Thursday, August 30, 2012


I've been pretty obsessed with bread baking lately. Especially with my sourdough starter and keeping that going. Sourdough has been taking up all my bread baking time lately. So I decided to mix it up. Since I had enough sourdough around the house to last a while I wanted to make something that was a little different from sandwich bread, so I decided to tackle bagel making. I didn't grow up on great tasting bagels. Mine came from the store and were wrapped in plastic and nothing like the chewy delicious fresh baked bagels that I would learn to love. 

I always thought making bagels would be exhausting and difficult. I was in for a surprise. While there are many steps in the process it was not as intimidating as I thought it would be. I made of the dough the day before and placed them in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning they were ready to boil and bake. Fresh bagels for breakfast sure do taste better than the steamed bagels from the grocery store. I threw some scrambled eggs on top and I was ready for the day!


1 tsp yeast
18 oz. bread flour
20 oz. water, at room temp.

1/2 tsp yeast
17 oz. bread flour
2 3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp barley malt syrup

For the boiling and topping:
1 tbsp baking soda
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting
Toppings of choice (I'm a big fan of everything bagels so I threw a bunch of seeds and salt together)

1) For the sponge, mix yeast and flour in mixing bowl, then add water and mix until dough is smooth and sticky (consistency of pancake batter). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or until doubled in size

2) To make the dough mix the additional yeast to the sponge and stir to combine. Then add 3 cups of the flour, salt, and barley malt syrup and mix with dough hook until dough forms a ball, then gradually mix in remaining flour

3) Knead dough for at least 6 minutes using the machine (or 10 minutes by hand). The dough will be very stiff and if you are doing this by hand you will get a workout. Tear off a piece of dough and stretch it until you can see through it and it doesn't tear (this is called the windowpane test).

4) Divide dough in 4 1/2 oz pieces and form into rolls. Cover rolls with damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes and line pans with parchment paper and coat with spray oil

5) Shape rolls into bagels by tearing a whole into center of bagels and shape, repeat for each bagel and place on parchment paper, then spray with oil and cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp. for 20 minutes

6) Bagels are ready to rest overnight if they pass the "float test". To do this fill a large bowl with water and drop 1 bagel into the bowl. If it floats it is ready. If not let them rest for a little while longer, checking every 10 minutes or so. Then re-cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight and up to 2 days

7) When you are ready to make the bagels preheat oven to 500 F with racks in center of oven. Boil water in a large pot of water and then add the baking soda

8) Drop bagels in water (as many will fit comfortably, about 3 or 4) and boil for 1-2 minutes (the longer they boil the chewier they will be). Flip them over and boil for an additional minute or two. Place on semolina dusted parchment paper and top with toppings of choice. When all bagels are ready to be baked place in oven and bake for 5 minutes, then switch and rotate baking sheets and turn oven down to 450F and bake for additional 5 minutes. 

9) Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Pie

I love the combination of chocolate and bananas, whether they are baked into a delicious bread or frozen and put on a stick. Bluth Banana anyone? So when the other day I had a few bananas that had been sitting around for a little too long I decided to make some banana ice cream. Turning this ice cream into a pie didn't hit me until I had already made the base for the ice cream. I quickly looked up a recipe for a chocolate tart crust and got baking while the ice cream base chilled in the fridge. The great thing about Ice Cream Pies is that they can be made into almost any combination imaginable. I'm thinking of making a Cherry Ice Cream Pie with Almond Crust next time. This would also be great for summer birthday parties in place of a cake. 

Chocolate Tart Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3 egg yolks, from large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz of baking chocolate or chocolate chips 

1) Place flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt into food processor or blend with pastry blender to combine, then cut in the butter until it is crumbly then add egg yolks and vanilla and combine just until it holds together. Don't overwork the dough
2) Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for 30 minutes
3) Form dough into a disk and roll out until it is large enough to fit into a 9-inch tart pan (or if you are using smaller tart pans, shape accordingly), place in fridge, covered for 30 minutes
4) Blind bake the tart shell by placing a sheet of parchment paper over the shell and fill with pie weights, or dried beans, and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, then remove weights and parchment and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, making sure the crust doesn't burn
5) Remove from oven and let cool, then melt chocolate in double boiler and pour onto tart shell, covering all of the tart. Place in freezer to solidify the chocolate
6) When chocolate is hardened fill with your favorite ice straight out of the ice cream maker and freeze for at least 4 hours then enjoy!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Warm French Lentils

Lentils are one of those foods that I really wished I ate more of. I'm a huge fan of legumes, but some other type of legume usually sneaks its way into my diet. Leaving the poor lentil to linger in the back of the cabinet. But no more! I have found a great and incredibly amazing way to make lentils. While watching Barefoot Contessa one afternoon I saw Ina Garten making these lentils and I knew that I had to try them. I bought the green French lentils a couple months ago and of course, as most lentils do in my kitchen, they were left and practically forgotten. Until the other day when I was making a pork tenderloin and remembered the recipe and knew that they would be amazing with a rosemary-honey roasted tenderloin. And they were! They were even amazing cold for lunch the following day. I suggest making a big pot of these and eating them all week. They would also make a great cold salad to bring to a party.

Since this was sort of a spur of the moment decision to make this with dinner one night I sadly had not purchased any leeks. I used onions in place of the leeks. I also did not have a turnip, so that too was omitted. I am providing a link to the original recipe.

Warm French Lentils
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup French green lentils
1 whole onion, peeled, stuck with 6 whole cloves
1 tsp butter
4 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Saute onion and carrots 2 tbsp of olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute more, then remove from heat and set aside

2) Bring lentils, onion, and 4 cups of water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender, then remove onion and drain lentils

3) Toss the lentils in with the carrot mixture and add the butter

4) Make the sauce by mixing the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with the Dijon and red wine vinegar
5) Pour sauce over lentil mixture, toss, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!