Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Men and Wishing Everyone a Happy and Safe Holiday

Merry Christmas Everyone!

(Had to take a short break from baking as we were moving into our new home, but I'm back in the kitchen now).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Herbed Fougasse Without Olives (Mellow Bakers: November)

After being away for four days, all I could think of when I got home was how much I wanted to bake something.   So since I'd only completed one of the Mellow Bakers November breads so far, I decided to whip up the Pate Fermentee for the Fougasse on page 278 of Hamelman's book, Bread, late on Saturday night.  I guess I had too much pent up energy after not cooking, doing dishes, or even laundry for 3 1/2 straight days!  It was wonderful, and I had such a good time seeing my cousins (and their kids) and my aunts and uncles which I hadn't seen for 2 years.  I think we had ~42 people at our Thanksgiving get-together.

The original recipe for this Fougasse calls for olives to be mixed in w/ the dough at the end, but since I didn't have any olives in the house and since I love herbs, I decided to use Cathy's idea and add Herbes de Provence to the dough.  It seemed quite fitting to add this particular herb mix, since fougasse is a regional specialty of  Provence in France.  I only made half the recipe for this bread, so I only made one round fougasse and added 1 1/2 tsp of Herbes de Provence to my dough.  I also incorporated Cathy's change to increase the salt in the recipe since I omitted the olives.  For the half recipe I made, I added an extra half teaspoon of salt to the salt already called for.

This bread is so simple to put together and looks quite impressive when its finished baking.  I had already made a fougasse earlier using the traditional 'leaf' like scoring so I wanted to do something different this time.  I noticed the round shaped fougasse in one of the color photo plates in the middle of Hamelman's book and thought it looked pretty.

I also made some dipping oil to accompany our Herbed Fougasse.   I just used a heaping teaspoon of Herbs de Provence, adding in some red pepper flakes, fine sea salt, garlic, fresh pepper, and dried oregano and then some extra-virgin olive oil. Then it sat for awhile so the flavors could mingle a bit before we had dinner.

Hubby complained that the fougasse didn't quite go with the salmon patties I had on the menu for that evening's dinner, but it turned out to be a fabulous fougasse and it didn't matter what else was on the table.  The next night we finished off the fougasse w/ some Cream of Wild Rice Soup and we were in heaven with our bellies full of fougasse and steaming hot soup:)

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!  I was thinking about my online baking friends all during my Thanksgiving break, grateful for their kindness and willingness to share baking experiences and also wondering what they were cooking up in their kitchens for the holidays.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five-Grain Sourdough w/ Rye Sourdough (Mellow Bakers: November)

I decided to bake the Five-Grain Sourdough first this month for mellow bakers, since I hadn't used by starter to bake with in awhile and  I was eager to try it after reading Cathy's post on this bread.  She did an excellent post of this bread here and like her, I didn't have any rye chops so I thought it an excellent idea to use rye flakes, which I have, and to make a cold soaker as opposed to a hot one.

I chose to cut the recipe in half for this one, whereas Cathy made the whole recipe, and since it was a cold soaker I decided it wasn't necessary to include the salt in it.  I added the salt in when I mixed up the final dough.  I included some process pictures below for fun, since the shaping process went smoothly and I was in the mood for taking lots of pictures.  I'm also trying to learn how to use Picasa to do fun things like making collages and this gives me more practice.

The top left picture is the dough just after pre-shaping.  I used ~ 2lbs of the dough for my batard and since I only had 8 ounces left, I decided what the heck, rolls would be nice for dinner.  So with the 8 oz piece of dough, I made two little 4 oz dinner rolls.
I folded the dough for my batard just like Cathy did, except that I added the 4 or 5 extra steps that JH includes in his book Bread on page 72, which is what I was doing in the bottom left picture.  I finished the final shaping of my batard and the rolls and transferred them to a piece of parchment on my peel, covered them for their final fermentation, and then scored them after ~ 70 minutes.  Since Cathy liked her loaf with the single score down the middle I went with that one too.  I tried snipping my rolls w/ the scissors for scoring, but the slits actually just closed right back up when they baked :( 
It's always fun to see just what shape the bread is going to assume after scoring it, since for the home bread baker like me,  the scoring is a constant struggle and learning process.  On this one my bread opened WAY up, and it looked pretty neat.  It almost kind of looked like it had an 'ear' on top, but I'm not really sure.  Regardless of whether the scoring was correct, hubby and I thought it looked wonderful and possibly like I'd just gone and picked it up from the corner artisan bread bakery :)
The loaf was soft inside, but the crust is firm and just slightly crunchy, which hubby said was a good thing.  We couldn't really taste much tang from the sourdough component, but it does have a mellow, nutty quality.  I made the loaf on the day I did, with the hopes that it might make good grilled cheese sandwiches to go w/ homemade tomato soup the next night.  It tasted super as 'grilled cheese bread', and I think I'll probably make this one again, as it is quite tasty.  The batard shape made it much easier to get nice sandwich slices from it, which can be more difficult when I shape the loaf as a round boule.
Mmmmmmm, it doesn't get much better than grilled cheese and tomato soup on a rainy, cold evening after a difficult day at the office (for hubby)!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

English Muffins & Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread

I didn't do any baking out of Jeffrey Hamelman's book, Bread, this past week, but I did have some fun playing with a new toy in the kitchen followed by a sweet bread experiment .  I made my first ever English Muffins along with a Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread.

I bought my English Muffin rings at least a month ago, but hadn't tried them out yet.  There sure are a lot of different muffin recipes and methods of baking them out there, and it was tough deciding which one I was going to start with.  Several recipes I saw told you to just use biscuit cutters to cut out your english muffin 'dough' and then bake in the oven or cook them in a skillet.  Well, I knew I wanted to use my bright, shiny new English Muffin rings, and to me English Muffins should be made in the skillet on the stovetop, not in the oven like dinner biscuits.

I settled on trying Peter Reinhart's recipe for English Muffins from his book, Artisan Breads Every Day.  The muffin dough for this recipe is mixed up the night before and tucked into the fridge for the night.  The next day, after bringing the dough up to room temperature, and adding a little baking soda/water mixture, you're ready to begin!

The recipe made 8 muffins for me and I could only fit 2 muffin rings comfortably into the skillet at a time, since I only have a little 8 inch cast iron skillet.  I made four little batches of muffins with each getting better as I went along.  I used too much batter in the first couple I think, because as they cooked on the first side for 12 minutes, the batter climbed above the top of the rings.  I also tried to flip them too early and the batter was still wet on the top. Oops!  Even though I tried to flip carefully, the runny batter on top glopped out into unwanted places, before being completely flipped.  So on future batches I put less batter in the rings, and made sure the top was dry before flipping to cook on the other side :)

I used three of the finished muffins for Tuna Melts for dinner that night.  Mmmmm were they good!  I had been having a craving for tuna melts for quite some time, but didn't want to buy muffins from the store.  It was well worth the wait.  I even splurged and went for the more expensive Cabot Sharp Cheddar cheese for the tops of my tuna melts.  I'm sure I'll experiment with some other recipes, but for my first muffins, Peter Reinhart's muffins turned out to be pretty darned good!

My husband and I have been meeting at someone's home the past several months for a small group bible study, and it dawned on me this past week that I could use this opportunity to make some sweet breads that I normally wouldn't try, because they make more than my husband and I can eat, plus who needs the extra calories/sweets sitting around the house.

So I chose to try this Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread recipe that I found at the King Arthur Flour website.  The recipe didn't call for anything too exotic or expensive and the only ingredient I needed to buy was the two Fuji apples that I used in the filling.

This Cinnamon Apple Twist bread was indescribably wonderful!  It was pillowy soft and tender inside and just pleasantly crisp and sweet from the apples and scant amount of glaze that I drizzled over top.  The Vietnamese Cinnamon in the filling was heavenly, and the grated apples that dotted the surface were moist and still a little juicy.  However, this bread did prove to be a little tricky to put together.  Actually the recipe made two twists, but the first one of mine, kind of ended up in the trash :(

The problem I had was that my filling was too juicy.  I'm not sure if the problem was that I used the flour for my thickener or the fact that I used more grated apple than called for or both.  When I went to roll up the dough into a log for the first braid and then went to slice it vertically along the length of the log, juices came pouring out everywhere and it was a mess!!  So I, sadly, decided to place that one in the trash and try again.  On my second try I used a slotted spoon to place the filling on my dough, so that I wouldn't get too much of the juice.  This time worked a little better, although I still had some juices to deal with, but I managed to get the log rolled and pinched shut, and then sliced and braided.

This bread was so good, that despite my difficulties, I'm pretty sure I'll be making this again sometime.  I'm definitely not as comfortable working with sweet doughs and rolling them up into logs with filling so I'll need to improve on my techniques.  The braid was devoured in a very short time, with only two small end pieces left, so I think it was a hit with the group.

So if you're looking for a sweet bread featuring apples that's not too sweet, but delicious, look no farther.  This is a great recipe!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Berne Brot Six-Strand Braid (Mellow Bakers: October)

I was excited and very nervous at the same time, when I saw that a braided bread was on the agenda for October for Mellow Bakers.  I have wanted to try braiding for quite awhile now, but just kept putting it off.  So this past week I bought a small pack of Play-doh, as suggested by Hamelman, to try and practice the braiding pattern for the six strand braid from the book Bread.  I managed to start the braid looking at the four pictures on page 305 of the book, but I just wasn't seeing the pattern.  I am a visual person and I do best if I see someone else actually doing something a couple times and then I try it myself.  It was also difficult working with the Play-doh, because even though I tried making the strands thicker, they kept breaking on me as I was braiding.

I had made up the dough for the Berne Brot, (which is a braided Swiss bread), the day before I planned on braiding it.  Hamelman had suggested that this dough was one that lended itself well to overnight retarding in the refridgerator.  I wasn't really all that interested in attaining the benefits of overnight retarding, which are improved dough texture and keeping quality, as I was in getting my head around that six strand braiding technique.  I was almost ready to ask my hubby for help, because he's really good at that sort of thing, seeing patterns and such, but then I thought I'd just see if there was a video on the internet that might help me.

It turned out to be very easy to find the video I was looking for.  The first video I opened up seemed perfect for me.  It was straight forward and Maya braids the whole challah from start to finish slow enough for me to grasp the pattern after watching it several times.  Here's the video in case you've had trouble with a six-strand braid or are thinking about having a crack at it for the first time,
I couldn't bring the computer downstairs, so even though I felt kind of silly doing it, I opened up a small card table next to the computer, brought my rolled out strands, parchment paper and sheet pan upstairs and started the braid with Maya as she did hers in the video.  After finishing the braid, I was shocked that it had seemed so easy.  I stood back to admire it, and thought surely I must have somehow messed up the pattern somewhere, but I believe I actually nailed it.  My next thought was, 'Yes, bring on more strands!'  I was pumped and wished I had a bunch more strands waiting there for me to practice on :)

I wasn't sure if the braid should be baked on a stone or not, so I just decided in the end, to bake it on my sheet pan.  I covered the braid with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let it proof for an hour and a half after braiding it, and then after applying a generous amount of egg wash and the sesame seeds, I popped it into the oven.  Here it is just before it went in,

I usually don't do this, but I was so excited about making my first braid, that I sat on the floor in front of the oven window, with my knees pulled up and my arms wrapped around them, and watched the baking braid almost the entire time.  It came out of the oven with a beautiful golden brown color, and it smelled rich and buttery.  We had four slices of the loaf for dinner with some Italian Wedding Soup, and I think we were a little bit surprised how wonderful it tasted; fluffy soft, buttery with a smidgen of sweetness.

Golden slices destined for French Toast

Most of the rest of the loaf was used in French Toast the next night for dinner.  Abby, over at Stir it! Scrape it! Mix it! Bake it!, was nice enough to share her go to recipe for French toast and, even though hubby is not a French Toast person, he said it wasn't bad.  I love French Toast so I was really, really happy with dinner and hopefully he will let me make it again since it wasn't similar to his previous encounters with eggy, soggy French Toast!

Now that I've made one braid I'm all ready to try another, maybe even that Winston Knot one, but we'll have to see.  Abby did a wonderful job on the Winston Knot braid with her Berne Brot.  Check it out here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Roundup & BOM Pumpkin Knot Yeast Rolls

Phyl from Of Cabbages and King Cakes has invited us to a pumpkin roundup on this beautiful, warm and colorful weekend.  We were asked to pick a course from his list, appetizer, soup, side, etc., and so I decided to go with a main course selection, Pumpkin Ravioli, since all the dessert and bread categories were well covered.

I reasoned that I might as well go all out for this roundup, so when Whole Foods received their first shipment of pie pumpkins, I grabbed one.  My favorite brand of canned pumpkin, Libby's, hadn't appeared on store shelves yet anyway.

I couldn't remember how much puree a pound of pumpkin yields, but I figured I could get enough puree from this little 2 pounder to make several things.  I roasted the pumpkin the day before I made my main course dish, so that there wouldn't be so much work the next day.   I washed and dried Mr Pumpkin, cut him in half, placed both halves cut side down into a baking dish with ~ 1/4" of water in it, and baked it @ 350° for about 45 minutes.

Once Mr. Pumpkin was all roasted and cooled, I peeled off the skin and placed the chunks of cooked pumpkin into my food processor and gave it a whirl until it was quite smooth.  I ended up with 2 1/2 cups of puree.  I put my puree into the fridge for the night, but not before I made a half batch of the BOM Pumpkin Knot Yeast Rolls that the Artisan Bread Bakers, a facebook group, are doing for October.  With that out of the way, I could focus on my main course selection the next day.

Ever since trying Giada's recipe for Turkey and Cranberry Ravioli from her book "Everyday Pasta", and just loving it, I've wanted to try her recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts, but that recipe calls for fresh pumpkin ravioli.  She seems to insinuate that you might be able to buy fresh pumpkin ravioli somewhere, but I've kept my eye out for pumpkin ravioli for a couple years now, and I've never seen it anywhere for purchase.  So here I am, finally making my own pumpkin ravioli. 

I searched the internet and found several promising recipes, but for my first attempt I decided to go with a pumpkin ravioli recipe from Wolfgang Puck that was on Food Network, for the filling, because it was a bit simpler and used fewer ingredients.

I followed Wolfgang Puck's recipe, halving the ingredients so that I had enough filling for ~ 2 servings of ravioli.  After I had my pumpkin ravioli complete, I switched over to Giada's recipe for the sauce.

Now before you get the idea that I made this TOTALLY from scratch, let me just say that I still use store bought wonton wrappers when I make ravioli.  I see perhaps, a pasta roller attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer in the future, so maybe some day I'll make my own pasta dough for truly homemade ravioli.
For now though, I use,

The meal came together without too much trouble and after carefully placing my ravioli into water at a rolling boil, I cooked the ravioli for about 3 minutes until they floated to the top.  I set aside the ravioli, covered w/ foil to keep them warm, and made my butter "sauce" which goes over the top of the ravioli in the finished dish,

The ravioli was topped with the butter "sauce" that had been made by gently sauteing some torn sage leaves in melted butter with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts, freshly grated parmesan and grated amaretti cookie.

I warmed up my pumpkin knot yeast rolls in the oven and placed one on each of our plates.  Hubby and I thought these rolls were incredibly delicious.  They were very, very soft with just a hint of sweetness.  My rolls did not turn out quite as golden in color as I'd hoped they would,  because my pumpkin puree was a lighter color than the canned stuff.  I am not very good at forming the knotted rolls and of course we ate the uglier looking ones the night before, so they wouldn't end up in a picture.  With practice, though, hopefully they will get better.

The verdict on the dish was that it was tasty, but not spectacular.  It was a little lacking in the flavor department.  I think it could have used more sage, more nutmeg and/or more of the amaretti cookie since  those flavor components were essential to complete the overall flavor of the dish, and I could not taste them very much.  For now, my favorite is still Giada's Turkey and Cranberry Ravioli.

To finish the roundup and complete the evening's meal, I just couldn't resist making probably my favorite scone recipe, for dessert.  I almost didn't make them, because someone else had claimed them, but they are so easy and I couldn't find another pumpkin recipe I wanted to try for dessert.  These scones are awesome and perfect with a little of both, minced crystallized ginger and cinnamon chips, in them.  The recipe for the scones is a KAF recipe that I stumbled across last year here.

That's all for this roundup from my kitchen.  I can hardly wait to see what the others made to complete this pumpkin themed meal!  I just wish I could've sampled a taste of each of them.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Whole-Rye & Whole-Wheat Bread (Mellow Bakers: September)

This Hamelman recipe, found on page 195 of his book, Bread, was the perfect opportunity to try out my new round banneton, which I got for my birthday in June.  I feel so bad that I hadn't tried it out yet, but time just flies and before I knew it, September's here.  My little 8 1/2" cane basket,
waited patiently for me though, nestled in its emerald green papasan chair in the living room. 

The recipe for this bread was interesting in that it contained 25% whole-rye flour, all of which was acidified in a sourdough prepared the night before, 25% whole-wheat flour, and a bit of commercial instant yeast.
According to Hamelman, the combination of the whole wheat along with the acidified rye is supposed to make a bread with good moisture retention and good keeping qualities.  The rye sourdough, the whole-wheat flour, high-gluten flour, water, salt and 1/2 tsp  instant yeast were mixed together on baking day to form the dough.  My dough seemed quite tacky in the mixer bowl, although I didn't think it needed more flour at that point.  However, when I went to take the dough from the mixer bowl and then later when shaping, it was fairly sticky and I had second thoughts. 

I floured my new banneton really well with rye flour since the dough was extra sticky.  It was so sticky that I had trouble forming my boule and then getting it off my fingers and into the basket for its final fermentation.  It kind of flopped off my hands into the basket and was sort of off center, but I didn't want to mess with it, because that's when I start making things worse.  I covered it with plastic wrap and a tea towel and left it for an hour and 15 min.  When I uncovered the basket the dough ball had poofed up nicely and filled out the basket.  Magic!

I placed a piece of parchment on my peel, placed the whole thing upside down on top of the basket and then flipped the whole thing over so that my basket was now upside down on my peel. 

Got that?  Keep your fingers crossed.

I lifted the basket and it didn't stick!  Woohoo!!

My scoring of the loaf even went well this time,

I baked the loaf on my stone until the internal temperature said ~ 204°.  I was surprised the loaf wasn't darker, but I took it out anyway. 

I didn't cut into it yesterday, but waited til today, so I could make a nice sandwich for my lunch with all the fixin's,
I don't know about peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, but it made me a wonderful turkey sandwich for lunch.  I got fancy today and added all the extras.  Normally my lunch sandwiches are peanut butter & jelly, and if I do lunch meat, it is only lunch meat and cheese, no veggies cause I'm kind of lazy when it comes to lunch.

Great bread!!  Has a slight tang, and interesting flavor from the combo of wheat flour and the rye component.  It's more dense than an all white flour bread, but I didn't think it was too dense at all.

Check out what other Mellow Bakers did this month here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nick Malgieri's Fig and Almond Bread

This will be the first bread I've baked along with the others in the facebook group, Artisan Bread Bakers.  Phyl, the organizer of this group, has chosen Nick Malgieri's Fig and Almond bread as the Bread of the Month for September.  I didn't see Phyl's orginal announcement of this bread for September, but saw it a little into September and started flipping through Nick's book, The Modern Baker thinking that must be where the recipe had come from.  Alas, it wasn't in any of his current books, and so I had another thought and popped on over to Nick Malgieri's blog and lo and behold, he has given his fans a sneak peak into a new, upcoming book of his. 

I was so thrilled that he chose to divulge one of the bread recipes to any who might want to try it.  I couldn't pass this Fig and Almond Bread recipe by and quickly picked up a  6 oz. bag of Sun Maid Calimyrna Figs at the store.  (If I already have part of the ingredients sitting out on my counter, then I'm more likely to complete the projects that I want to get done that month). 

I thought the recipe was easy to follow, although it would have been nice to have a few 'why' explanations for some of the steps, especially for novice bread bakers and inquiring minds. 

I followed the recipe pretty much as written.  I did use instant yeast instead of active dry and in that case, you can just add the instant yeast to the dry ingredients listed in step #3 and can just skip step #2.  The Sun Maid dried figs sealed in a bag are usually pretty moist so I didn't need to steep my figs in step #1. 

The ingredients are straightforward and were all in my pantry.  I used 15 grams of brown sugar instead of granulated sugar, since the sticky, sugary sweet figs just seemed to call out brown sugar to me instead of white.  I love, love, love figs and it was hard not to eat them as I cut them into a 1/2 inch dice.  As I was handling them, I felt as if I'd just reached into Pooh's honey stash and pulled out some treasure he'd stashed along with it.  I think Pooh would like figs don't you?

I used a single edged razor to score one of the boule's with an 'X' and I gave the other one an overlapping box cut.  The bread baked up wonderfully, but with not a whole lot of oven spring.  I brushed the loaves liberally with the melted butter after they came out of the oven and we ate half of one of the loaves with dinner.

I asked my husband, who is usually very generous, and not as stingy as myself, who we might share the other loaf with, and he replied that we should keep both for ourselves.  This bread was that good! 

Thank you Nick, for a wonderful recipe to add to our list of family favorites!!

Great pick Phyl!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple Strudel using NM's Instant Puff Pastry

This time around for the Modern Baker Challenge, I chose the Apricot & Almond Strudel recipe from the puff pastries section of Nick Malgieri's book, The Modern Baker.  I was a little nervous about this recipe as the instructions for making his instant puff pastry seemed too easy and I knew it couldn't be that simple.  The pictures all showed a clean work area and perfect looking dough.

Before I started making the instant puff pasty, I had decided I would take pictures at different stages, but as I started into it, I ran into problems from the beginning, so I felt lucky that I even got the puff pastry dough made at all.  My poor old Hamilton Beach food processor bowl only has a 3 cup capacity, so I knew I could only make at most a half batch of Malgieri's instant puff pastry, which was fine since this recipe only required a 1/2 batch.  The amount of butter and flour, though, for a half batch of puff pastry, was still a little much for my food processor bowl.  I had a lot of flour going everywhere and when I went to dump everything out onto my floured mat, I had quite a bit of loose stuff. 

I managed to get the puff pastry made, with a minimal amount of grumbling, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and tucked it into the back of the fridge on the bottom shelf.  I was really worried if the stuff was going to roll out OK for the strudel, because it was very crumbly and I had a tough time rolling it up in the last step of making the puff pastry.  I was rolling with one hand and using my large off set spatula with the other, to get under the dough that was sticking to the mat.  It was definitely not a tight log.

Here's my puff pastry log before I started rolling out dough for the strudel,
I wish I could've rolled it tighter to get more layers into my puff pastry, but better luck next time I guess.

I asked hubby, apricots or apples for the filling, and I knew he would pick apples.  He's not a real big fan of apricots, and since fall is quickly approaching, it seemed more appropriate anyway to use an apple filling for the strudel.  Then as I kept looking at the recipe, I just couldn't see apples paring well with the almond part of the filling, which is made w/ almond paste.  I thought the almond paste mixture would overpower the apples and that the apple flavor wouldn't shine through. 

I'd just recently purchased a copy of America's Test Kitchen's third installment of Cooking for Two 2011, and what da ya know, there was a recipe for Quick Apple Strudel near the back.  They used phyllo dough for their strudel, but the filling sounded really good so I decided to double it for my strudel and away I went.

The ATK apple strudel filling consisted of:

1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon Calvados, applejack, or apple cider (I used cider)
2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs or panko (I used the latter)
1 tablespoon melted butter (for toasting the bread crumbs in a small skillet)
1 medium McIntosh apple, peeled, cored, sliced and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

I doubled this filling recipe and for the apple I used roughly two apples, which consisted of Golden Delicious, Cortland, and a McIntosh.  Whenever I make apple anything I use several different kinds of apples to get varying flavors and textures in the finished dish.

Here's the bottom layer of my strudel before and after laying on the filling,

The top layer of the strudel remained in the fridge while I docked the bottom layer and spread my filling out onto the dough leaving a 1/2 inch margin all around.  Then the top layer came out of the fridge and after cutting the slits in it and brushing egg wash on the edges of the bottom layer, the top was placed on, sealed, crimped, poked, prodded and everything else.  Here she is ready for the oven,
and at this point is where my tummy usually starts growling a little prematurely, since I know it'll still be a while before we can dig in!

Unfortunately, the strudel wouldn't fit on my rimmed half sheet pan, so I then had to bake it on my rimless air bake cookie sheet and butter went everywhere in the baking process.  Oh well, I rarely make oven messes so this little one shouldn't be too hard to clean up.

It was worth it and hubby declared that it was delicious.  I thought it was good, and very flaky tender, but it was just a tad bit greasy tasting to me, because of all the butter.  I know one thing, I probably won't be trying to make my own puff pastry again until I get a knew 12-cup food processor!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whole Wheat w/ Pecans & Golden Raisins (Mellow Bakers: September)

I had already decided that I wanted to make this bread into rolls.  Then, as usual, I reasoned that soup would be the best dish to serve my rolls with.  Next, I needed some cooler weather to go with the soup and rolls.  Last week (or was it the week before) there was a brief cold spell following behind Hurrican Irene, but it was gone before I got a chance to make the rolls.

Then, this week another cold front was supposed to be moving thru last evening.  The rain and cold came about 5 hours after dinner, but these rolls and the soup tasted delicious anyway.  I only made 1/3 of the recipe, since I didn't want a ton of leftover rolls, and was able to get 7 good size rolls out of this amount of dough.  It's amazing that these tasted so good, when the only ingredients were flour (whole wheat & bread), water, salt, yeast, raisins, and pecans. 

Since Hamelman said keep the toasting light, I toasted my pecan pieces at 350° for 2-3 minutes, just until they were shiny and started to smell nutty.  The raisins were soaked in warm water for 30 minutes before adding to the dough.  I dried the raisins off really, really good before adding them in.  I didn't even bother using the mixer to try and incorporate the raisins and pecan pieces into the dough.  Its just easier to stick my hands into the stand mixer bowl and knead them into the dough right in the bowl.  As I kneaded, I has happy to deposit the pecan pieces which kept popping out of the dough, into my mouth, since, as usual, my tummy was growling as I was working.

After a rather long fermentation of two hours, with a fold in between, I portioned the dough into 3 oz pieces, covered them for 10 minutes, then shaped them into round rolls.  They had a final fermentation of about 1 hour and baked for ~18 minutes on a parchment lined sheet pan.  I tried to score a couple of the rolls for fun and left the others alone.   There was already a steam pan on the bottom oven shelf from baking hoagie rolls a few hours earlier, so I went ahead and put some hot water into the steam pan right after I slid the rolls into the oven.
The soup I chose to go with the rolls was from Dara's Cookin' Canuck and it was delicious!!  It was Chicken, Corn & Potato Chowder and had just enough spice to warm you, but not any burning heat.  It had green chilies, lots of corn, cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper in it and was topped w/ bacon, more cheese, and chopped green onion.

Hubby didn't come right out and say the rolls were delicious, probably because of the nuts, but when I asked him if he liked it, he heartily shook his head, as his mouth was full of hot, buttered whole wheat roll.  I think we both like most of the breads I make, just because they taste so much better than what you can buy at the store.
Here's a picture of just the hoagie rolls that I made earlier in the day.  It was my first go at making hoagie rolls and I was really happy with the way they turned out, despite the one roll that kind of resembles a bowling pin shape:)  The hoagie rolls are being turned into Greek Turkey Meatball Subs tonight.  Mmmmmm!!
Be sure and go see how the whole wheat w/ pecans and golden raisins bread turned out for the other mellow bakers this month!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oatmeal Bread with Cinnamon & Raisins (Mellow Bakers: August)

I was in the mood for a sweeter bread today, and since August is nearly over, I thought I'd get in one last Mellow Baker's bread from August's list.  I still hope to try the Black Bread, but that'll have to wait for now.

It feels a little awkward posting today, as I've not done one in a number of weeks.  I'm very sad to say that we lost our 12 yr old golden retriever, Tucker, a few weeks back and that is the reason for my temporary absence.  Its been really hard for Dean and I thru this, as Tucker was such an integral part of our lives and just like our child.  I will miss my sous chef incredibly, but  in my mind I will always have him lying on the floor beside me, encouraging me thru my baking adventures.

My husband encouraged me to not give up the blog just yet, so here I am posting about this wonderful bread I made today.  I just consumed one of the cinnamon buns, and it was so worth the effort to make these this afternoon.  I cut Hamelman's recipe from page 236 in his book, Bread, in half and made a medium loaf  (8 1/2 X 4-in pan) with 1.5 lbs of dough, and 4 cinnamon buns with the 14 ounces left.  I decided I wanted an added bonus from making this recipe, in that I got an afternoon snack.

I wanted a cinnamon-sugar swirl in my bread, but I didn't want my raisins falling out of the swirl, so I decided to incorporate the raisins into my dough.  Also, for the dough I made my usual change in that I used King Arthur's Baker's Special Dry Milk plus water in place of the milk called for.  I incorporated that change into the recipe for the Oatmeal Bread, which is now in our regular rotation, and it seems to work well.  I decreased the yeast percentage used to 2% as well, since I wasn't going to incorporate the cinnamon into the dough.

I was so pleased that I was able to get 4 buns out of my leftover piece of dough.  Perfect!!  Three for me, one for hubby. Oops, sorry! That's 2 for me, 2 for hubby.  I think I will save my other one for breakfast and heat it up in the oven.  I placed the four buns in my smaller 8-in round pan, instead of on a large sheet pan, so that I could fit both the loaf pan and the buns onto the same oven shelf.  I baked them at 350° with the buns finishing in ~25 min. and the loaf in about 34 minutes.  The heated cinnamon-sugar smell filled the whole house as they baked.   Aaaaah, it was wonderful.

After letting the buns cool for 10 minutes in the pan, I made up a smidgen of glaze to drizzle on them.  I used maybe a third cup of confectioners sugar,  a little warmed milk, and 1 drop of my favorite secret flavoring,

I didn't even use half of the glaze though, because hubby does not like his buns highly sweet and all gooey and neither, really, do I.  The bread is almost ready to be sliced so I can see how the 'swirling' looks...  Here it is,

Mmmmmm, nice tasty, toasting bread for breakfasts the rest of this week.

That's all for this time and hopefully I'll see you in September :)  Don't forget to visit mellow bakers to see all the wonderful breads baked in August.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Focaccia w/ Herb Oil (Mellow Bakers: August)

After seeing Abby's wonderful focaccia and reading her encouragement to make this, I decided to whip it up this weekend.  I decided to make up the full batch of biga from the ciabatta recipe on page 105, but I had planned on only using 2/3 of it for the final dough.  I figured 2/3 of the ciabatta recipe would be just enough to make both the regular focaccia and the focaccia con formaggio.  However, as quite often happens when I do things like this,  I goofed and put the whole biga in with the other ingredients when I was mixing up the final dough, instead of only 2/3 of it.  I didn't realize my error until all the fermentation was finished and I was ready to put my dough into the pan.  I was mad at myself for committing this blunder, and hoped that it didn't have an adverse impact on the finished product.  As Abby said, this dough was very wet and quite sticky.  I even tried oiling my hands really well, but it didn't seem to help much. 

I don't have a 10-inch cake pan so my focaccia ended up going into my 9 inch cake pan, and I just used an ounce less of dough.  Since I had my PR book, 'Bread Bakers Apprentice', open to his focaccia recipe, I decided to just go ahead and make the herb oil he describes, for mine as well.  I didn't have any other ideas and it won't be too long before cooler weather comes and the only way to get fresh herbs will be from the grocery stores.  I used a generous amount of fresh basil and rosemary.  I didn't have fresh oregano so I threw in dried.  I think I had about 2 heaping tablespoons full of herbs that I put into my 1/4 cup of warmed (to ~ 100°F) olive oil.  To the warmed oil I also added kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and a minced garlic clove.  Mmmm did it smell good. 

I put 2 Tbsp of plain olive oil into my cake pan, which I had lined w/ a piece of parchment.  I made sure the bottom and sides were nicely coated.  After reading Jeffrey's instructions for shaping and panning the focaccia, I thought 'Heck with that!!  I'm not shaping and then trying to move that very wet dough to the pan'.  So I did what Mr. Reinhart recommends, and that was to put the dough into my cake pan, smoosh it out a little bit, pour on a generous amount of my herb oil and then using my fingertips, to dimple the dough until it stretched out and just touched the sides of the pan.  I covered it for 1 1/2 hours for its final fermentation and then into the oven it went. 

As we were sitting down to dinner, hubby had already tried the focaccia before I had touched mine, and he says 'you better let me have yours, it tastes aweful'.  He said this with such a straight face, and is usually very honest w/ me, that I almost believed him (especially since I was worried that my biga blunder might have hurt the dough in some way).  Then I detected a slight upturn at the corners of his mouth and realized he was fibbing to me. 

This focaccia was absolutely awesome!!  This is our favorite focaccia by far, compared to the others I have made so far.  It is incredibly light, even compared to the others I've made.  Here are our first two slices, which we devoured, and then decided to finish off the whole thing, since it always tastes best straight from the oven the first day.
So, I have to ask, for those who have made the BBA focaccia and this one, is the BBA focaccia even better than this one?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Falafel and a Bath Break

I did it!  I made my first falafel for dinner last night.  I had fully intended to purchase Ziyad brand falafel mix in a box, but when I saw this post at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice, a blog I've been following recently, I couldn't resist trying these.  I'm sure Ziyad brand falafel mix in a box is good, but I figure anything made from scratch with fresh herbs and newly acquired spices has got to be better, right? 

Another aspect which attracted me to this post and recipe was the fact that there was a recipe for skillet flatbread accompanying it.  I think these skillet flatbreads are so cool!!  I had wanted to make my own pita breads for the first time, but these skillet flatbreads are perfect for falafel in the summer and are sooo easy.  No heating up the oven, just two minutes per flatbread in the cast iron skillet! The only change I made to the skillet flatbread recipe was that I replaced about 1/3 of the all-purpose flour with white-whole wheat.   These skillet flatbreads can be used for sandwiches too, as Reeni suggests in her post here for salmon burgers.  These are wonderful as well!  I made them last week to test out the flatbread recipe, but I substituted fresh tarragon for the dill, and then used this tartar sauce recipe

So last night, after having my test run with the flatbread the week before, I was ready for the falafel.  I had a little problem with my falafel mixture staying together in 1 Tbsp balls after the mix had chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes, but that was the only issue.  The only thing I could see to do at the moment was to add flour to the mix, so I added maybe a tablespoon or so, until the mix started sticking together better.  This was only my second time cooking with a large quantity of hot oil, the first being my adventure last fall with doughnuts.  This time I was only working with oil that was 2" deep, which was nice and not so scary. 

We had three falafel balls per flatbread, nestled in with some chopped Romaine lettuce, and some tzatziki sauce, which also included a bit of chopped up fresh mint from one of my pots.  (Most of the herbs in my pots have died, but the mint is still trying to hang on.)  The outside of the falafel balls were crunchy and the inside moist and incredibly yummy from cumin, coriander, cayenne and lots of garlic.

I just had to share my first falafel attempt and hopefully there will be many more.  This stuff tastes better than fast food did from McDonalds or Wendy's when I was in my tweens :) 

Also, I thought I'd share what I did between baking tasks today.  It was the dreaded B-A-T-H day for Tucker.  It is so nice to be able to do this outside on the back patio in the warmer months.  Although Tucker is made for the water (undercoat and webbing between his toes), he is not the water dog!  I tried when he was a puppy to get him to jump in and play in kiddie pools, but he would have none of it.  I think, however, that if he could talk to me, he would tell me he rather likes the cool, cool water out of the hose, drenching his heavy fur on a 92°F day. 

Shaking off the excess H20
Finishing touches! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oatmeal Bread (Mellow Bakers: August)

We were finishing our last loaf of bread on Friday, and I saw that the Oatmeal Bread was on the list for Mellow Baker's for August, so I thought I'd give it one more try.  I made this bread back in February maybe? and I was not too crazy about it. 

When I made this bread the last time and saw that overnight retarding would work well for this straight dough bread, I decided to go that route.  I really love being able to mix up the dough for a bread, and then shoving it in the fridge until the next day when I just have to shape, proof and bake.  On page 232 where it explains that overnight retarding can be used for many of the breads in the straight dough section, it says 'little time' is needed the next day to finish the job.  So when I looked at the oatmeal bread recipe and saw that final fermentation was 1 to 1 1/2 hours, I assumed that was roughly the time it would take to proof after it came out of the fridge and was shaped.  I cut the recipe in half last time and proofed it in a 9" by 5" pan and I remember wondering if I had used the wrong size pan, because after an hour and a half, the loaf had still not crested the lip/edge of the pan.  I was puzzled and I think I let it proof a bit longer, but not much, and threw it into the oven, as I was concerned that the dough would overproof.  I thought maybe I had done something else wrong that prevented the dough from rising very much in the pan.  Anyway, that loaf I made back in the winter was pretty flat when it finished baking, and I thought it was dry, dense and I couldn't taste any sweetness to it at all.  I actually thought it tasted quite bland.

This time around I thought I'd change up the ingredients just a bit to try improving the flavor and/or texture.  Sometimes I make changes, though, and I'm not sure why I did it.  I just think it might perhaps bring some improvement.  I used whole milk as opposed to 1%.  (I had a small quantity of whole milk in the fridge this time, because I had been using it for a Nick Malgieri cake recipe).  My thinking was that perhaps a higher fat content in the milk might make a more tender loaf.  Instead of the King Arthur whole wheat, I used their white-whole wheat and I subbed some barley flour for part of the wheat flour as well.  I had just made some cookies last week with oat flour, barley flour and whole wheat flour and I thought the barley flour might give a more complex, nuttier flavor to the bread.  I didn't have enough high-gluten flour, so I had to use some of my bread flour.  I used 1/4 tsp less salt than called for when cutting the recipe in half, but don't ask me why.  No reason. 

Just like last time, the loaf hadn't even risen above the lip of the pan after 1 1/2 hours of proofing in my 9 by 5 pan.  I looked at some of the recipes in Peter Reinhart's book Artisan Breads Every Day, and those loaves required 2 1/2 to 3 hours of proofing after the dough was shaped and had come from the fridge.  So I decided everything was fine, and that I'd just leave the loaf go for 2 1/2 hours and then come back to it.  When I came back, it had crested the top of the pan and was ~ 1/2 inch above the lip of the pan.  I left it go another fifteen minutes and decided it was probably ready to go. 

The loaf had nice oven spring and rose at least another good half inch or so upon baking.  I was fairly pleased with that.  The loaf didn't taste nearly as dry this time I believe.   It slices very nicely and doesn't seem  too dense.  I still don't taste any sweetness at all, but maybe its just me.  I think next time I'll use agave nectar and see if that gives me my sweetness.  It tastes much better than before, but I'm going to increase the amount of barley flour next time anyway, just to see if I get a more pronounced nutty flavor. 

Now its on to the bread I'm really looking forward to, the Oatmeal Bread w/ Cinnamon and Raisins Smiley

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hamelman's Olive Levain as Fougasse (Mellow Baker's: July)

Usually after a day of baking our sandwich bread, I'm breaded out for a couple days and don't feel like baking the next day, but this week I found a little extra energy Wednesday night to mix up my liquid levain for the olive bread.  I wasn't so sure we'd like this bread because of all the olives, but I was excited to try shaping the bread as fougasse.  I figured I would be thrilled if I could accomplish that, and wouldn't be upset if I didn't like the taste of the olives.

After looking everywhere, I finally found a jar of the nicoise olives at a store here in town that carries alot of gourmet type specialty items.  I looked at the itsy bitsy olives in the jar and knew they probably contained pits, but I thought no problem, I'll just squeeze them one by one and the pit will just pop right out.  Wrong!!  I waited until the morning to open the jar of olives and pulled out the first one.  Well, I squeezed and squeezed and managed to squirt juice on myself, but no pit popped out.  So, at 7 am in the morning, I'm sitting in my PJ's at the kitchen table, using a small paring knife to carve the olive flesh away from the pits of these olives.  After pitting all the olives I dumped them into my bowl to weigh them and found I only had 2 1/2 oz and I needed 4.  Aaaargh!  So after some debate, I trudged off to the grocery store and scooped 8-10  olives out of the Mediterranean mix at the olive bar there.  I went home and pitted these and dumped them into my bowl and had exactly 4 oz.

I was really nervous about just using Lucky, my starter, to leaven this bread.  This was another reason I was anxious to try this bread.  I've not had much success using my sourdough starter in breads containing no commercial yeast.  I resisted the urge to add just a pinch of instant yeast, and hoped Lucky would work its magic. 

I let my liquid levain sit on the counter almost a full 16 hours, and during the bulk fermentation of 2 1/2 hours I folded the dough once.  It didn't rise a huge amount during the fermentation, but there was definitely alot of gas bubbles in the dough when I folded and shaped it.  After bulk fermentation, I shaped the dough into a rough round and covered it for 15 minutes.  Then, using the rolling pin, I flattened the round into an oblong shape.  I brushed it with a little olive oil, and covered it again for an hour. 

After the hour was up, I stretched the dough, shaped it into a triangle and used my pizza wheel to cut the slits into the dough.  (I put a piece of cardboard under the parchment while I was cutting my slits so as not to slit my mat or peel.)

To open up the slits, I stretched the dough from the sides a bit, and then stuck my fingers right into each slit and opened them up nice and big, so that when it baked the holes wouldn't close back up.

I slid the fougasse onto the baking stone and baked with steam at 450° for 20 minutes and took it out to cool.  I was so happy with the way it looked coming out of the oven.  I even thought for a moment about just hanging it on the wall in the kitchen as a decoration instead of eating it. 

Hubby and I were both a little apprehensive about this bread, not knowing what to expect flavor wise.  We've grown up on those squishy, kind of tasteless really, California black olives from the cans and not really experienced the taste of a good olive.  We have however tasted one other type of olive quite a bit and thats the kalamata, which we both rather detest, especially me.  Its just so bitter that I can't stand eating them on salads, etc. 

Surprisingly, the bread was good.  There were a lot of olives and you definitely did get a taste of them in every bite.  The olives were slightly bitter, but with a little butter smeared on, it was quite tasty.  It was chewy like sourdough, had good sourdough flavor and the crumb was way better than any of my past sourdough attempts.  I think this qualified as a sourdough success.  Yea :)

I've been reading everything I can stumble upon regarding fougasse lately, to get an idea of the different recipes out there.  I've seen some different slit patterns and I think I'd like to try one of the recipes with no olives, but with cheese and lots of herbs.  That seems to be a popular way to do fougasse, besides the olive and anchovie option.

I feel bad that this bread didn't turn out so well for some of the others, but maybe it's worth another try, and if you're not an olive fan, just substitute some dried herbs and sprinkle on your favorite cheese and definitely try shaping it into the classical 'leafy' looking fougasse.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raspberry Almond Tartlets: Modern Baker Challenge

I was snooping around on the Modern Baker Challenge site a couple weeks ago, and I noticed that it looked like one of the tartlets from the Sweet Tarts and Pies section didn't get taken by anybody to make.  I thought it would be a shame if nobody made those wonderful sounding tartlets.  Actually I didn't have the book at the time (I later got it from the library), so I couldn't even look at the recipe, but how could something called raspberry almond tartlets not be scrumptious.  I timidly typed a message saying I would bake them if no one else had claimed them.  Yea!, Phyl responded and said he had assigned them to me.  I was so excited to be baking & posting about something other than bread.

It was the perfect tartlet recipe, as it called for almond paste, raspberries and sugar, several of my favorite ingredients.  As luck would have it, I had exactly 4 ounces of almond paste in the freezer in a glass jar that was left over from a previous baking project.  I used Smucker's Simply Fruit (Raspberry) for the seedless raspberry preserves called for in the recipe.

The crust for these tartlets was made from the Sweet Tart Dough recipe found on page 160 of Malgieri's book The Modern Baker.   I made the dough the day before the tarts, although I wondered how long the dough was required to be refrigerated before you could use it.  This was only the second time I had used my old Hamilton Beach food processor to make a dough.  I'm amazed at how easy it is to put dough together with a food processor.  It's not so fun to wash all the nooks and crannies of the processor bowl later, but I think it's worth it to save the time.  It only took maybe 10 mintues to put the dough together using the food processor. 

Into the fridge the disk of dough went until the next day....

Before working with the dough, I read very carefully page 162 in his book re: rolling tartlet crusts, because I knew this dough could be hard to work with if I didn't do it correctly.

They should mention in this section, I think, that when you go to knead the cold dough that it will break and crumble a bit at first, before you're actually able to knead it.  But it did soften in my warmish hands, and after it did, I flattened it and used my pastry scraper to divide it into 3 pieces. 

Rolling out the dough and cutting the 24 circles was the most time-consuming part of the whole recipe, taking me maybe 45 minutes to do.  I put the tartlet pan full of dough circles back into the fridge for 45 minutes to chill before finishing.
The almond filling for the tartlets was very simple to mix up, using the food processor again.  I bought a package of Driscoll organic raspberries that contained HUGE berries.  The berries were so large that I laid them on their sides inside the little crustlets and squished them down slightly.  Just for fun, to see if they would be any different, I put a frozen raspberry into four of the tartlet crusts.  However, when I took all of the tartlets out of the pan to arrange on a rack to cool, I forgot which ones had the frozen berries.  Ooops, oh well, they've all tasted wonderful so far so I don't see why you couldn't use frozen berries in the winter.

There was plenty of the almond filling so I put more than 1 scant teaspoon into each crust.  It was probably closer to 2 teaspoons into each tartlet.  I was running low on sliced almonds, and that's why each tartlet isn't completely covered in almond slices, but I think they were just so delicious it didn't matter.

I'm glad it was nearing the end of the day, because I could have kept eating and eating these little things.  So very good with tea or coffee!  I think these would be a great hit at any family gathering, or baby shower or bridal shower.  They do take a bit of time, but are worth it for the raspberry & almond lovers out there.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Potato Bread with Roasted Onions (Mellow Bakers: July)

I was really happy when I saw that for July we would be making a bread that revisited the roasted potato theme, one that I missed before I joined the group.  I figure I don't even have to go back and try the Roasted Potato Bread recipe, because this one is much better with roasted onions included.

I used the recommended Yukon gold potatoes for my potato and for the onion I chose to use a Vidalia.  I've been buying these at the farmer's market the past few weeks even though they are not grown local.  I figure they've got to be slightly fresher than the Vidalia's at the supermarket.  In case anyone's not familiar with these, they are a variety of sweet onion that is grown in a certain geographical production area defined by law in the state of Georgia.  Supposedly it is an unusually sweet variety of onion due to the low sulfur content of the soil in which it is grown in that part of Georgia.  Anyway they are super onions grilled, roasted whatever. 

I roasted my onions and potato the day before, as suggested.  I diced the potato up into maybe a half inch dice to roast and I sliced my onion thin to roast it.  After roasting they went into their own tupperware containers and sat in the fridge overnight and my pate fermentee sat on the counter overnight.

I was a little concerned about the water content of the onions the next morning, so I was skimpy on the water when adding it to the other ingredients, maybe leaving out a tablespoon or two.  The dough was stiff before adding the onions so I wasn't too worried at that point.  I think, on looking back now, that I should have put the onion on paper towels or something to try to absorb some of the excess moisture before putting them into the mixer bowl.  I did my kneading of all the other ingredients, and then put in the onions at the end to just incorporate.  Well, after adding the onion, the dough became a sloppy mess.  It wouldn't incorporate in the mixer even with adding a bit of flour.  I dumped the whole thing onto my silicone mat and painstakingly worked much more flour into the wet dough.  Ughh, it was a pain trying to work with the dough.  I finally quit adding more flour, because it seemed like a lot that I was adding.  I was hoping after fermentation that the dough would slurp up some of the excess moisture. 

After the 1 1/2 hours of bulk fermentation the dough seemed pretty slack and wasn't rising a whole lot so I folded it a second time and let it ferment an additional 30 minutes.

The dough was still pretty sticky, but I managed to shape it into a 1.5 lb boule and a mini-baguette.  I hadn't done the baguette shape in awhile and figured I better get some more practice.  The baguette shape sounds so simple and I can follow the pictures in the book, but it is so awkward to do when you actually go to do it yourself. 

Luckily, both the boule and baguette fit on my stone together.  I didn't get much oven spring from either loaf, but they looked pretty.  I took the baguette out of the oven after about 25 minutes and the boule after about 30 minutes.

The bread smelled up the house so wonderfully as it baked, especially the sweet onion scent.   Hubby was home early since they lost power at work and everyone was sent home.  After sitting upstairs the whole time it baked and smelling it, he began begging for some the minute I showed him the finished loaves.  I told him it must cool, and so he patiently waited a short time and then begged again.  I gave in and we tried a slice or two before dinner.  I quickly forgot my kneading/shaping frustrations, when I tried this bread.  It was soft, with a slightly chewy crust, and the sweetness from the onion permeated every bite.  It didn't even need butter; I just ate it plain.

We polished off the rest of the baguette for dinner with the Southwestern Chicken Black Bean Soup I made, and the leftover roasted potato got tossed into the soup, which made it even better.

We couldn't really see any of the onion or potato in the slices of the bread, maybe because I diced up the onion in small pieces before adding it to the dough, I'm not sure, but believe me you could taste the onion!
 This is such a wonderful bread that I know will get made again, especially during winter soup weather.  I am anxious to see how everyone else baking along with mellow bakers, does with this bread in July.