Sunday, November 28, 2010

returning the gauntlet

sorry i have been missing in action lately- i haven't been feeling well and have really started to question whether any of this is food allergy related.....sigh....

anyway- onwards and upwards, eh?

recently a friend challenged me to make a baguette using spelt.  in my typical fashion i hemmed and hawed and waited for her to actually be in my kitchen with me before i made an attempt.  we followed the recipe for pain ordinaire in this book, which, until now, had been a reliable resource...

sadly, this trend did not continue.

this bread was nice to work with and resulted in 2 beautiful looking loaves.  but as with most things in life, looks weren't everything.  the wonderful thing about real baguettes is their almost honeycomb-like interior structure.  they are crisp and chewy on the outside and soft and stretchy on the inside.  the spelt version was none of these things.  instead it was tough on the outside and dense on the inside....pretty much a total failure.

deep breaths.......

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

m is for mad

food allergies suck.  we can pretend that everything is hunky dory and that we are perfectly happy eating quinoa mush and drinking coffee with rice milk.  but we are lying.

over a year ago i decided that it was time to figure out what was going on with my "delicate" digestive system.  i had suffered a broad range of unpleasant symptoms for years and had finally reached my limit.

since then i've been poked and prodded and had just about every test conceivable.  i've eliminated more foods from my diet than i've kept.  i no longer eat wheat, corn, soy, dairy or legumes (and countless others).  until the last couple of weeks i was eating spelt (i've tested negative for celiac- both with the blood test and the biopsy), but after a recent round of yet another undefined ailment, i've eliminated that as well.

as you can probably tell by my snarky tone, i've lost my patience with all this.  does my digestive system feel better?  yes.  is my life better?  no.

now what?  i don't know.

Monday, November 1, 2010

b is for bagels

now that the big competition i was working on is over, i have some time to play around in the kitchen again.  i know i've made grand promises of spelt baguettes (ahem), but i haven't quite worked up the courage for that just yet (although i do have PLENTY of flour).

so while b will eventually be for baguette, for today, b is for bagels.  and they be good.  very very good.

spelt bagels
(very slightly adapted from the fabulous spelt healthy by marsha cosentino)

i know this recipe may appear overly complicated, but there is plenty of time to complete all the steps while the dough is napping. 

1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 T sugar
1 T salt
4 1/4 cups white spelt flour

extra flour for kneading
extra sugar (1 T) for boiling water

1 egg beaten with 2 tsps warm water (egg wash)

1.  add warm water to bowl of stand mixer.  sprinkle yeast on top of water and allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast blooms.

2.  add 3 1/4 cups of the spelt flour and mix (using the paddle attachment) on low speed (2) for about 90 seconds until the dough appears smooth and long strands have formed.

3.  add the remaining 1 cup of flour in 1/4 cup increments beating for 30 seconds after each addition.

4.  after all of the flour has been added, switch to the dough hook and knead for 60-90 seconds until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.  do not over knead!

5.  turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead very briefly until the dough forms a nice ball. 

6.  place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30-40 minutes until is has roughly doubled in size. 

7.  after the dough has risen, gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface.  cover with a towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes. 

8.  while the dough is resting, add water to a large stockpot (mine holds 6QT) and add 1 T of sugar.  the sugar helps to create a shiny outer surface. 

9.  after the dough has rested for 15 minutes, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.  roughly shape each piece into a ball and poke a hole into the middle using your thumb.  gently stretch the dough into a ring approximately 4 inches across.

10.  place each of the 8 bagels onto a floured surface (i used a baking sheet), cover with a towel and allow to rest for another 15 minutes.

12.  while the bagels are resting, pre-heat the oven to 375 and boil the water in the stockpot.  once the water has boiled, reduce the heat to a simmer.

13.  cover a wire cooling rack with a towel and set aside.

14.  once the bagels have rested, gently transfer them (one at a time) into the simmering water.  i used my hands but next time i will use a spatula as the dough was very sticky.  the bagels will expand once they are in the hot water.  i was only able to fit 3 at a time in my stockpot.

16.  simmer the bagels for 3 minutes on each side and then transfer them to the cooling rack to drain.  repeat until all of the bagels have been boiled.

17.  line 2 baking sheets with parchment and lightly coat with olive oil.  place 4 bagels on each sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

18.  after 10 minutes, remove from the oven and brush with the egg wash.  return to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.  take care not to over bake them as the bottoms may burn.

19.  allow to cool

20.  enjoy!