Thursday, February 25, 2016

Broa de Milho (Portuguese Cornbread) We Knead to Bake #36

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Pão de Milho, (Broa de Milho) began as an essential bread in the poorer areas of Portugal. Corn was brought to Portugal and Spain by fisherman and whalers while sailing the New England coastline. The corn was ground and mixed with wheat or rye flour to make a lovely crusty bread to serve with the traditional Caldo de Verde, a potato and kale soup.

Portuguese cornbread is a slightly dense bread with a fine texture made by first cooking the cornmeal in boiling water, then letting it cool before adding the remaining ingredients. I found it an easy bread to make and will definitely make it again. Aparna chose the Broa for We Knead to Bake #36. 

Below are some images of a bakery I visited while in Portugal this past November while on a Viking Cruise on the Douro River. This from Favaios, Portugal where Muscatel wine was invented and where a famous bread is baked. 

Broa de Milho
Original Recipe
King Arthur Flour


1 cup fine yellow cornmeal 
3/4 cup very hot water
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Extra flour for dusting

Place the cornmeal in a bowl, add the hot water and mix together well with a fork. Add 1/2 cup of the warm milk. Mix all together until you have a paste. Let cool to lukewarm. Add remaining ingredients and knead with by hand or mixer. I used my bread machine on the dough cycle. When cycle has finished, remove to a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times and let rest, covered for 5-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 450°F. 

Shape into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover loosely and let rise for about an hour until puffy. Just before baking, if desired, make 3 or 4 slashes 1/4-inch deep on the crust. Spritz the top lightly with water and bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack. Slice and serve. Makes 1 round loaf-about 12 slices.

This post has been submitted to Yeast Spotting

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Couronne Bordelaise-The Crown of Bordeaux

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This bread takes its name from the capital of the Aquitaine of France, Bordeaux. Couronne means crown and Bordelaise is the name given to the citizens of Bordeaux.  While looking very intricate in design, it is actually a simple dough to form. Proofing is traditional done in a special banneton which is difficult to fine in the USA, but a suitable one can be made using a basket or pie plate, a tea towel dusted with flour and a small bowl that fits in the middle(shown in the second photo). I have to say that I have made two of these crown shaped breads and each has looked at least somewhat like a proper Couronne Bordelaise. 

Couronne Bordelaise

One of my favorite bread baking books is Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine and for the Couronne Bordelaise, I made the Pain au Levain, French bread from a starter. The starter being a held back cup of dough using a starter of choice, then use the starter the next day in another Pain au Levain. You may have a starter  you already have, so that will work fine, too. I make bread once or twice a week and always hold back a cup of dough to add to another batch of bread. The flavor using these "old doughs" is amazing.
Shaped Dough

Here are a few videos and a pdf on how to shape the Couronne Bordelaise. Very helpful when first starting out making this bread.
Couronne Bordelaise-Breadtopia-This site also has recipes, other tutorials, a store and a blog.
Ready for the Oven

For the Pain Au Levain


1-1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup starter of choice-sourdough, etc, room temperature


1 teaspoon bread machine yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg white and 2 tablespoons water, whisked until frothy, omit for Couronne

In the pan of your bread machine, add the flour, water and starter. Process on the dough setting. I sometimes let this sit about an hour before adding the remaining ingredients for the dough.

Afterwards, add the ingredients for the dough, with the exception of the egg white wash. Process again on the dough cycle. Once the dough cycle has finished, remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. This is when you cut off 1 cup of dough, place it in a jar for a another loaf you might make the next day or sometimes during the next week or so.

Using 750 grams (26 ounces) of the dough, divide the dough into 6 pieces, 100 grams each and one piece 150 grams. Shape the pieces into ball and cover with cloth. Meanwhile prepare your banneton by flouring the linen towel with flower. (The links above give detailed instructions on preparing your banneton and also shaping the bread dough for the couronne. ) Roll the 150 gram piece of dough into a 10-inch circle. Drape it evenly over the center hump of the your banneton. Shape the remaining pieces of dough into tight balls and place seam side up and evenly placed. They should not touch.

Place a baking stone in your oven and preheat for 30 minutes at 450°F. Prepare a peel by dusting liberally with flour.

With a sharp knife, cut the center of the dough draped over the hump into six even pieces so it has six points centered over the six balls. Fold each point back over the dough ball. Cover with plastic and let rise until the dough balls are touching, nearly doubled.

Using your prepared peel, invert the couronne onto the preheated baking stone. Place a pan on a rack below the baking stone and immediately pour in 1 cup of hot tap water. Close oven door and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and internal temperature is 200°F-210°F. Serve

This bread has been shared with YeastSpotting.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Russian/Ukrainian Krendel -We Knead to Bake #34

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A beautiful fresh apple and dried fruit-filled yeast bread that is not only delicious, but festive as well. It is shaped like a giant pretzel and is usually glazed with a sugar syrup or dusted with confectioners' sugar. It is thought to be of German origin, supposedly an alteration of German Kringle cookie, but  Russian Orthodox tradition, the bread is served on special days such as a "name day", considered a holy day as it is the feast day of the saint after whom a person is named and at Christmas time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I'll have to admit that my first attempt at folding the filled dough into a pretzel shaped didn't work! While baking in the oven, the dough broke and the filling oozes out-a total disaster. However, I had some time, so made a second one with a ginger/cinnamon mincemeat filling. Not perfect, but much better. I hate to fail at baking yeast breads as I feel it is one of the things I do best. 

Thanks, Aparna for this very delicious and festive yeast bread. I froze mine until my family arrives for Christmas. The bread will be a nice touch on Christmas. 

Russian/Ukrainian Krendel
Original Recipe FromTaste of Home
Adapted Recipe My Diverse Kitchen

For the Dough

2 teaspoons instant yeast, or bread machine yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
50 grams (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling

1 cup apple juice
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/3 finely chopped dried figs, or cranberries
1/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots
2/3 cup chopped prunes
15 gram (1 tablespoon) butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chai masala (optional)

For Spreading Over the Dough
25 grams (2 tablespoons) butter, softened
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Glaze
8 grams (1/2 tablespoon) hot water
3/4 to 1 cup confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon or lime rind

1/4 cup slice almonds for garnishing
If you don't use the glaze, you can dust the Grendel with confectioners' sugar.

I used the dough cycle of my bread machine to process the dough. If you would like to use a conventional method, go to Aparna's post.
For the Dough
Place all the ingredients for the dough into the bread machine pan according to manufacturer's instruction for your machine. Process on the dough cycle. While dough is processing, make the filling by placing all the ingredients except the chai masala, if using, in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, unto the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency. Mix in the chai masala just before taking the filling off the heat. Transfer filling to a bowl and cool completely.

When dough cycle has completed, remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a large rectangle. Brush the soft butter over the dough to within 1" of edges. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle uniformly over the butter. Spread the filling over this and roll up tightly jelly roll style, sealing the seams well and pinching together the ends so that the filling won't leak out.

Place the dough seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Shape into a pretzel pinching the ends to the side or tuck them under. Loosely cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes until it has risen and looks puffy.

Bake the krendel at 350°F (180C) for 30-45 minutes until is it done and golden brown.  Cool on a rack.

If  using the sugar glaze, mix the ingredients for the glaze together to a slightly thick pouring consistency. and then brush the Krendel with the glaze. Garnish with the sliced almonds and let it set.
Makes 20 servings.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Rolls- We Knead to Bake #33

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Shaped like mini-pumpkins, these easy spiced pumpkins rolls,redolent with the flavors of cinnamon, ginger and allspice, will be a great addition to your holiday meal. Canned pumpkin is readily available here, but fresh pureed pumpkin would be delicious if you have it.

Pumpkins are essentially a variety of squash and is an integral part of the Native American Three Sisters of Agriculture, the other two being corn and beans. When planted together, the corn serves as a natural trellis for the beans to grow on. The bean roots give nitrogen to the soil and stabilize the corn on windy days. The squash, or pumpkin plant, helps keep the weeds down and provides shade for the shallow roots of the corn. Legend has it that a small fish is sometimes buried to nourish the plants. After harvesting the pumpkins, the Native Americans roasted, dried, boiled and parched the flesh to preserve for the cold winters ahead. They also dried the pumpkin shells to store grain, seeds and beans.Today, we use pumpkin flesh in savory dishes as well as sweet.

A great recipe from Aparna for We Knead to Bake #33. Original recipe Beyond Kimchee

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Rolls for Thanksgiving


1/3 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (unsweetened)
40 grams butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 to 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
5-6 pecans, sliced into two vertical sections.


I used the bread machine to process my dough, but you can use your food processor or prepare the dough by hand.
Process all the ingredients on the dough cycle, except the sliced pecans, in the pan of your bread machine according to the manufacturer's instruction for your machine.
When cycle has completed, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Punch down, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 or 10 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and using a sharp knife or scissors, make 8 cuts equidistant  from each other, from the edges toward the center. leaving the center uncut-similar to a flower.

Place the rolls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Loosely cover and let them rise for about 45 minutes. Using a round end of a wooden spoon dipped in flour or olive oil, make a deep hole in the center of each roll so you can place the sliced pecans in after baking. Brush the rolls with milk.

Bake the rolls at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush the rolls with melted butter or a mixture of honey and water for a shine.

Let cool and then place a sliced pecan piece for the stem in the prepared hole of each roll. Other stems can be celery stalks, chives or slivers of small bell peppers for the stems.

Makes 8-10 rolls. Recipe can be doubled.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fall Still Life Images

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Apple Still Life- à la manière de Cézanne 

Pears on White

The End of Fall

Wine and Fruit

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Barmbrack -An Irish Halloween Bread-We Knead to Bake #32

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In the Irish tradition, a loaf of Barmbrack has various objects baked in the bread. These objects were when found in a slice were used as a fortune- telling game and carried a meaning depending upon what the object was. Traditionally, the objects were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin and a ring. It's not hard to figure out what each object signifies. The ring meant the person who received it would be married within a year and the coin, good fortune. The pea, stick and piece of cloth meant varying degrees of misfortune.

Barmbrack makes a lovely bread for tea time. A sweeter dough than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, the bread is usually sold in round flattened loaves. The sultanas, raisins and fruit are often soaked in hot black tea before being mixed in the dough. The Irish name for the bread is Barin Breac or Boreen Brack.



1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sultanas
1/8 cup dried chopped apricots
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1-1/2 cups strong, hot black tea
3-1/2 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4.teaspoon allspice 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
30 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm milk or milk plus tea mixture 
1 tablespoon caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon boiling water mixed to glaze the top of the bread (optional, but gives the bread a lovely sheen)


Put the dried fruit in a bowl. Cover with the hot tea and leave overnight or for at least 4 hours until they plump up. Once plumped, drain the liquid and reserve it if you would like to use it for the milk tea mixture. Set the fruit aside. Be sure to drain the fruit well, otherwise it will make the dough too wet.

Using your favorite method of mixing the dough, place flour, instant yeast, sugar , spices and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of your machine. Whisk or mix together. Add the beaten egg and softened butter and mix well.

Now place the reserved tea into a 1 cup measure and top up enough warm milk to make 1 cup. Add this to the dry ingredients in the bowl and knead into a just sticky to the touch and elastic dough, adding more flour if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten out. Sprinkle the drained fruit over the dough and fold in half and then fold once again. Then gently knead the fruit into the dough.

Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat well and then let rise, covered until it has doubled (about 1-1/12 hours. When doubled, gently knead the risen dough and divide into two portions. Shape each into a round and play on greased baking trays or into two greased 8" x 5"loaf tins. If using the ring and trinkets, place them into the dough before shaping. Let the dough rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, covered, until puffy. Bake at 350°F for about 35 to 45 minutes until the breads are golden brown and done. If necessary, cover the bread with foil if browning too quickly.

About 5 minutes before taking the breads out of the oven, brush with the optional sugar glaze. Return to the oven for another 4 minutes for a lovely finish. Cool breads on a wire rack. Cut into thick slices and slather with sweet cream butter.
Makes 2 medium loaves or rounds

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread

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Mashed bananas are the secret to this moist and versatile yeasted sandwich bread. A slightly sweet bread perfect for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, French toast or as a side for stews, curries and soups.  Also, if you are a beginning bread maker, this is an easy bread to make. I use my bread machine to process the dough. If you have one and want to process your dough in it, just follow the manufacturer's instruction for the dough cycle. Then shape as directed below. 

This yeasted banana sandwich bread is the bread of choice for We Knead to Bake, a Facebook baking group begun by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread
Original Recipe-King Arthur


3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon Vital wheat gluten (optional) If using bread flour, the gluten isn't necessary 
25 gm (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 medium sized bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)


Place all ingredients except milk in a large bowl or the bowl of your food processor. Add 3/4 cup of the milk and knead until you have a shaggy dough. Add more milk as necessary to get the consistency.

Knead by hand until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and let rise until nearly doubled in volume.

Deflate the dough and shape to fit in a lightly greased 8-1/2"X 4-1" loaf pan. Loosely cover the tin and let rise for about an hour until rounded and almost at the edges of the loaf pan. Brush with a little milk and spring with oats, if desired. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 40-50 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Let cool completely before slicing. Makes one medium sized loaf.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 
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