Francois et Mimi Stainless Steel Breadbox #Review #StainlessSteelBreadBox

1385966524

I already got the opportunity to try out some bedsheets from Francois et Mimi, and they were generous enough to also send a stainless steel bread box. And while I genuinely appreciate their efforts and generosity, I can’t recommend this breadbox, and I’ll tell you exactly why.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To start, it arrived damaged. Lest you think the Postal Service is to blame (and they frequently are), this time the shipping box was pristine. So it was boxed and shipped with scratches, a dent, and a cattywampus lid that doesn’t close properly. Another problem? The very thin steel means it’s easily bent back into something resembling straight. The spot welds holding the lid to the sides actually have dimples and discoloration. Oh, and rust. Three drop marks on the top I had to buff out with Barkeeper’s Friend. Nice quality control there.

IMAG2662

The problems don’t end there, sadly. The capacity, as shown, barely holds a bag of small bagels. A loaf of bread would probably not fit. The rubber feet on the bottom are glued and fell off almost immediately. Which, coupled with the aforementioned thin gauge steel, would lead to copious scratches all over your counters.

IMAG2667

I hate being less than positive with products provided to me for free for reviews, but I have to consider the people that may buy these products based on my recommendation. I have to ask myself would I have been happy spending $19.99 on this, and the answer is “no”. The company also took forever to respond and then a long time to ship. I can’t, by any stretch of the imagination, recommend this product. Assuming you get an undamaged one, I can imagine it would look nice on the counter.

Connect with Francois et Mimi via:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Francois et Mimi.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Advertisements

BakeItFun: Baking Mat in Blue #Review #BakingMat


 

 

IMAG2111

I always use the best ingredients we can afford when cooking and baking, and the same goes for the tools we use in the kitchen. Price does not always equate good quality and/or performance, so I give opportunity to everything because I have been disappointed by high prices/good known name and fallen in love with items that did not even cost half as much!

BakeItFun, makes professional grade silicone baking mats that fit your cookie sheet. I already use parchment paper and I do use a baking mat of like kind made by a French company. I have been happy with both materials, as each serves different needs, so I was eager to see how BakeItFun would perform against my expensive silicone mats.

I baked the most common recipe of them all, chocolate chip and chunk cookies. The cookie dough contains both shortening and butter, with sugars coming from dark brown sugar alone. I begin by unwrapping and washing the BakeItFun mat and washed it as instructed. The directions state the product needs a oil finish before the first use. First time I have seen this, as oil usually beads up/off silicone surfaces. I thought this was odd but I do as directed and opted for Vegetable oil due to it’s neutrality in flavor. Once the mat was “primed” with the oil, I proceeded to bake and tested with one cookie alone.

IMAG2257

I set the timer for 14 minutes, as this is how long this recipe takes with my other silicone mats and keep a close eye. I first notice a smell from the vegetable oil and I look inside the oven and notice oil beads sort of floating above. I notice at the 10 minute mark that the cookie looks browner than usual, plus the smell in the air is sort of close to “toasted cookies”. I take the cookie out and allow it to cool one minute on the pan and then move it over to the cooling rack. Once the cookie was on the spatula, I notice the bottom is over crisped and brown. We allow it to cool completely and do a taste-test. The cookie is much crisper on the bottom than desired. I decide to deeply wash the mat and even if I feel the oil is off, I am not adding it back on. Instructions state to oil only at first use and if you use the dishwasher (top rack only) to clean the mat.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I bake fries and the such as the weeks go by and the mat performs perfectly. It saves me on parchment paper, as I have been using the mat to bake savory dishes from potatoes, rewarming pizza, to puff pastry appetizers I made and froze for later enjoyment. I clean the mat by hand and the directions do say dishwasher safe but I feel it will last better if treated kindly 🙂

Retail Price Point: $11.97 via Amazon for a Half Sheet, 16.5″ x 11″

IMAG2258

Final Verdict-

BakeItFun silicone mats can withstand temperatures from -40°F up to 450°F, so it is freezer safe too and also says microwave safe. I found the product easy to wash and it did not absorb smells of what you cooked prior, so no blending of odd flavors when reusing it. The price point is low for these type of products and this is BPA free materials and FDA approved. My only con, was having to oil it and knowing the results that would cause. It made no sense as all other mats of same like kind do not require any oil prior use. Oil beads up and the entire point of using these surfaces, is to not have foods sit in oil or leak through. Once I stripped the oil off, which was easy as it just floated in bead form…..I was 100% satisfied with the product. I always follow directions but in my opinion, I would not pre-oil a product like this again! No type of oil is also recommended and with the list of fats from Coconut Oil, Peanut Oil, Olive Oil, Grape Oil……I went with one I felt would add little to no flavor if it was going to remain on. BakeItFun also has a 100% Life-Time Guarantee (no questions asked) and I value that greatly. The product has up to 2000 re-uses and if you bake like me, that adds up quickly with daily oven use and not just using it once a day………so I save on parchment paper and my cookie sheets as well!

Connect with BakeItFun at: 

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from BakeItFun.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HouseParty: Mixing it up with Mezzetta Party #MezzettaMixer

IMAG1685

Mezzetta has been a brand we have used in our home for decades. From the roasted peppers that go great on a pizza, blended to add to a sauce to the Peperoncini that I slice up for sandwiches or eat whole with a salad. I have started baking our own breads because finding a bread with “friendly ingredients” is possible but at a hefty price point. I don’t believe you should pay more when you want less chemicals! When HouseParty announced they had openings for a Mezzetta Party, you bet I signed up.

IMAG1684

Mezzetta Party Kit contained:

  • (1) Apron with a cute Mezzetta logo that has an Olive and finally an apron with 2 large pockets. Those that give you one pocket don’t realize that I have 2 hands and usually I act like I have three by grabbing more utensils that I can hold.
  • (1) Visa Card for the Host to purchase products/ingredients for the event.
  • (1) One of the cutest Slotted Spoon that is perfect for draining the brine/liquid but still getting the olive and/or pepper you seek. No need to attempt to “harpoon” a pepper with a fork or pretend I can balance an olive out of a jar like Houdini.
  • (16) Coupon Booklets that included Mezzetta inspired recipes.
  • (16) Reusable Mezzetta branded Tote Bags that were very welcomed by my guests, due to the new state law, which will make California the first state to pass a state wide law of banning shopping bags.

IMAG1682

I have been doing really good with puff pastry and just like that, you can make the dishes savory or sweet. Easy to use and a great way to showcase what is in season. I found the most beautiful baby heirloom tomatoes, so they were a must mixed with a ricotta and Mezzetta’s Sun Dried Tomatoes “bedding” for them to rest on. I allowed guests to make their own dish by pre-chopping veggies they could add to their tart. Easy and almost mess free (well, bunching up the used parchment paper can be labor intensive 🙂 ).

IMAG1683

Combined with an Italian braised pork that I used Mezzetta’s Sweet Cherry Peppers and also paired with fresh Italian (Cubanelle) Green peppers, and doused in Pinot Grigio wine. You simply brown the seasoned pork first, brown the veggies and then add the peppers with a nice healthy wine bath. I add a bouquet of Lavender and Herbs, and just stick in the oven (covered in a braiser) at 350 degrees for a couple hours. Easy and tastes like you took all day to make when it was the oven that did all the work. I also love the all in one pot cooking method!

IMAG1640

The Olive bread was a cinch too. I use my “lazy girl” method, which can be used with any combination of Mezzetta’s Olives and most of their peppers.

Mezzetta’s Olive Blend Bread:

  • 1 3/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of warm water (105 degrees)
  • Olive Oil to baste bowl and bread

I put the above in my mixer (with dough hook) and make a well with the flour. I add the yeast and the warm water and allow it to “bloom” (bubble a bit) for about 5 to 8 minutes. I add my salt and then mix. If it needs more water to allow for a dough that is supple, I add by the teaspoon. I knead (well, the mixer does it) for about 7 to 10 minutes. I then get a bowl and add some Olive Oil to allow the bread to proof in the oven (105 degrees) for an hour (cover lightly with plastic wrap). Once the dough is proofed, I then put it in the fridge (do not punch the dough down).

I used about 1/2 a cup of mixed Mezzetta Olives, you can use peppers of your liking as long as the seeds are removed and they are chopped. Same goes for the olives, no stones or anything. Once I chopped what I want, I then take the dough out and start kneading my ingredients in. I sometimes add cheeses and a mix of dry and fresh herbs. Try to not over knead when incorporating your olives/pepper mixes. This can produce a rough dough. I will then shape the loaf into a desired shape and I then put the dough on a baking stone (a pan is fine with parchment or at least oiled to reduce sticking). Cover with a light towel and allow the dough to proof again for about 40 minutes to an hour. I sometimes baste mine with more Olive Oil or you use Warm Water to create a nice crust. I have sprinkled Parmesan to even Maldon (flake) Salt on mine before putting it in the oven. Add a couple slashes to allow the bread to breathe (steam escape) and bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on size/shape) or until done. Allow to completely cool before slicing! You can also make the dough ahead and leave it in the fridge for up to a week after the first proof (the dough gets a richer flavor if you at least leave it overnight in the fridge)…….told you it was a friendly
recipe 🙂

IMAG1645

Mezzetta allows us to make dishes that look beautiful, taste great, but took only a few minutes to make. I like that! The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I can spend with Family & Friends!

IMAG1681

Get you Mezzetta Fix and Make it betta’ at:

IMAG1641

I received the above product(s) free of charge from HouseParty and Mezetta.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Fior di Frutta by Rigoni di Asiago: Apricot Fruit Spread with Honey Goat Cheese Rustic Bread #Recipe

 

IMAG1011

I don’t usually start blogging about a sample sized item I receive but the people at Rigoni di Asiago were kind enough to not only send me bottles of their delicious Nocciolata spread, an apron and the cutest shopping bag that folds into a hazelnut, but among the goodies were these samples of their fruit spreads. After being so joyous about finding my Hazelnut & Cocoa spread, a few days later I opened one of the two flavors they sent. I got a few Apricot ones and one Blueberry, so I went to open the one I had most of. The spread packet states their spreads are sweetened with just apple juice. I taste it and it’s like someone just plucked an apricot in it’s prime, smashed it a little and there you go. I would think someone giving me smashed fruit would make me unhappy but not this kind. I enjoyed it so much that I had to bake with it. I had just come from the store with fresh goat cheeses (sale got me!) and the honey version just started speaking to me, so here goes a recipe because I was so impressed with the Fior di Frutta sample in Apricot!

IMAG1014

Let’s Begin…..

  • Take 5 1/2 ounces of the “Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Bread” (Recipe here- http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-Sr)
  • 2 Tablespoons of the Fior di Frutta fruit spread in Apricot
  • 1/2 an ounce of Honey Goat Cheese (fresh and soft kind) and I went by weight, not volume.
  • Warm water mixed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing

Make the dough as instructed and when completed, take the dough and spread it out flat so it can be filled.

Then spread the Apricot Fruit Spread

Crumble the fresh Honey Goat Cheese

Roll and tuck the ends

Let rest for 20 minutes

While resting, put a dish with water in the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. I baked mine with the convection going. I also use a glass pie dish because I am starting the oven with the water already in, versus using the pouring when hot method.

IMAG0621

 

Mix warm water with a touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and brush loaf. I got creative and did a hash design when it came to slashing the dough. I figure try something different. I just cut an angle one-way and then the other to create a “diamond” like pattern.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until done in a 450 degree oven.

IMAG0651

Allow bread to cool before slicing, since losing cheese is no fun. I had mine about 8 hours later and this goes great with a fruit and cheese tray, with wine, with a salad or just as is. Enjoy!

IMAG0655

 

Some wonderful facts about the Apricot Fruit Spread:

IMAG1013

 

Get your Fruit Spread!  The Fior di Frutta line has one or like for me, I like them all:

  • On-line– http://rigonidiasiago-usa.com/our-products/fiordifrutta/organic-fruit-spread-apricot/
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/RigonidiAsiagoUSA
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/NocciolataUSA
  • Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/nocciolata/
  • Instagram– http://instagram.com/nocciolatausa
  • Also available for sale on Amazon

IMAG0654

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Rigoni di Asiago.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

IMAG1015

Told you the bag was super adorable!

No Kneading Required- Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Bread, great for fillings #Recipe

IMAG0652

This is a simple and super easy baked bread that uses part All-Purpose flour and part White Whole Wheat flour. It’s a blend that goes perfectly with fruit and even soft cheese with fruit based spreads. No kneading required and the bread lasts about 5 days in the fridge. I literally just pull the ounces I need and bake fresh bread when needed. It makes it look like I worked really hard in the kitchen!  This is the base recipe and you can make it go savory or sweet by what decide to fill it with.  You can also just have it as is and it goes great with ham!

Let’s Begin…..

  • 2 1/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup of White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Yeast (Active-Dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm Water (105 to 110 degrees)

Simply add the flours in a bowl, the salt and yeast. Whisk until blended and then add the water.

With a wooden spoon or one that has the “umph” to withstand a few strokes, mix until blended. I usually do it for 1 to 2 minutes and if the dough seems too dry, add a teaspoon of water until you get a sticky consistency.

 

Then simply cover lightly and allow the dough to proof for 2 hours.

I recommend a overnight rest in the fridge for better taste and it allows the bread flavor to mature nicely and hydrate properly. The next day just take out what you need. I pull out about 5 1/2 ounces to make a small sized loaf that is good for 2 people, plus leftovers. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes and then make your creations! Allow the shaped loaf to rest and proof for about 20 to 30 minutes and then comes the baking. Brush the loaf with warm water and sometimes I even add a touch of Maple Syrup to mine to even olive oil if I am making a savory loaf. Brush the loaf and then slash (2 or 3 should do). Then bake at 450 degrees until done. Mine takes about 20 minutes.  Allow the loaf to cool before cutting.  I allow 30 minutes unless a “squirrel” attacks my bread because he could not wait.  The squirrel is usually also called a husband 🙂

 

 

IMAG0653

Blueberry Maple Rustic Bread-

  • 9 ounces of Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Dough recipe above
  • 1/8 cup of dried Blueberries (I use no sugar ones- Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Drizzle of Maple Syrup
  • Warm Water with a touch of Maple Syrup for “wetting” the loaf before baking
  • Dusting of Turbinado Sugar

 

Simply hydrate your berries and some people use warm water,

IMAG0620

others like to add flavor by warming some juice and allowing the blueberries to hydrate in that. I went for water because I could not decide what juice to use and since it was late at night, my brain was starting to turn off. I bloom the berries for about 15 to 20 minutes. I then grabbed about 9 ounces of dough from the fridge and let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Slowly begin to shape, sort of flattening and pulling softly until I get the desired shape and length.

Then simply drain the blueberries and drizzle the maple syrup. I then rolled, leaving the flap side down.  You then just make sure the end (tips) are the shape you desire.  I went with a pointy look.

I got crafty and pulled some dough out to give it a scroll design on top but you don’t have to :).  Let the loaf relax (proof) for 20 minutes. Time lapses and I brush the loaf with the water and touch of maple syrup. Gave it a few slashes, sprinkled with Turbinado sugar and in it goes to be baked.  I baked the loaf for 20 minutes at 450 degrees and then allowed it to cool on the rack. I had a late night baking session but come morning, we were enjoying fresh baked blueberry maple slices and it was divine!  You control the sugar and sweeteners and get creative!  Make a patriotic themed loaf by adding cranberries and even chocolate or nuts.  Enjoy!

Giveaway Alert: TRIBES-A-DOZEN VOILÀ! HALLAH EGG BREAD MIXES

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $100 WALMART GIFT CARD

Help us celebrate our customers this season by spreading the word about our $100 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway.

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $100 WALMART GIFT CARD

from

TRIBES-A-DOZEN VOILÀ! HALLAH EGG BREAD MIXES

Here is how it works:

  • Take a picture of the Tribes-A-Dozen Voila! Hallah display @ your local Walmart. You will find it on the Kosher shelf. Get creative.
  • We will reward the most creative picture that you post on our page: https://www.facebook.com/TribesaDozen with a $100 Walmart Gift Card.
  • Contest valid from 4/2/14 – 5/2/14. Share this post with your Facebook friends! We will post the winner’s name on our facebook page. To find out if you won, like our Facebook page.

Good Luck!!!

Winners Announced for Tribes-a-Dozen & Almondina Cookies Giveaway

DSCN4431

Tribes-a-Dozen:

  • The winner is Kathy Hanley 🙂 I have sent an e-mail and Congratulations on the win!!!

DSCN4452

Almondina:

  • The winner is tcarolinep 🙂 I have sent an e-mail and Congratulations on your win!!!

 

 

Tribes-A-Dozen: Voila! Hallah Bread Mixes, Wholey Wheat & Traditional Review

DSCN4129

As a baker, I tend to always resort on made from scratch methods because of all the unkind ingredients in mixes. You want to reward your family with a treat and not necessarily a lab experiment.

In comes, Tribes- A-Dozen bread mixes, which are friendly on the ingredient list and a cinch to make. You have Challah breads made the traditional way, to wheat and simply spelt. I enjoy egg based breads very much but dislike having to purchase so many eggs that tend to take space in a fridge, until I get started on my project. With Tribe-A-Dozen, you use 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk. This leaves me with an egg white for next day’s breakfast, so it all works out nicely. The ingredients are the main focus for me because they are simple and recognizable.

DSCN4130

The wheat mix has Organic Grain Wheat flour, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, sea salt and organic flavor.

You get everything in one box, the yeast and the mix itself. You just add water, eggs as directed and then vegetable oil and honey. A little flour to for the board or you can also use oil if you want. I like options! You also have varieties to choose form (get creative) in making these mixes personalized by adding nuts to dried fruits, or even topping with a seed variety of your choice. One box yields 1 large loaf, 2 regular sized loaves or if you need buns, you can make 8 rolls in less than 2.5 hours!

My first try was a success and I kept checking the box because I felt it was a bit too easy that I was missing something. I was able to cook a nice dinner while baking my wheat Challah bread and it was less of a mess but not breaking tradition. I never have tasted wheat Challah and we mostly make traditional style because we love it on burgers to just plain by itself.

After the bread rises, you then dust your board with flour and divide as you wish.  I decided to go with 2 smaller loaves and one I did a traditional braid and the other I tried for a 4-strand braid.  I also opted to use sesame seeds and poppy for my personal touch.

DSCN4356

You then just stick the breads in to rise for for 45-minutes more and at the 30 minute mark, you start preheating your oven at 350 degrees.  You bake your beautiful creations for about 25 minutes.  Mine were ready in 22 minutes!

DSCN4358

I was very happy with the results from start to finish.  The wheat bread is moist and I did enjoy the flavor but I am more of a traditional gal and prefer the traditional mix they offer, plus I can’t pass up the great sandwiches it makes!  Goes great with any meal, even a Meat Loaf!  Give them a try risk-free with a satisfaction guarantee on every box!

DSCN4132

DSCN4364

You can purchase Tribes-A-Dozen mixes on-line or use the store locator to get your hands on a box:

  • On-line- http://tribesadozen.com/buy-tribes-voila-hallah-egg-bread-mixes/
  • FaceBook- https://www.facebook.com/TribesaDozen
  • Twitter- https://twitter.com/tribesadozen
  • Purchase via Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&me=A1N9ZRECBL4I2G

or

**You can enter to win your own Tribes-A-Dozen mixes by completing 3 small Tasks**

  1.  Please “like” Tribes-A-Dozen on Facebook 
  2. Follow Tribes-A-Dozen  on Twitter (@TribesADozen)
  3. Please post a comment on this review and that is it 🙂

 Previous winners of Tribes-A-Dozen giveaways are ineligible. Continental U.S. entrants only please 

I will announce the lucky winner on March 3rd!!!

I received the above product free of charge from Tribes-A-Dozen.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

BzzAgent: Kroger/ Ralph’s Classic Garlic Bread

DSCN3825

Located in the Fresh Bakery section of your local Ralph’s grocery store, you will find a french style loaf that is packaged in a foil covered bag. The loaf is large enough for a family to enjoy with two meals! Very easy to warm up in your oven and it’s ready to go with no preparation needed. Neat.

Overall Taste and Texture:
I liked the bread itself as it had a wonderful crust and was light and fluffy towards the center. The spread is suppose to resemble a garlic one, however I did not smell much garlic when I checked out the loaf before baking. I smelled oils and what you would describe a very light garlic-ey scent that seemed more like what you find in seasonings (powdered). After heating, I sliced the bread and again did not detect a rich smell that makes you almost drool when you have garlic bread in front of you. I usually sneak a bite in before serving but the spread was so fluorescent yellow in coloring, that it did not pique my appetite. When I lifted the top portion from the bottom, I noticed the “butter” was more oil than anything…..maybe it’s a margarine? I felt the spread sort of was a negative compared to how the bread itself is. I would definitely purchase a loaf of bread to go with a meal but I am sticking to plain on this one!

I received the above product free of charge from BzzAgent and Ralph’s.  I am not obligated in providing a positive/favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Pretzel Bread Recipe

DSCN3351 Pretzel Burger

Everybody loves pretzel bread. Everybody. We see the commercials from drive-thru joints to restaurants, and I was purchasing the 4 bun bag at Trader Joe’s until they discontinued it. So I started purchasing it at Costco then and after two purchases, they suddenly stop making it. I have heard they consider it a “seasonal item”, but whatever the reason, I wanted Pretzel Bread and was tired of hunting. Yes, I even tried Fresh & Easy’s Pretzel buns and they just taste like salty white bread, so I think they just paint their burger buns brown and call it Pretzel bread!

DSCN3263DSCN3266

Pretzel Bread                                                                                                                                                                 Brauts with Pretzel Buns

So after experimenting, I finally found a way to have Pretzel buns, rolls, loaves….you name it and you can even freeze them to have them keep longer. I use plastic wrap and then foil to freeze each roll. I then take them out, remove the plastic and re-wrap the bread in the same foil I used to freeze it in. Set the oven at 375 degrees and 10 to 15 minutes later, I have warm freshly baked Pretzel bread! YUM.

Let’s get started……

For the Dough-

1 cup of whole Milk
3 tablespoons of Butter
2 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons of Active Dry yeast (1 packet if using the envelopes)
1 1/2 teaspoons of Kosher Salt
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon of Unsalted Butter to use in the bowl your dough will rise in

For the Wash-

12 cups of Water
3/4 cup of Baking Soda

1 Egg and a teaspoon of Water to brush the bread before baking

I use a microwave and warm the milk until it reaches 115 degrees. I add the butter, brown sugar and then the yeast. I use a spoon and make sure to wet the yeast enough and let it sit for about 5 minutes. While the yeast blooms, I begin to combine the salt and flour separately in a large bowl. When 5 minutes have passed, i pour the yeast mixture into the mixer’s bowl with the dough hook attached. Make sure to use a spatula and get any remaining yeast into the bowl since it does not always pour out smoothly. I then begin to incorporate the flour and salt mixture slowly until I get a soft dough and this ranges between 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups. Not sure if the dough is smooth? Error on the side of caution and stick with 3 cups because a moist dough is better that a too dry dough in this application. Continue to knead the dough with the mixer for about 8 to 10 minutes. You want a smooth and elastic finish. I then take the greased bowl that will fit the dough but also allow room for it to proof (double in size). I dump the dough and create a loose ball, cover loosely with plastic and allow for it to rise. Takes about an hour and I use my oven as it has a “proof setting” that I set at 105 degrees.

DSCN3233

DSCN3234

Before Rise                                                                                                                                                        After 1 hour Rise

After the dough doubles in size, I begin by weighing it. This allows me to think about what I want to do so for example if I am making two large loaves, I just divide the weight in half. Making large buns, I usually divide the weight by 8. Sometimes I also make sandwich rolls or even a hot dog buns, and again divide the dough by what I desire to make. My dough weighed 785 grams so I felt a bun weighing about 95 to 100 grams, would make a good size individual loaf. I made round rolls and sandwich long buns with this batch. You make what fits best with your meals 🙂

DSCN3236

DSCN3237

To make a sandwich long bun, I just make a snake with the dough and then fold each end in. My snake is about 12 inches long so when both ends come together, the roll is almost 6 inches. Buns I just make balls with a flat bottom.

DSCN3238

DSCN3239

DSCN3241

DSCN3242

I then allow the buns to rise between 25 to 30 minutes. I put a towel over the pans and again return the dough to my oven on the proof setting at 105 degrees.

DSCN3252

While my buns rise, I begin to mix the water and baking soda. Bring your wash to a boil and then have a steady simmer going. I take out my spider spoon, because this helps me picking up the buns without a mess of water coming with them.

DSCN3246

DSCN3249

DSCN3251

I also crack the egg and add the water for the wash. Also a good time to set your oven to 400 degrees. I use the convection setting for bread.

DSCN3245

DSCN3244

DSCN3243

Buns have risen so now it’s time to “pretzel-ize” them. Just like you would do with bagels, you put one or two buns in and allow them to remain in the baking soda solution for 3 minutes on each side and I use the assistance of a timer because I can get distracted easily. After 6 minutes are up, I remove the buns and place them on parchment and the pan I will be using to bake them on. I have found my pizza pan (with holes) works better when it comes to texture but a cookie sheet works fine if that is all you have at hand.

DSCN3253

Give your bread(s) a brushing with the egg wash and then using a sharp knife, cut an “X” cross on top or slits, whichever you like. I do crosses on the round buns and slits on the longer ones to distinguish their use.  You may also sprinkle Poppy seeds if you wish to have some at this point.

DSCN3260

Pop them in the oven at the 400 degrees setting for about 10 minutes and then reduce to 375 degrees and bake until done. Okay, because buns, loaves, rolls, ect., vary on size, this is why I leave this part open regarding time. Mine took between 5 to 8 minutes on the 375 degrees setting and I take them out when they look as dark as you see pictured. Once you remove the bread, cool on a rack and try not to munch but I always give in to the smell and figure I test out the rolls to make sure they are good. Cool for about an hour or two and then you can freeze them like I described above.

DSCN3153

These guys are good as-is, for sandwiches and you can even make your own pretzel crisps, which I have used for even accompanying hummus and spreads. To make the crisps, you just slice a cool loaf and then toast them and allow them to cool. Best dipping bread EVER!!!!  Enjoy!

DSCN3264DSCN3155

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: