Showing posts with label yeast breads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yeast breads. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Parmesan-Romano Cheese Bread

I have learned that very often the 'easy way' is really the hard way.

One of the reasons I work out every day is because it's so fucking painful to go back to working out after a layoff. It's really easier just to get up early every day and 'do it.' It's actually easier to put in the effort

The same principle is true with healthy eating. Instead of going on a crazy 300-calorie juice fast for a quick fix so you can 'pig out' on the weekend, it's actually much more pleasurable to eat a moderate, healthy diet every day.

In middle school, I'd usually begin my book reports the night before they were due.  By graduate school, I was keeping up with the reading, taking notes on my computer when researching the papers I knew were due later in the semester, and getting up early to review the reading material before class. It wasn't that I was fanatically disciplined, but I had discovered that it was indeed easier to work a little bit everyday than binge on work for two miserable weeks during finals.

So why did I begin my ventures into yeast with no-knead bread?

My friend Aimee, who had made many loaves of bread before, got sucked into trying the famous no-knead bread that started the trend.  Her verdict: 'meh.'

I liked my no-knead challah dough coffee cake, but what with all of the waiting and the stickiness, I wouldn't call it easy.

After trying the no-knead variety, Aimee headed back to her print version of the Joy of Cooking, rose at 5am on a Saturday morning to make bread for her daughter, and by breakfast time she had two perfect loaves. Her only complaint: "two people don't need two loaves of bread!"

Aimee inspired me to make my own traditional kneaded bread.

I do have to warn you about one slightly fussy aspect of this recipe--it does have 1/2 of an egg as an ingredient. Personally, I'm 'okay' with that, but if you're not, it's very easy to double this recipe. Like Aimee, I only needed one loaf.

Other than dividing the egg, I actually think this recipe is much easier than no-knead bread. I'm sure I'll  attempt other no-knead breads, but I won't do so in the hopes they will be easier.


Parmesan-Romano Cheese Bread

Ingredients

3 cups-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup grated fresh Parmesan-Romano shredded cheese (not the kind in the canister)
1 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk
1/2 beaten egg (4 teaspoons of both egg and white beaten together)

Directions

1. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, cheese, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Add milk and egg.  Add 1 1/2 cups more flour.  Add more flour if necessary until you can knead the mixture into a soft dough.

2. Knead on a flat, floured surface for 5-8 minutes.  Place in a bowl greased with butter, turning loaf so entire dough is greased. Cover and let rise until doubled for 1 hour.

3. Punch down dough, shape into a loaf.  Place in greased, parchment-lined 9x5 loaf pan.  Cover pan and let rise until doubled again for 45 minutes.

4. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Challah Dough Coffee Cake

So, after making my first three challahs using this recipe, I went from never having made challah to becoming challah-obsessed.

This isn't an unusual life pattern with me. I don't watch much TV now, but I have watched every single episode of Black Beauty (a rather obscure British television series for children), every Avengers with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, and all the Doctor Whos with Tom Baker because as a kid when I was fixated upon a television program, the time that it was on the air governed my life. Yes, we had a VHS but seeing it on VHS WASN'T THE SAME.

Wuthering Heights, The Pony Problem, Hamlet...all had to be bought several times because I literally read them to shreds.

Fortunately, people don't listen to tapes anymore, because I also had to buy several copies of the soundtracks of Broadway musicals because I listened to them until the black plastic thread of the cassette snapped.

So, when I read on the King Arthur website that the easy challah recipe could be used to make three yeasted coffee cakes as well as three challahs, I had to give it a try.

The directions for all of these coffee cakes is pretty much the same--make the challah dough, refrigerate it for at least four hours, add in your mix-ins, let it rise for 90 minutes and bake for thirty minutes.  You can't find an easier recipe.

This would be great if you're having people over for brunch.  Make the dough, divide into thirds, and make three totally different coffee cakes.  Add some fruit salad and maybe some yogurt or bacon on the side and you've got a perfect, homemade spread.

Oh, and in case your wondering--these are coffee cakes, not crumb cakes.  There is a difference. Crumb cakes usually don't contain yeast and are topped with crumbs. Coffee cakes tend to be dry, not very sweet cakes that are perfect compliments to coffee.  They can contain crumbs but they don't have to.

I admit that the savory one is a bit of a cheat and straddles the line between a 'savory cake' and a bread, but you can call it whatever you like--the sharp cheese contrasts nicely with the sweet honey challah dough. 

Even if you don't use these add-ins, I highly recommend trying a challah dough as a sturdy backbone to 'make your own' coffee cake, no matter how unusual or plain.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Ingredients

1/3 of of King Arthur's No-Knead Challah Recipe (refrigerated for at least 4 hours)
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

 
Directions

1. Take 1/3 of the dough recipe (approximately a 'blob' the size of an orange) and mix in the chips. Press into a 9x9 round pan.
 2. Sift the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on as a topping.
3. Cover the pan. Let rise for 90 minutes. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F



Peanut Butter Caramel Coffee Cake

Ingredients

1/3 of of King Arthur's No-Knead Challah Recipe (refrigerated for at least 4 hours)
2/3 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup caramel baking bits or caramel sauce 



Directions

1. Take 1/3 of the dough recipe (approximately a 'blob' the size of an orange) and mix in the chips. Press into a 9x9 round pan.
 2. Top with the caramel baking bits, if using.
3. Cover the pan. Let rise for 90 minutes. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F. If using caramel sauce instead, swirl onto the warm cake before cooling.

Savory Parmesan-Romano 'Cake'


Ingredients

1/3 of of King Arthur's No-Knead Challah Recipe (refrigerated for at least 4 hours)
1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan-Romano cheese blend plus 1-2 tablespoons extra, reserved
  
Directions

1. Take 1/3 of the dough recipe (approximately a 'blob' the size of an orange) and mix in the cheese. Press into a 9x9 round pan.
 2. Top with additional cheese.
3. Cover the pan. Let rise for 90 minutes. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F.