In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Playing in the Kitchen: NY Times No Knead Bread (Part II)

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NY Times No Knead Bread. Oh my goodness, it’s a long process. Pretty simple, but you can’t really speed it along. By the time it was done, you almost aren’t in the mood for bread anymore… almost. The end result looks like a great, high quality loaf of Artisan bread. But it just tasted ok. Not bad, but nothing so spectacular either. And the crust was too tough to eat… so we just threw chunks of crust to the dog, and she was very happy :p

Here are some photos from my bread making journey. (see Part I for recipe and actual instructions).


Mix the 3 ingredients together. I used a scale to measure the flour.
It’s supposed to look like a wet blob.

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Let it sit for about 20 hours!
It will grow and you’ll see little air bubbles.

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Dump blob on well floured work area.

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Fold blob into thirds (envelope style).

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Pick up (an interesting task) and fold edges under so it creates a dome/bubble structure of a blob. Place on a well floured tea towel (I used a cloth napkin) and cover with another cloth.

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Let it sit for a couple more hours. It gets bigger!

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Place/dump blob smooth side down into a Dutch oven.
Clean up the flour that flew all over the kitchen during the dumping process.

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Put the lid on and stick it in the oven.
Isn’t my Le Creuset dutch oven the cutest thing ever! Love it :D

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Take off the lid, bake it some more.

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Remove from oven. Admire.

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Remove from Le Creuset dutch oven. Yay bread!

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And so concludes my bread making adventure, for now. Considering the ingredients cost less than $1, I just might try it again… maybe in a smaller pot next time around so the loaf will be taller.

If you try this recipe, let me know! If you have any tips to make it slightly more edible the next time around, let me know too ;)

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Playing in the Kitchen: Sweet ‘n Spicy Wings

Don’t you want to be friends with someone who’ll make you some honey-chipotle glazed wings from scratch :D

Honey-Chipotle Wings

This is the second batch, which came out better that the 1st… unfortunately my family filled up on the OK-first-batch so this one is now in the fridge.

I used a recipe from the new Food Network Show “Mexican Made Easy.” She made the process looks so easy, and her cookie sheet came out so pretty and yummy looking… I just had to try it.

Not that I am mad, per say, but that show LIES. Her pan came out of the oven looking fine, just fine… as in, no blackened chared glaze cemented to the bottom (luckily I lined the pan with foil). Also, the tv version came out looking dark and glazey… even with the basting 1/2 way through, the sauce didn’t really stick to the wings. Also, the skin didnt get nearly as crispy as she lead us to believe it would.

Overall, this was a decent meal. The sauce was pretty good, and I learned in the 2nd batch tossing in wings in reamining pan sauces makes a world of difference (something not suggested on the show). Another thing I’d do next time around: divide the sauce into separate containers. I probably used only 1/2 of the pan of sauce to baste the wings, but since the brush hit the raw chicken, I couldn’t save the rest :| Next time, after making the sauce, I’ll be sure to pour 1/2 into another dish to be saved for later use.

Or I could just bypass the whole sauce-on-raw-chicken step all together. My family is big on the standard (fried) type wing, and missed that crunch we’re used to. Frying is also superior because you can cook a lot in a little amount of time. I could only fit about 15 wings on a pan at a time, and cooking took 35-40 minutes (hence no one was interested in the 2nd batch by the time it came out of the oven). So now we know: Make sauce, fry wings, toss in sauce, devour wings :D

Sweet and Spicy Drumettes
Recipe courtesy Marcela Valladolid, 2009

Ingredients
Marinade:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons ground ancho chile* (or chipotle powder)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken drumettes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, add the butter and melt over medium-low heat. Stir in the honey, and cook until the mixture bubbles, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pecans, ground ancho and garlic powder. Season the marinade, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Arrange the drumettes on a baking sheet, and brush each with the marinade. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Baste once, halfway through baking time. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.

Recipe courtesy Marcela Valladolid, 2009
Show: Mexican Made Easy Episode: Great Game Day Grabs

Playing in the Kitchen: NY Times No Knead Bread (Part I)

I have been looking forward to trying this recipe for days… I found it out in Blog-land, where it made the round about 2 years ago when it was 1st printed in the NY Times. Since I love eating bread and conveniently own a Le Creuset dutch oven that doesn’t get enough attention, this seemed like the perfect weekend project :D
Luckily, I learned my lesson from my previous quilting nightmare, and I re-read the recipe a few times before getting started. Apparently, I missed a key word in the recipe the first time around: instant. It calls for instant yeast. Not active-dry yeast. Oh dear. I didn’t actually realize there was a big difference. And there’s not, per say, I just need to tweak the initial mixing of the dough a little bit. I feel a lot better knowing that MANY home-bakers ran into the same problem.

I want the bread to be warm and fresh for dinner tomorrow night, which means I’ll actually start making it around 8 pm tonight :| Yes, the entire process takes about 22 hours… though most of that is just letting it sit covered in a bowl in the kitchen, letting me move on to more important things like watching Project Runway and Psych.

...to be continued

Recipe: No-Knead Bread
Published: November 8, 2006, The New York Times
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

In my yeast research, I came across this very helpful comment, so maybe it’s time to bust out the kitchen scale

Mark Bittman wrote another NYTimes article about fine-tuning this recipe. In it he said you could use whatever yeast you liked. 1/4 tsp. yeast translates into 1.25 ml, but by weight it is 1 gram. Also, the flour turns out to be 430 grams, the water is 345 grams and the salt 8 grams. He says that active dry yeast can be used without proofing so I guess it would be a good idea to proof caked yeast. He also increases the salt content to a scant 1 T. I have tried this and agree that it makes a tastier loaf.

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