Burger Buns

Burger bun-9

My husband wanted to cook some burgers, and asked me if I had time to make some buns – of course! I went looking for recipes, and the one that looked the best was an enriched bun from the King Arthur Flour homepage.

I only changed one thing and used slightly less sugar than originally called for.

Ingredients (original recipe):

  • 1 cup lukewarm water ( 225 ml)
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled (30 g)
  • 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour (420 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • For decoration: 2-3 tbsp melted butter or eggwash
  • Sesame or other seeds

Method:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add the sugar.

Burger bun-1

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Burger bun-2

3. Knead until a smooth dough forms. I found this dough is really easy to work with.

Burger bun-3

4. Put the dough in a bowl and cover, let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Burger bun-4

5. Punch down the dough and knead through.

6. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and form each to a small roll.

Burger bun-5

7. Place the buns on a parchment coved baking sheet with plenty of space in between and press down each bun until it is 3 inches/8 cm across and flat.

Burger bun-6

8. Cover and let rise for about an hour.

9. Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C.

10. Brush with half the melted butter or eggwash, and top with seeds (if using seeds you are better off with eggwash).

I didn't have any sesame seeds so I used flax seeds. I really liked the contrast.

I didn’t have any sesame seeds so I used flax seeds. I really liked the contrast.

11. Bake for 15-20 min until golden. Transfer to a wire rack.

12. Brush with the rest of the butter and cool.

Burger bun-8

I realized later that brushing with butter would not make the seeds stick, you need to use an eggwash or press them really firmly into the dough. Besides that, they were great. They are quite sweet and rich, but I think that works well with a burger.

Happy baking and grilling!

Whole Grain Pizza

pizza-11

I recently got the magazine Cook’s Illustrated recommended, and the magazine is really interesting. It has fairly long articles on the how and why’s of the recipes, and some of the experimental steps the authors go though.

The latest issue (May/June 2013) had an article on thin crust whole wheat pizza, and it looked really delicious. My mom used to bake a whole sheet pan of pizza, and I have not made it ever myself (not counting providing toppings at a party I held years ago, an Italian friend of mine insisted that she brought the dough when I wanted to make pizza – of course I didn’t get the recipe).

I love thin crust and whole grain stuff, so I thought I would try it out. The recipe also required the use of a pizza stone, and I have been thinking of getting one for baking too. Cook’s Illustrated is great in that it also contains equipment (and ingredient) reviews and recommendations, I got an Old Stone Oven pizza stone, so far I like it.

I cut the recipe in half to only make one pizza, and I made it by hand though the original calls for using a food processor. I prefer doing anything but pie crust by hand, and it was really easy.

Ingredients: (orginal recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, June 2013)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (120g)
  • 1/2 cup bread flour (75 g)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cup water (150 ml)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

1. Mix together whole wheat flour, bread flour, honey and yeast.

2. Add water until the dough is just coming together, then make it all come together with your hands. Let stand for 10 min.

Adding the water and mixing

Adding the water and mixing

After gathering together with my hands

After gathering together with my hands

3. Add olive oil and salt, knead it in and keep kneading for a couple of minutes.

pizza-3

4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap (I use a big elastic band to keep it tight) and refrigiate for 18 hours or more – up to 2 days.

Ball of dough

Ball of dough

After 36 hours in the fridge

After 36 hours in the fridge

5. About 1.5 hours before you are ready to have your pizza, take the dough out of the fridge, punch it down and form a ball. Leave it to rest on your work surface with some oiled plastic wrap over for an hour.

pizza-6

6. Mean while, place your pizza stone about 4.5 inches/10 cm from your oven’s broiler and turn oven to 500 F/ 260 C (check you pizza stone instructions to make sure it can take 500 F and broiling).

7. Prepare your toppings while you wait.

8. After the dough has rested an hour, press flat to an 8 inch/20 cm disc. Keep stretching it at the edges, partially by lifting it up, until it is 12 inches/30 cm across. I found this quite difficult, it probably requires a little practice!

Stretching to a small disc

Stretching to a small disc

Working it out to a big disc. It was a little hard not to get it too thin in the middle

Working it out to a big disc. It was a little hard not to get it too thin in the middle

8. Turn on broiler to run 10 min before the pizza goes in the oven.

10. Transfer pizza dough to a well floured pizza peel or cutting board – I used a bamboo one iand it worked ok. Stretch to maintain the shape, but make sure the pizza can move freely on the board.

Not quite perfect round on the board. I found it hard to have it stay in shape when it didn't stick to the surface

Not quite perfect round on the board. I found it hard to have it stay in shape when it didn’t stick to the surface

11. Top your pizza.

I choose goat cheese and pesto

I choose goat cheese and pesto

12. Slide the pizza from your board to the pizza stone. Turn oven back to 500 F / 260 C.

13. Bake for about 8-12 minutes, until well browned and crisp. If your oven is uneven it is a good idea to turn the pizza half way through.

14. Take pizza out by sliding it back on your board or peel, and transfer to a wire to cool a min or two. Enjoy!

Despite my dough-stretching being less than perfect, the pizza turned out really well. I was surprised how filling it was, the whole grain made it hearty in the good way.

Cook’s Illustrated recommended non-tomato based toppings and had a couple of suggestions, we used pesto and goat cheese, others were things like mushrooms and cream sauce or braised onions and gorgonzola. I used a great pesto recipe from simplyrecipes.com.

I can’t wait to try some breads on the pizza stone, and maybe also some different pizza dough recipes.

Danish Pancakes

pancake-3

Danish Pancakes are basically crepes, but they are usually made on a regular pan and not a fancy crepe pan. My husband calls them ‘real pancakes’, as opposed to American pancakes. He enjoys these a lot more than the soft, risen American ones that I prefer to make.

This is a basic batter you can use for savory or sweet fillings, as these are not sweet in themselves. My husband decided to make these for dinner and dessert the other day, and I quickly snapped some shots of it. Making heaps of them is a practiced skill, and he is quite good at it, much better than me.

Recipe adapted from the Danish basic cookbook, Politikens Nye Kogebog.

Ingredients:

  • 125 g all purpose flour (4.4 oz)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 300 ml milk (1 1/4 cup)
  • 50-100 ml water (1/4 – 1/2 cups)
  • butter for frying

Method:

1. Line up 2 pans on your stove, and a plate to keep the cooked pancakes on, with another plate on top to keep them warm. Get your butter ready too.

2. Whisk all the ingredients together. In the end the batter should be a little thicker than heavy whipping cream, but not by much. Add a little more milk or some water if it is too thick, and continue to check the thickness as you cook the pancakes.

batter

3. Melt a little bit of butter in one pan, about 1/4-1/2 tsp. When melted, pour batter on to cover your pan, tilt the pan to distribute it evenly. You should use just enough batter to cover the pan in a thin layer.

4. While the first pancake cooks, melt butter in the second pan and repeat. Flip the first pancake, and pour batter in the second pan. You want to stagger the cooking a bit.

5. When the pancake is nicely browned on both side, lift it to your prepared plate. ( You can keep the plates in the oven at a low temperature if you plan to make lots and lots to keep them warm). Don’t worry if your first one breaks apart or looks strange – usually the first one does.

6. Keep staggering your pancake making on the pans, buttering for every second pancake.

pancake-2

7. Serve warm!

You can make any sort of filling to go with it, like spinach, mushroom and cheese,  ham and cheese or even meat sauce and cheese for savory fillings. Fill them either by putting the filling on a quarter and them folding them twice, or put the filling down the middle and roll them up (the square fold you see for crepes are not really done with these small pancakes).

For sweet fillings we have lots of favorites, like fresh berries, whipped cream, jam, sugar, icecream, nutella, bananas and any combinations there off. Sugar & lemon juice is really good too!

Sorry there are no pictures of the rolled up pancakes, we were too  busy eating!

Enjoy!

Crackers

Crackers & Cheese

A friend of mine (who runs Your Child’s Food) mentioned that her mom made homemade crackers when she was little. I admit I hadn’t really thought about making my own crackers, but given that my son often gets fruit and crackers as a snack it made sense to try. Even the nicest crackers I can find in the supermarkets has quite a bit of sodium (salt), and I am trying to not get him addicted to salt too early (the more salt you eat, the less you taste it, causing you to want more salty food). I myself is a fan of salty foods, but even I sometimes feels food is too salty in restaurants – in my opinion there is too much salt in prepared foods.

I ended up browsing around a bit for cracker recipes, and then decided to make 2 different kinds loosely based on some recipes. I made a more day to day whole grain cracker, and a more ‘adult’ cheese & wine type cracker.

Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Crackers

These crackers are interesting since they are made with yeast – most crackers are made with baking powder. They contain a good deal of oil, not making them super healthy, but they are great with cheese and probably dips too.

Inspiration: Food & Wine Magazine Sunflower Seed and Rosemary Crackers.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (475 ml)
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped (60 ml)
  • 1/2-1 tsp thyme, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (120 ml)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil (60 ml + 2 tbsp)

Method

1. Finely chop the sundried tomatoes and the thyme, then mix with flour, salt and yeast.

Tomato Crackers-1

2. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil, and gradually add the water until a dough forms. Knead the dough about 5 min, until smooth.

Tomato Crackers-2

3. Leave the dough to rest in a plastic film covered bowl for about 2 hours. It will not rise much.

Ready to rest

4. Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Divide the dough in half. Cut off a piece of parchment paper so it fits your cookie sheet, and place one piece of dough on it, formed as a small rectangle.

Tomato Crackers-5

5. Roll our the dough to about 9 x 13 inches (23 x 33 cm), about 1/8 of an inch  (2-3 mm) thick. Try to make the dough as square as possible, you can cut off pieces to add to other places and ‘massage’ it into the sheet of dough. They more even thickness you get, the easier the crackers are to bake.

Tomato Crackers-4

6. Cut the dough into strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide on the short side, and cut once across the long side. Brush the dough with a bit of the remaining olive oil.

Tomato Crackers-6

7. Bake for about 24-38 minutes, until golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack, and store in an airtight container.

Tomato Crackers-7

Whole Grain Rye Crackers

This is a more traditional cracker made with baking powder, there are many similar recipes with different flavoring if you search for cracker recipe. I wanted to make something whole grain, and I didn’t feel like adding any seeds, so I decided to add some rye flour to give them a more interesting taste.

Inspiration: Alton Brown’s Seedy Crisps.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz whole wheat flour (60 g)
  • 2 oz all purpose flour (60g)
  • 1 oz dark rye whole grain flour (30g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cups water (75 ml)

Method

1. Mix together the 3 flours, the salt and baking powder. Add the olive oil and mix well.

Rye Crackers-1

2. Add the water gradually until a dough forms, then turn out the dough on a work surface and knead a few times.

Dough before kneading

Dough before kneading

3. Preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Divide the dough into 4 parts, and let rest of 15 minutes.

Rye Crackers-3

4. Roll out one piece of dough very thinly, about 1/16 of an inch (2 mm or so) to a small rectangle. The more evenly you roll out the dough, the more evenly they bake, and the thinner you roll the more important this is.

Rye Crackers-4

5. Transfer the piece to a parchment lined cookie sheet, and add another piece of rolled out dough if there is room.

Rye Crackers-5

6. Bake the cracker ‘sheets’ in the oven for 3 1/2 minutes, then turn then over and bake for an addition 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp.

7. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Rye Crackers-6

8. Break into the cracker sizes you want. I found it easiest to mark where I wanted them to break with a sharp knife, carefully cutting about 1/3 of the way through the sheet, then breaking the cracker decisively holding both sides of the cut firmly, but gently.

Rye Crackers-7

9. Store in an airtight container.

With both of these you can definitely add some salt on top before you bake if you want a more salty cracker, I found they both tasted salty enough, but with room for more.

Mom’s quiche

quiche-1

I love this simple quiche recipe from my mom. I don’t know where she got it from originally, but it is easy and delicious. I really like the whole grain in the crust, it gives it such a nice crunch.

It might not be a traditional quiche filling, as those are a little more custard like, and I heap cheese on the top too – but I am not sure what else to call it. Savory tart maybe?

You can fill it with your choice of fillings, most viggies should be either pre boiled/steamed (broccoli, carrots, spinach) or sautéed (mushroom, leeks, onions). Meat needs to be fully cooked.

I love the broccoli and tomato combination but I also make it with spinach and mushrooms from time to time.

Ingredients, dough:

  • 150 g all purpose flour (5.25 oz)
  • 50 g whole wheat flour (1.75 oz)
  • 65 g butter (2.30 oz)
  • 60 g yogurt or sour cream (2.10 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75 ml cold water (or a little less) (1/3 cups)
  • 1 tbsp chopped pine nuts or sesame seeds

Ingredients, filling:

  • 4-6 eggs
  • 4-6 tbsp milk or sour cream
  • salt, pepper and paprika (optional) to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Veggie or meat/veggie filling, such as broccoli and tomato
  • 2-4 slices of (thin) bacon in 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces (optional)
  • Grated cheese, such as cheddar or mozarella

Method:

1. Mix the flours & salt on a work surface, and knead in the butter and sour cream.

Mixing the dough

Mixing the dough

2. Add the water until the dough comes together.

3. Add the pine nuts/sesame seeds and mix well.

4. Roll out the dough in a disc a little larger than your pie/tart dish. Fold in half, then half again to transfer to your dish. Cut off anything hanging over the edges, and move extra pieces around if you need to. Make sure it sits on top of the top edge.

Rolling out - be patient

Rolling out – be patient

5. Cool in the freezer for 10 min or refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Preheat the oven to 390 F/200 C.

6. Use a fork to gently prick the shell, this so steam can escape from the bottom when you bake it.

Holes to let steam escape

Holes to let steam escape

7. Bake for 15 min

8. While the shell is being pre baked, cook you veggies as needed

Pre baked shell

Pre baked shell

9. Mix the eggs, milk and spices well.

10. Once the shell is done, add your veggies the shell, then pour over the egg mix. Scatter cheese on top, and then the bacon on top of that, if using

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

11. Bake at 390 F/200 C until egg is set and cheese is golden.  

I usually don’t make it with bacon, though my mom does. My husband is not a big bacon fan, so I don’t want to buy a whole package if I don’t know what to use it for (and I usually only baconate half the quiche). Remember when you season the eggs that both the cheese and bacon adds salt to the dish.