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Archive for the ‘Daring Bakers Challenges’ Category

Yay! I did another challenge! Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste? Well, me, for a start!

Sawsan provided two “guide” recipes – a cinnamon version and a Nutella one. Much as I love Nutella, the husband can’t and won’t eat it so that was not an option. Luckily the cinnamon bread was delicious, even if it wasn’t quite as pretty as the model.

Ingredients

For the dough

1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
3/4 cup (180 ml) warm milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter, softened
1/4 cup (60 ml) (50 gm) (1-3/4 oz) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
3-1/4 cups (780 ml) (450 gm) (16 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, approximately
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) cardamom, optional

For topping

1/4 cup (60 ml) of milk
1 tablespoon (15 gm) (1/2 oz) sugar

Between the layers

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) (1/4 cup) (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) cinnamon
1/2 cup (120 ml) (100 gm) (3-1/2 oz) sugar
For drizzling

1 can (400 gm) (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

1. In a bowl whisk the egg with milk, water, sugar, butter and yeast. Set aside
2. In another bowl sift the flour with the salt and the optional cardamom.
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until you get a smooth dough.
Note: This recipe requires between 3-1/4 and 3-1/2 cups of flour depending on the weather, humidity and the flour brand. Start with 3-1/4 cups and if you feel that the dough is too soft, add the extra 1/4 cup
4. Place the dough in a bowl you have brushed with some oil and cover it with a wet cloth and leave it in a warm place to double
(If you are tight on time you can heat your oven to 390°F/200°C then turn it off and place your dough in a glass bowl and place it in the warm oven with the wet cloth covering the bowl)
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface
6. Divide the dough into 4 parts
7. Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter
8. Brush the first layer with butter then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon
9. Place the second layer on the first layer repeat the brushing and sprinkling and then do the same with the third layer.
10. Top with the fourth layer, this time only brush it with butter.
11. Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles
12. Make cuts that go 2/3 of the way in the middle of each triangle. The cuts should not reach the base of the triangle nor the tip
13. Take the tip of each triangle and insert it into the cut you made and pull it from the underside
14. Arrange the triangles on your baking sheet
15. Pinch the two angles at the base of the triangle together

my unbaked creation

my unbaked creation

16. Brush the dough with milk
17. Allow to rest for 15 minutes during which you would heat your oven to very hot 500°F/240°C/gas mark 9 (rack in the middle). (Go for the hottest your oven will do).
18. Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 460°F/240°C/gas mark 9, then lower the temperature to moderately hot 390°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake for 15-20 more minutes
19. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rick and drizzle with sweetened condensed milk while it is still warm. I did not do this step as I had no condensed milk.

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I really enjoyed making (and tasting) this bread. I plan to make variations, including adding grated apple. My only comment was that my dough was super soft, which made it harder to twist neatly and generally harder to work with. I probably needed to add more flour.

Thanks Sawsan!

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As my devoted readers (a big hello to my mum) may have noticed, I haven’t participated in any of the Daring Bakers Challenges for ages. However, seeing as it is my fourth blogiversary, I figured I should give it a shot. And I had never heard of, let alone made, a baumkuchen so it would be a learning experience. At the very least I would hopefully learn how to pronounce it correctly rather than mentally referring to it as a bum kitchen (I’m childish like that).

The January 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Francijn of “Koken in de Brouwerij“. She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake). According to Wikpedia, baumkuchen is a kind of layered cake. It is a traditional dessert in many countries throughout Europe and is also a popular snack and dessert in Japan. The characteristic rings that appear when sliced resemble tree rings, and give the cake its German name, baumkuchen, which literally translates to “tree cake”. Traditionally, baumkuchen is made on a spit by brushing on even layers of batter and then rotating the spit around a heat source. Each layer is allowed to brown before a new layer of batter is poured. When the cake is removed and sliced, each layer is divided from the next by a golden line, resembling the growth rings on a crosscut tree. A typical baumkuchen is made up of 15 to 20 layers of batter. However, the layering process for making baumkuchen can continue until the cakes are quite large. Skilled pastry chefs have been known to create cakes with 25 layers and weighing over 100 pounds. When cooked on a spit, it is not uncommon for a finished baumkuchen to be 3 to 4 feet tall. (Please note that I just cut and pasted this from Wikpedia)

We were permitted to use any recipe we liked so, being lazy, I chose this Thermomix recipe. I made a few changes – substituting my home made vodka/vanilla bean infusion for the vanilla extract, Limoncello for the rum and tapioca flour (arrowroot) for the cornflour. These substitutions were made from necessity rather than any particular preference.

The recipe warned that the layering process was tedious and I certainly found that to be true. I started off making layers from 1/4 cup of batter before rapidly increasing to 1/2 cup. In between each layer I was essentially running between the backyard to hang out laundry and to check on the baby, who slept almost through the baking process. I got bored, to be honest, and it struck me later that there were things I probably should have been doing in that time.

However, here is the completed cake:

baumkuchen

I had planned to make a ganache but I had one of those nights where everything was going wrong – the baby was hungry, the 5 year old was hungry, the rice was undercooked, the fish was overcooked, the ice cream wouldn’t churn, I put the dishwasher on a 2 hour cycle and didn’t have any clean plates for my guests etc. It wasn’t one of my smoother efforts. So I basically just bunged on a mess of melted chocolate (albeit good quality Lindt) and hoped for the best.

The chocolate was still runny as it was served…

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The interior

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I can see layers!

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By some miracle, the evening all came together and was completed by the cake, which became Mr R’s family birthday cake. The uneven layers of the cake which formed a cohesive whole were a metaphor for the evening, which was lovely – full of love, family and chocolate. So thank you, wonderful extended family and Francijn.

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Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta! Korena described it as layers of light sponge cake, raspberry jam, and vanilla custard/pastry cream, topped with a mound of fluffy whipped cream, covered in green marzipan, and garnished with a marzipan rose.

Korena advised that:

A little research revealed that the original recipe was created in the 1930s by a Swedish home economics teacher named Jenny Åkerström, who taught the three Swedish princesses of the time. She published a series of four cookbooks called “The Princess Cookbooks” and in one of the editions, there was a recipe for “Grön Tårta” (green cake). One story is that this later became known as “princess cake” (prinsesstårta) because the three princesses are said to have loved it so much. Another story is that Ms. Åkerström actually created three very elaborate “princess cake” recipes – a different one for each princess – and that the current version is a simplified combination of all three. That explains the princess connection, but the reason for the cake being green still seems to be a mystery. Today, prinsesstårta is popular in Finland as well as Sweden – so much so that the third week in September is officially Prinsesstårta Week!

Korena’s cake was a beautiful, perfectly rounded dome, covered in smooth green marzipan. It probably won’t surprise anyone to hear that mine was somewhat different.

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The sponge cake was actually one of the better sponges I have made, which isn’t saying much as I’ve never made one that didn’t end up basically flat. The instructions said not to worry if it cracked, so I didn’t when it did.

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The next step was to layer cake, then jam, then custard, then cake, jam, custard, then mound firmly whipped cream into a dome shape and drape the inner layer of cake (the sponge was cut into three layers) over that dome. The entire creation then gets covered with cream. Apparently it was meant to be symmetrical. Yeah…I think I probably made it harder for myself by constructing it on a cake stand which was indented, so I was already fighting gravity. But there’s a fairly good chance it would have been dodgy in any event, so I won’t blame the stand (isn’t it pretty, by the way? It was my Gaga Alma’s).

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The “smooth, regular dome shape” was then carefully covered with marzipan which had been carefully tinted green. I hate marzipan and am lazy so used some ready-rolled red fondant I had left over from the fire engine cake. I put some decorative shoes on top because the cake was partly to celebrate the speedy (and annoyingly skinny, as he seems to be getting leaner at the same rate I am getting fatter) husband’s equal PB in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon that morning. OK, so he didn’t run in pretty ballet flats, but he did run in shoes. A tenuous link, but I’m going with it.

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This is what it looked like on the inside. It got some mixed reviews, although they were generally positive. We had a number of 3 and 5 year olds cast their votes and there was some discrepancy between those who wanted “cake with no skin” and “skin with no cake”. I found the huge mass of cream a bit offputting but then I am not a fan of cream. What would I know? I will definitely use that sponge cake recipe again though. Here is the recipe:

Sponge Cake

Ingredients
Fine dry breadcrumbs for the pan (such as crushed panko)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) granulated white sugar
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup (120 ml) (65 gm) (2¼ oz) potato starch (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Thoroughly butter a 9” (23 cm) round springform pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Dust the buttered pan with enough breadcrumbs to coat the bottom and sides, just like flouring a cake pan. Set aside.

2. Place the eggs and granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment until the eggs are tripled in volume and very light coloured and fluffy, about 5 minutes. The mixture should fall from the beaters in thick ribbons. Don’t overbeat the eggs – once they form thick ribbons and stop growing in volume, stop beating.

3. Sift the all-purpose (plain) flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then sift the flour mixture over the whipped eggs. With a balloon whisk, fold the flour into the eggs until blended, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Use large, gentle yet confident strokes, bringing batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Once mixed, the batter should be quite thick and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread it out evenly, and bake in the lower third of the preheated moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes then run a knife around the edge and remove the sides of the springform pan. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. If the cake is lopsided, press gently to make it level, then allow it to cool completely before continuing. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored, well-wrapped in plastic, at a cool room temperature.

Thanks Korena for dragging me out of my comfort zone!

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The official line is – Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

According to Natalia, savarin is a yeasted cake made with the same dough as Rum Baba, which has its controversial origins in the Polish Babka. Apparently, in the eighteen century the recipe traveled with the exiled Polish king Stanislas who once soaked a dried Babka in an alcoholic solution creating what is now known as Baba au Rhum. The original Babka (Christian version) is often baked in a tall ring mold but it is in the Julien brothers’ Patisserie in 1844 that it was baked in the classic Savarin mold (who takes its name from the eclectic lawyer, politician and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin). Years later thanks to an unknown French cook the Baba traveled to Naples were it is still one of the most popular treat: o’ Babbà! The Savarin ‘hole’ is filled with different creams, or custards and decorated with fruits, candied fruits and so on.

Sadly, for a number of reasons, I just wasn’t feeling the love this month. I decided to do a half batch of mini savarins, without stopping to think it through. I missed the fact that baking them in a muffin tray meant there would be no holes to fill. I also got distracted while reducing the recipe, so that my calculations were fairly haphazard. The end result was basically a passable brioche but a pretty poor version of a savarin – sorry Natalia!

Before the second rise

Before the second rise

After rise, pre-baking

After rise, pre-baking

After baking - look at those puffy babies!

After baking – look at those puffy babies!

Close up

Close up

So far, so OK. I’d made bread rolls. But then I had to soak them in syrup. I made a lemon syrup, which I won’t repeat here because I’m not convinced it was a winner, and soaked some of the cakes in it. I asked the husband to taste test one the next day and he said “What else are you meant to do with them?”. Me – “um, I think that’s it”. Husband – “it’s kind of like soggy lemon bread”. Me – “yeah…”

However, they improved somewhat the next day and the husband agreed to eat a whole one. So we brought it back to passable.

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In happier news, I made these – http://quirkycooking.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/anzac-biscuits-vegan.html, despite the knowledge that I would probably end up eating them all myself. I cut the sugar down by half (to 50g) and used coconut sugar instead of rapadura. Mostly out of curiosity. I thought they were delicious, but I was the only one. The husband came home late from work and tried one. I know this because I found 2/3 of a biscuit on the biscuit rack the next morning. He described it as “another cruel mismatch between expectation and reality”. So yes, I did eat an entire batch of biscuits, albeit over 4 days, and I have put on a kilogram, which I attribute to the biscuits. The other three kilograms I attribute to being 18 weeks pregnant 😉

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Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen biscuits, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

Peta said – “Your challenge is to make a celebration cookie, square or bar. I am giving you 12 recipes (or the links to them) ranging from difficult to easy.”

…and I was so sure I would do it, perhaps even making twelve different items and then wrapping them in cellophane and ribbon and giving them away as Christmas presents! As it was, I managed to make one set of biscuits – Lebkuchen from The Pink Whisk. They were easy to make, although I initially tried to fudge the part where we were instructed to chill the dough in the fridge overnight. Turns out you actually do have to chill it overnight, otherwise you end with an incredibly soft, sticky dough that refuses to comply with a biscuit cutter. Luckily my next attempt the following night (with the second half of the dough) worked a lot better.

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In an effort to excuse my poor performance, may I mention that this month I have made two kinds of jam – nectarine and apricot – and made several batches of these protein balls, which are dangerously addictive. On a tip from Lemonpi, and in an effort to make them less calorific, I have been replacing some of the nuts with oats. So good! One of them is naked because I ran out of chia seeds, but it still tasted good.

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ETA – this is the recipe I used, except I used a few more dates and swapped some of the nuts for oats. And I left out the coconut oil entirely.

Thanks to Peta for hosting this month’s challenge!

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Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love. The challenge required us to make crackers using two different methods of forming – hand rolling, pasta rollers or a combination of the two being the main choices.

It’s been a pretty testing month at work and I have been turning to frivolous baking for escapism. So I was initially slightly disappointed when I found out that this month’s challenge was crackers. What, no excessive amounts of fat and sugar?! Then I realised it was a chance to make something that I would actually like to eat. So yay for crackers!

I hadn’t realised, but apparently kale is the latest Miranda Kerr of the vegetable world. It’s the hipster vegetable of choice. I had been reading about kale chips, where you put some olive oil and salt on kale leaves, bake them until they are crispy then break them up into chips (crisps). I was curious but unconvinced.

Then I somehow stumbled across this recipe and was sold. The following recipe is a very slight adaption of the recipe appearing on Sketch-Free Vegan Eating:

Seedy Kale Crackers

6 leaves of kale
2/3 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp curry powder
A sprinkle of sea salt (around a 1/4 tsp)

I ground the kale in the Thermoix then chucked everything else in and whizzed it for bit. I then scooped it all out onto a baking tray covered with baking paper, covered the mixture with some cling film and flattened it out with a rolling pin. The smell and colour were just sensational.

Kale crackers pre-baking

I realise it’s imprecise, but I think I baked them for about 30 minutes at about 180 – 200 degrees. By that time the thinner edge bits were getting crispy so I cut them off and put the rest back in the oven to crisp up.

Finished crackers

And they were delicious! A revelation. I’ve already made them twice and have a big bunch of kale waiting to be crackerised tomorrow. It’s almost enough to turn me vego again.

My second choice was based upon a desire to use my pasta roller, which doesn’t get as much use as it should (all the gear, no idea etc). I chose one of the recipes Dana suggested, which seemed to be like a lavash bread. My version was basically as follows:

Seedy Crisps

160 grams whole wheat kernels – ground in Thermomix
120 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons or so each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds
1½ teaspoons table salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
around 190 grams of water

The water bit was a mistake – it made it too sloppy and I had to add more flour to pull it back. So if you are trying to recreate this, use less water.

I kneaded it for a bit (ie pressed the knead function on the Thermoix for around a minute) and then let it rest for about half an hour. I then put it through the pasta roller. On my first attempt I accidentally put it through the finest grade rather than the most coarse, but picked up my mistake pretty quickly.

in process

Cutting up pieces with the pasta roller

finished crackers

tidier finished crackers

I was happy with the result – they were quick, healthy and tasty and I knew exactly what went into them. The husband commented that they were better than commercial crackers and that they tasted more wholesome. I can’t really ask for more that.

And finally, apropos of nothing, here is a picture of the little fella who has been keeping me company on the wall while I type this. Apparently (at least according to Miss B), his name is Jamie.

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May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

I loved, loved this challenge. It felt like a great return for effort and all test eaters expressed themselves to be delighted with the results. And then were so loaded up on carbs that they all went for a run together. That last part may be an exaggeration.

Ruth provided some general information about challah, along with the three recipes to try. I used two of the recipes, as detailed below.

Mandatory Items: You must make an enriched bread which is braided or shaped. If you must use a loaf pan, the bread should be braided before it goes into the pan.

Variations allowed: Challah comes in many different shapes, sizes and flavors. Raisins, chocolate chips and other additions can be kneaded into the dough, loaves can be topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, vanilla sugar or other flavorful sprinklings, and filled challahs can be a lot of fun and very tasty, too! Braiding and shaping, though, become more difficult when the rolled strands have fillings in them. Use your own discretion and comfort level to determine what degree of difficulty you are ready for. Gluten free and egg free bakers can use the recipe links in the additional information section, or use other substitutions with which you are comfortable. (All of the recipes provided here can be made dairy free, as Jewish dietary laws prohibit eating dairy and meat at the same meal. If you prefer not to use margarine, unsalted butter can be substituted.)

Preparation time: As a general rule, challah takes about 4-6 hours from start to finish. This includes making the dough, at least two risings, baking and cooling. Specific recipes take slightly different amounts of time, and the first rise can be done overnight in the refrigerator if you prefer. Please read through the recipes for specific times. Following are approximates for most.
Mixing and kneading the dough: 20 min.
First rise: 1 ½ to 2 hours
Punching down, second rise: 1 hour (not all recipes have this second rise)
Shaping: 10 to 20 min.
Third rise (second rise for some recipes): 1 hour
Baking: 30 to 45 minutes
Cooling: 20 to 30 minutes.

Equipment required:
• Stand mixer with dough hook (not necessary, but it certainly helps!)
• Measuring cups
• Measuring spoons
• Mixing bowls (at least one large and one small)
• Pastry brush
• Rolling pin (again, not necessary, but it makes a difference)
• Baking tray/cookie sheet
• Parchment paper
• Kitchen/tea towel
• Cooling rack
• Offset spatula (really helps get the loaves off of the tray safely!)

The first recipe I tried was the Easy Challah

(from templedavid.org)

Ingredients
4 cups (960 ml) (360 gm/20 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) (11¼ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) package rapid rise yeast
½ (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

Directions:

1. Measure flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) combine water and yeast, allow to sit 5 minutes until foamy.
3. Add 1 ½ cups of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture, beat until well combined. Cover with a dish towel, let stand 30 min.
4. Add two eggs to the dough, beat again.
5. By hand or with your dough hook knead in the remaining flour mixture. Knead approximately 10 minutes.
6. Transfer to oiled bowl, cover, let rise one hour.
7. Punch down dough, knead approximately 3 minutes.
8. Divide dough in two. Shape each half as desired (3, 4, or 6 strand braid).
9. Place loaves on parchment covered or greased cookie sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise one hour.
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
11. Brush loaves with egg wash.
12. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, bake until golden crust forms (about 25-30 minutes).
13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

First attempt at challah

I was really surprised by how much it “grew”, even in the oven. The honey gave it a lovely sweetness and the contrast of the crunchy crust and soft filling was fantastic. Unfortunately I didn’t pay enough attention to the instruction to practice the braiding before you started, so that I basically left out a whole strand of dough (the strange looking line underneath). It doesn’t bode well for my daughter’s hair for school next year.

Slices

I then told my (jewish) boss about the challenge, and he said “well of course it has to have poppyseeds!”. So I tried again, this time using Ruth’s “Go-To” Whole Wheat Challah recipe:

(adapted from D’s Whole Wheat Challah)
Servings: 12

Ingredients
2 (.25 oz.) packages (4½ teaspoons) (22½ ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (100°F/38°C)
½ cup (120 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup (one stick) (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) margarine or unsalted butter – room temperature
2 tsp. (10 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) salt
3 large eggs
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) whole wheat flour
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) all-purpose flour
½ cup (120 ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) rolled oats (Old Fashioned work just fine!)
Additional flour for kneading (½ to 1 cup) (120 to 240 ml) (70 to 140 gm) (2½ to 5 oz)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water for glaze

Directions:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Allow to stand about 5 minutes until creamy/foamy.
2. With paddle attachment beat 3 eggs, sugar, margarine (or butter), whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and oats into the yeast mixture. Or, if mixing by hand (ok, spoon), combine eggs and margarine/butter with yeast mixture until well mixed. Add flours and oats and mix until it becomes difficult to mix.
3. Once combined, switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding flour as/if needed. If kneading by hand, this should take about 10-12 minutes.
4. Form dough into a round, compact ball. Turn in oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen/tea towel. Let rise in warm area until doubled, approx. 2 hours.
5. Once dough has doubled, punch down. Recover with towel, allow to rise again for an hour, but even 30 minutes will be fine if you’re in a hurry.
6. Punch the dough down again, divide in two.
7. Shape each half as desired (3, 4 or 6 strand braid, rolls, etc.). Place shaped loaves onto parchment covered baking trays. Cover with the towel and allow to rise another hour.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
9. Brush loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with vanilla sugar/sesame seeds/poppy seeds/other topping here if desired)
10. Bake 30 to 40 min. until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
11. Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool before serving.

This time I watched the braiding video first, which definitely helped. The second attempt was a lot neater!

Poppy seed loaf pre-baking

Sesame seed sensation

mmm…loaves

I have to say, this batch was fan-bloody-tastic. Perhaps it was the oats, perhaps it was the brown sugar or perhaps it was the improved braiding technique. Either way, I am putting this on the to-do-again list. Thanks Ruth!

And since I made the loaves on Mother’s Day, here is a picture of the orange syrup cake I made my mum. The recipe came from Rosa’s Yummy Yums. (Just beware – the site plays music)

Love you Marce

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