Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 2012 Daring Bakers' Challenge - Challah

Six Braid Challah Bread
Recipe Source: The recipes provided for the challenge came from or were inspired by recipes found through a variety of online sources (including, but not limited to Also invaluable was the book “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh.
Blog-checking lines: May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

I have never made braided bread before so I was thrilled when I saw the challenge was Challah. In Finland we have a sweet bread called pulla that is braided (three strands) I saw my mum make it many times when I was a child and always wanted to make some. The final bread is very similar in taste to pulla I was very pleased about that. I decided to do a six strand braid. I was extra careful about making sure that the braids were all the same (size, shape and weight) and that I did a double coating of egg wash. I made a jury-rigged dough proofing cabinet the bread raised in only 45 minutes the final raising took about 20 minutes.

The process of making the bread was very straight forward, it was the braiding that was a little challenging for me, I practised the braiding using strands of playdough (dough made with salt and coloured dye) after a dozen attempts I had the technique down pat, looking at the final result I thought I had done a reasonable job on it for a first attempt. I was fairly pleased with the final outcome, it was only after I had looked at it I realised that I should of made the ropes of dough tapered I had made them absolutely straight and even the entire length of the strand hence the reason why the final challah loaf looks so flatt  but I didn't mind that at all. Overall a reasonable job I thought.

The jury-rigged proofing cabinet – fill the sink 5 cm (2 inches) with hot water from the tap. Place a metal pan on the bottom place the bowl with the dough on the pan making sure the bowl doesn't touch the hot water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then cover the sink with newspaper (this traps the warmth and steam) then prove the bread.

Process of rolling out the strands

Starting the six braid challah

The egg-washed proved bread just before going into the oven

The final bread

I liked doing this so much I will try some other shapes again soon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

April 2012 DC challenge -Messieurs-Dames: Boeuf Bourguignon!

Kangaroo and Rabbit in Red Wine (a la Julia Child) Photobucket Photobucket

Recipe Source: Mastering the art of French Cooking – Julia Child

Blog-checking lines: Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

This month was great to make Julia's Child Boeuf Bourguignon. Which is a classic in itself for many cooks. I really tried to make the recipe as written I had the best intentions when I went to the shops but I couldn't resist the extra good bargains on kangaroo and rabbit the game meat shop was having. I got one whole wild rabbit for $4 and one kilogram of kangaroo fillet for $6. I got purple carrots which seem to be in abundance in the fruit and vegetable shops at the moment (they taste exactly the same as normal carrots but have deeply purple flesh and when you cut then they bleed a deep purple liquid that stains skin I have purple fingers now LOL LOL). I got small beet(root)s to add to the red wine while it was simmering I always find that a couple of beet(root)s makes the sauce a much better colour it gets rid of that "murky dark brown hue" that wine red sauces can have and it deepens the flavour of the meat and red wine reduction. At least I followed the red wine part of the recipe as Julia Child wanted. Kangaroo and rabbit only takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours of simmering to cook to a melt-into-your-mouth texture. Roo tastes exactly like beef (I cannot tell the difference at all) while rabbit has a mild taste. I really liked the combination of the dark kangaroo meat and the white rabbit meat with the beet(root) and other vegetables. I have to say I was very worried about 3/4 of the way through, I tasted the liquid and it wasn't that nice, but by the end of the simmering time, the sauce was superb and so so tasty. The browned onions where a revelation to me I never realised how tasty they are and their texture has a wonderful tooth feel. I had a few titbits of the vegetables and meats they had picked up the red wine flavour strongly. Overall a good result I thought. I will be serving this tomorrow I think it will be even better tomorrow. Kangaroo, rabbit and bacon
The parsley, beetroot, purple carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions Photobucket
Notice the colour of the purple carrots and the other vegetables Photobucket
The red wine I used($7.77) Photobucket

Searing the kangaroo

 Searing the rabbit
 The pot at the beginning of the simmering Photobucket
The final result I loved the colour of the meat pieces and vegetables in the dish Photobucket