The Daring Bakers’ October Challenge: Povitica

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Prepare the yeast mix first.

Prepare the dough and set it to rise.

Then make the filling. Lots of walnuts!

Then spread the dough out and begin the whole process of shaping it.

You have to get it really, really thin, so that you can see the towel, or in my case the tablecloth.

Spread the filling inside.

And roll up!

Bake.

 

Dough:
½ Cup (120 ml) Whole Milk
3 Tablespoons (45 ml/43 gm/1½ oz) Sugar
¾ Teaspoon (3¾ ml/9 gm/0.17 oz) Table Salt
1 Large Egg
1 tablespoon (30 ml/30 gm/¼ stick/1 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz/0.62 lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

Topping:
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
1½ Teaspoons (7½ ml/7 gm/¼ oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

Quarter Batch Filling Ingredients (enough filling for one loaf)
Cups (420 ml/280 gm/10 oz) Ground English Walnuts
¼ Cup (60 ml) Whole Milk
¼ Cup (60 ml/58 gm/½ stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
½ Cup (120 ml/115 gm/4 oz) Sugar
¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/1 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) Cinnamon

To Make the Dough:
3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.
4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.
5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour.

 6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.

7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I did not use all 8 cups of flour

8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)
9. Place dough in 4 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

To Make the Filling
10. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
11. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
12. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
13. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
14. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
15. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
18. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter.

19. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5ml to 7 ½ ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
20. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.
21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.

When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.

23. Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered.

24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.
25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.
 
26. Repeat with remaining three loaves, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan.
27. Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of ½ cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons (30ml/28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.

28. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
29. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
30. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
31. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
32. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
33. Check the bread at 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.
34. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Remember, the bread weighs about 2.5 and it needs to be able to hold its own weight, which is difficult when still warm and fresh out of the oven. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.
35. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.

Cinnamon Rolls

Now that fall is here, all those great, comfy foods that we love have alsostarted to surface, so I thought today was the perfect day for some cinnamon rolls.

Heat the milk and add the yeast. Let it sit fot a few minutes.

Then add the eggs, salt, sugar, butter, and flour. Let the dough rise for about an hour.

Shape the dough into a rectangle, and spread with the filling.Roll up, cut, and set to rise again.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.

When the rolls have risen, bake. Then frost.

 

Recipe:
(from Cook, Bake & Decorate)
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it’s about 105 degrees.
Stir the yeast and a pinch of sugar into the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour and mix well. Knead with the dough hook on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl (the mixing bowl is fine) and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has nearly doubled in size.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
Brush the dough with 1/3 cup melted butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar-cinnamon mixture.
Roll the dough up starting with the longer side and cut into 12 rolls.
Arrange the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.
While the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread the frosting on the rolls while they are still warm.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 

 

Pfeffernusse

It seems like I’m a bit of an international mood these days. Last week I made Norwegian cookies, and today I made German ones.

First, heat the molasses with the butter. (I didn’t have molasses so I used brown sugar instead)

Let cool and add the egg, the spices, and the baking powder.

 

Add the flour and shape to bake.

And bake!

Pfeffernusse (three ways)

1/3 c molasses
1/4 c unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cardamon
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t pepper
2 c flour
6 – 7 oz chocolate, melted (optional)(we used leftover Hershey’s Special Dark candy bars from Halloween)
1/2 t cayenne pepper or more to taste (optional)

Put the molasses & butter into a saucepan & heat over low heat until the butter is melted. Pour into a large bowl & let cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg into the cooled molasses & butter. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamon, allspice & pepper. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, incorporating each addition completely before adding the next. Cover the bowl & chill the dough for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll the piece each out into 10-inch lengths. Cut each length into twenty 1/2-inch pieces. Place the pieces 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 -12 minutes until the sides of the cookies are firm & the bottoms lightly brown.

Chocolate covered pfeffernusse:
Dipped the cooled cookies into the melted chocolate coating about 1/2 of the cookie. Place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.

Cayenne chocolate covered pfeffernusse:
Do the same as above but mix the cayenne pepper into the melted chocolate.

Sandbakkels

I got a new baking magazine this weekend, with all kinds of holiday baking ideas. There are some really great looking recipes. This one comes from that magazine.

First grind the almonds of hazelnuts (or both, like I used) and mix them with the flour. In another bowl, mix the butter and both sugars, add the salt and the egg.

Slowly add the flour.

Make balls of dough and place in muffin tins, flatten the middle with your thumb. And bake.

Add either nutella, peanut butter, or jam on top once they are cool.

1-1/2 sticks butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blanched, ground almonds or hazelnuts
1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Cream butter and sugars. Add egg, flour, ground almonds and almond extract. Mix together until crumbly. Let rest in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Butter (or spray) tins. Press dough into tins, forming a cup. Bake at 375º for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Strawberry Jam Meringue Tarts

I saw this recipe in Food & Wine’s Chef Recipes Made Easy magazine. The original recipe calls for lemon curd, but I didn’t have any so I used strawberry jam instead. Okay, here we go.

Get your phyllo ready. Put one sheet, butter it, and spread sugar on top of it. Place another sheet, and butter and sugar again. Do it one more time. Cut the phyllo in whichever shape you like and bake.

Make the meringue by beating the egg whites, adding the brown sugar slowly.

When the phyllo is baked and allowed to cool, spread the jam over each square, and then spoon  a dollop of meringue one each. Then broil until the meringue gets a little brown on top.

Then place the squares in twos, one of top of the other. And voila!

  • 3 sheets of phyllo dough, plus more in case of tearing
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • jam or curd
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut 2 sheets of parchment paper to fit a large baking sheet. Place 1 sheet of the parchment on a work surface. Top with a sheet of phyllo and brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the granulated sugar over the phyllo. Repeat with 2 more sheets of phyllo so that you have a stack of 3 sugared sheets. Using a ruler, trim the phyllo to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle, then cut it into twelve 4-inch squares. Slide the parchment onto a baking sheet and top with the second sheet of parchment paper. Bake for 18 minutes, until the phyllo squares are golden and crisp. Let cool completely.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Put the brown sugar in a food processor; pulse to break up any lumps. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the brown sugar at high speed, a few tablespoons at a time, until the whites are glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag with a plain tip.
  3. Spoon a dollop of jam onto each phyllo square. Pipe a layer of meringue over the lemon curd (alternately, you can spoon the meringue over the jam). Broil 6 inches from the heat for 1 minute, or until lightly toasted. Set 6 phyllo squares on plates and top them with the remaining 6 squares. Garnish with raspberries and serve.

Orange Almond Caramel Cake

I’ve been sick for a few days, so I’ve not been able to do much baking, and people at home have been getting antsy. My mom actually called me this morning and asked me if I was going to bake anything for my sister today, since she doesn’t have to work today. I was called back to my baking duties. This cake seemed an interesting one, so I gave it a try.

Make the caramel topping first. Heat the butter, then add the brown sugar.

Place in prepared pan and add the nuts on top. Then make the cake. Add the flour, baking powder, paking soda, salt. Set aside. In another bowl, add eggs, sour cream, orange juice, vanilla extract. In another bowl, add the sugar, butter together and add the orange zest. Start pouring tehe egg mixture and flour mixture into the sugar mixture.

Pour over caramel, and bake.

 

Ingredients:

For the topping:
1 cup sliced almonds
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar 
For the Cake:
 
1½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (I used 4 TBSP butter + 4 TBSP country crock buttery spread)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp grated orange zest
 
Method:
Topping:
 
Heat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch round non stick cake pan and line the base with parchment paper. Dust with flour. I do not have any non stick pans. So, I used a 9″ springform pan and lined it with parchment paper. It is very easy to line a springform pan. All you have to do is cut a square parchment paper and put it on the plate and fix the ring around it. No need to cut the paper into a circle to fit in or anything.
Spread the nuts on a baking tray and toast until golden, 8 to 10 minutes (Watch out. Mine started getting really dark at 8 minutes itself). Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the brown sugar, turn the heat to low, and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. There was 1/4 cup of honey drizzled on the top of the caramel. I omitted it totally so that it doesn’t become too sweet. Come to think of it – for 1 1/2 cups of flour, there is a total of 3/4 cup + 2/3 cup sugar. To top it off with 1/4 cup of honey would be sickeningly sweet to my family’s taste. Scatter the toasted nuts on the top of the caramel.
Cake:
 
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Combine the sour cream, eggs, orange juice and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and beat lightly.
Combine the butter (in my case butter, buttery spread) and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Stir in the orange zest.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Then mix of 30 seconds on medium speed.
Pour the batter over the almonds, gently spreading it into an even layer.
Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes.
Holding the pan and a plate together firmly with oven mitts, invert the hot cake onto the plate. Peel away the parchment paper. If necessary, replace any almonds stuck to the base of the pan. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
 
 

 

The Daring Bakers’ September Challenge: Croissants

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

This one was a really fun one, although a loooooooong one. I made it all in one day, and by the time I was done I wanted to go to bed. But the croissants were yummy, so at least it wasn’t work in vain.

Make the dough first. It’s really easy, so just follow the recipe at the bottom. Then set it to rise, for the first time.

Let it rise until it’s tripled, then bring it out and fold the dough as the instructions say, how you would fold a letter.

Let rise again.

Place the dough in the fridge while you prepare the butter. Really smash the butter, I used my rolling pin, to spread it out.

Bring the dough out and spread it into a rectangle, add the butter on top.

Fold the dough again, then turn, repeat. Wrap the dough in plastic and put in fridge.

After two hours, bring it out again and refold, turn and fold again. Wrap in plastic and place in fridge two more hours. Follow the instructions at the bottom for full folding and shaping guidelines. Let rise again.

Then bake.

Ingredients
¼ oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 1¼ teaspoon (6¼ ml/4 gm) of dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar
1 3/4 cups (225 gm/½ lb) of strong plain flour (I used Polish all-purpose flour, which is 13% protein)
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint) milk (I am not sure if the fat content matters. I used 2%)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil (I used generic vegetable oil)
½ cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/¼ lb) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash

Directions:

1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl
8. Knead the dough eight to ten times only. The best way is as Julia Child does it in the video (see below). It’s a little difficult to explain, but essentially involves smacking the dough on the counter (lots of fun if you are mad at someone) and removing it from the counter using the pastry scraper.
9. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag (Photos 1 & 2)
10. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size. (Photo 3)

11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips. (Photo 4)
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm). (Photo 5)
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up) (Photos 6 & 7)
14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag. (Photo 8)
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge (Photo 9)

16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter. (Photo 10)
17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat. (Photo 11)
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.

21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two. (Photo 12)
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). (Photo 13)
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle (Photos 14 & 15)
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges. (Photo 16)
25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up. (Photos 17 & 18)
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book). (Photo 19)
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). (Photo 20)
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up. (Photos 21 & 22)
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours. (Photo 23)

30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter.
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
34. Fold in three, as before
35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)

37. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants
38. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready
39. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter
40. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 12½ cm). (Photo 24)
41. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (25½ cm by 12½ cm)) (Photo 24)
42. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold
43. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 12½ cm).
44. Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (12½ cm by 12½ cm))
45. Place two of the squares in the fridge
46. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square
47. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles. (Photo 25)
48. Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles. (Photo 26)
49. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape. (Photo 27)
50. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
51. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total.
52. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour

53. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
54. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water
55. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants. (Photo 28)
56. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely
57. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving. (Photo Above)

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