Thursday, July 28, 2011

K. Britt and the Chocolate Croissant Factory

"Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the head. "

#54 Chocolate Croissant read that right.  According to Paul Hollywood, "If there is no other recipe in this book you try, do try this - I promise you, it's heaven.  And if you've fallen out with your partner, make these and you'll kiss and make up in no time."

I started the croissant dough last night.  If you want to know how much I hate making croissant dough, you can read my previous post on croissants.  It's not fun.  Lots of folding and rolling.  For hours.

"Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous. "

The next step was to roll out and cut the dough. Instead of triangles the dough was to be cut into rectangles and then the chocolate was rolled inside the dough. The recipe called for Terry's Chocolate Oranges, but I couldn't find any chocolate oranges. I have been looking since November because here in America chocolate oranges are typically only found around Christmastime. The recipe did say you could substitute with any good quality orange-flavored chocolate. I used Ghirardelli Dark and Orange.

"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple."

I did have a little difficulty rolling the dough around the chocolate. You see, chocolate orange slices are pretty conducive to rolling but nearly flat squares are not. So I broke each piece of chocolate in half, stacked them, then rolled the dough. As with previous croissant making the final rise caused the dough to un-roll. I just pushed them back together and after baking only one really unfurled.  I did decide to forgo the apricot jelly glaze because I really don't like apricots and didn't want to spend the money.

"If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it."

2 little cuties!

Surprisingly tasty!  I wasn't sure about the chocolate with  orange filling, but it was pretty good!  The croissant dough was delicious.

"So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. "

All quotes from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun...or not.

"If you smash into something good, you should hold on until it's time to let go."

#53 Pane Toscano (Tuscan Bread)

An unsalted bread, that feels like a cloud while kneading.

 Pretty cloud...

"I'll hire the muscular descendants of Roman gods to do the heavy lifting. "

There, actually, wasn't any heavy lifting.  I had to make a batter with flour, water and yeast.  The recipe did call for a flour called Tipo 00, which is an Italian flour that (after researching) I found was basically the same as American All-purpose flour.  Then, I had to leave the batter for 9 hours (or overnight).  I did 9 hours.  Here's what it looked like at about hour 8:

It was all bubbly and soupy, and smelled like a beer.  Once I added the flour, I still had soup so I added more flour.  Then, more flour.

"Ladybugs, Katherine. Lots and lots of ladybugs."

After I got the dough looking like a dough. I tried to knead it and had to keep adding more flour. Finally, I got a beautiful-looking (and feeling) dough. After a 1 hour rise, I still had a pretty sticky dough so I added a little more flour. I got the dough shaped and slashed and after another hour I was stunned that it was still growing. Yeasts are funny little critters.

Here she is:

Still light.  And really pretty crumb.  Not very much flavor, but since it is a bread that is meant to be eaten with other things I can understand that.  I tried it with olive oil and salt and also with Earth Balance (vegan butter) and honey.  Off to try it with other things...

"Regrets are a waste of time. They're the past crippling you in the present."

All quotes are from Under the Tuscan Sun.

Pie is NEVER free!

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

#52  Apple Pie

According to Paul Hollywood, this pie is a very French recipe.  The filling called for 3 lbs. of apples, peeled, cored and sliced, splash of Calvados, the juice of 3 lemons, a handful of golden raisins and a pinch of cinnamon.  I omitted the Calvados because I can't bring myself to purchase booze for just a splash in a recipe, especially right now.

I used Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples since the GS are typical pie fare and the PLs looked and smelled terrific.

Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness. - Jane Austen

I had some trouble with the pastry portion.  It didn't really become a dough.  It was kind of a crumble.  My best guess was that there just wasn't enough binder.  I tried a splash of water and that was not good.  That may have caused crust problems during the baking process.  Then, I added Country Crock.  (I was not about to wait for the real butter to soften.)  That seemed to work pretty well with the top crust.

You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey. That's like Fourth of July without apple pie, or Friday with no two pizzas. - Joey Tribbiani

This pie was pretty tasty.  The lemon flavor was pretty strong, but I guess that's what happens when you soak apples in lemon juice for 2 hours.  The bottom crust didn't really cook.  That may be because I put a pan under the pie tin to catch and drippings (which did not occur).  Or maybe because of the water I mentioned earlier.

I saw this sketch a while back and I have been waiting for the perfect time to use it.  Sorry for the out of sync audio.

pie's never free from hammertimez on Vimeo.

I found the video here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brighter Than The Sun

"this is how it starts, lighting strikes the heart
It goes off like a gun, brighter than the sun"

#51 Curried Naan

Another Indian bread.  Another fried bread.  Another not-so-successful bread.

I don't like frying things.  I don't like fried things, really.

I also don't like my hands to smell like curry for 8 hours.

Things I do like?  Curry powder.  Beans.  Colbie Caillat.

So here they are.  All on my blog.

That Colbie Caillat song is my new favorite.  The CD came out Tuesday and in a pretty un-Kristen way I ran out and got it on my way to work Tuesday.

The curry powder was in the bread dough and unfortunately was tied to the 8 hour curry-hands.

Bright, sunshine-y, curried dough blobbies.

Fried (sort-of) Curried Naan.  Still pretty bright yellow.

The beans appeared in the eating of the bread.

Along with the bread, this was my dinner on the way out the door last night.

The bread was not really cooked on the inside but started to burn on the outside.  The bread had golden raisins and mango chutney in it.  And though I'm pretty sure I've said it before, I will say I really don't like golden raisins.  Mango chutney on the other hand is delicious!

At the end of this experiment (maybe sooner) I think I'll try this again without the raisins and chutney.  Maybe I'll have the chutney on the side or something.

"we go together like peanuts and Paydays, Marley and reggae"

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Bread Diaries

Joe: This is between a waltz and a tango.
Mia: It's a wango?

No...It's my halfway celebration!

#50 Focaccia Pugliese with Mozzarella

This bread will (hopefully) be the point of the story where I go from the frumpy, sad, wanna-be baker to the beautiful, talented, actual baker.  (Not to be confused with a professional baker or a master baker.)  As we all know, the makeover scene or montage is a crucial point in any girl movie.

"I don't want to rule my own country, I just want to pass the tenth grade."

If I was grading myself on this bread, I say it was an A+. Truly spectacular. I mean so delicious that everyone that tried it made the most terrific yummy noises. It was music to my ears...and I just realized what a bizarre saying that is. Anything is music to my ears. Music can be anything. Music can be
"nothing". (See 4'33".) But I digress.

I had to crumble mozzarella for this bread and while time-consuming it was not painful or difficult like grating 5oz of parmesan or zesting 6 oranges.  I used less cheese than was called for but more cheese that I should eat, so we'll call that a wash.  Plus, it was just a topping.

"Remember, virtual homework may not be submitted for actual credit. "

My actual bread(s).  So pretty, so tasty.  I cut them up into breadsticks and I may enjoy some tomorrow with marinara sauce.  I will most definitely make this again.  Even the bread part was delicious.  Better than all my previous focaccias.

"Goodbye, trolley people!"

All quotes from The Princess Diaries.