12 January 2017

Sourdough Sandwich Bread - Two Loaves

Sourdough Sandwich Bread - Two Loaves / www.delightfulrepast.com

This sourdough sandwich bread is a classic wild yeast sourdough bread, meaning it is made without the addition of commercial yeast. While I love the gorgeous crusty round loaves of sourdough artisan bread baked free-form, for mornings we need a loaf that will make tidy slices that are a perfect fit for the toaster.

And this bread makes the best grilled sandwiches ever!

It takes longer to read about it than it takes to make it! Less than a minute for first starter feed, less than a minute for second starter feed, a couple minutes to stir up the dough, a couple minutes to shape the loaves. The rest of the time, it's doing *its* thing while you're doing *your* thing!

You could use 9x5x3-inch loaf pans, 23x13x7cm, but I use this equivalent 9x4x4-inch pullman loaf pan (without its lid). Until this month I had just one of them. But it was getting to be a bit much baking a single loaf every three days, so I got a second pan. Just freeze one loaf until the first is gone.

Sourdough Sandwich Bread in Pan / www.delightfulrepast.com

If you don't already have a sourdough starter, here's How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter. No need to buy a sourdough starter! It's really simple. All it takes is unbleached all-purpose flour (preferably organic), filtered or bottled water (not distilled or chlorinated tap) and lots of patience. But your patience will pay off.

You wind up with something that will last forever, yes, forever. And you'll never have to buy yeast again. (Actually, I still use yeast for other things, though you can use sourdough starter for everything.)

If you don't have a digital kitchen scale, do get one. It will greatly simplify your baking life, especially for bread, especially if you are new to bread baking and so don't yet have a "feel" for how much flour the dough needs. You are less likely to add too much flour to the dough when you weigh rather than measure. 

Sourdough Sandwich Bread - Two Loaves - Wild Yeast Only / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Sourdough Sandwich Bread 

(Makes two 2-pound loaves) 

The Fed Starter

4 tablespoons starter
2 cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 3/4 cups water (14 fluid ounces/414 ml), divided

The Dough

1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) water
1 tablespoon salt
6 dip-and-sweep cups (30 ounces/850 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 

Note: These directions have you giving the starter the first of two feedings the night before the day you plan to bake the loaves.

1 Feed up your starter to 3 cups: Take 4 tablespoons starter out of refrigerated storage container. Put it in a 4-cup glass measure. Stir in 1 cup flour and 7/8 cup water. Stir vigorously, put 2 tablespoons of it in your jar of stored starter, cover loosely and let stand at room temperature overnight, about 8 hours. Leave storage jar at room temperature as well. 

Note: My starter storage jar is just a half-pint canning jar, and it's not even full. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no need to keep huge quantities of starter.

2 In the morning (about 5:00 a.m. for me), stir down the starter and add 1 cup flour and 7/8 cup (7 fluid ounces) water. Stir vigorously, put 2 tablespoons of it in your jar of stored starter, cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until the starter is ready to use (in this case, 3 hours). This varies due to many factors, including the maturity of your starter; so give it the float test about every hour to see if it is ready to use. Leave storage jar at room temperature as well.

Float Test: Drop a teaspoon of starter into a glass of water. If it floats, the starter is ready to go. If it sinks, check again every hour. After a few times, you will see a pattern emerge and be able to plan your day accordingly.

Sourdough Sandwich Bread - Two Loaves - starter fed and ready / www.delightfulrepast.com

3 Weigh your flour in a 2-quart bowl. Stir down fed starter and put all but about 2 tablespoons of it into a 4.5-quart mixing bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of starter to your storage jar, stir vigorously and refrigerate. With a dough whisk or large spoon, stir in water, salt and flour (holding back 1/2 cup of flour until the end, as it may not be needed if your measured flour wasn't precisely 30 ounces or the humidity level is different, etc). Stir until it just comes together into a shaggy dough (fairly stiff, but still sticky). With one hand, knead dough right in the bowl, just enough to incorporate all the flour and smooth it out.

4 Divide the dough into two equal portions (again, the digital kitchen scale comes in handy here), and place them in two lightly oiled bowls. I like one of them to be my Pyrex 2-quart glass measure so I can easily see when the dough has doubled. Cover both loosely with lids or oiled plastic wrap or lid and let stand at room temperature until dough has doubled (in this case, 7 hours). The time will vary; after a couple times you'll know about how long this might take and be able to schedule your day accordingly.

Sourdough Sandwich Bread - Two Loaves / www.delightfulrepast.com

Note: Or you could let all the dough do its first rise in one bowl, then divide the dough when it's ready for shaping and second rise.
5 Grease (I use just a little olive oil, about 1/2 teaspoon each) the bread pans, either 9x4x4-inch pullman pans without their lids or 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.

6 Using no more than a tablespoon or two altogether for both, sprinkle countertop with some flour. Gently scrape the first batch of dough onto the floured countertop. Sprinkle with flour. Press each portion gently into a roughly 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Using a bench scraper, if needed, roll the dough into a loaf. With the bench scraper, place dough in the pan, pressing it into the corners. Brush on a little water. Cover it loosely with an oiled or cooking-sprayed piece of plastic wrap. 

Let rise until doubled. If using 9x5x3 loaf pans, it should rise an inch or two above the rim of the pans. If using 9x4x4 pullman pans, the dough should rise to just a little above the top of pans. This can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. The dough needs to rise until the dough doesn't quickly spring back when poked with a floured finger or knuckle.

Today I felt like helping it along a bit after that long first rise in my cold kitchen, so I turned the oven to 200F/93C and left it on for 2 minutes, counting from the time the oven lit, then turned it off and placed the pans in the oven. 

Tip: Check on the dough's progress regularly. After making it a few times, you'll have a better idea of how long it will take. And that will change as the weather changes. I keep my house rather cool in winter, so sourdough bread takes much longer to rise now than it does in summer.

8 Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. Just before baking, brush the loaf with a little water.

9 Bake at 450F/230C/Gas8 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400F/205C/Gas6 and continue baking for about 30 minutes or until crust is beautifully golden and middle of a loaf registers 210F/99C on instant-read thermometer

Tip: For reasons I won't go into (something about lactobacilli and yeast and ...), sourdough bread sometimes doesn't brown as well as other breads until your starter matures.

10 Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks  for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before slicing.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate account at Amazon. If you purchase something from Amazon through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop at Amazon!

05 January 2017

Tea Travel Kit - Bonavita Giveaway - Dual-Voltage Travel Kettle

Tea Travel Kit - Bonavita Giveaway - Dual-Voltage Travel Kettle / www.delightfulrepast.com

I guess there's no use denying that I'm a tea snob. And, when traveling, no self-respecting tea snob would ever drink tea made in a coffee maker in the room. And I don't want to wait till breakfast to have my first cup of the day. And who knows if that's going to be up to standard!

The answer I came up with on my last trip was: a tea travel kit. The question: which kettle? It seems most are made of plastic, and that just won't do. A few hours of research led me to the Bonavita Dual Voltage 0.5L Electric Travel Kettle and convinced me that it's the kettle for me. 

Perfect for the person who is the lone tea-drinker in the office, it could also be used in a college dorm room, RV or boat. And for pour-over coffee as well as tea. Hmm ... I do happen to have a 0.5L French press.

The Bonavita Dual Voltage 0.5L Electric Travel Kettle is stainless steel, no plastic in contact with the water. It is compact, lightweight, easy to use and has auto shutoff after boiling. Dual voltage means it works anywhere; just take along an adapter plug and a coin for turning the button on the bottom of the kettle to the voltage required.

At 0.5 liters, it's just big enough to make 2 cups of tea, but my husband isn't quite as desperate for his morning cuppa as I am, so I put together my kit just for me. A mug setup is much simpler for travel purposes than a teapot, cup and saucer; so here's what I put together.

Tea Travel Kit

2 A mug and infuser for loose leaf tea. Like this ForLife Curve Tall Tea Mug with Infuser and Lid. Or this Charles Viancin Tip Tea Strainer and Poppy Mug Set. Or whatever mug and strainer you are already using at home.

3 A small tray that is big enough to hold the kettle, mug and whatever else you might want to put on it AND small enough to fit into your bag. My tray is 11x7 inches/28x18cm.

4 A leftover tea tin into which you've measured the amount of tea you think you'll need for the length of trip you're taking; and don't forget the measuring spoon. Or just take a tin of teabags.

5 Paper towels for easy cleanup. (And maybe a few shortbread or digestive biscuits!)

6 A bag to hold everything. Like the squishy and easily packable Thermos Raya Duffle Lunch Bag, which was available at my local Target in only a riotous multi-colored pattern, so I ordered this tamer one from Amazon. A soft cooler is not needed for this purpose, but it happened to be the right size and shape. Between trips, I can use it for lunch.

Having along one of my major comforts of home makes travel much more enjoyable. How about you? Do you take along tea or coffee kits or any other comforts from home when you travel?

Since January is National Hot Tea Month, I thought I'd celebrate by giving away a Bonavita Travel Kettle!

Update 01/11/17: The giveaway is now closed.

Tea Travel Kit - Bonavita Giveaway - Dual-Voltage Travel Kettle / www.delightfulrepast.com

Bonavita Dual Voltage 0.5L Electric 

Travel Kettle Giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents* 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person) that includes where you want to take your Bonavita Travel Kettle. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday January 11.

* If you are outside the US but would like to have this sent to someone in the US (you would have to send them a gift card separately on your own), go ahead and enter! 

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday January 12. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday January 15, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).

Disclosure: Bonavita provided a kettle for review purposes and one for the giveaway. I received no compensation. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!

29 December 2016

Candied Orange Peel Cookies

Candied Orange Peel Cookies / www.delightfulrepast.com

Candied Orange Peel Cookies is my take on a recipe I found on the lovely tea blog Bernideen's Tea Time, Cottage and Garden. I went there one Friday to share my Candied Orange Peel and there was her recipe for Orange Slice Candy Cookies.

I had no orange slice candy, but since I had my stash of Candied Orange Peel on hand, I naturally thought it would be perfect for Bernideen's cookies. And, naturally, I made a few other substitutions. Her recipe called for three eggs and I only had two (and I was not going to run out to the store!), so I doubled the fat (butter, as I had no shortening) to make up for the missing egg.

That's the sort of reasoning that makes perfect sense here at Butter World anyway!

Since I use extra thick organic rolled oats, I thought I better give the dough at least an hour in the refrigerator to give the oats time to absorb some of the moisture before baking. I didn't add as much water to the dough as Bernideen did because I used butter rather than shortening, and butter has quite a lot of water in it.

My cookies came out darker, flatter and crispier (crun-chewier) than Bernideen's. That wasn't my intention. I was aiming for Bernideen's beautiful soft cookie. But I baked them a few minutes longer than she did (I'm easily distracted!). Also, butter makes a crispier cookie, while shortening makes a softer cookie. And then there's that third egg I did not have.

But, either way, I don't think you can go wrong. Bernideen and I have both made a fair amount of cookies to go with our tea! But next time I'm going to try that third egg!

Candied Orange Peel Cookies / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Candied Orange Peel Cookies

(Makes 40 3-inch cookies)

2 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (11.25 ounces/319 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced candied orange peel 
1/2 cup chopped slivered almonds or other nuts, toasted
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats 
2 sticks (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature 
3/4 packed cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water 

1 In small bowl, whisk together flour, soda and salt. In another small bowl, stir together orange peel, toasted nuts, oats and 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture, separating any pieces of peel sticking together. 

2 In large bowl of electric mixer (or large bowl and spoon), beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. By hand, stir in flour mixture, orange peel, nuts and oats. Stir in water. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.

3 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Drop #40 scoops (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart onto greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and still a little soft in the center. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Bernideen's Orange Slice Candy Cookies - Inspiration for My Candied Orange Peel Cookies / www.delightfulrepast.com
Like me, Bernideen is a fan of  three- and two-tiered stands,
this one displaying her lovely Orange Slice Candy Cookies.

22 December 2016

Tourtiere - French Canadian Meat Pie

Tourtiere - French Canadian Meat Pie / www.delightfulrepast.com

Tourtiere, or simply, Meat Pie, is a dish my husband, whose father was French Canadian, remembers from childhood. Mr Delightful hadn't had this dish since his Mémé died many years ago. I decided to make it for him this week in honor of his sister who recently died.

Living far apart, we vacationed together every year and had such good times. I loved her and her sense of humor. One day on my first stay in her home we had watermelon. I was fixing some for Mr Delightful when she asked me what I was doing. When I told her that her brother only liked it this way, she rolled her eyes and said to him, "Brother, Ma would be so happy to know you married a girl who takes the seeds out of your watermelon." 

I don't know whether my sister-in-law ever made any foods from her childhood, but if she did they would have been foods from the French Canadian side because she and Mr Delightful did not think too highly of their mother's general cooking! 

Some of my sister-in-law's specialties were the Middle Eastern dishes she learned from her husband's family (here's tabbouleh). Everyone loved her stuffed grape leaves, which she always made in huge quantities. Another Middle Eastern dish she made was simply called meat rice, made with ground meat (lamb, I think) and spices, including cinnamon.

So she wouldn't have hesitated to use cinnamon in her tourtiere as many people do; but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, though I did use the allspice, mace and cloves, albeit in smaller amounts than generally called for.

Anyway ...

Cooking foods connected with a loved one who has died is one of the things that comforts me ... so ... for Linda ...

Tourtiere - French Canadian Meat Pie / www.delightfulrepast.com

Tourtiere - French Canadian Meat Pie 

(Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie, 6 to 8 servings) 

The Meat Filling 

1 medium-large (12 ounces/340 grams) russet potato 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (1 8-ounce onion)
1 pound (454 grams) organic pastured ground pork
3/4 pound (340 grams) organic grass-fed ground beef
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves 

The Pastry 

2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 15 minutes
2 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
Ice water to make 3/4 cup liquid

The Egg Wash 

1 large egg
1 tablespoon water 

Note: That makes waaaaay too much egg wash for one pie, so if you hate food waste like I do, plan to use it in something else the day you make this.

1 Peel potato, cut up, boil and mash (you should have 1 to 1 1/4 cup); set aside. 

2 In large skillet, heat oil and saute onion until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the ground pork and ground beef and cook over medium heat, stirring to break up the meat so that it won't cook into clumps. Add in the seasonings as the meat cooks until most of the liquid is gone, about 20 minutes, Stir in the mashed potato, mixing well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled, about 2 hours. 

3 With metal blade in place, add flour, salt and baking powder to work bowl of food processor. Turn on for three seconds to combine. Add half the frozen butter and pulse for six 1-second pulses or until the frozen butter is the size of large peas. Add remaining butter and pulse for three 1-second pulses.

4 In cup, combine lemon juice or cider vinegar and ice water. Pour 1/2 cup of liquid over all of flour mixture and pulse for three 1-second pulses. If needed, add a tablespoon at a time, over all of flour mixture, doing a 1-second pulse after each tablespoon, or just until dough forms large clumps; do not over-process. (The amount of water you will need depends on your climate and the moisture content of your flour.)

5 Turn dough out onto two pieces of plastic wrap, using a little more for the bottom crust, and flatten each slightly into a 4-inch round disk. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6 Roll out the bottom crust (save the plastic wrap). It should be 13 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer dough to 9-inch pie plate, pressing it in place without stretching it; cover with reserved plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll out top crust (again, save the plastic wrap) and place it on a rimless baking sheet; cover with reserved plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

7 Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7. Spoon the meat filling into the pastry-lined pie plate, pressing it down lightly to compress it a bit. Brush the edge of the pastry with water and place the top crust, pressing the edges together to seal; trim and flute.

8 Beat the egg and water together and brush crust with the egg wash. Cut some steam vents or use a fork to make a pattern of small vent holes. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F/190C/Gas5 and continue baking for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Note: After the first 15 minutes, I put a pie crust shield on it to protect the already browned crimped edge.

9 Some families have the tradition of serving tourtiere with mustard, some with ketchup; still others, gherkins or pickled beets.

15 December 2016

Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel / www.delightfulrepast.com

There's candied orange peel and then there's candied orange zest. This is the more substantial candied orange peel. It can be eaten like candy (with or without having been dipped in tempered dark chocolate!) or used in baking or as a garnish. 

Wonderful in fruitcake or plum pudding, it's also a great addition to an orange cake, frosting or filling. It's a perfect garnish for a rice pudding or a chocolate tart, for a cocktail or a hot chocolate. Scrumptious in scones or as a confection on the tea table. 

Next time I make it I might experiment with the finer baker's sugar (called caster sugar in the UK) for the dredging. And whenever I can get my hands on some Meyer lemons, I'll be candying that peel as well. (Mr Delightful thought they were french fries!)

Candied Orange Peel / www.delightfulrepast.com

Candied Orange Peel 

(Makes about 7 dozen pieces) 

3 large navel oranges, organic or at least unsprayed and unwaxed, well scrubbed
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided*
3/4 cup water 

OR 1 cup sugar for the syrup and 1/2 cup baker's sugar for the dredging

1 To carefully remove the peel from the oranges, cut off a bit of the top and bottom of each orange, then make 4 vertical cuts and pull the 4 pieces of peel away from the orange. Cut each vertically into 1/4-inch wide strips. (And, when I'm feeling particularly persnickety, before I cut the strips I make sure that each section of peel is the same length.) You can leave the pith on or cut it away as much as you like with a sharp paring knife. 

If you want diced candied orange peel rather than strips, cut the strips into 1/4-inch dice. But I just make strips that can be diced later as needed. 

2 Put into a 2-quart saucepan and cover with about a quart of cold water. Bring to a boil and gently simmer, loosely covered, for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse, and drain again. 

3 While the peel drains in the colander, add 1 cup sugar and water to the saucepan; heat, stirring gently, to dissolve the sugar. When sugar is dissolved, bring to a boil and add the well-drained orange peel. Simmer for about 45 to 60 minutes, uncovered, or until the peel becomes translucent. Do not stir; just give it a swirl once in a while, if needed. 

4 Remove from heat, drain (reserve syrup for another use), and spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Allow to cool slightly before dredging in remaining 1/2 cup sugar to just coat. Place back on the parchment and allow to dry at room for 1 to 2 days (I just put it inside the oven or the toaster oven to keep it out of the way and somewhat "covered"). Place in an airtight container.

Candied Orange Peel / www.delightfulrepast.com

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