Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • Cherry-Hazelnut Bread
  • Cherry-Hazelnut Bread
  • Cherry-Hazelnut Bread

Cherry-Hazelnut Bread

Posted on October 29, 2014

These days you’ll likely find me shuffling around the kitchen (possibly still in my pajamas), coffee in hand, flour across my brow and a smile on my face. Because there is nothing better than fall baking.

This year I’m determined to get more comfortable baking with yeast. Quick breads, scones, muffins and biscuits I can do with my eyes closed. No problemo. And I can make a pie crust LIKE A BOSS. But yeasted breads have always intimated me a bit. So I’m going to step up my bread-making game the next couple of months and master this. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

I was initially attracted to this recipe because of the flavors. Big hunks of tart cherries and toasted hazelnuts are a pretty unbeatable combination. But I was also drawn in by the technique, which involves making and using a sponge-starter. This was something new to me, so I figured if I’m ever going to “master” this whole yeasted bread thing then I better get out of my comfort zone (and maybe get out of my pajamas too).

A sponge-starter is like a lazy man’s version of a sourdough-starter. It’s a mixture of flour, water and yeast that is freshly made and then allowed to ferment overnight. It gives your bread some of the nuances that are characteristic of a sourdough loaf, but without all the babysitting and dedication required for a true sourdough-starter.

The recipe makes two good sized loaves. You can freeze one away for later or pass one along to your neighbors and rack up the karma points. Your choice. It’s excellent toasted with butter and makes great sandwiches as well.

Cheers,

Liz

Recipe from fiveandspice via Food52

Cherry-Hazelnut Bread

Yield: Makes 2 loaves

Cherry-Hazelnut Bread

Ingredients

  • For the Sponge
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

  • For the Dough
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cups dried tart cherries
  • Yellow cornmeal for dusting the baking sheet

Instructions

  1. Make the sponge. In a medium bowl, mix together the water, 1 cup of the flour and the yeast. Cover and let it rest at room temperature for 4-8 hours. Bubbles should have formed at the surface. Then stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Make the dough. In your stand mixer with the bread hook attachment, combine the water and the flour until they just combined. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 10-20 minutes. Then add the honey, salt and the sponge. Mix on low-medium speed for 3-4 minutes. If the dough is very wet, you can add a few more tablespoons of flour. The dough should be supple and somewhat sticky. Add the hazelnuts and cherries, mixing on low speed for an additional 4-5 minutes, pulling the dough down off the hook as needed. Gather up the dough with your hands, shape it into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it with the oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm area for 2-3 hours. The dough will rise only a small amount (i.e. not a full doubling).
  3. After 2-3 hours, remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a well floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal sized pieces. Using floured hands, re-shape each piece into a ball and place them on a large baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 3 hours in a warm area.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Place an oven-safe baking dish on the lowest rack to heat while the oven comes up to temperature. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven. Carefully add about 2 cups of water to the heated baking dish and immediately close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake the loaves for 30-40 minutes. The tops should be deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the loaves to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  5. Wrap the cooled loaves tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or freeze for later.

Notes

1. If you have an recently fed sourdough-starter, you can use that in place of the sponge-starter. You will need 12 ounces.

https://www.floatingkitchen.net/cherry-hazelnut-bread/
  • Homemade Maple Cream
  • Homemade Maple Cream
  • Homemade Maple Cream

Homemade Maple Cream

Posted on October 22, 2014

I just realized THIS is my 200th recipe on Floating Kitchen! That’s a lot of eating and a lot of dishes. And what better way to celebrate my dishpan hands than with Maple Cream.

You all know by now that maple syrup is near and dear to my heart. Like most New Englanders, I take the whole issue of maple syrup very seriously. And when I die, you’ll have to pry that cute leaf shaped bottle from my cold, stiff hands. Real talk.

One of the most downright decadent and delicious things you can do with maple syrup is turn it into Maple Cream. Never had Maple Cream before? Then you are missing out. Maple Cream is maple syrup that has been coaxed (or if we are being more scientific, the sugars become crystallized) into a thick, spreadable cream. You can use it however you would use maple syrup. In fact, I beg you to slather some on top of your pancakes or waffles. But you can also use it for so many other things. I like to dip sliced apples or pears in it. It’s great on toast with peanut butter. Or spread it between two cookies for some homemade cookie sandwiches (it’s particularly wonderful with these Maple Ginger Snaps).

Oh and don’t forget about my most favorite way to enjoy it: straight from the spoon!

Feeling generous? Give this as a gift to the maple syrup lover in your life. The Holidays are a creeping in people.

I love me some Grade B maple syrup. Despite it’s label, I find the taste far superior to Grade A. BUT, for this recipe I recommend using Grade A. Some internet searching hinted that the process doesn’t always work with Grade B (differences in the sugar content or density maybe?). So this is probably the only time I’m ever going to say this: get yourself some Grade A for this recipe.

America’s Test Kitchen has a great tutorial with step-by-step photos of the whole process. I highly recommend reading through it before you start. And there are some great tips buried in the comments thread as well. Another tip: make sure your thermometer is accurate. You don’t want to overcook this stuff!

Oh and fair warning: your arm will get tired from all the stirring. But the little extra work out is worth it for this special treat!

Cheers,

Liz

Homemade Maple Cream

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Homemade Maple Cream

Ingredients

  • For the Maple Cream
  • 3 cups Grade A maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • Other
  • Several cups of ice
  • Instant read thermometer

Instructions

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice and about 1 cup of water. Nestle a clean saucepan inside the ice bath to start it cooling. Set aside.
  2. Add the maple syrup and the olive oil to a large saucepan. It will bubble and rise fairly significantly as it boils, so make sure to choose a pan that is at least double the volume of the liquid to prevent boiling over.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil, without stirring, until it reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. It’s important not to over heat the maple syrup, or you’ll end up with a hard maple candy and not a maple cream.
  4. Carefully pour the hot maple syrup into the saucepan in the ice bath. Let it cool until it reaches approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the water bath. Start stirring the cooled maple syrup with a wooden spoon. The layer at the bottom of the pan will be slightly harder (because it was closest to the ice), but as you stir it will become softer and the whole mixture will take on a more even texture.
  6. Stir the maple syrup for 10-15 minutes. You don’t have to stir it quickly, but do keep up a consistent and steady pace. As you stir, the maple syrup will lighten in color and start to loose it’s shine. The Maple Cream is done when it’s the thickness of natural peanut butter and the color of tahini paste (the color can vary slightly depending on the color of the maple syrup that you started with; i.e. a dark amber will produce a darker final product).
  7. Once it reaches this point, you want to quickly transfer it to containers for storage. Over stirring can result in the final cream being too stiff.
  8. Maple Cream can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 6 months. It’s normal for the Maple Cream to be a bit firm straight from the refrigerator. You can stir it (like you would with natural peanut butter) to loosen it up or pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. And it will also just naturally loosen up over time, so if it seems too stiff the first week or two, don’t panic!
https://www.floatingkitchen.net/homemade-maple-cream/

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