FOUR YEARS AS A MEMBER OF THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB!
It’s that fun time of the month again, Reveal Day of The Secret Recipe Club, a virtual event in which food bloggers are assigned a site in secret, then blog about a chosen recipe at midnight of Reveal Day. In two words: incredibly awesome. But what is more awesome than that is the blog I got this month. I almost passed out from excitement, thrill, and joy. Why? Because my assigned site is one of my favorites in the whole food blogosphere: Karen’s Kitchen Stories. Just to make an analogy, if blogging was like acting, my Secret Acting Club assignment would be Meryl Streep. Yeap, that awesome! I’ve been reading Karen’s blog forever, I consider her as one of my personal gurus in bread baking. She is the type of baker who is not afraid to push the limits, moving easily from tangzhong type breads to bialys, baguettes, all sorts of rustic sourdoughs, Pullman type loaves, really amazing what she can do with flour, water, salt, and yeast, often wild (the yeast, not her). At my last count, she’s got 247 bread recipes in her blog. Two hundred and forty-seven. You can collect your chin off the floor now. I bookmarked so many recipes that it was not even funny. Just to give you a small sampling of the breads that tempted me: Cheese and Herb Happy Bread, Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Rolls , Corn and Jalapeno Rolls (oh, my!), English Muffin Bread (I really need to make this one!), Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread (very interesting method), Kesra Moroccan Flatbread, Hawaiian Style Sweet Rolls (reminds me of my childhood in Brazil), Stuffed Pretzel Bites (O.M.G.!). Of course, that doesn’t include the breads from her site I already made like the delicious Ka’Kat. or Forkish’s Warm Spot Sourdough. But of course there’s a lot more than bread in her blog. For instance, if you like stir-fries, she has a section on Wok Wednesdays that is a must-follow, holding so far 57 entries. The bottom line is, I had no choice but to make two recipes from her site. A rustic ciabatta, because it would be almost rude not to choose a bread from Karen’s blog, and some mini-meatloaves because they looked so incredibly cute, I could not stop dreaming about them…
RUSTIC CIABATTA WITH DATES AND FLAX SEEDS
(from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)
for the soaker:
48 grams flaxseeds
72 grams (1/3 C) water
for the poolish:
125 grams unbleached bread flour
125 grams (1/2 C) water
pinch of instant yeast
for the final dough:
278 grams (~1 1/4 C) water
All of the poolish
300 grams unbleached bread flour
50 grams coarsely ground whole wheat flour
25 grams coarsely ground rye flour
10 grams (1 3/4 tsp) salt
2 grams (~ 3/4 tsp) instant yeast
All of the soaker
84 grams dried dates, seeded previously, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
The night before baking day, mix the soaker and poolish in separate bowls. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Leave enough room in the poolish bowl for it to double in size.
The next day (about 12 to 16 hours later), measure the 278 grams of water into a large bowl or dough rising bucket. Add the poolish, and mix it into the water with your hand to break it apart. Add the flours, salt, and yeast, and mix the dough with your hands, stirring, pinching, and folding the dough to absorb all of the flour and dissolve the salt and yeast. When you pinch the dough, you should not feel any grit.
Once all of the ingredients are combined, mix in the soaker with your hand until evenly distributed. Add the dates, and mix to distribute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot.
After 45 minutes, stretch and fold the dough over itself from all four “sides.” Repeat the 45 minute rest followed by a stretch-and-fold two more times (a total of 3 stretch-and-folds). Let the dough rest for a final 45 minutes, covered, in a warm spot.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, and gently nudge it into a rectangle. Be careful not to deflate the dough. Using an oiled bench knife, cut the dough into three equal pieces. Pick each piece up with floured hands and place it on a floured couche or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with the rest of the couche or oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, while you heat the oven to 475 degrees F, and set it up with a steam pan on the lowest rack and a baking stone directly above it. Fill a spray bottle with water.
When the oven is at the correct temperature, transfer the loaves to the baking stone (see notes above, or place the baking sheet with the loaves on it in the oven). Place a cup of boiling water in the steam pan (cover your oven’s window), and spray the oven walls with water. Quickly close the door. Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. They are done when the internal temperature reaches 200 to 210 degrees F. Cool on a wire rack.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: I made this bread in one of those perfect Saturdays! Why? Because I woke up before 5am feeling super energetic, could hardly wait to get downstairs and play with my ingredients already measured since the evening before. During the first 45 minutes rise I did a nice P90X yoga while the house was still dark, peaceful and silent… As in a perfectly timed symphony, just as I finished my exercises, Phil woke up and made me a fantastic cappuccino…. the dogs immediately joined us in welcoming the weekend…Told ya: perfect Saturday!
Back to Karen’s ciabatta: the dough was a pleasure to work with, gaining strength at each folding cycle. In the composite photo above, the dough is shown after the last folding cycle, all plump and shiny. I used whole flaxseeds, Karen used ground, but I followed the exact same method, including the volume of water to make the soaker. You can use whatever type of flaxseeds you have in your pantry. Most important thing is not to deflate the dough too much as you coach it into the ciabatta shape. The less you mess with it, the better. You will be rewarded with a ton of holes, a very airy bread, comme il faut.
We both loved this bread! The dates offer a burst of sweetness that plays well with the almost sour nature of the dough given by the extended fermentation of the poolish. Cut a slice, toast it very very lightly, top it with some Gorgonzola and you will have to tie yourself to your seat not to fly away in a magic carpet…. Awesome combo.
And now, for the bonus recipe from Karen’s site… Adorable meatloaves in individual servings. Her recipe used beef, I changed it slightly by using ground turkey.
INDIVIDUAL MEATLOAVES WITH CHILI SAUCE
(adapted from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1/3 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup boiling water
1 pound 85% lean ground turkey
1/4 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup jarred chili sauce, such as Heinz
Spray a half sheet pan with spray oil and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the shallot, celery, parsley, and bacon several times until well chopped. In a large bowl, combine the oats and boiling water and stir. Add the mixture from the food processor and combine.
Break up the ground turkey and pork and add them to the large bowl. Whisk the eggs and add them to the meat and oat mixture. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the chili sauce to the meat mixture. Mix with your hands until everything is well mixed.
Divide the mixture into four equal parts and shape each into a small loaf, placing them onto the baking sheet. Take 1/2 cup of the chili sauce, and brush it over the four loaves. Bake the loaves on the center rack for about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the loaves with the rest (1/4 cup) of the chili sauce. Turn on the broiler, and place the pan back on the center rack. Broil for about 5 minutes, until the chili sauce just begins to brown.
to print the recipe, click here
These meatloaves were sooooo good! The chili sauce is a must, do not skip it. They turned out moist, flavorful, spicy but not overly so. I served them with sweet potato noodles that were recently published in my guest post over at Foodbod. The recipe made 3 loaves and we enjoyed them for dinner, then I had leftovers for my lunch a couple of days in a row. Heaven. Just heaven. If I may make a public confession, I had some slices straight from the fridge. Cold. Yeah, standing up, with a Jack Russell staring at me wondering how long it would take for Newton’s Law of Gravity to work its magic in his favor. HA! Not a chance!
Karen, I hope you enjoyed your assignment this month. It goes without saying that I spent the past 4 weeks anticipating this Reveal Day, anxious to share the recipes I made from your blog. For my readers, if you don’t yet know Karen’s Kitchen Stories, stop right now and go pay her a visit. Not only she is a great baker and cook, but a very cool person with great sense of humor and wit. Plus, she is the Grandma of two beautiful boys, and lucky to live very close to them, so it’s easier for her to spoil them rotten. I intend to follow her footsteps and do my best to spoil Greenlee at every chance I get… Maybe one day I can teach Greenlee to bake a chocolate cake for her Dad too. Oops, did I just use “teach” and “bake a cake” in the same sentence? Excuse me while I go grab a thermometer. I might be running a very high fever… (sigh)
ONE YEAR AGO: Green Rice
TWO YEARS AGO: Potato-Crusted Italian Mini-Quiches
THREE YEARS AGO: Beetroot Sourdough for the Holidays
FOUR YEARS AGO: Cod Filet with Mustard Tarragon Crust
FIVE YEARS AGO: Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy
SIX YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread