Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Kossar's Bialys

I know, they look like bagels, eh? The texture is quite different though. And the flavour? Amazing. I love the little hit of onion built right in there. Brilliant.
From Wiki:
Bialy, a Yiddish word short for bialystoker kuchen, from Białystok, a city in Poland, is a small roll that is a traditional dish in Polish Ashkenazi cuisine. A traditional bialy has a diameter of up to 15 cm (6 inches) and is a chewy yeast roll similar to a bagel. Unlike a bagel, which is boiled before baking, a bialy is simply baked, and instead of a hole in the middle it has a depression. Before baking, this depression is filled with diced onions and other ingredients, including (depending on the recipe) garlic, poppy seeds, or bread crumbs.

In 2002, former New York Times food writer Mimi Sheraton wrote a book dedicated to the bialy, called The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World.
Not only are they delicious, but they are easy to make and make for excellent picnic fare. And we are all about the picnic fare!

Kossar's Bialys
adapted from Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking
for BreadBakingDay #43 - Bread with Onions

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
600 grams strong bread flour
1 tsp dry, instant yeast
2¼ tsp salt
390 grams cold water

olive oil
poppy seeds
sesame seeds

  • Grind the chopped onion in your food processor, stopping just short of puréed.
  • Empty out into a bowl, don't clean the food processor. Cover the onions and set aside.
  • In the oniony food processor, add the flour, salt, and yeast. Pulse to combine. Add the water through the feed tube while you have the machine running on lowest setting.
  • Mix in the machine 2-3 minutes. Turn out and knead by hand 1 minute.
  • Repeat 1-2 more times.
  • Let rise in a clean bowl for 2 hours.
  • Divide into 12 equal sized pieces and form into balls.
  • Cover and let rise 2½ hours.
  • Make onions - in a skillet, heat up a glug of olive oil. Add onions and cook on medium/low until soft and showing a small amount of colour. Season with salt and add in some poppy seeds and sesame seeds if desired. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Preheat - stone in oven on rack second position from the top,  475°F
  • Shape bialys - when risen, shape into pizza-like shapes, about 5 inches in diameter. Pick them up with your fingers and form a doughy crust with an almost see-through middle. (Make the middle a bit bigger than you want - it tends to shrink up) Use your fingers to turn them round and round until you have the shape and size you want. Put 6 down on a piece of parchment, evenly spaced. Repeat with the next 6.
  • Divide onion mixture evenly in the bialys. Press down on it lightly.
  • Bake - on the parchment, on the stone, about 8 minutes - turning in the last couple of minutes for even heating.
  • Let cool on racks.
  • Eat one while still hot - glorious!
This bread has been YeastSpotted!
BreadBakingDay #43 - Onion Breads (last day of submission September 1, 2011)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Armchair Novel Review - The Leftovers

The Leftovers
by Tom Perrotta
Category: Fiction
Hardcover, 368 pages
Also available as an eBook

Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of Little Children, as well as The Abstinence Teacher, Joe College, Election (made into a movie), The Wishbones, and Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies, begins his newest novel, The Leftovers, with a simple premise - what would happen if a random portion of the population were to suddenly disappear?

Much like the Rapture, but with no apparent design or reason, they simply vanish - The Leftovers is a novel about the people left behind.

The novel focuses on the small town of Mapleton, a formerly idyllic American suburb now populated with the bewildered leftovers of the Sudden Departure. Three years have passed, and the world is trying to get on with life as best it can. Cults have popped up all over the place and everyone is coping, and not coping, in their own unique ways.

The Leftovers is an interesting study in human behaviour; rather than go into the how and why of the Sudden Departure, Perrotta follows a few individuals through a window of their lives as they cope with grief, hope, and survivor's guilt.

The author infuses comedy and tragedy into his spare prose, as his characters try to find normal again. This one definitely gets you thinking.

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.
Click here to visit Tom Perrotta's web page.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Moosewood Mondays: Peach Parfait with Amaretto Cream

Is there anything more wonderful than a fresh peach? We are lucky enough to live close to Niagara - a great peach producing land - and are enjoying these blissful weeks of ripeness before having to go back to the grocery store rocks that pass as peaches for the rest of the season.

You don't really have to do much with a good peach - they are perfect right out of hand. But sometimes you want to dress those babies up, like bake a pie. (If you bake a peach pie, please invite me over. My birthday is coming up. Just sayin') Or make a parfait. Peaches love cream. And I love cream. See? Win-win.

This is a simple and delicious dessert with excellent wow-factor for the few minutes work you have to put into it. The success depends entirely on the freshness of the peach - so pick some good ones!

Peach Parfait with Amaretto Cream
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 Tbsp amaretto
2 Tbsp icing sugar

4 ripe peaches
8 amaretti (Italian almond cookies)

Whip the cream with the amaretto and sugar until you have stiff peaks. You can do this several hours ahead of time and chill until needed.
Cut up your peaches as desired.
Crumble your cookies.
Layer cream, peaches, and cookie crumbs in a parfait or glass dessert dish, doing at least 2 layers of each and topping with cream and more crumbs.
Serve immediately.

Use strawberries or sweet cherries instead of peaches, sub a tsp of vanilla extract for the amaretto in this case. Sugar cookies or ginger snaps would also be nice.
Use your imagination!


TIFF Winner!
We had a surprising amount of local entries for TIFF tickets and the winner, chosen by, is Erika K! Congratulations Erika!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Bread

After the deliciousness that was Tracey's Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread, I was eager to try its lemony counterpart. Sweet lemony leaves of bread all nestled in a hot loaf pan and waiting for a nice cup of tea to go with. What a perfect Sunday treat!

The dough is just rolled out, dressed, and cut up and stacked like a doughy deck of cards before being placed lovingly into your prepared loaf pan. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

The results are toasty on the top and tender sweet on the inside. Absolutely heavenly. Try it today!

  • This bread is best when it is first baked. Leftovers can be dipped into your tea to soften.
  • I omitted the icing, mainly because I had no cream cheese in the house, but I think I will definitely ice it next time. 
  • Line your pan with parchment paper to make lifting the bread out easier. (ie: do as I say, not as I do - oops!)

Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake Recipe
online source: Leite's Culinaria
by Flo Braker, Baking for All Occasions
for August's Bread of the Month
Makes one 9-by-5-inch cake/bread

Lemon and cream cheese have long been classic companions in American baking, and this fun-to-assemble, sweet-tart filled coffee cake makes it easy to see why. Showcasing the lively flavors of fresh citrus, the sweet, buttery filling is made with fluffy, fragrant lemon and orange zest. The warm loaf is brushed with a zippy cream cheese icing, whose tangy flavor marries marvelously with the sunny taste of citrus. Enjoy a slice of this pull-apart coffee cake whenever you need a pick-me-up.–Flo Braker

Active time: 1 hour Total time: 3 hours, 45 minutes


For the sweet yeast dough

    About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
    2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
    2 ounces unsalted butter
    1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    2 large eggs , at room temperature

For the lemon paste filling
    1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
    3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (3 lemons)
    1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
    2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

For the tangy cream cheese icing

    3 ounces cream cheese , softened
    1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon whole milk
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Make the sweet yeast dough

1. Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.

2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

3. Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step. While the dough is rising, make the filling.
Make the lemon paste filling

4. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the lemon and orange zests. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby (the sugar draws out moisture from the zests to create the consistency).

Make the coffee cake

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Or, lightly coat the pan with nonstick spray.

6. Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.) Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.

7. Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking.) Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.

8. Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the tangy cream cheese icing

9. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

10. To remove the coffee cake from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the coffee cake, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.

11. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it. (Cover and refrigerate the leftover icing for another use. It will keep for up to 2 days.)

12. Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.

This bread has been YeastSpotted!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Reuben-ish Sandwich on Rye-ish Bread

"There is an art to the business of making sandwiches which it is given to few ever to find the time to explore in depth. It is a simple task, but the opportunities for satisfaction are many and profound."
— Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide)

You have to have just the right balance between delicious chaotic messiness and pick-up-and-eat-with-your-hands-orderliness.

This is a delicious take on the popular Reuben sandwich, made on a homemade rye-wheat bread. I love the layers and the melty goodness and the bread has just the right tang.  

And of course the third slice of bread in the middle technically makes this a club sandwich (and I'm not even a member!)

Check out Mitch Hedberg's bit about the club sandwich. Dude cracks me up. (some swearing)

My son will be proud I included Mitch. He's one of his favourite comedians. 

Back to the Reuben-ish sandwich. Sure, if you make it from scratch, including baking the bread, it will take a few days - but it's totally worth it. ☺

Don't forget the frilly toothpicks!

Reuben-ish Sandwich

The origin of the Reuben sandwich is hotly disputed, but many New Yorkers say it began in Reuben’s Deli on East 58th Street. A classic Reuben sandwich should have Thousand Island dressing, but this is my version. Try it with nice smoked ham if you can’t find pastrami.


• 3 big 1cm slices of rye bread
• mayonnaise
• 4 heaped tablespoons sauerkraut
• 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
• 4–5 slices of pastrami
a few gherkins, sliced
• 100g Swiss cheese
• a handful of watercress leaves, to serve


Grill the slices of bread on a griddle pan until lightly toasted on both sides then spread one side of each with mayonnaise. Put some of the sauerkraut and some of the chilli on 2 of the slices, and top with a couple of slices of pastrami. Top with the remaining sauerkraut and chilli and the sliced gherkins, then grate the Swiss cheese over the top.

Preheat a hot grill. Place the slices with toppings under the grill until the cheese is melted and dribbling.

Stack the sandwich together, adding a few watercress leaves and finishing with the final slice of toast. Press down lightly and use wooden skewers to hold together. Tuck in!

Rye-Wheat Bread
adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread
for the Mellow Bakers

The night before:
Whole-rye flour - 8 oz
Water - 6.6 oz
Mature sourdough starter - 0.6 oz

Combine in a small/med bowl and let sit, covered, overnight. 12-16 hours.

The next day:
Bread flour - 1 lb
Whole wheat flour - 8 oz
Water - 15 oz
Salt - 1 Tbsp
Instant dry yeast - 1 tsp
Sourdough from last night - all

Mix all the ingredients together in your stand mixer for three minutes on low. (Dough hook)
Scrape down and mix 3 more minutes on medium speed, adjusting if necessary.
Finish kneading on lightly floured board until you have a nice, smoothish dough.
Lightly oil a bowl and turn dough ball around in it to lightly coat.
Cover and let rest 1 - 1½ hours, until nicely risen.
Divide into two equal pieces. Shape each into a ball.
Let rest as you prepare two brotforms with flour and coarse rye.
Shape into loaves and place seam-side up in the brotforms. (Bowls or baskets lined with tea towels will also work)
Cover and let rise 1 - 1½ hours.
Preheat oven, with stone, to 460°F.
Flip loaves onto stone and bake at 460° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 440° and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes.
Let cool on racks.

This bread has been Yeastspotted!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Win Tix to TIFF! Courtesy of California Strawberries.

When's the last time your produce took you out on the town? I thought so.

The world famous Toronto International Film Festival is just around the corner and California Strawberries has a pair of gala tickets for one lucky Puppies reader!

People who want to win tickets should:
Be at least 18 years old.
Be able to get themselves to the events (ie: live in or near Toronto).
Email me at livinginthekitchenwithpuppies AT hotmail DOT com (subject line - TIFF) or leave a comment on Cocktail Puppy stating their desire to win tickets!
* Contest closes Monday, August 29th.
* Winner will find out which film they are receiving tickets to on September 2, 2011.

Film info:
* Gala tickets are high profile film screenings at Roy Thomson Hall each evening at 6:30pm and 9:30pm and matinees on weekends during the Festival. Usually, the actors and talent are present to introduce the film and on the red carpet beforehand, but this can not be confirmed
* Opening Night will be on Sept. 9th and closing on Sept. 18th. Non-gala films are spread out amongst various theatres – there are also some great high profile films at Ryerson, VSR at Elgin, Winter Garden and various other theatres.

Excited? Me too. 

What shall we do while we're waiting? Eat!

Check out this Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza. Just the thing for an artsy movie night. Better make two.

Red Carpet Recipe:
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza

Recipe and image courtesy of the California Strawberry Commission

    2 salt
    1 tbsp.olive oil
    3 tbsp.white balsamic vinegar
    3 tbsp.extra virgin olive oil
    ¼ cupaged balsamic vinegar
    ½ (4 ounces) cupsoftened goat cheese
    ¼ cup (2 ounces)crumbled goat cheese
    Coarsely ground black pepper
    Baby arugula or other mixed greens
    1 pkg.prepared pizza dough


To make white balsamic vinaigrette: simmer white balsamic vinegar until reduced to 1 1/2 tbsp. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil. To make aged balsamic reduction: simmer aged balsamic vinegar until reduced to about 4 tsp.

Heat oven to 400°F. On lightly floured surface, divide pizza dough into four pieces. Roll each piece of pizza dough into an 8-inch circle. Place on a baking sheet; bake in oven 10 minutes or until firm and slightly brown.

Spread pizzas with softened goat cheese. Toss strawberries with white balsamic vinaigrette; arrange strawberries evenly on goat cheese. Bake 10 minutes more. Remove from oven; scatter crumbled goat cheese on top. Drizzle with aged balsamic reduction; sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish pizzas with a few leaves of arugula or mixed greens.

Makes four 8-inch pizzas

TIFF Winner!
We had a surprising amount of local entries for TIFF tickets and the winner, chosen by, is Erika K! Congratulations Erika!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Armchair Novel Review - The False Friend

The False Friend
by Myla Goldberg

Paperback, 272 pages
Also available as an unabridged audio CD, unabridged audiobook download, eBook and a hardcover

Myla Goldberg is the bestselling author of Bee Season and Wickett's Remedy. In The False Friend, she captures the largely internal struggle of Celia - a woman suddenly haunted by the memory of the disappearance of her best friend twenty years before, and her own role in it.

Celia returns to her home town, leaving her boyfriend in Chicago and installing herself in her childhood home while she tries to piece together that fateful day, and convince others of her treachery.

She soon finds that people don't necessarily believe her recounting of what had happened years ago, that in fact each has their own set of memories and beliefs regarding not only the incident, but also Celia's own behaviour at the time.

The False Friend is an interesting portrayal of the fluidity of memory and perception of self. It explores the excruciating cruelty of young girls, balanced with the uncertainty of identity. I did find that I was sometimes distracted by the volume of metaphors, fancy words, and the sometimes self-indulgent neuroses of the main character, but the novel won me over with its poetic fugue state of a woman trying to understand who she was, and, ultimately, who she is.
Click here to read from the book.

Monday, 22 August 2011


Carve a Fish
Clear a space for a nutritional superhero. A big space. Did you know that watermelons have higher levels of lycopene than tomatoes? They are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, and C. More importantly, they are a fun, low fat, naturally sweet and refreshing addition to your table. Not only that, but you can carve them into all sorts of fun shapes for presentation. What produce works harder than that?

Carve a Shark
A fruit with a history - watermelons were eaten by the Egyptians over 5000 years ago. They grew in deserts and, as they are naturally rich in water, they were a life-saving fruit for travellers.

Carve a Whale
My grampa taught me to spit the seeds into the grass. Well, he was a farmer after all. Now you can get watermelons with or without seeds, in family or single person sizes, and even in different colours!

Carve a Bat Jack-O'Melon
Farmers plant watermelons in rows 8-12 feet apart as the vines can grow up to 8 feet long! They are picked by hand as they are delicate in nature.
All watermelons have a pale, buttery spot on one side - this is where they rested while they basked in the sun.

Carve an Owl
Check out lots of delicious watermelon recipes at!

Photos and recipes from
Watermelon Havarti Stacks with Dilled Ranch and Grilled Chicken

8- 1 inch thick 4 inch diameter circles of seedless watermelon
8 slices Havarti cheese
6 grilled chicken breast halves, cooled and julienne across the grain
1 teaspoon or to taste minced fresh dill, stems removed and discarded.
About 1 cup natural low fat ranch dressing
Watermelon & Wine Reduction Drizzle (optional but delicious, see recipe below)

On 4 serving plates, place one round of watermelon in the center of each plate. Trim the cheese into the same size circle as the watermelon and place one cheese round on each of the four plated slices of watermelon. Repeat with another piece of watermelon and then the remaining cheese.

Clump the julienne chicken in even portions on top of the watermelon cheese stacks. Stir the fresh dill into the ranch dressing. Garnish watermelon chicken stacks with dressing and an attractive drizzle of the Watermelon & Wine Reduction.

Makes 4 servings.

Watermelon & Wine Reduction Drizzle

8 cups watermelon puree
1 cup inexpensive red balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
3 cups sugar in the raw
1 teaspoon sea salt


Stir all ingredients together well in a heavy stainless steel pot over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to slow boil, stirring occasionally, until contents are 1/3 the volume than when the boiling began. Cool. Refrigerate in a food-safe squirt bottle and use over grilled anything, greens, goat cheese, etc. Makes 3 to 4 cups, which lasts up to 30 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temp to use.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Jamie's Zucchini Carbonara

What the zucchini giveth, the bacon taketh away. Okay, make that the bacon, cream, and egg yolks - but you get the general idea. Despite the gorgeous seasonal zucchini, this isn't exactly health food - but it is delicious. And any years it takes off your life? Totally worth it.

Carbonara is all about the bacon. And eggs. And noodles. Which is why you absolutely must have the best you can find. Skip that grocery store bacon in the plastic package. You know the one I mean, with the toxic soup that you have to pour off into the sink when you open it. Get some good bacon from the butcher. The kind they cut by hand and wrap in paper. And some free-range eggs. And skip the store brand pasta - it's too gluey. Get a good name-brand one, it's worth the extra fifty cents.

Now that you have your awesome ingredients, including some beautiful fresh zucchini - work on your mise (meez - short for mise en place - the art of having everything prepped and laid out). That means have everything ready in front of you. And read the recipe a couple of times before starting. Because once you toss this together, you have to be ready to eat! Carbonara has a magic time, when the noodles are all slippery from the egg yolks. A hush descends over the table and eaters are reduced to grunts and moans. It's that good. Make it for someone you love. Or, make it for yourself. You're worth it.

Beautiful Zucchini Carbonara
Jamie Oliver, and

Carbonara is a classic pasta sauce made with cream, bacon and Parmesan and is absolutely delicious. Try to buy the best ingredients you can, as that's what really helps to make this dish amazing. I'm using a flowering variegated variety of thyme but normal thyme is fine to use. When it comes to the type of pasta, you can serve carbonara with spaghetti or linguine, but I've been told by Italian mammas (who I don't argue with!) that penne is the original, so that's what I'm using in this recipe.


    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    6 medium green and yellow zucchini
    1 pound penne
    4 large free-range or organic egg yolks
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    2 good handfuls freshly grated Parmesan
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Olive oil
    12 thick slices pancetta or lean bacon, cut into chunky pieces
    A small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped, flowers reserved (if you can get hold of flowering thyme)
    Optional: a few zucchini flowers

Before you start cooking, it's important to get yourself a very large pan, or use a high-sided roasting pan so you can give the pasta a good toss.

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Halve and then quarter any larger zucchini lengthwise. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the zucchini at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne. Smaller zucchini can simply be sliced finely. Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the package instructions.

To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a very large frying pan (a 14-inch is a good start - every house should have one!), add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp. Add the zucchini slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. (I added in a pinch of red pepper flakes too) Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the zucchini is coated with all the lovely bacon-flavored oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.

It's very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the zucchini, bacon and lovely flavors, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you'll scramble the eggs.)

Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straightaway. While you're tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. If you've managed to get any zucchini flowers, tear them over the top, then serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Bread Baking Babes make Kaisers!

Clearly the Babes want you to have a productive summer. And to spend lots of time at the grill. Astrid, our Babelicious hostess of the month, chose a versatile Vienna bread that can easily transform into Kaiser rolls for your grilled fare. I made half into Kaisers and half into sausage buns. Double your pleasure, double your fun.
And what's more fun than baking bread?

This is an easy and tasty bread, the dough is lovely to work with and the results are quite versatile. Dress it up with the optional Dutch Crunch for an extra crunchy texture, or make some buns for your next grill party!

If you want to bake along with the Babes this month, just whip up the Vienna bread - in whatever fashion fancies your tickle, post by August 29th and send in your details to Astrid. Check out her post for more details.

Vienna bread is a type of bread that is produced from a process developed in Vienna, Austria, in the 19th century.

In the 19th century, for the first time, bread was made only from beer yeast and new dough (no old dough). The first noted or applauded example of this was the sweet-fermented Imperial "Kaiser-Semmel" roll of the Vienna bakery at the Paris Exposition of 1867. These sweet-fermented rolls lacked the acid sourness typical of lactobacillus, and were said to be popular and in high demand.

In 1867 the Paris Exposition was said to recognize the Vienna Bakery as, "First in the world."

    In Vienna leaven is never used for making the rolls and small goods for which that city is famous. Viennese bakers use either brewers' yeast or a ferment, prepared by themselves, of which the basis is an infusion of hops.

    Citation: Hugh Chisholm, ed (1910). The Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences ..., Volume 4. Retrieved 2010 Aug 20.

The Vienna bread-production process innovations are often popularly credited for baking with steam leading to different crust characteristics, however Horsford, in his 1875 Report on Vienna Bread, wrote:

    The Austrian bakery in the Paris Exposition in 1867, for the production of loaf-bread, was provided with the steam-arrangement; but the oven of the Vienna bakery, on exhibition at the Vienna Exposition for the production of rolls, was a dry oven.

    Citation: Eben Norton Horsford (1875). Report on Vienna bread. Washington: Government Printing Office. p. 94. Retrieved 2010 Aug 22.

 Viennese Bread/Kaisers
    Pâte Fermentée

    makes 16-17 ounces

    1 1/8 cups (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 1/8 cups (5 ounces) unbleached bread flour
    3/4 teaspoon (.19 ounces) salt
    1/2 teaspoon (.055 ounces) instant yeast
    3/4 cup (+ 2 tablespoons) (6-7 ounces) water, room temperature


        Stir together salt, yeast and flours. Add 3/4 water mix on low speed with paddle attachment until everything comes together. The dough should be neither too sticky nor too stiff. When touched with finger it should stick to finger but be easily released (better stay on the stickier side than to be too stiff!)
        Transfer dough on counter sprinkled with some flour. Knead until dough is soft and pliable (tacky, not sticky!) Knead for 4-6 minutes.
        Oil your bowl and transfer dough to the bowl coating it with oil all around! Cover with plastic foil and let ferment until 1 1/2 swelled in size (about 1 hour).
        Degas dough trough kneading lightly an d return to bowl again to go to sleep in the fridge over night.
        I like to use an airtight plastic bag. You can store it up to 3 days in you fridge now.

        Peter Reinhart says:
        "You can also use this on the same day you make it, if you ferment it at room temperature for 2 hours instead of refrigerating it. Flavor enhances through the night in the refrigerator though,... "

    Vienna Bread

    makes two 1 pound loaves or 9-12 pistoles

    2 1/3 cups (13 ounces) pate fermentee
    2 2/3 cups (12 ounces) unbleached bread flour
    1 tablespoon (.5 ounces) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon (.25 ounces) diastatic barley malt powder
    or 1 tablespoon (.75) barley malt syrup
    1 teaspoon (.25 ounces) salt
    1 teaspoon (.11 ounces) instant yeast
    1 large (1.65 ounces) egg, slightly beaten
    1 tablespoon (.5 ounces) unsalted butter or shortening ant room temp, melted
    3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons (6-7 ounces) water, lukewarm

    semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting


        1 hour before starting to make the bread: remove pate fermentee from fridge. Cut into 10 pieces. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap.
        Let's start: flour, sugar, malt powder, slat and yeast go into the mixing bowl. Add pate fermentee pieces, egg, butter and 3/4 cups of water. Stir together until you have a nice ball. If your dough is rather firm or stiff, use a little more water, we want the dough to be soft at this stage.
        Knead to knead: Knead for about 10 minutes on floured counter or on your machine with dough hook on medium speed for 6 minutes. Add flour if needed to achieve a firm but elastic dough (tacky not sticky).
        Peter Reinhard says: "the dough should pass the windowpane test" - honestly I've never done this and it worked for me without this test... dough temp should range between 77° and 81°F.
        Rest baby, rest: Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temp for two hours or until doubled in size.
        Punch it: When doubled in size, punch it down and return to bowl until dough doubles again.
        Shape it, baby: Remove dough from bowl to counter and divide into 2 equal pieces for loaves. Or into 3 to 4 ounce pieces for pistolets (French split rolls). Shape larger pieces into boules (balls) and smaller ones into rolls. Mist the dough lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic.
        Rise, rise, rise: Leave to proof at room temp 60-90 minutes or until they have risen to approx. 1 3/4 of their original size.
        Let's bake: Preheat your oven to 450°F and place an empty steam pan in your oven.
        Just before baking mist the loaves or rolls with water and dust lightly with flour. Score loves and rolls down the center.
        Steam it: Slide loaves or rolls onto baking stone or baking tray. pour 1 cup water into your steam pan quickly close oven door. After 30 seconds open oven door and spray oven walls with water, close again. Repeat twice in 30 sec intervals. After final spray lower heat to 400°F for 10 minutes. Rotate breads 180° for even baking. Continue baking until breads are golden brown.
        Cool it: Remove breads or rolls form oven and let cool on cooling rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing or serving (if you can!)

This bread has been YeastSpotted!
 Options - Dutch Crunch Vienna Loaves or Kaiser Rolls

Peter Reinhart says:

    Dutch crunch is one of many names given to bread made with a special mottled topping. It doesn't refer to any particular formula, as the crunch topping can be spread on pretty any type of bread.

Here is how:

    Whisk together, 1 tablespoon bread flour, 3/4 cups rice flour, 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 6-8 tablespoons water to make a paste.
    If it seems too thin to spread without running off the top of the dough add more rice flour. It should be thick enough to spreed with a brush, but not so thick that it sits like a lump of mud. This makes enough for 2-4 loaves.

You can also easily make "Kaiser rolls" with this dough which is THE common roll here in Austria (especially Vienna).

    The Kaiser roll, also called a Vienna roll or a hard roll (original name: Semmel or Kaisersemmel; if made by hand also: Handsemmel), is a kind of bread roll, supposedly invented in Vienna, and thought to have been named to honor Emperor Franz Joseph. It is a typically crusty round roll made from flour, barm, malt, water and salt, with the top side usually divided in a rotationally symmetric pattern of five segments, separated by curved superficial cuts radiating from the centre outwards. Kaiser rolls are often produced by machine, as well as by hand.

*I used a stamp for mine, but you can click here to see how to shape them step by step if you don't have a kaiser stamp.

The Bread Baking Babes