Brownies!

It’s been awhile. That’s kind of the theme for this place, not that anyone is really paying attention. In the end I like having this as a record of my baking/cooking and traveling adventures and to look back on for recipes that have worked (don’t usually publish things that don’t work because why keep that). The other night I decided to try my hand at some brownies. Aside from cookies and banana bread, I don’t do much in the way of sweets baking. D isn’t a huge cake person so haven’t really had a desire to do that. I am not opposed to pies though just haven’t got around to attempting anything. So brownies it was. I looked up a few different recipes and of course looked to Ina Garten since she has some good recipes (especially booze ones). I then kind of modified it to my own. D wanted to incorporate some peanut butter into it. I was initially going to do a PB swirl type thing but then elected to just use the peanut butter chips I had.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 3.5 ounce dark chocolate (had a bar of some random Russian chocolate)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • ~1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 AP flour
  • 1 packet (~ 1 Tbsp?) of instant coffee

Directions

  1. Using a bain marie (I did a makeshift one with a small pot with simmering water and a metal bowl on top), I melted the chocolate and the dark chocolate bar.
  2. I then mixed in the cocoa powder (probably could have added more as the final product didn’t come out as chocolatey as I was hoping).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, vanilla, eggs and instant coffee
  4. In 3rd bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder
  5. After letting the chocolate mixture cool some, mix into the sugar/vanilla/egg mixture.
  6. Coat some peanut butter and chocolate chips in flour
  7. Fold in the flour mixture to the wet mixture from step #5. Then add in the chips.
  8. Poured the final mixture onto parchment paper in a 8 by 8 pyrex pan
  9. Baked at 350 F for about 30-35 minutes (until a toothpick came out clean)
  10. Let sit on rack for 30 minutes and wait until cooled to cut.
Prior to baking
After baking

Overall it came out pretty good. A bit more cake like than fudge like. As stated above, could use more cocoa powder. Overall a pretty simple recipe.

-StewsCat

New pizza dough recipe

So I decided to try a new pizza dough recipe.  This was made mostly out of necessity since I hadn’t made the dough the night ahead.  I have been using the overnight slow no-knead method for years and it produces a night sour-like dough that D likes.  I also haven’t used my new stand mixer for pizza dough and figured this would be a good time to try it out.  I tweaked the original recipe a little.  I had seen this recipe on one of my FB groups and it looked good – it’s a Martha Stewart recipe (https://www.marthastewart.com/332275/basic-pizza-dough).

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • (eyeballed) 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 1.5 cups of warm water
  1.  In the bowl I added the warm water with the sugar and yeast and let it bloom for about 5 minutes.
  2. To the bowl I then added the AP flour, salt and olive oil.
  3. Using my stand mixer, I mixed the dough for ~10 minutes (on the low or #2 setting)
  4. This produced a cohesive smooth dough that I placed in an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled (~1.5-2 hours) – this was a very active dough that more than doubled
  5. I punched the dough down and then divided it into 4 equal pieces and formed 2 into balls for the pizza (I saved the other half to make bread another day).
  6. After about 2-3 hours I formed the pizza into a large disc for baking.

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What I liked about this recipe is that it provided for a dough with good strength to it when working it.  The one I had been making was a little more delicate and harder to stretch into a nice round shape like the above.  Overall I thought it was a little light on salt and didn’t create the same depth of flavor as the overnight dough but it works if you have less time.

-StewsCat

Sourdough (with wheat) bread #2

Sourdough (with wheat) bread #2

These won’t be full posts on making the bread but just documenting how they came out.  This time I did try to do normal kneading method.  I don’t know again if my starter was up to snuff – though I did get good air holes in the final result.  Also I’m running low on bread flour so used some AP flour as well as some wheat flour.

Ingredients:

  • 300 g AP flour
  • 100 g bread flour
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 360 g warm water
  • 200 g starter
  • 12 g salt

I did do an autolyse of the flour and water for about 45 minutes.  I then added in the starter and salt.  I proceeded to knead (Richard bertinet slap and fold method) for about 15 minutes.  It came together some but was still fairly sticky.  I use my oven proof setting for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I then laid on a flour surface and formed it into a boule.  This I placed in a bowl that had a well-floured kitchen towel.  I ended up putting it in the fridge after about 30 minutes because I had to run an errand.  I returned, removed from fridge and let it proof another hour or so.  I preheated the dutch oven at 500F and then baked for 15 minutes covered and an additional 20 minutes uncovered.

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Sourdough Ciabatta

Sourdough Ciabatta

Aside from regular sourdough bread, I had been kind of wondering what else to do with my starter.  Luckily one of my FB groups are full of cooks and someone shared a sourdough ciabatta recipe they liked.  I figured I’d give it go.  The original recipe is here:  https://breadtopia.com/sourdough-ciabatta/

I didn’t have the requisite 550g of starter ready but had 300g of starter so adjusted the recipe accordingly.  When I was transcribing from the internet to a piece of paper (yes I’m still old school and typically don’t just look at a screen for my recipes but actually write them down on paper), I accidentally wrote my 2 so it kinda looked like a 7.  So when I was weighing out the water, I accidentally did about 50% more than I had anticipated using.  I then had to do a bunch of math to try to even things out.  I’m not even going to try putting the actual recipe values on here (just go look at the original recipe).  I’ll just go through my process and how it came out.

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Sourdough on top of rest of mixture

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After initial mix before adding in the extra water (after about 20 minutes of kneading)

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Added the extra water and tried to incorporate

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Banana Bread

Banana Bread

This is something I started making (really this is only the 2nd time I’ve made it) out of necessity.  Typically we buy bananas every week so I can take to work.  Occasionally I’m just too busy at work and don’t end up eating all the bananas.  When they start to get very ripe or over ripe, they’re not great to eat (the dog would beg to differ).  The first time I did it I didn’t even think about documenting it.  And then today when I wanted to make it again I had to google recipes.  I had started documenting my baking/cooking here so I had one place to go back to for recipes so I figured I should document today’s endeavor.  Banana bread is a lot easier to put together than making regular bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 ripened bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  1.  Combine dry ingrediets (flour, baking soda, salt) in one bowl.
  2.  Cream butter and brown sugar together.  Then add in mashed bananas, vanilla, and eggs.  Combine
  3. Most recipes say to add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry.  (I used a larger bowl for the wet ingredients so I did the opposite and slowly added the dry to the wet).
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350 F, butter a loaf pan (or can use parchment paper as well – we ran out so I didn’t use it and it has been hard to come by due to COVID-19).
  5. Pour mixture into loaf pan and put in oven for 60-75 minutes (until toothpick inserted comes out clean).
  6. (Optional)  Add in 1/4-1/2 chocolate chips +/- walnuts (we didn’t have any and I don’t really care for it).  Add to mixture after combining above.

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