Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gingersnaps - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 47th installment. The recipe is Gingersnaps.

Mmmm...ginger...something to cut through the fog of holiday preparations and food overload.  I had made these once before, because I had notes in my cookbook about the dough being soft and rather fragile, but I have no recollection of actually cooking them! (got to start putting dates on these notes...)

I'm glad I reviewed the advice on Tuesdays with Dorie from people who had already prepared this recipe, and increased the spices - I quadrupled the ginger and doubled the cinnamon.  These cookies are very tasty, although the dough was not easy to work with - I used a lot of flour on the board, and still some of the cutouts wouldn't really come up without getting smushed.  The dough didn't firm up much despite a couple of hours in the refrigerator.  I put the scraps of dough back into the fridge to see if prolonged chilling will help with this.  I was interested that the recipe included water - not usually a cookie ingredient.

The recipe was simple, and easy to mix up. As stated in the recipe, they didn't spread much on the cookie sheet, which is nice because I could bake many at once and they kept their shape:

I'm not sure about the molasses glaze - maybe it's not necessary. I will try the later batch without it to see if I notice any flavor difference.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Challah - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 46th installment. The recipe is Challah.

This recipe was very easy, and the bread is great.  We really love challah at our house. I don't know if there will be any left for any French toast!  I even prepared this after work yesterday evening.  I had a sudden panic during the day when I realized that it was time for the first recipe of the month, stopped to buy eggs on the way home, and although I did get to bed a bit late, the bread was done that evening.  What a wonderful aroma in the house. 

There were no real tricks to the technique, although I had one loaf that was smoother than the other.  It seemed harder to roll the smooth long pieces from the second half of the dough - maybe it was saggy from having sat while I rolled out the first one. There was a lot of yeast, so it rose well, even without any kind of warm spot to sit in as it rose.  I used my Kitchen Aid to do the kneading while I worked on other things in the kitchen.

Before braiding
Before rising - having short hair, I never have learned to braid very neatly :-)
My loaves look a little dark partly because of the lighting when I took the photo - I did let them brown before putting a foil tent over each while they continued baking.  It's tough to fit two loaves in my oven - it always feels like one is too high (and thus browning too much in the hotter part of the oven) and one is too low (and thus too close to the lower element and browning too much on the bottom).  I set the timer for smaller intervals and kept swapping the loaves top to bottom, and turning the pans back to front, to help them cook evenly.

I would definitely make this recipe again - very simple, and rewarding.