When It Snows I Bake, And Bake, and Bake.
Updated: Jan 9
A SNOW DAY!!!!
Well, I did do work but I worked from home! I must admit I do miss that feature of my previous job. But that would be the only feature I miss. We did not have remote working during the Covid pandemic. So today was a treat for me and the cats!!
They were really quite excited that I was home today.
About the baking. I had a funny feeling I might be home today so I started a 1/2 batch of the Pan co Santi, Walnut Bread, from the Jim Lahey My Bread book last night.
I baked it off this afternoon. The house had a wonderful aroma after this came out of the oven.
Last night I was looking through recipes trying to decide what I could bake today. Chris mentioned that he had not had a ballpark pretzel in ages. Google ballpark pretzels and this happens. Chris was quite surprised!
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour, as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 quart water
1 egg, beaten with
2 teaspoons water
kosher salt, to taste
Combine water, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl; set in a warm spot. After 15 minutes, it should begin to foam and bubble. Add the salt and half the flour; mix well with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough onto a floured surface; gradually knead in enough of the remaining flour to form a smooth dough. Knead for 5 minutes; transfer to an oiled bowl and coat evenly with oil. Cover bowl with a towel; set in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Punch dough down and roll into a log. Divide evenly into equal pieces; roll each into a 16- to 18-inch rope. Shape pretzels into a traditional pretzel by tying dough into a knot and pinching ends across loops.
Combine baking soda and water in a saucepan and boil. Lower each pretzel in boiling water until it floats, about 30 seconds. Drain; transfer to a greased baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture; sprinkle generously with kosher salt.
Cover pretzels with a cloth and let rise again for 5 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot with cold beer and mustard.
I made a Beef Noodle Soup for dinner tonight. See the recipe on So What Are You Making For Dinner, or click here. I got an email from King Arthur Flour this week with a recipe for Cacio e Pepe Scones.
Cacio e Pepe is my favorite pasta dish to order when I eat out. I love scones so this seemed like a perfect marriage. Wow!! Amazing!!! I thought it would be like a Frezelle but it was flaky and the amount of pepper I used was perfect!!
This is the recipe as it appears on the King Arthur Flour site. I cut the recipe in half for just the 2 of us.
2 3/4 cups (330g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (113g) butter, cold
1 1/2 cups (150g) Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 large eggs
1/2 to 2/3 cup (113g to 152g) milk*
*See "tips," below.
milk, for brushing
1/4 to 1/3 cup (25g to 33g) Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese, for sprinkling on top
coarsely ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and baking powder.
Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
Add the grated cheese and mix until evenly combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a bowl scraper or a large spoon, stir until everything is moistened and holds together. If the mixture seems dry, drizzle in additional milk about a teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use the pan without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
To shape the scones: Scoop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the baking sheet. (A scone scoop is helpful here.)
Brush the tops of the scones with milk and sprinkle with additional cheese and a bit of black pepper, if desired.
For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Chilling the scones relaxes the gluten in the flour, making the scones more tender and allowing them to rise higher. It also chills the fat, which makes the scones a bit flakier. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the upper third.
To bake the scones: Bake the scones in the upper part of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they're a light golden brown.
Remove the scones from the oven and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm; they're delicious as is and extra-tasty with a pat of salted butter on top.