Double Daring Baker Challenge #8

I have started to catch up a little bit on the previous Daring Baker challenges that I have missed. I did miss last months, but I did complete this months extra challenge which was: Bagels!

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I have never made bagels before, but I was excited to try, since I love to eat them! Well, I pulled out all of my ingredients, pulled out all the equipment I needed and got to work. I started with Step 1, proofing the yeast. I poured in my warm water, sprinkled in the sugar, stirred to combine, then added the yeast, stirred to combine and then, the phone rang. It was work. Could I please come in early because they were really busy! Well, of course I said yes, so… Well, I sprinkled on a cup of flour over the yeast mixture to make a sort of biga, covered it and put it in the fridge until the next day. We were really busy at work and I’m glad I went in, but I was a little concerned about leaving so early into my bagel making.

The next day, I pulled my “biga” out of the fridge to warm up a bit while I read through the directions again. I moved on to Step 2, but only added 2 cups of flour to begin with because I had already added 1 cup yesterday. I probably should have added about ½ cup more flour while I was kneading the dough, but it still came out good. The biggest problem I encountered was in the boiling of the bagels, that’s when I knew I should have added more flour (and maybe kneaded a little longer), they were just too soft and were starting to break up in the water. To fix the problem, I just boiled them for a shorter period of time (1 ½ minutes on each side).

I would like to try these again sometime when I can do the whole recipe all at once!

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Real Honest Jewish Purist’s Bagels Daring Bakers Challenge #8: April 2007

Host(s): Queilla (All Things Edible) & Freya (Writing at the Kitchen Table)

Recipe Quantity: Fifteen (15) large, plain, Kosher bagels

Allowed modifications:

1. You can customize your bagel with toppings (like sprinkling some sea salt, sesame or poppy seeds to the OUTSIDE of the bagel) but DO NOT ADD ANY FLAVORS TO THE INSIDE of the bagel dough itself. That means no cheese, no herbs, no funky salts, no onions, no nothing. Any additional flavors can be put on the outside only.

2. Toppings should probably stay on the SAVORY side.

3. FILLINGS / SPREADS ARE OPTIONAL: Although you cannot flavor the inside of the bagel dough itself, you can FILL your finished bagels. From Queilla: “In addition to this (bagel) challenge, I also present you with an additional challenge: How would you like to fill these bagels? Want to make your own cream cheese spread, or stick with peanut butter? This is your chance to be as creative as you want! Want a sweet spread (my kids love strawberry cream cheese,) or a savory?”

4. Once you have made at least 1 batch of the bagels for your post (where you used the chosen recipe & adhered to the rules), please go as crazy as you like.
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6-8 cups bread (high-gluten) flour

4 tablespoons dry baking yeast

6 tablespoons granulated white sugar or light honey (clover honey is good)

2 teaspoons salt

3 cups hot water

a bit of vegetable oil

1 gallon water

3-5 tablespoons malt syrup or sugar

a few handfuls of cornmeal

Equipment:

large mixing bowl

wire whisk

measuring cups & spoons

wooden mixing spoon

butter knife or baker’s dough blade

clean, dry surface for kneading

3 clean, dry kitchen towels

warm, but not hot, place to set dough to rise

large stockpot

slotted spoon

2 baking sheets

How You Do It:

Step 1- Proof Yeast: Pour 3 cups of hot water into the mixing bowl. The water should be hot, but not so hot that you can’t bear to put your fingers in it for several seconds at a time. Add the sugar or honey & stir it with your fingers (a good way to make sure the water is not too hot) or with a wire whisk to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water, & stir to dissolve. Wait about 10 minutes for the yeast to begin to revive & grow. Skipping this step could result in your trying to make bagels with dead yeast, which results in bagels so hard & potentially dangerous that they are banned under the terms of the Geneva Convention. You will know that the yeast is okay if it begins to foam & exude a sweetish, slightly beery smell.

Step 2- Make Dough: At this point, add about 3 cups of flour as well as the 2 tsp of salt to the water & yeast & begin mixing it in. Some people subscribe to the theory that it is easier to tell what’s going on with the dough if you use your hands rather than a spoon to mix things into the dough, but others prefer the less physically direct spoon. As an advocate of the bare-knuckles school of baking, I proffer the following advice: clip your fingernails, take off your rings & wristwatch, & wash your hands thoroughly to the elbows, like a surgeon. Then you may dive into the dough with impunity. I generally use my right hand to mix, so that my left is free to add flour & other ingredients & to hold the bowl steady. Left-handed people might find that the reverse works better for them. Having one hand clean & free to perform various tasks works best.

When you have incorporated the first three cups of lour, the dough should begin to become thick-ish. Add more flour, a half-cup or so at a time, & mix each addition thoroughly before adding more flour. As the dough gets thicker, add less & less flour at a time.

Step 3- Knead Dough: Soon you will begin to knead it by hand (if you’re using your hands to mix the dough in the first place, this segue is hardly noticeable). If you have a big enough & shallow enough bowl, use it as the kneading bowl, otherwise use that clean, dry, flat counter top or tabletop mentioned in the “Equipment” list above. Sprinkle your work surface or bowl with a handful of flour, put your dough on top, & start kneading. Add bits of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking (to your hands, to the bowl or counter top, etc….). Soon you should have a nice stiff dough. It will be quite elastic, but heavy & stiffer than a normal bread dough. Do not make it too dry, however… it should still give easily & stretch easily without tearing.

Step 4- Let Dough Rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, & cover with one of your clean kitchen towels, dampened somewhat by getting it wet & then wringing it out thoroughly. If you swish the dough around in the bowl, you can get the whole ball of dough covered with a very thin film of oil, which will keep it from drying out. Place the bowl with the dough in it in a dry, warm (but not hot) place, free from drafts. Allow it to rise until doubled in volume. Some people try to accelerate rising by putting the dough in the oven, where the pilot lights keep the temperature slightly elevated. If it’s cold in your kitchen, you can try this, but remember to leave the oven door open or it may become too hot & begin to kill the yeast & cook the dough. An ambient temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Centigrade) is ideal for rising dough.

Step 5- Prepare Water for Bagels: While the dough is rising, fill your stockpot with about a gallon of water & set it on the fire to boil. When it reaches a boil, add the malt syrup or sugar & reduce the heat so that the water just barely simmers; the surface of the water should hardly move.

Step 6- Form Bagels: Once the dough has risen, turn it onto your work surface, punch it down, & divide immediately into as many hunks as you want to make bagels. For this recipe, you will probably end up with about 15 bagels, so you will divide the dough into 15 roughly even-sized hunks. Begin forming the bagels. There are two schools of thought on this. One method of bagel formation involves shaping the dough into a rough sphere, then poking a hole through the middle with a finger & then pulling at the dough around the hole to make the bagel. This is the hole-centric method. The dough-centric method involves making a long cylindrical “snake” of dough & wrapping it around your hand into a loop & mashing the ends together. Whatever you like to do is fine. DO NOT, however, give in to the temptation of using a doughnut or cookie cutter to shape your bagels. This will push them out of the realm of Jewish Bagel Authenticity & give them a distinctly Protestant air. The bagels will not be perfectly shaped. They will not be symmetrical. This is normal. This is okay. Enjoy the diversity. Just like snowflakes, no two genuine bagels are exactly alike.

Step 7- Pre-heat Oven: Begin to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 8- Half Proof & Boil Bagels: Once the bagels are formed, let them sit for about 10 minutes. They will begin to rise slightly. Ideally, they will rise by about one-fourth volume… a technique called “half-proofing” the dough. At the end of the half-proofing, drop the bagels into the simmering water one by one. You don’t want to crowd them, & so there should only be two or three bagels simmering at any given time. The bagels should sink first, then gracefully float to the top of the simmering water. If they float, it’s not a big deal, but it does mean that you’ll have a somewhat more bready (& less bagely) texture. Let the bagel simmer for about three minutes, then turn them over with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Simmer another three minutes, & then lift the bagels out of the water & set them on a clean kitchen towel that has been spread on the counter top for this purpose. The bagels should be pretty & shiny, thanks to the malt syrup or sugar in the boiling water.

Step 9- Bake Bagels: Once all the bagels have been boiled, prepare your baking sheets by sprinkling them with cornmeal. Then arrange the bagels on the prepared baking sheets & put them in the oven. Let them bake for about 25 minutes, then remove from the oven, turn them over & put them back in the oven to finish baking for about ten minutes more. This will help to prevent flat-bottomed bagels.
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Remove from the oven & cool on wire racks, or on a dry clean towels if you have no racks. Do not attempt to cut them until they are cool… hot bagels slice abominably & you’ll end up with a wadded mass of bagel pulp. Don’t do it.

How To Customize Outside of Bagels: After boiling but before baking, brush the bagels with a wash made of 1 egg white & 3 tablespoons ice water beaten together. Sprinkle with the topping of your choice: poppy, sesame, or caraway seeds, toasted onion or raw garlic bits, salt or whatever you like. Just remember that bagels are essentially a savory baked good, not a sweet one, & so things like fruit & sweet spices are really rather out of place.

December’s Daring Bakers Challenge

Welcome to the December 2008 Daring Bakers challenge! Yeah!

And the Challenge this month is…

A French Yule Log!!!

To start with, our hosts for this month were Hilda of Saffron (http://saffronandblueberry.blogspot.com/) & Blueberry & Marion of Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux (Il en faut peu pour etre heureux (http://ilenfautpeupour.canalblog.com/).

The recipe this months comes from: http://plaisirgourmand.perso.cegetel.net/index.html.

The author is : Flore

Here is what our hosts say about our challenge this month:
SO, what is a French Yule Log you say & how is it different from the Yule Log we made last December if you were a member then? In France you can buy 2 kinds of Yule log, either the Genoise & Buttercream type that we made last December, or what is more commonly purchased which is a frozen Yule Log very reminiscent of an ice cream cake, only often it’s not made of ice cream but rather frozen mousse of some sort. In French this is called an entremets which is sometimes loosely translated in English as simply a cream dessert. This also means that this recipe is not holiday-specific, it is also just a scrumptious dessert recipe.”

This recipe comes almost entirely, except for one small labeled portion & some of the variations courtesy of our dear Daring Baker Fairy Tartelette, from the website: Florilège Gourmand (address above) which belongs to Flore (who has not disclosed her last name to me in my exchanges with her) & is unreal. Her website is in French & different portions of the recipe have been pulled from the recipes in the entremets section.”

So, to the business of our Yule log:
#2 THE CHALLENGE RULE is that you MUST MAKE ALL 6 of these elements for the log:
1) Dacquoise Biscuit
2) Mousse
3) Ganache Insert
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert
6) Icing
The assembly will essentially be a Dacquoise Biscuit at the bottom, & the inserts inter-layered with mousse, with an icing finish. That’s about it for rules. Oh yeah, please have fun!”

We were able to use different flavor components to our Yule Log, I will only be sharing the ones that I used, you can find all the delicious different flavors of each component at all of the other Daring Bakers sites: http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/
 

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FRENCH YULE LOG OR ENTREMETS RECIPE by Flore of Florilège Gourmand
Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)
Preparation time: 10 min + 15 min for baking
Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper
Note: You can use the Dacquoise for the bottom of your Yule Log only, or as bottom & top layers, or if using a Yule log mold (half-pipe) to line your entire mold with the biscuit. Take care to spread the Dacquoise accordingly. Try to bake the Dacquoise the same day you assemble the log to keep it as moist as possible.
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites (I used Ener-G egg replacer for 2 eggs, as well as 1 tsp each of baking powder and vinegar)
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1. Finely mix the almond meal and the caster sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2. Sift the flour into the mix.
3. Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4. Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5. Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6. Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc…) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8. Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse I used:
CREAMY DESSERT PUDDINGS This recipe was created by one of our cooking instructors at the McDougall Program, Alex Bury. Prep: 10 min Chill: opt Serves: 4

2 12.3 ounce boxes lite silken tofu (1 box silken, 1 box firm)
½ cup Wonderslim cocoa powder
¾ cup agave nectar (use ½ cup honey)
¼ cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor & process until creamy & smooth. Serve at once or cover & refrigerate until serving time.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert
Preparation time: 10 min
Equipment: pan, whisk. If you have an immersion blender, it comes in handy.

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar & then adding the cream. It may splatter & boil.
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content) (soy creamer)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened (Earth Balance)

1. Make caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2. While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel & stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter & boil.
3. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds & stir until smooth.
4. Add the softened butter & whip hard & fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth & shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert
Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate (dark chocolate)
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter (Earth Balance)
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline (Hazelnut pralines from last months challenge)
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes)/rice krispies/corn flakes/Special K (Nutty Rice, gluten free cereal)

1. Melt the chocolate & butter in a double boiler.
2. Add the praline & the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3. Spread between 2 sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert
It is not a crème brulée per see, it’s a recipe for “Pastry Cream” (Custard) a few alternative bakers used this one as a sub. I think it ended up too floury to me, but it wasn’t bad.

From “The Joy of Vegan Baking” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (Highly recommend)
65g granulated sugar (1/3c)
16g unbleached AP flour (2 tablespoons)
32g cornstartch (4 tablespoons)
60ml water (1/4c)
315ml nondairy milk (I’ve used soy & it works well) (1 1/3c)
2 teaspoons lemon or vanilla extract

Beat together sugar, flour, cornstartch & water on high speed until creamy, about 2 mintues. Set aside.
Bring milk to a simmer, pour about 80ml (1/3cup) of hot milk into the sugar mixture & stir to combine. Add the mixture back to the saucepan with the milk. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. It will begin to thicken immediately.
Scrape the bottom & sides of pan as you whisk. Cook until it begins to bubble, then whisk (as vigorously as you can) for 30 secs, and remove from heat. Stir in extracts. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing
Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)
Equipment: Small bowl, small saucepan
Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalencies or gelatin to agar-agar equivalencies, look at the notes for the mousse component.

4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin (vegan gelatin powder)
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content) (soy creamer)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2. Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3. Add to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4. Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log
Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.
THIS IS FOR UNMOLDING FROM UPSIDE DOWN TO RIGHT SIDE UP.
You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1) Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.
2) Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.
3) Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute & set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
4) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around & on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
5) Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
6) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
7) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
8 ) Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
9) Close with the Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

THE NEXT DAY…
Unmold the cake/log/whatever & set on a wire rack over a shallow pan. Cover the cake with the icing. Let set. Return to the freezer.
You may decorate your cake however you wish. The decorations can be set in the icing after it sets but before you return the cake to the freezer or you may attach them on top using extra ganache or leftover mousse, etc…
Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.

Completed Log:

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This is a tip I got from a fellow DB’er and it helped a lot!

Make these first in this order:
1. Creme Brulee (freeze then cut)
2. Mouse (refrigerate at least 1 hour)
3. Praline insert (freeze then cut)

Then assemble these 3 items & freeze for 2-3 hours until set.
Now make these:
1. Dacquoise Biscuit (allow to cool and cut)
2. Ganache Insert (pipe on previous frozen Yule log)

Finish assembly and FREEZE UNTIL NEXT DAY.

Lastly make Icing, remove log from mold & coat.

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I forgot to say how much I liked this one.  It tastes great (although I usually scrape off 1/2 of the creme brulee layer). 

Recipes To Rival

Our host this month, along with me, loves to watch Top Chef on Bravo. So, this months challenge comes from last seasons Top Chef. Meg Pug says “In the last season set in Chicago there was a challenge set at Second City Comedy Club where the audience threw out theme words that the chefs were to use as inspiration for their challenge dish. Each team had a color, a food or flavor, & an emotion. One team, the team that eventually won the challenge had the words: Yellow, Vanilla, Love. They made a soup. A squash bisque with a dollop of vanilla crème fraiche. And they put love in it as they layered flavors, tasted, & perfected it. To me, a rich warm thick soup is all about love… it is a dish that just loves you right back!”

So this is the Challenge: Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche

We had to make our own stock, from scratch. We had to incorporate a creamy vanilla element, we could use whipping cream instead of crème fraiche, but I couldn’t use either of them, so I used soy sour cream with some vanilla extract because of cost.

My Stock:

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Acorn Squash:

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Mirepoix:

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For the soup I planned on using butternut & acorn squash. I was glad that I had some cubed butternut squash in the freezer, so I just bought some acorn squash. Well, my butternut squash had gone bad, so I ended up just used acorn squash. Oh, the other thing I couldn’t find, which is weird, was the leeks. I can always find those in the store, but not this trip, so I subbed extra shallots. I also cut the recipe by 3/4, my hubby & I just can’t eat that much soup. I used my immersion blender to blend the soup because that is what I had on hand.

Adding the mirepoix to the squash:
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Much thanks to our host this month for such a great dish: MegPug from http://megpug.blogspot.com/

Dinner (garnished with sage):
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Here is where you can get the recipe: http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/2008/11/squash-soup-with-vanilla-crme-fraiche.html

Check out everyone’s efforts here: http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/