Friday, October 21, 2011

No Knead recipe for Challah

No-Knead Challah
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
Makes four 1-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets) (I buy bulk instant yeast on Amazon. Store in fridge and it lasts forever)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (the recipe calls for 1 1/2 tbsp, but the taste is too salty)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (or neutral-tasting vegetable oil such as canola), plus more for greasing the cookie sheet
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter (or oil) with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (no airtight) food container.
2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.
5. On baking day, butter or grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper, or a silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
6. Divide the ball into thirds, using a dough scraper or knife. Roll the balls between your hands (or on a board), stretching, to form each into a long, thin rope. If the dough resists shaping, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Braid the ropes, starting from the center and working to one end. Turn the loaf over, rotate it, and braid from the center out to the remaining end. This produces a loaf with a more uniform thickness than when braided from end to end.
7. Allow the bread to rest and rise on the prepared cookie sheet for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you're using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. If you're not using a stone in the oven, 5 minutes is adequate. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the seeds.
9. Bake near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time. The challah is done when golden brown, and the braids near the center of the loaf offer resistance to pressure. Due to the fat in the dough, challah will not form a hard, crackling crust.
10. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.

Almond Pumpkin Muffins

Strange things happen in the wee hours of a dark Autumn morning.

The muffin monster

On this particular morning, my 4 year old stumbled in to my room before 6 am for the fourth day in a row. The only problem was she was not willing to lay down and snuggle as usual. She was UP. And she wanted muffins. “Mommy, you haven’t made me muffins in a long time!” Ugh. She was right, but I had a good reason: “Mommy, has a broken arm and it’s hard for me to make goodies right now.” She didn’t buy it. “Momma, you can writed with your broken arm. It’s fixed now, so you can make me muffins.”

She had seen me write the day before. Not that it was easy. Still I found this recipe on Health, Home & Happiness. These muffins were super easy to make, delicious and filling and make for a great weekday breakfast food if you're running late (or lazy). And both my kids gobbled them up! Make them ahead of time and refrigerate.

Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12

1/4 cup soft butter, ghee, or coconut oil
6 eggs
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated finely if not using a food processor (FYI, you do not need to peel ginger. I just grate with the skin on. The final product is not affected.)
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups almond flour
1-1/2 cups cooked pumpkin or squash (or 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey (I subbed maple syrup)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a food processor or stand mixer, combine butter, eggs, ginger, coconut flour and salt. Blend well, making sure the coconut flour is well mixed in.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Line muffin pan with liners if desired and dot liners with coconut oil or grease muffin pan with coconut oil (Um, why grease if you're using a liner? I skipped this). Fill nearly full with batter and bake for 18-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Boule, challah, NUTELLA BREAD PUDDING….one hand conquers them all

I will warn this is a long post. My previous post is dated August 30. Well, the next day I had a lovely accident tripping over this stupid concrete tire stop next to my car and broke my right arm. You can see from the photo above that it was in an odd place. I was getting something from the passenger side and tripped backward when I stepped back to close the door. Since that time I've had one useful hand. 

Somewhere I read that October was Unprocessed Foods month, or some weird derivative of that title. That sounded appealing yet impossible to me at the time. Appealing because I know that my version of whatever processed crap food always tastes better. Impossible because in September I had surgery on my right broken wrist/arm. Just imagine...I had a plate and screws in there like some kind of bionic woman, but I was far from that.  Consequently, in September, we ate a lot of ready-made and take-out food. There wasn’t much choice: I was either on Rx pain meds, in pain,or limited to my left hand (not a leftie), and mouth for appendages. And after a while, my mouth decided it didn’t want to help out much cause I was making it go places it heavily objected to. OK, that sounds rude, but I mean places like a child’s shoe laces when helping to tie them. 
High moisture dough

It was thankfully not all bad for you stuff. With the help of several friends and neighbors, we had a lot of delivered meals too. One even ame grocery shopping with me and spent the day in my kitchen cooking me yummies for the upcoming week. Thank you Heather! (She makes this amazing corn soup.) She is the one who turned me onto Artisan Breads in 5 minute a day. The concept of the book is making a big batch of high moisture dough (that you don’t knead), then refrigerating it and taking a piece of it to bake as you need it.  I wasn’t convinced. Artisan quality from something that simple, from no kneading? R-i-i-ght. 
Two days later I was convinced. Heather made this pizza crust from the book and it was good. I got my copy, and skipped to the first recipe – the so-called Master Recipe. (And who doesn’t skip most of intro section of a cookbook anyway?) It was similar to a French boule. I mixed it after dinner, let it rise for 2 hours as directed, and stuck it in the fridge. The next evening I grabbed my “grapefruit sized” piece and baked it. It turned out ok. Nice texture, BUT it was way too salty. I baked the rest of it into a gigantic loaf figuring I’d use it forseasoned breadcrumbs, but the kids and hubby ate it so it was a promising starting point. I did a little research and figured it would be okay to experiment with the salt level a little. The only reason I was willing to try this again, willing to squash the little inner skeptic was because I could mix the dough with my one hand. Even the shaping was simple using one hand – and lots of flour.  My second go round, I cu tthe salt back by ½ tablespoon. Again, it was simple to mix and shape. Although the recipe says it makes four 1-pound loaves, I made three slightly larger ones. I left them on my corn-mealed pizza peel to come to room temperature about 40 minutes. (I do have to say that the 5 minute claim is a little misleading because it does not include waiting time). I stuck all three in the oven at one time. Nowhere did it say I couldn’t do this, but looking back I would probably stick with one at a time. It was tough trying to slide three loaves onto the baking stone. About an hour later, I couldn’t resist. I had to cut into the warm bread even though it says not to. Whatever; that's why I made three loaves. One could be sacrificed to satisfy my longing to see if the saltiness level was right. Four slices and four tasters later, the consensus was that it was very tasty bread. And not over-saltyThis small success led me to look at what else I could do. It went off the radar for a bit as I got into physical therapy and catching up on missed work. 

Then we were invited to a pumpkin carving potluck. I decided to make Nutella bread pudding in my crockpot. I made the recipe out of Slow Cooker Revolution, one of my favorite cookbooks - the main ingredient is challah bread. Artisan in 5 had a recipe for challah, and I had all the ingredients. Awesome, I could brag that I made almost everything from scratch. Now I will forewarn – the recipe does notfollow the traditional challah. It has butter in it, and it uses the whole egg, not just the yolk (I’m not sure of exact tradition, but I have read some recipes that claim only yolks should be used). It turned out great. I had to stop myself at one nibble. The recipe for the challah is here.

The thought of the following recipe is what gave me willpower. It is a delicious and VERY INDULGENT dessert. 

NUTELLA BREAD PUDDING (from America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolutioncookbook)
Serves 8 to10                                   CookingTime: about 4 hours on Low

• Vegetable oil spray
•1 (14-ounce) loaf challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (12 cups) (If you cannot find challah, firm,high-quality sandwich bread may be substituted.)
• 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardhelli 60% cacao)
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2 cups whole milk
•9 large egg yolks
•1 cup Nutella
•3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulatedsugar
•4 teaspoons vanilla extract
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Line slow cooker with aluminum foil collar, then line with foil sling and coat with vegetable oil spray. (I don’t always do this, but it does mean that the back portion of my pudding gets a little dry because it has a hot spot. The foil collar is supposed to help even out any hot spots). 
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Spread bread over rimmed baking sheet and bake, shaking pan occasionally, until dry and crisp, about 40 minutes. Let bread cool slightly, then transfer to very large bowl.

3. Mix chocolate chips into dried bread; transfer to prepared slow cooker. 
4.Whisk cream, milk, egg yolks, Nutella, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in bowl, then pour mixture evenly over bread. Press gently on bread to submerge.

5. Mix remaining tablespoon granulated sugar with brown sugar then sprinkle over top of casserole. Cover and cook until center is set, about 4 hours on low. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Egg Yolks are in!

Some of you with autistic or ADHD children (or any children with gastrointestinal issues) may recognize this book:

I’m in the midst of reading it. Some of it is a repetition (in my opinion) of earlier books connecting the inability to digest certain proteins and fats with the resulting mental symptoms that occur with autism and ADHD. I’ve read before about leaky gut syndrome, incomplete peptide breakdown, heroin-type addiction. We did the GFCF diet for almost 3 years and saw some improvement in my daughter’s abilities, her mental awareness, and her own slight intestinal problem. We added those back in slowly and saw no reaction or degradation of progress. But I also saw no further progress. I toyed with the idea of going back on the diet and while searching through some other blogs and websites, came across this book. I even tried the intro diet. I lasted 4 days. It was a little too rigid. I get that you have to simplify what you eat to heal. And maybe if I was in need of healing, I could have stuck to the six phases.

But I wasn’t and so I didn’t. What I have liked about the book though is that some of the suggestions for adding nutrients and fortification to food can be done easily. What each food contributes in terms of nutrients and how they connect to the body and brain processes is explained very well. Adding an egg yolk to soup broth for example: egg yolks are easy to digest, full of nutrients including choline which is involved in the development of cognitive processes. And thanks to me trying this out, and reaching my “I’m done” point, I began eating a bunch of hard boiled egg yolks.

E spied me and asked what I was eating. She asked if she could sniff it. Then she asked if she could try one. She balked a little at the texture, but she gobbled down two. That was 2 weeks ago. She has since had a hard-boiled egg yolk every day for breakfast. And since it contains vitamin A, E, D, K, essential fatty acids, choline, and a host of other wonderful things, I am thrilled she is getting some seriously unprocessed nutrition. Maybe soon we can kick those gummy vitamin supplements to the curb.

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