Bread

Braided Pesto Bread

by Shawnda on July 18, 2012

in Appetizers,Bread

Braided Pesto Bread Wreath

Fresh bread? 10-minute pesto using a bunch of basil from the garden? Let’s be totally honest, there’s zero chance that something like this ever lasts more than 24 hours here.

Fresh Basil Pesto

The basil in the garden is really, really thriving. And so are the weeds. 12 days of rain out of the last 15 makes everything but the water in the pool happy. Just as the last big storm rolled in the other night, I ran out to the garden and ripped out one of the larger plants to whip up a quick batch of pesto.

And I almost made it back inside before the bottom fell out of the sky. Almost.

Fresh Basil Pesto

I used my favorite recipe for quick french bread and paired it with the last of the pesto. And following the folding technique I found here, I formed the bread into a twisted, braided wreath and then popped it into the oven.

All while praying that the bread didn’t come out looking too much like lady parts. Because sometimes that happens.

Braided Pesto Bread

A note – I was out of parchment paper and should have formed the wreath on the cornmeal-dusted pan that I was baking with… but as you can see from the photos below, I didn’t. Moving it was a total pain and cost me $5 in the swear jar. So don’t do that.
Continue Reading…

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Red Wine Burgers

We’re big, big fans of homemade hamburger buns around here. Peek around and you’ll find Chipotle Buns, Jalapeno Cheddar buns, and Shiner Bock buns.

Buns are more than just a vehicle to get from plate to mouth, although that’s their most important job. They’re also an excuse to add another layer of flavor to your burger.

I have to stifle a giggle every time I type “buns.” The scary thing is that I’m the mature one in the relationship :)

Everything Burger & Slider Buns

We took our favorite plain hamburger bun (and killer dinner roll) recipe and topped it with an “everything” mix of dried minced onion and garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and salt. That plain hamburger is suddenly a gourmet burger. And no one had to shell out $15 – or put on pants – to get it!

They make great sandwich rolls but we used the burger buns on an oldie but goodie: the Red Wine Burger. The savory Everything spice mix and grilled tomatoes cut the sweetness and paired nicely with the oaky merlot reduction.

Everything Hamburger Buns

The classic bagel topping transforms an ordinary hamburger bun into a rockstar.

Ingredients

  • For the burger buns:
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) plus more for greasing bowl
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the Everything topping:
  • 2 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (I had a black & white mixture)

Instructions

  1. Add warm water to the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Add the, oil, 1 egg, and sugar to the bowl.
  3. Add the flour and salt, mixing on medium-low speed with the hook until the dough holds together, about 2 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl. If not, add additional flour by the Tbsp.
  4. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil.
  6. Cover it with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  8. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  9. Divide the dough in half and each half into 4-5 pieces (depending on the size of your burgers, I typically get 8-10 full-sized buns per batch or 14 slider buns). A kitchen scale makes this easy: 3 oz for burger buns, 1.75 oz for slider buns.
  10. Roll into rounds and flatten with the palm of your hand onto the baking sheet; placing buns about 1/2-1 inch apart).
  11. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for 20 minutes + oven preheating time.
  12. Preheat oven to 350.
  13. Mix all ingredients for the Everything topping in a small bowl.
  14. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 Tbsp water.
  15. Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle all of the Everything topping over the buns.
  16. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  17. Store leftovers in a zip-top bag at room temperature.

Notes

Yields: 8-10 burger buns or 14 slider buns

Rolls adapted from The Pastry Queen, Everything topping from Annie's Eats via Pink Parsley

Estimated time: 3 hours

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Jalapeno Cheddar Hamburger Buns

We baked up our share of popular dinner and sandwich rolls at my parents’ bakery but one menu item in particular had a small, cult-like following: golden brown loaves of Jalapeno Cheddar Bread.

It was your classic soft, fluffy white sandwich bread, but loaded with shredded sharp cheddar and fresh jalapenos. And they had to be fresh jalapenos. My dad would have it no other way. (To this day, my dad still eats every single dinner with a small plate of jalapeno slices served along side. He’s my hero.) Between the cheese and egg wash, the loaves would turn a deep golden brown – you’d probably guess that it was brioche or unbraided challah and not a Sunbeam-style white bread.

But a couple slices of that bread transformed an ordinary brisket sandwich into a serious Texas brisket sandwich that sent weekend barbeque guests into a frenzy. And substituting the bread for a hamburger bun can make any “plain” burger taste like a fancy, $12 burger-shack creation.

Jalapeno Cheddar Hamburger Buns

To recreate dad’s bread at home, I used my favorite go-to recipe for soft, fluffy white bread and then added a mountain of grated sharp cheddar and a pile of fresh jalapenos from our one pepper plant that survived the winter and is already cranking out peppers like crazy.

The cheese disappears into the baked bread, leaving the smell and flavor of cheddar behind. The peppers can make for either a “green” or spicy bite, depending on how hot they were.

We serve these buns on nights when we’re having “ordinary” burgers or doing something with a little Texas flair, like a Frito Pie burger or a Texican burger. As you can imagine, they don’t really pair well with a Greek or Italian-topped burger :)

Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Buns

Sharp cheddar and fresh jalapenos transform an ordinary burger bun into a Texas specialty.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) plus more for greasing bowl
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 3 large jalapenos, seeded and chopped

Instructions

  1. Add warm water to the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Add the, oil, 1 egg, and sugar to the bowl.
  3. Add the flour, salt, cheese, and peppers and mix on medium-low speed with the hook until the dough holds together, about 2 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl. If not, add additional flour by the Tbsp.
  4. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil.
  6. Cover it with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  8. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  9. Divide the dough in half and each half into 4-6 pieces (depending on the size of your burgers, I typically get 8-9 buns per batch).
  10. Roll into rounds and flatten with the palm of your hand onto the baking sheet; placing buns about 1/2-1 inch apart.
  11. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for 20 minutes + oven preheating time.
  12. Preheat oven to 350.
  13. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 Tbsp water.
  14. Brush the buns with the egg wash and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  15. Store leftovers in a zip-top bag at room temperature. They freeze well, too.

Notes

Yields: 8-12 hamburger buns

Adapted from my dad and The Pastry Queen

Estimated time: 3 hours

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Sausage Kolache

by Shawnda on March 26, 2012

in Bread,Breakfast

Texas-Style Homemade Sausage Kolache

Near the top of my list of reasons why I could never move away from Texas, right under “free grandparent babysitting,” is kolache.

That list also includes other things like the Texans, quick access to beautiful grapefruit from the Rio valley, homemade tortillas from any number of nearby Mexican markets, Hill Country barbecue, a nearly year-long vegetable garden season, real Tex-Mex, and picking strawberries in February.

And not having to constantly answer “Oh, wow! Are you from Dallas?” when I pronounce a word with a long i. Like riiiice. And liiiight.

A Kolache, in its more traditional form, is a soft, sweet Czech breakfast pastry topped with fruit or cream cheese. During the summer, there is almost nothing better than having a tray full of peach kolache taking up the entire top shelf of your fridge!

“Sausage kolache” have become a Texas breakfast staple and were super popular at my parents’ bakery. It’s the same soft, sweet dough wrapped around a link of sausage. Bakeries typically use breakfast link sausages in their “small” kolaches but I prefer to start my day with a “big” kolache – stuffed with a smoked sausage link (the kind you’d normally find on a grill during the summer), fresh jalapeno slices, and cheddar. The sweet dough and the smokey meat make for a delicious breakfast.

And not surprisingly, you don’t find yourself thinking about lunch until it’s almost time for dinner.

This recipe for kolache dough is the closest I’ve ever found to both what my parents used and what the little shops further west sell. Use your favorite sausage – we used a Smoked Jalapeno-Cheddar Venison sausage in our latest batch. We usually freeze half a batch in a large ziptop bag and keep the other half in the fridge. The frozen kolache can thaw overnight on the top shelf of the fridge and be ready to reheated in the microwave the next day.

Sausage Kolache

Texas-style homemade sausage kolache are a savory twist on the classic Czech breakfast pastry.

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water, warmed to 110-115F
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115F
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 3/4 - 5 1/2 cups flour
  • For the filling:
  • Grated cheddar, optional
  • Fresh jalapeno slices, optional
  • Smoked sausage, cut into 3-4 inch pieces and halved lengthwise if very thick

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle the yeast over warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Let proof for 5 minutes, until foamy/creamy.
  2. Turn the mixer to low and add the milk, melted butter, 2 eggs, sugar, and salt until mixed thoroughly.
  3. Add the flour in two batches (start with the low amount) and mix only until just combined. The dough will be tacky but should be firm enough to crawl up the dough hook. Add additional flour as necessary.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1-2 hours, until dough has doubled.
  5. Punch down and refrigerate covered overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  6. Divide dough into ~2.5 inch balls (I weighed mine at 2.5 oz each) and set on a lined baking sheet.
  7. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Flatten each dough ball and top with a couple slices of jalapeno and pinch of grated cheddar (if using) and place the sausage on top.
  9. Wrap the dough around the fillings, pinching the edges together and placing seam-side down on the baking sheet.
  10. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes, while preheating oven to 375.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned.
  12. Let the kolache cool for 20 minutes and serve.
  13. Leftovers will keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3-4 days and can also be frozen.

Notes

Yields: ~15 large kolache

Adapted from The Pastry Queen

Estimated time: 7 hours

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