WEEKLY BREAD

MONTREAL STYLE BAGELS

04/07/2014

Last week we made from-scratch bagels. They’ve always been on my ‘must make’ list and i’m so happy that we finally tried out a recipe. A friend of mine has always raved about Montreal bagels and that nothing compares to them. We found a great recipe from The Gouda Life, and goodness, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to store-bought bagels. These were so the best I have ever had. My friend even approved and said they were very similar to the real deal. Now I just need to head up north and try one for myself! These bagels will definitely be made again and again. The kids devoured them and that’s always a good sign.

You will need:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

For boiling:
1 tbsp baking soda
1/3 cup honey

Topping:
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup poppy seeds and 1 tbsp kosher salt (mixed together)

In a bowl, stir yeast and warm water together. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 5-7 minutes, until bubbles appear. Next, pour sugar, salt, oil, honey, egg and the yolk into the bowl of yeast, whisk until combined. Pour in 1 cup of the flour and stir until incorporated. Add in the remaining 3 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. It will be kind of sticky and shaggy, but no worries.

Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead together, slowly adding the 1/2 cup of flour if needed. We ended up only needing about half the amount. Knead everything together for about 10 minutes. The dough should feel supple and smooth. With the dough remaining on your work surface, cover it with an inverted bowl and let it rise for 30 minutes.

Take the risen dough and divide it into 18 equal portions. Carefully stretch and roll the dough pieces out until they are about 8 inches in length. Bring the ends together to form a circle and pinch the ends to seal. Make sure the ends are sealed well or else they will open during the boiling process. Place bagels on two parchment lined baking sheets, cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise for 20 minutes.

While the bagels finish rising, bring 16 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. When the water comes to a boil, add in the baking soda and honey. Turn down the heat to a simmer. When ready, add the bagels into the simmering water, two at a time. Allow the bagels to cook for 1 minute per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into either seed mixture. Coat one side of the bagel and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat with all bagels.

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Place one sheet of bagels into the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes or until they begin to brown on the bottom. Flip bagels over and cook for another 5-8 minutes, watching carefully after 5 minutes to make sure they don’t overcook. The bagels should be golden brown.

Serve warm alone or with your favorite toppings. The bagels keep well in airtight container in the fridge for about one week…but trust me, they won’t last long!

TARTINE / PEA MASH & RADISH

03/05/2014




This morning we baked a loaf of easy no-knead bread. It wasn’t done in time for breakfast so we saved it for lunch and made two different tartines. Super simple and delicious.

Pea & Avocado Mash with Lemon and Crispy Prosciutto

You will need:

4-5 slices prosciutto
1 half of a small shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
Half a ripe avocado, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
The juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh bread, sliced and toasted (4-5 slices)
Fresh arugula

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place prosciutto on the pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until crispy. Set aside to cool.

Combine diced shallot, extra-virgin olive oil, a pinch salt and water in a small saucepan. Add the peas and cook over medium heat until the peas are tender. Be sure to stir the mixture occasionally. After about 5 minutes, take the saucepan off the stove and drain the peas. Reserve the cooking liquid. Transfer the peas to a food processor and pulse until a chunky paste forms. Scoop the pea mixture into a medium size bowl; mix in the avocado, lemon zest, the juice of half a lemon and the crushed red pepper flakes. Mash mixture together with a fork to break up and mix in  the avocado. If you find your mixture too thick, add in some of your reserved cooking liquid until you’ve reached desired consistency. Season with black pepper and a bit more salt. Set bowl aside or chill in the fridge.

To assemble your tartine, spread a bit of butter on the bread. Place a handful of arugula on the bread and then place the crispy prosciutto on top. Place a generous spoonful of the pea & avocado mash on top on the prosciutto and finish with some sea salt or more crushed red pepper flakes for heat.

Radish and Sea Salt

You will need:

Fresh bread, sliced, toasted and cooled
4-5 radishes, thinly sliced using a knife or mandolin
Some good quality butter or Earth Balance Spread (for a healthier option)
Sea Salt

To assemble your tartine, spread some butter or Earth Balance on the bread. Neatly arrange the sliced radishes on top of the buttered bread; sprinkle with sea salt.

WEEKLY BREAD / NO KNEAD SOURDOUGH

01/24/2014

I bought myself a sourdough starter so I could make sourdough bread at home. I purchased the starter from here. It was very inexpensive and easy to grow into my own healthy supply. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a sourdough starter is, you can read a little bit about it here.

After feeding and building my starter up, over the course of four days, I was ready to give it a try and make my own sourdough bread. Basically the sourdough starter is used in place of the yeast. This bread was so easy and turned out great on my first try.

No Knead Sourdough Bread

You will need:

3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (you can also use, bread flour, wheat, etc.)
1/4 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups purified water

In a large bowl mix together your flour and salt. In another bowl, or in a large liquid measuring cup stir your sourdough starter into your water so it dissolves. Next pour your water and starter liquid into your flour mixture and mix well without over mixing. Cover your dough tightly with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 18 hours.

Heavily flour your work surface, I bought a pastry cloth for this step, but have also put parchment paper on my counter top to avoid a mess. Place your dough in the center of the flour and gently spread it out across your surface a bit. You want to the fold the dough into thirds on top of itself and then in half again until it forms somewhat of a ball. Cover your dough with plastic wrap on your countertop and let it rest for 15 minutes.

For the final proofing stage, transfer your ball of dough into a large, towel lined and floured bowl or heavily floured proofing basket and cover with a kitchen towel. Let it rise for 2 hours. (You can also use a regular bowl sprayed with cooking oil and then floured. You don’t want your dough to stick in this final proofing stage.)

After an hour and a half of rising, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees and place your french oven, la cloche or other means of baking your bread inside the oven to pre-heat as well. After thirty minutes, carefully remove your hot pot from the oven and gently place your dough inside. I sliced a couple of slits on top of my dough to make it pretty.

Cover your french oven or pot and place it into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 500 degrees. After the thirty minutes, remove the lid and reduce your oven temperature to 450. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from here.

You can also try making your own sourdough starter rather than buying one.

Photos by Bleubird.

WEEKLY BREAD / NO KNEAD

01/14/2014

My friend Robin made the most delicious bread to contribute to a dinner party at our friends house a couple of weeks ago. It was one of my favorite parts of the meal and while we were all “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” she explained how easy this particular bread recipe is. I was determined to try it as I have always wanted to bake bread but have been intimidated by anything that requires yeast. She sent me Jim Lahey’s “No Knead” recipe of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. Let me just say that I am so incredibly happy with how simple and beginner-friendly this method is. And it’s delicious! You can totally impress your friends and family with this one.

No Knead Bread by Jim Lahey

You will need:

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rising yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water

Yield: one 1 1/2 pound loaf.

In a large bowl mix together your flour, instant yeast and salt. (I purchased Saf Instant Yeast on Amazon, but you should be able to find it at your local grocery store.) Next add your water and mix until it forms your dough. I am using a dough whisk, which I also found on Amazon, but you can use a wooden spoon.

Mix until all the dry ingredients are combined. You don’t need to over mix. Next cover your bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 12-18 hours. If the dough sits for longer that’s okay. Mine sat for 20 hours and was fine.

Heavily flour your work surface, I placed parchment paper on my counter top to avoid a mess. Place your dough in the center of the flour and form a big ball, heavily floured.

Cover with plastic wrap again and let sit an additional 1-2 hours. When your dough has thirty minutes left of this rising period, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and place your french oven or clay baker inside to heat up. I have a Le Creuset 5.5 Quart French Oven that I used and it turned out perfect. Just be sure to get a heat safe knob for your top. Le Creuset knobs are generally plastic and will melt in the oven.

UPDATE: If you do not have a french oven, a stainless steel pot with a lid or even an oven-safe bowl with aluminum foil should work just fine.

After 30 minutes, carefully take your very hot pot out of the oven and place your dough inside. I placed mine in a little sloppy due to a cute one-year-old boy tugging on my leg. Do not grease the bottom of your pot. It will smoke. You can line the pot with parchment, but it is not necessary. My bread did not stick at all. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and let bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered. (I took mine out after 10 because I have a convection oven which tends to cook a bit faster than a traditional oven.)

Remove from oven and place your beautifully crusted and incredible smelling bread onto a cooling rack for a few minutes or just cut right into it and enjoy while hot and fresh.

There you have it. Easy, no knead bread. Give it a try! I already have another dough on the shelf rising for tomorrow morning. I am excited to try different variations of this recipe. Adding herbs or dried fruits into the mix. I am also looking forward to trying this bread using a sourdough starter in the place of yeast. More on that in a future post.

All the kids loved it, especially Sailor!

Recipe adapted from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. Photos by Bleubird.

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