Monday, June 28, 2010

July 1st Bread Braid with HBin5
1/2 Recipe of Whole Wheat Mixed Berry Bread, pgs 197-200
1/2 Recipe of Whole Wheat Banana Bread, pgs 200-203  (this one will be a post at a later time)

While we can not put the recipe on our blogs, due to our agreement with the authors of Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, we can share what and how we substituted with the group in our blogs.

I've been using Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois two books, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day since their books came out. I love the ease of the recipes, and the wonderful way they come out. I very seldom buy bread anymore.
Canned sour cherries for the frozen berries.
1/2c honey instead of 1/4c.
2 tsp almoond extract.
OK, so the July 1st assignment is a whole wheat berry bread or muffins using frozen berries that are thawed out.  I have about 1 cup of frozen raspberries which I refuse to use in a bread...they're for Ken to eat with some Splenda on them.  So next I looked at the supply of dried berries.  Not much there either, and the little there is needs to be saved for our trail mix we carry when kayaking. 

But I did have 3 cans of sour cherries that I had just picked up at Ollie's one of our discount stores.  I love sour cherries!  I love a good sour cherry pie with almonds best.  So why not make a sour cherry almond bread?  Ooooh!  Now that sounds good. 

I mixed up the dough as instructed and it came out very good.  Instead of 1/4 c honey I upped it to 1/2c because I knew with the sour cherries I would need just a bit more sweetness.  Two cans sour cherries are just right.  I reserved the juice from the second cup of cherries because I did not want to make the dough overly wet and this dough is very wet as it is. 

Next day I took the dough out.  It's a very moist, loose dough.  So what to do with it?  Still thinking about the cherry pie, I decided I HAD to take it a step further.  LOL.  So I rolled a section of the dough into a circle.

I spread ricotta cheese on the circle of dough, add some extra sour cherries (from a third can) and chopped almonds.  The dough is so soft that I lift a quarter of it with my flat dough scraper.  I go around lifting and laying the dough into the center, until I am all the way around.  The I pinch the dough together to keep the fillings from bubbling out, I hope!  I lift the entire thing with my dough scraper and place it gently in one of the big muffin silicone cups I love to use for small round loaves. 

Ken couldn't wait once I took the cherry almond ricotta muffin out of the oven!  Pssstt I didn't even whisper the word whole wheat to him!  The bread was so tender and delicious!  BTW no, he didn't use the raspberry jam next to the plate. 

The filling is well distributed plentiful! 

I made 6 of these huge muffins, and then decided I needed to try a loaf but decided I would fill it with ricotta, cherries and almonds also.  But I remembered an episode of Everyday Italian : Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network.  She explained how she loves ricotta cheese for dessert with a drizzle of honey.  So that's what I did!

Again, I had to use the dough scraper to bring up each 1/4 side and continue all the way around. 

Once I had it all wrapped up I gently lifted it with the scraper and dropped it into a loaf pan that I had rubbed butter on the inside.  I brushed extra cherry juice on it just before I baked it.  There was no reason to slash the dough that I could see. 

The breads did not come out burned but they look like it in this picture.  Also that white spot is ricotta trying to escape.  

As usual I wanted to share the fun and this time I took a few of the muffin loaves into the gals that work in the cafe in the building where I work.  I always have a great time with the crew of the Coffee Company cafe. Even if I am not getting something to eat I stop in and we exchange laughs and jokes.  When I told Bev and Carolyn that I wanted a picture of them "cheek to cheek"... meaning their two heads together...they immediately went into this pose!  LOL. 

They loved the bread and the filling! While they were waxing on about how good it was a customer heard them, and she ended up sharing in the bounty also!

Here is Carol, a customer of the cafe proudly showing her portion of my latest bread...I am still not sure what to call it!

Be sure to click on the HBin5 logo to view all the other blogs in our group! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 15th Whole Wheat Bread w/ Olive Oil, Pizza and Ciabatta

I full Recipe of Whole Wheat Bread Dough with Olive Oil
Pesto Pizza w/Grilled Chicken on the Gas Grill, pgs 213-215
1 loaf Seed Encrusted Pita Bread, pgs 223-224
Oven Baked whole grain Pizza w/Roasted Red Peppers & Fontina cheese

While we can not put the recipe on our blogs, due to our agreement with the authors of Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, we can share what and how we substituted with the group in our blogs.
I've been using Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois two books, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day since they books came out. I love the ease of the recipes, and the wonderful way they come out. I very seldom buy bread anymore.

5c WWW (white whole wheat) for the whole wheat
2c AP (All Purpose) for 2 c of the WW (whole wheat) measurements
Instead of pesto I used fresh herbs from my garden that will be listed out below

Thank you to all those who wished me luck on my final exam for the SQL class I completed mid-June.  I got a B for the semester!  Woohoo!  Then shortly after that I had to travel to Pittsburgh for my job.  So I am just now getting back to participating in the HBin5 Bread Braid! 
Pesto Pizza w/Grilled Chicken on the Gas Grill
When we made the Pesto bread back around St. Patrick's Day, I decided I didn't care for the pesto in the dough.  So for this recipe I put fresh herbs in the dough when I first mixed it.  I am very fortunate to have a few herbs growing in my back yard!
Clockwise from the top:  thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano and garlic in the center.  The garlic is the only herb not from my garden.

I also added a full cup of Kraft Parmesan Cheese (in the shaker). 
Since I had mixed the dough using my Kitchen Aid mixer I let it rise in the bowl.  Then transferred it to a Hefty Jumbo bag.  I have been wanting to try this for a couple of years. A few years ago I stood watching the gals at one of the pretzel stands in a local mall.  I noticed that the gal took her pretzel dough out of a plastic bag and then started cutting the dough into pretzel size chunks.  Since my frig was packed I decided to give it a try this time.   

As you can see in the two pictures above the plastic bag works great!  It still allows room for the dough to expand and conforms to the shape of area alloted to it on the shelf.  Of course it does look as though it was trying to slither down in the bottom picture!  LOL. 

The next day I made pizzas.  I didn't try grilling the chicken or the pizza due to the thunderstorms in our area, plus I still had some roasted chicken in the frig to use up. 


I warmed up about 4 ounces of goat cheese and spread it on the dough, then added sliced onions, mushrooms, black olives, and roasted chicken thigh pieces.  I then sprinkled Reggiano parmesan cheese that I had shredded very fine, and finally topped it all with mozzarella.  It only took 15 minutes to bake the two personal pizzas in a 500 degree oven.  Wonderful flavor and crust! 

Whole Wheat Bread w/Olive Oil Ciabatta

Ciabatta is one of my favorite forms of bread!  Especially the way I make it.  In this case I used a portion of the same dough I used for the pizzas.  I flatten it out on a cookie sheet that I put a Wilton silicon mat.  I usually spray the mat but I don't think it's really necessary.  I do roll the basic shape out on the counter first, transfer to the silicon mat, and then press out the dough to fit the pan as much as I can. 

Since I was using the herbed dough, the only thing I did to the ciabatta dough was dimple it with my fingertips when it had risen sufficiently, and sprinkle olive oil on the dimpled dough.  Finally I sprinkle a bit of kosher salt on.  Just before putting in the oven I score the dough into squares.  This makes for easy breaking after it's baked.  I do add hot water to a pan in the oven to get a good steam and nice crisp crust.  You can see in the pictures below how nice and flaky the bread comes out.  What a delicious bread! 




I didn't have time to try the pita bread.  That will have to come later. 
Please be sure to check out the other bakers blog in our HBin5 group.  Just click on the link below:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brunello Italian Wine ... Yes, you CAN do this Three!

Disclaimer: This is NOT a technical article nor is it meant to be. I am simply demonstrating how I make wine using Wine Expert kits. I also make wine from "scratch" but will post about that later.

I keep forgetting how easy it is to make wine using the Wine Expert kits!  It actually takes more time to write about it than to do it! 

Be sure to read my first two posts on this subject before going on.  You can go to:

I started the wine on 5-16-2010.  Step one was completed on 5-23-2010. 

Step 2 was completed on 6-3-2010.  This involved "racking" the wine, which just means transferring it to a smaller carboy.  So I transferred it using a siphon to a 6 gallon glass carboy. 

But first you need to make sure you check the wine using a hydrometer.  A hydrometer is an instrument used to measure the specific gravity (or relative density) of liquids; that is, the ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water.  In this particular case we are using it to help us determine the alcoholic content and how much of the sugars the yeast have absorbed. 

For a more technical explanation go to:

So the first reading on the hydrometer I had was 1.093.  After the fermentation "stops" the reading should be 1.010 or less.  This is all explained in the kit instructions.  Mine came in at 0.990 on 5-23-2010. 

After sanitizing any of the equipment I use, including the glass hydrometer, I poured about 8 ounces of wine into a 12 inch tall tube.  Then I recorded the number on the hydrometer that the wine comes up to.  The fun thing about testing with the hydrometer is I can not put the wine that I tested back in with the rest of the wine.  Oh darn!  That means I have to drink it.  ;-)  Even though the wine is just getting past the fermenting stage I can begin to taste some of the notes of it! 

If it matches the 1.010 or less on the hydrometer, you can transfer it to another carboy.  In this case I used a six gallon glass carboy.  To make it easier I used a syphon. 

Here you can see there is space left at the top.  Instructions say do NOT top it off at this point.  This is because the yeasts have just been moved around and could now be active again. 

So it's wait another 10 days. 

After ten days, check the specific gravity again using the hydrometer.  Again, I sanitized all my equipment before I began!  I checked it again the next day to make sure that it is the same.  If it is still going down, this means the yeast is still active. In my readings it was fine, and remained the same.

Then following the instructions I dissolved the contents of package package #2, the metabisulphite and #3 the package of sorbate in 1/2 c of cool water.  Yes, I did remember to sanitize my scissors and the cup! 

After carefully pouring this mixture in the carboy of wine I stirred it up for two minutes.  I use a stirring rod that my husband, Ken, made for me.  The stirring rod fits onto a standard electric drill.  The stirring drives off the CO2 and disperses the stabilizers.  I had to be sure to stir up the yeasts from the bottom. 

Next I added package #4, the isinglass clarifier.  Then I stirred again for two more minutes.  If I didn't add this and stirred it up very well, my wine may not clear so it's an important ingredient and step! 
That's it for this part which has been step 2 and 3.  Next step will be bottling! 
As I've said before, how is can you get?!