Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bolo com noz pecan

This recipe was requested by Caroline.  This is a Portuguese cake recipe.

BOLO DE NOZES-PECÃ or Bolo com noz pecan

Ingredients for topping:

3/4 cup light brown sugar (I use date palm sugar)
1 tablespoon flour (a also add 1 tablespoon quick oats)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I also add 1/4 tsp nutneg and 1/2 tsp cardamom)
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup pecans, coarse chop

In a medium bowl combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the butter. Using your fingers, crumble butter until it forms sandy dough. Add the pecans. Set aside.

Ingredients for Cake:

1 stick butter (I use 1/4 cup walnut oil and 1/4 cup light olive oil)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sour cream (I use 1/2 cup natural Greek yogurt)
Optional: 1 Medium Apple, diced, sauteed in butter
1/2 cup golden raisins (Pour boiling water over raisins to cover and soak for 30 minutes - drain water before using)

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating between each addition. Add the yogurt and beat some more. Sift flour with baking powder and baking soda and add to the previous mixture. Add the raisins, fold in.

We added diced apple - sauteed in butter and cinnamon

Liquid ingredients

Add the flour and leavening - for gluten-free use Pamela's Baking mix

Grease a round, oblong or square pan and dust with flour. Pour the mixture and cover with the topping or make two layers as I did.

Spread 1/2 the batter

Sprinkle with 1/2 the topping

Add remaining batter

Add remaining topping
Bake at 365F for 35-40 minutes. Use a tooth pick or knife to test for done-ness - the toothpick or knife should come out dry when inserted into the center of the cake. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool 20 minutes before serving.

Baked to a golden brown


Friday, February 5, 2016

Pão de Caserio - house bread (new techniques)

House Bread
This is a revised post of my Pão de Caserio or 'House Bread' recipe.

I have some new techniques that I want to share. Ingredients, mixing, and shaping.


First things first - there is something very special about making bread.

The obvious is that you mix together certain ingredients to make something delicious.

For me bread-making is a little act of creation.

Here's why. Most of the ingredients we use in food cooking (carrots, peas, celery, meats, beans, etc) have been harvested some time ago. They may be fresh, but they are not alive.

When you make bread the yeast and bacteria that are in your bread dough are actually alive, living and reproducing! This makes bread making a unique experience in the kitchen. You are working with living ingredients. 

Use fresh ingredients
INGREDIENTS - It is always important to use the best ingredients when making bread. Flour should be as fresh as possible - use the best salt and use spring water. It does make a difference!

For this bread I use

Local ground organic unbleached wheat flour
White Spelt Flour
KAF Ancient Grain Mix
Eden French Celtic Sea Salt (the best)
Spring Water
Natural Starter
Lager Beer (Samuel Adams Winter Lager)

The nice thing about your 'House Bread' is that you can add whatever you want! In Portugal Barley and Rye Flours are very popular. You can also vary the percentage depending on how heavy or light you like your bread. As a day-to-day all purpose bread I like to use 70% white bread flour and 30% of the whole grain mix.

STEP 1 - Mix the Ingredients

Add flours
In a large bowl add 1 cup of white flour, 1 cup of white spelt and 1/2 cup of your whole grain mix or the KAF Ancient Grain Mix.

Add the beer
Next add about 1/3 cup of the beer.

Lager beer has a yeast and bacteria very similar to what is found in bread. Lager Beer adds a great flavor to the bread.

Add the Eden Salt

Add 1 scant tsp Eden French Celtic Salt.

I really like this slat because it is not 'salty'. This is a natural sea salt.

Natural Starter added

Next add 1 cup of the Natural Starter.

For those who not have a starter you can put put 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast in 1 cup of flour, add 3/4 cup of spring water.
Mix together and let sit in warn spot until it bubbles. (about 2 hours)

Mix the dough

Mix the flour and the starter together and add a very small amount a water just to wet the flour has no moisture - it will be about 1/4 cup of water.

Add a small amount at a time to just get the dough wet.
Mixed dough

This is what the mixed dough should look like.

The tool I am using is called a Danish Dough Hook. It mixes very quickly. The dough is quite stiff so I hold the bowl with one arm and using my fist to hold the dough hook a mix with the other. It is quite a workout!

Use wet hands
Cover that bowl with a plate or cloth and let it sit for 15-30 minutes.

Next is a technique called 'Stretch and Fold'. The first step is to wet your hands with water. Leave the water running at a tickle because you will need to wet your hands again if the dough starts to stick to them.
 Using your finger tips ease your hands under the dough

Now with one hand hold the dough and with the other grab a section and pull it away 4-5 inches and then fold it back on top of the dough.

You will not be able to pull too far the first round - stop pulling as soon as you see the dough start to break.

Re-wet your hands, flip the dough over and repeat this process 3-4 times.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat the stretch and fold again only this time you will notice right away that the dough is like a rubber band! The gluten bonds have formed and the dough is very elastic.

Wet your hands!

Look at the stretch!

Fold, flip and repeat 3-5 times
Cover with a plate or plastic wrap, drape a towel over the bowl and set in the fridge overnight.

Set in fridge overnight
In the morning your bread dough will look this:

After an overnight rise
I am going to transfer the dough to a second smaller greased bold to rise again. Start this process by putting flour on your hands and sprinkling the surface of the dough. Gently turn it and dust the other side.

You want to handle the dough very carefully - DO NOT punch it down. What you want to do here is take an edge and fold it into the middle - working your way around as you take the edges and fold them toward the middle - finally pinching all the edges together. See the next 3 images.

Transfer the pinched dough to the smaller oiled bowl.

Cover the bowl

Let rise in a warm place for 1.5 hours

After 1.5 hours it's ready to bake!
Pre-heat your oven to 475F  - this bread is best baked on a stone which you preheat in the oven.

When the temperature is reached you will gently turn the dough from the small bowl onto the stone. make a slice in the top and bake for 25-30 minutes. At about 15 minutes open the door for 5-10 seconds to let some fresh air into the oven. Close and continue baking - the bread should be fairly dark when it is done. Adjust your baking time time for your oven. You want the color to be dark but not burnt.

Transfer the dough to the hot stone by 'pouring' it out of the small bowl

Here it is on the stone

Make some slices with shears or a sharp knife

It's done!

Look at that texture!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Broinhas de Batata (potato scone)

Broinhas de Batata doce are best translated as Potato Scones - these delicious little scones are made with raisins or currants, walnuts and almonds and spiced with cinnamon and fennel. I also use grated orange rind.

There are also a couple of 'secrets' I will share with you so your Broinhas de Batata will have a greater depth of flavor.

This recipe makes about 15 scones. This is not a 'yeast bread' but still a traditional Portuguese bread worth baking.

Broinhas de Batata doce
Ingredients (dough)
1 medium potato (cut up, steamed and mashed)
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (melted)
zest of one orange 
1 tablespoon ground fennel
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Fruits and nuts
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped almonds

Substitutions - any dried fruit will work! Figs, dried cranberries, etc. You can also use lemon rind instead of orange.


1. Steam and mash the potatoes. (secret #1) After the potatoes are mashed and still hot, add the zest of the orange. The heat of the potatoes releases the essential oils of the orange rind, adding greater flavor. Cover and let sit for 1/2 hour
2.  Soak the raisins (or currants) - (secret #2) If you happen to have Port wine (a good red wine will also work) - heat enough wine to just cover, and soak the raisins for 1/2 hour.
3. In a large bowl combine the potatoes, eggs, milk, sugar, melted butter,cinnamon and fennel and mix together until blended. Add the flour and baking powder, nuts and raisins and mix - wet all the ingredients but do not overmix. The dough should be moist and slightly sticky but not too wet. You may need to adjust by adding a little more milk or flour.

You should be able to spoon out a portion and it will hold it's shape but still be a little sticky.

Next - put about 1/4 cup of flour in a soup or shallow bowl. Spoon out a portion of the batter about the size of a small potato. I use a tablespoon to do this - and the batter is thick enough (but still sticky) so what I spoon out is about the size of a small potato. Place the batter into the flour in the bowl and gently turn it to lightly coat the surface. This coating of flour allows you to handle the soft dough. Place the scone onto a baking tray sprayed with Pam.

Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pão de Bico

Pão de Bico is a wonderful white bread - with a chewy crust and a soft, tender inside. This makes a great all-around bread. Server with soup, stew, glass of wine and cheese, or make a sandwich,  - enjoy!

Pão de Bico

This bread came about after someone posted a comment about a bread he used to eat, but the bakery closed. The description he gave me fit the Papo de Secos but he said it was a larger bread, not a roll.

Pão de Bico is really a giant Papo -so I made this recipe to share with John.
Bico = 'beak'

Pão de Bico is interesting because 'Bico' means beak (like a chicken) and the bread is always dusted with flour and scored the long way to resemble a 'chicken beak'.

It always amazes me what we can do with flour, water and salt! The secret to the large holes is to have a moist dough and avoid over handling the dough. This allows the air pockets to remain. The down-side is, wet (high hydration) dough is much more difficult to work with. You need to practice and get the feel of working with and shaping a sticky dough.


2 cups bread flour
1/8 cup rye flour
1 1/4 cup spring water
3/4 cup natural starter
3/4 teaspoon sea salt


1. In a large bowl add the 2 flours and water and mix together - this will be rather sticky and wet. Let this sit for a minimum of 20 minutes - I usually let mine sit for 1-2 hours. (This is called autolayse)

2. Next, add the salt and the starter and mix this together - you can't really knead this dough, it will be a sticky mass.

3. Cover and let sit 8-10 hours.

NOTES: If it is very warm, let the covered bowl sit in the warm place for 3-4 hours and then transfer the bowl to the fridge to slow it down. I almost always make by doughs at night, then in the morning they are ready to shape and bake. Vermont nights are usually cool so the rise is fine if I leave it out.

4. In the morning, pour out the dough onto a floured board.

5. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions

6. With floured hands - dust the surface of the dough and form it into a rectangle shape. The dough is still sticky so you need to keep some flour nearby to keep it dusted so you can work with it. Fold one long edge into the middle and gently use your fingertips to pinch it into the other layer of dough. Don't get too fussy here - just press with your fingertips.

7. Fold the other edge over, turn with the seam side down and gently shape the dough into an almond shape. You can press (gently) the ends toward the middle and this will fatten the middle - then use your hands to smooth and shape. (Really hard to describe in words!)

8. Place the shaped dough onto a floured cloth. A couche (pronounced koosh) or proofing cloth can be used on which to proof dough, or it can be used to cover the dough. Couches are made of linen and once dusted with flour (white, semolina or rye) the dough will not stick. The clothes are left unwashed, so as to let yeast and flour collect in them, aiding the proofing process.

9. Do the same with the other piece of dough and set it onto the cloth, pinching up the cloth between the loaves. Cover and let sit for 1 hour in a warm place (I use the oven with the light on)

10 FINAL STEPS - dust the tops with either white flour or white rice flour

11. Use a razor to score down the long way.

12. Preheat oven to 425F. I bake on a pizza stone and place a tray with water on the bottom rack. This most closely mimics a wood fired oven. Bake for about 25 minutes - the breads should be golden brown.

13.  Check out the big holes! Wait 20 minutes before cutting into the bread (It's still baking deep inside for about 15-20 minutes after it comes out of the over)