Friday, March 20, 2015

March Sourdough Surprises - Choose Your Own Adventure!

You know what's awesome? Sourdough Surprises has reached their third anniversary! That's thirty six months of sourdough deliciousness - and you've stuck along with me for the ride!! How cool is that??

To celebrate the third anniversary, Sourdough Surprises offered participants a chance to choose any recipe we wanted from all those we've made over the last three years - try one we missed, repeat one that we wanted a do-over on... whatever the reason, just choose your own sourdough adventure this month!

With thirty six amazing and varied recipes to choose from, you can imagine how difficult it was to make my final selection. But I based my decision on what my family liked best, and that happened to have been a very recent challenge - steamed buns!


Last time I made bacon cheeseburger buns. This time, I tried chicken enchilada buns. The filling was made from shredded chicken smothered in delicious, tangy enchilada sauce.

I made two varieties - without cheese, for little man, and with... for the rest of us. Aside from the fact that the buns lost their shape during the steaming process, these were a fun and delicious take on the Mexican meal.

I can't wait to see what meal I'll turn into a bun next!

So what did you choose? Which sourdough surprise did you attempt this moth? Link up and share!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Sourdough Surprises - Beignets

I am late.
And I apologize for that.

But I absolutely couldn't let the month of Febraury go by without doing the absolutely amazing Sourdough Surprises challenge of making beignets.

Beignets are similar to donuts, and are particularly popular in New Orleans, specifically around Mardi Gras. Which made them the perfect choice for this month's challenge.

The recipe I used was super simple, but amazingly delicious. I quickly mixed up the dough one night after dinner, then let it rest at room temperature until little miss came home from school the next day - then fried up some after school deliciousness!

For as simple as this dough was to whip up, these beauties had a deliciously complex flavor and an amazing texture - crisp on the outside, light and chewy on the inside.

These were absolutely worth the effort of frying them and I look forward to making them again!!

Sourdough Beignets
(adapted from Have YOU Ben Starr Struck? to be dairy-free)

1 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon non-iodized table salt)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut milk

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes.  The dough should be firm and clear the bottom of the bowl.  If it doesn’t, add a bit more flour.  If it’s too dry and doesn’t come together, add a splash more buttermilk.
Transfer the dough to a bowl that’s been lightly sprayed or oiled, then cover with plastic wrap and let ferment on your countertop for 4-12 hours. I let mine sit for about 20 hours at room temperature.
When you get ready to fry, pour about 2″ of canola oil into a heavy pot over medium heat (or preheat your deep fryer) and bring the oil to 325F.  Pinch off a ball of dough about the size of 2 golf balls.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick.  Then cut that flattened dough into 4 pieces with a knife or pizza roller.  Don’t worry about making them look symmetrical.  This is a rustic dessert.  Drop the dough pieces into the hot oil and fry, 4 at a time, flipping often, until the beignets are golden brown on both sides, and nicely puffed up.  Transfer to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to drain for a few seconds, then dust with powdered sugar.
These taste best fresh and warm!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January Sourdough Surprises - Steamed Buns

There are a few dishes that I really enjoy, but, for some reason or another, don't make all that often.  So when Sourdough Surprises chose steamed buns for the January challenge, I was excited. Because that's one of those dishes that I always enjoy, but never think to make.

The first time I made steamed buns (bao) was with the Daring Cooks. I have since made them only a handful of times, and not at all in the last year. So I couldn't wait.

The two toughest parts of this challenge for me had to do with decision making - choosing a dough recipe and choosing a filling.  There are plenty of options for both, but I finally decided on this recipe for the dough and a filling the whole family would enjoy - burgers!  

I started with the dough.  The recipe calls for a preferment to be prepared 8 hours before making the final dough. Since my kids aren't big fans of strong sourdough flavor, I decided to try the recipe with a much shorter prefermentation time - like, only one hour. I used that hour to prepare my filling.

To create the "burger" feel, I sauteed onion and browned some ground turkey, then crumbled some cooked, crispy bacon into the meat mixture.  Then had to stop myself from eating all of it directly from the pan.

While the filling cooled, I finished preparing the dough, and then got down to the nitty gritty of bun-preparation.  The recipe makes enough dough for 24 buns, but I didn't want quite so many, so I divided the dough in half and made 12.  Since little man is allergic to dairy, I filled six with just the meat mixture, and the other six, I sprinkled shredded cheese on top of the meat.

The recipe calls for the filled and shaped buns to rest again - this time for an hour. I rested them for about half an hour, and used that time to set up my steamer basket. And then it was time to steam!

I love this steamer basket. It makes the whole house smell fresh and wood-y.

I steamed my buns for about 20 minutes, and when I opened the basket...

...they looked great!!

And the best part? They tasted even better than they looked. And everyone loved them. My kids didn't even realize they were made with sourdough.

After this meal, I think these might just wind up on the menu a little more often!

So did you steam up some buns this month? Link up and tell us all about them!!

Steamed Bun (Bao) Dough

Prepare your starter:
4 ounces 100% hydration sourdough starter
6 ounces water
10 ounces unbleached all purpose flour

Mix above ingredients and let stand for 8 hours or overnight.  It should double in size and become very bubbly.
This dough will still work if you shorten this rest time, but will decrease the full sourdough flavor in the completed buns. I let my dough rest for 1 hour and it was perfect for my family.

For the dough:
Once the preapred starter has rested, in the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, stir to combine:
6 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons shortening
15 ounces flour (I used unbleached, all purpose, but the recipe called for bleached all purpose self rising flour- something I never have on hand)

When you have a rough dough in the bowl, mix in the rested starter from the previous step and knead with the dough hook of your machine for 5 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and soft, but not sticky.  Try not to add any extra flour.  My dough was a bit stickier than I expected, but I had no trouble forming and shaping the buns.

Cut 24 3 inch square pieces of parchment (you can use wax paper or foil if necessary).

Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces–about 2 ounces per piece.   Flatten each piece and place about a tablespoon of your filling of choice in the center.  Gather the dough together at the top and pinch to seal.  Or, you can make plain buns by just rounding the dough into little balls.  You can place them seam side down on a piece of parchment for a rounded look or seam side up for a rougher look.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 45-60 minutes.  Place in your steamer tray at least 1 inch apart and steam for 10 minutes for plain and 12 minutes for filled.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December Sourdough Surprises - Stollen

Can you believe that the holidays are upon us once again? Time to reflect, time to remember, time to enjoy family and friends, and time to enjoy delicious holiday traditions!

Sourdough Surprises decided to get us in the holiday spirit in the most delicious way by having us make stollen this month.  A few year ago, I made my first even stollen for a Daring Bakers Challenge. We enjoyed it so much that it has become an annual tradition.  But, for some reason, I'd never tried a sourdough version! Until this year, that is!

There are many examples of sourdough stollen online, so inspiration is not difficult to find. Narrowing down the choices? A much more difficult task! I finally chose this one, from one of our awesome members (who also happens to be an awesome person!!), refreshed my starter and got started!

This recipe, like many sourdough recipes, calls for a preferment to be started the night before actually tackling the recipe. Since I did this right before bed, I didn't take any photos.  But when I woke up, it was bubbly and ready to rock!

I have to say, this dough comes together super easily.  I simply threw all of the other ingredients into my mixer bowl...

...scraped the happy, bubbly preferment right on top, and let the KitchenAid knead it for about ten minutes. And the result?

A soft, beautiful, silky dough. Seriously, this dough was a thing of beauty.

While that beautiful dough rested, I prepared my fruit.  I chose dried cranberries, dried apricots and dried pineapple.

Usually, the  fruit is soaked in some kind of alcohol (rum, I believe), but I chose to make this family-friendly, and I soaked my dried fruit in orange-mango juice.

Once the dough rested and the fruit soaked, it was time to combine them!  I simply pressed the dough out on my counter, drained the fruit and sprinkled it on top.

And then just roll it up!

And then it rests again.

Two hours later, it's time to shape the stollen.  Traditional stollen actually has a roll of marzipan baked into it, which goes in at this point. With little man's nut allergy, we just omit that and proceed with shaping.

And then, yet again, it rests.

And two more hours later, it's ready to bake!  For this, recipe, you preheat the oven hotter than you need it, then lower the temperature as soon as the tray goes in.  This gives an initial burst of high heat, which gives the finished bread a crispier crust.

And 50 minutes later?


But we're not done yet!! In addition to the actual bread crust, stollen has one more "crust" layer - powdered sugar.  I brushed the bread with melted coconut oil (in place of butter) and little miss made it snow.

Lots and lots and lots of snow.

And then, with a nice cup of tea, we enjoyed.

This stollen was so delicious. The crust was nice and crisp, the crumb was smooth and delicious. A slight tang from the sourdough, delicious bursts of tropical sweetness from the fruit, this stollen was absolutely delicious and enjoyed by all.

Another of these will definitely be made for our family's holiday brunch, and this very well may replace my previous stollen recipe as our annual stollen.

So did you make a sourdough stollen this month? Link up and share!

Sourdough Stollen
(from pizzarossa)

1 generous cup dried fruit (I used cranberries, apricots and pineapple)
enough juice to cover the fruit (or rum!)

250g 100% hydration sourdough starter
125g whole milk, lukewarm (I used coconut milk beverage)
500g all-purpose flour
75g sugar
115g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces (I used one stick, 113g)
1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, melted (I used coconut oil)
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

The evening before you want to bake:
Mix the starter with the lukewarm milk, 250g flour and 1 tablespoon sugar. It will be quite stiff, so you may need to mix by hand. Cover and set aside overnight to ferment at room temperature.

The following morning:
Add the remaining flour, sugar, butter and salt. Knead for 10 – 15 minutes, until soft, adjusting consistency with flour or butter if needed. Let the kneaded dough rest in a buttered, covered bowl for 1 hour.
While the dough rests, soak the dried fruit in the juice. If you are using alcohol, you may want to let it soak overnight - just prepare it when you prepare the pre-ferment.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently stretch out to an oval about 1cm thick and sprinkle with the drained soaked fruit, then roll and fold dough into a ball. Return to the bowl, cover and let rest for 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a long oval. Using a thin rolling pin or the side of your hand, press into it lengthwise along the entire length of the dough, just off-centre. Fold the slightly narrower side into the middle and the other side over the top. Gently pinch the seam and ends closed.  I improvised this and rolled and pinched it to make my approximation of the traditional stollen shape. Do what works for you!
Place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking tray, cover and let it rest for another two hours.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Place the stollen in the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees once it's in. Bake for 50 minutes.
When done, remove from the oven and brush generously with melted butter (coconut oil) while still warm. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Let cool completely before cutting.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cereal Muffins

Hi, all!

This post is a bit different for me. It marks a transition of sorts.

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day, which is always exciting. I love finally getting to post what I've spent a month thinking about,and I love going through all of the blogs in my group waiting to see who shared a recipe from my blog.

But today's post marks my last with the Secret Recipe Club.  At least for now.

I'm sure you've noticed that my posting has slowed down significantly. And for that I apologize. This blog has been such a wonderful thing for me for so long.  Through this blog, I have been a part of amazing communities and have met some really wonderful, true friends.

As time goes on, though, things in my life have changed, and what is best for me at this time is to take a little break. Not from cooking and baking - that is something that I'll always do. But for a little while, I am going to do it just for me and my family.

It was with a heavy heart that I handed over the reins of The Daring Kitchen, and now, that I take a break from SRC.

Knowing that this would be my last SRC post, and that I'd only be posting sporadically for a while at this point, I wanted to make sure to choose something special. Which was made easy by the fact that my assigned blog this month was From Grandma Loy's Kitchen. This blog is always amazing, and has such fantastic recipes, collected over a delicious lifetime and shared with love.

There were so many things that I wanted to try, but one caught my eye and I just couldn't get it out of my head. Simple as it sounded, it also sounded absolutley perfect: Cereal Muffins.

I mean, with two kids, all kinds of activities and very busy mornings, what could be better? Two easy breakfasts, all rolled into one!

The recipe is pretty simple. It recommends using bran cereal, Cheerios or corn flakes.  I chose to use multigrain Cheerios.

To start the recipe, pour milk over the cereal and let it sit.

While those soak, I prepared the rest of my ingredients. I did make one change. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil. No problem, But. What goes great on cereal, that can also be used as an oil substitute? Bananas! Little man helped me mash.

Soaked cereal, mashed banana, some dry ingredients and one beaten egg.

Yup - ready to go. Now just mix everything together...

 ...and scoop into muffin tins!

And a short 20-25 minutes later...


Now... while these were baking, I had a fun idea. Different cereal. Fun cereal. Leftover Halloween cereal!

Yes, I know that Frankenberry is completely against the way I usually food shop... food coloring, fake everything... but after Halloween when the supermaret puts in on sale for 67 cents a box... well, makes it hard to resist. And, so you know, we don't eat it for breakfast. After school snack only. Or... in muffins.

For theses, I used oil instead of banana, and the results were... colorful. And fun.

And absolutely delicious. I will say that both little man and I preferred the Cheerios version, but little miss absolutely loves the Frankenberry variety. Which is just fun.

Grandma Loy, thank you so much for this super fun recipe. I know I'll be making these with just about every cereal that comes into my house from now on.

And to the whole SRC crew - thank you. I can't even begin to tell you what it's meant to me to be a part of this group. You are all amazing bakers, cooks, photographers, bloggers and, most importantly, pepple. And I'm honored that I got to spend so much time being a part of this wonderful group.

Cereal Muffins
(only slightly modified from Grandma Loy's Kitchen)

1 1/4 cups milk (I used coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups whole-bran cereal, or 2 cups Cheerios, or 3 cups corn flakes (or any cereal you choose! Choose the measurement listed for the cereal most similar in shape or consistency to the cereal you choose.)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (if you are using a sugary cereal, you can reduce this)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil (can substitute mashed banana if the flavor goes with the cereal you choose!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-well muffin tim with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine milk and cereal in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Add beaten egg and vegetable oil (or banana) to the milk and cereal and mix well.
Add dry ingredients.  Mix only until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy).
Fill prepared muffin tin cups almost full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Note: Grandma Loy provided the following yummy ideas for variations. Simply add any of these to batter before adding dry ingredients:
Blueberry - Add 1 cup fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries or 1 cup well-drained canned blueberries.
Apple - Peel and finely dice 1 medium apple (3/4-1 cup).  Toss with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Pineapple - Add 3/4 cup well-drained crushed pineapple.
Bacon - Add 4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled.
Cranberry - Add 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November Sourdough Surprises - Dinner Rolls

We all know that sourdough can make some flavorful, hearty breads.  But this month, Sourdough Surprises challenged us to try a different kind of bread - soft, pillowy dinner rolls. Now, soft and light aren't usually words one uses to describe a sourdough bread.  But guess what - it can be done!

I chose this recipe for garlic rolls, and they came out so well - reminiscent of soft breadsticks.  

And the insides?

Soft and pillow-y! Exactly as a dinner roll should be! Slathered in butter, these were super easy to eat. I served them with a hearty chicken noodle soup and they were perfect for dipping and for sopping up every last drop of soup-y goodness. 

Did you join us this month? Link up and share your delicious creations!

Garlic Sourdough Dinner Rolls
(from Nourishing Time)

For the dough:
1/2 cup fed sourdough starter
1 large egg
2/3 cups warm water
5 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp dried sweet basil
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt (leave this out if you use salted butter)

For the topping:
4 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
4+ cloves freshly chopped garlic

Combine the wet ingredients and the basil, mix well.
Add the flour, then the salt, and knead the dough until soft and smooth.
Leave the dough to rise for 4-8 hours. If you are want to start the dough a day in advance, you can let the dough rise for 2 hours at room temperature, the cover it and place it in the fridge. The next day, before you are ready to proceed, simply let it warm up a little and then move on to the next step.
Divide the dough in 16-20 even balls and arrange evenly in greased containers. I got 16 balls out of this dough, and used two 8-inch cake pans.
Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for an hour or so.
While the rolls are rising, mix up the topping in a glass bowl and set it aside at room temp until you’re ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir the topping and brush most of it on top of the rolls, then stick in the preheated oven to bake for 22-25 minutes.
Once the rolls are done baking, brush the rest of the topping on so it has a little shine. These rolls do not get very dark, if you want them darker you may turn the broiler on for just a minute or two.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Scones

I can't believe it's Secret Recipe Club time again! But I'm super excited for this post. Because I got a super awesome blog assignment this month.

This month I was privileged to spend lots of quality time over at Pale Yellow.  This blog is full of so much deliciousness, it's insane. And Tracy, the awesome blogger who creates all of the deliciousness, is really a girl after my own heart. From the fact that she shares her love by feeding people to the recipes she chooses to share, I knew I'd gotten a good one.

There were many recipes I wanted to try, but her recipe for Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips just spoke to me. The pumpkin, the spices - it is just absolutely perfect for the season.

I made a couple of simple changes, but kept the full spirit of the challenge. The first change was that I didn't have cinnamon chips. I know. That's kind of a biggie. But I increased the amount of cinnamon called for in the recipe and called it somewhat even. I also used regular (unbleached) all purpose flour instead of the gluten free version.  Oh, and I don't have allspice, so I used cardamom instead.

The scones come together beautifully.  It starts with the dry ingredients - including a beautiful rainbow of spices.

Then it was time to incorporate the butter. Rather than cube the cold butter and cut it in, I grated the frozen butter and then just mixed it into the dry ingredients  with my fingertips. So much easier.

Once the butter is incorporated, the wet ingredients, including eggs and pumpkin puree, are gently kneaded in until everything holds together.

And then it's time to shape the scones...

...and add a delicious finishing touch. Or... let the kiddos add the finishing touch. A nice sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

The kids are very generous with their sprinklings.

And then they bake.  And it's magical.

These were the absolute perfect breakfast for a day off from school and both the kids and I really enjoyed them. Just the right amount of pumpkin, just the right amount of spice - absolutely perfect for a crisp, Fall morning.

Tracy, thank you so much for this recipe and for all of your delicious inspiration! I can't wait to try out more of your delicious recipes!

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Scones
slightly adapted from Pale Yellow

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup turbinado sugar or any other coarse sugar

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger.  Cut the butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to incorporate into the dry ingredients.  Blend until you have pea sized pieces. Or grate the butter using a box or rotary grater and use your hands to incorporate it into the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla.  Add this to the dry and mix until just combined.
I used my hands to lightly knead the dough together.
Divide the dough in half and place one half on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Shape the dough into a long rectangle with greased or floured hands and then divide into thirds with a greased bench scraper.  Cut each third diagonally with the bench scraper.  Lightly move the triangles away from each other.  Repeat with the other half of the dough on a second baking sheet.
Brush the top of each scone with the half-and-half and then generously sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 30 minutes.  While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the scones for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool slightly before eating on a wire rack.


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