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Archive for March, 2009

I love freshly baked focaccia– It is so good when you dip this Italian bread with some REALLY good quality extra virgin olive oil… Since this type of bread doesn’t require any starter (something required for making rustic bread and that I am hesitated to do) so I decided to give it a  try.

The result is very good considering my first trial. The golden crust is very crunchy as a result of spraying water 3 times during baking process. The aroma of rosemary is nice but not too over powering. The bread is soft overall except towards the edge where it got a bit dry. It took me quite some time to remove the bread as it stuck to the baking pan… next time I should just pour more olive oil to grease the pan instead of  using tablespoon. I would like to add some garlic too next time. I know I will make this bread again. The other note: This bread can be frozen and it tastes good too after heating up in the oven.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Rosemary Focaccia Bread - ready to bake

Rosemary Focaccia Bread - ready to bake

Rosemary Focaccia Bread Recipe from The Waitakere Redneck’s Kitchen.


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I saw a bacon and cheese loaf on Happy Home Baking recently. It looks so good that I put it on my to bake list right away. After the bacon wrapped asparagus for dinner, I purposely save some bacon strips for this recipe. I combined a couple of basic dough recipes, added some asiago cheese and create my own version. The house smelled cheesy when the bread was baking in the oven. The bread itself is very soft and full of flavor from bacon and cheese. I couldn’t resist the temptation and sliced a piece (well, more than one) when the bread was still quite warm… Mmm, definitely will make it again!

Bacon & Cheese Loaf - ready to bake

Bacon & Cheese Loaf - ready to bake

Bacon & Cheese Loaf

Bacon & Cheese Loaf - wish you could smell it...

Bacon & Cheese Loaf Recipe (makes 1 loaf  8.5″ x 4.5″ x 2.5″)

Ingredients:
3 bacon strips
2 cups bread flour
5 tbsp grated asiago cheese
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp yeast
1 egg
125-150 ml water (depending on absorption of the flour)
1 tbsp butter

Topping: grated asiago cheese

Method:

  1. Pan fry bacon in dry clean pan until crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Crush into tiny bit and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl (use the bowl for stand mixer), combine well the bread flour, cheese, sugar, milk powder, salt, black pepper and yeast. With the dough hook attached and the stand mixer on low, add in egg and bacon. Pour in water gradually until the dough form a ball (you may need more or less water depending on the flour). Add in butter and continue to knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl and pass the “membrane  test” (pull a small piece of the dough, use two hand to stretch the dough to a very thin layer– if the layer doesn’t tear then the dough is ready to proof. Otherwise, continue kneading until it pass the test).
  3. Put the dough in a large bowl, covered with cling wrap and let it proof in the fridge overnight. The next day remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit in room temperature for couple of hours. (my loaf didn’t proof as much in the fridge so I let it proof longer time next day next to the stove)
  4. Lightly knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured surface. Press out any air bubbles as you knead.
  5. Roll out the dough to the length of the loaf pan, then roll it up like a swiss roll. Place dough into a lightly greased (sides and bottom) loaf pan with seam side down. Cover and let it proof again for 1-2 hours until the dough is 90% height of the pan. (I proofed it for 2 hours to almost 100% full of the pan, and the bread has a very nice height after baking)
  6. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Sprinkle the top with grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes on med. low rack (so the bread will be positioned at the oven center). Cover the top with foil if the top browns too quickly.
  7. Remove from loaf pan immediately. Let it cool on the rack before slicing.
Bacon & Cheese Loaf - shot in foliage mode

Bacon & Cheese Loaf - shot in foliage mode

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Bacon wrapped asparagus

Bacon wrapped asparagus

Bacon wrapped asparagus

Bacon wrapped asparagus

Now is a good time to make this dish as asparagus is now in season. Aren’t they pretty? This is a very easy dish to prepare– just wrap bacon strip around asparagus and secure with a toothpick, grill it or pan fry in dry clean wok on high heat until bacon is brown and asparagus is just cooked. Drain on paper towel and remove toothpick before serving. This makes a great party finger food as well.

Tips choosing bacon and asparagus: I choose bacons that has less fat and less sodium to make it slightly “healthier”. Don’t waste money on thick sliced bacon. For asparagus, I choose the ones with thicker/bigger stems (to offset the saltiness from bacon) and peel off the skin 2″ from the bottom as that part might get chewy fiber.

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