<![CDATA[@Breadventures_NJ - Blog]]>Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:20:53 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[HOMEMADE NAAN BREAD]]>Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:00:59 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/homemade-naan-bread      This is a fantastic Naan recipe that I learned in my culinary class in Manhattan a few years back. I've tried other recipes and this one continues to be my favorite. Ideally and traditionally you would use a clay/metal tandoor oven to make this Indian flatbread, but it can be accomplished quite well both stove-top or on the bricks in a home oven (my preferred method) with a slight variation in appearance. The dough is smooth and easy to work with, and if your oven (heat source) is truly hot enough, they will puff like balloons before they collapse into marbled-brown perfection. I do have more success with the puffing in the brick oven, but the taste is great either way.
Yield: 12 medium-large Naan breads

Ingredients:
For dough:
2 lbs AP or bread flour
3/4 lb warm water, about 95F (you may need to gradually add more water if your mix is too dry)
1 tsp instant yeast
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1 large egg, lightly stirred
1/3 cup milk (whole, 2%)
6 oz plain yogurt
1/6 cup olive oil
1 tsp spices (optional--paprika, nutmeg, cumin, saffron, pepper...whatever you like)

For brushing after baking:
Melted butter, 3-4 TBSP
Salt + pepper + herbs/spices, to taste


Other supplies:
Rolling pin
Large bowls for mixing and proofing
Cast-iron skillet or pizza stone/bricks in an oven

Wooden board/pizza peel for loading into the brick oven

Directions:
1)
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, instant yeast, and any spices together with a spoon until evenly blended. Then add the warm water, egg, milk, yogurt, and olive oil.

2)
Stir continuously, and be sure to incorporate all of the flour and ingredients together in the bowl. Depending on the conditions/humidity in your kitchen, you may need to gradually add more flour if the well-blended mix is wet, or more water if the well-blended mix is too dry/crumbly.

3)
Once you've achieved a dough that is slightly tacky in consistency, transfer it to a floured counter and begin to knead the dough, turning it 90 degrees after each push. Continue for about 3 minutes, gently adding flour if it is too sticky. Ultimately the dough should have a very silky, smooth appearance and texture with no discolorations or lumps.

4)
Grease a clean, large bowl and transfer your smooth dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm area until approximately doubled, about 2-3 hours.

5)
Your bread needs to rise only one more time at this point. If you are going to do this in the oven, preheat your oven to 500F (or its highest setting--hotter is better). If you are going to do this stove top, you can start heating a lightly oiled skilled a few minutes before you place your round naans on top of it.

6)
Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer to a lightly oiled (I use olive oil) working space. Use a knife to divide the dough into 12 roughly even pieces. Grab the ends of each piece, pinch them together, and roll each piece into a ball/round on the counter with the seam-side down. Do this 12 times so you have 12 balls of dough (see photos above). Cover with plastic wrap on the counter top and let rest for about 20-30min while your oven preheats and the stone becomes very hot (this takes time)

7) Your oven is preheated, your dough has relaxed for 20-30min and you are now ready to shape it. Get some flour to keep near your work area because you may need to add some to your rolling pin or the work area if the dough sticks. Also get a cooling rack or dish where you can place your cooked naan and brush them with butter when they are done.

8)
If you are doing this stove top, start to heat your skillet under a medium-medium/high flame. Take the first round ball of naan and place it on a slightly floured work surface. You may want to flour the rolling pin too. Roll the Naan out to your desired shape or size. I personally like to make ovals that are about 8" long and 5" wide. You may need to flour and flip the Naan over on its other side as you roll it out to the desired shape.

9)
As soon as you have the shape, place the naan onto the hot cast iron skillet OR put it on a floured pizza peel/paddle and load it right onto the hot bricks in your oven. In both cases, you will need to watch your naans at all times. After about 2-3 minutes, check the underside of your naan. Watch for browning and puffing. Some naan may not puff all the way, some won't puff at all. It's not bad and won't affect the taste, but it may mean that your heat source isn't hot enough (in the oven on the bricks this is generally not a problem for me).

NOTE: You will need to watch all 12 of them as you bake them--if you walk away they will quickly burn. The key is to have lightly browned/freckled naans and to not let them burn. You will develop a pattern of baking and may even be able to do two at-a-time in the oven after you've done this a few times. If this is your first try, please be safe.

10) When it is a light brown on the bottom or puffed, flip the naan to its other side using tongs. Watch it again for about 2-3 minutes and check the underside. It will start to develop characteristic brown freckling. Medium brown is fine,
don't let them get too dark! Remove from the oven/skillet and set aside on a cooling rack.

11) Now start to roll out your second naan and repeat the process.
Now that you see how it works, you can probably roll out your next naan while this one is on its side for 2-3 minutes. You will see what works best for you.

12) Once you get the hang of the process, you can start to brush your cooked naans on the freckled/brown side with butter--either during the 2-3 minutes that you wait to for your naans to cook and brown, or at the end. You can't really leave the kitchen so they will be buttered when they can be buttered. For extra flavor, i sprinkled kosher/sea salt and pepper on them after I buttered them. I liked the effect of this very much.

13) When you are done, let the naans cool on the rack for a bit before serving. You can serve them warm with pretty much anything! Enjoy!

NOTE:
Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend wrapping them in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[Pasta All'uovo]]>Fri, 12 Dec 2014 04:24:34 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/pasta-alluovo     I've tried several different types of dough and this is my favorite. For me, it holds together every time for every stage of the process. There are many ways to make pasta dough--there is really no right or wrong. This particular dough uses egg yolks only! Set the whites aside and use them for another project! The characteristic eggy-gold color is not only attractive visually, but the egg adds strength and flavor to the pasta. Become familiar with your pasta machine and the feel of the dough, and you will soon be able to throw this together faster and faster each time. Have fun!
Yield: serves 3 people comfortably

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour or "00" flour + extra for the bench
1/4 cup semolina (NOT semolina flour)
8 large egg yolks or 10 medium egg yolks--no whites!
1 tsp kosher salt
1.5 Tbsp olive oil

Note: every kitchen environment is different and pasta making is not an exact science. If your mixture is too wet, gradually incorporate a little bench flour. If it's too dry, you can add a little more olive oil. Don't add water!

Directions:
1) Mix semolina with all purpose flour until evenly combined. In separate bowl add oil and salt to the egg yolks.
2) Pour semolina/flour mixture on counter top (or in large wide bowl) and make a well in the center. Pour egg mixture into well. Support the well walls with your hands (if you are on a counter top) and, using a fork, slowly incorporate the semolina/flour into egg mixture in the center.
3) Once dough has formed, begin kneading the dough (best achieved by kneading, giving the dough a 1/4 turn counterclockwise, and kneading again...for 5-8 minutes (don't cheat here or your dough will not be fully blended!).
4) Add bench flour gradually as needed, but not too much or you will dry out your dough! You can also use it to remove sticky dough pieces/scraps from counter top. The dough should appear smooth and yellow when fully kneaded, and it will no longer stick to the counter top.
5) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Finally it's time to use the pasta machine!

Pasta machine directions:
1) Set up the pasta machine as per instructions (anchor it to a counter top with good working space).

2) Take a cookie sheet and place wax paper on the cookie sheet, generously sprinkled with semolina--this will keep your pasta from sticking to the tray and itself. Keep all-purpose flour handy for dusting the dough you roll through the machine. At no point should it stick to the pasta machine if it is adequately floured.

3) Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 4 roughly equal pieces. Lightly flour each one. Take your first piece and feed into widest setting on pasta machine--this is best accomplished visually because not all machines are numbered the same. Look between the two smooth rollers for the setting that gives you the widest gap between them. This is where you will start.

4) On a machine with 6 stops (1 = thinnest, 6 = thickest), roll your first piece of dough 2x through each setting, 1 through 5. You may cut the dough in half at any time if it becomes too long. Ideally your fettuccine/capellini will be 8-10" in length.

5) For your LAST stop--the thinnest one (6 on my machine), roll the dough through only ONCE.

6) Switch the crank handle to the other side of the machine and feed through fettuccine or capellini mould (your choice!). Place the shaped/cut pasta on the tray and generously sprinkle semolina over fresh cut pasta and toss lightly with your fingers--this is KEY. You don't want your pasta to stick to itself and clump as you continue to work.

7) Complete this process for the remaining 3 pieces of dough. Be sure to sprinkle with semolina after you shape/cut each batch.

8) When you are done you may boil pasta (in salted water!) immediately for 60-90 seconds, or freeze in small bags to cook at a later time (for 90-120 seconds. It's not necessary to hang the pasta on laundry racks--it becomes dry and more likely to break this way.

NOTE: this pasta is extremely fresh and does not compare to boxed pasta. The amount of time spent in boiling water is considerably shorter than boxed pasta. If you boil for too long, it will fall apart. Test it at 60-90 seconds! When the pasta is done I strain it and usually have my sauce in a skillet...ready receive the pasta and to toss. Enjoy!
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<![CDATA[CHOCOLATE CHIP BISCOTTI]]>Sun, 12 Oct 2014 17:55:47 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/chocolate-chip-biscotti      This recipe is a great introduction to the huge range of possibilities for biscotti/cantucci. You can put almost any (dry) ingredient in these, but I chose mini semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels. 'Biscotti' means twice-cooked in Italian, and that is exactly how you accomplish this dessert. Mix the dough and roll into logs. Space the logs with enough room to spread on a baking sheet. Then bake the logs, slice into the typical cantucci shapes, lay them in a pan, and cook for a second time! These are great with coffee, milk, dessert wine (vin santo, traditionally Tuscan), and other things I probably haven't discovered yet. They also preserve for quite a bit of time. The perfect dessert.
Yield: approximately 50 medium biscotti

Ingredients:
3 large eggs
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted + 1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp salt
1-1.5 cups mini chocolate chips (your preference, I used semi-sweet and 1 cup)
Coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

1) By hand (vigorously) or machine, beat together the eggs, butter + oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt at medium speed until thickened, about 5 minutes. Then add the flour and baking powder and stir vigorously.

2) Next, mix in the chocolate chips and nuts. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

3) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease TWO baking sheets
(or line with parchment). Divide the dough into four even pieces. Shape each piece into a log, to form four even logs, about an 10" x 2" log. Place 2 logs on each greased (or parchment lined) baking sheet, leaving at least 2" between them--they WILL spread out. If they do touch in the oven, it's not a major problem...you can cut them apart easily. But try to avoid it if you can.

4) Sprinkle the shiny, buttery logs with coarse white sugar, as desired.

5) Bake the logs for about 30 minutes in the oven, until they solidify a bit and begin to brown and the edges and sides ONLY. You don't want them brown all over at this point. Remove them from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes.

6) Cut each log into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. Cutting them on a diagonal will make them longer. If you want shorter cookies, you can cut them straight across to yield shorter cookies.

7) Place the pieces close together (on edge) on the baking sheets, and return them to the oven for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until you see more browning around the edges. The point is simply to bake them all the way through.

8) Remove from the oven, and cool the biscotti on the baking sheets.

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<![CDATA[APPLE CINNAMON DESSERT LOAF]]>Sun, 12 Oct 2014 14:21:51 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/apple-cinnamon-dessert-loaf     This was my first attempt at a yeasted pastry loaf that is not brioche. I searched among a number of recipes for ideas and found this solution--a yeasted bread that tastes great and looks impressive, but is not at all difficult to accomplish. The key is to keep the apples in the center 1/3 of the dough once it is rolled out, and to make sure the apple stuffing does not have too much liquid (you can save excess liquid for the glaze). The apples should not be sliced/prepared until the dough is ready to be rolled, otherwise they will oxidize (brown). This loaf cooks nicely and each slice displays a golden core of apples. This yields one rather large loaf.
Yield: 1 large Apple loaf (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp warm water
2 1/4 instant yeast
1/4 Tsp sugar (for yeast activation)
1/2 cup whole milk
6 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 Tsp salt
2 egg yolks

For apple stuffing:
3-4 medium sized golden delicious apples (or Granny smith--the idea is low water content)--skin peeled, cored, cut into 0.5cm slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tsp of lemon juice (to prevent apples from browning)
1/3 cup cookie crumbs (lady fingers, vanilla, or butter cookies)
1 1/2 Tsp cinnamon (or cinnamon sugar)
1 whole egg, beaten (for eggwash)

For glaze:
If you have juice left over from simmering the apples, you can add Confectioner's sugar to this until it thickens, and use this as a glaze!
Alternatively, whisk the following ingredients together in a bowl:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp + 2 Tsp whole milk
1/4 Tsp vanilla extract
1/4 Tsp kosher salt

Directions:
For the dough:
1) Place 2 tbsp of warm water and the 1/4 Tsp sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the yeast and let stand in a warm place until the mixture foams, about 10-15 minutes.

2) Stir the milk, sugar, butter chunks, and salt in a medium pot over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts (mixture should be warm, not hot).

3) Transfer this warm butter mixture into a medium/large bowl. Then whisk in the yeast mixture, and egg yolks. Add the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. You can knead the dough with a hook (mixer) for 6 minutes, OR if you don’t have a mixer you can knead by hand for about 8-10 minutes.

4) Transfer dough to a clean (large) bowl lightly sprayed with oil. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, about 1.5-2hrs (for this step, I often preheat my oven to 200F just for a moment, then I turn if off for a few minutes and place my dough bowl in there with the oven light on. It works very well.

5) Let the dough rise until almost doubled in volume, about 1 ½-2 hrs. Gently punch the dough down in the bowl and let the dough rest in the bowl on the counter for about 45-60min while you work on the filling.

For the filling:

6) Peel and slice the apples and toss in the lemon juice (to prevent browning). Melt the butter in a medium pot over the medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook until a grainy sauce forms, about 1 minute. Mix in the apple slices. Cook until the apples are tender and the sauce is reduced to glaze, about 7-10 minutes, stirring often to avoid scorching. Cool the filling for least 30 minutes and. Set the apple stuffing aside and return to the dough!

7) Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a work surface. Spray with nonstick spray and lightly dust with flour. Turn the dough out onto the foil and roll out to 14×12-inch (30x35-cm) rectangle. Sprinkle the cookie crumbs lengthwise (in the longer, 14inch or 35cm direction) in the middle 1/3 of the rectangle leaving ½ inch (about 1.5cm) border at the top and bottom of the rectangle.

8) Arrange the apples with any juices over the crumbs. Starting ½ inch (1.5cm) from the each long side of the apple filling, cut the dough at a slight diagonal to the top edge of the rectangle at 1-inch (2.5cm) interval, making about 12-13 strips on each side. See pictures above for reference. Fold the dough strips alternately, left then right, and on a slight angle over the filling. This forms the lattice. Seal the open ends of the dough. You should not be able to see an escape route for apples!

9) Slide the loaf (keep it on the foil) onto a large baking sheet. Roll the sides of the foil up a bit to contain juices if your lattice leaks--if you braided it without gaps, you should be fine!). Cover the loaf loosely with oil-sprayed plastic and let the dough rise in the warm place until light and puffy, about 30-60min.

10) Preheat the oven to 375F. Gently brush the loaf with the egg wash. This will especially help to seal the braid. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool on foil over wire rack for 30 minutes. When cool, use a spatula to gently separate the loaf from the aluminum and transfer to a large serving dish.

11) At this point you can add the glaze and sift Confectioner's sugar over the top as desired:

For the glaze:
If you have juice left over from simmering the apples, you can add Confectioner's sugar and stir until it thickens. You can use this as a glaze or a sauce to drizzle over your slices. Alternatively, whisk the above-listed ingredients together in a bowl.

Serve the cake slightly warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the loaf tastes the best within the first few hours or days of baking. I would recommend freezing the loaf you plan to eat it more than 2-3 days after baking, as it will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[STUFFED FLAT BREADS]]>Sun, 05 Oct 2014 11:07:19 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/stuffed-flatbreads     This flat bread was nice and soft, great for dipping in anything, and had great flavor inside and out. It's not difficult to make and the results are great! You can do this stove-top or on a grill (but keep your eye on them at all times). And you can choose whatever stuffing you want to put in the middle--herbs, meats, etc. However don't over-stuff them, because optimally you don't want the inside contents leaking out onto your grill/grittle.
Yield: 4 medium/large stuffed flat breads

Ingredients:
For dough:
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tsp honey
2 Tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 Tsp salt
3/4 cup yogurt, plain
Additional olive oil for brushing

For mushroom stuffing:
8oz package of mushrooms (of your choice)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp fresh scallions, sliced

Directions:
1) In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups of water, honey and yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Then add salt, yogurt, and 1 Tbsp oil, and stir together.

2) Add flour to wet mixture starting with 2 cups, and gradually adding more until the dough becomes stiff.

3) Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and silky, about 5 minutes. Dough should still be a little sticky.

4) Place dough in a lightly greased medium-large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm area about 2 hours, or until doubled.

5) Now prepare the mushroom filling (you can do what you want! But this is what I did for my recipe): rinse mushrooms under water and wipe dry. Cut off the hard tip of the stem and slice them lengthwise. Then melt about 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet until the foam dissipates. Then drop the mushrooms into the skillet and add chives and salt and pepper to taste. The mushrooms will absorb the liquid first, then they will release it. Sautee for 1-2 minutes after this. Then set aside to cool.

6) Divide dough into 4 equal portions and chill for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Next, on a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a rough circle/oval, about 8 inches in diameter (you may need additional flour to make sure your rolling pin and dough don't stick to each other--but only add as much as you need! Not more!).

7) Brush top of each flattened round with olive oil, and add the stuffing of your choice (again, here I did sauteed mushrooms and herbs) to the center of each round. Then, fold the edges of the dough onto each other in the center to cover your stuffing--press and seal (with your hands or the rolling pin) so that your stuffing is no longer visible and tucked into your dough. Now you should have a stuffed round that you have made flat.

8) Heat up a medium/large skillet over medium heat on your stove top (you can also do these on the grill). Brush both sides of the stuffed dough rounds with olive oil. Then place one round at a time on your skillet. Once the bread begins to puff/bubble/brown, it's time to flip it over (about 2min) to the other side. After you have grilled the flat bread on both sides, transfer to cooling rack and sprinkle with salt.

NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.

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<![CDATA[SOFT GOLDEN FOCACCIA]]>Thu, 02 Oct 2014 23:05:20 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/soft-golden-focaccia     This was my first attempt at focaccia in a really long time, and I have to say it worked out beautifully. That 1 cup of semolina goes a long way. It's just the right amount to not dry out the dough, but still give it that characteristic golden hue. And for those who know and love the taste of semolina, you will certainly notice that flavor in this bread! If you don't know the taste of semolina, you'll at least notice this bread has a well-rounded, balanced taste. As long as you grease the pan and watch it when it bakes (don't burn the top!), this particular focaccia recipe seems to be pretty forgiving and will lead you to a pleasing result. I plan to make it again.
Yield: 1 large focaccia (the above pictures show a doubled recipe)

Ingredients:
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina (not semolina flour)
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

For baking:
An additional 1 Tbsp olive oil for greasing pan

Directions:
1) Place all of the ingredients--except the salt--in a medium-large bowl (or mixer if you prefer). Mix until ropes begin to form in the dough. Then add the salt. The dough will be a little sticky.

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter space and knead to form a smooth (sticky) dough. Lightly grease the medium/large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm/room-temperature area for 1-1.5hrs, until doubled in bulk

3) Lightly oil a medium/large pan (anything in the vicinity of a 12" round pan or 9 x 13-inch rectangular pan). Place the dough in the pan, and gently push (to stretch) it to fill and touch all the walls of the pan. If the dough resists you too much, let it rest for 10-15 minutes and try again.

4) Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough to rise for about 30 minutes. The dough will puff a bit. If you want a more airy focaccia, let it rise a little longer.

5) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Gently brush some olive oil on top of the dough (don't be too fierce or you will deflate the dough!). Use your finger tips to dimple the whole surface of the dough gently. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper, dry herbs, fresh herbs, olives, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes...whatever you want!

6) Bake the bread for about 20 to 30 minutes, until it’s golden brown--keep an eye on it!

7) After about 5 minutes, transfer to wire rack for cooling.


NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the bread tastes best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing it if you plan to eat it more than one day after baking, as it will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[SWEET DESSERT PRETZELS]]>Sun, 28 Sep 2014 13:31:40 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/sweet-dessert-pretzels      This recipe is very interesting--definitely a dessert or breakfast item. The dough has more of a buttery/brioche quality, and goes better with chocolate dip, nutella, or dessert items rather than ketchup or mustard. It is a yeasted dough, so they are fluffy breads--not cookies. You can add coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar--whatever you want to the top. They tasted great dipped in Nutella.
Yield: 12 small dessert pretzels

Ingredients:
For dough:
3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 Tsp instant yeast
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened and cut into small chunks
5 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup whole milk


For brushing:
1 egg white
All-purpose flour for dusting
5 Tbsp coarse sugar
(or cinnamon sugar, if you prefer)

Directions:

1) Heat milk over medium heat to 110°F. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1 Tbsp sugar. Add yeast to the warm milk and blend. Let sit 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.

2) In a separate medium-large bowl, add together the remaining 4 Tbsps sugar, flour, and salt. Then add the milk/egg mixture. Then add the softened pieces of butter, 1 piece at a time, stirring well.

3) Transfer dough to lightly floured surface
and knead until dough is silky, about 5 minutes. You may have to add additional flour if your dough is too wet.

4) Place dough in lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours. Line 2 medium baking sheets with parchment paper.

5)
Punch down dough; divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece dough on a lightly floured surface into rope (about 12-14" long). Form rope into a U-shape. Take the ends of the "U" and cross them over each other. Then grab the where they overlap and bring it down over what was the base of the "U"--now you have formed your basic pretzel shape! Repeat for all remaining pieces of dough.

6)
On each parchment-lined baking sheet, place 6 pretzels--spacing them at least 2" apart. Loosely cover pretzels with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let dough rise in a warm, area until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.

7) Preheat to 375°F. Add 2 Tsp of warm water to the egg white and whip together in a small bowl. Brush each pretzel all over with the egg-water wash. Then sprinkle each with 1/2 Tbsp coarse sugar (or cinnamon sugar).

8) Bake for 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets after 7 minutes. Continue baking until pretzels are golden. Transfer to rack for cooling. Serve warm or within several hours of baking.

NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[QUICK HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE]]>Sun, 14 Sep 2014 13:32:36 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/quick-homemade-ricotta-cheese     This recipe is extremely simple, using only four ingredients, two pots, a sieve, and a cheesecloth. It takes less than 30 minutes to make, and the result is fantastic. Traditionally, ricotta (Italian: re-cooked) is made from re-cooking the whey drippings after making another cheese (i.e mozzarella). In this recipe, and many other quick home recipes, you can produce a comparably delicious "ricotta" cheese using proteins from heavy cream and milk instead of from whey drippings.
Yield: ~ 2 cups spreadable Ricotta cheese

Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 Tsp salt
8 cups
whole milk
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 medium-large sieve + 1 cheese cloth

Directions:
1) Place the heavy cream, whole milk, and salt into a large pot over medium heat.

2) Stir occasionally to prevent burning, keep mixture over medium heat until it starts to bubble and froth (when this happens it will be very obvious. Be patient). Set aside a sieve over a medium-large pot with the cheese cloth over the sieve.

3) When frothing occurs, add lemon juice and reduce to low heat. Stir gently as curds begin to form. Wait at least 2 minutes. If you want smaller curds, you can wait an additional 1-2 minutes.

4) Pour ricotta curd mixture into the other pot with the sieve and cheese cloth. Let drain 10-15min or until desired constancy (the longer you go, the dryer it is). Transfer to a bowl.

5) Cover and chill ricotta in bowl until serving, or keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container (will last 5-7 days).

NOTE: you can save the whey drippings from making this cheese and use it to fortify soups and smoothies with protein!
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<![CDATA[SCALLION PRETZEL PUFFS]]>Sun, 14 Sep 2014 03:54:11 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/scallion-pretzel-puffs     This recipe represents a different take on the more traditional pretzel puff recipe I have shared in another blog post. I wanted to add a nice flavor to the pretzel dough that was not overpowering, and I think scallions can do just that. I have tried many pretzel recipes--this is one that requires boiling the raw dough balls before you salt and bake them. I like this method because it gives the pretzels their golden, chewy character. It was a big success, and I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
Yield: 12 pretzel puffs

Ingredients:
For Dough:
1 cup warm water
3/4 cups milk
4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp fresh scallions, chopped (or the amount you would like)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 Tsp kosher salt
Coarse sea salt (for topping)

For Boiling
:
2 quarts water
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup baking soda


Directions:
1) Mix and knead the dough ingredients EXCEPT the scallions in a medium/large bowl— by hand or mixer — to form a slightly sticky dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes until smooth and silky. THEN add the scallions to the dough and knead them in until incorporated

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball.

4) Place the balls on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes (they will puff a little). Preheat the oven to 400°F.

5) Prepare the water bath: Add the water, salt, and baking soda to a large pot and bring to a boil.

6) Drop 2-3 dough balls at a time into the boiling water bath.

7) Let the balls simmer for 30 seconds on each side. Then, using a slotted spoon or sieve, return the buns to the greased baking sheet.

8) Using scissors, cut crosses into the center of each bun (2-3cm deep). Sprinkle the wet buns with coarse sea salt.

9) Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're a dark, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[CHOCOLATE CHIP FLOWER BREAD]]>Sat, 13 Sep 2014 04:03:26 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/chocolate-chip-flower-bread     This recipe is essentially a buttery, dessert, brioche-like dough that I shaped into flower/swirls with chocolate chips incorporated for additional flavor. Due to the high butter content, the dough itself it great for rolling and shaping, especially after it is chilled in the refrigerator--and it doesn't make much of a mess. I have found it to produce reliable results--the shapes still look great after baking, and the flavor is magnificent. You can make any shape you want. It took me a few tries to get a decent flower/swirl shape.
Yield: 6 medium flower breads (or 12 smaller) breads

Ingredients:
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 Tsp salt
1 tbsp instant yeast
3 large eggs*
1/4 cup milk
10 Tbsp butter
Mini chocolate chips for sprinkling
*You can save the white of a 4th egg to brush on the buns if you plan to top them with sugar

Directions:
1) In a mixer or bread machine (programmed for dough), mix together 3 cups of flour and the rest of the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It will be sticky at first and may require the extra 1/2 cup flour to make the dough come together if the conditions in your kitchen differ (temperature, humidity, etc). Remove from mixer and knead with your hands until silky smooth.

2) Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a greased bowl and let rise for ~1hr. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (until chilled), or as long as overnight. This will slow the fermentation process and will make the dough easier to braid/shape.

3) Decide which shape you want. For this particular recipe, I took the dough out of the refrigerator and divided it into 12 pieces--you can do 6 pieces...whatever size and amount you want. But to make this particular shape you will have to divide each piece into at least 4 smaller pieces...so I think 12 is the limit!

A nice way to achieve the flower/swirl shape (there are multiple ways) is shown in the video below. I did not cut my shapes into exact circles, let alone this many circles. Basically you can modify the technique as you would like:
4) Place dough shapes into greased pan(s) of your choice, cover lightly, and let rise in a warm place for 1.5-2hrs until doubled (it will look very puffy).

5) Preheat the oven to 375F. Right before the swirls are cooked, you can brush them with the egg white of a 4th egg, sprinkle mini chocolate chips into the petals of the roses, and even add sugar on top.

6) Place the chocolate-chipped swirls (on cookie sheet) in oven and bake for about 30-35min. NOTE: every oven cooks differently, so watch your swirls after 10 minutes. The buttery dough should be a golden/deep brown when done, and should sound hollow when tapped on the underside.

7) Remove buns from oven and, after a few minutes, transfer to rack for cooling.

NOTE:
Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[CLASSIC BRIOCHE]]>Sat, 13 Sep 2014 03:48:50 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/classic-brioche     This dough is perfect. It's very flaky and light, yet full of flavor thanks to the key ingredients of butter and egg. You almost can't go wrong with this one. Great flavor, great for shaping, and not messy. I think it's a win.
Yield: 6 medium brioche buns (or 12 smaller buns)

Ingredients:
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 Tsp salt
1 tbsp instant yeast
3 large eggs*
1/4 cup milk
10 Tbsp butter
*You can save the white of a 4th egg to brush on the buns if you plan to top them with sugar

Directions:
1) In a mixer or bread machine (programmed for dough), mix together 3 cups of flour and the rest of the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It will be sticky at first and may require the extra 1/2 cup flour to make the dough come together if the conditions in your kitchen differ (temperature, humidity, etc). Remove from mixer and knead with your hands until silky smooth.

2) Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a greased bowl and let rise for ~1hr. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (until chilled), or as long as overnight. This will slow the fermentation process and will make the dough easier to braid/shape.

3) Decide which shape you want. For this particular recipe, I took the dough out of the refrigerator and divided it into 6 pieces (you can do 12 smaller brioches).

A nice way to achieve the traditional brioche shape (there are multiple ways) is shown in the video below:
4) Place dough into greased pan(s) of your choice (classic ruffled brioche tins, or just muffin tins), cover lightly, and let rise in a warm place for 1.5-2hrs until doubled (it will look very puffy).

5) Preheat the oven to 375F. Right before the swirls are cooked, you can brush them with the egg white of a 4th egg and sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar on top.

6) Place buns (on cookie sheet) in oven and bake for about 30-35min. NOTE: every oven cooks differently, so watch your buns after 10 minutes. The buttery dough should be a golden/deep brown when done, and should sound hollow when tapped on the underside.

7) Remove buns from oven and, after a few minutes, transfer to rack for cooling.

NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[PRETZEL TWISTS + TWIRLS]]>Sat, 13 Sep 2014 03:13:58 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/1UNDER CONSTRUCTION   

This pretzel recipe differs from the others I have on the blog so far--they are never boiled. They are brushed and baked. The result? A crust that is less thick and less chewy--which is not a bad thing--with texture and flavor that is even from the inside out. This dough makes great shapes, and the end result is a light pretzel dough with a lot of tasty character.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION


NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[CINNAMON SWIRL BUNSĀ ]]>Sun, 07 Sep 2014 14:36:08 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/braided-cinnamon-brioche     The first version of this bread that I made for my family was gently criticized for not having enough cinnamon. So, I took it upon myself to add more cinnamon everywhere. I put fresh ground cinnamon into the dry ingredients of the dough. I rolled cinnamon sugar into the ropes of dough before braiding, and then I topped the buns with cinnamon sugar just before baking. The result was significantly better. Here is what I did...
Yield: 12 buns

Ingredients:
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
4-5 Tsp ground cinnamon (or to your preference)
1 1/4
Tsp salt
1 tbsp instant yeast
3 large eggs*
1/4 cup milk
10 Tbsp butter, softened
*You can save the white of a 4th egg to brush on the buns if you plan to top them with sugar or cinnamon sugar
Extra cinnamon sugar for garnishing (added before shaping the breads)

Directions:
1) In a mixer or bread machine (programmed for dough), mix together 3 cups of flour and the rest of the ingredients to form a smooth dough. Add the salt last when the dough begins to form ropes/clumps. The dough will be sticky at first and may require the extra 1/2 cup flour to make the dough come together if the conditions in your kitchen differ (temperature, humidity, etc). Remove from mixer and knead with your hands until silky smooth.

2) Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a greased bowl and let rise for ~1hr. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (until chilled), or as long as overnight. This will slow the fermentation process and will make the dough easier to braid/shape.

3) Decide which shape you want. For this particular recipe, I took the dough out of the refrigerator and divided it into 12 pieces. I lightly patted the pieces into small rectangles and sprinkled them with a layer of cinnamon sugar. Then I rolled the rectangle into a long snake/rope shape (about 10-12" long). With some of these 'ropes,' I also made a separate batch and used half of the dough to make a larger, round "turban" shape.

Good examples of both techniques are shown in the videos below:
4) Place dough into greased pan(s) of your choice, cover lightly, and let rise in a warm place for 1.5-2hrs until doubled (it will look very puffy).

5) Preheat the oven to 375F. Right before the swirls are cooked, you can brush them with the egg white of a 4th egg and sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar on top.

6) Place swirls (on cookie sheet) in oven and bake for about 30-35min. NOTE: every oven cooks differently, so watch your swirls after 10 minutes. The buttery dough should be a golden/deep brown when done, and should sound hollow when tapped on the underside.

7) Remove buns from oven and, after a few minutes, transfer to rack for cooling.

NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[FLOWER/KNOBBY (EPI) BREADS]]>Sat, 06 Sep 2014 18:45:48 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/soft-flower-breads     I love this dough. It has multiple desirable characteristics: a crispy crust, inner moisture, and predictability of the final shape after baking. When I studied in France, I spent many afternoons at the outdoor flea markets, browsing through (and purchasing a few) bread books. This dough is inspired by these recipes, and I'm convinced the key ingredients for this absolutely marvelous dough are the yogurt and powdered sugar! Shaping is quite easy, taste is lovely. Bonne chance !
Yield: 8 flower breads (or 4 knobby loafs)

Ingredients:
175ml water
200ml yogurt
1.5 Tsp salt
500g flour
2 Tsp powdered sugar
1 1.4 Tsp instant yeast


Directions:
1) Mix all of the dough ingredients EXCEPT the salt in a medium/large bowl— by hand or mixer — until it begins to form strands and come together. THEN add the salt. Continue to mix (about 2min) until a slightly sticky dough is formed. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes until smooth and silky.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 pieces to form flowers (in this case, form 8 balls with the dough),  or 4 pieces to form knobbed loaves (in this case, roll the dough evenly with your hands to form a log, about 14-16" long.

4) Place the balls (or long loaves) on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes (they will puff a little). Preheat the oven to 370°F.

5) Using scissors (or a sharp knife), cut the balls in 5 places (do not cut completely to the center of the ball--see picture above) and spread the petals slightly apart. If you are making the Epi (knobby) loaves, shaping is easy and is well demonstrated in the video below:

6) Bake the rolls/loaves for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're a dark, golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the underside. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

NOTE:
Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BRIOCHE]]>Sat, 06 Sep 2014 18:40:43 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/peanutbutter-brioche     This is an American twist on a classic french bread. I came up with the idea when I was gathering my brioche ingredients and found a pack of Reese's mini peanut butter cups nearby. It is best to shape this bread when the dough is cold/chilled, as the chocolate will melt in warm dough and become kind of messy. This is a rich bread, but it's hard not to like unless you don't like peanut butter!
Yield: 6 medium brioches (or 12 small brioches)

Ingredients:
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
6-8 mini Reeses peanut butter cups (or 2-3 regular peanut butter cups), chopped
1 1/4 Tsp salt
1 tbsp instant yeast
3 large eggs*
1/4 cup milk
10 Tbsp butter
*You can save the white of a 4th egg to brush on the buns if you plan to top them with sugar

Directions:
1) In a mixer or bread machine (programmed for dough), mix together 3 cups of flour and the rest of the ingredients to form a smooth dough. Add the salt last as the dough begins to form ropes/clumps. It will be sticky at first and may require the extra 1/2 cup flour to make the dough come together if the conditions in your kitchen differ (temperature, humidity, etc). Remove from mixer and knead with your hands until silky smooth.

2) Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a greased bowl and let rise for ~1hr. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (until chilled), or as long as overnight. This will slow the fermentation process and will make the dough easier to braid/shape.

3) Decide which shape you want. For this particular recipe, I took the dough out of the refrigerator and divided it into 12 pieces (you can do six and make them bigger). It was at this point that I tucked the chopped Reese's peanut butter piece into the cold dough.

A good examples of the traditional brioche shaping technique is shown in the videos below:
4) Place the dough (now containing the Reese's) into greased pan(s) of your choice, cover lightly, and let rise in a warm place for 1.5-2hrs until doubled (it will look very puffy).

5) Preheat the oven to 375F. Right before the swirls are cooked, you can brush them with the egg white of a 4th egg and sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar on top.

6) Place swirls (on cookie sheet) in oven and bake for about 30-35min. NOTE: every oven cooks differently, so watch your swirls after 10 minutes. The buttery dough should be a golden/deep brown when done, and should sound hollow when tapped on the underside.

7) Remove buns from oven and, after a few minutes, transfer to rack for cooling.

NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.
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<![CDATA[PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA]]>Sat, 06 Sep 2014 18:36:06 GMThttp://www.breadventuresnj.com/blog/pizza-pizza-pizzaUNDER CONSTRUCTION
UNDER CONSTRUCTION
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