Thursday, October 2, 2008

I found my post people!!!!! This is week 2!! woo hoo!!

I love to bake. Everyone knows this by now. What everyone also knows is that I have no patience. If they didn't know this, some figured it out when I went to try the pecan rolls the second I pulled them from the oven. Literally, the second....
During lecture, we discussed yeast breads. I honestly didn't know there was more than one kind of yeast. I have only ever used active dry yeast, which to me, kind of seems like the best one to use! There is compressed, instant and active dry. Compressed yeast smells nasty, which is something I learned at work this week, not at school, and it is kept in the cooler. Instant has no moisture in it what so ever!
And salt kills yeast. Again something I didn't know. We also learned the 12 stages of the bread baking process. God help me if I have to memorize this!!!
All in all, I was pretty excited about the focaccia bread and sticky buns. I wasn't too thrilled about rye bread, but only b/c I don't like the stuff. Apparently, it wasn't meant to be.... You'll see why below.
Anyways, I have all the patience in the world for cakes, cookies, etc etc to finish baking in the oven. But when it comes to yeast breads, forget it. I mean, it's not so bad at home waiting for it to finish b/c you can watch tv or a movie, read a book, talk on the phone. But at school, not so much. Kris and I worked together yesterday and we were making rye bread (w/ no caraway seeds), focaccia bread and pecan sticky buns.
Kris started on the rye bread while I started on the pecan sticky buns. She used a mixer to get the dough working and then hand-kneaded it. I never actually felt the texture of the dough, but Chef said that the wheat flour was too coarse and the dough wouldn't rise in the Rational.... In the end, I wasn't sure exactly what it was that made the dough so crappy, but either way, we gave up on it before it turned 10PM. So next Kris started on the focaccia. She's great, she picked some asiago cheese to sprinkle on top... I love asiago cheese. And it was definitely different from the rest. I'm not sure how she made the dough... I had helped another student in American Regional make the focaccia, but it was a different recipe, so this was def different..... But she got it in the bowl and that didn't rise either!!! But finally, it did and chef said we could spread it out in the pan. Kris did that and then we put it in the Rational to proof again. That didn't seem to take as long (probably b/c it wasn't as long, duh!) and before you knew it, it was ready to put in the oven. We let it bake for about 12 min, then coated it w/ the asiago cheese. We left it in for another 10 or so minutes, but the cheese wasn't browning so we pulled it out and put it under the salamander (did I spell that right???). It got nice and browned then.... Yummmm......
1 tablespoon Granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Active dry yeast
12 fluid ounces Water, lukewarm
18 ounces All-purpose flour (1 lb. 2 oz.)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 ounces Onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 tablespoons Fresh rosemary, crushed

1. Combine the sugar, yeast and water. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Stir in the flour 4 ounces (120 grams) at a time.
2. Stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons (7 milliliters) of the salt and the onion. Mix well, then knead on a lightly floured board or in a mixer with dough hook until smooth.
3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and ferment until doubled.
4. Punch down the dough, then flatten it onto an oiled sheet pan. It should be no more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) thick. Brush the top of the dough with the olive oil. Let the dough proof until doubled, approximately 15 minutes.
5. Sprinkle the crushed rosemary and remaining 1/2 teaspoon (2 milliliters) of salt on top of the dough. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until lightly browned, approximately 20 minutes.
6. Yield: 1 Half-sheet pan, 12 x 18 In.

***This is the recipe we worked off of and changed. We left out the onions from the batter and topped with the grated Asiago cheese after it was baking for about 10-15 min. Next time I do this, I will try to add the cheese before I put it in b/c I think the top would have browned better if it had been on the top the whole time.

So then came the Pecan Sticky Buns.
I kneaded the heck out of that dough and Chef kept telling me that he was waiting for this top layer to form.... I had not clue what he was trying to say, but once I got there and he showed me, I understood. Apparently, you have to get this smooth layer so when you pull it, the dough doesn't pull apart, it stays smooth. So we pop it in the Rational to proof and it doubles in size faster than all the other doughs. All of them. And when it came out and I got to beat it (that was kind fun), I rolled it out and covered it in the mix and cut the rolls. I had added butter to the filling mix, which I found was harder to spread than if I hadn't... but I also cut them kinda big. The book said 3/4- 1 inch thick and of course I cut them an inch think. There was a lot of dough and I only have 12 muffin cups to put them in. So yeah..... I ended up having 15 1/2 rolls.... I put the muffins tins in the proofer to rise for another 15 min and then stuck the leftovers and a sheet pan and baked them off. I wish I got pics of those, but the second I pulled them out of the oven (and I do mean the SECOND) we were all eating them. I probably was the reason why since I kinda went for it first...... :)
So anyways, the ones w/ the sticky goodness came out a little while later.... I have to say I liked them better w/out the honey and sugar mix... I would have left them dry and maybe coated them w/ some melted butter. That would have been wonderful. I guess I didn't like them b/c I don't think the sugar caramelized nicely in the oven. It still tasted kind of gritty to me. I think if I make these again, I am going to heat up the honey and the brown sugar in a saucepan before I spoon it into the bottom of the muffin pan. Maybe then it'll be a better texture.

Pecan Sticky Buns
1 ounce Active dry yeast
2 ounces Granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 fluid ounce Milk
5 1/2 fluid ounces Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Lemon zest, grated
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
2 Egg yolks
14 ounces All-purpose flour
8 ounces Unsalted butter, very soft
6 fluid ounces Honey
6 ounces Brown sugar
3 ounces Pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 ounces Pecans, chopped
4 ounces Brown sugar
3 ounces Unsalted butter, melted

1. To make the dough, stir the yeast, sugar, salt and milk together in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Stir the buttermilk, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice together and add to the yeast mixture.
3. Add the egg yolks, flour and softened butter to the liquid mixture. Knead until the butter is evenly distributed and the dough is smooth and fully developed, approximately 6 minutes. Cover and ferment until doubled.
4. Prepare the topping and filling mixtures while the dough is fermenting. To make the topping, cream the honey and sugar together. Stir in the pecans. This mixture will be very stiff. To make the filling, stir the cinnamon, pecans and sugar together.
5. Lightly grease muffin cups, then distribute the topping mixture evenly, about 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) per muffin cup. Set the pans aside at room temperature until the dough is ready.
6. Punch down the dough and let it rest 10 minutes. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch (1.2 centimeters) thick. Brush with the melted butter and top evenly with the filling mixture.
7. Starting with either long edge, roll up the dough. Cut into slices about 3/4 to 1 inch (1.8 to 2.5 centimeters) thick. Place a slice in each muffin cup over the topping.
8. Let the buns proof until doubled, approximately 20 minutes. Bake at 325°F (163°C) until very brown, approximately 25 minutes. Immediately invert the muffin pans onto paper-lined sheet pans to let the buns and their topping slide out.
9. Yield: 12 to 15 Buns

***Do not cut them 1 inch thick unless you want the dough to spill over! For more uniform buns, cut them smaller, which will get you about 15+, depending on how thin you roll them out.

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