Recommended Baking Adventures June 2015!

June was a month of applications, travel, and more baking! Here are some of the top experiments: Moving along in my James Beard bread book, I decided to attempt Myrtle Allen’s Brown Bread. The resulting bread was dense, a little sweet, and completely delicious! I used regular whole wheat flour. IMG_4921

Ease was a theme this month. I wanted to make bread, but didn’t want to go shopping for interesting ingredients and didn’t want anything too complex. After searching various “easy bread” related terms in Google, I ended up with a very basic one. (I can’t find the exact recipe, but suggest kneading the bread for a solid 8-12 minutes always, and letting it rise for more like an hour each go.) One thing I’ve worked on with bread is shaping and being aggressive with showing the seams who’s boss!

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The prospect of making bagels at home is a little stressful. People, especially New Yorkers, are very particular about the quality of their bagels, and they seem fairly complicated with a two-step cooking process. My native New Yorker swears by this recipe. If you follow the straightforward directions, you’ll be fine! And everyone will be very impressed at the taste and texture. It works well to invite friends over before baking the bagels so they can help shape and top them before digging in!

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My dad loves rhubarb, so a rhubarb dessert for his birthday seemed perfect! I went with this rhubarb cobbler recipe, following the steps from the video over the recipe, except for adding the oats to the crumble topping. Yum! (Go lighter on the orange juice and zest than recommended.)

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Two Bittman recipes to finish it off! I hosted a tea party on short notice and these basic buttermilk biscuits were simple and came off beautifully! I’ve recently discovered powdered buttermilk, which can be stored pretty indefinitely in your fridge and used for baking. It’s brilliant! It’s good to make sure it’s actually blended in to your dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients as it clumps a little.

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The basic brownie recipe from How To Cook Everything has a typo in my edition (discovered too late), asking for 2oz of chocolate rather than 3oz. I’ve noted it in my cookbook for the future. As a result, my brownies were kind of meh. My reason for including it is to encourage you to go to great lengths to rescue underdone baked goods. I baked the brownies for more than double the recommended time and they still seemed underdone, but I figured it was just how they were supposed to be. Wrong! As noted in the image below, the top completely came off when I tried to extract the brownies from their pan. I scraped the top back into the pan and continued cooking until done. Yes, they looked a little crinkley, but no one knew anything had been amiss when I served them later.

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Happy adventuring!