Monday, December 26, 2011

Panettone Bread

Panettone Bread Recipe

I started looking for a good panettone recipe in 2009 and after a long research, lots of tests and few failures, this is a pretty good recipe and process.
Just as a warning, panettone is not a quick bread to make. It requires over 19 hours to get done and following the suggested steps, recipe and timing is very important.
The most important step of making a panettone bread is the yeast culture. This is when you leave the active yeast, some flour and milk to ferment for about 12h to create a very large yeast starter ( large number of yeast cells). This is not a labor intensive step, but usually, you will need to think one day in advance of when you want your panettone ready. What I do is to mix the culture at about 8pm and leave it to ferment overnight at room temp (preferable at about 82F). I then continue the recipe the next day at 8am and after all that is needed between mix, raise and baking time, it will be ready to eat by 3pm.

So here's the recipe for one loaf of bread, like seem on the photo above:

Yeast Culture
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk (about 85F)
- 1/2 tea spoons active dry yeast

Main recipe:
- Yeast culture
- 1/2 tea spoons active dry yeast
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk (about 85F)
- 1/2 tea spoons non iodized salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup non salted butter softened to room temp
- 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 table spoons gluten (this is important. Gluten flour can be found in most grocery stores)
- 1 tea spoon of dough conditioner ( this is optional. Can be found online here)
- 3 tea spoons of essence of panettone. I use "Fiori di Sicilia", found at King Arthur Flour, click here.
- 1 cup of candied fruits. This can vary. Some people like to use citrons or a mix of different other fruits. Because I couldn't find good citrons locally, I use just regular raisins.
- Extra flour, perhaps a cup, to work the dough consistency.

Note.: No, I'm not promoting any stores, I'm just giving few options to get the not so common ingredients needed for this recipe.

The yeast culture

Mix the ingredients and set on a pre-oiled bowl, cover with a plastic film and leave to develop for 12h. I have a fermentation chamber that I can set the temp to whatever I want. I used 82F for this step. You can leave at room temp, around 70 to 72F.
Passed 12h, now it is time to move to step two where the yeast culture will be mixed with the rest of the ingredients.

The main dough

Mix all dry ingredients in a mixer bowl (leave the candied fruits out), then add the yeast culture in pieces and the liquid ingredients. Start with a spatula tool on the mixer at very low speed, mixing and adding some extra flour until the dough consistency is dry enough to start releasing from the sides of the bowl. Change the tool to a hook and set to speed 3 (KitchenAid mixer) and work the dough consistency by adding flour slowly so it doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.You want a dough than is as wet as possible. The hook should move the dough like a ball around. Do that for 7 minutes.
Next, set the dough on a pre-oiled bowl and let is raise for 1h at room temp (I use 82F).
After 1h has passed, set the dough on a flat surface and open with roller to about 1/2in thick. Spread the candied fruits (or citrons or raisins) and fold around and make a ball again.
Let is raise again for 1h at room temp (I use 82F).
Now, a little tricky thing about making panettones, you want to let the bread cool on a inverted position after baked to avoid a collapse. Weird huh! Yes, the professionals do that (see video below), so what I do is to set a pair of small skewers on the bottom of the panettone paper, like seen below, so I have holding support for to set it inverted later. The panettone paper molds can be also found at King Arthur Flour web site, posted previously. The ideal size for this recipe is 6x4-1/2in.

Completed the 1h raising time, press the dough with your palms and turn it into a ball again and set on the baking mold. Let it raise for the third time, now for 2h, at room temp (I use 82F).
The dough should almost double in size after 2h. Take it to a pre-heated oven at 350F for 50 minutes. The cooking temp and time is as important as the ingredients. I have failed few times until I figured these numbers.

Once baked, take from oven and let it cool inverted, if possible. Let it cool until room temp before you attempt to slice it open. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creamy Bacon Spaghetti

This is a recipe for a very tasty and creamy spaghetti with bacon, almost a Spaghetti Carbonara, if it wasn't for the eggs that were not used.

Here are the ingredients.

-1 fine chopped onion
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-6 slices of bacon, fine chopped
-1 cup of milk
-1 cup of table cream
-10oz to 1lb of durum wheat semolina spaghetti
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup chardonnay
-1/2 tea spoon black pepper
-Gravy flour (wondra)

Start by boiling about a gallon of water, add about 1 TBS of salt and the pasta. Cook to your preference, probably 8min for al dente and 12min for a soft spaghetti.

As the pasta cooks, set a saute pan on high heat and add the chopped bacon.

Fry until crispy, about 3min.

Strain the bacon to remove the excess fat and reserve the bacon. Keep the fat also.

Take about 2 TBS of the bacon fat back into the saute pan and add the chopped onions.

Saute for 2 min until golden and add the garlic. Saute for a min or two.

Add the wine and scrub the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the crust left by the bacon.

Simmer for a min and add back the bacon.

Reduce the heat to low and add the table cream and milk, stirring constantly.

Slowly bring the sauce to a simmer, add the cheese and black pepper and stir to combine. Add about 1/2 tea spoon of gravy flour to thicken the sauce, stirring constantly as it simmers.

The sauce should look thick and creamy. Turn the heat off and watch for the pasta that is cooking.

Make sure you don't overcook the pasta. Strain the cooked spaghetti and add it back to the same pot you used to cook it.

Top with the sauce and combine.

This is it. I have not added any salt while cooking this recipe, other than to the boiling water. Salt from the bacon and cheese was all it needed.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Naan Bread

Here's a recipe and instructions to make naan bread, a flat bread original from south and central asia that I always enjoy when I visit my local Indian restaurant.

Overview of the ingredients:

List of ingredients:
-2 1/2 cups all purpose flower
-1 tea spoon salt
-1 tea spoon sugar
-2 tea spoon yeast
-6 table spoons gluten
-1 tea spoon of dough conditioner (optional)
-5 tea spoon dough relaxer (optional)
-1 1/2 cups warm water

Combine all dry ingredients and mix.

Add sugar and yeast to water, whisk and let sit for 10min until foam is visible.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and knead for 7 min with a mixer or 15mi by hand.
Set the dough on a oiled pot, cover and let it raise for 1h.

Cut to size and roll into shape. Start with a dough roller and finish shaping with your hands, stretching the bread. I make six bread with this recipe.

Pre-heat oven and a baking stone to 500F and place the breads on it, spray some water on to the bread before hand.

Bake for 7min if you want really crispy breads, like below. 4min for soft breads.

Remove from oven and spread some butter while still hot.

Here's a batch left for only 4min.

Here you have it. The bread at the center was baked for 7min while the rest for only 4min.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mongolian Beef

This is my version of a mongolian beef recipe. My recipe pair with sticky rice and these are the ingredients:

For the rice:
-2 cups of short or medium grain white rice
-3 cups water
-1/2 tea spoon onion powder
-1/2 tea spoon garlic powder
-1 tea spoon salt

For the beef:
-2lb flank steak
-2 table spoons minced garlic
-2 onions chopped large
-1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
-2 table spoons corn starch
-2 cups sliced water chestnuts
-1 tea spoon fish sauce
-2 table spons oyster sauce
-2 table spoons hoisin sauce
-1 tea spoon sesame oil
-2 table spoons soy sauce
-1 tea spoon black pepper
-salt to taste
-2 table spoons vegetable oil
-2 table spoon molasses

Here are few pics of the ingredients.

Prepare the rice about 15min prior to start cooking the beef by washing the rice on a strainer for few seconds, then add the rice to a medium size pot, add water, salt, onion and garlic powder. Mix and let it simmer at low heat with lid semi-cosed until cooked and dry.

For the beef, start trimming off any excess of fat, then cut it into 3 pieces as shown below.

Slice thin perpendicular to the meat fibers, shown here.
Mix the soy , hoisin, fish and oyster sauce.
Add the mix to the sliced beef in a ziplock bag.
Add the starch, close the bag and mix well. Let is marinate for 1h.
1h later, chop the onion in large pieces.
and add to a hot sauce pan with vegetable oil, add the garlic and saute' until golden.
Add the beef, black pepper, sesame oil and 1/2 tea spoon of salt and fry at high heat stirring constantly until most liquid from the beef has evaporated.
Add the molasses and water chestnuts and let cook for a minute or two.
For last, add the chopped cilantro and stir. Add salt to taste if necessary.
Ready to eat
Served with the sticky rice. Very juicy!