yeast dough Tag

vianocka

If you’re looking for a soft, yummy, eggy bread recipe, this is the one. I have to admit failure here, though: I just can’t seem to get the stacked braids to stay upright when I cook them. I finally resorted to my old standby six-strand braid, and the results are much more attractive. (more…)

Given the contents of this blog, it might surprise you to learn that in fact we try to eat sensibly during the week and reserve our most decadent dining for the weekends. This recipe definitely falls into the category of indulgence. When I was living in New York, I discovered chocolate babka at Zabar’s, which is pretty much the Platonic ideal of bread + chocolate. Or at least my ideal. While it most definitely originates in Central Europe, I haven’t seen babka in a bakery there (the fact that there aren’t many Jewish people left to bake it being the obvious reason). We have tried a variety of similar things with different names, all good but not quite babka.

Valerian got me Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day for my birthday this year and I just recently got around to trying to bake a loaf of my own babka from there. It turned out better than I could have hoped, and it certainly didn’t survive the weekend. Perfect with a cup of coffee, this is a treat that is worth the calories.

Chocolate Babka
Serves 1
Chocolate babka from “Artisan Breads Every Day”
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbs instant yeast
  2. ¾ cup milk, warmed
  3. 6 Tbs/85 g melted butter
  4. 6 Tbs/85 g sugar
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 4 egg yolks, plus one egg for the wash
  7. 3 1/3 cups/425 g flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
  8. 1½ tsp salt
For the filling
  1. 1½ cups/255 g frozen semisweet chocolate (chips, chunks, or chopped)
  2. ¾ tsp cinnamon (more if you like)
  3. ¼ cup/57 g cold butter, cut into small pieces
For the streusel topping
  1. ¼ cup/57 g cold butter, cut into small pieces
  2. ½ cup/65 g flour
  3. ½ cup/113 g brown sugar
  4. pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Make the dough: dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and set it aside for about 5 minutes.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the 4 egg yolks one at a time, mixing to incorporate each one. Add the vanilla. Continue mixing until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and salt, then the milk mixture. Keep mixing until you have a soft dough, then turn out the dough and knead it for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth and satiny. Form the dough into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl to rise for about 2½ hours. (I accidentally left mine much longer and it grew enormously but was fine.)
  4. While the dough rises, make the filling.
  5. Grind the chocolate to a powder, pulsing in a food processor or by chopping it as finely as you can. Add the cinnamon, then cut in the butter until you have a crumbly texture.
  6. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a square about 15″x15″ (38×38 cm) on a floured surface; be careful to keep lifting the dough to ensure it doesn’t stick. Sprinkly the filling mixture evenly over the dough.
  7. Oil a 5×9″ (large) loaf pan.
  8. Roll up the dough square like a jelly roll, pinch the long seam closed and roll it to the underside of the log. Gently rock the log back and forth to lengthen it out to about 18-24″ (45-60 cm). Coil the roll up like a snail, the turn in on its side so it really looks like a snail – then smoosh it down so that it more or less fits inside the loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  9. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours, until the babka fills the pan or has increased to about 1½ times its size. At this point you can either bake it or put it in the fridge overnight. Let it sit out at room temp for about 2 hours before baking if you do refrigerate.
  10. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
  11. Make the streusel – in a food processor or with a pastry blender (or even a fork) cut together the cold butter, flour, sugar and salt until you have small crumbs. Make an egg wash by beating together the whole egg and a tablespoon of water, brush it over the top of the babka and sprinkle the streusel over that.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 25 minutes or until the top is a dark brown. If you have a thermometer, the internal temperature will be around 185 F (85 C) when it’s done.
  13. Let the loaf cool before you try to slice it so the chocolate has time to set somewhat. Yum!
Adapted from Peter Reinhart
Adapted from Peter Reinhart
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/

Many of our recipes end with the sentence: “Enjoy with a good rustic bread”. Bread is the staple food of Central Europe. We eat bread with everything. One of the challenges of moving was to find an everyday bread –  frankly, supermarket “sandwich” bread here is pretty bad. Sorry my friends, it is the truth. It is full of preservatives, different crazy sounding items and of course, sugar (that is true about everything. Everything tastes sweet here. It is like non-stop candy time). On other hand there are artisan breads. Well, those are amazing! The only problem is they are not priced for everyday eating. A good bread, which our family polishes off in 30 seconds, is $4. If you eat it once in a while, yes, it is the right price for something “special/artisan”. But if you eat it as Europeans do, yikes!
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I had a great day in Sonoma tasting some wine. I specifically went to try out the Cline cellars, since I was very excited about trying their wine; I had it for the first time on the way to California on the BA flight. I love the idea of grapes grown on 100 year-old vines. The yield is low but very mature and sophisticated. I am a big fan of Cline and their Ancient Wines line. With a little luck you can get these wines from under $10, which is my comfortable price limit for a bottle of wine. After the tasting at their cellars, I could not come home empty handed, and I decided to share this gem with my family. Since good wine must be accompanied by good food, I decided to make a Czech classic: roasted duck with red cabbage and Czech dumplings.
ec-duck-in-the-owen
This Czech meal consist of three separate segments. You have to roast the duck, make the cabbage and the dumplings. It is a bit more labor intensive, but again remember that a good wine must be accompanied by a good meal.  I’ll post them as separate segments because the cabbage and the dumplings are often used with other meals and later I might refer to these recipes.

Czech Roasted Duck with Caraway Seeds
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Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. firm apples,such as Braeburns
  2. pears, any variety
  3. red wine
  4. salt
  5. water
  6. duck legs
  7. caraway seeds
Instructions
  1. Slice the apple and pear and lay them directly on the roasting pan. Add few cups of red wine or water. The liquid should barely cover the fruit.
  2. Salt the duck legs on both side, place the legs on the fruit bed and sprinkle them generously with caraway seeds.
  3. Preheat the oven to 340F, cover the roasting pan with foil and bake until the meat is soft (2 -2.5 hours).
  4. When the meat can be easily pierced with a fork, remove the foil and broil until the skin is nice and crispy.
Notes
  1. For this recipe I used duck legs. For bigger parties or hungry individuals, you can count on 2 legs per person, for a lighter meal go with 1 duck leg per person. You can use other parts of the duck if you wish. The amount of apples and pears depends on the amount of duck you are going to roast. I use fruit in order to achieve light fruity tones and preventing the meat from drying out.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/
Caramelised Red Cabbage
While the duck roasts you can do the red cabbage. This is a special cabbage used with few Czech recipes and you can use the leftovers in many good ways, as a side dish, in sandwiches.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium red cabbage (1.5-2pounds)
  2. 1 big onion
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. 3tbs vegetable oil
  5. 1/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 orange
  7. 3 cups of red wine
  8. 1tsp caraway seeds
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons, removing the hard bits and nibbling on them while you salt the cabbage and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Chop the onions.
  3. Heat the oil in large pot and add the onions together with the bay leaf. When onions become translucent, add the sugar and caramelize it.
  4. Add the caraway seeds and 10 seconds later add the red wine and the juice of one orange.
  5. Bring the mixture to boil and add the cabbage. Cook the cabbage on medium temperature until soft.
  6. When cabbage is soft add the vinegar and season with extra salt (1/2tsp maybe).
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/
Czech Steamed Dumplings - Knedlíky
The Czech knedliky or “steamed bread” is a real Czech classic. It is served with variety of foods, especially with sauce. This is a simple knedliky recipe; unfortunatelly they are great only on the first day. After that they lose their freshness rapidly, so try to use them right away. You will need a steamer to make these (obviously), one with a flat bottom is the best.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1tsp sugar
  2. 1tsp yeast
  3. 3½ cups flour
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 cup of milk
  7. ½ cup lukewarm water
Instructions
  1. Make a sponge: mix the lukewarm water, sugar and yeast and leave until bubbly, about ten minutes.
  2. Mix the flour with salt, add the sponge, eggs, and 2/3 cup of milk (if necessary keep adding more milk).
  3. Let it raise for 30 min, then punch it down.
  4. Let it raise again until doubled.
  5. Prepare the steamer: put a few inches of water in a large pot, and lightly oil the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil.
  6. Shape little oval loafs and put them in the steamer basket. Steam them for 10-12 minutes until they are resilient and have a firm outer skin.
  7. Let them cool and cut them into slices just before you serve them.
Emperors Crumbs https://www.emperorscrumbs.com/