Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cookology Baking Bootcamp #4: Classic Breads

Tonight, Cookology's Chef Brad taught us how to make Classic Italian White Loaf with Onion and Cinnamon, Honey and Pecan Swirls.

The Classic Italian White Loaf with Onion is a yeast-based bread. How did we manage to get a yeast-based bread to rise so quickly you ask?! Well, Chef Brad taught us a neat trick of how to do it over a double boiler (essentially) and then again on the sheet pan it will bake on over the pot of warm water. It worked like a charm. The downside is you lose a bit of the bread (to the bottom which starts to bake), but the loaf was done in a matter of minutes versus hours!

The mixing and kneading was done again, all by hand. This time it seemed to really make a difference. I could see how someone using a mixer could actually over mix these breads and come up with tough bricks. The bread is best enjoyed while still warm...and it's so wonderful on its own that it doesn't even need butter!

The Cinnamon, Honey and Pecan Swirls were so easy to make I couldn't believe it! They're not yeast based and were baked in cupcake tins! The dough was light and airy, the cinnamon fillling sticky and sweet. I adore pecans so, of course, I loaded mine up. The icing was a simple powdered sugar/heavy cream based icing with the touch of honey. So sweet and gooey...just like a cinnamon roll should be.

This Baking Bootcamp was a ton of fun. I would highly recommend Cookology to those that enjoy learning about food and getting their hands dirty in the kitchen. I didn't learn a ton of new techniques from this class, but I still had a great time and picked up some really great tips and recipes.

Onion White Loaf

Flour – 1lb. 5 oz.
Salt - .4 oz
Water - 12 oz
Yeast - .75 oz.
Sugar - 2.75 oz
Butter - 2.75 0z
1/2 onion chopped

Mix water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add sugar to water and stir until combined. Mix flour, salt, melted butter and water mixture together. Knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and shape into shape desired. Allow to rise for one hour and bake at 350 for approx. 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Quick Cinnamon Biscuits/Rolls
Adapted from The Moosewood Collectives Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
Yield: 9 biscuits

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Biscuit Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

6 tablespoons confectioners sugar
4 to 6 teaspoons milk or heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. For the Filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. For the Dough: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups cream, and stir until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. With your hands, fold the dough over a few times in the bowl, until the dough is smooth.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour your hands, and pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle, about 9 X 13 inches. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of cream. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar topping.

5. Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a cylinder. Slice into 9 equal rounds. Place the rounds, cut side down, into an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish or a pie plate. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned.

6. For the Icing: While the biscuits bake, mix together the confectioners sugar and milk or cream until smooth. When you remove the biscuits from the oven, immediately drizzle them with icing. Serve warm.

Enjoy With Love,

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