Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the daring bakers March 2012 challenge: Bread with Dutch Crunch Topping

Oh yum!  Any challenge that has to do with bread is fine with me!  Nothing tastes better than fresh baked bread!  Ok... maybe there are a few other things high on that list, but fresh bread is amazing!

Blog-checking lines: Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

While my sandwich was nothing overly creative (home made artichoke dip, deli meats, Swiss cheese and lettuce) the bread was just A-mazing!  The bread is just a simple white roll dough topped with a yeast/rice flour mixture.... yep, that and a bit of water gives you this funky crust.
Dutch Crunch Topping
recipe from Daring Kitchen
Servings: This recipe should make sufficient topping for two 9x5 loaves (23cmx13cm) or 12 rolls. If you make only 6 rolls in the first soft white roll recipe, you can cut the topping recipe in half.
We’ve provided this recipe first because it is the mandatory aspect of the challenge. Note, however, that you should not prepare the topping until the bread you’ve selected to bake is almost finished rising (~15 minutes from baking).

2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
looks a bit like a frosted doughnut!
3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping. With the Brown Rice Bread, the loaves should stand for 20 minutes with the topping before baking.
4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Cruch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

Soft White Roll
Servings: Six sandwich rolls
from the Daring Kitchen

1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ ¼ oz) active dry yeast
¼ cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (No need to use a thermometer – it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).
1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (We’ve tried both nonfat and 2%, with no noticeable difference)
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (20 gm/ ⅔ oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (9 gm/⅓ oz) salt
Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).
2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.
3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, as shown in the photo below (For us, this usually required an additional 1½ to 2 cups of flour).
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled (or more) in size
6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point).
7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
8. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.
9. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Salt-Roasted Chicken

 There has been much said about the benefits of salt roasting meat but the most important thing is that it is supposed to make meat tender. I was more inclined to believe that it would make your meat taste like salt-lick... but curiosity got the best of me and I gave it a try. 

Was the meat tender??? Yes. However we did find that in order to check the temperature, of the meat, we ended up releasing a bunch of the juices. Not sure exactly how you would get around that but it didn't make much of a difference. The method does indeed work, but be aware that the technique is messy and tedious. I had a heck of a time getting my salt/egg mixture to be thick enough to stick on the chicken. Make sure your chicken is dried off before adding the salt pack around it, that helps tremendously! 
For this recipe you need:
1 3-4 pound chicken
9 cups of kosher salt (most recipes I looked at used a less amount but I found it to be too thin in texture)
12 large egg whites ( I read about dry salt packs an moist salt packs and went with the moist one)
two sprigs each of Marjoram, Tarragon, and flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse and dry chicken off completely. Stuff herbs inside of chicken cavity. 
In a large bowl, mix together salt and egg whites and knead for about four minutes

Place salt and egg whites in a large bowl. Pack 1/3 of salt mixture onto bottom of pan. Place chicken on top and pack the remaining salt mixture over and around chicken to completely enclose it.

Roast the chicken until a thermometer registers 165° when inserted through the salt crust into the thickest part of the thigh, this was about 75 minutes for me. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes. Crack salt with the back of a knife or wooden spoon. Remove salt and skin from chicken; Carve and serve.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Breakfast Sausage Casserole

To raise money for the Women's retreat, our church made a cookbook.  This breakfast casserole is the first actual meal I have made from it.  This was super easy and very tasty.  It would be tasty to add some onion and peppers to it as well.... but not if you ask my husband!
Life has been a bit ho hum lately.  With everyone back living at home I suppose that is a good thing! I just haven't been blog motivated.  March recipes are rather meager.... I better get my back side into gear!

Breakfast Sausage Casserole
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
6 slices white bread, toasted and cut into cubes
8 ounces shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend

Brown sausage in a medium skillet; crumble and drain.
In a large bowl, mix together mustard powder, salt, eggs and milk.  Add the sausage, bread cubes and cheese; stir to blend completely.  Pour into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cover and bake 45 minutes.  Uncover and reduce temperature to 325 degrees F.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until set.
   **  I did not let it set overnight... I didn't plan that well!  I just reduced the cooking time to a straight 45 minutes and it was done.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Have the Cake Challenge - Pots of Gold Cake Pops

I've had Bakerella's Cake Pop book since it was released... but have I ever made cake pops before??? Nooooooo.  I was excited about this month's challenge (Have the Cake) because it forced me out of my comfort zone and into the land of cake pops.  Aside from having to make my own black colored chocolate, these really weren't that difficult to make.  Of course, these simple pots of gold are nothing at all like the beautiful creation in the Cake Pop book.  I used a simple cake mix for my cake and had leftover home made Malted Frosting left over from a cake I made last month.  These were a big hit with my Sunday school class.
  Thanks for the challenge!

Monday, March 12, 2012

SRC: My Hobbie Lobbie Bhature Bread

Each month, of the Secret Recipe Club, you are given a new blog to visit upon.  Then you are to choose a recipe that the creator of that blog has made and make it yourself. This month I was the lucky one given the blog My Hobbie Lobbie.  I say lucky because she has some fabulous Indian recipes... I happen to LOVE Indian food!  Seems to me like it was a match made in heaven!  I have drooled over many of her fabulous recipes and printed off a good dozen as well.  Since the rest of my family isn't as fond of Indian food as I am, I decided to make one of her bread recipes... I mean, who doesn't love bread??? Bhature is a deep fried bread that is commonly served with Chickpea Curry.  Since I didn't make the Chlo (which is the curry) we opted to just sprinkle powder sugar on it and eat it.  Is it traditional to eat it with powder sugar?  Probably not.  However even the plain fried bread was just delicious!  We did have a bit of a problem and not sure what happened.  The bread is supposed to "puff up" and ours just didn't.
Recipe by: Sanjeev Kapoor

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
A pinch of baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup natural unflavored yogurt
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar, powdered
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Oil, for deep frying

Place the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine.  Take the yogurt and oil, add to dry ingredients and knead into a soft dough.  At this stage you will also have to add a bit of water... I used a couple tablespoons, to make the dough soft and pliable.  You want the dough just soft though and not sticky.
Cover the dough and let it rest for half an hour.

In a Skillet, heat oil for deep frying.  Divide the dough into golf ball portions and roll out into a disc. Deep fry until a nice golden brown, drain on paper towel and serve.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mom's Crazy Cooking: Spaghetti Sauce

The challenge for Mom's Crazy Cooking this month was to find a spaghetti sauce.  I liked that this recipe included red wine... something I've really been into these past few months; cooking with wine.  Her recipe used canned tomatoes but I have several gallon bags of roma tomatoes in my freezer that I needed to use up.  Go check out One Couples Kitchen To see her recipe.  She made her sauce using venison, which I bet tasted amazing!

Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch
adapted from One Couples Kitchen

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 6oz can tomato paste
4 1/2 pound roma tomatoes (I had a gallon size bag frozen in my freezer)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup full bodied red wine
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp majoram
1 tsp parsley
1/2 teaspoon baking soda ( this was to help with the acidity of the tomatoes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

In a large skillet,cook ground meat until browned and cooked through and set aside.

In a large pot, add olive oil and over medium heat saute onion, stirring often; add garlic.  Add the cooked meat and the wine (this will deglaze the pan) add the remaining ingredients.  Simmer for 2 hours.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.