Friday, July 29, 2011

Adventures with Rye Part 8: Rye Rolls

Before I say anything about these freshly baked rye rolls, I must first wish myself a Happy Blogoversary! Three years ago, on a blazing hot summer day in Bar Ilan, this blog was born. It's been so much fun baking and keeping it up. I hope to even with the army ahead of me. Here's to three more! Once more in Jerusalem for Shabbat, I knew for certain that I wanted a caraway flavored bread. At once a total stranger to the flavor of caraway, I now love its hard-to-pinpoint flavor. I searched all of my books for a simple caraway bread but didn't come up with much. It looked to me like if I wanted caraway, I was going to have to take rye with it. Which was fine by me. Having bought a kilo of rye flour, it was time to start putting it to use, anyway. Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker had the perfect recipe for Rye Rolls. Simple, easy and full of caraway. Bingo! I made the dough last night, allowed it to ferment overnight in the fridge and baked them this morning. I couldn't resist having a couple for lunch today and my were they divine. Perfect sandwich bread texture, soft but with a good chew and great flavor. I made 9 large rolls instead of 18 small ones because I like to be able to use them in a sandwich. These rolls are off to Yeastspotting. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Water Rolls

 After my draft on Thursday, they sent me home to wait for news on what my job will be. It was nice because I was home for Shabbat, but now it's Tuesday and after going back and forth for a couple of days, I'm still waiting. I took the opportunity erev Shabbat to throw together a batch of rolls (even though I was going out for all meals) and it was really good I did because they have been serving as my source of sustenance on my long trips back and forth to the base. Thank God for egg salad sandwiches otherwise I'd have starved over there while waiting in the blistering heat. The recipe for this is actually a great one from Beth Henspberger's Bread Bible. A simple water roll that's perfect for sandwiches, it's a recipe I've been looking for for awhile. I omitted the rice flour topping and instead used an egg yolk glaze and topped with sesame seeds. I made the dough in the mixer and because it has a nice amount of yeast coupled with the insane heat, the dough rose fast. I would, however, reduce the yeast next time to get some better flavor. But I'm not complicating. I also want to try these with fruit juice, so I'll post about those when I do. Until then, happy sandwiching and beat the heat! These are off to Yeastspotting!

Friday, July 22, 2011


I made these cookies last weekend to pair with the plum and mango sorbets. I know I'm a bit late in posting them but that's because life has been busy. In fact, just yesterday, I went into the army and as I type this I'm sitting in uniform. I don't know how often I'll be able to post, let alone bake, but I'm not letting this blog go! Anyway, everyone loved these cookies on their own, forgoing eating them with the sorbet. Oh, well. The recipe comes from Bakewise, although I followed someone's tip to use turbinado sugar, and that's what I used. I tasted a tiny bit of them and they were robustly flavored, with an almost hind of deep caramel. I guess the overnight chill in the fridge really benefited them. If you want really snappy gingersnaps, bake the full amount of time. If you prefer some softer, pull them out a bit earlier.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mango Sorbet

Here's the mango sorbet that I promised you. Originally I intended to make an apricot sorbet but the supermarket that I went into Thursday night was out, indicating that apricot season was effectively over. Disheartened, I looked around and saw mangoes. Now, I personally am really not a fan of mango at all, but I walked over to them anyway and they were perfectly ripe. Mango sorbet it would be. I picked up three of them and took em on home. Like the plum sorbet, this was super easy to make. Well, almost super easy. I don't have much experience cutting mango so I thought I would cut myself a couple of times. The other challenging part for me was straining the puree. The recipe doesnt call for it straining but I wanted super smooth sorbet so I took the time to do it. A bit messy and time consuming, but definitely worth it. More so than the plum sorbet, the mango sorbet really was really true to the fruit's flavor. I omitted the rum from the recipe and substituted lemon juice for the lime juice and the result was still great; clean and fresh. If you're looking for something easy to make, freeze your ice cream maker work bowl today so you can have refreshing sorbet tomorrow! In this summer heat, how can you resist??

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maryetta's Oat Bread

As I'm generally do when I'm home for Shabbat, this weekend I made bread for Friday night dinner in addition to the challot for Shabbat day. (Those came out beautifully but unfortunately, way too dry.) Browsing through some of my books, I came upon Maryetta's Oat Bread in Beard on Bread and did some research on it. The blogs that I found featuring this recipe raved about it. Having everything on hand, I decided to make a half batch. I am so glad I did, because all those blogs turned out to be sooooo on the mark. This bread was one of the best loaves of bread I have ever made. The crumb was soft but still sturdy, with slight but present creaminess from the flecks of oats, and a subtle sweetness from the oats and date honey. This bread never made it past Friday night, at all, in fact I think I had most of it, but I imagine it would be awesome toasted. I did adapt it slightly. To supplement my lack of whole oats I used some quick cooking as well, and I used date honey instead of molasses. I made a half batch, yielding one 9 inch loaf and two rolls. You could scale the dough differently, making an 8 inch loaf and more rolls. As soon as I get my hands on some more oats, I'm making this again. Until then, this loaf is off to Yeastspotting!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Plum Sorbet

Shavua tov! The whole of last week led up to a big Shabbat meal I hosted as a sort of pre-draft get together with all my friends. Thank G-d, it was a success, but this week now leads up to the draft itself, on Thursday. Ahh!! In any case, planning the meal was super fun and this time, with my new (used) ice cream maker in hand, Shabbat dessert was a no-brainer: fresh, homemade fruit sorbet. As you can see, I made a plum sorbet. When I was in the shuk last week, I saw Santa Rosa plums and figured that in one form another, the latest additions to the market would make it into dessert. I opened up my copy of The Perfect Scoop and found a recipe for Plum Raspberry Sorbet. Since raspberries are hard to find here, fresh or frozen, and are quite expensive even if you do manage to find them, I decided to adapt the recipe into a plum only recipe. The sorbet couldn't have been easier to make. Cook together plums, sugar, water. Cool, blend and churn. Done. The cooking turned the final product a beautiful color I don't even know the name of! And the flavor was so fresh and clean and summery. I served these with gingersnaps (more on those later) which I thought was a great pairing and David Lebovitz agrees; I only saw afterwards his recommendation to serve these in gingersnap ice cream cones. Anyway, if you want to take advantage of the fruits of the season, make some sorbet. I have leftover cherries that a guest brought... can you guess what I'm going to make with them once they're all pitted??

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cowboy Cookies

I was asked to bring dessert for lunch this past weekend and figured the best thing to make would be cookies, small, dry (travelling with frozen dessert- not the wisest thing to do in this weather) and no fork necessary. The decision to make cookies really came as I was browsing through Baked Explorations for inspiration. In the cookie chapter, I came across this recipe for Cowboy Cookies, which is essentially a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie with the addition of salty pretzels, playing off the sweet and salty flavor contrast. Interestingly enough, I found out when I served them that they brought to mind Chubby Hubby, the Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor that contains pretzels. This was new to me. When I got home I found out that  Ben and Jerry's renamed their ice cream Hubby Hubby in support of gay marriage. So maybe I should rename them Brokeback Mountain Cookies. Anyway, these cookies were really easy to make but do require quite a chill in the fridge. The Baked guys recommend four hours, but I didn't wait that long. Something else I learned- I'm not a fan of convection baking for cookies. I've realized that they are indeed responsible for making my cookies crisp instead of chewy because they bake them faster than I can realize that they are done. So when it comes to cookies from here on out, it's regular bake! These cookies were really well received (after people got over the shock of the pretzels) and if you really feel inclined to take these over the top, you can sandwich them around some ice cream for a really fun summertime treat.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Herb Rolls

Shavua tov! Things are heating up here in Jerusalem in an unbearable way. Shabbat was particularly brutal, especially when walking to and from shul and meals in the blazing heat. I find myself staying home and hanging around in my apartment all day just to avoid the heat! In any case, seeing as I was home again for Shabbat, I decided, along with the challah, to bake some rolls. I've been wanting to make herb rolls again ever since I made them for a Purim Seuda years ago in Bar Ilan, adapted from one from KAF. A thorough search in my recipe box for the index card with the recipe neatly written on it turned up nothing. So it was back to the drawing board. A cursory glance through my bread books yielded nothing. Then I thought to look through Bernard Clayton's thorough bread book. My copy is still in the states, but I did a search through Amazon's look inside the book feature. My search turned up a recipe called Six Herb bread. Perfect! Well, almost, considering I didn't have all those herbs. But I decided to use it as a jumping off point and adapt it. That's exactly what I did. I omitted the sugar from the recipe, used regular oil, and used some dried rosemary, dried thyme and a touch of caraway. I made the dough and let it rise overnight in the fridge. The next day, I took the opportunity to try my hand at shaping different types of rolls. The rolls turned out really well! The flavor of rosemary dominated, but it was mellowed out by the baking and at some points I got a lovely hit of caraway. (I gotta start using it more!) I enjoyed it mostly with Matbucha, a mild to spicy tomato spread, and stashed the leftovers in the freezer. These rolls are headed off to Yeastspotting!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sugar Puffs

I made these vanilla cookies this past weekend as a counterpoint to the deeply chocolately Chocolate Sorbet, thinking that the lightness of the cookie itself and its gentle vanilla flavor would nicely balance it out. Or, as one noted, for those who don't like chocolate. Or, if you know me, to complete my favorite color combination- black and white. ;) The addition of cornstarch to this shortbread like batter makes these ethereally light. This batch yielded about 21 cookies for me, so double the recipe if you need more. The tops won't color terribly, but keep an eye on the bottoms and sides, they should turn a nice golden color.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chocolate Sorbet

This weekend, I hosted my very first Shabbat meal in my apartment! And, be proud, for the first time in a long time, my dessert choice came easily to me! As the summer progresses and the days get hotter, I find the need for something cool and refreshing increases. So I whipped out my copy of The Perfect Scoop and looked around for information. In this definitive volume devoted to all things ice cream, David Lebovitz provides no shortage of inspiration. Seeing as I have no ice cream maker, I didn't want to use a million egg yolks, and dairy was off limits, I headed to the chapter on sorbets. The fruit sorbets sounded delicious, (the cherry sorbet stood out as it's prime cherry season here!) but I passed them over in favor of the rich and decadent Chocolate Sorbet. Made with only the best cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, this sorbet packs a powerful punch. Add the chill factor and you have a wonderful, refreshing, and refreshingly different Shabbat dessert. If you have an ice cream maker, this is a breeze to prepare. If you don't, and I don't (I asked around electronic shops here, apparently they dont carry them anymore in this country- shame!), you can still make this by chilling the base and then beating it every half hour to break up the ice crystals. The texture isn't as smooth as if machine churned, but this version doesn't suffer too much. Out of sheer laziness, and the late hour, I didn't blend before starting the freezing process, but I don't think it mattered. Also, for easier mixing, I poured the base into a nine inch pan.  I would suggest though, pouring the base into a tall container when you're finished the "churning" process as the increased surface area of the pan allows the sorbet to melt faster. No one complained about the fudgy, melty texture, in fact this was a big hit, but I would have preferred nice, clean, unmelted scoops of sorbet. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

KAF 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Happy July everyone and more importantly, happy summer! (I can't believe it's summer already. I keep asking people what they're doing for summer before realizing, oh wait, it is summer!) This loaf of bread was the last thing I baked in SFW before moving to the new apartment, which really does end a two year "era" of baking there. It seems fitting that the last thing I baked was a loaf of bread, my favorite thing to make. Normally, I don't eat bread during the week, so I have to hold myself back from baking it, but because the move was coming up and there really was no food in the fridge, I made an exception. Especially since it was going to have to be whole wheat, as I had a bag of it still in the fridge. The recipe I used was the 100% Whole Wheat Bread Baker's Companion. I made this bread once before when I was in Bar Ilan and my notes accompanying it say, "Really great bread-nice subtle flavor. Not squishy but not at all dense. Perfect w.w. loaf- go to recipe, keeper! Omitted walnuts and seeds. Made by hand, used scale." This bread really is a great whole wheat loaf but this time I made it in the mixer and the rise and texture were even better than I remembered. I did leave out the nuts and seeds again and of course as I always do these days, use the scale. I can't really remember a time when I didn't pull out the scale to bake... This recipe remains a quick, easy and most importantly, great whole wheat bread recipe. Give it a try. This bread is off to Yeastspotting!