Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hamburger Buns

3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional flour for kneading 2 cups whole wheat flour
⅓ cup toasted wheat germ
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup solid vegetable shortening

Place 1½ cups each all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, the toasted wheat germ, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, preferably a heavy-duty one with a paddle attachment, briefly mix together the ingredients.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the shortening. Add the milk and sugar and heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is very warm, but no hotter than 120 or 130 degrees. With the mixer at low speed, slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture until blended. Increase to medium speed and beat mixture for about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup each white flour and whole wheat flour and beat 2 minutes more. Add 1 cup white flour and beat until dough comes away from sides of bowl.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (Use very little additional flour.) Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until double in volume, about 1 or 1½ hours.

Gently punch dough down and divide dough into four equal portions. Divide each portion into fourths and allow dough to rest just 5 minutes. Form the small portions into balls and with fingertips fold edges under to form even circles. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, about 2-inches apart and with fingertips flatten each bun to a 3-inch circle. (If you prefer the sides of the buns to remain soft, place them closer together. Then as the buns rise the sides will touch.) Cover with a towel and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Adjust rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees at least 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped lightly. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing. (Or cool and freeze, well-wrapped, for up to 1 week.) Makes 16.

To form hot dog buns: Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll out each portion to a rectangle about 14 x 5 inches. Cut about eight 5 x 2 inch strips from each rectangle. Between the palms of your hands, roll each portion into 6-inch long buns. Place buns, about 2-inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with a cloth towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake as directed for hamburger buns.

Wheat Berries: Add ⅓ cup wheat berries and a dash of salt to 2 cups boiling water. Cover saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool, covered, for about 1½ hours or until tender. Drain and dry them well. With wooden spoon, stir wheat berries into dough before kneading it.

Walnuts: Toast ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts in a 325 degree oven about 10 minutes. Cool and with a wooden spoon stir into dough before kneading it.

Olives: Coarsely chop ⅓ cup pitted, oil- or brine-cured black or green olives. With wooden spoon (or paddle attachment and mixer at low speed) stir olives into dough before kneading it.

Sesame Seeds: After shaping buns, lightly brush top of buns with an egg white lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water. Sprinkle sesame seeds over glaze. Cover lightly with a towel and allow buns to rise before baking.

Makes 16


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spirited Honey Cake

6 eggs
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups honey
1⅓ cups oil
1¼ cups hot water mixed with 6 teaspoons instant coffee
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3½ cups flour
½ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¾ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup whiskey

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line 9x13 pan with wax paper.

Beat eggs and sugar. Add all liquids and mix. Then add dry ingredients.

Bake for approximately 1 hour, until an inserted knife comes out clean.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Herbed Bread

3½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup dry milk powder
¼ cup sugar
1 package (¼ ounce or 1 T) active dry yeast
2 cups water
2 T vegetable oil
2 T butter or margarine
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup sliced green onions
3 T minced fresh parsley or 1 T dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons salt

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, milk powder, sugar and yeast. In a saucepan, heat water, oil and butter to 120-130 degrees (F) and add to dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for three minutes.

Stir in eggs, onions, parsley, oregano, salt and enough remaining all-purpose flour to make a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape into loaves; place in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until done.

Makes 2 loaves


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Balthazar Chocolate Bread

2½ cups bread flour
¼ cup dutch-process cocoa powder
⅓ cup plus 2 T granulated sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
¼ cup bread starter
1¼ teaspoon salt
2 T unsalted butter room temperature
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate cut into ¼ -inch pieces
vegetable oil for bowl
1 large egg yolk lightly beaten
1 T heavy cream
2 T turbinado sugar

¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup + 3 T all-purpose flour

For starter:
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water. Stir in flour until completely incorporated. Cover; proof at room temperature 4 to 6 hours. Store in a plastic container, refrigerated, with plastic wrap covering but not touching the starter. Once a week, stir ¼ cup flour to feed starter.

For the chocolate bread:
In the bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine bread, flour, cocoa powder, ⅓ cup sugar, 1 cup water, yeast, and bread starter. Combine on low speed for 5 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.

Add salt and butter, and mix on medium speed until the dough develops a sheen, about 10 minutes. Add the chocolate. Continue mixing on medium speed until completely combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl; place dough in bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Turn out dough and fold into thirds, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 30 minutes. Butter two 6¾ x 3 x 2¼-inch loaf pans; coat with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Divide dough in half; divide each half into four equal portions. Roll each piece of dough on a clean work surface in a circular motion, forming a tight ball. Place four pieces of dough, smooth sides up, in each loaf pan. Cover pans tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Position oven rack in center of oven; heat to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine egg yolk and cream. Lightly brush risen loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Bake until loaves have a slightly hollow sound when you tap tops with your finger, 40-45 minutes; turn out loaves. Return loaves to wire rack; let cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic and store up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Apple Crisp

6 apples (pippins)
1/2 cup of butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of cold water

Preparing the apple crisp:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a baking dish with butter generously.

Blend butter, cinnamon, brown and granulated sugars and flour until crumbly.

Pare and slice apples, and place in greased baking dish.

Sprinkle with flour and sugar mixture.

Add water.

Bake for 1 hour.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or lazy heavy whipped cream.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Teiglach, Another Way

2½ cups sifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
4 tablespoons salad oil
1 pound dark honey
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp powdered ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups coarsely chopped filberts (or other nuts except peanuts)

½ cup candied cherries

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.

Make a well in the center and drop the eggs and oil into it. Work into the flour and mix until a dough is formed.

Break off pieces of dough and roll into pencil-thick strips.

Cut into ½-inch pieces and place on alightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes or until browned. Shake pan once or twice. Cool.

Cook the honey, brown sugar, ginger and nutmeg for 15 minutes.

Drop the baked dough into it and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the nuts and cook 10 minutes additional, stirring frequently.

Test the mixture by dropping a little on a wet surface; if it holds together, it’s done; if not, cook until it does.

Turn out onto a wet board and let cool until easy enough to handle. Then shape into 3-inch balls between moistened hands.

Decorate with the candied cherries.

Update: You can get teiglach and other authentic Jewish sweets through mail order from the Delancey Dessert Company in New York.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Teiglach, One Way

Teiglach (pronounced tayg'-lach), one of my favorite comfort foods from childhood, is a traditional Jewish sweet. Its description in many recipes online ("knotted balls of dough boiled in a honey syrup") doesn't do it justice: It is simply delicious. We used to get it at the bakery once a year at Rosh Hashana, but after moving west, it was hard to come by.*

A few years ago, I began experimenting with different recipes before coming up with the teiglach in my memory.

3 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 2 large eggs & 2 T vegetable oil)
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1¾ cups all-purpose flour, preferable unbleached

1 cup honey
½ cup sugar
½ to 1 tsp ground ginger

Optional: 1 cup coarsely chopped (almost whole) hazelnuts, walnuts, blanched almonds or cashews; ⅓ to ½ cup minced candied fruit (maraschino cherries)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease a large baking sheet. Oil a large plate or second baking sheet.

To make the dough:
Combine the eggs, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft, workable dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and, using floured hands, knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

Roll the dough into ⅓-inch-thick ropes. Cut into ⅓-inch pieces and roll each piece into a ball. (It is okay that the dough pieces are not smooth, as this will allow the honey to seep inside.)

Arrange the dough pieces in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, shaking the pan occasionally, until very lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

To make the syrup:
Stir the honey, sugar, and ginger in a large saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the dough pieces and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes. Add the nuts and fruit, if desired, and cook until the syrup is a deep brown and the dough pieces sound hollow when tapped, about 10 additional minutes.

Pour the teiglach onto the oiled plate or baking sheet and let stand until cool enough to handle.

Using wet hands, shape into 2- to 3-inch mounds or shape into 1 large mound and cut into pieces Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

*Update: You can get teiglach and other authentic Jewish sweets through mail order from the Delancey Dessert Company in New York.


Thursday, September 4, 2008


1 cup all-purpose bleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 T sugar
1 T vegetable shortening
1/3 cup hot water
1-2 T flour, if needed
peanut oil for frying
powdered sugar

Put first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use fingers or a pastry cutter to thoroughly combine and evening distribute shortening.

Add hot water and stir with a fork until the mixture forms a dough. If dough is too dry to mold or knead, add a bit more water. If dough seems too wet, add 1-2 tablespoons flour. Knead a couple of times, then place in a plastic bag and let rise 1 hour in a warm place.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll dough into a rectangle about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. If the dough seems too elastic to roll easily, cover and let rest a few minutes more, then roll again. Fold the dough in half and roll the rectangle again. Cut the dough into 3 x 4-inch rectangles.

Heat at least 5 inches of oil in a 3-quart saucepan or deep fryer to 350-360 degrees. Fry 1 or 2 at a time, spooning hot oil over the top to encourage puffing. Drain on paper towels. Immediately dust with powdered sugar and serve with honey.

Makes 16 sopaipillas


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