Monday, May 24, 2010

Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. granulated yeast

2 eggs
5 oz. can of Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 1/2 tbsp. Kosher salt

1 warm water (not a typo... for a different step)
1/2 cup melted butter or shortening

6 1/2 cups AP flour (measured with scoop and sweep method)

Step one:

In a small bowl, combine one cup warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast and sugar. Set aside to proof. (When the yeast is foamy... it is ready!)

Step two:

In large container, whisk together eggs, evaporated milk and salt. Once thoroughly combined, add remaining water and butter or shortening. Whisk again.

Step three:

Add proofed yeast liquid to the liquid in the large container and mix well.Be sure to scrape the bowl to get all of the dissolved yeast.

Step four:

Add half of the flour and stir well. Then add remaining flour and stir (it will be stiff) until uniformly moistened with no dry spots.

Step five:

Lightly cover and allow to rise for two hours in a warm area. (I heat a cup of water in the corner of the microwave for a little over a minute, then place the dough in the microwave and shut the door. I leave the hood light on to provide a little additional warmth to my over the stove microwave)

Step six:

Punch down dough. Turn out dough onto floured surface. Gently knead in just enough flour to make dough manageable. Shape into desired roll shapes. (I place dough balls in muffin tins. This picture is after the second rise, just before I popped them in the oven.)

Step seven:

Allow rolls to rise at room temperature 40 to 60 minutes.

Step eight:

Bake at 350 until golden brown. (Mine took 18 minutes)

***Recipe makes enough for 24 large rolls. The dough keeps in the fridge for five days covered.***

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Parmesan and Herb Foccaccia

Yesterday on Facebook, I mentioned that I was baking breads for a wine tasting party later in the evening. I was making Parmesan and Herb Foccaccia and a Rustic Artisan Loaf to accompany the food bar.

Loads of my friends asked for pictures. So I obliged. Then they asked for the recipe. Hence, this blog entry. I used the Master Dough Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

The instructions for foccaccia were straight forward. I oiled my baking pan (I used a quarter sheet) with a good olive oil. Then I cut off a one pound piece of dough from my pre-made master dough. With damp fingers I spread it into the pan. It takes patience working with the dough to get it to extend.

Then I sprinkled the top with Dried Italian Seasoning followed by garlic powder, onion powder, fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt. Finally, I liberally covered it with grated parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarrella.

The last few things to do: I lightly pressed the mixture into the dough, and then DEEPLY dimpled the top. This step is important, as it makes the foccaccia less likely to round up too much in the middle. Also, those dimples catch the gratuitous drizzle of more olive oil on top that is the last step of assembly.

After allowing the foccaccia to rest and rise at room temperature for forty minutes, I baked it in a 425 degree oven for twenty minutes with steam. (Place a shallow pan on any other shelf in the oven while oven pre-heats. Pour one cup of hot water into the pan and quickly close the oven door after putting in foccaccia.)

Cool completely and cut into servings.

The bread was very well received at the party. In fact, my girlfriend has requested birthday foccaccia instead of cake! Imagine that!

Please try this tasty bread, and let me know what you think.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Looking for YOUR Input

I would like to ask for menu suggestions. What would you like to see our family enjoy for a Sunday Dinner?

Here's what I want to know:

1. Optional Salad
2. Main Course
3. Vegetable Side dish
4. Starchy Side dish
5. Optional Bread component
6. Homemade Dessert

Okay, the ball is in your court! I don't have anything to offer to the winning suggestion, except my gratitude and a blog entry devoted to your meal idea.

I probably won't be blogging or cooking this Sunday, as it is Mother's Day... but look for the suggested menu soon!

Thanks, everyone!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Did It!

A few months ago, Cookie Baker Lynn posted a blog that I could have written word for word myself. Like her, I love to be in the kitchen creating and trying new things. The problem? Also, like her I cannot always be in the kitchen on a given schedule. Sadly, after joining the Daring Bakers and participating with much fun and successs... I found that my opportunities to bake and cook often did not fit the challenge time tables. I was forced to admit that although the desire was there, often the time was not.

I was psyched when she posted about a new Un-group!

I have always wanted to make a homemade German Chocolate Cake. But for some reason, I've always been intimidated working with baking chocolate, egg whites and homemade fillings. The classic recipe includes all three! Yikes

So... a little egg separating, chocolate melting and creaming of butter and sugar I was on my way!

Methodically, I worked my way through adding the egg yolks, chocolate, and alternating the dry ingredient mixture with buttermilk. I confess, it wasn't hard! I just had to concentrate a bit.

Pans were prepared, then I turned my attention to whipping egg whites and then folding them into the batter. At last: divide the batter into three pans and bake!

All that was left was to make the Pecan Coconut Filling and Frosting.

I did it! I filled and topped the cake with the classic filling. The sides were frosted with my standby chocolate frosting. I did it, and the family cheered!