I’m baaaaack! I haven’t posted in quite a while, what with one thing and another. But I haven’t stopped baking. This is my first-ever attempt at artisan bread, and it went well, considering I didn’t have bread flour, which is what the recipe calls for. My bread machine is defunct, so I kneaded it by hand. The recipe wanted me to mist the oven every few minutes, but I didn’t have a spray bottle, so I put a cake pan with water on the bottom rack to provide the necessary steam.
I’m definitely happy with the way it turned out: it tastes like it came from a bakery, has a lovely chewy crust, and slices really well! But I’d like to try it again so I can do it exactly as the recipe suggests.
Today I made my first-ever savoury scones, using a recipe from King Arthur Flour’s website. When rolling out the dough, I shaped a square, rather than a rectangle, so I ended up with 32 small scones rather than 20.
- 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached Pastry Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dried basil, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, cut in pieces
- 2 large eggs (1 separated, white reserved for glaze)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
- additional Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, cheese, salt, and basil. Add the pieces of butter, working them into the flour (as you would with pie crust) until the mixture forms even crumbs.
- Beat together 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, and the buttermilk or yogurt. Stir gently into the dry ingredients until the whole thing clings together.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and pat it into a 1/2″-thick rectangle. Using a bowl scraper, baker’s bench knife, regular knife, or rolling pizza wheel, cut the rectangle into squares; cut each square in half diagonally, so you have triangular scones. Make them as large or small as you wish.
- Transfer the scones to a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Whisk the reserved egg white vigorously, until foamy. Brush each scone with egg white, and sprinkle with some additional Parmesan.
- Bake the scones for 10 minutes, or until they’re light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack.
They may not be much to look at, but these scones are delicious, brushed with cream and sprinkled with coarse sugar. You can make however many you want and freeze what you don’t want to eat right away. Then heat them up in the oven or microwave and have hot scones that feel newly baked!
Twin tiny tarts sit neatly
Upon their small glass plate;
Fresh fruit that ripened sweetly
Has been arranged, ornate–
Cold creamy custard, smooth and
Set, and golden pastry crust,
When eaten, leave upon one’s hand
A little sugar dust.
This recipe comes from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, which is a great baking resource, as the title suggests.
- makes 12 buns
- baking temperature 350°F
- 3 1/2 unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp granular lecithin (optional, but helpful)
- 2 Tbsp nonfat dry milk
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg plus enough water to make 1 cup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp soft butter
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft butter
- 3/4 cup sugar mixed with
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips
- 3 Tbsp heavy cream or 2 Tbsp water
- 1 cup (four ounces) confectioners’ sugar
For the dough
Mix and knead together all the dough ingredients by hand or mixer to form a soft, smooth dough. Place it in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it should almost double in size.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly greased surface and roll it into a rectangle measuring about 11 x 20 inches. Spread a thin layer of soft butter over the dough, leaving about 1 inch uncovered on the short side nearest you. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and nuts, raisins, or chips of your choice. Starting with the short edge covered with filling, roll the dough into a log. Use a serrated knife to gently saw the log in half, then cut each side of the log into six equal pieces. Place the buns in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan, pressing down slightly. Cover the buns and let them rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, until they are quite puffy (see pictures for all these steps).
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the pan and let them cool to just slightly warm before frosting.
To make the icing
Mix the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar to make a creamy glaze; use water for a thinner glaze. Spread the icing on the buns.
It’s peach season! What to do with all those fresh peaches (courtesy of my parents’ fruit trees)?
I looked up peaches in the indices of some of my cookbooks to get some ideas, and I settled on King Arthur Flour’s peach clafouti.
Baking temperature and time: 375°F, 35-40 minutes
- 3 cups peeled and sliced peaches
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a round, 10-inch oven safe pan or skillet (I used a deep pie dish).
- Line the bottom of the pan with peaches and sprinkle the brown sugar over them.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Blend thoroughly, and then gradually whisk in the flour mixture, smoothing out the lumps.
- Pour the mixture over the fruit and bake for 35-40 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the clafouti comes out clean.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. I would allow it at least and hour and a half to cool and set.
For Father’s day, I made profiteroles, and I filled them with lemon gelato, over which I drizzled strawberry puree. This flavor combination works really well.
To serve it, I sprinkled the pastry shells with powdered sugar and sliced a strawberry to decorate each plate.