Weekly Baking

This week I made some fast ‘shower’ buns because I felt like having fresh bread for lunch one day, and they don’t take long to make.

I also made the pumpkin bread again, I couldn’t help myself once I wrote up the recipe. I changed the spices a little, adding more allspice, cinnamon and cardamom. I think I ended up with a little too much cardamom, but it was still delicious, and the extra cinnamon was a great thing.

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin-13We had been getting a lot of different winter squash and pumpkins from our CSA recently.

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I decided to use the red Kuri to make this pumpkin bread from simplyrecipes.com. I added a bit more spice to it, and that was good – I feel I could have added even more, maybe doubling the amount of cinnamon would be good. I also used brown sugar, to give a richer taste.

As most loafs, this is simple to make, but if you do use fresh pumpkin it does take a while and add some work with cutting out the flesh and pureeing. You can easily use canned pumpkin puree if you don’t have a fresh. Start at step 6 if you have puree already.

Ingredients (original recipe on simplyrecipes.com):

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (200 g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup brown sugar (200 g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (240 ml) or one pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (120 ml)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (120 ml)

Method:

1. Prick pumpkin through the skin all over and place in a baking dish

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2. Bake for 1-2 hours at 375 F, until very soft

3. Cut open and scrape out the seeds.

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4. Take out the flesh with a spoon, or cut off the skin. I found the latter easiest. Puree the flesh.

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5. Reserve 1 cup of puree for the cake and freeze the rest, or use soon for something else. I got several cups from 1 medium sized squash.

6. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C and grease a loaf pan.

7. Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, spices and sugar.

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8. Mix together the pumpkin puree, oil and eggs.

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9. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, but do not over mix.

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10. Mix the nuts into the batter.

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11. Pour into the prepared tin, and bake for 50-65 minutes.

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12. Take out and cool on a rack, removing from tin after 5 minutes to cool completely.

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So very yummy! I usually don’t like cakes using oil as much as ones with butter, I think they sometimes feels a little more greasy, but this worked. It was a moist and delicious loaf. I think I will add more cinnamon next time, though.

Baking this week

This week I made some baguettes again, this time with 40 % whole grain flour. Due to the stuff we had going on that day (pumpkin patch trip!) I also had them rise for a couple of hours in the fridge rather than at room temperature. I don’t think the bread was as delicious as it could have been, I am not sure if the whole grain ratio should have been different or the cold rising did it in. I think I want to experiment some more with this recipe.

I also made chocolate cupcakes, which turned out great. I am not a huge cupcake fan, but I have been wanted to eat and bake some for a while, and I finally made them, and they were yummy and pretty.

Mazarin Torte

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A Mazarin torte is a cake made with marzipan, or almond paste. It is a common type of torte in Denmark, where you can get cheap versions prepackaged in the supermarket (of dubious quality) to fancy little tarts at your bakery. It is a soft, moist cake with a strong marzipan flavor, topped with some sort of chocolate or chocolate frosting and usually baked in a sweet or flakey pie dough (pate brisee or pate sucre).

This recipe is baked without a pie shell, and I really don’t think this type of cake needs it, usually I think the shell ends up tasting bland and serving no purpose, the almond flavor is not a ‘strong’ flavor unlike a fruit tart that needs some balance.

I found this recipe in a fun little cookbook from Henrik Boserup, a Danish celebrity chef. The book is more inspiration than anything else, a lot of the recipes contain approximations rather than measurements or timings – and for many things that is actually all you need. For cakes like this, measurements are given though, that is nature of pastry baking. The book is simply called ‘mad‘ (food), and he made two different ones, a black and a white. They are one of my favorite cookbooks, everything is so inspiring and simple, and the format is actually quite different from a usual cookbook. This recipe is from the black ‘mad’.

This is made with orange, but other fruits can be used. I doubled the recipe to fit it in a spring form, but not the amount of orange (I only had 1 in the house), which I think was a mistake, it could have used more orange flavor.

I made a chocolate ganache to go on top, and that was great choice. That basic recipe came from On Baking.
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Ingredients, torte:

  • 200 g almond paste (marzipan – the higher almond percentage the better) (7 oz)
  • 200 g sugar (7 oz)
  • 200 g butter at room temperature (7 oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 oranges

Ingredients, ganache:

  • 160 g dark chocolate, min. 60% cocoa (5.5 oz)
  • 150 ml heavy cream ( 0.6 cups)
  • 3-6 tbsp orange liquor, such as Grand Mariner (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 355 F and lightly grease a 20 cm across spring form.

2.  Peel and chop the oranges, removing as much of the bitter white membranes as you can.

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3. Simmer the oranges in pot until almost dry and let cool.

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4. Meanwhile, work together the marzipan, sugar and butter until smooth and homogenous.

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5. Add in the eggs.

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6. Add the flour (and a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter) and mix lightly. The consistency should be like a thick cream.

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7. Add the orange.

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8. Pour your batter into the prepared tin.

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9. Bake for 40-60 min. The cake should be golden brown, springy to touch and set all the way through when a toothpick is inserted.

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10. Let cool on a rack.

11. Make your ganache while the cake is cooling. Chop the chocolate very finely and heat the cream gently, until just boiling.

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12. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and mix  with a rubber spatula until smooth.

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13. Add the liquor and mix some more. Let cool slightly.

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14. Spread the ganache over the cake and down the sides. Make pretty swirls for decoration if desired.

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This turned out really, really well, except it could have more orange flavor. I really don’t think this cake need a shell, it worked out very well.

Baking this week

I unfortunately didn’t get to bake a lot this week, but we have been drowning in winter squash from our CSA.
I made this pumpkin bread with some of the ones we got, and pureed the rest to freeze and use some other time. I changed the recipe a tiny bit adding more spices – I still think I could add more. It was really moist and delicious though, so I will probably make it again.

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

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I know it now is way past rhubarb season, but I still want to share this jam I made this spring. I never got to post about it, so here goes. Save it for the next spring!

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In Denmark, people usually make jam by adding Atamon (brand name for sodium benzoate) and have that and the acid and sugar in the jam conserve it. Here in the US, it is more common to sterilize the jars  (in Denmark you would add a few drops of Atamon to swish around the jar before adding your jam) and then conserve them by boiling with sealing lids.

I think the latter is a little more work intensive, but you avoid any preservatives in your homemade jam, and I have yet a jar of jam to go bad.

I like my jam a little tart, and especially rhubarb jam can have a lot of tartness. If you like a sweeter jam, add a little more sugar. I realized I wanted to make my rhubarb jam with ginger after I had some rhubarb ginger ice cream at Molly Moon (Seattle’s favorite ice cream shop). It was so delicious, and of course there were lots of recipes for rhubarb ginger jam online. I looked at a few, and did what I thought was simplest.

Ingredients:

  • 850 g rhubarb (2 lbs)
  • 315 g sugar (2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp low-sugar pectin
  • 0.5 vanilla pod (optional)
  • 50 ml of water (1/4 cup)

Method:

1. Chop up your rhubarb and grate the ginger.

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2. Add rhubarb, ginger, sugar and pectin to a pot. Split your vanilla pod and scrape out the beans, add those and the pod to the pot. Pour over the water and put the pot on medium heat.

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3. When the water start simmering, mix everything and turn down to a simmer. Keep simmering until the rhubarb pieces are broken up, about 15-20 min.

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4. Meanwhile, wash all your jars, rings and lids.

5. Put the jars in a big pot of boiling water and boil for 10 min. You want to use a tall pot, where the water can go over jars while they are upright. this sterilizes the jars. Keep simmering.

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6. Put your jars and lids in a small pot of simmering water.

7. Set out something heat and water (and jam!) proof.

8. When the jam is done, move it to where you will be pouring.

9. Lift up 1 jar at a time out of the simmering water, emptying it. Pour jam in, then add a lid and a ring. Remember to leave a bit space at the top, 1/4-1/2 inch (1-2 cm).

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10. Do this with all your jam, then put your lidded jars back in the pot of simmering water. Make sure about an inch (3 cm) of water covers the jars.

11. Turn up to a boil and boil for 12 minutes.

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12. Lift our your jars of jam to cool. When cool, the lids should not ‘pop’ when pushed, this means the sealing worked.

13. The jam can be stored for about a year, preferably in a dark place.

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This turned out so yummy, it did not last a year for sure :). I used Kerr’s jars and lids, be sure to check instructions if you use something different. Also, if you live in high altitude, your times to seal and sterilize might be different.

You can make any type of jam you want like this. If the fruit is very acidic, you might not need as much pectin. If the fruit is very sweet, and not very acidic, I would lower the sugar even more and add lemon juice. I made some peach jam later in the season, and with this fruit to sugar ratio it still got very sweet (but very delicious).

If you don’t feel like sealing, you can pour the jam into clean jars, and then keep it in the refrigerator in 3 weeks or so.

Cinnamon Buns

cinnamon-20Is there anything better than warm cinnamon buns with lots of sticky filling on a cold fall day? I am not a huge fan of cinnamon, but I do get a craving for these. They are very rich and wonderful just out of the oven.

I got the recipe from a friend who brought them to work one day, the recipe is from a cookbook somewhere, but I don’t have the source. The original recipe uses a standing mixer to make the dough, I just hand knead it and it works fine.

Ingredients, buns:

  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups all purpose flour (705-780 g)
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast ( about 40g fresh yeast cake)
  • 1/3 cups sugar (90g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm (250 ml)
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter in cubes at room temperature (90 g)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk for brushing

Ingredients, filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar (220 g)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour (60 g)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp  (generous) cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter in cubes (113 g)
  • Method:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk

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2. Add 2 cups of the flour, sugar and salt and mix.

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3. Add the eggs and butter and mix in

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4. Mix in the rest of the flour and turn out on a work surface. Knead well, until smooth and elastic.

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5. Put the dough back in your bowl, cover with plastic film and let rest 1.5-2 hours, until doubled.

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6. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together the flour, sugars and cinnamon.

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7. Cut in the butter until you have mixture that resembles crumbs. I find it easiest to use my fingers to ‘squeeze’  in the butter with my fingers.

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8. Store the filling in the refrigerator until needed.

9. When the dough has risen, roll it out to a 14×10 inch (35×25 cm) rectangle.

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10. Sprinkle the dough with the filling, covering it evenly.

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11. Roll up the dough from the long side. Pinch it closed on the long side.

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12. Cut the roll into 10 pieces, about 1.5 inch (4 cm) thick each.

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13. Place the rolls on a parchment lined sheet, or in a lined and greased 9×13 inch pan.

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14. Cover with film and let rise for 1 hour.

15. Preheat oven to 375 F/ 190 C.

16. Brush the rolls with milk

17. Bake the rolls in the oven until golden brown, about 25-30 min.

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18. Let cool a little on the sheet, the gently remove them with help of a spatula. Leave them all joined together and let cool on a rack

19. Pull apart to serve. You can serve them still warm, cold or gently re heated.

These are so decadent, I don’t feel they need any icing, but you could add some if you wanted tom of course. They are rather big, so you could also make 2 smaller squares and twice the rolls with a little shorter baking time.

Weekly baking

This week I didn’t get to bake that much, but I did make these awesome chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I was in a mood for dessert and these were quick and delicious. I didn’t even take pictures or anything, but they are straight forward to make. I think next time I might leave out the coconut, I think it made them a little too sweet (or use unsweetened coconut if I can find it).

I also made some baguettes, which turned out better than last time. I ended up having them bake on 500 F the whole time, I think that was great. They were more crunchy. I also had them rise for longer after I formed them – about 1.5 hours since I had to go pick up my son from preschool – and it might have developed the flavor more?
I made them to go with this squash soup, which is a great fall recipe – the tart apple goes really well with the sweet squash.

4 Grain Bread

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My mom sent me this recipe, she originally clipped it from a Danish magazine. It is called ‘a bread that keeps’, and it really does keep well. I made it two times, and I think I have tweaked the recipe to where I like it.

It is started the day before you bake, making a quick ‘sourdough’ – but it still contain quite a bit of commercial yeast, and does not really have a typical sourdough taste, as you get with a fully developed sourdough. It is then made with buttermilk, which I think make it very moist.

The original recipe calls for 2 types of flour I can’t really get here in the US, sigtemel which is a mix of sifted rye and wheat flour with 30%-50% rye. I mixed bread flour and rye flour with about 60% rye, though the result is a little different, as I use whole grain dark rye flour – sigtemel is a white flour. Secondly, the recipe calls for 4-korns mel which literally means 4-grain flour, and that might be what it is. I don’t recall having seen it in stores, and the only thing I could find online was from Norway, where it indeed was a mix of wheat, rye, oat and barley flour. My mom, however, was convinced that it meant some flour with whole kernels in it – though she said she usually just makes it with sigtemel telling me ‘you know how fussy your dad is with whole kernels’. I’m pretty sure it would be a great bread to add some soaked wheat or rye kernels to, but I stuck to adding some whole grain barley and oat flour.

You can play a bit with the ratio, this is a bit of a dense bread because of all the non-wheat flours, they don’t have much (if any) gluten, so the bread does not become that fluffy.

I baked this on the pizza stone, and that worked really well, but you can bake it on a regular sheet with parchment paper just fine.

Ingredients: (original recipe from unknown Danish magazine)

Day 1:

  • 25 g yeast cake (8.3 g /0.3 oz active dry yeast)
  • 250 ml lukewarm water (1 cup)
  • 150 g bread flour (5.3 oz)
  • 100 g rye flour (3.5 oz)

Day 2:

  • 400 ml buttermilk (1.7 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coarse or kosher salt
  • 150 g oat flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g barley flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g rye flour (5.3 oz)
  • 325 g bread flour (11.5 g)

Method:

Day 1:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water

2. Add the initial bread and rye flour and mix well.

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3. Cover with film and let stand at room temperature for 12-14 hours.

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Day 2:

1. Mix the buttermilk with your dough.

2. Add salt and the barley, oat and rye flours and mix.

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3. Add most of the bread flour in 2-3 portions.

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4. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead well, add more bread flour if necessary. The dough is a little sticky, take care it doesn’t get too dry, but is should feel elastic and easy to work with in the end.

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5. Let the dough rise for about an hour.

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6. Form 2 breads (or one big one).

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7. Cover and let rest for 20-30 min. Preheat the oven to 200° C/ 395° F. Have your pizza stone in the oven if using one.

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8. Score the breads with a sharp knife, and brush with milk or egg as desired.

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9. Gently lift the breads onto your stone, or put your sheet in the oven.

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10. Bake for 20-30 minutes. 40-50 if you are only making one.

11. They should sound hollow when tapped when done, and be nicely golden on top. Take out and let cool on a wire rack.

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This bread freezes really well, and also keeps well. Even a week old I don’t feel a need to toast it, it is still moist and fresh.