Saturday, December 20, 2014

December Sourdough Surprises - Stollen

Can you believe that the holidays are upon us once again? Time to reflect, time to remember, time to enjoy family and friends, and time to enjoy delicious holiday traditions!

Sourdough Surprises decided to get us in the holiday spirit in the most delicious way by having us make stollen this month.  A few year ago, I made my first even stollen for a Daring Bakers Challenge. We enjoyed it so much that it has become an annual tradition.  But, for some reason, I'd never tried a sourdough version! Until this year, that is!

There are many examples of sourdough stollen online, so inspiration is not difficult to find. Narrowing down the choices? A much more difficult task! I finally chose this one, from one of our awesome members (who also happens to be an awesome person!!), refreshed my starter and got started!

This recipe, like many sourdough recipes, calls for a preferment to be started the night before actually tackling the recipe. Since I did this right before bed, I didn't take any photos.  But when I woke up, it was bubbly and ready to rock!

I have to say, this dough comes together super easily.  I simply threw all of the other ingredients into my mixer bowl...

...scraped the happy, bubbly preferment right on top, and let the KitchenAid knead it for about ten minutes. And the result?

A soft, beautiful, silky dough. Seriously, this dough was a thing of beauty.

While that beautiful dough rested, I prepared my fruit.  I chose dried cranberries, dried apricots and dried pineapple.

Usually, the  fruit is soaked in some kind of alcohol (rum, I believe), but I chose to make this family-friendly, and I soaked my dried fruit in orange-mango juice.

Once the dough rested and the fruit soaked, it was time to combine them!  I simply pressed the dough out on my counter, drained the fruit and sprinkled it on top.

And then just roll it up!

And then it rests again.

Two hours later, it's time to shape the stollen.  Traditional stollen actually has a roll of marzipan baked into it, which goes in at this point. With little man's nut allergy, we just omit that and proceed with shaping.

And then, yet again, it rests.

And two more hours later, it's ready to bake!  For this, recipe, you preheat the oven hotter than you need it, then lower the temperature as soon as the tray goes in.  This gives an initial burst of high heat, which gives the finished bread a crispier crust.

And 50 minutes later?


But we're not done yet!! In addition to the actual bread crust, stollen has one more "crust" layer - powdered sugar.  I brushed the bread with melted coconut oil (in place of butter) and little miss made it snow.

Lots and lots and lots of snow.

And then, with a nice cup of tea, we enjoyed.

This stollen was so delicious. The crust was nice and crisp, the crumb was smooth and delicious. A slight tang from the sourdough, delicious bursts of tropical sweetness from the fruit, this stollen was absolutely delicious and enjoyed by all.

Another of these will definitely be made for our family's holiday brunch, and this very well may replace my previous stollen recipe as our annual stollen.

So did you make a sourdough stollen this month? Link up and share!

Sourdough Stollen
(from pizzarossa)

1 generous cup dried fruit (I used cranberries, apricots and pineapple)
enough juice to cover the fruit (or rum!)

250g 100% hydration sourdough starter
125g whole milk, lukewarm (I used coconut milk beverage)
500g all-purpose flour
75g sugar
115g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces (I used one stick, 113g)
1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, melted (I used coconut oil)
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

The evening before you want to bake:
Mix the starter with the lukewarm milk, 250g flour and 1 tablespoon sugar. It will be quite stiff, so you may need to mix by hand. Cover and set aside overnight to ferment at room temperature.

The following morning:
Add the remaining flour, sugar, butter and salt. Knead for 10 – 15 minutes, until soft, adjusting consistency with flour or butter if needed. Let the kneaded dough rest in a buttered, covered bowl for 1 hour.
While the dough rests, soak the dried fruit in the juice. If you are using alcohol, you may want to let it soak overnight - just prepare it when you prepare the pre-ferment.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently stretch out to an oval about 1cm thick and sprinkle with the drained soaked fruit, then roll and fold dough into a ball. Return to the bowl, cover and let rest for 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a long oval. Using a thin rolling pin or the side of your hand, press into it lengthwise along the entire length of the dough, just off-centre. Fold the slightly narrower side into the middle and the other side over the top. Gently pinch the seam and ends closed.  I improvised this and rolled and pinched it to make my approximation of the traditional stollen shape. Do what works for you!
Place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking tray, cover and let it rest for another two hours.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Place the stollen in the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees once it's in. Bake for 50 minutes.
When done, remove from the oven and brush generously with melted butter (coconut oil) while still warm. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Let cool completely before cutting.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cereal Muffins

Hi, all!

This post is a bit different for me. It marks a transition of sorts.

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day, which is always exciting. I love finally getting to post what I've spent a month thinking about,and I love going through all of the blogs in my group waiting to see who shared a recipe from my blog.

But today's post marks my last with the Secret Recipe Club.  At least for now.

I'm sure you've noticed that my posting has slowed down significantly. And for that I apologize. This blog has been such a wonderful thing for me for so long.  Through this blog, I have been a part of amazing communities and have met some really wonderful, true friends.

As time goes on, though, things in my life have changed, and what is best for me at this time is to take a little break. Not from cooking and baking - that is something that I'll always do. But for a little while, I am going to do it just for me and my family.

It was with a heavy heart that I handed over the reins of The Daring Kitchen, and now, that I take a break from SRC.

Knowing that this would be my last SRC post, and that I'd only be posting sporadically for a while at this point, I wanted to make sure to choose something special. Which was made easy by the fact that my assigned blog this month was From Grandma Loy's Kitchen. This blog is always amazing, and has such fantastic recipes, collected over a delicious lifetime and shared with love.

There were so many things that I wanted to try, but one caught my eye and I just couldn't get it out of my head. Simple as it sounded, it also sounded absolutley perfect: Cereal Muffins.

I mean, with two kids, all kinds of activities and very busy mornings, what could be better? Two easy breakfasts, all rolled into one!

The recipe is pretty simple. It recommends using bran cereal, Cheerios or corn flakes.  I chose to use multigrain Cheerios.

To start the recipe, pour milk over the cereal and let it sit.

While those soak, I prepared the rest of my ingredients. I did make one change. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil. No problem, But. What goes great on cereal, that can also be used as an oil substitute? Bananas! Little man helped me mash.

Soaked cereal, mashed banana, some dry ingredients and one beaten egg.

Yup - ready to go. Now just mix everything together...

 ...and scoop into muffin tins!

And a short 20-25 minutes later...


Now... while these were baking, I had a fun idea. Different cereal. Fun cereal. Leftover Halloween cereal!

Yes, I know that Frankenberry is completely against the way I usually food shop... food coloring, fake everything... but after Halloween when the supermaret puts in on sale for 67 cents a box... well, makes it hard to resist. And, so you know, we don't eat it for breakfast. After school snack only. Or... in muffins.

For theses, I used oil instead of banana, and the results were... colorful. And fun.

And absolutely delicious. I will say that both little man and I preferred the Cheerios version, but little miss absolutely loves the Frankenberry variety. Which is just fun.

Grandma Loy, thank you so much for this super fun recipe. I know I'll be making these with just about every cereal that comes into my house from now on.

And to the whole SRC crew - thank you. I can't even begin to tell you what it's meant to me to be a part of this group. You are all amazing bakers, cooks, photographers, bloggers and, most importantly, pepple. And I'm honored that I got to spend so much time being a part of this wonderful group.

Cereal Muffins
(only slightly modified from Grandma Loy's Kitchen)

1 1/4 cups milk (I used coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups whole-bran cereal, or 2 cups Cheerios, or 3 cups corn flakes (or any cereal you choose! Choose the measurement listed for the cereal most similar in shape or consistency to the cereal you choose.)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (if you are using a sugary cereal, you can reduce this)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil (can substitute mashed banana if the flavor goes with the cereal you choose!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-well muffin tim with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine milk and cereal in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Add beaten egg and vegetable oil (or banana) to the milk and cereal and mix well.
Add dry ingredients.  Mix only until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy).
Fill prepared muffin tin cups almost full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Note: Grandma Loy provided the following yummy ideas for variations. Simply add any of these to batter before adding dry ingredients:
Blueberry - Add 1 cup fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries or 1 cup well-drained canned blueberries.
Apple - Peel and finely dice 1 medium apple (3/4-1 cup).  Toss with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Pineapple - Add 3/4 cup well-drained crushed pineapple.
Bacon - Add 4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled.
Cranberry - Add 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce.

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