Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pistachio Twist and Pinwheels (23rd Bread Braid)

The assignment for this, our 23rd bread braid, was to make pumpkin pie brioche and use it to create a pistachio twist and pinwheels.  I decided to only make half the recipe and make a smaller pistachio twist and only 6 pinwheels since it's just my husband and I and we just can't eat, nor do we need to eat, all that bread.  I wanted to try to improve the texture of the pumpkin brioche, so I tried leaving out the vital wheat gluten all together, but that didn't seem to help at all.  Instead of buying rose or orange blossom water for the filling,  I used 3-4 drops of fiori di sicilia, an oil I got from King Arthur Flour, that's good to use when making panettone. 
Here is my dough all ready to roll up:

I couldn't really spread the filling onto the dough so I just used my fingers to place it evenly over the dough and then smoothed it a little with the back of a tablespoon.  I wasn't sure I understood quite how to twist this thing after I rolled it up, but here's my interpretation of a twist tie twist:

 Unfortunately, my twist also erupted in the oven and didn't
look so pretty so I didn't take a picture of it.  I think I should've
now though, cause it would've been funny to look back on it.
The twist tasted OK, but the pumpkin brioche dough is not
my favorite.  It's kind of dry, cake-like and doesn't have much taste
at all unless you at least double the spices, which I didn't do this time,
because I didn't want to overpower the other flavors in the breads.

The pinwheels were fun to make.  I felt like it was a craft project, which I love to do, and so I was carefully trying to make them look pretty.  I could not figure out what preserves went with pumpkin, so I finally just ended up choosing cherry preserves, which I will use in a ham glaze around Christmas time.  Here's my pinwheel process:

I couldn't fit 2 tsp of cream cheese filling and preserves in the center of those pinwheels without ending up with quite a mess, so I used no more than a teaspoon of each in the centers.  The pinwheels tasted OK too, but the lemon flavor didn't go so well with cherry.  I think an almond flavoring would've been better.  My husband didn't really care for these as he is not a cream cheese fan so I had to eat 5 of them.
With the rest of the pumpkin from my 15 oz can, I was able to create a batch of pumpkin spice bagels and half the recipe for harvest pumpkin scones (with cinnamon chips).  Those bagels and scones went really well with some piping hot pumpkin spice coffee from Fresh Market.

I also made a loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from Reinhart's book "Whole Grain Breads" last week.  I didn't think to take a picture of it, but it was awesome sandwich bread. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tabbouleh Bread (22nd Bread Braid) & Wild Rice and Onion Bread

I've never had Tabbouleh Salad before, but always wondered what it tastes like.  I knew it had lots of parsley in it being that I stare at it everytime I'm shopping at Whole Foods and walk by the salad bar.  The farthest I've gotten with bulgur is using it in a meatloaf so trying it in bread sounded interesting!  I'm not sure if this helps with knowing the correct pronunciation, but Tabbouleh is also known as tabouleh or tab(b)ouli according to Wikipedia.  It is a Levantine salad typically containing bulgur, parsley, mint, tomato, and spring onion, seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil. 

 I decided to keep it simple for my first loaf and just made an oval.  Here it is proofing on my pizza pan covered with saran wrap (the only change I made was to use two cloves of garlic for half the recipe):
The loaf browned nicely and smelled good as it baked and it tasted pretty good too, but I was disappointed that neither the garlic or the parsley taste came thru much at all.  I even had trouble discerning the lemon at times.  The bread was good though.  I'd like to make it again using Michelle's version over at Big Black Dogs and trying to incorporate maybe another ingredient you typically find in the salad.  Here is my finished loaf:
With the remainder of my half recipe dough I made pita pockets to stuff tuna salad into.   I managed to make the pita pockets, but they didn't quite have the texture and thickness of pita bread I've had before.  Next time I'll try a dough recipe specifically tailored to making pita pockets.  I rolled the dough into 7 in. rounds, then baked them ~ 10 min. at 400 degrees.  Here's one of my prepared pockets with some chips and apples gotten from a local orchard:
  The second assigned bread for the 22nd bread braid was Turkish Pear Coffee Bread.  It just didn't sound very appealing and I still don't have any ground cardamom, which the recipe calls for.  So I didn't make this bread (yet), but I might try it over the holidays if I get some ground cardamom next time I'm at Penzey's.

Instead of the Pear Coffee Bread, I tried one the recipes from "Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day" book.  I hadn't had a chance to try one of his with all the other breads I've been baking.  The one I wanted to try first was the Wild Rice and Onion Bread on page 113.  I really like wild rice and since I had all the ingredients for the bread and Peter said it was the second most popular bread at Brother Juniper's Bakery, I had to try it.  It smelled good even before I baked it, with the dried minced onion in the dough.  I added a pinch of dried thyme and some fresh minced rosemary to the dough also.  He says that at Thanksgiving they added parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and black pepper to the bread and it became a wonderful bread to use in making stuffing.  Here's my finished loaf:
This bread tasted wonderful!!! A great addition to our Beef Barley Stew we had for dinner that night.