Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Amazing Shape-Changing Bread

From Baking Kids Love by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet

Makes 1 delicious 9” x 5” loaf


for the bread dough
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast)
1 ¼ cups warm milk (no hotter than 115ºF)
2 teaspoons sugar
3 ¼ cups unbleached allpurpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

To finish
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Small bowl
Large bowl
Wooden spoon
Bench scraper
9 by 5-inch loaf pan, lightly buttered or sprayed with pan spray
Pastry brush

1. Proof the yeast
• Wake up the yeast by whisking it into ¼ cup warm (not hot) milk in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar and set the bowl aside for 8 to 10 minutes, until it looks foamy (see page 9).
• If the yeast isn’t foamy after 15 minutes (it didn’t wake up), start over with a new package.

2. Mix the dough
• Put the flour and salt in the large bowl and whisk to blend. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of warm milk and the melted butter. Stir well with the wooden spoon until you get big, shaggy clumps of dough and it all starts to stick together.

3. Knead the dough
• Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface (don’t put too much, because you can always add more later). Dip your hands in flour and start kneading the dough (see page 12). It will take about 10 minutes of kneading until you get a smooth, springy dough.
• Sprinkle a little more flour on the table and on top if the dough feels very sticky. It should feel tacky, like tape, but not sticky and gooey. A metal bench scraper is handy to scrape up any bits of dough that are stuck to the table, and to help you move the dough around.

4. Let the dough rise
• Wash out the large bowl and rub the inside with a thin layer of vegetable oil (or use pan spray). Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl. Lightly rub or spray the top of the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it aside and let the dough rise until it is twice as big, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Punch down and shape the dough
• Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured table. Press down firmly to flatten the dough and pop the air bubbles in the dough. Don’t knead or it will get too springy to shape.
• To shape the dough into a loaf, gently pull the flattened dough into a 7 by 10-inch rectangle.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fontina Fondue with Grappa and Chopped Broccoli

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

By Sur La Table and Marie Simmons

Fondue Pot recipe

Prep 30 min | Cook time (bread) 20 min | Cook time (fondue) 10 min | Serves 4–6

The classic fondue is made with Gruyère and Emmental cheese melted with white wine and a splash of kirsch, a clear brandy distilled from cherry juice and pits. This riff on that tradition is made with imported Italian fontina Val d’Aosta, a rich, nutty cheese used to make fonduta, the famed fondue of northern Italy that combines cheese, egg yolks, and cream. The broccoli is a pretty touch but is optional, as is the crushed red pepper.

Tongs, Rimmed Sheet Pan, 2- or 3-Quart Saucepan, Strainer, Fondue Pot, Slotted

1 loaf whole wheat Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 cup coarsely chopped (¼-inch pieces) broccoli florets, (optional)
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 large clove garlic, halved lengthwise
1 cup pinot grigio or other dry white wine
1 tablespoon grappa or brandy
1 pound fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and coarsely shredded (about 8 cups)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil. Use tongs or your hands to toss the bread, coating it with the oil and adding a little more oil if the cubes aren’t evenly coated. Spread the bread on a large rimmed sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and let cool.
2. Heat to a boil a 2- or 3-quart saucepan half filled with water. Add the broccoli and salt and boil for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
3. Rub the inside of a flameproof ceramic fondue pot with the cut sides of the garlic. Discard the garlic, or reserve for another use. Add the wine to the fondue pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if a heat diffuser is necessary.) Add the grappa.
4. In a large bowl, combine the cheese and flour and toss to combine. Gradually add the cheese, a handful at a time, to the simmering wine, stirring vigorously with a slotted metal or wooden spoon after each addition until melted before adding more cheese. Fold the broccoli and red pepper into the melted cheese until blended.
5. Put the bread cubes on a platter or in a basket and place on the table. Place the tabletop heater in the center of the table and place the fondue pot on top. Provide each diner with a fondue fork for spearing the bread cubes and dipping into the communal pot.