Daring Bakers Do Focaccia

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For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch

Focaccia? I had heard of it, but didn’t really know what it was, other than a bread.  AHHH! More bread!  I had to do a little research to find out what it really is.  Basically, focaccia is an Italian flat bread, seasoned with olive oil and herbs and is sometimes topped with a variety of toppings, (putting me in mind of pizza).

Rachael, the host, provided us with four different recipes to use but also gave us the option for use a different one we liked.  As this was totally  new to me I immediately went to Google, and Pinterest to search out more visual instructions, different options and variations.  I was happy to see there were MANY variations with very different results.  While searching  hundreds of recipes on Pinterest I saw this one, Focaccia Bread from Handle the Heat, to me it looked perfect!

Focaccia Bread

Adapted from Handle the Heat

1 3/4 cups warm (110-115°F) water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
2 tsp parsley + more for sprinkling
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 1/4 cups (23.63 or 670 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Garlic
Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary, sugar, and half the flour.

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2. Stir to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and on low speed add in the remaining flour, salt, and 1/2 cup olive oil.

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** I was very concerned with the amount of olive oil going in this recipe, a full cup!  I am not a huge fan of the flavour of olive oil, but I went with it…

3. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, or until smooth and soft. If the dough is really sticky, add in another tablespoon or two of flour.

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4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.

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5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 1 hour. Make ahead: place the dough in a large plastic bag, or divide in half and place in two plastic bags, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature. Proceed with the recipe.

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WOW did it rise!  I don’t think I have ever had this kind of success with dough rising – I was kinda excited and hopeful!

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6. Coat a baking sheet with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. (I made 2 smaller ones instead of a big one, so divided the oil between 2 pans)

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7. Put the dough onto the pans and begin pressing it out with your fingertips to fit the size of the pan. Coax and stretch the dough to fit the entire pan, or just about.

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8. Spread your fingers to make little holes all the way through the dough. ( I found a wooden spoon handle worked better)

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9. Cover the dough with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.

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10. Brush the focaccia with the olive oil on the pan and sprinkle liberally with coarse sea salt and the remaining parsley.

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** for my second one I grated fresh garlic and fresh Parmesan cheese

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11. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

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They look and SMELL delicious!

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Nice and golden on the bottom

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I am not sure why, but I was expecting a ‘dense and tough’ bread.  Nope. The bread had a wonderful texture, soft and chewy.

Love it!

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The plain was so flavourful.  There was no taste of the olive oil which I had feared.  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t taste the yeast.  Generally, when I make homemade bread it has a yeasty back taste to it, blah!  This was just perfect.  It didn’t need anything.

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The addition of the garlic and Parmesan was fantastic! It was like gourmet garlic cheese bread.

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Thank you Racheal for a wonderful challenge!  I wasn’t thrilled when I saw another bread challenge, but I was finally successful and I am optimistic about my focaccia future.  I am looking forward to trying it again with different toppings.

Daring Bakers Do Siopao

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The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

I must admit I was not at all thrilled when I saw this months challenge.  To me, making filled buns is not baking, its cooking.  This is the Daring BAKERS not the Daring KITCHEN!  I signed up to make sweets and treats, it has definitely changed over the years, soo much bread!  OK, end of rant.

I had seen Siopao (Asian Filled Buns) on various food truck shows, so I kind of knew what they were.

Siopao (Asian Filled Buns)

1/4 ounce (7 gm) (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast (1 packet )
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
4 to 5 cups  (20 oz to 25 oz) (560 gm to 700 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 egg for egg-wash for the buns

Directions:

1. Mix yeast, water, sugar, melted butter, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

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2. Slowly mix in flour until it’s fully incorporated and you have a shaggy, very tacky dough, but not wet and sticky.

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3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for up to an hour in warm place until doubled. While dough is rising, you can make your filling if you haven’t already pre-made it to let it cool (see recipe below).

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4. Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Depending on how much flour you added, it will be somewhat tacky to pretty tacky. Fold it over several times and shape it into a smooth ball, then divide into 12 equal pieces.

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5. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disc about 6 inches (15 cm) wide.

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6. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling into the center of the disc, wrap the dough around the filling, and firmly pinch it closed over the top of the filling.

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7. Place filled buns on a baking sheet and loosely cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 1 hour. On the top sheet, you can see where a lot of my dough was too thin. (I miss read and didn’t let them rise the second time….oops!)

I only filled 2

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The rest were just plain buns

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8. Bake buns for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

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These were ok.  Bread was a little dense, but good flavour. I filled them with my Mom’s awesome Hamburger Dish.  I only filled 2 because if I didn’t like them, I didn’t want to waste all the delicious hamburger dish.  The filled ones were alright.  I preferred them just plain.  I may try just the buns again with the second rise, maybe they won’t be as dense.

Thanks Julie for the Challenge.

Cinnamon Raisin Beer Bread

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My first attempt at Beer Bread went so well, I decided to be adventurous!  I initially wanted to make cheddar, but I didn’t have cheese in the house.  After a short search through the baking cupboard I decided on Cinnamon Raisin!

When I say I was being adventurous, I mean it.  I never (very rarely) stray from a recipe.  I love how baking is such a precise science, follow a good recipe to a ‘tee’ and it will turn out.  I was a litte nervous about how it would turn out, but hoped for the best

 

Cinnamon Raisin Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 can beer
3 tbsp brown sugar + extra for sprinkling
1   tbsp cinnamon- divided
1 cup raisin
1/4 cup melted butter

Directions

1. Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

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2.  Add raisins

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3. Pour in beer

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4. Stir to combine.  Put half of the batter in a loaf pan

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5. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon

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6. Top with remaining dough and sprinkle more brown sugar and cinnamon

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7.  Top with melted butter – bake at 375º F for approximately 1 hour

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Fresh from the oven

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Success! My goodness this was delicious!

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I think I am onto something with this beer bread.  Next I plan to do one with cheese!  Give it a try, so easy and so tasty!

Beer Bread

Erica’s

Edibles

Turns

6!

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It’s my Blogaversary!  I know, I’m a nut!  Six year’s ago today I started Erica’s Edibles. It still boggles my mind that my blog has had almost 110,000 views!  Honestly, I thought it would just be my Mom and the people who run the Daring Bakers, just to see if I completed my monthly baking challenge.  I am hopelessly hooked to photographing food, mostly sweets, and blogging about it.  It annoys most people when I make them wait to try something, just so I can get a picture of it.  Many people think it is silly to blog about what I bake, but I enjoy it and that is all that matters!

This years blogaversary item may surprise some as it is not a treat at all.  I went with something I have been eying for quite a while, Beer Bread! Despite the fact that I hate beer and making bread, I am very intrigued by this.  I think it is the simplicity of the recipe that peaked my interest.  Apparently 3 ingredients are going to give me a delicious loaf of bread.  There were hundreds of different variations of the recipe I went with this one from Crunchy Creamy Sweet with a couple changes…

Beer Bread

3 c self-rising flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
12 oz. light beer, at room temperature (opened right before using)
1/4 cup melted butter

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Directions

1. Stir flour and sugar to combine

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2. Pour in beer

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3. Stir, just until combined

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4. Place in a bread pan

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5. Pour melted butter over top
This step was not in original recipe, but I saw several that did it, so gave it a whirl!

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6. Bake at 375 ºF for approximitly 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean

It’s not finished yet, but if it tastes half as good as it smells i’ll be thrilled!

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7. Remove from oven and cool in pan 10 minutes

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It looks fabulous! The addition of the butter really spruces up the appearance with a crunchy exterior

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Not so patiently waiting, I wait till it is almost cool before trying it – because who doesn’t like warm bread?

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It looks and smells amazing!

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This was really good!  It is not like any bread I have had before, so I can’t compare it to anything.  It had a nice texture, dense like a sour dough, but not too heavy.  I was pleasantly surprised I didn’t taste the beer at all!

Mom had made a huge homemade chili so I joined her and Dad for supper, it was a lovely addition to a chili dinner!  They both loved it.

I will definitely make this again.  When searching for the recipe I saw many recipes had ‘add ins’ such as cheese, bacon, olives, cinnamon sugar, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  Now that I have tried the original I look forward to trying variations.  Finally happy with a loaf of bread I made.

A successful blogaversary treat!  I am a day late posting but better late than never.

I look forward to another year of blogging delicious (and sometimes, not so delicious) treats.

Thanks for following along 🙂

Erica

Sourdough Garlic Fingers

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Sour Dough Garlic Fingers!  I have seen pictures of this kind of thing everywhere lately, on Pinterest, various foodblogs, recipe magazines and knew it was something I HAD to try.  I thought Christmas would be the perfect time, lots of people to eat it!

I do not have a recipe to source this to, I just made it up as I went along

Sour Dough Garlic Fingers

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter – room temperature
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
parsley
1 loaf sour dough bread
1 cup grated cheese

Directions:

1. Prepare garlic butter to your liking. I used half cup butter, 3 cloves garlic, pepper and parsley – make it how you like it

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2. Cut sour dough bread in a criss-cross pattern – making sure NOT to cut all the way though

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3. Spread garlic butter between bread

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4. Put some of the cheese in the slices and the remaining on top

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5. Spray foil with Pam and wrap entire loaf

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6. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes – uncover and bake until cheese is melted and crispy

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Rip off a finger and enjoy!

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Delicious! This was a huge hit, everyone loved it!  The garlic butter soaked into each finger making the bread nice and soft which went really well with the crunchy cheese.  Definitely making this again!

We were talking and discussing how there are infinite possibilities with different cheeses, different spices, various dip spreads, bruschetta….mmm can’t wait to make the next one!

Daring Bakers Make Dutch Crunch Bread

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

Normally when I see that bread is our monthly challenge I am a bit disappointed. Firstly because I don’t like making bread and second I want to make ooey gooy treats!  This month I was grateful to see bread because it is Lent, and for Lent I give up ALL JUNK.  I don’t have any sweets (it’s killer really, I would give my eye teeth to have a Cadbury Mini Egg right now), chips, pop etc.  It is hard making a lovely baked good and not being able to eat it, so yipppy for bread!

I had never heard of Dutch Crunch Bread, it is also refered to as Tiger Bread.  Dutch Crunch doesn’t refer to the type of bread, but rather the topping that is spread over the bread before baking.  As the Dutch Crunch is more of a topping we were able to use any bread recipe we wanted and just had to add the topping.  I stuck with the recipe they provided in the challenge, seemed simple enough for me.

Dutch Crunch Braed

Dutch Crunch Topping

Servings: This recipe should make sufficient topping for two 9×5 loaves (23cmx13cm) or 12 rolls. If you make only 6 rolls in the first soft white roll recipe, you can cut the topping recipe in half.

We’ve provided this recipe first because it is the mandatory aspect of the challenge. Note, however, that you should not prepare the topping until the bread you’ve selected to bake is almost finished rising (~15 minutes from baking).

Ingredients ( I halved the recipe for 8 buns)

2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons  sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon  salt
1½ cups rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary . Let stand 15 minutes.

(I had to ass at least a 1/4 cup more water to get it the right consistency, it was dry and crumbly)

Much better

2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. Just to use a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping.
4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Crunch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

Soft White Roll

Ingredients

1 tablespoon (1 packet) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C)
1 cup warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C)
1½ tablespoons  sugar
2 tablespoons  vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
1½ teaspoons  salt
Up to 4 cups all purpose flour

Directions:

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).

5 Minutes later


2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.

3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.


5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled (or more) in size

6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point). ( I made 8 buns, they were a good size)


7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
8. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.


9. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating. ( I had to put oven on broil for a few minutes to get the nice brown top)

They looked perfect!

They were a little to heavy/dense for my liking, was expecting a softer roll,

but that could have been error on my part

The second aspect of the challenge was to showcase your Dutch Crunch Bread in a sandwich of your choice!  This was right up my ally, I LOVE sandwiches!!!  If I had to pick one type of food to life on for the rest of my life it would be sandwiches.

Brushed the cut bun with homemade garlic butter and toasted it on the bbq

BBQ pork tenderloin and grilled onions

Cheese and lettuce

This sandwich was delicious!  It was a good challenge, I will probably not make it again though, not a fan of making bread.

Thank you Sara and Erica

Daring Bakers make Quick Breads

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

I was excited to see this months challenge, Quick Breads.  I love quick breads, they are so easy and are quite similar to cake!

Quick bread is an American term used to denote a type of bread which is leavened with leavening agents other than yeast. Quick bread includes many cakes, brownies and cookies, as well as banana bread, beer bread, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread.

When the challenge was announced I had huge ambitions!  I wanted to make several different flavours such as banana, lemon, chocolate, pumpkin, cheddar and beer.  Then I realized, if I make all those I will eat them all, and I don’t need that!  I decided I would go with one, a recipe that I remember my Mom used to make when I was little, zucchini bread.

Mom did not do much baking when I was growing up.  She is an amazing cook but had no interest in baking.  This recipe was one that I remember her making quite a few times, quick, easy and delicious!

Mom’s Zucchini Loaf

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat oven 350 F

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg

3.  In a large bowl beat eggs well

4. Add sugar, oil and vanilla – beat

5. Stir in zucchini

6. Add dry ingredients  and nuts (I dont like big pieces of nuts in my dessert but I like the flavour so I grind mine up) –  stir

7. Divide into 2 8×4 loaf pans and bake 50-60 minutes or until tester comes out clean

8. Remove from pans and cool on rack

The loaf turned out beautiful!  The aroma coming from the oven while it baked was amazing, just how I remembered when I was young.  The loaf was moist.  The flavour combination was wonderful!  I’m so glad I decided to go with Mom’s loaf.  I had not had it in probably 15 years, but I can see making it again sometime soon!

Thanks Lis for a wonderful challenge!