December 29, 2010

Affirmation & Change



As 2010 moves on, my family and I will have ended our most mobile year. We began the year living in Michigan, where my husband was working on a long term project for a client. His firm offered us a terrific opportunity to relocate from New York to Texas.

We packed our bags in Michigan, unloaded and reloaded everything in New York. Gave away lots of stuff, sold our house and put the remaining stuff into storage. Loaded one car on a UHaul auto transport and towed it to Texas.

On the way, we visited with family and the UHaul repair mechanic, lived in hotels, dodged a tropical storm, and got a scenic detour due to closure of the interstate in East Texas. Not to mention all the money we spent with Amazon and iTunes to refill our iPods with new media for the trip.

While we looked for a new home here in Houston, we got reacquainted with apartment life. I rediscovered the knowledge that I need the stove needs to vent outside not back into the kitchen.

After three months of looking, we found the house for us. We move into our new home on New Year's Eve, just in time to celebrate the New Year.  Our new home has the perfect kitchen for cooking, togetherness and celebrations. I can't wait to move in and start a pot of black-eyed peas for good luck!

More joys came our way this year. We visited all five of the Great Lakes, celebrated our 20th anniversary and our daughter's 11th birthday at Niagara Falls. Our son finally grew taller than his Dad...he past me by several years ago. And I celebrated my fifth anniversary of being cancer free.


It has been a joyously full year for us, full of travel and good health, transitions, old and new homes, friendships and family connections celebrated and reaffirmed.

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours~

May your day be filled with abundant joy,

Love, laughter and thankfulness~


Natalie


November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving!

From our home here on the Gulf Coast, I hope everyone has a joyous holiday filled with laughter, love and joy.

Natalie

October 13, 2010

Houston - Heat, Houses & Pots


Thank you for all the kind messages about moving, selling our house and surviving the process. Our lives have been swept up in one whirlwind after another until last week. All our neighborhood research and house hunting focused in on a great house in a really lovely area. We put forth our best offer, but we weren't able to come to terms with the owner. So, we're back to the house hunt. 

While looking for that special house that appeals to all of us, we've been living in a furnished corporate apartment near downtown. It has been a lot of fun being so close to so much activity, great food, museums and more. Coming out of New York, we were driving everywhere, I'm sad to say...even four blocks down the road. The heat was more than our bodies could take those first few weeks, in fact our poor Sheltie hasn't stopped shedding yet.

We're settled in our apartment, although I'm having a bit of a challenge getting used to cooking in an apartment. The kitchen has a built-in microwave that also functions as a hood vent. I've discovered that it doesn't vent outside, it just filters whatever it pulls through and leaves this lovely greasy stain on the cabinets. It puts a real crimp in using the self-cleaning cycle on the oven as well, since the ceilings have all those well placed smoke/fire alarms and sprinkler heads. Needless to say, I've gotten friendly with the oven cleaner can again.

I packed up a mini-kitchen set up for the apartment, when we were packing up our house. Currently, we don't have any house prospects on our horizon, so it looks like temp living is going a bit more long term. In the kitchen equipment our leasing company provided, they gave us some Anchor Hocking baking dishes, but they gave us a set of pots and pans where the nonstick coating is very scratched up.

This is actually the opportunity I've been looking for...an excuse to upgrade my pots and to get a nice enameled cast iron dutch oven or cocotte. I've been looking at All-Clad, Tramontina, Le Creuset and Staub. Does anyone have a favorite set of pans or are your favorites based on the individual piece? Or on something different?

August 1, 2010

A Transfer & Selling Our House


After we got home from Michigan, my husband and I started our annual planning of what house projects do we tackle this year. When your house is 83 years old, there is always a project waiting to be done. With our never ending list in our hands, we decided to do some outside painting, work on the chimney and line the sewer pipe with one of those new sleeve thingies. Everything was moving along pretty smoothly, we had Roto-Rooter in the basement lining the sewer, the chimney mason was slinging concrete and contractors wandering around giving us estimates on the painting we want done. And then it happened...

"Hey babe!" calls my husband, "They want us to move."

"Oh yeah? Where to?" I ask. "Back to Michigan?"

"Umm...no...they say Houston," he replied.

"Well, it probably won't happen," I said.

"Actually, they've got the funding to move us. Umm...I guess we need to sell the house," he murmured.

Smarty pants that I am...I thought I could handle baking, blogging, getting our house ready to sell, showing it, selling it and the hundreds of things it takes to get all this done.  I was so wrong...

I discovered several things about myself during the last few months. First of all, I am not in any way shape or form related to the Energizer bunny.  Second, caffeine is not a replacement for sleep...yeah, I had to learn this one yet again. You'd think college would have cemented it for me, but no...I had to learn it one more time. Third, I discovered I can be quite testy when not so great/not great/bad things happen beyond just the standard 3 in a row...like when it's in the multiples of 3, say 3x7. Now, it was probably a side effect of all that Espresso I was inhaling. But, holy cow! There just has to be an end to all the loonier aspects of moving.

I've been able to get back to doing a little baking, now that we have a closing date set for our house. I've been baking a lot of muffins and scones to get us through the breakfast house. It's really hard to do baking that's very involved, as I had to keep the kitchen scrupulously clean.

However, I did discover the morning the house went on the market just how long a gluten free sourdough starter will last without feeding in the refrigerator...30 days. That's it... On day 29, it will look and smell fine, but on day 30 watch out...a weird white fuzz will cover your starter and funky acetone aromas will take over. 
And no...the smell doesn't depart from your fridge easily...

more to come...

March 17, 2010

Focaccia (B&P42)



For the last three months, we've been living and working out of a temporary home in Michigan. My husband's on location contribution to a project here is nearing it's end. So, we've been trying to cram in all the Great Lakes tourist destinations that we can manage.

This past weekend, we headed off to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan.  We had a lot of fun climbing hills, falling into the snow, banging up our knees, and taking pictures.  Then we headed off to the lakeshore to look for rocks and fossils, plus seeing the lighthouses. Last, we cruised the coastline of the Grand Traverse Bay and looked at all the different birds frolicking in the frigid water.

I do have to admit that our little trips have been a bit challenging to coordinate. When you travel with  kids, our dog and our various food issues, it can feel like a major war campaign just to go on a weekend getaway not to mention the two week vacation. We've been spoiled by the abundance of pet friendly hotels that are abundant on the eastern seaboard and in the south. Little did we realize that heading out into the forest lands of Michigan, that our hotel search would be more troublesome than our gluten free food planning.

I did use a couple of resources for this trip that proved to be pretty helpful, the Bed Bug Registry and Trip Advisor. I even used Google images to check for pictures of hotels, motels, plus bed & breakfast locations. After a great deal of searching, I located a family and pet friendly hotel in Traverse City, the Baymont Inn & Suites. It was a perfect lodging point for our trip and there were plenty of restaurants to try and negotiate a gluten free meal. 

If you come out to Michigan to visit the Great Lakes, be aware that many lodging locations and tourist destinations are closed for the winter. The National and State Parks are mostly open, but have limited accessibility due to heavy snowfall. If you are interested in cross country skiing, snow shoeing or snow mobiling these are great destinations. Otherwise, you'll need to wait until there is enough of a thaw to allow for easier access to the trails.

To get us on the road, I made a loaf of focaccia drizzled with olive oil. fresh oregano and dotted with Kalamata olives. It was the perfect type of road food, easy to handle and not messy to eat. Delicious!

Enjoy!

Recipe

Protein Content
Original Amount: 43.94 g
GF Amount: 43.302 g

Biga

15 g brown rice flour (1.35 g)
14 g sweet rice flour (0.84 g)
14 g arrowroot starch (0.042 g)
22 g almond meal (4.4 g)
20 g white bean flour (4.3 g)
1 g instant dry yeast (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)

50 ml water
10 ml agave sweet

Final Dough

50 g brown rice flour (4.5 g)
40 g sweet rice flour (2.4 g)
40 g arrowroot starch (0.12 g)
73 g almond meal (14.6 g)
50 g white bean flour (10.75 g)
6 g chia seed meal
4 g agar agar powder
12 g instant dry yeast
7 g sea salt
126 g biga (from above)
15 g agave syrup
23 g olive oil
135 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)
Optional Toppings: fresh herbs, olives, roasted tomato slices, sauteed garlic or onion slices.


Biga Directions


In a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, water, agave syrup and yeast. Mix together, making sure the mixture is smooth. Cover the mixture or transfer to a container and allow to ferment at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C for 18 to 24 hours. When the biga is ready to use, it will have risen and receded, yet also look bubbly.

Final Dough Directions
1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with the exception of the salt and yeast. Hold the salt out, so it can be added later in the mixing. Place the yeast into a small container, add the water and a little bit of the agave syrup. Stir to ensure the water mixes through the yeast. Allow the yeast to proof for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the yeast mixture, biga, the rest of the agave syrup and blend together. Just before the dough comes together, sprinkle in the salt and then continue blending until a soft ball forms. Note: This dough should be a little looser than other types of doughs.

3. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with arrowroot starch. Gently pat the dough out into an 8-inch/20 cm circle and brush with olive oil. Slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours. Brush the focaccia with olive oil again and cover with your choice of toppings.

4. Place an oven proof bowl filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Then place a baking stone on the top shelf. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F/238 degrees C. Place the loaf in the oven and spray water over the oven box and the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 15 minutes. Prop the oven door open and continue to cook the bread for another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and allow it to cool before serving.



What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their culinary dvd's from my family for my birthday and our anniversary. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts
Index of the Baking & Pastry Project

Baking & Pastry Week 21 - A Biga & A Sourdough Starter
Baking & Pastry Project #41 - Ciabatta (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project #40 - Rosemary Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project Week 20 - More Bigas
Baking & Pastry Project #39 - Cracked Rice & Potato Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project #38 - Almond & White Bean Batard (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project Week 19 - Bigas

March 15, 2010

A Biga & A Sourdough Starter - Baking & Pastry Week 21



A Sour Story

This week I'm wrapping up my exploration of bigas and moving on to sourdoughs. I'm going to make a couple of different types of sours, starting with one that is light colored and mild flavored like one made from bread flour.  The second will be stronger in flavor more like a rye flour. The final sour will be a whole grain style made with a stronger alternative flour, i..e. buckwheat, amaranth, teff, etc.

This first sour is mild and slightly colored and flavored with corn flour or an extra fine ground corn meal. It will take five days before your sour is ready to be made into a loaf of bread. When you measure out your flours to begin the starter, go ahead and measure out the rest of the flours for each feeding. Then your feeding process will be quick and easy.

If you are having trouble getting your culture started, you can add a grape, apple slice, onion or potato pieces. You can even use the water from boiling potatoes for your water in the recipe. I like using a mixture of flours in my sourdough starters, as I think you get a more vibrant culture. 

Once your sourdough culture has been established, you will need to feed it again once the dough has risen and then recedes from it's previous feeding.

Enjoy!

Sourdough Starter Recipe

Day 1 & 2

60 ml water (80 degrees F/27 degrees C)
10 g brown rice flour (0.9 g)
13 g sweet rice flour (0.78 g)
10 g corn flour (not corn starch) (0.81 g)
13 g almond meal (2.6 g)
10 g white bean flour (2.15 g)
2 ml agave syrup

Mix the ingredients together and then cover.  Allow to sit for 24 hours at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C. On Day 2, check to see if the water and flours have separated. If they have stir them together, cover and allow the sour to sit another 24 hours.

Day 3
Note: The image above is of this starter at Day 3.

60 ml water (80 degrees F/27 degrees C)
56 g sour (from Day 1 & 2)
10 g brown rice flour (0.9 g)

13 g sweet rice flour (0.78 g)
10 g corn flour (not corn starch) (0.81 g)
13 g almond meal (2.6 g)
10 g white bean flour (2.15 g)
2 ml agave syrup

Take 56 g of the sour from Day 1 & 2, discard any excess sour. Add the water and the flours for the first feeding combining thoroughly. Cover and rest for 24 hours at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C.

Day 4

60 ml water (80 degrees F/27 degrees C)
113 g sour (Days 1 - 3)
10 g brown rice flour (0.9 g)

13 g sweet rice flour (0.78 g)
10 g corn flour (not corn starch) (0.81 g)
13 g almond meal (2.6 g)
10 g white bean flour (2.15 g)
2 ml agave syrup

Take 113 g of the sour from Day 3, discard any excess sour. Add the water and the flours for the second feeding combining thoroughly. Cover and rest for 24 hours at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C.

Day 5

120 ml water (60 degrees F/16 degrees C)
56 g sour (from Day 4)
35 g brown rice flour (3.15 g)
35 g sweet rice flour (2.1 g)
30 g corn flour (2.43 g)
40 g almond meal (8 g)
30 g white bean flour (6.45 g)
2 ml agave syrup

Take 56 g of the sour from Day 4, discard any excess sour. Add the water and the flours for the first feeding combining thoroughly. Cover and rest for 4 hours at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C, before using this sour to make a loaf of bread.



What Am I Baking?

Focaccia made with a biga (egg free & dairy free)

Brown Rice & Corn Sourdough (egg free & dairy free)


Shopping List

Brown Rice Flour (Fine or Superfine Grind)

Sweet Rice Flour (also called glutinous rice flour)

Arrowroot Starch

Corn Flour

Almond Meal

High Protein Flours, such as: Soybean, White Bean, Black Bean

Whole Grain Flour, such as: Buckwheat, Millet, Sorghum, Quinoa, Teff
Instant Dry Yeast
Binding Agents, such as: Xanthan or Guar Gum, Chia Seed Meal, Agar Agar Powder
Olive Oil


Resources

Flours & Binding Agents: Authentic Foods, Barry Farm, Bob's Red Mill
Instant Dry Yeast: Barry Farm
Agave Syrup: Wild Organics, Native Seeds


Equipment

Cookie Sheet
Parchment Paper
Baking Stone


What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their culinary dvd's from my family for my birthday and our anniversary. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Index of the Baking & Pastry Project
Baking & Pastry Project #41 - Ciabatta (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project #40 - Rosemary Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project Week 20 - More Bigas
Baking & Pastry Project #39 - Cracked Rice & Potato Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project #38 - Almond & White Bean Batard (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Project Week 19 - Bigas

March 7, 2010

Ciabatta (B&P41)


Like many people who love to cook, I've got a thing for cookbooks, especially old ones. I go through old bookstores, thrift shops and even the collections of my family and friends looking for old treasures.

A while back I checked out the cookery section at Project Gutenberg, but didn't find anything all that interesting. Time makes all the difference in the world, especially when transferring old books into a digital format. Yesterday, I was back at Project "G" oogling their selection and they do have some nice ones available in the cookery section of the bookshelf.  They have a variety of ways to download the books and some versions even have the images as well. I tested the Adobe EPUB and the Read Online formats and both worked very well.

There are some old gems in this collection like The Women's Institute of Cookery (vols. I - V), The White House Cookbook and The Cook's Decameron: A Study In Taste, Containing Over Two Hundred Recipes For Italian Dishes. There are quite a few interesting recipes to be found in this collection, especially one for Starvation Soup.  It's found in The Belgian Cookbook (1915), a  book of recipes provided by Belgian refugees of World War I.

With many old cookbooks, you will have to guess at the quantities required for a recipe. They might tell you to use an equal amount of almonds and sugar or use phrases like "...reckon the quantities as follows." These types of recipes give you the chance to really get a feel for the look, texture and taste of a baked good. Although, it can be frustrating sometimes when you have to try and figure out equal weights of eggs, butter, flour and sugar.

If you're looking for something really yummy to go with this very good loaf of ciabatta, check out a recipe for Roman Sauce from The Cook's Decameron. It calls for nutmeg, raisins, lemon, herbs, pine nuts or almonds, burnt sugar in an espagnole or brown sauce. For our dinner, I ended up choosing the classic tomato sauce with basil and garlic served it over brown rice pasta and meatballs. To finish it off, I served Chocolate and Drambuie Tiramisu, the latest Daring Baker Challenge recipe, along with a cup of organic Espresso. Delicious.

Enjoy!



Recipe

Protein Content
Original: 29.12 g
Gluten Free: 28.63 g

Biga

20 g brown rice flour (1.8 g)
15 g sweet rice flour (0.09 g)
15 g arrowroot starch (0.045 g)
20 g almond meal (4 g)
22 g white bean flour (4.73 g)
1 g instant dry yeast
50 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)

10 ml agave syrup

Final Dough

25 g brown rice flour (2.25 g)
22 g sweet rice flour (1.32 g)
20 g arrowroot starch (0.06 g)
30 g almond meal (6 g)
35 g white bean flour (7.525 g)
12 g instant dry yeast
6 g chia seed meal
4 g agar agar powder
7 g sea salt
126 g biga (from above)
130 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)
15 ml agave syrup

Biga Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, water, agave syrup and yeast. Mix together, making sure the mixture is smooth. Cover the mixture or transfer to a container and allow to ferment at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C for 18 to 24 hours. When the biga is ready to use, it will have risen and receded, yet also look bubbly.


Final Dough Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with the exception of the salt and yeast. Hold the salt out, so it can be added later in the mixing. Place the yeast into a small container, add the water and a little bit of the agave syrup. Stir to ensure the water mixes through the yeast. Allow the yeast to proof for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the yeast mixture, biga, the rest of the agave syrup and blend together. Just before the dough comes together, sprinkle in the salt and then continue blending until a soft ball forms. Note: This dough should be a little wetter or looser than other types of doughs.

3. Since this dough is looser, I made a foil frame so the bread would turn out the right shape. Take a long strip of aluminum foil and fold it lengthwise until it is 2 inches/5 cm wide. Fold up 1/2 inch/1.3cm from one long edge, but don't make a hard crease in the foil. Ease the foil around until the ends over lap and can rest one inside the other. Work the corners until the fold lays flat and you have a rounded edge rectangle. Let the sides ease out rather than be straight up and down. (See the picture above.) Gently line this frame with parchment paper, so you can reuse the frame for the ciabatta (the next B&P recipe).

4. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with arrowroot starch. Gently pat the dough out into the frame, but don't press it into the sides or corners. The loaf should still have rounded sides. Slide the frame onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours.

5. Place an oven proof bowl filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Then place a baking stone on the top shelf. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F/238 degrees C. Place the loaf in the oven and spray water over the oven box and the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 25 minutes. Prop the oven door open and continue to cook the bread for another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and allow it to cool before serving.

 
What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their DVD's from my family for my birthday. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Baking & Pastry #40 - Rosemary Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Week 20 - More Bigas
Baking & Pastry #39 - Cracked Rice & Potato Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry #38 - Almond & White Bean Batard (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Week 19 - Bigas

March 1, 2010

Rosemary Bread (B&P40)


The beauty of a biga is the rich slightly fermented flavor they give a loaf of bread. The depth of flavor is intensely satisfying when you eat these loaves. The first time I made this loaf, I didn't allow the biga to mature to the full 18 hours. Instead I stopped it about 8 hours, because I really needed a loaf of bread for my dinner party.

The resulting bread looked and tasted good, but that extra something was missing. So, I made it again and allowed the biga to ferment for 24 hours. Wow! The biga had a heady wine-like aroma and gave the bread that little extra boost it needed.

I made an Italian style dinner for my guests and everyone loved the bread. It doesn't need anything extra to go with it, maybe some butter. However, it's simply wonderful to eat all on it's own.

Enjoy!

Recipe

Protein Content
Original: 40.3 g
Gluten Free: 39.72 g

Biga

10 g brown rice flour (0.9 g)
10 g sweet rice flour (0.6 g)
10 g arrowroot starch (0.03 g)
15 g white bean flour (3.225 g)
12 g almond meal (2.4 g)
1 g instant dry yeast
32 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)
10 ml agave syrup

Final Dough

50 g brown rice flour (4.5 g)
40 g sweet rice flour (2.4 g)
40 g arrowroot starch (0.12 g)
60 g almond meal (12 g)
63 g white bean flour (13.545 g)
12 g instant dry yeast
6 g chia seed meal
4 g agar agar powder
5 g sea salt
2 g rosemary, coarsely chopped
9 g olive oil
24 ml milk or alternative milk
132 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)
15 ml agave syrup

Biga Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, water, agave syrup and yeast. Mix together, making sure the mixture is smooth. Cover the mixture or transfer to a container and allow to ferment at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C for 18 to 24 hours.  When the biga is ready to use, it will have risen and receded, yet also look bubbly.


Final Dough Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with the exception of the salt and yeast.  Hold the salt out, so it can be added later in the mixing.  Place the yeast into a small container, add the water and a little bit of the agave syrup. Stir to ensure the water mixes through the yeast.  Allow the yeast to proof for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the yeast mixture, biga, the rest of the agave syrup and blend together. Just before the dough comes together, sprinkle in the salt and then continue blending until a soft ball forms. Note: This dough should be a little wetter or looser than other types of doughs.

3. Since this dough is looser, I made a foil frame so the bread would turn out the right shape. Take a long strip of aluminum foil and fold it lengthwise until it is 2 inches/5 cm wide. Fold up 1/2 inch/1.3cm from one long edge, but don't make a hard crease in the foil.  Ease the foil around until the ends over lap and can rest one inside the other. Work the corners until the fold lays flat and you have a rounded edge rectangle. Let the sides ease out rather than be straight up and down. (See the picture above.)  Gently line this frame with parchment paper, so you can reuse the frame for the ciabatta (the next B&P recipe).

4. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with arrowroot starch. Gently pat the dough out into the frame, but don't press it into the sides or corners. The loaf should still have rounded sides. Take a sharp knife to one corner of the dough and score from that corner to each of the other 3 corners (see the photograph at the top of the post). Slide the frame onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours.

4. Place an oven proof bowl filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Then place a baking stone on the top shelf. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/232 degrees C. Place the loaf in the oven and spray water over the oven box and the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes. Prop the oven door open and continue to cook the bread for another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and allow it to cool before serving.


What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their DVD's from my family for my birthday. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Baking & Pastry Week 20 - More Bigas
Baking & Pastry #39 - Cracked Rice & Potato Bread (Biga)
Baking & Pastry #38 - Almond & White Bean Batard (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Week 19 -  Bigas
Baking & Pastry #37 - Roasted Potato Basil Loaf (Poolish)
Baking & Pastry #36 - Almond & White Bead Epi Wreath (Poolish)
Baking & Pastry Week 18 - Poolishes

February 27, 2010

Tiramisu with Chocolate Ganache & Drambuie

 
The February Daring Bakers Challenge


The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.


This divine Italian dessert translates to mean ‘pick me up’, supposedly referring to the ‘kick’ provided by the strong coffee, sugar and alcohol in it!


On the other hand, a slight mistake in spelling it as "Tiramuso" could end up meaning that you were "pulling a sulky face"! Classic tiramisu is made of alternate layers of espresso soaked ladyfinger biscuits and a cream made from mascarpone cheese and zabaglione (an egg custard). The perfect Tiramisu is a balance of flavors of a sweet zabaglione, strong coffee, marsala wine, creamy mascarpone cheese and the dusting of unsweetened cocoa. Tiramisu is said to have its origins in Treviso (Italy), and there are quite a few stories about how it came to be created.


One story traces the tiramisu as far back as the Renaissance claiming that it was first made in honour of the visit of Grand Duke Cosimo di Medici to Tuscany. Yet another one points to the tiramisu being an adaptation of the "Zuppa Inglese" referring to the sponge cake and cream layered English Trifle.


However, experts in this area generally agree that the tiramisu as we know it today, was born in the ‘70s. Some believe that the Tiramisu was created in the the Le Beccherie (a restaurant in Treviso). Others suggest that Tiramisu was first made in 1971 by an Italian baker named Carminantonio Iannaccone in a small bakery in Treviso, Italy. 

Thank you Deeba and Aparna for a wonderful Daring Baker challenge this month. I love challenges that expand my skills...even if gaining this skill set exasperates me. I thoroughly enjoyed making the tiramisu.

I served it at a dinner party we had with some folks from my husband's work. Mr. Go Go and our guests thought it was simply fabulous, especially with the addition of the Drambuie. 

Me...well...I thought it was okay, but I'm not that big on egg custard desserts. I love to make them though, because of the all the slow stirring. It's very soothing.  Although making the zabaglione took me to the mind numbing stage. After 30 minutes of stirring, I couldn't get the temperature high enough nor would the mixture thicken. In aggravation, I dumped it into a small saucepot, stirred like a speed demon and two minutes later it was finally ready.

Now the ganache is another story. It's just scrumptious, especially with a touch of Drambuie added to it. There was some left in the bowl after I layered my dessert glasses and I quietly scraped the mixing bowl clean all by myself.

Enjoy!



Preparation Time:

Tiramisu is made up of several components which can be made separately and ahead of time and put together the day before serving. Making tiramisu from scratch requires about 2 to 3 days (including refrigeration) from when you start making the mascarpone to the time the tiramisu is served. The zabaglione & pastry cream also need 4 hours to an overnight for chilling, as does the main dessert. The flavours mature after an overnight rest, and the dessert can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days. Once assembled, the tiramisu can be frozen till you need to serve it, in case you are not serving it immediately.

Equipment:
A double boiler (a stainless steel bowl that fits inside a large saucepan without touching the bottom will do)
Two or three large mixing bowls
Whisk
A medium sized heavy bottomed pan
Fine meshed strainer (to remove lumps from pastry cream, if any)
Electric mixer, hand held
Serving dish (or dishes) of choice (8" by 8" should be fine)
Spatula for folding and spoons as required
Plastic wrap/ clingfilm
Baking sheets
Parchment paper or nonstick liners
Pastry bag (can be disposable)
Plain 3/4" pastry bag tip or cut the end of pastry bag to this size or a Ziploc bag

Oven
Cooling rack
Thin-bladed spatula for removing ladyfinger biscuits from the baking sheets
Instant-read thermometer (optional)
Strainer
Cheesecloth or cotton napkin for draining mascarpone
Fine-mesh strainer for shaking cocoa powder on tiramisu



Ingredients




Zabaglione



2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Coffee

1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml Drambuie
 

Vanilla Pastry Cream

1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms sweet rice flour
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk
 

Whipped Cream:

1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract 



Tiramisu:

1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
chocolate ganache

zabaglione
vanilla pastry cream
whipping cream

Zabaglione:

Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the coffee and vanilla extract. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.


Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.

Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.


Pastry Cream:

 
Mix together the sugar, flour and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.


Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.

Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)

Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.


Whipped Cream:

 
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.

In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Assembling the tiramisu:

Working quickly, dip each of the ladyfinger buttons in the chocolate ganache. They should be moist but not soggy. Drop the dipped ladyfinger into the bottom of your serving glass. 


Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfinger buttons, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges. Repeat to create 2 more layers, using more ladyfinger buttons and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight. Top with a layer of whipped cream, if desired.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.


Chocolate Ganache

2 ounces dark chocolate
2 ounces milk chocolate
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla cognac or drambuie


Break up the chocolate pieces and place into a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the whipping or heavy cream on medium high until it comes to a boil.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the chocolate bowl.  Stir the chocolate mixture until it becomes glossy. Allow the ganache to cool before spooning onto the ladyfingers/savoiardi biscuits.

 

Mascarpone Cheese
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

500 ml whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.

Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.





Ladyfingers/Savoiardi Biscuits
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2" to 3" long) ladyfingers or lots of little ladyfinger buttons.

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
2 Tb cornstarch
1 tsp chia seed meal
1/4 tsp agar agar powder
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner's sugar

1 1/2 Tb cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.

Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before piping the batter.  Pipe the batter into 5" long and 3/4" wide strips leaving about 1" space in between the strips.

Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness. Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.

Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.

Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.

Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

February 25, 2010

Exploring More Bigas - Baking & Pastry Week 20


The Penance Post or How to iPod Your Mom In Six Easy Steps

I got caught out the other day and found guilty of not just tuning out my Mom, but iPoding her. I razz my kids all the time about zoning out with their iPods. Honestly, I'm not offended, because if I wasn't driving the car or navigating us through another activity (i.e. grocery shopping), I'd be listening to my iPod too.

This past Christmas, we were home visiting with my family. I was busy in the kitchen, doing the white work icing on my gingerbread house. Happily zoning out listening to a book I downloaded from our library. Everyone else in the house was off doing their own thing or watching a movie in the family room. Turns out my Mom (i.e. the kid's grandmother) was telling everyone in the family room some important stuff about the next big family get together. I was off in book and icing land and didn't hear a word of it.

Last week, the kid's asked me if I had told Mimi (i.e. their grandmother) if we were going to be attending the big Spring family get together. I (of course) was puzzled by their question..."What big get together?"  Informative pair that they are, they started to let me know all about the party. Once again, I'm trying to figure out how they got to be in the know, as I'm so totally clueless about this event.

"Oh, Mimi told us about it," they replied. "When was that?" I ask. "Oh, that night around Christmas when everyone was over watching that movie we rented," they said. "Well, what was I doing, 'cause I don't remember this," I reply. They said, "You were decorating the gingerbread house, Mom." "Well, that explains it," I reply. "How so?" asks my son. "I was listening to a book while I iced the gingerbread," I said. "Oooooohhhhhh, you iPoded Mimi!" they popped out in unison. "You're in trouble now! We're telling Dad!" 

Our kid's have gotten a lot of mileage out of this transgression on my part...their Mom was caught iPoding her Mom. Priceless dirt as far as my kid's are concerned. They've told all their cousins, their friends and maybe even their grandfather. I've had emails from all my nephews and nieces asking the same question, "Is it true that you iPoded Mimi?" "Yep!" I emailed back.  "Wow! I don't suppose you lost the use of your iPod?" my 16 year old nephew asked. "I just lost my iPod Touch for two weeks, because I didn't turn in some of my homework assignments." "Well," I said, "Not turning in your homework, is kinda different than iPoding Mimi." "Yeah, I know...," he mumbled.

So this post is my penance for iPoding my Mom. My family decided I should have to confess.

If you're wondering how you too can iPod someone, here are six easy steps to getting it done:

1. Remove the volume control on your iPod.

2. Buy better ear buds.  Look at the Creative line for some nice ones.

3. Find a task to do with your hands while you listen.

4. Listen to something that will engross you, i.e. favorite music or book.

5. Make sure that the person you are iPoding is saying or doing something worth iPoding them over.

6. Be willing to pay the price for iPoding.

Now that I've confessed, I'm off to bake some more in solace. I'm remaking the first loaf of ciabatta I made. It ended up turning out into something looking more like focaccia rather than ciabatta. It tasted great, but I wanted a rounded loaf not a flat one, so back to the kitchen I go.


What Am I Baking?

Rosemary Bread made with a biga (egg free & dairy free option)

Ciabatta made with a biga (egg free & dairy free)


Shopping List

Brown Rice Flour (Fine or Superfine Grind)
Sweet Rice Flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
Arrowroot Starch
Almond Meal
High Protein Flours, such as: Soybean, White Bean, Black Bean
Whole Grain Flour, such as: Buckwheat, Millet, Sorghum, Quinoa, Teff
Instant Dry Yeast
Binding Agents, such as: Xanthan or Guar Gum, Chia Seed Meal, Agar Agar Powder
Olive Oil
Rosemary
Milk or Alternative Milk

Resources

Flours & Binding Agents: Authentic Foods, Barry Farm, Bob's Red Mill
Instant Dry Yeast: Barry Farm
Agave Syrup: Wild Organics, Native Seeds


Equipment

Cookie Sheet
Parchment Paper
Baking Stone


What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their culinary dvd's from my family for my birthday and our anniversary. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Index of the Baking & Pastry Project

Baking & Pastry Project #34 - Almond Buckwheat Batard with Poolish
Baking & Pastry Project #33 - Stollen
Baking & Pastry Project Week 17 - Sponge & A Poolish
Baking & Pastry Project #32 - Gugelhopf Crown
Baking & Pastry Project #31 - Panettone
Baking & Pastry Project Week 16 - Holiday Breads

February 19, 2010

Cracked Rice & Potato Bread Made With A Biga (B&P39)


Baby Steps

When you first start baking gluten free, there is a steep learning curve while you learn the differences between baking with and without gluten. You take baby steps towards your goal of making edible gluten free food. Then you get the hang of it and you're making breads, cakes and cookies.

Later you want to spread your wings and try different recipes or convert a wheat recipe to gluten free. Once again, you're taking baby steps and discovering the joys and sorrows of gluten free baking. I felt so bad about the food I was wasting, I took a detour into learning how to compost. However, truthfully nothing takes all the sting out of having to throw out a baked good with a lot of expensive nut meal in it, not even knowing you're feeding the earth and it's critters.

Those baby steps are taking me towards my goal of baking artisan gluten free bread. They took me into the romance of my quest to a glorious crusty loaf of bread filled with cracked wild and brown rice and yukon gold potatoes. Utterly delicious...satisfying.

What do you need to enjoy this loaf? Maybe warm the loaf a little and add some butter. Better yet, grab a loved one and a bottle of red wine, then share the romance.

Enjoy!



Recipe

Protein Content
Original: 15.81 g
Gluten Free: 15.40 g


Biga

5 g brown rice flour (0.45 g)
2 g sweet rice flour (0.12 g)
2 g arrowroot starch (0.006 g)
2 g almond meal (0.4 g)
5 g white bean flour (1.075 g)
1 g instant dry yeast
10 ml agave syrup

Soaker

6 g cracked mixed brown rice varieties
6 - 8 ml water

Roasted Potatoes

65 g potatoes
olive oil, as needed
sea salt, as needed
cracked black pepper, as needed

Final Dough

16 g brown rice flour (1.44 g)
10 g sweet rice flour (0.6 g)
10 g arrowroot starch (0.03 g)
15 g almond meal (3 g)
15 g white bean flour (3.225 g)
________________________replaces the bread flour
10 g buckwheat flour (1.45 g)
10 g arrowroot starch (0.03 g)
15 g almond meal (3 g)
________________________replaces the whole wheat flour
3 g cocoa powder (0.57 g)
3 g arrowroot starch (0.009 g)
________________________replaces the medium rye flour
22 g instant dry yeast

55 g biga (from above)
65 g potatoes
74 g soaker (from above)
6 g chia seed meal
4 g agar agar powder
45 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)
15 ml agave syrup
3 g sea salt

Biga Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, water, agave syrup and yeast. Mix together, making sure the mixture is smooth. Cover the mixture or transfer to a container and allow to ferment at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C for 18 to 24 hours.  When the biga is ready to use, it will have risen and receded, yet also look bubbly.


Soaker Directions

Place the assorted brown rice and wild rice mixture (Lundberg Family Farms) into a clean coffee grinder. Pulse until the the majority of the grains are cracked. Pour the cracked rice into a container and pour the water over it. Cover and set in the refrigerator to soak for 8 to 12 hours.


Roasted Potato Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C. Place the cut potatoes in a cookie pan or a rectangular baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and using a spoon or your hands coat the potatoes with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake  for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and stir the potatoes. Place back in the oven and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Allow to cool. Cut the potato wedges into bite size pieces.


Final Dough Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with the exception of the salt and yeast.  Hold the salt out, so it can be added later in the mixing.  Place the yeast into a small container, add the water and a little bit of the agave syrup. Stir to ensure the water mixes through the yeast.  Allow the yeast to proof for 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the yeast mixture, biga, potatoes, soaker and the rest of the agave syrup and blend together. Just before the dough comes together, sprinkle in the salt and then continue blending until a soft ball forms. If the dough is still too soft, add arrowroot starch by the tablespoon (1 Tb/15 ml) until the dough firms up.

3. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with arrowroot starch. Gently roll the dough into a cylinder about 12 in/30 cm long. Gently curve the dough into a horseshoe shape. Take a sharp knife and slice down the center of the cylinder. Place two small slices of potato at the top of the horseshoe. Slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours.

4. Place an oven proof bowl filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Then place a baking stone on the top shelf. Preheat the oven to 435 degrees F/224 degrees C. Place the loaf in the oven and spray water over the oven box and the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Prop the oven door open and continue to cook the bread for another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and allow it to cool before serving.


What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their DVD's from my family for my birthday. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts


Baking & Pastry #38 - Almond & White Bean Batard (Biga)
Baking & Pastry Week 19 -  Bigas
Baking & Pastry #37 - Roasted Potato Basil Loaf (Poolish)
Baking & Pastry #36 - Almond & White Bead Epi Wreath (Poolish)
Baking & Pastry Week 18 - Poolishes

February 16, 2010

Almond White Bean Lean Loaf Made With A Biga (B&P38)


Quest, circa 1303, "a search for something" (esp. of judicial inquiries or hounds seeking game), from O.Fr. queste (Fr. quête), prop. "the act of seeking," from M.L. questa "search, inquiry," alteration of L. quæsitus, pp. of quærere "seek, gain, ask" (see query). Romance sense of "adventure undertaken by a knight" is attested from c.1384. The verb is first recorded c.1350.

Modern Language Association (MLA): "quest." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 16 Feb. 2010. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/quest>.

Each morning, most of us rise, get dressed, guzzle down a cup of coffee or tea and begin our search. We seek income, food, housing, safety, love and more. Each of our quests might not be along the lines a romantic grand tradition, however each one is necessary.

Every day, my husband goes out and seeks to do his best for employer and his clients. Each day, I seek to do my best for my family, whether it is through loving my family, caring for our home, cooking nutritious gluten free food, meeting our Sheltie's canine needs and working on my own endeavors.

Currently at Gluten A Go Go, I seek to bake artisan gluten free bread, and blog my adventure. Each conversion of a bread recipe from the CIA's Baking and Pastry tome, is a new challenge. A new opportunity to find the best artisan gluten free bread, a loaf that is airy, nutritious and doesn't fall apart when you eat it.

My quest can be broken down into smaller pursuits. Each one providing me an opportunity for the thrill of victory, such as getting the yeast to rise or the bread not to crumble. Yet, each of pursuits has the opportunity to fail and each one has at various times. Sometimes these failures have been pretty spectacular and others not so much. Each time I fail, I try again. Although quite honestly I think these basic lean bread recipes have it in for me. I have to remake these recipes more than any of the others in my baking project. This version turned out beautifully and has a fabulous slightly fermented taste. It's reminiscent of ciabatta, a recipe that is coming soon.

I'm slowly working my way through Baking and Pastry. My life doesn't quite accomodate the speed that  Julie Powell was able to generate while cooking through, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It took Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, years to create Mastering the Art of French Cooking. They didn't give up. They kept seeking the best recipes. They kept cooking until they got it right.

I keep at my quest.  Some days, I find the romance (see my next bread, Cracked Rice and Roasted Potato Baguette). Other days...well...dadgum...if it could go wrong...it did.

At that point, I take a break and think on things. I work on my other pursuits, such as photography. I'm working on adding to my camera equipment, learning how to use it better and acting like bird paparazzi. I'm after a really nice image of a male cardinal and red hawk that are gracing the land around us.

Do you have a quest?

Protein Content

Biga:
Original: 11.05 g
Gluten Free: 12.23 g

Dough:
Original: 16.7 g
Gluten Free: 16.65 g

Biga

16 g brown rice flour (1.44 g)
16 g sweet rice flour (0.96 g)
16 g arrowroot starch (0.03 g)
19 g almond meal (4.32 g)
18 g white bean flour (4.08 g)
12 g instant dry yeast
50 ml water
15 ml agave syrup

Final Dough

22 g brown rice flour (1.98 g)
22 g sweet rice flour (1.32 g )
24 g arrowroot starch (0.07 g)
30 g almond meal (6 g)
28 g white bean flour (6.02 g)
6 g chia seed meal (1.26 g)
6 g sea salt
4 g agar agar powder
15 g instant dry yeast
126 g biga (from above)
20 ml agave syrup
128 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F/48 - 54 degrees C)

Biga Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, water, agave syrup and yeast. Mix together, making sure the mixture is smooth. Cover the mixture or transfer to a container and allow to ferment at 75 degrees F/24 degrees C for 18 to 24 hours.  When the biga is ready to use, it will have risen and receded, yet also look bubbly.

Final Dough Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with the exception of the salt.  Hold the salt out, so it can be added later in the mixing.  Add the biga, water and agave syrup and blend together, just before the dough comes together, sprinkle in the salt and then continue blending until a soft ball forms. If the dough is still too soft, add arrowroot starch by the tablespoon (1 Tb/15 ml) until the dough firms up.
2. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with arrowroot starch. Gently roll the dough into a cylinder about 10 in/25 cm long and taper the ends. Take a sharp knife and slice a cut across the center of the cylinder at a slight angle. Place matching cuts on either side of the center cut, so there are three cuts altogether. Slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours.
3. Place an oven proof bowl filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Then place a baking stone on the top shelf. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/232 degrees C. Place the loaf in the oven and spray water over the oven box and the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. Prop the oven door open and continue to cook the bread for another 10 minutes. Remove the loaf and allow it to cool before serving.
What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their DVD's from my family for my birthday. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Baking & Pastry Week 18 - Poolishes
Baking & Pastry #34 - Almond Buckwheat BatardBaking & Pastry #33 - Stollen
Baking & Pastry Week 17 - A Sponge and a Poolish
Baking & Pastry #32 - Gugelhopf
Baking & Pastry #31 - Panettone

February 11, 2010

A Couple of Bigas - Baking & Pastry Project Week 19



Making Bigas

A pre-ferment used in Italian bread making is called a biga. It is a mixture of flour, yeast and water that is allowed to sit and ferment for 12 to 24 hours. There is less water in a biga pre-ferment as compared to the French poolish, which has been used some of the previous B & P Project recipes.

The poolish will look like a slurry when put together, whereas the biga will look a big like bread dough that's  just a bit too firm.  When you look at your biga, you're brain will tell you it needs more water, however it is the right texture.  An example of a biga pre-ferment bread that is commonly found in most bakeries is the ciabatta (coming next week).

A biga gives bread a more complex flavor, almost nutty in taste.  It's aroma is richer, yet not quite like sourdough. Overall, your bread develops in more in aroma, flavor and texture when using a biga.


What Am I Baking?

Almond & White Bean Lean Bread made with a biga (egg free & dairy free)

Cracked Rice & Potato Bread made with a biga (egg free & dairy free)


Shopping List

Brown Rice Flour (Fine or Superfine Grind)
Sweet Rice Flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
Arrowroot Starch
Almond Meal
High Protein Flours, such as: Soybean, White Bean, Black Bean
Whole Grain Flour, such as: Buckwheat, Millet, Sorghum, Quinoa, Teff
Instant Dry Yeast
Binding Agents, such as: Xanthan or Guar Gum, Chia Seed Meal, Agar Agar Powder
Tomatoes
Olive Oil

Fresh Galic
Cracked Black Pepper
Assorted Brown Rices


Resources

Flours & Binding Agents: Authentic Foods, Barry Farm, Bob's Red Mill
Instant Dry Yeast: Barry Farm
Agave Syrup: Wild Organics, Native Seeds


Equipment

Cookie Sheet
Coffee Grinder or Food Mill


What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their culinary dvd's from my family for my birthday and our anniversary. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Index of the Baking & Pastry Project

Baking & Pastry Project #34 - Almond Buckwheat Batard with Poolish
Baking & Pastry Project #33 - Stollen
Baking & Pastry Project Week 17 - Sponge & A Poolish
Baking & Pastry Project #32 - Gugelhopf Crown
Baking & Pastry Project #31 - Panettone
Baking & Pastry Project Week 16 - Holiday Breads


Want More?

You can also follow me on Twitter, where I'm glutenagogo.

February 7, 2010

Almond White Bean Lean Loaf Made With A Poolish (B&P37)



I'm back on the baking trail now that my flours have all arrived. Last week, I was on the hunt for flours when my order went the opposite direction from me. It put a real crimp in my making the January Daring Bakers Challenge. So, I decided to maximize my chances of getting an order by picking 3 different vendors to order from. I was able to get enough flour in to finish the DB Challenge fortunately. However it wasn't enough to go back to baking bread. All the flours finally came in and I've got bread on the menu for today.

It's a truly lovely loaf of Almond White Bean Bread - a lean dough that is egg and dairy free. It has a wonderful flavor that is great as toast with scrambled eggs, a dollop of strawberry jelly or simply for eating plain.

This picture is from the first set I made in early morning light. I was waiting for later in the day, for a second set, when the light would be brighter and warmer through the patio doors. The dining area contains my photo studio in our temporary home, so I got things ready and then went off to take a shower. When I was finished getting ready, I discovered my son in his search for something to eat with his scrambled eggs had absconded with the loaf. A good portion was already gone and my daughter was digging into it to add to her breakfast plate. By the time the afternoon light came around, there wasn't enough of the loaf left to take another picture.

What's coming up next in my bread baking adventure? Bigas...another method of pre-ferment, which was used by Italian bakers. The biga will add a more complex flavor and larger air pockets. Well...I'm hopeful about the larger air holes, because you've got to keep on your positive thinking cap when you bake gluten free bread.  First up will be the basic lean bread, Almond White Bean.Then I'm making a Cracked Rice and Potato Loaf that has the addition of whole grains of rice in it.

If you haven't tried many of the alternative flours, but you'd like to give some of them a try. Check out my latest article for the Daring Kitchen called "Playing With Alternative Flours."  It might help you over the hurdle and into trying out an alternative flour that will add a different flavor, texture or nutrition to your food.


Recipe

Protein Content
Original: 33.8 g
Gluten Free: 33.44 g


Poolish

22 g brown rice flour (1.98 g)
22 g sweet rice flour (1.32 g)
22 g arrowroot starch (.06 g)
34 g almond meal (6.8 g)
28 g white bean flour (6.45 g)
12 g instant dry yeast
131 ml water
15 ml agave syrup

Final Dough

10 g brown rice flour (.09 g)
22 g sweet rice flour (1.32 g)
22 g arrowroot starch (.06 g)
35 g almond meal (7 g)
16 g buckwheat flour (2.32 g)
25 g white bean flour (5.37 g)
________________________replaces durum flour
22 g  brown rice flour (1.98 g)
22 g sweet rice flour (1.32 g)
22 g arrowroot starch (.06 g)
30 g almond meal (6 g)
28 g white bean flour (6.02 g)
6 g chia seed meal (1.26 g)
________________________replaces bread flour
15 g instant dry yeast
10 g sea salt
4 g agar agar powder
135 ml water (120 - 130 degrees F)
10 ml agave syrup

Directions for Poolish

Pour all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and blend together. Then add the water and agave syrup and stir until incorporated. Set the bowl in a warm location to rise for 30 minutes.
 
Directions for Final Dough

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and stir together. Add the poolish, water and agave syrup and blend together until a soft ball forms.  If the dough is still too soft, add arrowroot starch by the tablespoon (1 Tb/15 ml) until the dough firms up.

2. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with arrowroot starch.  Gently roll the dough into a cylinder about 10 in/25 cm long and taper the ends. Take a sharp knife and slice a an arcing cut in the center of the cylinder at an angle.  Slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours.

3. Place an oven proof bowl filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven.  Then place a baking stone on the top shelf. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F/246 degrees C. Place the loaf in the oven and spray water over the oven box and the top of the loaf.  Bake the loaf for 20 minutes. Prop the oven door open and continue to cook the bread for another 10 minutes.  Remove the loaf and allow it to cool before serving.

What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their DVD's from my family for my birthday. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.


Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr.


Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Baking & Pastry #36 - Roasted Potato & Basil Loaf
Baking & Pastry #35 - Almond White Bean Epi Wreath
Baking & Pastry Week 18 - Poolishes
Baking & Pastry #34 - Almond Buckwheat Batard
Baking & Pastry #33 - Stollen
Baking & Pastry Week 17 - A Sponge and a Poolish

January 27, 2010

Nanaimo Bars - A Tribute to Canada



January Daring Bakers Challenge


Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian dessert created in none other than Nanaimo, British Colombia. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced Nah-nye-Moh. These bars have 3 layers: a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut and nuts, a middle custard layer, and a topping of chocolate. They are extremely rich and available almost everywhere across the country.

Our Daring Baker Challenge this month also celebrates that the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver begin next month. The Nanaimo Bar recipe is a tasty way to welcome everyone to Canada!

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca/.

This month the challenge was a bit more difficult from the supply perspective. I usually don't have any trouble living north of New York City finding just about anything I need. However, for this challenge I'm living in central Michigan where my husband is working on a contract. There aren't any Asian groceries, so I couldn't find any sweet rice flour. The local mega box store, Meijer, does have a small gluten free section with a nice basic selection of flours. Then I found a fantastic Co-op about 30 miles away in Mt. Pleasant, the Greentree, that has a wonderful array of organic and local foods.

Next, I went searching for Bird's custard powder. We began our search at the Eastman Party Store, as they said they carried a large selection of foreign foods. My husband and I imagined that it was a gourmet food store given their name, until we walked in the door. When we saw the numerous aisles of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, we understood the reason for the "Party Store" name. Wandering around, we found a variety of foods from around the world, including a jar of Bird's custard powder.

Now all I needed was a bag of sorghum flour. Since I also needed other gluten free flours that aren't easily found locally, I placed an order to a vendor I like to order from. After carefully filling out the form and double checking the Michigan shipping address, I clicked send. When I got the tracking notification for my box, I realized that my box was headed for New York and not Michigan. That meant a little juggling with the flours I had with me to make the Nanaimo bars.

When I worked on the recipe, I made an adjustment to the amount of sweet potato flour as the overall dough was basically honey flavored goo.  The extra 1/2 cup sweet potato flour, fixed the goo issue and also kept the honey flavor from being over powering in the graham crackers. The final cracker was lightly honeyed and beautifully crisp.

The Nanaimo bars are fabulously rich and decadent. My family liked them cut into small squares for just a bit of sweetness. 

Preparation time:

• Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
• Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes.

Equipment required:

• Food Processor
• Bowls
• Parchment paper or silpats
• Cookie sheets
• Double boiler or pot and heatproof bowl
• 8 by 8 inch square pan
• Hand mixer or stand mixer (You may use a wooden spoon, but this makes it much easier!)
• Saucepan

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers Recipe

1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet Potato Flour
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Arrowroot Starch
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Buckwheat Flour
1/4 cup (56 g) (2 ounces) Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup (56  g) (2 ounces) Almond Meal
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
2 teaspoons (10 mL) Chia Seed Meal
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.

2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.

3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.

4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.

7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.

8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.

9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

Nanaimo Bars Recipe


For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer:

1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened) or Smashed Corn Flakes

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer:

1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 teaspoons (10 mL) Vanilla Extract
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer:

4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

Directions:

1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.

2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.

3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.


Additional Information:

1. These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.
2. The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.