Friday, November 28, 2008

Chocolate Cinnamon Babke

This one didn't even last 24 hours out of the oven! This is the third of Peter Rienhart's test recipes and what a great one it was. Starts with a rich dough with four egg yolks, butter and sugar. This ferments for about 2 1/2 hours then gets rolled out into a square, about 1/8 inch thick. A mixture of chocolate, cinnamon and butter is spread over and the whole lot is then rolled into a log. I chose to join the ends of the log so it looked like a large donut with about a 2 inch hole in the middle. This can be a same day bake but I elected to hold it overnight in the refrigerator. After a final rise the loaf was baked at 300F for about 70 minutes. I tested the internal temperature and took it out when it reached 190F.

This is what it looked like out of the oven:

And then the final test - cut and eat!This would make a great alternate to a coffee cake or cinnamon buns. The combination of chocolate and cinnamon is a wonderful flavor.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008


Peter Reinhart's recipe this week was for bagels. Now I'll be the first to admit that I have only baked bagels once before so a bagel baker I'm not! But anyway, in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. Recipe was very straight forward, and like most of Peter's recipes calls for an overnight in the refrigerator for the dough. Shaping was the big bugbear and as you will see in the photos, not a good job of joining the ends. Bagels were shaped before putting in the refrigerator.

Next day, pulled the bagels out, and after they got back to room temperature, boiled them in simmering water for 1 1/2 minutes. Then dropped the still wet bagels into poppy seeds for a garnish. 16 minutes in a 450 degree oven and they were done.

Took some over to some friends with cream cheese and lox. Wow! Were they great - good tight crumb and real chewy texture. Their verdict? "Three thumbs up". These will be a try again recipe.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Testing, Testing, Testing

Managed to get a spot on Peter Reinhart's testing panel for his new book in production. Wow! Do I feel honored. This past week was the first recipe, a pre-fermented French Dough. Basically it is flour, salt and water with a little yeast, mixed together then allowed to proof slowly in the refrigerator. Mine stayed in for 30 hours. The result can be formed directly into loaves, or used as a dough enhancer for a 'same day' French bread. I obviously can't and won't share the recipe, but I will share some photos of the finished product. The baguettes were particularly good and I will certainly use this recipe for baguettes in the future.

The baguettes and boule baked directly from the preferment.

Two batards baked using the preferment as a dough enhancer.

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