Well, I’ve got my first bake under my belt for the Food52 Baking Club and currently have some babka dough chilling in the fridge for my second one from Uri Scheft’s Breaking Breads cookbook.
I must admit, I thought this was never going to work. Last Thursday I decided to give the kubaneh recipe a try to go along with the loaded potato soup on the dinner menu, and even though I followed the instructions to the letter, the dough just never rose. I was so disappointed and since we no longer had a bread to go with the soup I’d planned to make, we postponed that dinner for another night.
Friday I had another go, but having some suspicion about the amount of instant yeast I used, I googled how to substitute it for fresh yeast and found that maybe the cookbook had underestimated the amount I needed. So I added 3 3/4 tspn instant yeast instead. I also found the first dough to be really dry and solid so added another 1/4 cup of water so that it had a nicer feel to it. And still, it was VERY slow to rise. Rather than the hour or two I was expecting, it took it a full 24 hours to double. So once again, our planned soup and bread for dinner was postponed.
But Saturday morning I went to check on the dough and it had finally doubled – hallelujah!!! So we set to work shaping and rolling the scrolls and preparing for the heart attack that could accompany consuming all that butter that the recipe calls for. The butter method was actually very easy, albeit different from other scroll recipes we’ve made in the past and we piled them into two small 7″ round cake tins as my 9″ seems to be a bit oversized and I wasn’t sure about leaving space between the scrolls. Baked them to accompany our loaded potato soup which we (finally!) had for Saturday night’s dinner.
Kubaneh is truly incredible to eat. Delectably buttery, slightly salty (which lends itself well to something that craves salt like potato), almost croissant like in texture…I cannot believe this came out of MY kitchen! You can find the recipe online if you don’t want to buy the cookbook, and if you’re up for a challenge and have the patience to wait for the dough to rise, I suggest you give it a try for yourself! Now to check on my babka dough…
I tried the bakealong recipe twice this month. It’s getting cold here and so berries are out of season, which made me a bit hesitant to have a go, but decided I’d just throw some defrosted frozen raspberries and see how it went. For my first attempt, I also decided to make the proper pastry cream and then I folded whipped cream into it as suggested. That, combined with the soupy raspberries, meant that it didn’t hold up as nice as it should have. It tasted great though and I decided it was worth having another try with a few changes.
Firstly, I decided to do the cheats pastry cream. It took 2 minutes to make and it didn’t leave me with an abundance of egg whites, so seemed like a no brainer. I also had an inkling that it would hold up better than the pastry cream I’d made from scratch, and turns out I was right! The other thing I did was change the fruit. We loved the cinnamon sugar almond topping on the meringue and I had a heap of pears in the fridge so thought they might be the perfect complement. Spot on again! In fact I think it made this summery cake perfectly seasonal for our pre-winter weather.
I cannot emphasise enough how easy this cake is to make compared to how impressive it looks, especially with the cheats pastry cream. Butter cake, meringue, cinnamon sugar almonds, vanilla custard filling and the fruit of your choice…really, you can’t ask for much more. Thanks, PJ Hamel for another great bakealong recipe!
We usually go all out on Star Wars Day, but this week has been so busy we ended up not making any plans. Not one to let the day go unnoticed, I thought it was time I try to make these Chewbacca cupcakes I’ve had saved on my Pinterest baking bucket list board for ages since I just happen to have all the necessary ingredients in my fridge and my pantry.
I’d never made white chocolate mousse before and was impressed that I managed to end up with a mousse that had no lumps. I had just enough for all 28 cupcakes (10 more than the recipe says it yields) which makes the OCD side of me very happy. The cupcake recipe itself seemed similar to some of the Momofuku layer cake recipes I tried last year and so it was a method I was familiar with, trying to force liquid into an already very wet batter. They turned out so light and fluffy, rather than a heavy chocolate cake that leaves you desperately thirsty. The chocolate frosting really needed that 1/2 cup of milk it calls for, and it set rather quickly making it difficult to pipe as it clogged up the holes in my piping tip. I didn’t have any chocolate fondant for creating Chewy’s sash so instead I opted for some mini chocolate chip eyes and nose. Overall I was very happy with the result and we enjoyed eating them last night while playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.
I’ve been a loyal follower of the Food52 blog for many years so when I found out a couple weeks back that they’ve started both a cookbook and a baking club on Facebook, of course I had to join. I’ve decided that I would choose only one of them each month to participate in, based solely on my interest in the books that have been chosen.
I’ve been doing a lot of bread baking lately (mainly sourdoughs, which I’ll write more about later) so for the month of May I’ve chosen to participate in the baking club as they work through the Israeli baking book by Uri Scheft, Breaking Breads.
I am very excited about immersing myself in this book and already know I’m going to be attempting the famous chocolate babka and the kubaneh, but I’m torn between the krembo, sufganiyot and one of the challah recipes for my third bake. Just look at how gorgeous these breads are…
Can’t wait to taste the results and see what recipes prove to be the most popular with the rest of the group. Happy baking!