Tag Archives: Tuesdays With Dorie

Tuesdays with Dorie: Irish Soda Bread

20 Mar

Let’s just cut to the chase here.  I made Irish soda bread and it was just as good (dare I say better?) than my Mother-in-Law’s.  There, I said it!  For years I have swooned over her Irish soda bread and resolved that I could never make anything to compare.  But this girl was destined for a win and the luck of the Irish was with me.

I took my own advice and read the recipe before removing even just one measuring cup from the drawer.  Boy do I love these bread recipes – four ingredients with optional raisins.  I was eager to conquer this challenge and take my soda bread to the family St. Patrick’s Day gathering.

The recipe in Baking With Julia is a traditional soda bread.  Nothing fancy, no eggs, no sifting – just flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.  I blended the dry ingredients together with a fork as directed.  Then, reading carefully along, I added the buttermilk and stirred until the dough came together and then folded in a cup of raisins.  Easy enough.

Ok, so I might have added a dash of cinnamon. I'm Hungarian, not Irish so the authenticity was already out the door.

The next step was to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for just about a minute.  The recipe says that the dough will be “soft and malleable…” but I did not expect a sticky, gooey mess.  I even looked malleable up in the dictionary and it means capable of being shaped or formed. Um, no.  It felt like I had enough dough between my fingers to make another soda bread!

That is NOT malleable

Attempting to tame the dough as best I could, I plopped it on the prepared baking sheet and tried to cut a crisscross as directed.   There was no making any kind of crisscross in this dough. It just popped right back into it’s sticky form.

I took the bread out of the oven about 6 minutes before it was set to be done.  It looked golden brown and I wanted to err on the side of caution.  What emerged was a beautiful round of Irish soda bread despite my sticky hands and failed crisscross.  It tasted great and had a perfectly balanced texture – not too soft and not too dense.  And best of all, it tasted just as good as my Irish Mother-in-Law’s.

Be sure to check out our hosts this week for the recipe at My Culinary Mission and Chocolate Moosey!

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Rugelach

6 Mar

Before I go any further, let me just put this out into the world – I am totally sick from eating too much rugelach dough. Onward…

These rugelach prove that sometimes keeping a little mystery about oneself is a good thing.  Women hear it all the time; men like some mystery to their partner.  In fact, I just saw something like this on the internet.  It said Keep Some Mystery in Your Marriage!  Seriously?  The only mystery in my marriage is where the remainder of the Girl Scout Cookies went (I’ll never tell).

I’ve never been good at keeping mystery about me.  Picture that ticker bar that runs along the bottom of the CNN report with the news in real time.  Now picture that ticker bar running through your head and then right out of your mouth in a verbal play-by-play.  That’s me – what enters my head comes right out of my mouth.  Luckily, I do have a filter and I know what material is for the 6pm news vs. the 11pm news.

I just started a new job last month and I promised myself that I would hold back and let my coworkers get to know me little by little.  I promised that I would not bare my soul and overwhelm my new work family with all my quirks and random thoughts.  But oh no, it wasn’t even the third day and somehow I had managed to relay my love of karaoke, my pie obsession, my accidental pregnancy during my move to Oregon, my luke warm love of my dog and the fact that my husband just got a vasectomy…all to an audience of new coworkers who were willing to accept me anyways. And that’s the beauty of no mystery – you put yourself out there to a new world and in a matter of days it feels like home again.

But I digress, back to this Rugelach.  There are just some things in life that are better kept shrouded in mystery.  Like that fact that these sweet little pastries are made with THREE sticks of BUTTER and ONE and a HALF packages of CREAM CHEESE.  Holy cream products, Batman.  I liked my life better when I could pop one (or two) of these in my mouth without flashbacks of a pile of yellow and white sliding around in my electric mixer.

The dough itself is a cinch and incredibly basic.  I whipped up cream cheese, butter and salt, added some sugar and then slowly added flour until the dough came together.

I divided the dough into two pieces, shaped them into a rectangle and refrigerated for two hours.  My only problem was inadvertently eating the dough.  It’s like I have a tick.  I just can’t help but pluck a bite here and a bite there – even if I know darn well I’m just eating straight butter, cream cheese and flour.  Needless to say, after doing it twice, I was totally grossed out.  Someday I will learn to keep my dough eating habits at bay.

Once the dough was chilled, I rolled them into a 14 inch long rectangle, cut each in half and spread the four pieces with apricot or lekvar (prune) filling. Then each piece was coated with a sugar/nut/cinnamon mixture and sprinkled with dried fruit.

But once again, I was going too fast and took a minor misstep.  Between my trips back and forth to the kitchen and the toddler dance party in the living room, I misread the directions and rolled my rectangles into a 14 x 5* inch piece rather than 14 x 10.  That extra 5 inches would have come in handy when rolling these like a jelly roll.  I could only make about two turns – and I knew they were supposed to be coiled around more than just twice.  Size DOES matter.

Overstuffed and under-rolled...

I was already completing this challenge by the skin of my teeth.  Then I read further and realized that Julia wants the rolled dough to sit in the fridge for 4 hours.  Ugh!  Once again, I have relearned the lesson that you must read the entire recipe before you start.  And especially before Tuesday.  So I took a shortcut and only refrigerated them for an hour.

I sliced the rolls into 1 1/2 inch pieces as directed, tossed them in a nut/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture and baked them for 30 minutes on 375.

Let’s just say these could stand a re-do.  I put too much filling on the dough, so the slices were bursting with cinnamon and sugar.  I salvaged what I could and was pleased that they at least tasted good.

My takeaways?  Read the recipe.  Google an image to see what they’re supposed to look like.  Plan ahead.  Don’t bake between dinner and kid bedtime.  And keep a little mystery in your life.  You better believe that when I take the salvaged and moderately pretty ones to work tomorrow, I’ll be sure not to mention the minor kitchen disaster that they really were.  :)  Be sure to visit our hosts at My Baking Heart for a picture of what they should really look like and the recipe!

Tuesdays With Dorie: White Loaves

7 Feb

I’ve taken back Tuesday.

Tuesday is such a bummer of a day.  It does not have the cache that Monday has.  Manic Monday.  Oh, looks like he has a case of the Mondays.  I’ll start on Monday.  Hop on Facebook on Sunday night and see how many posts mention Monday.

Wednesday has the unfortunate status of hump day, so that right there will allow it to live in infamy forever.  Thursday is the warm-up for the weekend and Friday is the golden child.  TGIF, baby.  Saturday and Sunday are awesome because for many of us, we don’t have to work, and they are filled with the promise of getting everything done you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to accomplish all week.

What does poor Tuesday have to offer?  Tuesdays With Dorie!

In 2008, a woman who received Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (ahem, my FAVORITE cookbook.  Ever.) for Christmas, embarked on a resolution to bake one recipe a week and invited other bloggers to join her.  Their project was called Tuesdays With Dorie because they would post their recipes on Tuesdays.  The clan was a closed group, so I have pined on the sidelines to play along ever since I found out about them.

Yes, the baking book is next to the Eat Clean Diet. A girl can dream.

Fast forward to last month on a car ride between work meetings.  I was listening to NPR and to my amazement, Dorie Greenspan was the guest on Talk of the Nation.  As I was desperately trying to call in to tell her how much I want to be her adore her cookbooks, she mentioned that the Tuesdays With Dorie group had completed the book (four years!) and was opening the group again in preparation for their new book, Baking With Julia by none other than Dorie Greenspan.  I was overcome with excitement and could not believe my good fortune to catch this interview.  I raced back to work and promptly did what any good employee would do; jumped on the internet and sent an email asking to join immediately!

So, I’m in!  Two Tuesdays a month I will be posting my attempt at the assigned recipe from Baking With Julia with the hopes of completing the entire book.  You should plan to be my friend in about two years because by then, I should be a darn good baker!  But no worries, the pie obsession continues – just not on Tuesday.

Recipe #1, White Loaves

For the recipe, click here to go to the blog hosting the recipe this week.

As much as I love to bake, I have not dabbled in bread.  That’s my husband’s territory.  In fact, I’m pretty sure these white loaves are my first official attempt at bread.

Of course, I’m reverting back to my college days with the recipe due on Tuesday and I’m up late baking on Monday night.  Some habits die hard.  What a relief to find how simple bread is – six ingredients!  Flour, salt, yeast, sugar, water and butter.  Why am I buying bread at the store?  While making this bread, I was channeling my friend Heather who has embarked on a February Bread Challenge – her version of Pie it Forward – and is reflecting on her experiences through her blog, Abundance Measures. She makes more bread than I make pie, so I figured I could uphold the February bread challenge with my two white loaves.  I’ll eat one and give one away!

It was full steam ahead and things were going great until I was ready for the bread hook.  To my dismay, the bread hook for my stand mixer was too long for the bowl – I had the wrong one!  I think my mother-in-law has mine.  The hook was too long to even lock the mixer into place.  But nothing was going to stand in the way of my first Tuesdays With Dorie post.  I started that unsecured mixer and bread hooked my little heat out.  Truth be told, about two minutes into the 10 minutes it needed to mix, I had to assume a football stance and hold the top of the mixer steady so it would not fling dough out at me. Nothing like eight minutes of taming a wild Kitchenaid mixer.  But I prevailed and the dough was ready for the first rise.

Before Rise

After the first rise

45 minutes later, I cut the dough in half and proceeded to shape the 12 x 9 inch rectangles as instructed.  The first one was a breeze, but I did whip out my measuring tape to be sure I was on target.

Size DOES matter

The second one wanted nothing to do with forming into a rectangle.  I kid you not, that ball of dough kept bouncing back into a heart!

I patted, I stretched, I nearly laid myself across it.  Finally, it came into a shape that was close enough.  I folded the dough as instructed, pinched the seam closed and placed them into their pans to rise for another 45 minutes.

After they had double in size, it was off to the oven to bake until they were golden brown.  The recipe says to stick a thermometer through the bottom to be sure that the internal temperature is 200 – a good tip for avoiding over or underdone bread.  I only had a meat thermometer but I figured if it could make my turkey moist, it could certainly safeguard my bread from over baking.

And then the moment of truth.  They looked beautiful as they baked in the oven and I only hoped that they tasted as good after the shenanigans I pulled trying to stretch one into a rectangle. I followed the tip in the book and took them out of their pans and returned them to the oven for the last five minutes for even browning.  Perfection!  This bread was so good that I went upstairs at 11pm, woke my husband up and made him eat some.  Breakfast on Tuesday will be something to look forward to!

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