Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I love doughnuts but I have never made them myself before because I think the ones at the store are perfectly fine. However this changed when I went on a spree of dissecting store-bought food ingredient lists. If it came in a package, I read the ingredients. Of course this probably doubled the amount of time I spent in the grocery store, but I found it pretty interesting. There were lots of things I have never heard of, some I couldn't even pronounce. I decided then that I would make some doughnuts with simple ingredients I could pronounce.

Cake Doughnuts from here
makes about 16 doughnuts*
4 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
1.25 c sugar
1 t vanilla
2/3 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted
oil or shortening for frying
toppings, like confectioner's sugar, chocolate glaze, powdered sugar icing
*I halved this recipe and it worked well

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Put the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until thick (3 minutes on medium speed with electric mixer). In small bowl stir together milk and melted butter.

Next, put the flour mixture and the milk mixture in the large bowl, alternating between the two and stirring in after each addition. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. I waited for 3 hours.
dough before chilling

Generously flour your work surface. Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out doughnuts. 
cutting the dough

cut out doughnuts

frying the doughnuts

Fry in deep hot oil for a few minutes, until doughnuts are nicely browned. Flip them once. The oil should be at 365F (185C). Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. To make doughnut holes, put the centers in the oil and fry.

Let them cool a little and then coat with confectioner's sugar, cinnamon sugar, or put chocolate glaze on top if you would like. I just melted some semisweet chocolate and put on top of the doughnuts.


I've never fried anything before, so I think these came out good for my first try. They were nice and hearty, really great when still slightly warm.

Thursday, September 6, 2012



This last summer, J, L, and I have been into baguettes and goat cheese. We go to this local market and pick up a jar of goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and black olives. They are actually a medley that you put in the fridge and they kind of marinate in their own juices.

My favorite way to eat it is on toasted baguette slices. A few weeks ago, when J and I went to Wal-Mart to pick up a baguette from their bakery, we couldn't find any baguettes. We kept going back but unfortunately they apparently stopped selling them. I decided it was a perfect situation to attempt homemade baguettes. I used my Bread Baker's Apprentice book, which I love and have tried a few other recipes from it before. 

Baguettes from The Bread Baker's Apprentice
makes 3 baguettes

Pâte Fermentée - for 16 oz.
5 oz all purpose flour
5 oz. bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used active dry)
6-7 oz. water, room temp.

Stir together flours, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Put 6 oz. water in and stir to make a coarse ball. Knead for 4-6 minutes to make a soft, tacky dough. Put in a lightly oiled bowl and let ferment for 1 hour or until it has grown 1.5 times its original size. Then remove from bowl, knead lightly, and return to bowl. Stick in fridge overnight. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Baguette Dough
pâte fermentée
5 oz. all purpose flour
5 oz. bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used active dry)
6-7 oz. water, lukewarm

pate fermentee

Take the pâte fermentée out of the fridge 1 hour before making the baguettes, and cut into 10 pieces. Cover with a towel and let sit.


Stir together flours, salt, yeast, and pâte fermentée in a large bowl. Add water and stir to make a ball. Knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured counter. The dough should pass the windowpane test. Lightly oil a bowl and put the dough in it. Cover and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size. If it doubles before 2 hours just knead it gently to degas and put back in the bowl.

dough before fermenting
before fermenting

dough after fermenting
after fermenting

Next, remove the dough and divide into 3 equal pieces. To form into baguettes, take a piece of dough and pat into a rough rectangle. Fold the bottom third up halfway and then the top third on top of that. It is like folding a letter. Then roll out like a play dough snake. If the dough snaps back, let it sit for a few minutes to let it relax. Make sure you don't roll out the baguette too long. My baking stone was 15", so that was how long my baguettes ended up.

Then place the three baguettes in a couche. I don't have one so I used a towel. Put the baguettes on a kitchen towel and bunch up the towel between the baguettes to allow them to proof. Lay a towel over the baguettes. Proof these baguettes until they grow to 1.5 times of the original size, 45-75 minutes.


To prepare the oven, you need a steam pan or skillet underneath the baking stone or baking sheet. I used a cast iron skillet but a heavy duty lipped sheet pan is good too (thinner pans buckle under the heat). Put the steam pan/skillet on the bottom rack. Then put a baking stone or another sheet pan on a higher rack.

here is the oven setup

Preheat the oven to 500F (260C). Generously sprinkle cornmeal on a pan without a lip, or turn a lipped pan upside down. Gently slide baguettes to the pan and score. Then slide the baguettes onto the baking stone. Next, pour 1 cup simmering water into the steam pan/skillet. This was pretty fun because the water dances around the skillet as soon as it hits the pan and creates steam. Shut the over door quickly.

The recipe says after 30 seconds to mist the baguettes with a spray bottle filled with water. Close the door, then 30 seconds after, mist them again. Repeat once more. So a total of 1.5 minutes. I didn't have a spray bottle so I didn't do that. I just waited 1.5 minutes.

Whether you do the misting or not, after the 1.5 minutes is up, reduce oven to 450F (232C). Bake 10 minutes. Loaves should be a rich golden brown color and register 205F (96C) when done. This may require 15-20 more minutes of baking. If they are getting to be too brown and are not 205F, you can just turn the oven off and bake 5-10 minutes more. Mine were done after the 1.5 minutes at 500F, and then 15 minutes at 450F.
baguettes cooling
my first baguettes, fresh from the oven

Remove loaves from oven when done and cool on wire rack for 40 minutes before serving.

the steam in the oven and the high temperature helps create a nice hard crispy crust

Here is a toasted slice from one of the baguettes with marinara sauce spread over, then crumbled goat cheese, black olive, and cilantro on it. It was really good. I never have to go to Wal-Mart for a baguette again!