loosely with plastic wrap (I used the same piece I used for the dough to rise).
Let raise until it reaches the top of the pan, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F about twenty minutes before baking. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The loaves will sound hollow when tapped.
Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then dump onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. You can let it stand 4 hours to overnight but we certainly did not have the patience for that! If you want you can dust it with powdered sugar. I didn't and it was yummy!
It was a hit with all my children, especially my four year old!
This is how it looked after being cut. Oh yes! It makes a great breakfast and midnight snack for sure. Enjoy!!!

Here is the Almond Filling if you would like to try that:
Combine the following ingredients and beat until smooth. 1 can (8 oz) almond paste, 1/4 cup ground blanched almonds, 4 tablespoons (1/2 a stick) of unsalted butter, softened, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 large egg.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Check It Out

Check out my guest post for a new recipe (Olive Bread) on this amazing blog

In the midst of a lot of craziness the past six months I have put a lot of stuff on the back burner. Luckily life is starting to show a semblance of order now so I can now start trying new recipes again!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Petits Pains au Lait

I apologize for my unintended hiatus from this blog,  sometimes it's a little hard to think about the fun and simple things in life when there are challenges in the drama that is life. But I realized that I shouldn't let those things stop me from what I love, and besides it's a great stress reliever as well!

So here I am back, and I'm sharing an AWESOME roll recipe. Rolls and I, we go way back. I've always loved them, and have been making them since I was about 10 years old...actually I might have made a  batch sooner then that for the county fair back in the day!

Take note that this recipe requires 4-5 initial hours of raising time, then another 1 1/2  OR overnight in the fridge. As the author, Beth Hensperger, says "The results are worth the time."

So here we go...

In a large bowl mix together the following:
2 cups flour, 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder, 1 Tablespoon (or 1 envelope) of active dry yeast, 2 Tablespoons Sugar, 2 teaspoons Salt. Then add 1 1/2 cups hot water (but not to hot, otherwise you will kill the yeast), along with 1 egg (that has been out of the fridge for 30 minutes or more to be at room temp). Beat hard for two minutes.

Then add 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces.
Add the remaining  2 1/2-3 cups of flour, half a cup at a time. Then knead the dough 4-5 minutes, dusting with flour 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to prevent sticking.
Place in a greased bowl covered with plastic. Let rise at COOL room temperature 4-5 hours OR in the refrigerator overnight.

Then gently deflate and let rise another 1 1/2 hours.
Divide dough into 4 balls, then divide each into five equal portions to make 20 rolls total.
Place in rows of 4 with two inches between each row. I used my airbake cookie sheets, which were greased with a little cornmeal sprinkled over the top
Preheat the oven to 400 F OR 450 if you have a baking stone on the lowest rack. Let the rolls rest for 30 minutes, then take a serrated knife and slash each roll quickly no more then 1/4 an inch deep.
If you have the baking stone place the pan directly on it, then immediately turn down to 400 F. and bake 15 minutes. If you don't, you would just bake at 400 F for 15 minutes.
My daughters face is priceless right there!! We put butter and garlic powder on ours and dipped them in homemade Vinaigrette. YUM! My husband also mentioned they would be good with freezer jam.