Week 64: Everything Bagel Bread

Want the savory punch of a bagel without the time-consuming process of either baking them yourself or going out to get some? Then this bread is for you – delicious, easy and satisfying. It does require an overnight rest, but after that, you don’t need to spend much time on it at all. The Everything Bagel seasoning is mixed into the dough in addition to being sprinkled on top, making it the perfect foil for some avocado toast. This is one of my favorite breads so far!

I found this on Leite’s Cuisine, one of my top ten food blogs. It’s been around since 1999, and has thousands of tested, well-written recipes, from hundreds of professional contributors. All bread recipes are written in both US and Metric measurements, which is super convenient.

Click here for the recipe. Trader Joe’s makes a good seasoning mix, but if you can’t find it, Leite’s Cuisine’s recipe is below:

  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp dried minced onion
  • 4 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt or coarse salt

If you want to try your hand at bagels, we made them during Week 51. Recipe and lots of tips here.

Smörgåstårta

This Swedish sandwich “cake” is a wonderful party dish in the Spring; perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day. It’s made with bread instead of cake, filled with a variety of savory spreads, iced with cream cheese, and decorated with fresh herbs and vegetables. You can make it ahead of time, and then finish off the outside on the day you’re going to serve it. Fillings and toppings are varied, and can be seafood and/or meats, or vegetarian. And, best of all, it’s super easy to make (although a little time consuming).

I like to make salmon pate, egg salad, and a creamy shrimp filling for a four-layered cake, but a three-layered cake (above) works just as well. I make the icing by mixing some sour cream with softened cream cheese (one small carton of each is enough for both the fillings and the icing). I decorate with carrot, radish, capers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chives, flat leaf parsley, dill and grated lemon and/or lime zest, and this last time I made it, I added kiwi crescents to the top. Some folks put lox and shrimp as decorations as well, but I find it’s hard to cut through those, so I leave them for the inside.

Both the fillings and decorations are totally up to you, and can be guided by what’s in season, or the occasion.

  • Bread: 1 large round loaf (sliced to make 4 layers), or 16 sandwich bread slices, crusts removed*
  • .5 oz packet of fresh dill
  • .5 oz packet of fresh chives
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsely
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 hot house cucumber
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • spoonful of capers
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 8 oz. soft cream cheese
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 14 oz. smoked salmon
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups bay shrimp
  • Bottom layer filler: Rökt laxpate
    • 14 oz. smoked salmon, broken up and smashed
    • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
    • 1 Tbsp sour cream
    • 1 Tbsp soften butter
    • salt/pepper
  • Middle layer filler: Äggsallad
    • 8 hard boiled eggs, chopped
    • mayonnaise
    • chopped chives
    • salt/pepper
  • Top layer filler: Skagenröra
    • 2 cups bay shrimp, well drained
    • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
    • 2 Tbsp sour cream
    • about 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
    • grated rind of one lemon
    • salt/pepper
  • Bread

Start with a bread layer, then add a layer of bread on top of each filling, ending with a layer of bread on top of the thrid filling. Spread mayonnaise or softened butter on bread before topping with filling. Press down on bread layers after loading up each one. Cover and store in fridge overnight to set.

* I use a spring form pan for a circular “cake” even when I don’t have a round loaf to start with, but it’s kind of a pain. If you don’t want to fool with that, just use four slices of square sandwich bread for each layer to make a square, free-form version.

Mather’s Day on Harper Hill, May 2021

Week 54: Hot Cross Buns

(Since we’re still waiting on our starter, here’s a bread for Easter weekend!) ENGLAND: These yeasty, heavenly spiced buns are typically eaten on Good Friday, celebrating the end of Lent. There are a multitude of references to the cross representing the crucifixion of Christ, and suggestions that the spices signify those used to embalm, but as food historian Ivan Day says, “The trouble with any folk food, any traditional food, is that no-one tended to write about them in the very early period.” Which is to say, most of this is conjecture, and it is just as likely that the cross is a way to separate the bun into sections. Back in the day, folks would grate, then save the bread that was baked on Good Friday to use as a medicine in later years, and some believed that the buns would never go moldy, so they nailed up in the house as a good luck charm.

I found many versions of hot cross buns (12M results on Google!) and tested three. I am happy to report that Bake with Jack’s Hot Cross Buns is the clear winner — and he just today posted an accompanying video with tips and updates, since that recipe was originally posted on his blog in 2017.

Bake with Jack’s Hot Cross Buns Recipe

My tips:

  1. Sultanas are golden raisins
  2. Yeast measurement is 14g total (seems like a lot, I know)
  3. Caster sugar is very fine granualted sugar. Go ahead and use granualted sugar (not light brown sugar which would be too wet).
  4. I used 2 medium lemons and 1 large orange which equaled about 1 Tbsp zest for each.
  5. I got 3/4 cup juice from the lemons and orange, so added 3/4 cup granulated sugar to that for the syrup. I simmered it for 15 minutes. It gets thick as it cools.
  6. Mixed spice is very similar to our pumpkin pie spice, and that would make a fine substitute. But the mixed spice is a little more complex, so I’ve listed the ingredients below if you’d like to make your own.
    • 1 Tbsp ground allspice
    • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
    • 2 tsp ground mace
    • 1 tsp ground cloves
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
  7. I had a hard time piping the flour/water paste in even thickness/straight lines. I did one strand all the way around, and then ended up using a wet table knife to cut the individual strands before moving on to the next bun.
  8. Gas mark 180°C is 400°F

Video below has tips that would be useful in making this recipe.

Links to some of his videos that would be useful for this recipe

Video 150: Incorporating Dried Fruit in Real Time – https://youtu.be/TEa-D0yoHfc
Video 149: Do You NEED to Soak Dry Fruit for Bread? – https://youtu.be/j9_KuJ0voq0
Video 131: Kneading Bread Dough in REAL TIME – https://youtu.be/BBRmfxumyh0
Video 87: FIVE signs your Bread Dough is Fully Kneaded – https://youtu.be/rHgtvDMrffc
Video 148: Make it EASY for yourself – https://youtu.be/_FTA2maeqh8

P.S. I really wanted to like Dan Lepard’s Spiced Stout Buns recipe — link here — because they seemed like a grown-up version, and feature the no-knead method. But the special ingredients, the length of time with it’s overnight ferment, and tricky method if you’re a beginner, just didn’t seem worth it in the end. They are tasty though, and it’s a no-knead method, so have at if you’re interested!

Week 51: Bagels

Unless you live in New York (or Montreal, strangely enough), you’re surrounded by people who complain that they can’t get a decent bagel anywhere.* But, it doesn’t matter where you live, because a perfectly satisfying version can made at home! Follow a method that incorporates a.) proofing the dough overnight, b.) boiling them before baking (duh), and c.) using a high protein flour and barley malt, and the end result will be bagels with a shiny, thin, crispy crust and a dense, chewy , slightly tangy interior. The most successful batch I made comes from Zingerman’s Bakehouse, with a few adjustments on my part: I boosted the protien content of the flour, added an overnight proof, and used malt powder rather than syrup.

Bagels originated in Poland, (first written mention of them is in 1610), and were brought to America by Eastern-European and Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century, becoming mainstream in the ’70s. There’s a few theories on the origin of the name, some say it comes from the Yiddish beigen, which means “to bend”, others say it’s from the Hebrew word b’igul meaning “in a circle”.

*The New York Times just published The Best Bagels are in California (Sorry, New York)

Below are answers I found to some bagel questions I had while doing research for this week’s bread:

  • Why the water bath before baking? The starch in the dough gels when the bagels are put in the boiling water, which prevents the water from seeping into the bread. This sets the crust before baking, and prevents them from rising too much — thus the dense and chewy crumb.
  • Why the baking soda and/or malt extract? The baking soda aids in browning the crust, and the barley malt adds an authentic flavor., and encourages browning as well. You can use either Barley Malt Syrup or Diastatic Malt Powder, which is made from sprouted barley that’s been dried and ground. What you’re after is the active enzyme, amylase.
  • What’s the best flour to use? Bagels made in professional bakeries use flour with a very high protein/gluten (14.5%) content. You can buy it (King Arthur has a good one), use bread flour (12%), which is a close second, and all purpose (10%) will work in a pinch. Another option is to mix bread flour with vital wheat gluten. I chose this route because I’d rather buy a small bag of vital wheat gluten than a big bag of high protein flour that I might not use very much. The recipe below is for either bread flour, OR bread flour mixed with vital wheat gluten.
  • What came first? The poles or the holes? The hole! Because the dough is so dense, it’s hard to cook them all the way through. So, the poles came later, as a good way to store these round breads with a hole.

Tips

  • Most recipes are for a dozen bagels. They really are best eaten day of, so I have listed ingredients for just 6. It is also more efficient to be able to boil the six and get them in the oven straight away, so they don’t sit around wating for the other 6 to get boiled. The boiling, timing each side, coating, getting them in the oven quickly is kind of a pain.
  • It is advisable to knead bagel dough by hand because it has a low hydration level, and not too difficult if you’ve been shying away from kneading without a mixer. You’re not dealing with a sticky mess, so it’s not too tricky. In fact, some sites adivise that it is necessary otherwide you might burn out your mixer! It takes some time, though, so be patient.
  • Many recipes call for using a baking stone, but don’t let that deter you. A baking sheet worked just fine for me.
  • Everything bagel topping: 2 Tbsp. each dehydrated onion, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated garlic, plus 1 Tbsp. coarse salt
  • Watch the two videos before you begin, but use the ingredients and written method below.

DAY ONE

STEP 1: Make the sponge

  • 227g bread flour
    • OR 218g bread flour + 8g vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 128g warm water (110 degrees)
  1. Measure the flour, yeast, and vital wheat gluten (if applicable) in a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk to combine, then add the water. Mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl and make sure there’s not dry bits.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise on counter for 2 hours.
  4. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  5. Remove from fridge, and let come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Take it’s temperature; it’s much easier to work the dough when it’s warmed up!

STEP 2: Make the dough

  • Sponge from the day before, at room temperature
  • 227g bread flour
    • OR 218g bread flour + 8g vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 11g salt
  • 2 tsp diastatic malt powder
  1. Add the yeast to the sponge and stir.
  2. Then add the flour, vital wheat gluten (if applicable), salt and malt powder, and mix with a dough scraper, or one hand, to try to incorporate as much of the flour as you can. You won’t be able to mix it to a dough at this stage
  3. Dump it all on the counter, and knead – about 8 – 10 minutes, until you get a nice dough. Watch the video for his method. You want it to be stretchy (not rip if you pull it), but firm. Another test would be to take it’s temperature, it should be between 77-81 degrees. If you can’t seem to get it to this point, leave it for 10 minutes, and then try again.
  4. Place in a large (it’ll rise), clean bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

DAY TWO

STEP 1: Shape Bagels

  1. Let dough come to room temperature
  2. Divide the dough into six pieces.
  3. Form pieces into rounds by first creating a taut undersurface, then turning over, and pressing and rolling with cupped palm against surface in circular motion. (The video above does not do it this way, but the one below does.)
  4. Cover with a damp towel, and letthe dough rounds rest for 20 minutes
  5. Lightly dust a tray, or some of your counterspace with flour so you’ve got place to put them once they’re shaped
  6. Shape into a log and wrap around your hand to join, OR just poke a hole in them. I put corks in the middle because I was afraid they’d close up.

STEP 2: Rest, boil and bake

  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • semolina flour, or corn meal
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Let rise about an hour, but this depends on the temperature of the room. You don’t want them to rise too much, otherwise, they’ll collapse a bit after baking. If you press on them with a fingertip and the indentation springs back, but not all the way, then they are done. If it doesn’t spring back, proof some more, if it springs back all the way, they might be over-proofed. It’s okay, you can still back them, but they might end up a little flat.
  3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  4. Bring a large pot filled with at least 4” of water and 1 Tbsp of baking soda to a boil.
  5. Meanwhile, prep your area for boiling and baking
    • Dust a baking sheet with semolina flour, or corn meal
    • Put your toppings next to this sheet, in containers that will hold one bagel
    • Set your timer for 1 minute – but don’t start it yet!
    • Prep a baking tray with semolina flour for placing bagels that have been topped
  6. Carefully add bagels and bathe them for 45 seconds per side (30 for less chewy, 60 for more).
  7. Remove, place in a topping, then put face up on the set aside baking sheet.
  8. Repeat with the rest.
  9. Turn oven down to 475 and bake for 14 ~ 16 minutes.
  10. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Week 50: Sfilati

ITALY: These oven-baked wider-than-grissinis (Italian breadsticks) are inspired by the traditional long and thin Italian sfilatino which is similar to a French baguette. These were so much fun to make; there’s no kneading involved because the dough is so wet. It won’t seem like you can actualy shape the sticks from this wet, airy dough, and lift them onto the baking sheet, but follow along with the video instructions and you’ll see that it does, in fact, work.

This is from The Great British Baking Show Master Class: Season 2, Episode 1, beginning at around 24:21. The ingredients listed below are half of the recipe that’s demonstrated in the video. These don’t really keep well (they lose their crunch pretty much overnight), so it’s best to make as many as you’d consume in a day.

Mix these first, then add the olive oil and olives

  • 250g bread flour
  • 5g salt
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 200ml tepid water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling good glug
  • 250g pitted green olives in brine, drained

Tips:

  1. Watch the video demonstration all the way through. It’s pretty basic, but it’s good to know ahead of time what comes next.
  2. Water: He measures out 800 ml, so half that would be 400 ml, which is way too much. The written recipe on the BBC site is 400 ml, so half that would be just 200ml. In other words, use 200 ml. Even 250 was too much; I had to start over.
  3. Paul’s “good glug” of olive oil = 1 Tbsp
  4. Add the olives, a few at a time. The video shows them getting all dumped in at once, but mine did not distribute well, so I suggest adding a handful at a time.
  5. You do want to use a rectangular container for the proffing because that’s the shape you want the dough to be for cutting. It’s so wet, you don’t shape/knead it when it’s done proofing, you just cut it in the shape that it lands on the counter.
  6. Their 220 fan is equivalent to 475.
  7. Use a lot of flour to dust, and pay close attention to the video where he shows how to cut the breadsticks, and roll them away.
  8. It seems like they’d be impossible to pick up, but you can. You don’t really need to stretch them, they stretch as you lift them from the counter to the tray.
  9. I didn’t space mine very far apart, but I didn’t want them to touch. So, I had to put 3 on a separate tray.

Don’t you just love Paul & Mary?

Week 48: Panmarino

ITALY: I made this rosemary bread with potatoes, which is not traditional, but it’s a common loaf in the bakeries around here. In Italy it is often scored with an asterix, and sprinkled with flakey salt – in an effort to recreate a bread that Luciano Pancalde read about that was described as having a rosemary aroma and a golden crust that “sparkled like diamonds”. I didn’t find out about that until after I baked it, but I’ll definitely do that next time!

STEP 1: Boil potatoes

  • 300g potatoes
  • 80 ml of water you cooked the potatoes in
  1. Peel and chop potatoes, and place in a small pot. I chop them pretty small so that they cook fast, and so lots of potato starch seeps into the water.
  2. Add 2 cups water and a teaspoon of salt.
  3. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, measure out the dry ingredients

STEP 2: Measure dry ingerdients

  • 300g bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 7g yeast
  • 2 Tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
  1. Measure the dry ingredients and rosemary into the bowl of a stand mixer, or a mixing bowl
  2. Whisk to combine.

STEP 3: Make potato mash

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  1. When potatoes are nice and soft, and before you drain them, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the water they’ve been cooking in
  2. Drain, then return potatoes to pot, and over low heat, dry them out. Stir often, so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once there’s no more steam coming out of the potatoes, turn off heat.
  4. Add the butter, then mash the potatoes well (no lumps), mixing in the butter until it’s melted and fully incorporated.
  • 80g potato water (reserve extra)

STEP 4: Make dough + first rise

  1. Add the potato mash to the dry ingredients and 80 g of the potato water (reserve any leftover).
  2. Knead on #1 until everything is coming together and there’s no dry bits of dough hanging about at the bottom. If you can’t get those to mix in, add 1 Tbsp (no more) of the potato water to the bowl.
  3. Once there are not dry bits, turn to #2 and knead until it cleans the sides of the bowl and is one ball on the dough hook.
  4. Place dough in a oiled bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. About an hour, but it depends on the temperature of the room.

STEP 5: Shape loaf + second rise

  1. Heat the oven to 450 (you’re going to turn it down to 425 once you’ve put the bread in for baking).
  2. Knock the dough down, then turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and shape into a nice ball, with a tight surface. See the tips page.
  3. Drop the ball into banneton (a flour-dusted cloth lined basket or bowl), smooth side down, seam side up. See No Banettone? video on the Tips page for how to make your own.
  4. Cover and let proof for 30-40 minutes at room temperature to prove until almost doubled in size again.
  5. Score
  6. Bake the bread for 30 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
This would be a pretty way to score the bread. From @dough_engineering in Tel Aviv.

Week 46: Scaccia

SICILY: Lasagna bread! How cool is this?! Made with semolina flour, and filled with layers of tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, onions and sometimes eggplant (depending on the region and season). The outer layer of dough bakes up crispy, like bread, but the inner layers are soft, like pasta. Scaccia (“drive away” in Sicilian) is a local street food favorite, and can also be found in Middletown, CT. Who knew?🤔

STEP 1: Make dough

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1-1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. yeast
  1. Mix sugar, yeast and water in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 5 ~ 10 minutes (this is to test that your yeast is active).
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Add the olive oil to the water and stir
  • 2 cups durum wheat semolina flour (364 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Add flour and salt to the water mixture.
  2. Mix with the paddle attachment (or a wooden spoon handle) until well combined.
  3. Cover, and let rest for 30 minutes. This helps to hydrate the flour.
  4. Mix again, and if it seems too dry/crumbly, add 1 Tbsp (no more!), and mix to combine.
  5. With the dough hook attachment, knead at #2 until it comes away from the sides of the bowl, into one ball stuck on the hook. Or knead by hand.
  6. Cover and let rest one hour. It’ll rise a little, but that’s not really what you’re after. You just want the dough to gain strength.

STEP 3: Roll out

  1. Preheat over to 500 degrees, line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment
  2. Roll out dough to a 26 x 18 rectangle.
  1. Tips:
    • I made markings on the countertop so I didn’t have to keep measuring.
    • It’s best to lightly dust the surface with regular flour
    • Flatten the dough, and shape it into an oval/rectangle to start
    • Roll from the center out, so the dough is being stretch in the same direction
    • When it starts to not hold the stretch, and it springs back, cover with a damp cloth and let rest about 10 minutes
    • Make sure it’s an even thickness throughout, rolling specifically in the thicker places to get it uniform
    • Also check that it’s not sticking to the counter; if so, fold over a flap and dust with flour

STEP 5: Fill and fold

I used tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, fresh spinach and Parmesan. I was really trying to stay away from having it taste like pizza, so no pepperoni, mozzarella, etc. I’ll definitely use ricotta next time.

  1. Follow pictures to see how to fill and fold
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, so it’s nice and hot by the time you’re ready to bake

STEP 6: Bake

  1. Place in a 8” x 4” loaf pan. This is a little tricky. I covered it with parchment paper, then put the loaf pan over it to squish it to the right size, then tucked the parchment under the sides so it was easier to lift and drop in. I flipped it, so the bottom is now on the top.
  1. Brush top with oil.
  2. Prick holes all over the top with a fork.
  3. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes, until the top is dark and charred, and the internal temperature has reached 210-213°F. Tent with foil if it’s getting too dark.

Week 45: Honey White

Who out there is tired of artisan breads? I sure am, so this week I’m baking up a soft, squishy white bread, perfect for those of us nostalgic for the PB&J, grilled (American) cheese, mayo and tomato, and/or egg salad sandwiches of our youth. Or, be like a millennial and make some avocado toast! 🙂

  • 2-1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup milk, at 110 degrees
  • 360 g AP flour
  • 8g salt
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 46 g dried potato flakes, OR or 1/2 c mashed potatoes, riced

STEP 1: Make dough

  1. Measure out all ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. With the dough hook attachment, knead on #2 for about 5 ~ 7 minutes, until dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. It doesn’t have to completely clean the bowl and form one ball. If it seems too dry add some milk, but just 1 tablespoon at a time!

STEP 2: First Rise

  1. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until it’s doubled and puffy. This can take between 60 ~ 90 minutes, depending on the temperature of your room.

STEP 3: Shape and second rise

  1. Lightly grease your countertop
  2. Holding the container close to the countertop, turn dough out. Don’t punch it down, i.e. deflate it, but while carefully turning edges under so that a kind of tight “skin” forms on top, shape it into an 8″ rectangular loaf
  3. Place in a lightly greased 8.5″ x 4.5 ” or 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Slip it into a plastic bag, tented, so it there’s room to rise.
  4. Let rise until the center is about 1″ over the rim of an 9 x 5 pan. or 1-1/4″ above a 8.5 x 4.5 pan. Don’t let it go higher than than, or it might deflate during the baking process. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
How to cover your loaf for the 2nd rise

STEP 4: Bake!

  1. Bake the bread for 20 ~ 25 minutes until it’s golden brown, and the internal temperature is 190 degrees. If it starts to brown too early in the process, tent with foil.
  2. Cool on wire rack, and remember — don’t slice it while it’s still warm!