Hope everyone had a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Other than wearing green, we typically celebrate the holiday by having a festive meal. 🙂
This year, instead of making a new soda bread, I made this Irish version of beer bread. I loved the caraway seeds (which I also love in soda bread) and the flecks of green from the fresh herbs in the dough.
We ate it for dinner with shepherd’s chicken pot pie, roasted asparagus, and green salad. It would also be a perfect accompaniment to a traditional celebratory corned beef and cabbage meal.
The recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com. I modified the baking time to bake the loaf in a pullman loaf pan in a convection oven. The bread was delicious with and without salted butter.
Yield: one Pullman loaf or one 9-inch loaf
260 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
60 g (1/2 cup) cake flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 T caraway seeds, coarsely ground in a spice grinder
Christopher Kimball of Milk Street TV announced that this chilled tomato soup was superior in both taste and ease of preparation to my beloved summer gazpacho. I had to try it!
This puréed velvety soup is more elegant, creamy, and filling than gazpacho. We ate it as a complete meal with a green salad. It can be made year round with Campari tomatoes, which I used, or made with peak-season summer tomatoes, of course.
This recipe was adapted from MilkStreetTV.com, contributed by Diane Unger. The bread is undetectable in the finished soup but creates the desirable consistency. The sherry vinegar is an essential ingredient as well. I loved all of the garnishes. Lovely.
Yield: Serves 4
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored (I used Campari tomatoes)
2 1/2 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)(I used fresh sourdough)
1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 T sherry vinegar, plus more to serve
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plus 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
4 thin slices of prosciutto (about 2 ounces), torn into pieces
3 or 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced or quartered, optional
finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
In a blender, combine the tomatoes, bread, bell pepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Blend on high until completely smooth and no bits of tomato skins remain, about 1 minute. (I used a Vitamix.)
With the blender running, gradually add 3/4 cup olive oil.
Transfer to a large bowl of lidded container, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.
While the soup chills, make the hard-cooked eggs, if using. Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way with cold water. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of the saucepan. Add more water so that the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a full boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, drain. Place eggs in an ice bath. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter or slice. Set aside.
While the eggs cool, place a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering.
Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and let cool completely, then roughly chop; set aside.
Taste the soupand season again with salt and pepper. (Chilling the soup blunts the flavor and additional seasoning may be required.)
Ladle the soup into (preferably chilled) bowls. Top with the prosciutto, hard-cooked egg (if using) and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Drizzle with additional oil and vinegar, as desired. (I omitted this addition.)
Happy Belated Easter! I made this elegant citrus twist bread for breakfast over Easter weekend. My daughter described it as similar to panettone but without the dried fruit. My son agreed but stated that this was much better. 🙂 It was very moist and tender.
This recipe was adapted from Food 52.com, contributed by Samantha Seneviratne. I used Meyer lemon zest and omitted the grapefruit zest. I also modified the method.
Because of the rise times, I prepared the dough through the first rise two days in advance and completed the second rise and baked it one day prior to serving. We ate it reheated- which was essential. The original recipe suggests sprinkling the top with confectioners’ sugar or drizzling it with glaze. I opted for the simple sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar but know it would also be delicious with the glaze. Lovely.
Yield: 8 servings
For the Dough:
1/3 cup warm whole milk (110°F) (I used whole milk)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten, at room temperature
4 tablespoons(1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
For the Filling and to Finish the Bread:
freshly grated orange zest from 3 to 4 oranges (about 3 tablespoons)
freshly grated zest from 3 Meyer lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
1 pinch kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
To Make the Dough:
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the warm milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, or a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, flour, and salt.
With the mixer on low, add the yeast mixture, the egg, and the egg yolk, and mix until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, knead this mixture by hand on a clean work surface.)
Add the butter, a bit at a time, and continue to mix or knead the dough until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth, another 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky. If you’re doing this by hand, you can use a bench scraper to help scoop the dough up as you knead it. It may look like it’s never going to incorporate, but keep kneading and it will.
Once the dough is fully incorporated, gather it into a neat ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. (I used a proofing oven.) After the dough has doubled, you can punch it down, wrap it well and refrigerate for up to 2 to 3 days. (I refrigerated it overnight.)
To Make the Filling and to Finish the Bread:
In a small bowl, combine the citrus zest, sugar, and salt together using your fingers to release some of the citrus oils. Add the butter and mix until well combined. (I reserved the soft room-temperature butter and spread it over the rolled out dough instead.)
Tip the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead it once or twice to expel the air. Roll it out into an 8-inch by 17-inch rectangle.
Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the bread.
Starting from one of the long ends, roll the dough up into a tight coil. Pinch the ends to seal the roll.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise.
Transfer the two pieces of dough to a piece of parchment paper, cut sides up. Pinch the two pieces together at one end and then carefully twist the two pieces of dough together. Take care not to stretch the dough and to keep the cut sides up.
Coil the twist around to make a wreath and connect the ends, making sure to continue the twisting pattern.
Transfer the wreath, on the parchment, to a rimmed baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise. (I used a proofing oven.) It could take up to 2 hours for the wreath to puff so it’s better to keep an eye on the dough rather than the clock. You’ll know it’s ready when it looks puffed and and it rises back slowly when you gently press it with your finger.
Towards the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 375°F, preferably on convection.
Carefully brush the wreath with the egg wash.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, 18 minutes, on convection, or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bread should register between 190°F and 200°F.
Transfer the wreath to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
The twist bread can also be drizzled with a simple glaze of room temperature cream cheese mixed with some warm milk and confectioners’ sugar.
The bread can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
We have pizza night once a week- usually on Sundays. We vary the type and toppings, of course. 🙂 During the initial lockdown, we started experimenting with many variations of garlic knots to eat with our special pizza. I now realize that pizzeria versions are soaked in an incredible amount of oil. I opted for a drizzle before and after baking instead.
We made them with different doughs and determined that a 24-hour pizza dough (one of my favorites) resulted in our preferred garlic knots. We also attempted to make them with sourdough pizza dough (of course!) but they were too puffy. We experimented with different baking temperatures as well. I found that a higher oven temperature and shorter baking time resulted in more tender garlic knots.
This recipe makes two batches of eight knots; I froze half and thawed them in the refrigerator prior to baking with excellent results. Great.
Yield: about 16 garlic knots
For the Dough:
153 grams (1 1/4 cups) 00 Flour
153 grams (1 1/4 cups) King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
8 grams (scant 2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
2 grams (scant 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast OR 4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) fresh yeast
4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) good olive oil
202 grams (1 cup minus 1 T) lukewarm water
For the Topping: (make half if freezing half of the garlic knots)
5 to 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 pinches coarse salt
dash of red pepper flakes, or more to taste, optional
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
marinara sauce, optional
minced parsley, for garnish, optional
To Make the Dough (24 to 48-hours in advance):
In a bowl, thoroughly combine the flours and salt; make a well in the center.
In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the yeast, olive oil, and lukewarm water.
Pour the wet mixture into the well in the dry mixture and begin mixing the two together with your hands, gradually incorporating the dry into the wet. This process will be more like mixing than kneading.
After about 3 minutes, when the wet and dry are well combined, set the mixture aside and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. This allows time for the flour to absorb the moisture.
Flour your hands and the work surface. Gently but firmly knead the mixture on the work surface for about 3 minutes. Reflour your hands and the surface as necessary. The dough will be nice and sticky, but after a few minutes of kneading it should come together into a smooth mass.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape them gently into balls, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours before using. This process, called proofing, allows for the fermentation that gives the dough structure- which results in a chewy, pliable crust with great flavor.
To Shape the Dough:
Roll each dough ball into an 8-inch log.
Using a knife or bench scraper, cut each log into 8 pieces (approximately 1-inch each and equal in size).
Roll each piece into and 8-inch long rope. (You will have 16 ropes.)(I did this by hand but my kids also used a rolling pin.)
Tie each rope into a knot. (The ends can be tucked underneath or left out.)
Arrange the knots on two aluminum foil-lined baking sheets. (I ultimately preferred aluminum foil over parchment paper because of the high oven temperature.)(At this point some of the garlic knots can be frozen- see note below.)
Lightly cover and let them rest in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes. (I used a proofing oven.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (I used the baking stone setting with a stone placed in the lowest position.)
When the rise time is nearly complete, prepare the topping.
To Prepare the Topping:
Combine the olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes, if using, in a small skillet.
Cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and reserve.
To Bake & Serve the Garlic Knots:
When the rise time is complete, brush the top of the garlic knots with a little more than half of the garlic-olive oil topping.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and brush with remaining garlic-olive oil topping.
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and/or parsley, as desired. Serve plain or with marinara sauce for dipping.
Note: Cover and store leftover garlic knots in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To Freeze Dough Prior to Baking: Arrange the shaped knots on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet. Freeze, uncovered, for 1-2 hours. Remove from the freezer. Knots should be frozen and no longer sticky. Place into a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. Bring to room temperature, arrange on 2 foil-lined baking sheets, cover lightly, and allow to rest/rise in a warm spot for 1 hour before baking as above.
My kids ate this tender and delicious soda bread with their bowl of celebratory Lucky Charms for breakfast this morning. 😉 It was also wonderful on its own with and without a little butter and jam. It could be warmed and served with dinner as well.
The recipe was adapted from Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southampton’s Favorite Bakery for Homestyle Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Muffins and Breads by Kathleen King, the founder of Tate’s Bake Shop. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour, unsalted butter, coarse salt and modified the baking time for a convection oven. My husband thought that it may be the best version I’ve ever made. Great.
Yield: two 7 to 8-inch round loaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 T granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
8 T (1/2 cup or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup raisins
2 to 3 T caraway seeds, to taste
2 cups buttermilk (I used low-fat)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Add the raisins and caraway seeds and toss lightly.
Add buttermilk and mix with a fork until all dry ingredients are moistened. (The dough will be very soft and wet.)
Form the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured board or counter. Knead for about 30 seconds or until the dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape into balls.
Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut and “X” on top of each loaf about 1/4-inch deep.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 50 minutes in a standard oven, or until crusty and golden. (I baked my loaves on convection for 37 minutes.)
I am a big fan of toppings, so this creamy, earthy, and hearty vegetarian soup caught my eye. It is served over toasted chunks of bread and then garnished with crunchy, spiced chickpeas, lemon zest, parsley, a sprinkle of cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil. I also loved that the soup incorporated a little spice from harissa.
This recipe was adapted from Cool Beans by Joe Yonan, via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used a stove top pressure cooker to cook the beans which significantly expedited the cooking process. I also served the soup over toasted sourdough boule chunks in lieu of rustic bread. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Crispy Chickpeas:
1 3/4cup cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1teaspoon za’atar, plus more to taste
For the Soup:
1 1/2cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1/4cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 1/2teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2loaf hearty rustic bread (about 6 to 8 ounces)(I used 1/2 of a sourdough boule)
1cup chopped onion, from 1 medium onion
6 to 8 largegarlic cloves, minced or finely grated
1tablespoon ground cumin, plus more for serving
1tablespoon tomato paste
1tablespoon harissa paste, plus more for serving
freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 large lemon (about 3 T)
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (about 1 T), for serving
1/2cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, for serving
To Prepare the Crispy Chickpeas:
Transfer the rinsed and drained canned chickpeas to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean dish towel or paper towels.
Cover with another towel (or paper towels) on top, rubbing gently to dry.
Remove top towel and let air-dry for at least 30 minutes and preferably 1 hour. (I let them dry for 2+ hours.)
To Prepare the Soup:
In a pressure cooker (I used a stove-top pressure cooker), combine soaked chickpeas, 5 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt over high heat. (Alternatively, use a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot.)
Place the pot over high heat, until the pressure cooker reaches the second ring (high). Adjust the heat to maintain the pressure for 35 minutes. (If using a stockpot, bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until chickpeas are tender, about 1 to 2 hours.)
Remove from the heat and let the pressure release naturally.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
While chickpeas are cooking, cut bread into thick slices, then tear or cut slices into bite-size pieces.
Place bread in one layer on large rimmed baking sheet and toast until crisp and light brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool on pan and set aside.
Finish the crunchy chickpeas: Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Remove the towels from baking sheet with the chickpeas, and toss the chickpeas with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and za’atar until well coated.
Roast until golden and crispy, about 13 to 18 minutes, tossing halfway through. When chickpeas are still hot, sprinkle lightly with more salt. Taste and add more salt or za’atar, or both, as desired.
When the chickpeas for the soup are tender, discard bay leaves.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer 2 cups of chickpeas, 1/2 cup of chickpea cooking liquid and 1/4 cup olive oil to a blender or food processor, and purée until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cumin and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add a splash of the chickpea cooking liquid to the pan, and bring to a simmer to deglaze, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat.
Add chickpea purée and onion mixture to soup, along with harissa and lemon juice, and stir well. Add a little water if soup seems too thick, and more salt, if needed.
To serve, divide toasted bread pieces among soup bowls, then ladle in soup.
Garnish with lemon zest, parsley, olive oil, more cumin and some of the crispy chickpeas — you’ll have leftovers. Serve hot, with more harissa on the side, as desired.
Recently, my friend’s husband made this wonderful bread. It was so delicious, she ran over to give us a few slices to sample. Lucky me! 🙂 She also shared the recipe, of course. This bread is completely different from a classic crusty baguette. It is soft, tender, and quite dense. The dough is more manageable and it can also be made from start to finish in a single day.
The recipe was adapted from The French Kitchen: Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France by Susan Herrmann Loomis. The texture and flavor of this loaf are reminiscent of my husband’s favorite sourdough sandwich bread, which also includes milk and butter in the dough. Both this loaf and the sourdough sandwich bread seem to be resistant to becoming stale- if they’re not eaten right away. 😉
Yield: One 18 by 3-inch (45 by 7.5 cm) loaf
For the Bread:
250 ml (1 cup) whole milk
1 tsp active dry yeast or instant yeast
2 T granulated sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
325 g to 360 g (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur), plus more for dusting
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the Glaze:
2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp whole milk
Scald the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, just until it has tiny bubbles around the edge of the pot.
Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a large bowl.
When the milk is slightly cooled (and no longer feels hot), sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. Let sit until some of the yeast has bubbled up to the top of the milk, about 5 minutes.
Add the salt, stir, and slowly add half of the flour.
Add the melted butter.
Add up to 1 1/4 cups (187 g) of the remaining flour to form a fairly thick dough. If the dough is still soft and very sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get a dough that is firm, but not stiff. (I started with 325 g flour and incorporated an additional 20 g to achieve the desired consistency.)
If using a stand mixer, knead the dough with the paddle attachment on low-speed for 5 minutes. Alternatively, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (I used a proofing oven.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and position a rack in the center.
Gently punch down the dough down. Pull to form it into a baguette shape measuring 18-inches by 3-inches (45 cm by 7.5 cm). (I formed mine into a 16-inch long shape because of the length of my baguette pan.) Crimp the ends.
Let it rise until it is about one-third larger, about 30 minutes. (I placed it on a baguette pan in a proofing oven.)
To make the glaze, melt the butter and the milk together, whisk to combine. Keep warm until ready to use.
Brush the loaf with the glaze. (I used about 2/3 of the glaze.) Score the top of the loaf 4 or 5 times using a sharp knife, lame, or kitchen shears.
Bake until the loaf is golden and baked though, about 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, brush the loaf with any residual glaze, and let cool before slicing.