Category Archives: Bread

Kouign Amann

kouign amann 2 001Kouign Amann

In February, 2016, I started to learn to make Kouign Amann. It has been a long road with many missteps in getting to this recipe and set of notes.

Kouign Amann comes from the Brittany region of France. The words mean ‘Butter Cake’ in the Breton language. It seems to be a somewhat catch-all name for a type of dough which people make into many different types of pastry; on the Internet, I find images that show it as bun shaped pastry as I will give herein, as a large pie shaped pastry from which individual pieces are served like pizza slices, and as rolls much on the order of cinnamon rolls. The bun-shaped pastry can be various sizes; the two most common are a 2 inch base, made in muffin pans, or a 4 inch base made in larger muffin/pastry rings.

In Seattle, we had tried Kouign Amann at two bakeries- Bakery Nouveau and Le Reve. The former made their Kouign Amann in the larger 4 inch rings, while the latter had the 2 inch muffin pan form. We decided that we liked the larger pastry better and that was the experience I have tried to create in this recipe. The only difference is the container in which the pastry is cooked; a muffin pan or a 4 inch pastry ring.

After early research into the Kouign Amann, it is basically a puff pastry product and I wanted to use my Croissant Dough recipe. And I wanted to make the Kouign Amann in 4 inch pastry rings, I didn’t have those and so I made my first attempt in muffin pans.

kouign amshn 1 001First Attempt with Muffin Pans

If you use muffin pans to form the Kouign Amann, dump them out of the pans as soon as you take them out of the oven! If they aren’t removed from the tins while they are still very hot, the sugar will harden and they can not be taken out in a single piece.

In my research, I found one chef who indicated that the dough for the Kouign Amann should not be milk based as milk (and egg used in Danish pastry) promote browning and there is already enough sugar and butter in the dough to cause browning. That means I shouldn’t use the Croissant Dough recipe directly, but should switch to a different ingredient list. It also appears that unlike most pastries, the Brittany pastries are made with salted butter. Interesting.

One of the characteristics of the dough in the final recipe is it is a very moist dough. I ran into problems with other doughs in that the sugar would pull the moisture out of the dough leaving it dry, and it didn’t want to rise during proofing.

Since the dough is a version of puff pastry, it is layered with butter and sugar, and folded around the additions. Like most puff pastry recipes, after rolling the dough out, it is folded into thirds- the bottom third up over the middle third, and then the top third down over the middle.

It is also very difficult to make the additions as we would normally do in making puff pastry. Normally, the addition is made to the top 2/3 of the rolled out dough before it is folded. With this dough, I had trouble doing it that way- the dough is too moist to allow spreading the butter, and the sugar addition would fall off down to the fold when the top was brought down over the middle. I changed the method slightly. I add the layer in two parts; the first part is after the dough is rolled out, and goes on the middle third of the dough. Then the bottom is folded up over the middle, and the second part of the addition is placed on the bottom third (now in the middle) before the top third is folded down.

Finally, I experimented with making disposable pastry rings with aluminum foil and found they work without any problem. I will give directions for making the rings at the end of this post. (Because I was making so many Kouign Amann, I decided to buy some 4 inch muffin rings. I have made a half recipe- 3 pieces- a week for about the last 8 weeks trying to get the bugs out of the recipe and notes. If you are interested, 4 rings for less than $10.00 on Amazon- by Fox Run. [Actually, they are 3.5 inch rings.]).

Below are two recipes; the full size recipe and a half size recipe. Because I was making the Kouign Amann so often, I needed to create the half recipe for testing my changes; you may want to make a half recipe just to experiment with the dough and techniques before going for a full recipe

Kouign Amann (full recipe- )

Ingredients

Kouign Amann (half recipe- )

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup water (not over 100 degrees)
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbs) cold salted butter (leave in the refrigerator until needed)
  • 1 cups sugar (plus more for non-stick rolling)
  • 2/3 cup water (not over 100 degrees)
  • 1/2 packet yeast (1 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 3/8 cups AP flour (1 cup + 1/4 c + 2 Tbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tbs cold salted butter (leave in the refrigerator until needed)
  • 1/2 cups sugar (plus more for non-stick rolling)

Directions

Differences Full Recipe Half Recipe
Size for adding butter/sugar 10 x 18 7.5 x 12
Goal for flattened butter 10 x 9 7.5 x 8
Sugar per third of dough 1/4 cup 2 Tbs
Final rectangle for 4 inch rings 11 x 16 6 x 16
Final rectangle for 2 inch rings 8 x 22 8 x 11.5
Squares and size for 4 inch rings six 5 x 5 three 5 x 5
Squares and size for 2 inch rings twelve 3.5 x 3.5 six 3.5 x 3.5

  1. Prepare the dough. Mix the first four ingredients in a mixer bowl, and let the mixer run for 3-4 minutes to knead the dough
  2. Let the dough rise. Put the kneaded dough into the bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place it in an area with a temperature in the 70-72 degree range. Let the dough rise to double in size; this might take a couple hours.
  3. Prepare the butter packet. Refrigerate the dough in its covered bowl for 1 hour. Meanwhile, place the cold butter on a piece of parchment paper. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the butter. With a rolling pin, beat the butter to flatten it. Between beating and rolling, try to get the butter to be 2/3 the size to which the dough will be rolled. This will make it easier to put the butter on the dough. Place the flattened softened butter on the parchment paper in the refrigerator.
  4. Prepare the dough packet Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured rolling surface, flour the top, and roll it into a rectangle for addition of the butter. Place half of the softened flattened butter on the middle 1/3 of the dough. Now fold the bottom not buttered piece up over the middle buttered third and and place the other half of the butter on the folded up piece of dough. Now fold the top third of the dough down. Pinch all the edges together. This completes the first turn. The dough is three layers with butter between each layer.
  5. Complete turn 2. Rotate the dough so it is like a book ready to be opened with its spine to the left. (Each turn will start with the dough in this position- a book with its spine on the left). Roll the dough into a rectangle the same size for additions, although nothing is added this time. Again fold the bottom third up and then the top third down completing the second turn. Wrap this dough package in plastic and place it in a baggy in the refrigerator over night. (I always leave the dough in the refrigerator over night, but I suspect that you could continue with the following steps after cooling the dough for 2-3 hours. Since we will not use flour any more, the rolling surface needs to be cleaned at this point)
  6. Turn the dough 2 more times and while adding sugar Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a sugared rolling surface (about 2 Tbs) in the position of a book ready to be opened. Sprinkle the top of the dough with another couple tablespoons of sugar to keep it from sticking. Roll the dough out into a rectangle for addition of the first sugar. Sprinkle the middle third of the dough with its sugar; fold the dough bottom third up. Now sprinkle the addition sugar over the bottom third and fold the top third down. Rotate the packet into book position and reapply sugar to the rolling surface and the top of the dough. Again, roll the dough into the addition size rectangle and sprinkle the middle 1/3 with an addition of sugar and fold the dough bottom third up. Sprinkle it with another addition of sugar and fold the top third down. Refrigerate the dough while preparing for cooking. (the four additions of sugar in this step adds up to the amount of sugar given in the ingredient list [4 Tbs = 1/4 cup])
  7. Prepare the Pastry Rings This step assumes that if you are using temporary foil rings, they have already been made. Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a sheet pan. Spray the inside of the pastry rings with cooking spray and place them on the parchment paper, opening the rings to as round as possible.
  8. Form the Kouign Amann. Sprinkle the rolling surface with sugar and place a packet of dough on the surface. Sprinkle additional sugar on top of the dough. Roll the dough out into its final rectangle. Trim a 1/2 inch off all sides of the rectangle so that the layers of dough are visible. Cut the rectangle into its squares. Sprinkle each square with about 2 tsp of sugar, then pick up the square by its 4 corners flipping it upside down so that this latest sugar is on the bottom. Place the square in a pastry ring. Put about 1/2 tsp of sugar in the center of the square and tuck the corners over onto the center of the pastry so they do not hang over the edges of the ring.
  9. Proof the Kouign Amann.Let the pastry rise until slightly puffy- 40 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven. (while recipes seem to all say the oven rack in the middle, I found I needed to move the rack down one notch, and then place the sheet pan inside a secnd nesting sheet pan to insulate the bottom from being closer to the bottom heat).
  10. Bake the Kouign Amann. Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes; after 15 minutes, tent the Kouign Amann to keep the tops from browning too fast. The pastry is done when the tops are deep golden and the tips look like they might just be starting to burn. It takes this last almost burned state to get the caramel at its peak.
  11. Remove from pan and cool. After removing the pan from the oven, use a pancake turner and tongs to remove the Kouign Amann to a cooling rack without their pastry rings. Cool the Kouign Amann upside down.


rings 001

Making Disposable Pastry Rings

From my experience, these rings work as well as hard metal rings. The length of the foil should be 12 inches for 4 inch rings and 7.5 inches for 2 inch rings. The overlap point is 11 inches for the 4 inch rings (actually 3.5 inches) and 6.25 inches for 2 inch rings.

  1. For each ring, cut a piece of aluminum foil that is 4 inches wide by the suggested length.
  2. Fold the 4 inch dimension in half twice, resulting in a 1 inch strip that is 4 layers of foil.
  3. Mark the overlap point from one end (End A).
  4. Loop the foil strip, bringing End A to the marked overlap point.
  5. Staple the overlapped part of the ring twice to hold the rings shape. When the ring is used, its shape can be straightened to more closely resemble a ring.

It is interesting that the softness of the ring doesn’t seem to be a problem. I think that is because a circle is a very stable figure, and as the pastry rises and expands, it pushes fairly evenly all around the ring bringing it back into a circular shape. And, when the baking is finished, there is no washing of the rings; they are tossed in the trash.

So, why are the sizes for the half recipe not closer related to the full recipe sizes? For example, the size for adding ingredients for the full recipe is 10 x 18; why not either 5 x 18 or 10 x 9 for the half recipe? I don’t like the 18 inch height for my rolling surface, and I don’t like the ending shape for a 10 inch wide since that would be longer when turned to roll out again than that goal which would be 9 inches. It all has to do with the area of the surface of the dough. For the full recipe, the area (in this case) is 180 square inches; half recipe would be 90 square inches. And 7.5 x 12 is 90 square inches.

Holiday Sweets

snickerdoodle 001Snickerdoodles

No matter which holiday you celebrate in December, I am certain there is a place for sweet food. This year, I am making some of my favorites again, and the recipes are already on this blog. I am going to call your attention to some of the many sweet eats that we have already.

Sweet eats come in many forms, although I suspect that many of us think first of cookies and candy. But, there are also dessert breads. And if you are having a party, perhaps a pie or cake will show at your table. If I don’t suggest enough ideas, then I would invite you to click on the “Index of Articles” at the top of the page and see if you can find something that will fill the bill.

Morning BunsMorning Buns

Before I get to the candy and cookies, let me call your attention to a couple bread items. Of course, in the breads there are the standard breakfast fair like Cinnamon Rolls (I actually have two recipes for these) or Cinnamon Bread. I will be making Morning Buns, myself. And then there are dessert breads such as Banana Tea Bread and my favorite- Steamed Bread Pudding!

If you are looking for something real different as a dessert, look at the Paska recipe. It is a winter treat, with candied fruit and all, but not a dense fruit cake.

Chocolate Bark with PeanutsChocolate Bark with Peanuts

In the area of candy, Fudge is always good start. If you want something very simple, I would suggest making a Chocolate Bark with nuts. I will be making Rum Balls because son-in-law James is looking forward to them. To fill out the candy possibilities, there is English Toffee, and Truffles; they both go over very well and make good gifts if you need to take one to someone that is hosting a party.

Cookies are another area where you can go simple, or do something special. Perhaps the easiest cookie I make is the Snickerdoodle; it is the first baking I ever did, and it is still one of my favorite cookies. Daughter Jenn has asked for Karo Lace cookies, and I will make those for her. I will also make a batch of Bon Bon cookies to test making them with almond flour instead of chopping the almonds.

kookie brittleKookie Brittle

Daughter Mindy likes to do her own baking, and she specializes in pan cookies. I will be visiting her and she has promised to make Lemon Squares and Kookie Brittle. Last year, I got the recipe for Slutty Brownies from her when I visited. She also mentioned Magic Cookies, she remembers those as the second kind that Marlys and the girls made each year, because the girls could do most of the work and participate in the cookie making.

Pub CookieGelato di Superior Pub Cookie

You will notice I haven’t mentioned the old standby of chocolate chip cookies. There are many recipes for those, although I only go with the Original Toll House cookie. However, if you would really like to blow someone’ mind with a giant cookie, there are a couple I can suggest. One is the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie, and the other is the original recipe for the Gelato di Superior Pub Cookie; your recipient will be chewing on one of those cookies for some time!

cutoutsCutout Cookies

And I nearly forgot the cutout cookies; again, these are something you can make with the kids letting them decorate the cookies after they have cooled. I have found the best recipe for making the cutout cookies is Ethel’s Sugar Cookies although the Kammerjunkere cookies also make good cutouts. For the decorating where you want icing, I would go with Royal Icing as it hardens nicely. If you are new to using Icing to decorate your cutout cookies, look at the article I wrote after taking the Cookie Decorating Class. About half way down the article you will find me talking about piping dams with the Royal Icing, and then flooding the area with thinned Royal Icing. I also talk about adding texture using sugars and candy pieces. I think if you make the Royal Icing, your young adult can learn to use it to decorate the cookies.

So, Have a sweet holiday, and we will find something new next year.

Errol

Pork and Beans Bread

bread 002

This is another recipe from my sister Ann. She says that it is fun to see if people can tell what the magic ingredient is. I tried it on Jenn and James and they didn’t detect the Pork and Beans.

Ann writes a very clear recipe so I have left most of it in her voice and only changed the format.

Pork and Beans Bread

courtesy Ann Reitz

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce can of Pork and Beans (I use Van Camp’s)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (not canola, not olive, use vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (measure after chopping)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)

Directions

  • Prepare your pans; spray two 9×3 inch loaf pans with Pam or another non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Don’t drain the Pork and Beans. Pour them into a food processor or blender, juice and all, and process them until they are pureed smooth with no lumps.
  • Place the beaten eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the pureed pork and beans and mix them in well.
  • Add the vegetable oil and the vanilla extract. Mix well.
  • Add the sugar and mix it in. Then mix in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir until everything is incorporated.
  • Stir in the chopped nuts.
  • Add the flour in one-cup increments, stirring after each addition.
  • Spoon half of the batter into one loaf pan and the other half of the batter into the second loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 to 60 minutes. Test the bread with a long food pick inserted into the center. If it comes out sticky the bread needs to bake a bit more. If it cones out dry, remove the pans from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.
  • Run a sharp blade of a knife around the inside of all four sides of the pan to loosen the bread and then tip it out onto the wire rack.
  • Cool the bread completely and wrap in plastic. May be frozen up to 3 months.

Cloverleaf Rolls

rolls 008

Why Cloverleaf Rolls? For one thing, when you pull them apart each piece has some crust from the top, and some softer dough on the bottom. But then, too, they have more surface to put condiments on when you pull them apart; condiments like jelly, jam, preserves, honey and butter- and who doesn’t like to butter their rolls.

And then there are the possible toppings that you can bake onto the rolls. I chose plain, salt, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. I suspect that you might also have a favorite.

This recipe is also nice in that it is made over two days, so much of the work can be done ahead of time, and then only putting the rolls in the muffin cups and baking them is left for the second day; the days don’t even have to be consecutive. You can do the first part 2 or 3 days in advance if it helps make your party easier to schedule.

Cloverleaf Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 1 four-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • cooking spray
  • optional toppings, e.g. poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt

Directions

Day 1:

  • In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar and water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit until foamy- about 5 minutes.
  • Separate one egg; save the white for an egg wash, and the yolk will go into the dough with the other whole egg.
  • Add 1 cup of flour to the yeast mixture and, using the mixer, beat on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, the whole egg and egg yolk, and the cooled melted butter; beat until combined.
  • Using a wooden spoon, add the other 2 1/2 cups of flour about a half cup at a time, and mix until it is all combined
  • Lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray and transfer the dough to it. Spray the top of the dough, loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight (or up to 2 days). The dough will double in size.

Day 2:

  • Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, and divide it into 36 equal pieces (about 1 ounce each).
  • Coat 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray. Roll each dough piece into a smooth ball and place three balls in each muffin cup.
  • Coat the top of the filled cups with cooking spray, and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in size, 60-90 minutes.
  • Add a tablespoon of water to the reserved egg white, and paint the tops of each roll with this egg wash. If toppings are being used, sprinkle the topping on the rolls at this time.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls until puffed and golden- about 10-15 minutes.


rolls 007

And here are some thoughts from my experience with this recipe. When I first put it together, I had too much moisture, and the dough balls did not keep there individual positions, but seemed to meld together on top so there was one very big roll. I have reduced the moisture, and now the recipe gives excellent results. Note that this is a yeast dough, but there is no kneading of the dough- the recipe is very easy except for getting all of the flour into the dough.

I found that I need to turn the ball of dough while adding the last 2 1/2 cups of flour. Otherwise, the dry flour seems to slip under the dough ball and hide, and stay dry; it is not part of the dough needed to make the rolls. So be certain that the dough ball picks up all of the flour, and none of it hides at the bottom of the bowl.

When dividing the dough ball into 36 equal pieces, you might want to weigh the first couple pieces you separate off to calibrate your eye for doing the rest. I found that what worked best was to cut rows from the ball, each about 1 inch wide, and then cut the row into individual pieces about the same size. A rather dull knife works well; I used a bench scraper, or a regular table knife.

The first row will be weird since it is on the edge of the ball and both ends are very curved and it is hard to see the long straight row that will make multiple pieces; leave this first row until you have done the second row, then you can see how to pull the long thin tails of the first row into the size pieces you need.

Even so, if you do not come out with just 36 equal pieces, you will need to determine which pieces are too large or too small and adjust their size.

Mother Crary’s Cinnamon Rolls

In my post about Cinnamon Rolls, I mentioned that the recipe had less flour in it than other recipes, and so the rolls would be smaller (in diameter) than what could be gotten from other recipes. So I decided I should also publish a recipe that uses the normal 4 cups of flour for a dozen rolls. I have adjusted this recipe to use the stand mixer with a dough hook to do the kneading.

While I have made this recipe in the past, I do not have any photos of the result; a picture would look very similar to the first photo in the article about cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls

(Mother Crary)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cake fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water

  • 1/2 cup milk, scalded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons shortening
  • 3 Tablespoon sugar

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 egg, will beaten

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for filling
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with above sugar for filling

Directions

Softened yeast for 15 minutes in the lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar.

Combine milk, salt, shortening and 3 Tablespoons sugar in the mixer bowl. Cool to lukwarm.

Add half the flour and the softened yeast, and with the dough hook attached slowly turn from its slowest “stir” speed to Speed 2 and mix for 15 seconds. Add the egg and “stir” for about 1 minute. Mix on Speed 2 for 1 minute longer. .

Continuing on Speed 2, add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes longer.

Place in a greased bowl. Grease top of dough. Cover with a clean towel, then let rise in a warm place (80 to 85°) until dough is double in bulk.

Turn the dough onto a floured board.
Roll out the dough into a sheet 12″ x 8″ x 1/4″. Brush with melted butter, margarine, fat or salad oil. Then sprinkle with all but a little of the filling mixture of 1/3 cup granulate sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

If desired, cut up raisins or currants may be sprinkled on surface.

Roll up jelly roll fashion and seal the long edge by pressing with the fingers. Cut into 1″ crosswise slices, then place, close together, cut side down in a greased or oiled 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Cover with a clean towel, then let rise in a warm place (80 to 85°F) until double in bulk. Bake in a moderatedly hot oven of 375°F. for 25 minutes.


If you would like “sticky bottom” rolls, after greasing the baking pan, crumble some brown sugar into the pan and then drizzle lightly with the syrup of your choice. During the cooking process, the brown sugar will dissolve in the syrup and then caramelize.

Morning Buns

Morning buns use the croissant dough as a base. Six morning buns can be made from each packet of croissant dough. The option in making the buns is in the filling; a plain cinnamon and sugar filling can be used, but I found having some brown sugar in the mix makes it better. The brown sugar seems to partially run out into the bottom of the muffin pan and caramelize making for a slightly sticky bottom roll.

mBuns 004

Morning Bun Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

Directions

Stir the ingredients together in a bowl.

To assemble the morning buns, the ingredients are:

  • 1 packet croissant dough
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup filling
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon in a small bowl


To make 12 morning buns, use both packets of croissant dough and after finishing with one packet, immediately process the second packet. The two groups of morning buns will be able to be cooked together after their final rise.

Directions

  1. Spray a 6 muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Unwrap a packet of chilled dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Deflate it by gently tapping it several times with the rolling pin. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
  3. Roll the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 12 inches wide by 10 inches high.
  4. Spread melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle filling over the melted butter.
  5. Roll the rectangle of dough up so that a 12 inch long cylinder results. Seal the edge of the cylinder so that it doesn’t unwind.
  6. Cut the cylinder into 2 inch sections.
  7. Dip each section in the cinnamon, rolling the section around to coat the sides and bottom of the dough. Place the coated dough into one of the muffin pan spaces.
  8. Repeat the coating of the dough for all 6 sections and fill the muffin pan.
  9. Let the dough have a final rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours in which it should double in size. It will not be the final size as the heat in the oven will cause the buns to expand even more.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  11. Place some of the filling in a small bowl to be used to top the rolls after they are baked.
  12. Cook the buns for about 20 minutes. A toothpick stuck into the side of the bun just above the muffin pan should come out clean, and should feel the dough crusting as it enters the bun. The buns should be brown.
  13. Dump the buns out of the muffin pan and with tongs, put the top of each bun down into the dish of filling mixture to coat it and then set the bun upright on a cooling rack.


mBuns 001

No matter how hard I try, there is always a rounded edge when I roll out a rectangle. As a result, the buns cut from the ends of the cylinder are usually not nicely shaped. To get around that problem, I roll the rectangle larger than the specified size of 12 x 10, and then cut it down to size with square corners; I discard the dough that is cut off. Usually if I get the widest part out to 14 inches, the 10 inch dimension does not need to be trimmed.

I have discovered that I get a better seal on the cylinder if I wipe the cylinder with wet fingers at the point the final edge will come against the body of the cylinder. Most recipes say to pinch the dough together, but by the time it is rolled up, the dough has lost some of its stickiness to the butter and sugar that has pushed out while rolling it.

Croissants

Once you have made the croissant dough, you need to use it. In this article, I will explain how to cut and form croissants. You will get 6 croissants from a packet of the dough. Although the directions are for a single packet of dough, you can make the second packet and use the same cooking sheet and egg wash. There is a time interval after forming the croissants to allow the dough to rise before you bake the croissants

Croissants 001

Croissants

Ingredients

Directions

  1. At this point, the dough has rested in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or even over night; it is ready to be rolled out into a rectangle and then cut into triangles.Unwrap the packet of dough, place it on a lightly floured rolling surface and deflate it by tapping it several times gently with the rolling pin. Cover the dough with plastic and let it rest 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
  2. Prepare the baking sheet. Use either silicon mats, or lightly butter it.
  3. Roll out the packet of dough into a rectangle that is 15 inches by 5 inches. Cut the rectangle into 3 squares of 5 inches by 5 inches.
  4. Cut a square into two triangles by cutting diagonally from one corner to the opposite corner.
  5. With the larger side of the triangle as the base, roll out the triangle only away from the base until it is about 7 inches tall
  6. Roll the triangle up starting at the base
  7. Place the rolled up croissant on the baking sheet with the ends turned slightly in toward the middle, and such that the rolled up point of the triangle is between the turned in ends and against the baking pan.

When all of the croissants are formed, cover the baking pan loosely with plastic and let the dough have a final rise. This should be about 1 hour. The dough should almost double in size and feel light and springy.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Just before baking, paint the croissants with the egg wash made by beating the egg and water in a small bowl.

Bake the pan of croissants on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until nicely puffed and brown.

Cool the croissants on an rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Croissants are best when freshly baked.

Croissant Dough

This recipe makes two “packages” of croissant dough. A package of dough will be enough for 6 croissants, or 6 morning buns, or 3 cronuts. Each of these is made from croissant dough.

PicMonkey Collage

After testing several different recipes, I found that Julia Child seemed to be the best, so much of the following recipe and directions are from Volume 2 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I guess that is not surprising since the croissant is definitely a French goodie; make it like the French would! I tried doubling the recipe but the dough just didn’t feel the same.

Making croissant dough is rather time consuming; there are several periods in which the dough is either rising, or resting, so that it can be further worked. I have been lucky in that my rise times have been less than half of the expected time to rise; there is no way to speed up the resting times. To make life easier, I spread the making of the dough, and the making of the finished product over two days; on the first day, I get the dough made, and then let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, I finish making the desired end product.

Croissant Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope of dry active yeast
  • 3 Tb warm water (not over 100 degrees)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk warmed to tepid in a small sauce-pan
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tb tasteless salad oil
  • 1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter taken from the refrigerator only when needed after dough is on the plate (see directions)

Directions

  1. Mark the outside of your bowl for measures you will want later.
    The 2 cups of dough is to rise to 3 1/2 times its original volume, or to 7 cups. Later the dough will rise to double its original volume. To tell when the dough has risen enough, the outside of the bowl is marked. Fill the bowl with 4 cups of water, and mark the outside to tell where double the original volume is. Now add 3 more cups of water for a total of 7 cups and again mark the outside to tell where 3 1/2 the original volume is. Pour out the water, and dry the bowl.
  2. Mix the yeast in the warm water with the 1 tsp sugar and let liquefy completely while measuring out the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Dissolve the 2 tsps sugar and the salt in the tepid milk.
  4. Measure the flour into a 3 – 4 quart mixing bowl. When the yeast is liquefied, pour it along with the milk mixture and oil into the flour. Blend the elements into a dough by cutting and pressing with a rubber spatula, being certain all bits of flour are moistened.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a kneading surface scraping the bowl clean. Let the dough rest for 2 to 3 minutes. The short rest allows the flour to absorb the liquid; the dough will be quite soft and sticky. Wash and dry the bowl while you wait.
  6. Start kneading by lifting the near edge of the dough, using a scraper or spatula to help, and flipping it over onto the other side. Rapidly repeat the movement from one side to the other and end over end 8 to 10 times until the dough feels smooth and begins to draw back into shape when pushed out. This is all the kneading it should have; it should give the dough just enough body so it will hold together when eventually rolled, but still not over-activating the gluten and making the dough difficult to handle.
  7. Put the dough into the bowl.
  8. Cover the bowl with plastic and an insulating blanket like a bath towel, and place it at a temperature between 70 and 72 degrees. In 3 or 4 hours the dough should have risen to the 7-cup mark and will be light and springy when touched.
  9. Deflate the dough by loosening it from the edges of the bowl with a rubber spatula or the cupped fingers of one hand, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. With the lightly floured palms of the hands, pat and push the dough out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches. Fold into thirds as though folding a buisness letter- the bottom third of the rectangle up onto the middle third, and then the top third of the rectangle down onto the middle third. Return the dough to the bowl; cover again with plastic and the insulating blanket.
  10. Let the dough rise a second time (about 1 1/2 hours), to double the original volume (the 4 cup mark).
    (*)To put the process on hold, or slow it down, set the dough in a colder place or in the refrigerator overnight to rise the second time to the 4 cup mark.
  11. Loosen the dough from the edges of the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured plate. Cover airtight and refrigerate for 20 minutes, which will make the next step with the dough easier.
    (*)To put the process on hold, after the second rise to the 4 cup mark and the dough is on the plate, it may be frozen for up to a week.
  12. The stick of butter must now be worked into a smooth but still cold paste that can be spread evenly with the dough when rolled with it. Place the butter on a work surface and place a piece of plastic wrap over it. Beat the butter with a rolling pin to soften it. Then remove the plastic wrap and smear it out with the heel of your hand or a scraper or spatula until is is of a very easy spreading consistency but still cold; it must not become soft and oily! Refrigerate it again if necessary. The consistency should be about like a tub margarine.
  13. Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured rolling surface. With the lightly floured palms push and pat the dough out into a rectangle about 15 inches tall by 8 inches wide.
  14. Spread the butter as evenly as possible over the upper two thirds of the dough rectangle, leaving only a 1/4 inch unbuttered border all around.
  15. The dough is now folded into thirds, just as before. Fold the bottom (unbuttered) third up over the middle third, and the top (buttered) third down over the bottom third. This makes three even layers of dough separated by 2 layers of butter. This is called Turn Number 1. There will be a total of 4 Turns.
  16. For Turn Number 2, lightly flour the top of the dough and the rolling surface, turn the dough so the edge of the top flap is to the right as though it were a book going to be opened. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 15 inches tall by 6 inches wide. Roll rapidly starting about an inch from the near end and going to within an inch of the far end.
  17. Fold the dough again bringing the bottom third up over the middle and the top third down over the middle. There are now 7 layers of dough separated by 6 layers of butter; at the end of Turn Number 4 there will be 55 layers of dough.
  18. Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a plastic bag and freeze it for 15 minutes then put it in the refrigerator. The dough must now rest for 1 to 1 1/2 hours to deactivate the gluten so that the two final turns can be made without difficulty.
  19. After the dough has rested for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in the refrigerator, unwrap it, sprinkle lightly with flour, and deflate it by tapping lightly several times with the rolling pin. Cover it and let it rest for 8 to 10 minutes, again to relax the gluten.
  20. Being certain that the top and bottom of the dough are always lightly floured, start rolling the dough into a rectangle 15 by 6 inches. If the butter has congealed into hard flakes, beat the dough with light firm taps for a minute or so, going from one side to the other until the butter has softened. The butter must be able to extend the length and width of the rectangle inside the dough as it is rolled out. Fold the rectangle bottom and top onto the middle third.
  21. Rotate the dough so the opening is to the right, and again roll into the 15 by 6 rectangle and fold the bottom and top onto the middle third to complete Turn Number 4.
  22. Cut the dough in half to form the two packages.
    Wrap each package, place them in freezer bags and freeze each for 15 minutes again, and then refrigerate them for at least 2 hours before forming the dough in any of the variety of morning breads needing croissant dough. Or leave the dough overnight in the refrigerator.


The reason I divide the dough at this time and keep two separate packages is that when making many of the morning breads there is a need to roll the dough out fairly thin. This requires that the dough be rolled to a length 18 inches or more. A second reason for dividing the dough into packages is to ensure that some of the dough does not dry out while working on another part of the dough. With separate packages, the gluten can stay rested in the refrigerator, and no drying air is getting to the dough.

I have written separate articles for making each of the different morning breads- Morning Buns, Croissants, and Cronuts.

Corn Bread

Marlys shows several optional ways for baking this recipe. I used the muffin tins, and everything came out perfectly. But, I remember Marlys making it in her old 10 inch cast iron skillet- the one she would never let me touch for fear I would wash it and ruin the seasoning of the iron. She also made it at times in the 8 inch square Corningware dish she had.

cornbread 003

Corn Bread

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cup sifted flour
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs

Mix together with wire whisk. While mixing, heat oiled pan in oven;
add batter.
Bake at 400°F for:

  • 12 muffin tins——20 minutes
  • 8″ square pan——25 minutes
  • 10″ fry pan———25 minutes

A word of caution about the recipe. Heating the oiled pans in the oven might cause the oil to smoke and burn. The oven is at 400 degrees, which is hotter than most oils used in recipes can take. (In the recipe, the oil is okay; it is when it is in the direct heat that it breaks down). For an oil that can take the 400 degrees, look for peanut oil, or even sunflower oil. Generally seed or kernel oils are good to about 450 degrees. When looking at the back of my Mazola corn oil bottle, it says that it burns at 375 degrees; and I agree after trying to use it to oil the pans.

cornbread 005

Muffin tins seem to vary in size; my tins are about 2.75 inches across, and just over an inch deep. The recipe seems to make a perfect amount for 12 tins; each tin was filled to the top and I ran out of mix. And the baking time was also ideal; you can see the good color on the corn muffins.

Banana Tea Bread

Marlys could never stand to have any brown on her banana skin; I could eat them until the meat got mushy . Then they were too ripe for me. This time of year, with the warm weather, I am discovering that I need to buy a smaller hand of bananas, but more often in order to have bananas on hand. I like to have bananas both as a snack, and to put into my salad, like into Monkey Salad.

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Banana Tea Bread is another sweet bread, much like Zucchini Bread and Steamed Bread Pudding. It is good just sliced as a dessert.

So, if you have bananas that you don’t feel like using as a snack, or in another recipe, make Banana Tea Bread with them.  And it is therapeutic since you can take out some aggression on the bananas when you mash them.

Gracie Damon was Marlys’s neighbor when her father was stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Station.

Banana Tea Bread

(Grace Damon 1950s)

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten well
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together the shortening and sugar. Add eggs. In a separate dish, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

Add dry ingredients alternately with mashed banana. Add walnuts. Pour into well greased loaf pan and bake at 350°F about an hour.

I found that it took 1 1/2 bananas to make a cup. Those bananas were about 7 inches long.

banana bread 001

I am getting mixed signals about sifting flour, and thus sifting all the dry ingredients together. My recent readings have said that modern flour is manufactured such that it doesn’t contain lumping.  I have stopped sifting my flour and dry ingredients together on recipes that I have made more than a couple times, and I don’t see any problem.