Many people love bagels, but few have ever learned how to make them at home. This is truly tragic, because there is nothing like a freshly boiled-then-baked bagel. Perhaps you’ve had a taste of this perfection if you’ve ever been the first customer on line in a NYC bagel shop, but even that experience won’t give you the inimitable sense of pride that comes from making your own.
In the case of pretzels, rather than boiling them, they are poached in a solution of water and baking soda. Though it might sound strange, the alkaline water makes the dough slightly gummy; once baked, it helps to ensure a chewy interior with an outer "crust" browned to perfection.
They’re incredibly easy to make: simply roll ‘em and cut ‘em and bake them on your Baking Steel; within minutes, you’ll have an addictive snack. If you happen to find yourself with a leftover portion of dough that is advancing in age, give it new life with this recipe.
The seeds add crunch and flavor, evoking the seasoning of an everything bagel minus the onion and garlic. I’ve since been sprinkling the seed mix on everything — toast, sandwiches, flatbread brushed with butter and crisped on the Baking Steel.
For me, I just say I love breakfast. It's so simple and tasty. It's all about the ingredients, nothing over the top, just good ole breakfast food. So that's where we get to the biscuit.
Two weeks ago, I was on a mission to make homemade English muffins. Many of you have been inquiring about the griddle which is coming soon, but for these, we don't really need a grease channel, so I placed my ¼" Baking Steel on my stovetop instead.
Wondering what to do with those extra dough balls, after your troops have had their fill of pizza? Here is an answer that will entice-breadsticks! In less than 20 minutes, with a few key ingredients: pizza dough, clean hands, and a hot Baking Steel in your pre-heated oven, you'll be enjoying these breadsticks that are sure to elevate you to rock-star status! Think about the way the Baking Steel crisps your pizza...now imagine how awesome these breadsticks come out...crunch!
Unfortunately, while I was making these, my two "taste-testers" devoured the sticks before I could capture the evidence on camera. Not to worry! We grabbed another dough, divided it up and started gingerly rolling "sticks" with our hands. While we waited for this batch to bake, I reminded my boys, "please wait for daddy to get a few pictures before we eat all the evidence". Easier said than done, but they managed to restrain themselves.
In less than 20 minutes you can create some love and a healthy snack for all to share! Just be sure to double your batch, because I promise they'll go quick!
Create Some Love,
500 Grams bread flour
16 grams fine sea salt
1 gram active dry yeast
350 grams water
15 grams Bob's Vital Wheat Gluten
1. Using your scale, pour 500 grams (3 3/4 cups) of flour into your mixing bowl.
2. Next, add 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) of active dry yeast
3. Pour in 16 grams (2 teaspoons) of fine sea salt.
4. This next step is not part of Jim Lahey's recipe but it is something I learned from Modernist Cuisine. I add 1 tablespoon of Bob's Red Mill vital wheat gluten. This dough is delicate, the Bob's wheat gluten gives the dough more texture and elasticity.
5. Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in your mixing bowl.
6. Pour in 350 grams (1 1/2 cups) of water.
7. With either a wooden spoon or your hands, blend all of the ingredients together. Once the ingredients have bonded and your dough looks similar to the pictures above, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Wet your towel beforehand and ring out all of the water so that it is slightly damp. This will help prevent the top of your dough from drying out.
8. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 18 hours, it will have at least doubled in volume. Tiny little air bubbles should be evident.
9.Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
You are all done. It really is that simple.
1. Cut a small portion of your no knead dough, size doesn't matter. I went for long pencil shapes. Pre-heat oven to 400 F
2. Flour your work surface
3. Take both hands and press down and roll until desired length
4. Place breadsticks on parchment lined pizza peel
5. Melt butter and paint breadsticks on both sides
6. Top with sea salt, or add any flavors desired
7. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn over and bake for another 3 minutes until desired brownness
8. Remove from oven and let cool, or just start nibbling away. Dip these in olive oil or a warm tomato sauce...
Steel-Baked Naan by Alexandra Stafford
*Alexandra uses the Baking Steel in place of a pizza stone
Years ago at a street fair in my town, I watched a man slap rounds of dough to the inside wall of a blazing hot tandoor oven. After just one minute, he would lower a long metal skewer into the oven and peel the blistered and bubbled naan from the wall. Before passing the charred rounds of bread to drooling customers hovering at his side, he brushed the surface with melted ghee.
After watching this performance and tasting the delectable naan, I coveted a tandoor almost as much as a wood-burning pizza oven. I've been on a Moroccan-cooking kick recently and have found myself buying masses of pita bread, flatbread, and that delicious Stonefire naan from the grocery store. I thought it was time to try my hand at a homemade version.
There are a dizzying number of recipes out there for naan, some calling for both baking powder and baking soda, many calling for yogurt and milk, some coated with oil before baking, others with water. I have tried a number of recipes these past few weeks, and this is my favorite. The dough is wet and sticky and requires no kneading. It's a little tricky to work with at first, but once you get the hang of it, getting freshly baked naan on the table is a breeze. I prefer using my hands versus a rolling pin to stretch the dough — this seems to create a more pliable finished product — but use whatever method you like. The dough is forgiving, and a little melted butter and sea salt at the end go a long way.
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons buttermilk or yogurt
2 cups (256g) flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
melted butter for brushing
nice sea salt for sprinkling
1. Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Sprinkle sugar over top. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy. (Note: If using instant yeast, this step is unnecessary. Simply mix the water, olive oil and buttermilk together; mix the yeast, sugar, flour and salt together; then combine wet and dry ingredients until mixed.)
2. Whisk in olive oil and buttermilk (or yogurt). Sprinkle flour and salt over top. Mix until combined. Dough will be really wet and sticky. Cover bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. (Note: To create a warm spot, turn your oven on for 1 minute, then shut it off — it will be barely warm. You should be able to touch your hands to the grates without them burning you, but be careful while you test them out.)
3. Let rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. Forty-five minutes before baking, place Steel in oven and preheat oven to 550ºF. Note: If your dough is in the oven rising, be sure to remove it. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and turn dough to coat. Divide dough into 4 equal sections. Dough will be sticky, so just try to handle it minimally using as much flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands and your work surface. Shape each section into a ball and let rest for at least 20 minutes before shaping but up to an hour if necessary.
4. To shape the dough, you can use two approaches, and if you are up for experimenting, it's interesting to see how the different approaches produce different results.
Note: I find parchment paper to be necessary, not just convenient, when cooking naan on the Steel — I had issued with sticking and too much charring when I didn't use the paper. It might be the buttermilk or the yogurt or the wet texture of the dough that causes the sticking/charring. That said, I've been coating the dough with water versus oil before baking, so it might be worthwhile trying one coated with oil. If you have success using oil or anything that prevents sticking, please report your method in the comments, and I'll report back, too, if I make any discoveries.
Method #1: Use a rolling pin to roll dough into an oval about 8 inches long, then transfer dough to a parchment paper-lined peel. Wet your fingers and lightly rub surface of dough with water. You can fit two of these ovals at a time on the Steel.
Method #2: Use your hands to gently stretch the dough, either in the air gently pulling the edges to stretch it evenly or along your board using all of your fingers to elongate it. Transfer dough to a parchment paper-lined peel. Again, you can fit two of these ovals at a time on the Steel. Wet your fingers and lightly rub surface of dough with water. My thoughts: I prefer not using a rolling pin. When I stretch the dough gently, I find I get nicer air pockets in the finished dough and that the naan itself remains more pliable after it has baked. When I use the rolling pin, the finished naan is stiffer, more like flatbread — still tasty, but not my preference as far as texture goes. The key I have found when using your hands versus is a rolling pin is to be sure to stretch the naan out as well as possible — if you don't get good length, parts of the naan will be really thick and doughy — again, delicious, but not the ideal texture for naan.
5. Shimmy naan onto Steel. Bake two minutes. Flip using tongs. Bake 1 minute. Remove from oven. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining two round.
For more recipes from Alexandra Stafford check out her blog: http://www.alexandracooks.com/