As a child, Liz’s father did the bulk of the cooking in their home. Norm Robinson was a creative and resourceful culinary artist, never cooking from a recipe and always applying the creativity required when feeding a family on a meager budget. As a hungry child, when Liz began smelling tasty aromas waft from the kitchen she would consistently ask, “Dad, what’s for dinner?” And much to her chagrin he would he would respond, “Babushka Delight…and then insert a random number.” A variation of Baked Ziti would be called Babushka Delight #14 and Pork Chops and Rice entitled Babushka Delight #982…no rhyme or reason for the numbering system and never a dish or number repeated. Night after night, meal after meal, our table and stomachs were warmed with a series of meals made by a loving father each entitled Babushka Delight. As a child, anxious for dinner, Liz found his predictable answer a bit silly. Now, as an adult, when contemplating the daily questions, what shall we have for dinner?” she hears the trusted words of her father ringing clearly in her mind…”Well, tonight we are having Babushka Delight.”
Burke grew up working inside the delicious walls of a professional kitchen at his families business, Jacob Lake Inn nestled near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While standing on milk crates Burke joined his parents to help peel potatoes, crack eggs, flip burgers, and sling hash. Through this process Burke developed the confidence of a chef, the speed of a line cook, and the creativity of a working mans Iron Chef.
Growing up in a foodie family has real benefits for a newly married couple. For Burke nothing brings a bigger smile than the potential of a handful of chopped onion, celery, carrot, and garlic sautéing in a few hearty splashes of a fine olive oil…and Liz is more than happy to sample the tasty outcomes.
Together Burke and Liz enjoy nothing more than a fine meal shared with family and friends. In keeping with tradition of both families, Babushka Delight is a collection of their favorite recipes and culinary creations.
The Texas Rich’s
Sunday, January 16, 2011
I’ve been reading a few cookbooks about bread making and it’s actually pretty interesting. It appears that the basic process and ingredients for bread making are the same with a few slight differences according to the type of bread you are hoping to create. There seems to be large conversation about the kind of yeast you use and people seem to be divided into some clear yeast camps. This is what I know about yeast:
• Types of Yeast:
· Cake Yeast- the traditional yeast; needs to be dissolved in water. Typically used by high-end bakers and can be sold in bulk.
· Active Dry Yeast- the traditional dry yeast needs to be dissolved usually with a bit of sugar. Some people report that they would only use this kind of yeast if they wanted the bread to have a sweet overtone. Active dry yeast has to be rehydrated first. (Use water that is no hotter than what you can comfortably put on the back of your wrist. If the water temperature is higher than 49C(120F), the yeast will start to die.)
· Instant Yeast– contains a bit of yeast enhancer (citric acid, maybe some other stuff?) and is possibly more concentrated than active dry; does not need to be dissolved. This seems to be the most popular kind of yeast by most bakers, according to cookbooks and blogs, and it can just be tossed into the mix as a dry ingredence and does not need to proof.
· Bread Machine Yeast- exactly the same as instant, just in a different package. Some bloggers use bread machine yeast as an all purpose yeast and use outside of their bread makers.
· Rapid Rise Yeast-larger amounts of yeast enhancers and other packaging changes to the granules. Does not have to be dissolved. Works very fast and its intended for straight dough that you want to complete within an hour or so. Generally not used by artisan bakers who seek slower, not faster, rise.
· Bread flour- is a high-gluten flour that has very small amounts of malted barley flour and vitamin C or potassium bromate added. The barley flour helps the yeast work, and the other additive increases the elasticity of the gluten and its ability to retain gas as the dough rises and bakes. Bread flour is called for in many bread and pizza crust recipes where you want the loftiness or chewiness that the extra gluten provides. It is especially useful as a component in rye, barley and other mixed-grain breads, where the added lift of the bread flour is necessary to boost the other grains.
· All-purpose flour is made from a blend of high- and low-gluten wheat, and has a bit less protein than bread flour — 11% or 12% vs. 13% or 14%. You can always substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour, although your results may not be as glorious as you had hoped. There are many recipes, however, where the use of bread flour in place of all-purpose will produce a tough, chewy, disappointing result. Cakes, for instance, are often made with all-purpose flour, but would not be nearly as good made with bread flour
· Whole Wheat flour is simply wheat that has been milled into flour with some, or all, of the germ and bran still attached. Different varieties of wheat contain different amounts of protein, and the more protein is contained in the flour, the higher gluten it has.
· Self raising flour is generally all purpose flour that has had baking powder mixed in, and do not require any additional baking powder to be added when making biscuits, pancakes or muffins.
I am glad that I spent some time chatting with Melinda and Ben about the basic bread making process before I dove into the reading. Their instruction and scaffolding have made all of the difference in helping reduce my uneasiness about yeast. I am finding that it is important for me to couple conversation with independent reading. I need to process verbally and its great to have someone who I can ask clarifying questions.
Simple Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey
5 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Original recipe yield 3 loaves
1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
2. Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
3. Punch down and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9x5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely
This is a great recipe! It was pretty easy to put together and I think I have finally mastered the “warm water” concept. Ben and Sue came over for dinner and bread making and we had a great night in the kitchen. This bread is interesting because it calls for both white and wheat flour. Both Ben and I think that it does not require total wheat flour because there is not enough sugar added to the mix. Also, I thought it was interesting that you start with the white bread flour for the first rise and then add more liquid and then add the wheat flour. I am assuming that this provides a place and time for the glutton to develop before the sharp edges of the wheat flour cut into the delicate strands.
Ben, my identified "More Knowledgeable Other", and I had a great time kneading the bread and he did a great job modeling the correct way to knead. It was really helpful for me to watch the way he handled the dough and the amount of flour he used. I have realized that part of my fear about baking homemade bread was the idea of kneading. I’m not sure where this came from but its really not that difficult. Ben is a great teacher and provided helpful feedback throughout the process. Albert Bandura would have been pleased to know that Ben has successfully taught me how to knead bread through modeling. Go team!
Anyway, it took a lot longer for this bread to rise than I had anticipated, but I think that is due to the colder weather. Overall, I think this is easily another bread baking success. This recipe makes three loafs and they all ended up being different sizes. Next time, I will pay close attention to the amount of dough I put into each pan. Overall, another tasty success.
Melinda’s Dinner Rolls
1 ½ cups water
1 TBS yeast
¾ TBS Malt
¾ TBS Honey
1 Tea Salt
4-6 cups of flour
1. Add water to mixer. Add in Malt and Honey. Mix together to dissolve
2. Add Yeast and let proof.
3. Add one cup of flour and mix well.
4. Add salt and remaining flour one cup at a time. Mix together slowly.
5. Continue to mix until dough pulls away from bowl. Add more flour if needed.
6. Remove dough from mixer.
7. Spray a large cookie sheet with pam.
8. Butter hand and grab dough. Pinch off dough into hand (about a handful) and shape into rolls.
9. Put roll dough on cookie sheet. You should fill the cookie sheet and get about sixteen rolls.
10. Let rise for about 15 min or until the become the size you want.
11. Bake until golden brown (about 15-20 min) in 350 degree oven.
12. Butter top of rolls after baking.
I am learning quite quickly that I am a visual, hands on learner. I read the recipe several times before I began mixing anything because after reading last week it seems to be imperative to follow the directions. Both Melinda and Ben say that once I get the hang of bread making things will begin to feel more comfortable. In the mean time it’s nice to have them close so I can continue to ask questions. When the recipe says “warm water” how warm is warm? Warm for me may be hot for you. This was tricky for me to understand and I think this is where I have had trouble in the past. Killing the yeast with water that is just too hot. Anyway, it was great to have Melinda available to ask questions and I think I now understand what “warm water” feels like. The recipe calls for 4 to 6 cups of flour and that I should stop adding flour when the dough is sticky to the touch and pulls away from the bowl. I followed all of the instruction but I think I may have added too much flour because the dough was pretty tough, not springy. Also, Melinda thinks that I mixed it for too long and broke up the glutton ribbons because they were pretty dense. Her rolls are always super light and fluffy so I will remember to mix less next time I make them. These rolls do not need to rise for very long, which was good because I was pretty anxious to see if I had been at all successful.
Much to my delight they were pretty good and everybody ate them. I was a bit disappointed at how dense they were but I think that can be a quick fix. Melinda also thought that I added a bit too much flour and that the recipe is not an exact measurement for the flour. I guess it all depends upon how old the yeast is, the humidity and the temperature of the water. I found it helpful when Melinda, a seasoned baker, could help me deconstruct my process and help me discover how to change my process for the next batch of rolls.
Overall, this was a successful baking project.
Traditional White Bread
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons lard, softened
1 tablespoon salt
6 1/2 cups bread flour
PREP TIME 20 min
COOK TIME 30 min
READY IN 2 hrs 30 min
Original recipe yield 2 - 9x5 inch loaves
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Stir in lard, salt and two cups of the flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into two lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
I have noticed that this recipe is slightly different from the roll recipe. This bread requires straight sugar to feed the yeast instead of honey and included lard. I hate the word lard. Anyway, I think I understand the correct temperature of water and my yeast proofed nicely. I paid close attention to the amount of flour I added remember how I got a little carried away last week. I am surprised at how easy this is becoming and I am hoping that this works. I am curious why this bread does not require any kneading. I’m guessing that the mixing process creates sufficient glutton. I will ask Melinda or Ben about this.
The recipe says the bread should rise in about an hour but it took almost two hours before I thought it had doubled in size. I hope this does not change anything.
I love the smell of bread baking in the oven. Delicious!
The loves look pretty good but one loaf has a huge bubble in it and I wonder if that is because I let is rise too much. Hum? All in all this was a successful baking experience. I am feeling more confident and am starting to get excited about next week.
This tender, high-rising bread makes wonderful sandwiches and great toast.
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast*
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
3/4 cup raisins or currants (optional)
*If you use active dry yeast, dissolve it in the warm milk before combining with the remaining ingredients.
1. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough or Knead dough for about 10 min.
2. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for about 1 hour or until it becomes quilt puffy (this dough may not double in size).
3. Shape dough into loaf and transfer to slightly greased bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to ½ hours or until its 1” to 2” off the rim of the pan.
4. Bake bread in a preheated oven 350 degree for 35 to 40 minutes.
This is a good recipe and I can see why it has such great reviews online. I think that the addition of milk does make a difference in the overall flavor of the bread. The recipe calls for raisins or currents but I decided that before I augment the original flavor I should try it undiluted. I was surprised at how wet the dough was and I guess I know understand what a shaggy dough is. I was surprised how much flour it required to make the shaggy dough less shaggy. I am curious how the rolled oats will affect the glutton ribbons. It seems to me that if whole-wheat cornels will cut the glutton ribbons then oatmeal flakes will as well. Hum. I enjoyed kneading the bread dough and kept remembering what Ben taught me last week. He is a champ!
Again, it took longer for the bread to rise than I had anticipated. Perhaps, I need to adjust my time expectations for bread to rise in our house. It tends to be pretty cold in our kitchen and all of the cookbooks suggest a warm, dry environment. Also, this dough continues to be quite sticky, even after it has risen. I hope I added enough flour. Hum. One week too much flour, the next week not enough flour….practice! practice! Practice!
Much to my surprise the bread looks beautiful and I guess the sticky-ness worked out okay. This bread is moist and like most things, only gets better with butter. Anyway, the bread looks beautiful and this is another successful week of bread making. I would say that I am feeling a lot more confident in my ability to produce a loaf of bread.
This bread is much better when warm. It smells great while it’s baking and right after its cut. But it gets a bit dry after it cools. I think it would be better toasting and smothered with jam. This is not stand-alone bread. It clearly needs something to be added in order for it to really work. 1
No Knead Bread with Sun-Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese
3 cups bread flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup finely grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 3/4 cup water
1. Using a large bowl, pour all the flour in. Add instant yeast, salt, dried basil, finely grated Asiago cheese and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. You can use tomatoes packed in oil or you can hydrate the dried ones. If you are using ones packed in oil be sure to drain and pat dry with paper towel.
2. Mix all those ingredients together by hand. Add slightly warm water and combine with a wooden spoon.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours.
4. After that time dust a parchment lined cooking sheet with flour. Set cookie sheet aside.
5. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface.
6. Pour out the dough carefully onto flour. Dust the top and lightly pat the dough into a ball.
7. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
8. Stretch the dough into a rectangle and fold one side half way over. Do the same to the other side. Now, fold from the short side of the dough the same way. Place dough seam side down onto the well floured parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap for 2 hours.
9. A half an hour before you want to bake the bread place a 6 to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in a 500F oven to heat up.
10. Remove the pot from the oven and carefully drop the dough into the pot seam side up this time.
11. Place the hot lid onto the pot and place back into the oven.
12. Bake for 30 minutes, if the bread is golden brown it is ready. If the dough is still white you can remove the lid and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes.
13. Carefully remove from the pot and cool on a wire rack till completely cooled.
According to the recipe, you just combined all of the ingredients together and let it sit over night which seems both awesome and a bit unbelievable. I do trust Ben and he says to just follow the recipe and I should be fine. Cross your fingers, here goes….
So, I mixed everything together and let it sit over night. This is a pretty wet dough but it smells great. I had to go digging in the garage to locate our Dutch oven. We had not used it since this summer and unfortunately, I had to wash it out and re-season seeing that it has not been properly cleaned. This was kind of frustrating but had a really positive outcome on my bread. To season a Dutch oven you scrub it clean with just water and then pat it dry. Next, you have to grease it with lard, oil, or Crisco before you cook with it. So, I cleaned it out and greased it and then returned to the baking directions found in the recipe. The Dutch oven sits in a very hot oven for 30 min. before you add the bread dough. What I did not realize was that the oil that I used to season the cast iron oven would help create the most delicious and crusty bread I have ever tasted. This was a complete mistake that made all our mouth water. The bread bakes in the hot oven for 30 min and hot, moist, and in this case greasy air circulated inside the oven to create a nice crust. It was pretty amazing to open the lid and discover a beautiful loaf of bread. This is the kind of bread I will pay good money for at any local bakery. It was absolutely beautiful- and the best part is I made it! It crunched when we cut it open and was super moist on the inside. The sun dried tomatoes, cheese and basil worked in perfect harmony to create the best loaf of bread I have ever made. We had dinner with Brad, Leslie and the girls so we baked the bread at their house and everyone one was impressed. I am so proud of my ability to produce such a great product. I am so glad that I made the mistake of not completing the seasoning process before I put the bread in the Dutch oven because I would never have discovered that hot oil is the key to creating a crusty loaf.
Later that night, I called Ben to share my great crusty bread success. He was both shocked by the successful outcome of my mistake and a bit jealous that I had accomplished the perfect degree of crusty-ness. His excitement and feedback were empowering and I am glad that in this case my culinary ignorance resulted in such a positive outcome. I think if Ben or Melinda had been there, I would have waited for the newly Dutch oven to cool and heat the Dutch oven again before I attempted to make the bread. I am quite sure I would have waited because I am still a bit nervous about bread baking. However, after a few great conversations, lots of reading and a handful of successful break making experiences, I just went for it. This is certainly something
I would not have done before. I feel like I am gaining confidence in my ability to make bread. This is a result of two great teachers who provided information within my zone of proximal ability. They modeled each step of the process and then let me experiment on my own, providing a careful balance of feedback and course correction. Each week, I approach the new recipe with more confidence and curiosity. I am grateful for this assignment because I have always wanted know how to bake really good bread and so far so good.