Monday, November 26, 2007

Daring Bakers November Challenge - Tender Potato Bread

This month the Daring Bakers challenged themselves to make Potato Bread. You may think that this doesn't sound particularly hard or exciting, but I assure you that would be an incorrect assumption.

The lovely Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups chose this recipe so that we'd be able to expand our baking horizons and use new ingredients. I have never baked with potatoes so I was looking forward to see how the bread would turn out. After reviewing the recipe I got to work and didn't leave it to the last minute like I usually do.

First of all, the dough turned out very soft and sticky. I ended up adding 7 and a half cups of flour to get a nice dough consistency. I let it proof in my oven and unfortunately didn't use a big enough bowl because when I came back after the first rise, the dough was exploding over the sides. Be aware that the recipe makes a lot of dough.

I had enough dough to make a 9 x 13-inch pan holding 12 buns and two 9-inch round focaccia breads. Sadly, I don't have a picture of the latter since they got eaten first. I added some shredded cheese to the bun tops and baked them up. Let me just say, the bread was wonderful.

The potato bread had a chewy texture and a crispy crust. It definitely didn't taste like regular white bread but it didn't taste like potatoes either. The buns rose so high that you were full after just one. I used them to eat with chili and turned the rest into breakfast egg and cheese sandwiches. It was a winner and I didn't have any problems with potato weights or the yeast. I would, however, make less next time.

For the complete recipe, please visit Tanna and for all the many talented creations made by my fellow Daring Bakers, check out the blogroll.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quick Orange Buns

I've wanted to make these buns forever but each time I tried to, I never had oranges. I don't always buy them because I don't like peeling them. (I know, that's pretty lame.) Our fruit basket usually has apples, pears and bananas - easy fruit. However, on the last shopping trip I bought a mesh bag of oranges because in November there isn't a lot of in-season fruit to choose from.

These buns are made from a scone-type dough with the addition of eggs. It is soft and I didn't add too much extra flour so they wouldn't become tough. Kneading it was sticky business but it shaped into a square really well. The orange sugar mixture you use to fill the buns was a little excessive as a lot of it leaked out the sides. I believe that perhaps this was done on purpose to create a caramelized filling however I would reduce it next time.

Rolling the dough took some patience and coaxing. Soft dough + lots of sugar = sighs of frustration. The final product does not look remotely rolled. They do taste really yummy though. The sugar gives the top a nice sweet crunch and the bun itself is fluffy, like a homemade tea biscuit. I'm sure that they would have been even better had the sugar not leaked out the bottom of my tube pan and filled the oven with smoke. Baking the buns in a tube pan makes a pretty ring that can be pulled apart and eaten with a pat of butter or drizzled with an icing sugar glaze.

Recipe: Quick Orange Buns

Friday, November 16, 2007


Kipferl is an almond vanilla cookie hailing from Germany. From what I've managed to find out, it is a Christmas cookie shaped like a crescent that is eaten with tea and jam but I think you could eat these little delicacies anytime morning, noon and night.

The dough is similar to a sugar cookie with the addition of ground almonds. After a brief chilling period, they're shaped and baked. I think some of my crescents look like "U"s and "C"s. It took me some time to get them all looking similar. They do take a little extra effort and my dough got really hard so I had to soften it up to keep from crumbling. Once they come out of the oven , they're dusted with more sugar and ready to be enjoyed.

Kipferl has a distinct and pronounced vanilla flavour while the almonds add a gentle undertone. They browned considerably after 12 minutes so watch them closely. The cookie texture is like a sugar cookie but the ground almonds add a bit of texture. Overall, I really liked making and eating the Kipferl. They taste really fabulous the next day or even the day after after the flavours have had a chance to mingle. Again, they would make an interesting and tasty addition to any cookie tray.

Recipe: Kipferl