Monday, January 16, 2012

Baking fit for cold weather

Continuing with the 'breaking in the kitchen' theme, my friend Claire came over Sunday afternoon, just as the chill set in, and we set out to make two recipes - this Six-seed Soda Bread posted on 101 Cookbooks, and Kim Boyce's rye flour Maple Danishes in Good to the Grain.

Six-Seed Soda Bread

This is the kind of bread that deserves a good smear of butter or slice of salty cheese, or a rich, creamy soup (it is, after all, a recipe originally published by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall). All the spelt flour and buttermilk give the loaf a wonderful flavour, but of course it's the seeds that really shine. For the most part we followed Heidi's suggested seed combo, although we ended up adding some hemp seeds as well.

Charles and I consumed much of the loaf throughout Sunday and Monday evening alongside bowls of "Silky Cauliflower Soup".

Maple Danishes

With the bread coming together quickly, we charged right ahead to the danishes, quickly encountering one of those errors that result from (my) recipe skimming - "Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill overnight." We decided straight away that this wasn't in the cards, and just focused on keeping the pastry cold. After a half-hour in the freezer, we began our turns, popping the dough in the freezer again for twenty minutes or so before our third and final turn.

We divided the dough into two sheets, covering each with butter, maple sugar and a bit of dark brown sugar, before rolling each into a spiral and cutting the logs into six danishes. After two hours on the warm stove top, the rolls puffed a bit before heading into the oven.

I think we were both amazed how well these turned out despite our 'short cut'. Our effort to keep the pastry cool earlier in the day paid off, and combined with the cup of rye flour added to the dough, we were left with tender, soft danishes. That said, I wouldn't skip the overnight chill next time in the hope that it would take off some of the yeast's edge.

The maple also seemed to be missing from these as well, but I highly suspect it was lost amongst the yeast. This was remedied by heating up a bit of maple syrup and glazing the danishes.

I wouldn't hesitate to make either of these recipes again. Before Rachel introduced me to
Good to the Grain, I can't say any of the whole grain flours featured in the book would have made it into any of my baking. But as I work my way through more of the book and explore similar recipes, I'm particularly appreciating the flavour provided by the flours and grains, in addition to their 'stick-to-the-ribs' nature, especially considering the frigid temperatures that have descended on the city this week.

Stay warm, everyone.


Maki said...

I just had to comment and say taht those both look absolutely stunning! Wow! My mouth is salivating.

Isabelle said...

I agree with Maki - YUM. I've only heard good things about that book. Coming from a gluten-free baking perspective, I really don't miss AP flour at all. For the most part I love the flavours inherent in whole-grain GF baking.

Courtenay said...

Wow, looks great! Those danishes look delish and I can only imagine your seed bread with a smear of butter...mmm, warm bread.