Saturday, December 31, 2016

Persian Naan - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 104th installment. The recipe is Persian Naan.
A basic Naan bread (yum!) from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. We made the Oasis Naan version topped with salt and scallions back in 2012.  This version has sesame seeds, and is formed into a very long oval.   The dough is the same for both recipes - very easy, and few ingredients (water, yeast, bread flour, salt).  It is mixed by hand and then rises for two hours, although the recipe says it's perfectly OK to let it go longer (good to have flexibility there!
Before rising
After rising
After rising, the dough gets divided into ovals and rests for a few minutes, and then you shape the long oval (16-18 inches), sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake.  I baked this on the pizza stone, which seems to improve the texture.   It is really tasty!  This bread dries out fairly quickly, so it does not necessarily keep well, although I did toast some leftover pieces the next day, and it was certainly edible.  It is good to have another shot at this recipe, as I would like to really be proficient in making this bread.

Danish Pastry Pockets - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 103rd installment. The recipe is Danish Pastry Pockets and Danish Slices.  (baked in May, finally blogged now!)

Dough after overnight chilling, before rolling
This was another opportunity to practice with Danish Pastry Dough.  Back in 2013, we did the Danish Braid, which uses the same dough and the same fillings.  This time I made the dough, plus almond and raspberry fillings, and I made two different shapes - the "Slice", which is a long rectangle with sides folded over, and Pinwheels.  Planning ahead is necessary - this isn't a last minute recipe. First the basic Danish dough - takes time, although it's not too difficult.  You use the food processor to mix dry and liquid ingredients and cut in the butter, which stays chunky.  You chill that dough overnight.

The next day, you roll and fold the dough to get the layers that make it puff.   There is only one session of rolling and folding (not as involved as some butter-layered puff pastrie doughs), followed by another chill of as little as 30 minutes and as much as two days.  This helps a lot with timing - you can actually make these for a weekend breakfast, as long as you make the dough the day or evening before.
During the rolling process - butter chunks get folded into layers
Once you've got your chilled dough, get out the rolling pin and ruler - it's important to pay attention to dimensions if you're planning to do the small pastries like the pinwheels.  A pizza wheel helped with cutting the dough.

The slice was very easy to shape - a long rectangle with almond filling down the center, followed by raspberry on top of that, and then fold in the sides. During baking, it unfolded a bit and kind of lost its symmetry.

It was easier to make the pinwheels nice and neat - each square gets four slits cut diagonally, a dollop of each filling (nut and fruit), and then you fold the points over the center.  I had pearl sugar (it's been hanging around in the cupboard forever) so sprinkled that on top.

 I would love to get this type of pastry a little neater looking, especially the slice shape, so more work to do there, but it sure is delicious.  This is definitely one that I would make again - I love the variety of shapes you can do with the same ingredients.