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Welcome to our Holiday Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake one of our favorite holiday recipes, this stunning Cinnamon Star Bread, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!

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You want to bake something extra-special for the holidays. A real show-stopper, as delicious as it is gorgeous. Not only is this loaf gorgeous; it’s your best cinnamon bun dream come true. Multiple layers of cinnamon-sugar encased in tender bread beg you to pull apart, slice, or nibble. Each warm and aromatic bite is better than the last.

CINNAMON STAR BREAD

For the Dough

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup instant potato flakes

1/4 cup nonfat milk powder

3/4 cup+ 2 to 4 tablespoons lukewarm water

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kitchen salt

For the Cinnamon Filling

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method:

  • Sift the flour, potato flour, and dry milk through a strainer to prevent any lumps.

  • Combine all dough ingredients and knead by hand to make a soft, smooth dough.

  • Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rise for 60 minutes, until doubled.

  • Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and rest for 15 minutes.

  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 piece of dough into a 10-inch circle.

  • Place circle on a piece of parchment, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on surface.

  • Sprinkle with 1/3 of cinnamon-sugar, leave 1/4″ of bare dough around perimeter.

  • Roll out a second circle the same size as the first and place it on top of first circle.

  • Repeat layering process with egg, cinnamon sugar, dough, leaving top circle bare.

  • Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cookie cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide.

  • Cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layer.

  • Using two hands, pick up 2 adjacent strips. Twist them away from each other twice.

  • Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with 8 pairs of strips.

  • Pinch pairs of strips together to create star shape with eight points. Remove cutter.

  • Transfer star on the parchment to a baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush with egg and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden.

  • Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 10.

KAF November Bakealong Challenge

 

 

Welcome to our October Bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake this month’s recipe, Rugelach, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!

Is it a pastry or a cookie? Rugelach – buttery, tender dough wrapped around a variety of fillings – perfectly straddles the line. Popping one of these treats into your mouth feels like a bite of pie, an edge piece that is as much crust as filling. Flaky, fruit-filled Danish comes to mind, too. Your overall impression is rich: from its cream cheese pastry to the sweet combination of nuts, fruit or chocolate inside, rugelach is the perfect cookie for a special occasion.

RUGELACH

For the Crust

227g unsalted butter, room temperature

170g cream cheese, room temperature

74g sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

241g all purpose flour

For the Filling

106g brown sugar

113g walnuts, chopped

85g dried cranberries

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Water for brushing dough

For the Topping

Coarse white sparkling sugar

Milk or cream

Method:

  • To make the crust, place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse them briefly till combined.
  • Cut butter and cream cheese into chunks and add along with cream. Pulse until dough comes together.

  • Divide dough into three equal portions. Press each gently into a disc making them as round as possible.
  • Wrap the discs of dough in plastic, and chill the dough for about 1 hour, until it is firm but not rock hard.

  • To make the filling, process the sugar, walnuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon in a food processor or blender.
  • Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on a generously floured surface. Roll into a 10″ circle.

  • Brush lightly with water or a layer of boiled cider, warmed apple or currant jelly or puréed fruit preserves.
  • Spread about 1/3 of the filling on the round, going all the way to the edges and gently pat down the filling.

  • Using a pizza cutter, baker’s bench knife, or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal wedges/triangles.
  • Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end. Place the rolls point-side down on a lined baking sheet.

  • Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough. Brush with milk and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Refrigerate rugelach while oven is preheating. Bake for 25-30 minutes till golden.

  • Remove from the oven, and cool right on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 36 pieces.
  • Store rugelach in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or freeze for longer storage.

KAF October Bakealong Challenge

Welcome to our August Bakealong Challenge. Each month, we announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake this month’s recipe, Golden Focaccia, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. We recently wrapped up the first year of our Bakealong challenge, and decided to kick off our second year of Bakealong with this classic Italian country recipe. It is a casual bread, enjoyed warm from the oven with family and friends, a dish made for sharing.

Maybe you’ve tasted the American version of this flatbread, typically thick and tender with a soft crust but we’d like you to learn about true focaccia, the kind made in Italian towns from Genoa to Catania. Our Golden Focaccia Bakealong will show you how to create the real thing: Italian focaccia, usually a bit thinner than American-style, crusty and chewy and topped with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a scattering of herbs. Fancy versions of focaccia will have chopped olives or onions, plus maybe a few curls of shaved Parmesan. But one trait common to all native Italian focaccia is this: there’s no iconic recipe, and it’s never made exactly the same way twice.

GOLDEN FOCACCIA

Ingredients:

For the Overnight Starter

1/2 cup cool water

1/16 teaspoon instant yeast

1 cup all purpose flour

For the Focaccia Dough

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  • Make the overnight starter by mixing water and 1/16 teaspoon instant yeast, then slowly add the flour.
  • Stir until the flour is incorporated. The starter will be paste-like; it won’t form a ball. Cover and let rest.

  • Keep at room temperature for about 14 hours and starter will be bubbly and be ready by next morning.
  • Combine the starter with the remaining dough ingredients, and knead to make a smooth, elastic dough.

  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour. Dough will become noticeably puffy.
  • A large baking sheet (e.g., an 18″ x 13″ half-sheet pan) will comfortably hold the entire batch of dough.

  • For a smaller focaccia, pat the dough into four 6″ to 8″ rounds, either freeform or in round cake pans.
  • Use non-stick vegetable oil spray to lightly grease the pan. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top of it.

  • Gently pull and shape dough into a rough rectangle and pat it into the pan but not all the way to edges.
  • Leave an inch or so free around the perimeter. Cover pan, and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.

  • Use fingers to make irregularly spaced dimples, pressing down firmly to reach the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover dough, and let rise until it is noticeably puffy, about 1 hour. The dough should have expanded.

  • Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F. Set baking stone on lower-middle rack.
  • Spritz heavily with warm water. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, enough to collect in the dimples.

  • Sprinkle with rosemary, any herb of your choice, black pepper, and some flaked sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Place the pan of focaccia onto the baking stone. Bake until light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

KAF August 2017 Bakealong Challenge: Golden Focaccia

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