Tag Archives: BBA

No, We’re Not Dieting Here

Although it may not look like it, we have been eating here in this household. Mostly there have been things like sausage sandwiches, homemade pizza, and other quick but good meals. One such meal was our specifically designated MWV meal, which included the Corn Bread from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Cookbook. The BBA Challenge was begun by Nicole of Pinch My Salt and has been a source of great joy and rejoicing, as well as increasing waistlines, in this household. I’ll leave you with a photo of the bread and this short note.

This is the first recipe we’ve been disappointed with in this stellar cookbook. First let me admit I left out the corn and bacon, the corn because we were already having a corn dish with the meal. Other than leaving out these optional ingredients, the recipe was followed. We found it to be more cakey than cornbread and quite sweet, perhaps better suited to a breakfast corn muffin.

The other half of the meal isn’t quite ready for recipe publishing yet. I’m still tweeking the amounts of a few things. Still, it is excellent, lightly cheesy and flavorful. Corn Florentine:

To come over the next few posts: an amazing Carrot Cake, Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce, and hopefully the recipe to go with the above photo!

And if you’d like some bread to go with any of your meals this coming week, you might try checking out the BYOB Roundups at the blog At the Baker’s Bench. Sandy gathers up all the bread (often including quick breads and other baked goods) of those participating and lists them all in one handy place. Yum!

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I Love it When the Gnomes Bring Me Breakfast

Ok, we don’t really have gnomes who bring me breakfast. However one of my very favorite things is when breakfast is already prepared and waiting for me. I wouldn’t complain if someone else got up early and made it either, of course. But I love making it myself and having it already ready already. So it was with great joy I began the recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread. Notice that the walnuts have magically disappeared from the recipe, too. How great! I’m not a huge fan of those nuts, finding them bitter most of the time.

Thanks to Nicole of Pinch My Salt, I’m heavily embroiled in this challenge of making each bread from Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Each recipe is good enough that I’m mightily restraining myself from buying his newest book, Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, quite yet.

The dough itself mixed up beautifully.

To make this bread I actually had to go out and buy some raisins, because while we do keep several types of dried fruits in the house, raisins are not one of them.

It rose alongside a loaf of multigrain sandwich bread.

After its second rise, the loaf of Cinnamon Raisin Bread was done.

Just like that, there was breakfast brought by the gnomes. Well, by me, but it was ready and waiting when I woke the next morning. And isn’t that magic?

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Reinhart v. Mom (Battle Cinnamon Roll, part I)

When it came time to make the Cinnamon Rolls from Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, I was pretty excited. I mean, who wouldn’t be? After all, thanks in part to Nicole of Pinch My Salt, who organized this little bake-a-long shindig, I was making one of my favorite breakfasts desserts in the whole world! I love cinnamon rolls. And I’d actually just baked my usual recipe only about 2 weeks ago.

Having just had my mom’s Cinnamon Rolls, and seeing how other bloggers were really happy with the BBA recipe, I naturally had to do something special. Like what? Well, I had to make 2 recipes, of course! The one from the BBA Challenge and the one from mom. Actually to be clear, I have two cinnamon recipes from my mom, but the one I chose to make is my favorite. The reason why will become clear in a little while, I’m sure. And no, you can never have too many cinnamon rolls in the house. Really! What a question!

First, the BBA Cinnamon Buns. Oops, I’d better be frank here. I got so focused on the cinnamon, sweet dough and yummy end product, that I totally forgot to take any photos of the process of making the dough.

So, let’s pretend I’m mixing all the flour, yeast, water, etc., which I obviously must have done, because here’s the photo of the gorgeous dough which resulted.

I feel the need to be honest about something.

I didn’t use any lemon in the dough.

I realize some people like all their sweet dough with lemon or orange flavor, but I just can’t get into it. It always reminds me of boxed pastry, like Entenmenn’s or something. Me? In some doughs yes, but not in every sweet roll dough. Definitely not in Cinnamon Rolls. Yeah, I’m opinionated like that.

But, I did use buttermilk. More on that tomorrow.

Next, the dough is sprinkled with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Then rolled into the traditional log and cut.

Aren’t those pretty rolls?

See this is how distracted I was while baking. You get no more shots after this until the cinnamon rolls are finished. Well, except for this one, when they’d already been in the oven for a few minutes. Whoops!

Here they are fresh out of the oven. Beautiful color and heavenly aroma. They’d risen nicely and smelled just perfect.

How about a closeup?

The verdict? These are good. Really, really good. Like ‘from the corner bakery’ good. The roll was soft, nicely textured and they stayed soft for a few days. Yum!

Tomorrow? Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls.

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After It’s All Finished, Can I Get a Do-Over?

I wonder if anyone else is needing a do-over on one or two of these BBA breads? Up until now, I haven’t had any trouble with the recipes. Heck, I didn’t really have any trouble with this one either. But the Ciabatta al Funghi I turned out didn’t quite have the texture that it should have.

I should start at the beginning though. Here’s the flour. Where else would I begin?

Oh, oops! Probably with the biga. Which I forgot to photograph until the next morning. While it was resting on the counter in pieces trying to warm up from its night in the fridge.

Once the biga was mixed with the above flour and remaining ingredients, it made a really nice, very wet dough. But you’ve seen lots of dough, and how interesting is that? What you really want to see are the funghi. The dry ones:

These mushrooms are from our local farmer’s market. Every once in a blue moon, a trip to the market brings the delightful sight of a special booth. Local mushroom farmers, who usually sell to restaurants, appear and treat us to such beauties as these golden oyster mushrooms. They actually bring several varieties, both fresh and dried, but these were our favorites, so I stocked up on a bag of the dried.

And the fresh mushrooms for the Ciabatta. Yum!

After the requisite folding and couche-ing (is that a word?), the Ciabatta al Funghi made its trip into the oven. I don’t think I let it rise quite long enough, but what emerged was still very tasty!

I do think I’ll be making this again. Partly because I need that do-over, but mostly because this bread is delicious!

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Let Me Tell You My Secret

This isn’t the first time I’ve made Peter Reinhart’s Challah from his book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Before I started the BBA Challenge —Thanks Nicole of Pinch My Salt!— I made just a few of the breads in the book. But you won’t tell on me, will you? As penance (ok not really) I’m remaking each one. Can you see how I suffer so?

Most of the Challah I’ve had in my life has been store or bakery-purchased. So, if I just don’t know my head from a hole in the ground, please correct me when I tell you that this Challah is amazing! Let me show you.

First I rounded up all my ingredients.

See my pretty red bowl there in the middle? I picked up a set of those little guys at World Market for $4! And they’re silicone!

Yes, I realized after I took this photo that I was short two eggs. All the eggs did make it into the bread though. See?

Please excuse the poor lighting, too. Fall and Winter are all about the waning of natural light in late afternoon.

Next the eggs and a few other things were whisked together.

Pretend there’s a lovely photo here of the dough, please. Because I really did add the flour and yeast and stuff, too. I’m not sure where my brain was while I was making this. Probably on the 6-strand braid I was planning to make!

It came out beautifully, and that braid is actually really easy! I found a video that made it so. Boy, was that bread good, too!

Tomorrow we’ll talk Ciabatta, ok?

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The Best Way to Get Your Bread and Butter (BBA – Casatiello)

So we’re (the royal ‘we’ and Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice) still in France. That’s pretend France, for sure, but France it is. Lots of butter, eggs, cheese. And more butter.

While I have to admit the brioche rolls were excellent, they had nothing on this bread. It’s the bomb, and by that I mean the butter bomb with flying shards of cheese and nuggets of salami. The bread, casatiello, is rich and fluffy with a crust that melts on the tongue.

The sin doesn’t begin with the dry ingredients.

But with the butter and eggs. And with choosing the cheeses. I really had make it worthwhile.

And of course there’s the salami.

Both cheese and salami had to be prepped, by which I mean snacked on.

Please tell me I’m not the only person who, when using their Cuisinart, is left with chunks of cheese on the shredding blade that have to be diced into teeny tiny pieces. This drives me batty! Still, I love my Cuisinart!

The dough is beautifully studded with meat and cheese and feels silky. It’s all that butter, of course.

The end product is nothing short of amazing! We’ve been lightly toasting it up in our toaster oven. No butter or anything else is necessary. It’s basically just a flaky pastry bread.

Many thanks to Nicole of Pinch My Salt for initiating the BBA Challenge. It’s been a blast so far!

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How ‘Bout We Just All Pretend We’re French

If we all pretend we’re French, maybe the 1500 metric tonnes of butter in a rich man’s brioche won’t matter! Up until yesterday, I planned to make that version just this once: on my way through Peter Reinholdt’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. After all how often does one ‘do’ the BBA Challenge begun by the oh-so-smart Nicole of Pinch My Salt? One bake of that tremendously rich dough should be fine!

Then last night I went a bit crazy and made not one, but two, very rich out of character dishes for dinner. So, this morning, as I set about actually perusing those bread recipes, I just couldn’t bring myself to make the rich man’s version. Another time perhaps, when we’ve been eating lots of salads and feasting on fresh fruit. No, today I’m making the poor man’s version. And let me tell you that when mixing this up and handling the dough, all I’m thinking is that these particular poor men had it Pret-ty Good!

I’m making half a recipe, because there are only three of us in the house and I’ve decided these are going to be rolls, rather than the traditionally shaped brioche bread. So let’s start with the preferment for this bread.

Next we add the eggs.

Then some flour, salt and sugar.

Because this is only for the three of us, there is no way I need this much butter.

There, that’s better. Now there’s a nice ball of dough that needs a bit of rising.

And some shaping. Then more rising. And then into the oven they go. Six rolls. Gorgeous, gorgeous rolls.

But we are NOT falling in love with these now matter how good they taste. Ok, well maybe a little, but we’ll just pretend we can only get all the ingredients at the same time for special events. Like Thanksgiving. And the holidays. Maybe a birthday or two. And I could see my way clear to making them for a picnic, I guess.

Gorgeous, I tell ya!

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