Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge - October 2010

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I was very excited about this challenge, looking to kick it up a notch from the National Doughnut Day adventure. At The Artist's request, I got things rolling with chocolate doughnuts.

They looked pretty good, but the dough was pretty gooey, so when I went to fry them, they formed a battered crust on the outside. They also got a bit burned, so the outsides were very crispy. I don't fry all that often, and it showed with this challenge. redeem myself, I went out to Sur La Table and bought a mini doughnut pan. This pan baked up the cutest little pumpkin doughnuts! Much tastier, and much easier. The doughnuts bake up in only five minutes. You're never far from doughnuts with this pan.

I quickly dusted the pumpkin doughnuts with cinnamon sugar. Soft and yummy, it's way too easy to eat a whole dozen; especially when they're only about an inch wide =).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Knead to Exagerrate

Hmmm...Remember in the spring, wen I was quite intrigued by the books Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes s Day? Well, not so much, anymore. At the time, I was willing to accept the books' premise: You could make perfectly good bread by stirring a few things together, and wait for it to rise WITH NO KNEADING.

Not anymore. I was making pumpkin pie brioche from Healthy Bread, and after nearly 2 hours, all I had was a dry-ish scraggly looling lump of dough that had not risen at all. Something told me to knead it, though the authors adamantly tell you in their books not to do so. What could it hurt? Kneading it would either improve it, or leave me with the same scraggly lump of dough. Still mindful of the authors' warning, I lightly kneaded for a minute or two, then covered it with plastic wrap. I swear I could see it start to rise immediately. I left it there for about half an hour, poked it. Rolled it out , spread with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter...shaped it into cinnamon rolls....let them proof....popped them into the over for 20 minutes. These were awesome!

I have to admit, while I absolutely love cooking and baking, bread baking had never been my forte, so...these books seemed to cut out the middleman (kneading). The resulting flavor was OK, but kind of hard and dry if any more than 20 minutes out of the oven. And not much to look at, either. My loaves were higher than a cracker, but not as lofty as a full loaf of bread. As a result, I haven't made much more than pizza dough since spring.

After my kneading experiment, I had full, pillowy rolls that were still a nice, soft texture. I'm now a believer in kneading!

BUT -- to the artisans of the Bread in 5 'knead' to exaggerate your techniques to sell a book.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall is in the Air

Ahhh, fall. There's something about fall and 'fall' foods, like pumpkin. I've never picked a pumpkin, been to a pumpkin patch, or carved a jack o' lantern, but I love pumpkin baked goods -- muffins, bread, cake, donuts, etc. I had the better part of a can of pure pumpkin in the fridge (leftover from the DB doughnut challenge), and was trying to figure out how to use it. So, my eyes were peeled for any pumpkin goodies that sounded interesting. After seeing a few similar posts, I decided that pumpkin cinnamon rolls were in order.

To go the easy route, I chose the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Brioche from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. (This recipe was the lynchpin in my Healthy Bread in 5 rant from a few posts back.)

For the filling, I threw together some brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkled it on to the dough after smearing it with a smidge of butter -- sorry, no measurements!

Let the sliced rolls rise, bake, and voila!

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