Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Grilled Bagel Flatbreads?

It was a beautiful summer day to grill some flatbreads and I decided to experiment with a few bagel-flatbreads (without the holes). I used a variation of my bagel recipe, but without using the sponge method. See dough method at end of article.
Below is my original Grilled Flatbread video for reference.

Dough balls after slightly flattening
Flattened dough in hot water

The bagel-flatbreads after turning (The three in the center)

I only experimented with 3 pieces of dough. I just let them sit in boiling hot water for about one minute and then placed them directly on the grill. At first they stuck quite a bit, but as soon as the dough cooked, they released fairly easily. They really did taste like a combination of a bagel and a grilled flatbread.
I love doing these little experiments on the grill! BTW- I freeze the flatbreads and then just heat them up in the toaster oven as needed. They are great reheated. They also make a tasty breakfast bread - regular or bagel version!

Dough Prep Method: Put 2 lbs of bread flour in the mixer bowl, make a little indentation in the flour and add 2.5 cups warm water. (You may need to adjust the amount of water.) Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir just a little (trying not to mix in too much flour). After a few minutes, the yeast is softened. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and mix on low speed for 10 minutes. This method saves prep time and dirty dishes. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled in volume. Divide the dough into desired number of pieces, round, cover and rest for 15-30 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated before using.  For more information, see my Grilled Flatbread page.
For more info on yeast doughs, please see the following articles: How Long Does it Take Dough to Rise and Pizza Dough FAQs.
My Pizza for Two dough will work great for grilled flatbreads too. There's also a video so that you can see the above method for softening the active dry yeast.


Monday, October 30, 2017

No 2: Europe 2017! Bleached Parchment Paper vs. Natural

This is my second article comparing a kitchen product purchased while on vacation in Paris with a similar product found in American grocery stores. The funny thing is that this comparison actually involves two products that are made in France - bleached and natural parchment paper. I didn't have experience with natural baking paper and was curious how it would compare side by side with the bleached white variety.
The Reynolds version (top in the above pic) is the type I see most often in local stores.
The paper is made in France, packaged in the U.S., very high quality and allows for the baking of several batches per sheet. The natural Alfapac baking paper that I purchased in Paris (bottom in above pic) is also a very nice quality, but feels thinner to the touch.

I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and baked some on each kind of paper.
Raw dough on natural parchment paper

Raw dough on bleached parchment paper
  1. The natural paper was easier to work with, because it didn't curl up as much as the Reynolds
  2.  Reynolds paper could probably bake more batches per sheet as it was more durable.
  3. The natural paper tended to burn on the edges more easily.
  4. The baked cookies looked quite similar, but I preferred the ones made on the natural parchment paper. They spread just the right amount and baked more evenly, although it's a little difficult to tell from the photos below.
  5. I like the width of the natural paper, because it fit my pans without trimming.
  6. Both papers provided excellent non-stick surfaces.
  7. I love chocolate chip cookies.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Europe 2017! 1. Carrefour in Paris - Definitely not Walmart!

1.  Europe 2017 - Carrefour Hypermarket
This is the first of my articles relating to our European trip in July.  We visited Copenhagen, Berlin, Bremen, Amsterdam, Bruges, and our final destination, Paris. While there, I wanted to go to a large retail store and see what is was like and hopefully purchase some goodies to take home. We were traveling light and could not take too much with us, but I still had to get some more cooking things!

Looking online for a place to go, I read about the Carrefour chain and its hypermarket in Paris. This hypermarket was equated somewhat to our Walmart superstores. Of course, I had to go and see for myself.  When we first walked in, the non-food items were displayed near the entrance and they did resemble what you might see at a Walmart. However, when we got to the food section, oh my...Absolutely no comparison.

There were amazing breads, cheeses, meats, seafood and on and on. In the top picture is a crepe machine in the distance. In the video below you can see it automatically making huge delicious looking crepes (unfortunately, we didn't try them). 

 I wish I could have brought home some different flours seen in the picture above, but flour is a bit heavy to travel with. I did, however, purchase many other culinary items and in future articles/videos, will be comparing and contrasting. Coming next up next: French yeast vs. Aldi.  Stay tuned...

Side note: One thing that I noticed in all the countries we visited in Europe, is that the ingredients listed on products appear to be more natural than those same products in the states. Especially when it comes to artificial food coloring. I've never understood why most pickles in the US have yellow food coloring in them. A topic for another article!

Friday, May 5, 2017

"Can I Freeze Leftover Dough?"

This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked from YouTube viewers and students. Usually it refers to leftover pizza dough, but it can be about any yeast dough. My answer is that the freezer is not too friendly to living yeast and the dough will be rather lifeless after being thawed. I prefer to finish off all I've made made (although, I sometimes refrigerate some for use the next day) and then freeze the finished product. This is true with pizza and breads.
Freshly made dough

For example, a couple of weeks ago we did some backyard grilling and I made one of my all-time favorites, grilled flat bread. It can be made with almost any lean dough (one that doesn't have too much sugar or fat) and is super easy and fast. The charcoal was a bit too hot since my husband decided to throw on some wood clippings from our pear tree, so they sure cooked fast! Some a little too fast. They were delicious and we ate a bunch with dinner. The leftovers were frozen in a plastic bag.  To reheat, I just pop them in the toaster oven (watch closely) and enjoy nice hot flat breads. I've even warmed them over my gas burner. You can also microwave to thaw first -very briefly.
On the grill
Today, I needed to make a quick lunch and there wasn't too much going on in the fridge, so I took out a couple of breads, defrosted them in the microwave, topped with a little olive oil, fresh tomato and provolone cheese.
Ready for the toaster oven
Popped them into the toaster oven and voilĂ , I had a nice hot lunch with a flavor reminiscent of the fresh made flat breads! Here's the recipe.
Super quick and tasty lunch!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mini tarts made easier and better!

I had some left over pastry/pie dough in the fridge and wanted to use it up, but didn't feel like rolling out dough. Because I make my pie dough with butter, (recipe) it gets extremely hard when cold. So...I decided in my moment of laziness to try something new.  I just chopped up some fruit (apples, pears and plums) into small oven proof bowls, added some sugar, cinnamon, flour and lemon zest (didn't measure) and gently mixed with a spoon. Then I thinly sliced my pie dough into disks and placed it on top of the fruit. Baked at 400F until bubbly. Didn't time it, but I think it took around 30 minutes. They were so good that I thought I would share. 
Happy Baking!