Panettone, No Knead

Officially, at least in my country, Christmas is NOT over. Somehow, we start in September and go on until the first Sunday of January of the coming year! So the stores still have their Christmas decorations and displays, as well as their Christmas music blaring.

As for me, I did very little Christmas baking/cooking, if at all. I had asked hubby if he wanted fruitcake (he usually did) but lo and behold, he asked me to hold off on making fruitcake. Meanwhile I anticipated his saying yes and already bought some mixed dried fruit and mixed glazed fruit! I thought, oh well, I could always make something else later on and simply stuck the stuff in the fridge.

But as soon as Christmas day passed, I got an urge to get into the kitchen and do something.

This is what I came up with… considering I already had some “Christmas” fruit mix in the fridge.

Just in time too, for New Year’s Day lunch, when my mom and 2 brothers came over for a meal.

As usual, I chose a no-knead bread… and of course, from my favorite book – The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

The recipe can be found here.  (I halved the recipe.)


Brioche Dinner Rolls

Who doesn’t like freshly baked bread?  Brioche at that.  No one, that’s who!

But my oh my, the work that goes into making brioche!!!!!!!

While I (used to) love kneading, my increasingly severe RSS prevents me.  So when I found that it is possible to make brioche without kneading… I literally did a dance of joy!

There are quite a few recipes online but the one I decided to try is this one.  I halved the recipe though, simply because I did not have a bowl large enough, nor the fridge space to store it (more on this a bit later).

The method couldn’t be any easier!  First step – mix all the dry ingredients together –

3-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Then, in a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together

4 eggs
1/4 cup whey (from draining yogurt)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup (melted) browned butter

(Okay, here is where I admit to mucking up a few things – blame it on my short attention span and carelessness.  But all is well that ends well, right?  Anyway, I forgot to halve the yeast and I mixed up the measurements for the water and milk.  Only, I used whey instead of water…)

So, going back to the procedure… pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, making sure no trace of flour remains.  Cover (with plastic wrap) and leave a couple of hours at room temperature.  I left mine out for about 3 hours.

Then, grab a chunk with your hand and give the dough a stretch by pulling up and returning the dough into the bowl.  Fold the dough over on itself (still in the bowl) about 3 times, turning the bowl partly after each time.

Cover again and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours, up to 46 hours.  (A note here, the original recipe called for leaving the dough out at room temperature, but I live in a tropical country and leaving the dough at room temp, which in my country is pretty hot, presents a problem because of the fresh eggs so my dough goes into the fridge.)

To bake the bread, brush butter into an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.

Divide the dough into 16 balls (in my case working very fast while the dough is still cold – a warmed dough is more difficult to handle) and arrange the balls in the baking dish.  Cover again and leave about 90 to 120 minutes for the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Bake about 20 to 30 minutes, or until an instant thermometer registers 190F.  To prevent over browning, cover with foil.

(Since I like my buns browned but with a soft crust, I brush butter over the top immediately after taking the pan out of the oven.)

Cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes then move the bread to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Yum yum, yum!!!!




Sweet Milk Bread

Nope, I haven’t forgotten about making bread… it’s just that therehave been too many things going on… but here is one – a variation of the same theme (no knead) but using milk and a bit of condensed milk.

I can confidently say that this experiment is a success!

Whey Bread, No Knead!

I have my friend T to thank for introducing the no-knead bread to me.  While I had the book for some time already, I had not bothered to read it (it was a gift) and had been making bread by kneading.  But I was plagued with RSS which caused me much pain, so much so that my dough kneading (and yes, also my frosting piping) became greatly reduced.

But having tried the no-knead bread, I was hooked and went on to experiment a bit.  My experiments gave me my go-to recipe, a slightly modified version of the original…

I actually use half of the original formula, (it is a good idea to read/know the original formula/method first) because [1.] I cannot find a 6-liter capacity container!  not that it would fit in my fridge… and [2.], while we like bread, we are basically rice eaters, and half a recipe, which gives us a couple of (sometimes even 3) boules, actually last us a week.

What is my secret?  Whey!  I make 3 to 4 liters of yogurt every week, which I strain to make Greek-style yogurt.  I am left with (sometimes a lot of) whey.  While my younger brother drinks it (or uses it for shakes, etc.) I found that it makes bread a tad more flavorful…

My halved, adapted recipe:

1 cup warm water
1/2 cup whey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 tablespoon fine salt
3-1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar, optional

The procedure is easy – just mix everything in a 3-liter capacity container (with a loose lid, do not use airtight containers).  Cover lightly and leave to dough to rest for 2 to 3 hours.  Then put the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, sprinkle a little flour on the dough.  Grab a third or half of the dough (use scissors to cut the dough) and quickly form into a boule (check out the video)

To bake, I don’t really use a dutch oven or baking stone.  After forming the boule, I let it rest on an oiled, floured piece of parchment or greaseproof paper for 45 to 60 minutes.  About 10 minutes before time is up, I preheat my small electric oven.  And I also heat my 6-inch cast iron pan (or a 7-inch one) and grease it with canola oil.  I plop my dough CAREFULLY in the heated cast iron pan and (using scissors) make cuts or slashes on top of the dough.  I also sprinkle some flour on top (as opposed to cornmeal) before placing it into the preheated 400*F oven.

The bread bakes 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temp reads 200*F.


And it’s done!

Sometimes for variety, I would add a handful of raisins, or mixed dried fruit, or in this particular instance, a handful of sunflower seeds!


It is absolutely great slathered with butter, jam, cream cheese, or a dried fruit-honey spread!


Cream Boule

The thing is, I promised my brother some bread every Sunday.  How we got to that arrangement I no longer remember with any clarity but so far, my brother is a good and effective guinea pig for my bread experiments!

Here’s another one using no knead method.  But it is definitely not lean!  Part of the liquid was replaced with whipping cream and about 5 to 8% of the flour reduced to maintain a wetter dough.

The resulting is texture is different… somehow soft yet still hefty.  And still absolutely delicious and tasty!


Bread Pudding

When I was little, bread pudding was a popular dessert.  I never realized that it was made from bread until I was much much older!  It was also one of those things that was made from “a feel for it”, no specific recipe to speak of.

The way I was taught to make it?  It first depends on how much bread cubes we had… basically, spread the bread cubes in a single layer in a Corningware square dish (how specific!)  For the “middle-sized” dish, it meant 2 grande eggs (XL-sized).  Now, for every egg used, we add 3/4 cup milk (no low fat milk… we used to use evaporated milk!), 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, a large pinch of apple spice (or cinnamon) and a small pinch of salt.  This recipe or proportion is by no means a strict one… in fact, we always eye-balled it!

Anyway, our pudding almost always had raisins added to it.  But since I was using the dried fruit bread from the other day, I decided to add chocolate chips instead!  And while I was at it, I added 2 tablespoons of rum too!

The secret?  Leave the bread soaking in the milk mixture at least 4 hours before baking!!!

The verdict?

Everyone loved it… even my hard-to-please mother!!!


Bolo Rei

Like I said, this is the year of fruitcake for me.  And I know I said I had baked my last fruitcake, but hey, technically, this is not cake, it is bread!

Bolo Rei is the Portuguese Christmas King’s Cake, but like I said, it is really bread, with yeast and everything.

I basically followed the recipe here – but I scaled the recipe down to a third.

Yes, this was Christmas Day breakfast!




Ensaimada (or ensaymada) is a Filipino sweet bread that is slathered on with butter, sugar and cheese.  It may or may not have its origins with the Spanish ensaimada (mallorca) but it has evolved to be the quintessential Filipino bread (pandesal notwithstanding).

I have been on a quest to make THE ensaimada that I like for almost 5 years!  My attempts have all been flops… until this one… and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a no-knead one!

As always, I based the recipe on one that is in the The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  But I tweaked the brioche recipe in order to make it even richer because as far as I knew, the dough for ensaimada has more egg yolks and virtually no egg whites!  (I kept a couple of whites in the recipe though).

Wonder of wonders, I not only succeeded, but it was the perfect one for me!