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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scones


I don't know where I originally obtained this recipe but here is my version.  These are great because you can add whatever "feature" ingredient you like.

The key to flaky layers is cold butter, sliced in in flaky pieces. However if you're lazy and have a food processor, that is an easy way to cut the butter in.

Dry:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I often use slightly less)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup margarine (or slightly less than 1/2 cup if using butter)
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit (tart fruit is best... if using sweet fruit like blueberries you may want to add a touch of lemon zest or lemon juice)
Wet:
  • 1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients up to the margarine, then cut that in or pulse a few times in the food processor. Mix the fruit into the dry mix with a spatula.

Mix the milk, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with a fork.  Add your dry mix and stir briefly until dry and wet mixes are crumbly. Don't over-mix. Pull together dough with your hands until it looks like this:


Grease a cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper) and form your scones. Either flatten one large circle and but into eighths, or divide your dough into about 8 pieces. Shape into triangular forms (if you're feeling fancy) or just scoop some dough with a small measuring cup and drop it onto the sheet for a rough shape. Sprinkle a pinch of raw sugar on the top of each scone if desired. Bake for 15-17 minutes. 

Voila!  Warm and yummy. Serve with butter or eat them plain. 







Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No-Knead Bread



Update!  I found an easier and similar version of the recipe below that makes a single consistent loaf.  


It rises well and is less work to bake.  This version seems to be floating all over the internet.
  • 3 cups flour (don't overfill or shake down so flour packs into measuring cup)
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • Any other mix-ins you like (for example - in the bread below, I added a handful of flax seeds, sunflower seeds, some rosemary and a taste of parmesan)
























Mix all together and let it sit in a bowl covered by plastic wrap. Leave it on the counter for 18-20 hours. Pour onto a well-floured piece of parchment paper and form into a round loaf.  Cover it with the previously used/moist plastic wrap and let it rise a bit while the oven is preheating to 450 degrees.  Put a Le Creuset (or some other oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid - I use a Calphalon Dutch oven) into the oven while it's preheating.  When the bread is ready to go, pull out the pot, dump in the bread on the parchment paper, and bake for 30 minutes. Take off the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Your bread should look amazing. 



Previous post below:


This is my favourite bread recipe, originally found at Better With Butter. I love carbs and love bread but needed an alternative to hand-kneading.  This is the most flavourful, crispy, chewy, divine ciabatta-like bread in the world and is very easy to make. It doesn't require a lot of hands-on time, just attention periodically over a longer span of time.

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (no warmer than 100 degrees)
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour (I use basic all-purpose and it's fine)
  • 2 teaspoons active yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Mix everything together until well-integrated. Cover with a warm damp towel and let it rise in a warm place for 2-5 hours. Replace the towel with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight (this allows the flavours to percolate!).

Flour and shape dough into two round loaves (or several smaller rectangular ciabatta buns). Place on parchment paper, cover with a warm damp towel and let rise for an hour.  [I have trouble with the dough sticking to my towel - you don't want this to happen or your loaf will deflate!  Make sure the towel is as texture-less as possible and that your loaf is decently floured. Some people have success putting a plastic container over their rising dough and including a warm wet towel for moisture.]

Place a pizza stone on the top/middle rack of the oven and a boiler or roasting pan on the lower rack.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Cut slits into the top of the loaves. Two looks good. Slide the risen loaves with their parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone (be careful!) and pour a few cups of hot water into the roasting pan on the bottom rack.  Be careful that you avoid any steam that may rise up. This is the key to getting the hard crusty exterior on the loaves.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 475 degrees and bake another 25-30 minutes. 

Your loaves are finished when they are golden brown and crusty. The insides are soft and chewy, with lots of large holes throughout. Absolutely divine. Enjoy!