Mushroom Pistachio Sourdough Focaccia

I oven roasted more than enough mushrooms for pizza and had almost a cup left over. Michelle had given me a bag of pistachios and I had a hankering for focaccia, so this recipe was born.

To roast the mushrooms, slice and place in a large bowl with a generous amount of olive oil. Stir well to coat before placing mushrooms on a parchment covered baking sheet and spreading out in a single layer. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until done, stirring once during the baking.

This is a bread that eats like a meal. While it takes a several long rises totaling about 6 hours as it only uses the wild yeast in the sourdough starter, the final result is almost meaty and nutty and deliciously crunchy.

Mushroom Pistachio Sourdough Focaccia

2-3 cups bread flour
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons plus extra for drizzle olive oil
½ cup sliced and roasted mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup dry roasted pistachios, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
flake salt

Mix 2 cups flour, water and sourdough starter together in a large bowl until it comes together in a sticky dough. Let this dough rest for 30 minutes to hydrate the flour.

Add another 1/2 cup of flour, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil to the dough and move to a bread machine or a stand mixer. Set the bread machine on dough cycle and let the cycle run. With a stand mixer, use a dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl – if it is too sticky to do so, add another ½ cup of bread flour.

Cover and let rise for two hours or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and mix in the pistachios and mushrooms. Place in an oiled bowl to rise for two hours or until doubled in size.

Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 9×13 pan and use your fingers to coat the bottom. With oiled fingers, turn the dough onto the pan and press gently to spread the dough out evenly to a one inch thickness. Cover and let rise for another hour.

Sink your finger tips into the dough to make deep dents. Drizzle a good coating of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle top with sea salt and Italian seasoning (I have a recipe for an Italian seasoning mix here).

After the dough has rested for at least 30 minutes, preheat oven to 450º F.

Place the focaccia into the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Crusty, Chewy Sourdough Rolls

We planned to have some leftover Crab Imperial for dinner and I decided to make dinner rolls. I used my sourdough starter to give the rolls a flavorful start and poured a pan of water in the oven to give them a perfectly crusty exterior.

This isn’t a fussy recipe although it does take some time. As my starter has the consistency of pancake batter, the first step only took about 30 minutes but waiting longer doesn’t hurt, just adds a depth of flavor.

If you don’t gobble them all down in a single sitting, the rolls can be frozen once they have cooled completely. Defrost in the microwave on the DEFROST setting for about a minute.

Final result is a nice chew and light tang to the rolls. Delicious accompaniment to dinner or lovely on their own with butter or a little olive oil.

Sourdough French Rolls

1 cup unfed sourdough starter
2 ½ cups to 3 cups bread flour
1 cup water
½ teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon yeast

Combine the sourdough starter, flour, water and sugar in a large bowl. Stir to combine. The mixture should be a shaggy, sticky dough. Cover and allow to rest for about 45 minutes to an hour to hydrate the flour.

Transfer dough to a bread machine and add the salt and yeast. Set it on dough cycle and hit start. After the bread machine has been running for about ten minutes, check the consistency of the dough. It will be a little sticky, but should clear the sides of the bowl. If it seems too wet, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. Let the machine complete the cycle and leave it in the machine for 30 additional minutes.

Dust a baking sheet lightly with cornmeal. Set aside.

After the dough has doubled in size, place it onto the counter or a cutting board.  Divide the dough into 9 equal sized pieces.

Shape the pieces into rolls by pinching the bottoms and rolling on the counter to smooth out. Place on the cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Rub the tops with flour and then make a slash into the tops with sharp knife. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Bring the oven to 450 degrees F. Place an empty, rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack to get hot while the oven preheats.

When the oven has come to temperature, pour 1 cup of water on the hot baking sheet to create steam (the pan may buckle – this is okay). Place the baking sheet with the rolls on center rack and bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown and they sound hollow when thumped.

Cool rolls on wire rack.

 

Sourdough Caraway Loaf

I’m beset with a surplus of sourdough sponge in my efforts to create a sourdough panettone. As a bonus, I get to play with lots of different baked goods. Today is a bread sourdough loaf with caraway seeds.

To fully hydrate the sourdough sponge, feed your starter with water and flour and let sit on the counter overnight. Stir and take out a cup of the sponge to begin the dough.

There is a lovely nutty flavor to the loaf with a nice crust and chew.

I have some pastrami so I’m thinking this will make a nice sandwich bread – I lightly toasted a couple of slices, placed hot pastrami on one slice topped with some provolone cheese and broiled it for a couple of minutes. Even without sauerkraut or 1000 Island dressing, it was very good!

Sourdough Caraway Loaf

1 cup fully hydrated sourdough sponge
½ cup warm water
3 cups bread flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ¼ teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, crushed

Mix together the sponge, ½ cup water and 1 ½ cups bread flour. Stir well and place in the bread machine. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Add to the sponge mixture the baking soda, remaining 1 ½ cups bread flour, salt, olive oil, yeast and caraway seeds, in that order. Set the machine for basic cycle, medium crust.

Sourdough Olive Breadsticks

These aren’t the soft, yeasty breadsticks you find at some steakhouses. Instead, they are more like the Italian grissini and are crispy and flavorful. They are wonderful to snack on while you wait for dinner to cook or while watching the sport of politics as the Democratic National Convention has been on this week (the Republican National Convention is on next week).

Many recipes would have you push the olives into the twists once you’ve placed them on a baking tray. I find mixing them in with the dough means you get a little olive in every bite and no burnt bits.

I sprinkle the tops with flake salt but you can also use a seasoning blend like an everything bagel seasoning, Italian seasoning, pizza seasoning, etc.

Very good and even better dipped in a little olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper. Bring on the speeches!

Sourdough Olive Breadsticks

1 cup warm water
1 cup
 sourdough starter
1 ½ cups bread flour
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped

egg wash for brushing
flake salt or other seasoning for topping

Mix all ingredients and knead until all flour is hydrated, at least 8-10 minutes. Place dough in a buttered bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm place. At 30 minutes and an hour into the proof, go into the bowl and pick up a bit of the outside of the dough and lift and press into the center. Continue while moving the bowl until you’ve gone all the way around. After the second press, let the dough rest for a further 2 hours.

Generously flour the counter with semolina flour if you have it or use all-purpose  and gently turn out the dough. The dough will be wet so sprinkle the top with flour to minimize sticking. Use your hands to flatten and shape the dough into a rectangle. With a knife or pizza cutter, divide the dough into 12-16 strips and shape into long, thin ropes by gently pulling the ends and twisting a few times.

Arrange the twists on greased baking sheets about an 1 inch apart. Do as many trays as necessary but only bake one at a time. Scramble the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush over the top of the twists. Sprinkle with salt or seasoning blend. Let sit on the counter while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Bake 16-20 minutes until crispy and turn out on a cooling rack. These crisp up further on the cooling rack, so don’t over bake them.

If you plan to freeze or serve later, bake without egg wash or topping. Once done, cool on wire rack and store in a zip top bag and store. Just before serving, brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle on preferred topping and pop into a 350 degree F oven for about ten minutes until they are heated through.

 

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

My niece’s husband has been furloughed with the stay-at-home orders. As she has three kids and the grocery stores are running out of bread, I decided this week’s bread making would be sandwich bread for them.

This recipe was started the night before by making the sponge. The next morning, after I finished adding more flour and some salt and olive oil, it had a long rise in the bowl. Then, I divided it and placed in loaf pans for another rise.

I made the little loaf for my sister to have for taking the bread to her daughter.

We ate half of the other loaf with the Boston Butt that my brother-in-law, Wayne, smoked this morning. The bread is so tender and soft and it has a nice, mild tang. Yummy!

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

1 1/2 cups sourdough starter (see recipe notes for link)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup bread flour
4-6 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon salt

Place the sourdough starter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add to it the bread flour, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, and water. Mix well and set it aside, covered, in a warm place for overnight (about 8-12 hours).

Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, olive oil and salt and mix. Begin to knead. Add more flour as you knead until the dough becomes quite firm but still feels a little sticky to your fingers. Knead for 4-5 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and springy to your fingers and it barely sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning the ball of dough around once to coat the top with oil. Cover tightly and place in a warm spot (like an oven with the light turned on) for at least two hours or until the dough has doubled.

Punch down the dough and divide into two. Prep two standard loaf pans by spraying lightly with oil. Place each loaf into the prepared loaf pans. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them stand in a warm place for at least two more hours or until the dough rises above the top of the loaf pans.

About half an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Make a shallow slice on the top of the dough lengthwise. Place the loaves in the oven and bake 40 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the oven, turn them out on a rack, and let them cool thoroughly before slicing, at least an hour.

 

Olive Sourdough Loaves

I pulled a half cup of sourdough out of the refrigerator and put it in a bowl with ½ cup of lukewarm water and a cup of all purpose flour. I stirred it well and put plastic wrap over the top of the mixing bowl and left it on the counter overnight so it was raring to go for a rustic loaf.

My starter and I then took a field trip across two states before I added flour and chopped black Kalamata olives for a delicious loaf even my Dad enjoyed. You don’t need to give it that long a rest or a drive in a warm car but, even if you do, the bread still turns out delicious!

This recipe makes two loaves. Give one away to someone who is self isolating but craves some good bread or you can freeze the extra loaf until ready to eat it yourself.

They make really good bread for sandwiches, too.

Olive Sourdough Loaves

1 cup sourdough starter, fed
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ½  cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½  cups bread flour
3/4 cup drained, pitted, and coarsely chopped Kalamata olives

Combine everything but the olives in a stand mixer and stir to form a smooth dough. Fold in the olives and Knead about 10 minutes, dough should come cleanly away from the sides.

Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise in a warm, draft free place until it’s doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, gently divide the dough in half. Shape each piece of dough into either a round or oval loaf. Place each loaf on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the loaves and let them rise an 1 hour. They will be very puffy.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Spray the loaves with water and make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each.

Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re a very deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Garlic Sourdough Focaccia

I made a chicken, lemon and rice soup  the other day and knew I would want a good homemade bread to go with it. I decided on focaccia with some of my sourdough but, instead of the usual rosemary or olive, I decided to go for garlic. I crisped up some garlic in olive oil and it was deliciously garlicky.

This focaccia has a lovely chew and great flavor. And you won’t have to worry about vampires for a long time to come!

I used the extra yeast to shorten the time of the bread making – the last time I did this without, I needed an overnight rise. By placing it in a 9×13 pan, it gives it enough rise to make lovely sandwich bread.

Garlic Sourdough Focaccia

1 cup active sourdough starter
1 ¼ cups warm water
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup bread flour
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast

Garlic oil

½ head of garlic (about 8 large cloves)
¼ cup olive oil

Remove enough of  the sourdough starter from the mother for the recipe and place in a draft free place for four hours. Feed the remaining starter and return it to the fridge. The starter should be bubbling nicely after its rest.

Place the starter, water, oil, salt, flours and instant yeast into a bread machine. Let the machine run for 15 minutes on the dough cycle and then turn it off for 15 minutes to hydrate the flours. Clear the machine and start the dough cycle over again.

Once the dough cycle has ended, place the dough in a large, well oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm, draft free place for two hours. I place mine in the cold oven with the oven light on. One hour into the rise, punch down the dough.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until golden brown. Be careful not to let it burn. Strain the garlic, reserving the garlic flavored oil and the garlic separately.

Lightly oil a 9×13 pan with half of the garlic olive oil. Place the dough onto the oiled pan (trying not to deflate it too much). Use your fingers to spread the dough to the edges. Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour until well risen and puffy.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use your fingers to dimple the top of the dough all over. Brush with the remaining garlic flavored olive oil. Sprinkle the crispy garlic and coarse sea salt over the top.

Bake about 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Stuffed Focaccia

As readers of this blog know, I really like focaccia bread. I’ve got recipes HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. The difference here is I’m using sponge to start things off.

This is a stuffed focaccia with sausage, onions and peppers plus cheese because who doesn’t like all of those things? Especially together and with a yummy bread packaging. I can totally see making this again for a Super bowl or World Cup party.

Not only does the entire house smell wonderful from the yeasty bread baking but it tastes awesome. Meaty, with gooey cheese and such a delicious focaccia. Think of this like a cheesesteak muffuletta.

It works best if you have a springform pan as the sides could blow up if left on its own and it would be hard to get out of any other kind of pan. I used a 9 inch one but, if making for a crowd, go for a slightly larger one and make this thinner to eat as a snack instead of a meal.

Plan your time as this takes three rises, not counting the sponge time. That’s once during the dough cycle on the machine, once in a warm place to double and then the final before baking.

Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Focaccia

Sponge:

½ teaspoon instant/active yeast
3/4 cup unbleached bread flour
½ cup warm water

Dough:

1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon instant/active yeast
1 teaspoon ground rosemary
3 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt

Meat and Cheese Stuffing:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of sausage (I used German Sausage removed from their casing)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, sliced very thin
1 bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cup Provolone (or any good melty cheese – mozzarella, monteray jack, cheddar) cheese, grated

Topping:

Coarse salt
fresh chopped rosemary
olive oil

For the Sponge: Whisk to combine yeast and flour. Add the water to and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least two hours and as long as overnight.

After the sponge has developed, place it in a bread machine. Add the water, olive oil, yeast, rosemary, flour and salt in the order suggested and set it for the dough cycle. Once the dough has risen in the machine, remove and place in a well-oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

Prepare the stuffing while the dough rises, as you want it to come to room temperature before placing it in the dough.

Remove the sausage from its casing and brown with the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drain and remove from the pan. Wipe out the pan, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat. Melt the butter and sauté the onion for about 10-15 minutes or until golden. Add in the bell pepper and season with the salt and pepper and the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant and then remove from the heat. Add the onions to the sausage and set aside. Do not refrigerate.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide in half. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil. Stretch half of the dough into a disc and place in the bottom of the pan. Press it out to the sides. Toss the sausage and onions with the cheese. Spoon the mixture into pan, leaving about a finger width border around the sides. Stretch the other piece of dough into a disc and place on top of stuffing. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.

Just before baking, drizzle olive oil over the dough and sprinkle with coarse salt. Add a sprinkling of fresh chopped rosemary. Dimple the top of the dough with your fingers, leaving indentations.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the top is deep golden brown. To serve, slice into wedges and eat like a sandwich.

This stuffed bread is great the next day, too. Simply place leftover on a pan in the oven at 375 and bake for about 15 minutes, or until warmed through.

Corny Corn Muffins

I’ve been working on my corn muffin recipe – I needed something a little less cakey, so I tweaked a cornbread recipe I saw on America’s Test Kitchen. I’m not a real fan of sweet cornbread, so I reduced the sugar in the recipe – they used a ¼ cup! I also upped the frozen (and thawed) corn and, therefore, upped the salt slightly as well.

These were perfect little bites of corny cornbread and, while they were excellent warm with a glass of milk, I can’t wait to have them with the Senate bean soup I have in the slow cooker.

Whatever you don’t eat up right away with a bowl of soup or with some beans, you can freeze and then crumble the leftovers to make a terrific cornbread dressing that works as a side with pork, chicken and, even, turkey. I posted a recipe HERE with my cornbread stick recipe.

Corny Corn Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn kernels – frozen is fine but thaw first
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 stick butter, melted

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Place the corn in a blender and puree. Add the brown sugar, buttermilk and eggs to the blender and blend them up. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just mixed. Gently fold in the melted and cooled butter.

Butter a 12 cup muffin tin. Place ¼ cup of batter in each space. Smooth the top with your fingertips. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F oven for 22-25 minutes. Tops will be golden brown. Remove the muffins to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

 

Overnight Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

When I think of having cinnamon rolls in the morning, I find myself dreaming of Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. You’ve got to wait for satisfaction, though. I gotta say the flavor of the rolls is great after the long, slow rise.

I do have a couple of quibbles, though. There are no pecans in the original and he makes way more than I usually want to make at any given time. Therefore, here is the fixed and halved recipe.

Before frosting

The recipe should have made about 6 large buns. Not paying attention, I was cutting each section in half and before I knew it, I had 8 rolls plus two ends that I merged together to get a final bun. Still plenty of cinnamon pecan rolls for a family.

I also added Grand Marnier to the icing for a hint of orange and to cut the sweet.

Rewarm the next day in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

Overnight Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Dough
2 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 ounces buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 1/8 teaspoon yeast
1 1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Icing
2 ounces cream cheese
1 ½ tablespoons milk
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier liquor

In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add 1 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; mix until moistened and combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add another cup of the flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the filling ingredients of brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 12 by 6-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge. Gently press the filling into the dough.

Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 8 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in a cold oven with the light on. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven had come to temperature, place the pan of rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the Grand Marnier until combined. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.