Friday, September 23, 2016

Pizza Dough

Every Saturday we have pizza and watch a movie. Needless to say, I have made a lot of pizza dough in my day. For years I have made fairly wet doughs (Neapolitan, focaccia, New York, etc.) which produce thin and crispy crusts with some chewiness when baked on a hot stone. More recently the kids have been asking for a thicker crust and I was happy to oblige. I wasn't happy with recipes I found since they tended towards the dense and stodgy, so I made my own recipe. This crust is thicker (and can handle a truck load of toppings) but is still crispy and chewy. The cold ferment imparts great flavour which is the most important thing of all.

INGREDIENTS
Makes six 10" crusts
- 6.5 oz semolina flour
- 14 oz bread flour
- 13 oz all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 4 oz oil
- 13 fl oz cold water
- 6 fl oz cold soy milk

METHOD
1. Add all ingredients to a mixer bowl and bring together into a rough dough with a dough hook. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead with the dough hook for 5-7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and slightly tacky (but not sticky). Add more flour or water as needed.
2. Turn dough out onto an oiled baking sheet. Divided into six equal pieces and shape into balls.
3. Mist with oil, cover well with plastic wrap, and place sheet in the fridge over night.
4. On baking day, take the dough out of the fridge at least two hours before you want to start baking. Reshape the balls and leave to rise in a warm place, covered. The dough is ready to shape when it is warm and has risen.
5. Preheat your baking stone in a 450 degree oven.
6. Lightly spray six separate pieces of baking parchment with oil (you can reuse these from week to week). With your fingertips, spread the dough into a 10" circle, creating a ridge on the outside if you want. Let the dough rise, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
7. Top with whatever suits you, and bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted (about 8-10 minutes), removing the parchment once the crust swells and begins to firm up.

Pizza Dough

Every Saturday we have pizza and watch a movie. Needless to say, I have made a lot of pizza dough in my day. For years I have made fairly wet doughs (Neapolitan, focaccia, New York, etc.) which produce thin and crispy crusts with some chewiness when baked on a hot stone. More recently the kids have been asking for a thicker crust and I was happy to oblige. I wasn't happy with recipes I found since they tended towards the dense and stodgy, so I made my own recipe. This crust is thicker (and can handle a truck load of toppings) but is still crispy and chewy. The cold ferment imparts great flavour which is the most important thing of all.

INGREDIENTS
Makes six 10" crusts
- 6.5 oz semolina flour
- 14 oz bread flour
- 13 oz all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 4 oz oil
- 13 fl oz cold water
- 6 oz cold water

METHOD
1. Add all ingredients to a mixer bowl and bring together into a rough dough with a dough hook. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead with the dough hook for 5-7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and slightly tacky (but not sticky). Add more flour or water as needed.
2. Turn dough out onto an oiled baking sheet. Divided into six equal pieces and shape into balls.
3. Mist with oil, cover well with plastic wrap, and place sheet in the fridge over night.
4. On baking day, take the dough out of the fridge at least two hours before you want to start baking. Reshape the balls and leave to rise in a warm place. The dough is ready to shape when it is warm and has risen.
5. Preheat your baking stone in a 450 degree oven.
6. Lightly spray six separate pieces of baking parchment with oil (you can reuse these from week to week). With your fingertips, spread the dough into a 10" circle, creating a ridge on the outside if you want. Let the dough rise, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
7. Top with whatever suits you, and bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted (about 8-10 minutes), removing the parchment once the crust swells and begins to firm up.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Viennese Whirls


The Great British Bakeoff is back and all is well with the world. I had never heard of these biscuits/cookies before I saw them them in episode 2, but I knew immediately that I wanted to try them. What a bonus that the recipe is so easily veganized. I tried a version will all vegan butter but it did not come out as well as this version. I made a bunch of raspberry jelly this summer from our own berries, and it was absolutely perfect for this recipe. Use whatever jam you like, or check out the original recipe and make your own.

INGREDIENTS
Cookies
- 6 oz soft vegetable shortening
- 3 oz soft vegan butter
- 1¾ oz icing sugar
- 8 oz all purpose flour
- 1 oz corn starch
- large pinch of salt
- pinch of turmeric (optional)

Buttercream Filling
- 3½ oz soft vegetable shortening
- 7 oz icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract

- raspberry jam

METHOD
Cookies
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Move two racks to the centre positions. 
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2" round cutter as a guide to draw 12 circles on each sheet of paper. Turn the paper over so the pencil marks are underneath.
2. With an electric hand mixer, beat the shortening, vegan butter, and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
3. Add flour, corn starch, salt, and turmeric (if using) and mix well with a wooden spoon, until smooth.
4. Transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Pipe 24 swirled rounds (not rosettes), inside the circles on the baking sheets.
5. Bake both trays for 6 minutes, then rotate pans (and switch racks) and bake for another 6-8 mins, until they are a pale golden-brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack.

Buttercream Filling
1. Beat all ingredients with an electric hand mixer until light and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

TO MAKE THE COOKIES
Spoon jam onto the flat side of 12 of the biscuits. Pipe the buttercream over the jam and sandwich with the remaining biscuits. Dust with icing sugar to finish.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pretzel Buns

With the new school year ready to start in just over two weeks, it's time to get serious about baking for lunches. Of course, with two weeks of summer still left why not bake something that can also  help you get the most out of the waning BBQ season? These pretzel buns are perfect for a veggie burger, tofu salad, or my summertime favourite: tomato and cucumber. The dough recipe is more or less Peter Reinhart's but I have altered the method so the end product has that deep brown pretzel colour but it still soft enough to function as a bun.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 12 buns
Dough
- 31.5 oz (6 3/4 cups) white bread flour
- 16.5 g (generous 2 1/2 tsp) salt
- 5 g (1 1/2 tsp) instant yeast
- 18 fl. oz (2 1/4 cups) lukewarm water
- 1.5 oz (3 tbsp) oil

Poaching Liquid
- 16 fl. oz (2 cups) water
- 2 oz (8 tsp) baking soda

- aquafaba for brushing
- sesame seeds

METHOD
1. Combine the flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a bowl. Bring together into a rough ball and let sit for 5 minutes. Knead (either by hand or a machine) until dough is smooth but slightly tacky (about 5 mins).  Add water or flour as needed).
2. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch dough down, knead lightly for a minute, reshape into a ball and let rise in the covered bowl for another hour (or until doubled).
3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil.
4. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shapes into boules.
5. Roll each boule into a rope about 12 to 14 inches long. Shape into buns per the pictures below.
a) Grab the rope with your left hand about 1/3 of the way up, with your right hand at the opposing end.
b) Use your right hand to make a knot in the dough where your left hand is positioned. Use the fingers of your left hand to keep the knot open. 
c) Tuck the end in your right hand under and through the hole (at 4:00 if the bun was a clock).
d) Tuck the end in your left hand over and through the hole (at 7:00) to the back of the bun. Use the end that was formerly in your right hand to close the hole.

6. Mist the top of the buns with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 30 mins, until swelled but not doubled.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
8. Prepare the poaching liquid: in a large pot bring the water to simmer. You want about 1.5 inches of water it the pot, so adjust the amount above as needed. Make sure to increase the baking soda the same amount. When water is simmering mix in the baking soda and stir to dissolve.
9. Poach the buns (working in batches as your pot will allow) for 30-60 seconds each side, placing the top side in first. Remove with a slotted spoon back to the prepared baking sheet.
10. Brush each bun lightly with aquafaba and top with sesame seeds.
11. Bake for 16-18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point.
12. Let fully cool on a wire rack.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Blended Mocha Iced Coffee

Just a quick post to help beat the summer (spring?) heat. A good blender is a great investment, especially when you can churn out tasty drinks like this that aren't cheap at your local coffee place (and are really mostly ice anyway). Add whatever you want to this base recipe to customize it to your liking.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 2 servings
- 4 tsp instant coffee
- 4 tsp cocoa powder (I like Dutch process)
- 1 1/2 cups non dairy milk
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
- splash of vanilla extract
- 14 ice cubes (i.e. one tray)
- whipped topping (optional)

METHOD
1. Place all ingredients except the whipped topping in the blender and blend on high until smooth.
2. Top with whipped topping, if desired. I like the "Better than Whipping Cream" from Homemade Vegan Pantry. That stuff is some serious vegan voodoo.