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Top quality bakery challah recipe

Top quality bakery challah recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Bread
  • White bread

Challah is a traditional Jewish bread recognised by the beautiful plaiting of the dough. Serve warm or allow to cool before enjoying.

13 people made this

IngredientsServes: 10

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 420g strong white bread flour
  • 50g white sugar (caster sugar is best)
  • 235ml warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dried active yeast
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:15min ›Extra time:2hr proofing › Ready in:2hr40min

  1. Sift the salt, flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl add the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes till froth/foam forms.
  2. Pour yeast mix into the flour/salt/sugar mix and then add the oil and 1 of the eggs in. Mix all together, best to mix by hand. When all combined move dough to a flat surface and knead well for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Let dough sit for 5 minutes and then knead for another 1 minute (letting the dough rest for the 5 minutes makes the dough more elastic). Cover dough with plastic bag and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch dough to let all the air bubbles out of the risen dough and divide into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece and roll Into a log/sausage shape. Take 3 logs/sausages and braid into challah shape. Repeat with rest of logs/sausages.
  5. Place challahs on a baking tray lined up with baking parchment (silver foil works too if you grease it). Crack the other egg in a cup/small bowl and beat it then brush evenly on all challahs (at this point you can sprinkle sesame seeds or a topping of your choice). Let rise for another hour or till double in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
  7. Fill a deep oven safe dish with water and place at bottom of the oven (this will bake your challa evenly).
  8. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown (I like to knock on them when it sounds hollow you know its ready). Remove from the oven and let challahs cool for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Place warm water, sugar, honey, vegetable oil, salt, 2 eggs, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle press Start.

After the machine is done, take the dough out, and place it on a very lightly floured board, punch the dough down, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. Then divide into 3 equal pieces, roll into ropes about 12 to 14 inches, and braid into a loaf. Do the same with the remaining other half. Gently put the loaves on a greased cookie sheet, mist with water, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a warm, draft free place, until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water.

Brush risen loaves with egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. If it begins to brown too soon, cover with foil.


2. Delicious Gluten Free Challah Recipe for Shabbat and


Best Gluten Free Challah
from Delicious Gluten Free Challah Recipe for Shabbat and
. Source Image: www.goodforyouglutenfree.com. Visit this site for details: www.goodforyouglutenfree.com

For instance, oats are usually processed in facilities that likewise refine wheat, which can bring about cross-contamination. Therefore, you should confirm that the oats you purchase are licensed gluten-free.


Cookies and Cream Cake

Cookies and cream is so much more than a nostalgic ice cream flavor it’s also the key to this striking triple-layer cake. Cookie “crunchies” sprinkled between the layers and "crunchie crumbs" stirred into the frosting add delightful texture to every bite. For those that love the classic ice cream, this is the ideal celebration cake.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (22g) black cocoa
  • 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 5 tablespoons (71g) butter, melted

*See "tips," below for a shortcut version using storebought cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups (270g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (21g) black cocoa
  • 1/2 cup (42g) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 3/4 cups (354g) granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (64g) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (227g) milk
  • 1/2 cup (113g) brewed coffee, cooled or water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups (383g) white baking chips or morsels*
  • 1 cup (227g) heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (70g) vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup (28g) confectioners’ sugar

*Be sure to use white baking chips or morsels, not true white chocolate see “tips,” below.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

To make the cookie crunchies: In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder. Stir to combine.

Add the melted butter and mix until pea- to walnut-sized crumbs form.

Transfer the crumbs to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate and the crumbs feel dry to the touch. Halfway through the bake time, give the crumbs a stir to break up any large pieces.

Perfect your technique

How to assemble and frost a layer cake

Remove the crunchies from the oven and set them aside to cool completely.

Leave the oven on (350°F). Lightly grease three 8” round cake pans.

To make the batter: In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoas, and sugar.

Add the butter and mix at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the oil and continue mixing until the mixture looks sandy, about 30 seconds more.

In a large measuring cup, combine the vanilla with the milk and coffee (or water), and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Mix for 1 minute at low speed. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix for 30 seconds more.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well at medium-high speed between additions.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for 30 seconds more. The batter will be thin.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans, using about 2 cups (460g) batter per layer. Smooth the tops of the layers with an offset spatula.

To bake the cakes: Bake the cakes for 24 to 26 minutes, until the top of one springs back when very lightly touched in the center, and the edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick or paring knife inserted in the center will come out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and cool completely in the pans.

To make the frosting: Place the baking morsels in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Heat the cream in a saucepan set over medium heat (or in the microwave) until the mixture begins to steam. Pour the cream over the baking morsels and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Gently stir until the morsels are completely melted. Set the mixture (ganache) aside to cool to room temperature (75° or below).

Once the ganache has cooled to room temperature, stir in the salt and vanilla.

Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the ganache on low speed, slowly adding the butter and shortening in several additions.

After the butter and shortening have been added, increase the speed to high and whip the ganache until fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Sift the confectioners' sugar into the whipped ganache and mix to combine.

To assemble the cake: Set aside 1 cup (about 110g) of cookie crunchies. Pulse the remaining cookie crunchies in a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to grind into fine crumbs you should have about 1 cup (151g) of fine crumbs.

Fold 2/3 cup (100g) fine crumbs into the prepared frosting, setting aside the remainder to decorate the frosted cake.

Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate or cake stand tuck strips of waxed or parchment paper underneath the edge of the cake to keep the plate clean.

Spread the cake with about 3/4 cup (140g) of frosting, then sprinkle about 1/2 cup (55g) cookie crunchies over the frosting. Center the second layer atop the first and press gently to set it in place.

Spread the second layer with about 3/4 cup of frosting, then sprinkle the remaining cookie crunchies over the frosting. Place the third layer on top and press gently to set it in place.

To finish the cake: For the best-looking cake, apply the frosting in two steps. First, spread a very thin layer of frosting around the sides and across the top this is called a crumb coat. It should be thin enough to see through in places. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes to let this layer set. (You can skip this step if time is a factor.)

Once the cake is chilled, use the remaining frosting to coat it thoroughly and evenly. Sprinkle the frosting with the remaining fine cookie crumbs. If you have any leftover frosting, use it to pipe decorations on the top and/or around the base, as desired.

Cover the cake and store it at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your kitchen is hot. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

Store leftovers, covered, at cool room temperature for a couple of days freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

While any three-layer chocolate cake recipe could potentially work for the cake part of this creation, we recommend the one featured here: its combination of black and Dutch-process cocoas really helps brings the chocolate flavor front and center.

You’d usually want to bake with a top-quality real white chocolate — but not this time. We find that the flavor of true white chocolate here is too strong white baking morsels or chips yield the perfect nostalgic cookies and cream flavor. When purchasing chips/morsels, look for a product that doesn’t include the word “chocolate.”

Skip the homemade cookie crunchies if you're short on time. Instead, use storebought chocolate sandwich cookies. Use a food processor to grind about 10 sandwich cookies (cream filling and all!) until it resembles coarse sand you should have about 1 cup (110g) of crumbs. Fold about 2/3 cup of the crumbs into the frosting, reserving the rest for decoration.

For the cookie crunchies between the layers, roughly chop another 10 sandwich cookies. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the chopped cookies evenly over the first frosted layer, and use the remaining chopped cookies to sprinkle over the second frosted layer. Decorate the cake as desired, topping with additional sandwich cookies as a garnish.


At Poupart Bakery, you’ll find a mix of Louisiana, France, and Italy, with breads including ciabatta, po'boy loaves, muffaletta, and pistolette, a Cajun fried, stuffed bread roll. The bakery also makes Mardi Gras King Cake, which is made from brioche dough that’s shaped into a ring and filled with cream cheese, fruits, and nuts.

Charlie’s Gourmet Pastries opened in South Orlando in 1971, and after more than 40 years, they are still serving wide selections of good old-fashioned baked goods, including checkerboard cake, cheesecakes, apple raisin strudels, gingerbread cookies, and Parker House rolls.


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How to make olive bread?

This no-knead olive bread comes together in 3 folds.

  • First, mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the lukewarm water. Mix with a wooden spoon. At this point, the dough will be sticky.
    Stir in chopped kalamata olives and ensure they are evenly distributed throughout the dough. (Feel free to also use your hands!) Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rest 18-24 hours in a warmer part of your kitchen.

PRO TIP: Warm water is very important to activate the yeast. Though you might ask, what is the exact temperature you are referring to when you say, “lukewarm water”?

Typically, this is a temperature between 100-110 degrees. You can use an instant-thermometer to know for sure. If you don’t have one, you can simply stick your finger in the center, if it feels slightly warm to the touch, you are good to go!

  • Second, transfer the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. It will be sticky. But if you gently remove the olive bread dough from the bowl, you will notice it will all come out easy and fold onto itself. If you need a visual, be sure to check out the quick how-to video in the recipe card below.
    Form the dough into a ball by tucking the sides of the dough under. Transfer to a large piece of parchment paper, lightly dust with flour, cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise once more in a warmer part of your kitchen until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

  • Lastly, towards the end of rising time, place your dutch oven in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. When ready to bake, remove the very hot dutch oven from the oven with potholders.
    Using the edges of the parchment paper, carefully place the dough in the dutch oven, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake another 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the olive loaf from the dutch oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool for 30-45 minutes before slicing.

PRO TIP: To know for sure that your bread is fully cooked through, once you remove it from the dutch oven, gently lift it over and tap the bottom of the bread loaf. If it sounds hollow, it’s done!


The 12 Best Bakeries In Chicago

Few thinks evoke pleasant feelings and old memories quite like the smell of a fresh loaf of bread. "“Good bread," James Beard wrote, "is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

Chicago and the outlying suburbs have more quality bakeries than we can handle&mdasha good problem. While we could have listed more of our favorites we decided to narrow our picks for the best bakeries in Chicago to an even dozen. (Let the bakers have that extra one.)

Please debate, dissect and discuss this list as you're wont to do.


Photo credit: Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

Pleasant House Bakery
Many places serve pot pie in Chicago, but Pleasant House Bakery in Bridgeport is the true master of the British royal pie. The modest counter sits beneath a chalkboard menu alongside a rustic and sparse dining area. Pleasant House sources top quality ingredients, harvesting as much from their own garden as possible. But what really makes Pleasant House so fantastic is the unbelievable pie crust: golden, flakey and crisp yet yielding. We recommend trying the steak and ale pie and the scotch egg. If you’re unfamiliar with the latter, it’s an egg wrapped in meat then deep-fried. This BYOB eatery is also conveniently situated next to Maria's, a craft beer Mecca and bar but if you’re staying sober you can also go for a house made soda. &mdashErika Kubick

Pleasant House Bakery is located at 964 W. 31st St.

Little Goat Bread
If you want to start taking bread seriously then go to Little Goat Bread, the bakery of Stephanie Izard's goaty restaurant empire. Head baker Greg Wade hand bakes his various creations daily, working 18-hour days without breaking a sweat. The bread selection varies from classics such as the country sour dough to more unique combinations of flavors like the fat bread with smoked duck fat, pickled mustard seed and beer. Buy a loaf or enjoy one of their eclectic and adventurous array of sandwiches, such as the tuna with giardinera and cheez-its on a potato bun. Those buns, by the way, are unreal. Of course, no bakery is complete without a good cup of coffee and Little Goat serves each café drink with a double shot of Stumptown Coffee. &mdashErika Kubick

Little Goat Bread is located at 820 W Randolph St and 131 N Clinton Ave (in the French Market)


Delightful Pastries
Delightful Pastries made Chicagoist's lists of the best doughnuts in Chicago on the strength of their pazcki but their exceptional baking goes beyond Polish doughnuts. They also make outstanding breads, danishes, cookies, cakes and other sweets. Try a slice of their marble pound cake with a cup of piping hot black coffee. Delightful Pastries also offers baking classes so you can improve your skills at home. &mdashChuck Sudo

Delightful Pastries has three locations at 5927 W. Lawrence Ave., 1710 N. Wells St. and in the Chicago french Market at 131 N. Clinton Ave.


Hoosier Mama Pie Company
If not for Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Ukrainian Village/West Town residents’ holidays just wouldn’t be the same. The line that busts out the door of this tiny storefront on Chicago Avenue days prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas is just one indication of the quality and popularity of these pies. Another is the menu. This writer has never had an easy time choosing just one baked good here. Of course there are always the classics—apple, blueberry, etc.—but a rotating menu with seasonal ingredients makes every trip to the quaint, 󈦒s style shop different. Right now, pear and pecans pepper the menu. Don’t miss the savory pies either. A pork, apple and sage creation or classic chicken pot pie will provide much needed heartiness on chilly nights like these. Also, I’ve never been disappointed with anything at Hoosier Mama’s that involved sour cream. Do I have you confused as to what to try first yet? Good. — Katie Karpowicz

Hoosier Mama Pie Company is located at 1618 ½ W. Chicago Ave. downtown and 749 N. Chicago Ave. in Evanston.


Rose’s Cafe and Bakery
Rose’s is one of the only dedicated gluten-free baking facilities in the area, and the quality and variety of its baked goods definitely makes it worth the trip up to Evanston. The cafe has a full menu of salads, sandwiches, wraps, personal pizzas and quiche, so come with an empty stomach when you stop in for your gluten-free baked goods. Rose’s has something for everyone. A full display case teases you with cookies, brownies, bars, cakes, cupcakes, croissants and eclairs. Then don’t forget the pita, pizza crust, bagels, dinner rolls, challah rolls, French bread and multi-grain seeded bread. Did you catch all that? If you’ve ordered a gluten-free pita or hamburger bun at a restaurant in Chicago, chances are they ordered it from Rose’s. And it’s not just for gluten-free folks. The facility is 100 percent peanut free and offers many vegan options. There’s no restriction in your diet after you pay a visit to Rose’s. — Jennifer A. Freeman

Rose’s Cafe and Bakery is located at 2901 Central St. in Evanston.

Floriole
Floriole Bakery is Chicago's own sweet fairy tale come true. Owner Sandra Holl started as a vender at farmers markets working out of a shared kitchen. Thanks to persistence, luck and some of the best shortbread in the world, she now has one of the best bakeries in America. That's not just us saying so Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, LTHForum and the Tribune agree. Pretty much anything from their pastry case will be
the best in town, but seriously that shortbread. If it's on the menu, just get it. Don't forget their savory selections, either&mdashthe simple Parisian sandwich on a homemade baguette makes even the worst day a little brighter. &mdashAnthony Todd

Floriole Café and Bakery is located at 1220 W. Webster Ave.


Bruno's Bakery
When I'm looking for a fresh loaf of bread for a sandwich or for sopping up any remaining pasta sauce, chili, soup or stews I head to this longstanding Bridgeport Bakery best known for its sour rye, the contrast between the slightly tart sourdough and the sharp sweetness of rye. They also make a straight sourdough, pumpernickel, classic rye and sunflower bread that have golden crusts and light, fluffy dough inside. In fact, I need a loaf of sour rye right now. &mdashChuck Sudo

Bruno's Bakery is located at 3341 S. Lituanica Ave.


Bot Bakery
The promise of a freshly made waffles at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market has pulled me out of bed many a Sunday morning. Have you seen Betty and Bot Bakery at the market with her waffles and deep dish pizza? Maybe you didn’t know everything from Bot Bakery is gluten-free and vegan. But now that you do know, I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference. This winter you’ll also be able to scoop up some mini gingerbread houses, mini stollen and chocolate-covered potato candy. If you can’t make it to the Logan Square Farmer’s Market, or other seasonal markets and holiday events, you can also find Bot Bakery treats at Delicious Cafe, Green Grocer and Food Smart. But if you see Betty with her waffle maker, beg her for a fresh one. — Jennifer A. Freeman

Bot Bakery is located at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market and other local grocery stores.

Peerless Bread and Jam is located at The Plant, 1400 W. 46th St. You can also buy their products at Green City Market and the 61st Street Farmers Market.


Bang Bang Pie Shop
We love a slice (or two or half of the pie) from Bang Bang but what we wake up craving every weekend morning is their dense buttery biscuits. This small shop that was born out of a food truck has been offering up a good education on what makes a simple excellent pie. From fruit to cream and even savory options, the from scratch recipes are rich and delightful. But their biscuits are simply perfection. The amount of butter may not be good for your heart but our taste buds don’t seem to mind. Served warm these massive biscuits have a fluffy yet sturdy inside and the perfect slight tang of buttermilk. We love them alone but also with the homemade preserves offered up as well. And recently the shop has added biscuit sandwiches, although you need a fork if you want to avoid a mess. Once again, we never seem to mind. It’s the perfect spot to fill up on breakfast, grab a slice for later and the best place to learn that butter is your friend. — Lisa White

Bang Bang Pie Shop is located at 2051 N. California Ave.

Weber's Bakery
Whether you're looking to satisfy a sweet tooth or find a nice loaf of bread this Southwest side staple can fill your need. From bread to kolacky to doughnuts and coffee cakes, Weber's specials are guaranteed to fulfill any budget. Try the sauerkraut rye bread, their chocolate cake doughnuts, buttermilk poundcake and "grandpa rye" bread, a three-pound loaf swimming in caraway and perfectly suited for Dagwood sandwiches. &mdashChuck Sudo

Weber's Bakery is located at 7055 W. Archer Ave.


Dinkel's
This shop nestled between Roscoe Village and Lakeview has been going strong for 91 years and family-owned for four generations. They make amazing pastries and doughnuts (although the latter wasn't enough to warrant inclusion on our best doughnuts list) but the quality is beyond compare. If you like your bread loaded or are simply a stunt eater order the Burglaur, a carbohyrate bomb loaded with egg, bacon, spinach, cheese and pesto that will have you fighting to stay awake at your desk until lunch. &mdashChuck Sudo


English Muffins

Why would you ever choose to make your own English muffins?

Between Wolferman's, Bays, Thomas', and even some of the store brands, there are plenty of perfectly good English muffins out there, easy pickings for anyone with a few bucks.

Well, there's a secret many of us know and if you're in on it, you're nodding your head right now, saying, "Yeah, that's exactly why."

The secret is something simple, really, and not baking-specific. Woodworkers know it. Fly fishermen do, too. Gardeners know it big time.

A handy acronym for Do It Yourself.

If you love to bake, you're always up for a challenge. That crusty raisin-pecan rye from the fancy bread bakery? "I can do that." Lorna Doone shortbread cookies? "Those, too."

Done, done, and deliciously done.

So, why make English muffins?

Because, as British climber George Mallory said about Everest, "Because it's there."

Once you've enjoyed a big, buxom, freshly made English muffin, full of flavor and the signature nooks and crannies this breakfast treat is known for, you won't want to go back to store-bought. Even quality store-bought.

Because you've climbed the mountain and earned the view – which is wonderful.

The following recipe makes 16 large English muffins. If you're paying $3 to $4 or more for half a dozen top-quality English muffins, you'll definitely save money making your own.

Place the following into a mixing bowl, or into the pan of your bread machine:

1 3/4 cups (397g) lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons (43g) softened butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste
2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 1/2 cups (539g) King King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

This is going to be a very soft dough, so you'll need to treat it a bit differently than most yeast doughs. If you have a stand mixer, beat the dough using the flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, and is satin-smooth and shiny this will take about 5 minutes at medium-high speed. When you lift up the beater, the dough will be very stretchy.

If you have a bread machine, simply use the dough cycle.

Scrape the dough into a rough ball, and cover the bowl. Let the dough rise until it's nice and puffy.

. like this. It'll take 1 to 2 hours or so.

Next, prepare your griddle(s).

I'm fortunate to have two large cast iron griddles each one stretches over two burners on my stove.

To give the muffins their signature crunchy crust, I sprinkled one griddle with semolina, one with farina (e.g., Cream of Wheat). I wanted to see which, if either, became less charred as the muffins cooked. And the answer is – no difference, use either.

Using two griddles allows me to cook all the muffins at once but most of you probably won't have two griddles, so you'll need to cook the muffins in shifts. Whatever you use – an electric griddle, stovetop griddle, frying pan, electric frying pan – sprinkle it heavily with semolina or farina.

If you're using a griddle or frying pan that's not well-seasoned (or non-stick), spray with non-stick vegetable oil spray first, before adding the semolina or farina.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls until they're about 3" to 3 1/2" in diameter.

The easiest way to handle and cook these muffins is to lay them right onto the surface you'll be frying them on – in my case, the two griddles. That way, you don't have to move them once they're risen.

If you can't do this, sprinkle a baking sheet heavily with semolina or farina, and place the muffins on the sheet they can be fairly close together.

Either way, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional semolina or farina.

Here are my two pans of muffins, already atop their (unlit) burners.

Cover the muffins (a piece of parchment works well), and let them rest for 20 minutes. They won't rise super high, but will puff a bit.

Now comes the somewhat tricky part: cooking.

You need to find the exact amount of heat that'll cook the muffins all the way through and brown them perfectly – simultaneously.

Cooking the muffins for about 15 minutes per side over VERY low heat worked well for me. But, unless you have two large griddles, this long cooking time may become problematic, as the muffins waiting to cook could over-rise and become fragile.

The solution? Slightly higher heat and a quicker cook on the stove (say, 7 minutes per side), followed by a short bake in the oven.

If you find your muffins are browning too quickly, turn the heat down. If they're already as brown as you like, but still not cooked through, don't panic you'll be able to finish them off in the oven.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Within a few minutes of when you've begun to cook the muffins, they'll start to puff dramatically.

You want English muffins, not dinner rolls, so weigh them down gently to prevent further rising. A piece of parchment atop the muffins, and a baking sheet atop the parchment, works perfectly for me.

If they run into one another as they rise, simply use a sharp knife to gently cut them apart and separate them.

Bottom left, the muffins after they've been flipped over. Bottom right – I flipped them again, and it looks like they're done.

Let's see. REALLY nice crust, eh?

As you can see, the farina/semolina burned on the pan, but not on the muffins - score!

Hmmm, the edges look good, full of nooks and crannies but the center is a bit doughy.

Into the oven they go – 350°F for about 10 minutes should do it.

You want the muffins' centers to register right around 200°F on your digital thermometer.

Let the muffins cool thoroughly before enjoying.

And remember: use a fork to split, not a knife to cut. Fork-split muffins will have wonderful nooks and crannies knife-cut ones won't.

Even easier – use an English muffin splitter. If you eat a lot of muffins, you'll really appreciate this handy tool.

See? Is that one good-looking homemade English muffin, or what?

Move over, Thomas! Just like Jimi Hendrix did with Bob Dylan, we DIY-ers have got you covered.


These scallion buns are a reason to break out the steamer

Blogger Frankie Gaw of Little Fat Boy learned to make these fragrant buns in his grandmother's kitchen, picking up essential baking knowledge along the way. Below, he shares this knowledge to help you experience the pleasure of freshly steamed scallion buns in your own home.

Scallion flower buns, also known as hua juan (花卷), are steamed, yeasted buns made of layers of dough and scallions. They’re fluffy in texture and nostalgic in memory for so many Chinese and Taiwanese-American immigrant kids like myself.

I grew up in a suburban household in Midwest Ohio, where my culinary world-view of carbohydrates mostly consisted of soft Wonder Bread, dry Ritz crackers, and my friends' pizza crusts (all things I still love today, matter of fact). But as an immigrant kid, oscillating between two cultures meant holding a yearly reservation to an exclusive bakery undisclosed to my American friends … also known as my grandma’s kitchen in Memphis, Tennessee.

This recipe for Scallion Buns is the same recipe that filled the countertops of that tiny Memphis kitchen, where my grandma kneaded the dough with biceps the size of twigs (but the veracity of a boxer's) to make a perfectly smooth dough. She shaped the buns, then steamed them in bamboo steamers (although any steamer can be used to make these), which enveloped her kitchen in a sauna of freshly baked dough, fragrant scallions, and woodiness from the bamboo.

After watching my grandma make these buns throughout my childhood and eventually starting to make them myself, here are some tips I've picked up along the way.

Check your yeast's expiration date

This fact may be obvious to many people, but for years I actually had no clue that yeast could expire!

So I’m preaching from the mountaintops to say that your yeast can expire after about four months or so stored in the fridge, depending on the brand. Don’t be like me, where you follow the recipe down to the letter but the resulting buns are sad and dense because you’ve used expired yeast. The feeling you get upon such a result is exactly the same as when you salivate at luscious-looking McDonald’s menu photos, but the Big Mac you ordered is more like a squished pancake sitting in the rain.

Which is my long and rambling way to say: use top-quality unexpired yeast for optimal texture and flavor. It makes all the difference.

Baker's tip: Not sure if your yeast is still fresh? See this post on how to test yeast for freshness.

Dough that's smooth as a baby's butt

In the same way that American bread prides itself on a good crust and large, glutenous air pockets, Asian bread focuses on creating the softest and fluffiest texture possible. This often yields a cloud-like texture that's so springy you could squeeze it like a stress ball and still have it bounce back to its original shape.

My grandma always taught me to knead steamed dough 500 times, which I’ve roughly estimated to be 10 minutes. This really allows the gluten strands in the dough to strengthen while also giving your arms a nice Arnold Schwarzenegger-pump, if kneading by hand. As you knead, you’ll notice how the bread flour transforms from a clumpy, heaping mass into an elastic, smooth ball. The dough is ready to proof when it’s as smooth and firm as a baby’s butt, a sure sign that it’s reached peak springiness for shaping and steaming.

Shaping the buns

The recipe page has instructions to shape these scallion flower buns traditionally, but for extra guidance, here's a video demonstrating how it's done. You might be a bit clumsy at first, but the more you practice, the easier this motion will be.

While traditional, this method is just one way to craft these buns. Whenever I have my friends over, I always tell them to shape their buns however they please and choose designs that inspire them. If you look up "steamed bun shapes" on YouTube, you’ll find a treasure trove of shapes from simple braids to artistic designs that look like flowers. Don’t be afraid to literally play with your dough like Play-Doh.

Whenever I create shapes beyond the traditional ones, the key goal I set for myself is to create multiple layers that allow the scallions to be distributed throughout. One of the joys of the traditional shaping method is that it allows for an eating experience that feels so unique to Taiwanese and Chinese baking: seemingly infinite dough layers and the joy that comes with pulling a bun apart and seeing it unravel.

Steaming and storing

I love steaming in a bamboo steamer, mostly because of the nostalgia and fragrance it brings to the kitchen, but you can use any steamer that goes on your stovetop.

These scallion flower buns can be eaten at any time of the day, but my personal favorite way to enjoy them is for breakfast. I love recreating those mornings with my grandma, when I would walk down to her kitchen to find steamed buns and a scrambled egg on a plate, ready to be eaten together. You really can’t go wrong with putting an egg onto a carb, and this combination is no different. The savory egg complemented with the fragrance of scallions and the texture of a fluffy bun, all combined into an irresistible egg sandwich, really hits home.

To store these scallion buns, steam the buns until cooked, then keep covered at cool room temperature for a couple of days. You can also put them in a resealable container and stash in the freezer for longer storage. When ready to eat again, simply re-steam the buns for 10 to 12 minutes on the stovetop. If you’re on the go, you can take a shortcut by wrapping the frozen bun in a damp paper towel and microwaving for 1 minute. (I won’t judge your hastiness, as I do this a majority of the time and it’s just as tasty.)

A fluffy, fragrant ode to family

These nostalgic scallion flower buns are a simple staple in so many immigrant kitchens across America, and yet they're rarely known outside the comfort of our own homes. I’m excited to share this Scallion Bun recipe with all my carb-lovers out there, and I hope you get a little bit of the same joy in your kitchen as my family does when we make these buns in ours.

If you have leftover scallions after preparing these delicious buns, try putting them to use in additional recipes like Quick Sourdough Herb and Scallion Pancakes or Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Scones.



Comments:

  1. Baldassare

    Wonderful, useful thought

  2. Tomik

    it seems to me, you are rights

  3. Cuchulain

    Gee !!! :)

  4. Abrecan

    I think it's - your mistake.

  5. Maccormack

    Has casually found today this forum and it was registered to participate in discussion of this question.



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