January 19, 2010


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palitaw ribbons

Palitaw is a Filipino glutinous rice cake similar to mochi, the difference is the method of cooking. The pieces of palitaw dough are boiled in water until they rise to the surface. LITAW is the Philippine word for surface, hence palitaw. The photo of palitaw in the Filipino guidebook KULINARYA caught my eye because they don't look like the palitaw I grew up eating. The cooked palitaw are stretched into long and thin ribbons before rolling in a mixture of sugar, chopped roasted peanuts, and toasted sesame seeds. I have never eaten palitaw shaped into ribbons and with this combination before which is interesting and also yummy but I still prefer my palitaw dredged in grated coconut, sugar, and toasted sesame seeds.

adapted from KULINARYA guidebook

2 cups glutinous rice flour
¾ - 1 cup warm water
freshly grated coconut
tasted sesame seeds
chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Place the rice flour in a medium bowl then slowly add the warm water. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls and using the palms of your hands, flatten each ball until ½-inch thick. With your thumb make a dent by pressing the center of each cake. Arrange flattened cakes side by side on a baking tray.
  • Fill a medium pan with water and bring to a boil. Drop the cakes in, one at a time, in batches. When they rise to the surface, the palitaw is cooked. Transfer them to a large bowl of water to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Just before serving, take each cake and stretch into ribbon-like pieces. Dredge in sugar-sesame seeds-peanut mixture (or coconut-sugar-sesame seeds mixture). Coil the pieces and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with grated coconut.
with toasted black and white sesame seeds

January 16, 2010

Poilâne-style Miche : BBAC#33

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flavorful dense and chewy but surprisingly moist crumb

The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge #33: Poilâne-style Miche. This bread is supposed to be very large at more than 4 pounds. I didn't think I would be able to handle that much dough and it will also take forever to eat it so I halved the recipe. The procedure is not very complicated. The dough has whole wheat flour (sifted) and doesn't use commercial yeast. I actually used half sifted and half finely ground organic whole wheat flour. For the final rise I put the dough on a linen-lined 10-inch skillet. I was not brave enough to score my initial on the top thinking I might ruin it so I stenciled the O which in my opinion is way too small for the size of the bread (12 inches wide and 3 inches tall).

The bread came out perfect. It's dense and chewy, slightly sour and nutty, and moist which surprised me. The best thing about this bread is it got better and more sour as it aged, so yummy on the third day. I haven't tasted the original pain Poilâne and have no idea if the flavor and texture of this bread come close to the real thing but I am happy with it and I think it is a keeper.

Pain Poilane
I love the slices simply drizzled with buckwheat honey and sprinkled with flaked sea salt

flavor 5
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 5
Total: 30
Average: 5

January 13, 2010

A Post Full of Rye: BBAC #32, 34, And 35

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The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge has gone awrye. Recipes #32, 34, and 35 for sourdough rye breads use either 100% or part sourdough starters and I think it's appropriate to put them together in one post.

I halved all three recipes and because I was being Miss Contrary I did not follow the book's shaping of the doughs: I baked the 100% Sourdough Rye in a loaf pan; I scored the top of the Pumpernickel loaf, and instead of pressing the crown with a dowel I scored the dough with a wheel spoke pattern. Why? Because I can.

100% Sourdough Rye

#32: 100% Sourdough Rye. How do I describe this recipe without using some colorful words? Hmm. This bread doesn't taste very good and all the work and ingredients I put into making this brick went straight into the trash. I don't mind the dense texture which I think is good but the lack of flavor is puzzling. I absolutely hate it. Maybe I did something wrong along. Well, no use cryeing over it.

flavor 0
texture 2
visual appeal 2
ease of preparation 3
performance 1
worth 0
Total: 8
Average: 1.3

Pumpernickel Bread
Pumpernickel Bread

#34: Pumpernickel Bread I used high gluten flour but did not add rye bread crumbs and caraway seeds. However, I used 100% rye sourdough starter instead of the white starter. I love this one maybe because it has brown sugar which makes it a bit sweet and because it is not very sour. It also has a molasses-like and chocolaty flavor, I don't know why because I didn't add cocoa powder in the dough, I used caramel powder. The crust is a tad chewy and the crumb is soft but chewy, very nice with chicken noodle soup. I will definitely make this again.

flavor 5
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 5
Total: 30
Average: perfect 5

Sunflower Seed Bread
Sunflower Seed Bread

#35: Sunflower Seed Rye The 7½-inch bread is a bit taller than the ones pictured in the book. I should probably have flattened the dough some more. Also, the hole of the crown almost disappeared making it look like a giant bagel. It is a little bit tangier and very tasty too, the seeds add a nice nutty flavor. I also like its chewy crust and crumb.

flavor 4
texture 5
visual appeal 4
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 4
Total: 27
Average: 4.5

Note: Recipe #33 Poilâne-style Miche will have its own post.

January 6, 2010

Honey Caramels

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soft and chewy honey caramels with macadamia

and walnuts

It's good to start the new year with sweet sweet stuff and what could be better than salted honey caramels loaded with nuts or enrobed in dark chocolate. The soft chewy silky buttery caramels are so yummy and utterly addicting. I thought of dipping them in melted chocolate, saw this cookie and caramel candy, baked a few crunchy brown sugar meringue cookies, melted some dark bitter chocolate and had the most delicious chocolate treat ever!

brown sugar cookies layered with honey caramel and enrobed in bitter chocolate

Honey Caramels
recipe adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

2 cups coarsely chopped walnut or macadamia pieces, optional
¾ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup honey
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. If using walnuts, spread them in the prepared pan.
  • Combine the syrup, honey, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula, until the mixture simmers around the edges. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan, and cook uncovered, without stirring until the mixture reaches 305°F.
  • Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.
  • When the mixture is at 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically. Turn the heat back on until the mixture boils. Stir until smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly to 248°F for soft chewy caramels or 250°F for firmer chewy caramels.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let stand for 4 to 5 hours or overnight until firm.
  • Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner and turn the caramel right side up. Cut the caramel into desired size. Wrap individually in wax paper or cellophane.

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