Monday, 31 October 2011

Povitica with a twist

I found this picture of Povitica and I didn't have a clue what it is so I "googled" it first before making it. Here is what I found:
Povitica or Croatian walnut bread, is a nostalgic favorite of many Eastern Europeans and their descendants. Povitica is rolled yeast bread, somewhat akin to strudel. It is typically served at special occasions, such as the holidays, birthdays and weddings. The versatility of this bread makes it perfect for morning coffee, or as a simple dessert. By some, the process of making povitica is revered as a dying art, made by long gone grandmas and aunts in the “old country.”  The sweetened dough is rolled out very thin and flat, and then is slathered with filling. While walnut is the most traditional of the fillings used to make povitica, other choices of fillings include hazelnuts, chocolate, poppy seed, strawberry jam, apples, cherry, pumpkin and cream cheese. After the filling is spread over the dough, it is rolled tightly, into a simple roll and baked, or placed into a loaf pan for a more uniform loaf."

So it looked a little complicated but actually it was quite easy and didn't take that long - maybe 4 hours start to finish.  I heard  it makes great French toast - if there was any leftovers! It was gone in a day :)  Here is the basic recipe and on the side is what I did that was different.

For Yeast to grow...
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp warm water
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast  (I use SAF Yeast - it's my favourite)

For the Dough...
1/2 cup skim milk  (I only had 2%)
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all purpose flour

For the filling...
1 3/4 cup walnuts, measure first, then grind in a food processor (I only had pecans)
(I also added 1 Apple chopped very fine and saute to soften them)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze...  ( I just brushed on the egg white and sprinkled a little sugar on it)
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar

Growing the yeast...

In a small bowl, mix together the yeast ingredients and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes. Check to see if your mixture is bubbly, that means your yeast is alive!!!

Making the dough...

In a small saucepan, heat milk to 180 F, remove from the heat and allow to cool to 110 F. In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar and salt until dissolved. Add egg, yeast mixture, melted butter and 1/2 cup flour. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook, or knead by hand, and knead for about 5 minutes.

Coat a bowl with cooking spray and add dough, roll the dough around to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. This should take about 1 hour to 1.5 hours.

Making the filling...

Just before the dough is doubled, grind the walnuts in a food processor and add the remaining ingredients.

Bringing it all together...

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
(I always use Parchment Paper to line my pans)

Take a clean bed sheet - preferably white so you can make sure there is nothing on it and spread it over your work surface. Lightly coat the sheet with some flour, not too much just a little flour. Add bread and roll out to a circle, about 10x12-inches.

Pour 1/2 tbsp of melted butter onto the dough. Using the backs of your hands, stretch the dough out until it's super thin. You want to be able to see through it, it's so thin! Try to make it a rectangular shape. ( I could have made it thinner - I will know for next time)

Once it's thin enough, add the prepared topping and spread out to cover the entire dough sheet. Now, roll up the dough. I used the sheet to help. Gently lift up the sheet and the dough should start to roll onto itself. Try to lift evenly across the length of the dough.

Once the dough is rolled, place it in the loaf pan, forming a U shape (two ends will be dangling out of one end). Fold the two ends back onto the dough. Using a pastry brush, coat the loaf with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 15 minutes. ( mine kind of looks like a swan!)

Remove plastic wrap and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300 F and continue baking for 30-45 minutes. .

Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Pop out of the loaf pan and ENJOY!.  Look at those swirls! (You can see that I should have made it thinner - but it was very good just this way too!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Tips from my Mother

I have learned a lot from my Mom over the years and a fair bit has been from being in the kitchen with her.
The kitchen can be a place to experiment, learn, be precise when baking and of course to have a lot of fun.
Here are a few things I've learned - I wish it had funny title like S#%}t My Mother taught me in the kitchen. But my Mother is a real gentle lady and never really had a "cross" word to say. If you are old enough you know what that means.... If you don't go ask a kind nice older person to tell you. Don't google it because it's not the same as a conversation with a person.

If you put hot water in your bowl that you made dough in you will make a glue that sticks to your brush or cloth that is really hard to get rid of. Resist the temptation!

If you think you will remember a few more minutes in the oven without setting the timer - think "oh s#%t" ok my Mom didn't say that word but "oh dear" or maybe even "Darn" but that was much later when I was an adult. Lesson here is it will burn- 1 minute with no timer equals smoke, burn, crispy and over done - sometimes completely forgotten till the smoke is bellowing out of your oven. Just don't do it.

If you don't put it back where it belongs you will never find it. Especially if some of your cupboards look like mine - ok I need to reorganize!

If you think it won't happen - it will! Murphy's Law for the kitchen. Means you will cut yourself if you are not careful, you will knock it over, break it, burn it, spill it, ruin it, spoil it, forget it, step in it, dog will eat it, and children will tattle on you in front of company to insure complete embarrassment!

So smile when you are in the kitchen, play music, laugh, (sometimes at yourself) teach someone, share a good recipe, eat together or as they used say "break bread together" - don't google that either.

Most importantly tell the person who taught you how much you appreciate them. In my case my Mom who is turning 90 in February! Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

What Happened to my CAKE?

You worked hard and now the disappointment of seeing your cake fall when it comes out of the oven!  I won't get into the science of why this happens - because I really didn't listen to much in class - probably because they weren't talking about baking - then it might have caught my attention, but no it was stuff I didn't think I would ever use.  Ok ok I know some of you are thinking that if I had listened I might have really learned something that would apply to this - but I didn't so please don't lecture me, email or tweet me about the real scientific values of this lesson. :)
So for the cake falling:
  • oven temperature - don't rely on your oven - buy an oven temperature thermometer
  • movement while baking in the over - changing the rack, turning the pan or heaven forbid an earthquake - maybe just your kids jumping around the oven - something they should never do
  • the wrong kind of flour - too weak
  • poor quality of eggs - if they are sitting in  your fridge a month past the expiry date --- clean your fridge out :)
  • too much leavening agent in your recipe - yes I know sometimes I lose count too
  • too much air - don't over mix your batter
  • undercooked - you need to check that temperature and the time
Your cake can shrink too - unlike some of our waists from eating too much of it
  • too much leavening agent
  • too much water or liquid in your batter
  • your flour is too strong  Know your flour

See I didn't really need too much science to let you know what might have gone wrong :)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Cinnamon Bread

After the first rise of my cinnamon bread
Flatten out not too much wider than your pan
Add a little water and then the mixture of dark brown sugar and cinnamon - I  added a little sprinkle of maple sugar to the mixture too :)

Roll it up
Pinch the bottom together and the ends - I slam it down on the counter to give it a really good seal
Let rise again for 1 hour - I also spread some melted butter on each loaf
Cover with plastic wrap and a light tea towel and rise

Bake for 30 minutes and this is what you get!
Saf Yeast is what I love!