Monday, November 30, 2009

Adventures with Rye Part 6: Rye Bagels

It's been ages since I've posted about my adventures with bread. I've been baking challah almost every week and regular breads here and there but I consistently neglect to tell you about them. My deepest apologies. To make up for it I made rye bagels last night. Bagels has been a project that I've been wanting to undertake for a while, as a devoted New York bagel lover. With an open bag of rye flour, I decided to make these rye bagels. As soon as this batch is done, though, I'm going to make a batch of regular bagels. I used the Rye Bagel recipe from George Greenstein's Secrets from a Jewish Baker. I started rather late in the evening but they came together perfectly smoothly and quickly. I used half rye and half all purpose with two tablespoons of vital wheat gluten. I let the dough sit for about an hour. I suppose youre not supposed to let them rise that much so that they remain characteristically dense and chewy. I have a secret to confess to.... I didnt boil them! It was just too late and I wasnt in the mood to deal with boiling and messes. Next time Ill be a better girl, I promise. As far as shaping, I started punching holes in rounds of dough and expanding them but I didnt like the look. I then rolled them into ropes, overlapped them and then sealed them by placing my hand through the center and rolling back and forth. I baked them for about a half hour at 400 degrees or so and took them out when they had nice color. They looked so professional and the girls were so proud! I couldnt resist tasting one of them so I broke into one. The texture was dense and chewy and tasted of rye. I deliberately left out caraway so that the rye flavor could shine through unadulterated. Rye is a flavor that I'm not used to but is growing on me. Now I have a freezer-ful of bagels to enjoy throughout the coming weeks. Maybe Ill make a batch of white anyway just to switch things up. I'm sending some over to Yeastspotting; check them out!

Rye Bagels
adapted from Secrets of a Jewish Baker

2 cups warm water
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp sugar
3 cups rye flour
3-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 tbsp salt

Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl,
whisk to combine.
Pour the water and oil over the dry ingredients and mix to make a shaggy dough.
Turn out onto a surface and knead for fifteen minutes until you have a stiff, smooth dough.
Set aside to rise for an hour. A finger pressed into the dough should remain indented. Preheat the oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into three pieces.
Roll each third into a rope,
and divide into four pieces.
Form into bagels. And place on the baking sheets. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cinnamon Neoclassic Buttercream

As promised, here is the Cinnamon Neoclassic Buttercream that I used to top the Pumpkin Cake. This is simply Rose's neoclassic buttercream with lots of cinnamon added. The instructions at first seem intimidating, but it's really not all the difficult to make. This is my second time making this buttercream. Last time though I made it espresso flavored, to top a chocolate layer cake. I actually have made this frosting parve, using margarine, and its been successful both times. I've also used only 200 grams of it instead of the 227 that Rose uses in hers, with no negative outcome. The frosting yields enough for a two layer cake and is creamy and really just a good all purpose cream that is not too sweet. There's not a package of powdered sugar to be seen! For the cinnamon buttercream, add cinnamon to taste. I really wanted a dominant flavor and it took about four tbsp. I know that seems like a lot. Add about half a tablespoon at a time to make sure you dont overdo it.

Cinnamon Neoclassic Buttercream
adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes

56 grams eggs yolks, about 3 large
75 grams sugar
85 grams corn syrup
200 grams margarine or butter
1 tsp vanilla
Cinnamon to taste- good quality

Place the egg yolks in a bowl.Beat on high speed with a mixer until light in color.

Place the sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan. Stir well to thoroughly moisten the sugar.

Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugars dissolve. Raise the heat a bit and continue to cook, without stirring until the whole syrup is boiling. Remove from the heat.

With your mixer on, pour the syrup into the eggs and beat until it is all incorporated. Be sure not to hit the beaters with the syrup.

Before adding the fat, you must make sure the egg mixture is completely cool to the touch. Once it is, begin adding it in a tbsp at a time, thoroughly beating after each addition.

Add the vanilla,
and the cinnamon to taste. Frost your cake as desired. If not using right away, wrap tightly and refrigerate. Re-beat to restore it to its original consistency before using.

Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

Here in Israel, I don't usually celebrate Thanksgiving. It's just not an Israeli thing to do. For Americans it is one of only two days a year that they stop everything to get together and feast. But Jews do it every weekend and many times beyond that for the holidays. That's why Thanksgiving isnt really the biggest deal. But my friend S was hosting a dinner party for some friends and I decided that even if I'm not into the ceremonial part of it, it would be nice to just hang out with friends, catch up with the old and meet some new ones over great food. Truth is, I had a great time but was stuffed like a turkey (please excuse the really corny pun), in a good way, at the end, only to go right into Shabbat the next day and have to eat a whole lot more! In any case, I was on duty to make dessert for dinner, which of course I was happy to oblige with. This was the perfect time to finally put my lone, precious can of pumpkin to use. I didnt want to make the typical pie and being on a tremendous cake kick, I decided to make the pumpkin cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. I made it a two layer cake instead of making it in a pumpkin mold, something that I dont have and am not sure is even worth purchasing. I frosted it with a cinnamon buttercream. (See upcoming post for the how-to on the frosting.) This cake was so good that I licked up the extra batter like it was actual cake. The baked cake was so super moist and flavorful, the best pumpkin anything I've ever tasted. This is the pumpkin cake to make. I used regular oil instead of the walnut and omitted the nuts themselves as well. The assembled cake looked so pretty. Nice and smooth. I didnt get a picture of how it looked sliced because I didnt bring my camera with. But you can trust me on this one. Thanks to E for shlepping the cake around town so that I wouldnt have to come back from the other side of the city to pick it up. This cake went in seconds. Hard to not go back for seconds. Despite my no repeats rule, I can see myself making this cake over and over for fall. Just as soon as the pumpkin shortage ends.

Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream
adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes

1 3/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup plus 2 tbsp brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 recipe Cinnamon Buttercream

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two nine inch cake rounds with parchment. Grease and set aside.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk to blend and set aside.
In another bowl, place the sugar, oil and eggs.
Whisk or beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes.
Add the vanilla and the pumpkin.
Whisk until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients,
and stir to make a uniform batter.
Divide the batter evenly among the two cake pans. Smooth them out as best as you can.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in their pans for ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
To frost the cake: dab a bit of frosting on your cake plate to secure the cake. Place one layer on top.
Plop on a healthy dose of frosting,
and spread to the edges of the layer, smoothing all around. Scrape off the unnecessary frosting to even it out.
Place the second layer on top and repeat.
Frost the sides and smooth them out. Voila! Thanksgiving dessert!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Our internet is finally running again and I'm back with a post. Why was the internet down, you ask? The hotel that houses us decided to password protect the internet as all of our students with illegal contraband, aka computers, have been slowing it down. Good for us that we dont have to deal with the issue of illegal computers but bad that we didnt have internet. After much begging on our behalf, Rabbi G finally got us our internet back. And so I bring you Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream. I've had a bunch of overripe bananas sitting on my counter for a bit and decided to finally put them to use instead of letting them mold. Having already made cake, bread and muffins, pretty much all the classics, I decided to go with cupcakes. They are always cute and put a smile on people's faces (even when I correct people who call them muffins!) I required any girl who wanted one to pay a minimum two shekel for charity. I thought it was only fair! The response was actually quite enthusiastic. Anyway, the recipe I used the recipe for the cupcakes comes from Baked. The batter turned out smooth and silky. For the frosting, I used the PB Buttercream from the excellent Rose's Heavenly Cakes. (I had made the spice cake with buttercream but found the combination totally uninspired and unenjoyable. I'm not sure what she was thinking, this being the first time I've ever been displeased, and threw out half the cake. Don't worry, I've been hearing about that one ever since.) In any case, the PB buttercream was delicious on its own and I thought it would be right at home on these banana cupcakes, a la PB-Banana Sandwiches. The cream comes together in seconds in a food processor. This was a winning combo, with the girls pronouncing them delightful and of course, heavenly. The only thing I would do differently is cut back the sugar a bit in the cupcakes as they were a tad too sweet. Other than that, a home run. I've been enjoying this cake kick that I've been on as of late... Coming soon.. Pumpkin cake with Cinnamon Buttercream!

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream
from Baked and Rose's Heavenly Cakes

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine
2 tsp sour cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripened vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the frosting, place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides.
Preheat the oven to 350. Line two muffin trays with paper liners. Set aside.
Combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.
Place the fats in a mixing bowl.
Cream until light and creamy.
And the sugar and vanilla,
and beat until fluffy once more.
Add the eggs,
and blend until combined.
Add the banana,
and mix well.
Add the flour,
alternately with the buttermilk, beginning an ending with flour and mixing well between each addition.
Using a muffin scoop, scoop batter into each well.
Bake the cupcakes for twenty-twenty five minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool. When cool, frost.
Shabbat Shalom!