Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Brioche, because this is the bread to bake if you have to wake up super early on a day off.

Brioche, buttery delicious brioche. The bread that seems to have a perfect use for everything. Good toasted, good plain, divine straight out of the oven. Easy to make, rich, always a crowd pleaser. Except that the first rise goes overnight, and the second rise takes 2-3 friggin hours so unless you’re planning on breakfast at like 10am the point of this joyous bouquet of flours is lost. The last time I made one of these I intended it to be for breakie, but we ended up snacking on it before lunch. But something has changed.

I joined U.S. Masters Swimming and I go to swim practice at 4:45 in the morning Monday through Friday. I took today off. I get home around 6:15 from swim practice and my baby girl wakes up at 9. BRIOCHE FOR BREAKFAST. So last night I made the dough in the mixer. If you have a nice stand mixer, this is a super great dough to make because it really latches onto the dough hook and spanks the inside of the bowl with gratifying thuds. For a LONG time. I think I let it knead for at least 10 minutes. It’s also super fun because once you add the butter the dough dissolves and comes back together as a much looser mass.

So after swimming, I walked straight into the kitchen, still in a freezing cold wet bathing suit, and hand kneaded the dough into little balls, set them in a pan, and went about my morning. About 30 minutes  before “go time” for the day I put it in a 375F oven and let it bake. It. Is. Delicious. Love me a brioche.

Also, there is something really cathartic about kneading bread, more so early in the morning. I felt like if this was my occupation I’d be okay with that. Making bread is noble. Bakers fulfill a necessary role in society. I wish I fulfilled such a necessary role. But dollars talk in America and if you want your kid to grow up with tons of opportunities you do what you’ve got to do. Maybe in retirement.

 

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Weihnachts Kugelhopf (Christmas Kugelhopf)…a daddyPrimate riff on a classic Kugelhopf

If you read my previous post about Kugelhopf you already know it’s a 15th century Austrian yeast-raised cake that’s not really cake but not really a bread either and somewhere in between in texture and flavor. Or maybe I wrote that post poorly. Well, mommyPrimate got a gift card to Sur la Table and bought a really beautiful “bundt” pan that looks a bit more like a kugelhopf mold to me, so I decided to have a second go at it. I got the recipe once again from Epicurious but somehow I got the magic right a little better this time.

Christmas Kugelhopf proving on the counter. #baking #proveyourself

A post shared by Charlie (@daddyprimate) on

When I made the dough this time, I don’t think I got the milk quite as hot. I may have had a little bit of a yeast die-off last time from too-hot liquid ingredients. I also put blobs in the pan (which I sprayed with coconut oil and floured pretty aggressively) by hand instead of dropping it in like a comforter in a washing machine. Once the blobs were in, I aggressively smoothed out the dough with a lubed up spatula (Lubed Up Spatula, by the way, is the name of my new band.) I let it rise for two hours.

Risen! #boom

A post shared by Charlie (@daddyprimate) on

After a two hour prove it looked like this. BAM. I credit the success of this prove to my lucky tea towel that has my daughter’s name on it. There is no other secret to my success. So, now that the dough had risen, I tossed it in a 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes, slid some foil on top, and let it go another 20 minutes. It was soft and bounced back when I touched it with my finger, and a wooden skewer inserted came out clean.

Cool down faster I want to decorate you and go to bed! 😴😴😴#baking

A post shared by Charlie (@daddyprimate) on

After about 3 minutes or so I tipped it out of the pan and it came out cleanly. No idea how that actually happened. I credit dumb luck, the lucky tea towel, and the liberal application of coconut oil and flour on the pan. Now, while this beautiful beast cools down a little, I’ll tell you about why it’s a Weihnachts Kugelhopf instead of just a Kugelhopf.

Basically, we didn’t have a bunch of sultanas lying around, but we DID have a bunch of fresh cranberries. And oranges. So I tossed in whole fresh cranberries while it was mixing, and flavored it with orange zest. Cranberry and orange is about as wintry of a flavor combination as I can come up with. Christmas is in two weeks. BOOOOM! Weihnachts Kugelhopf. I bet your mind is BLOWN right now.

Cranberry orange kugelhopf with candied cranberries and oranges #baking #cakes

A post shared by Charlie (@daddyprimate) on

Now, to decorate this beautiful lady of a cake, I candied fresh cranberries and mandarin orange slices by boiling them in simple syrup for about an hour and cooling them in the fridge. I dusted the cake with icing sugar, then creatively placed the candied fruits in the crevasses. This may very well be the most spectacular baked good I’ve ever brought into this world, AND I WILL TAKE IT RIGHT BACK OUT.

ahj48udw0tcue

The texture of this kugelhopf came out MUCH more pleasantly than the last one I baked. It’s similar to what you would expect if an angel food cake and a brioche had a baby. It’s soft, light, spongy, but not too sweet. It’s wonderful, and its rightful place is at breakfast, I think.

1zirljjaujaqa

If you’d like to try to bake one of these, use the recipe I linked above, and swap out the raisins with fresh cranberries. Your taste buds will thank you.

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Cinnamon Rolls (explicit language)

8v4ghhmcl9756

The U.S. presidential election has left me bitter and my language this post will be spicier than normal. Who knew that half of the country was so hateful, or at least so indifferent to hate? We need sweetness right now. Sweetness and kindness. The kind of basic sexual healing that can only come from a fucking warm ass pan of cinnamon rolls.

A post shared by Charlie (@daddyprimate) on

I had never made cinnamon rolls before. They always seemed way too motherfucking labor intensive. When I started baking about a year ago, I never really considered them. They’re not my favorite thing. There’s really nothing glamorous about a cinnamon roll. They’re the pumpkin spice latte of pastry, in the sense that they smell nice and I want them about once a year, but when I get them I realize it’s too sweet and I never really liked it in the first place.

5z3mhbzjnijke

So, daddyPrimate, what the fuck is with the post about cinnamon rolls if you don’t even like them. What the hell kind of moron are you? Cinnamon rolls aren’t about the taste, or the smell, though both of those are nice. Cinnamon rolls are something you bake for someone else. You bake them for someone else because they’re fucking labor intensive, a total pain in the ass, and going to that much trouble says “I really love your ass.”

c9yognpe5qwim

It happened to be mommyPrimate’s birthday a week ago. You know, before the election instilled the bitterness of a thousand grapefruits in me. I wanted to say “Hey babe, for breakfast I made you a big plate of I LOVE YOU” and I knew damn well that meant cinnamon rolls. I distinctly remember one birthday where I woke up and mommyPrimate was making cinnamon rolls and I was like “THAT IS LOVE.” So I found a recipe, and got to work at 11pm. We get up earlier now, so I started earlier.

t0tny68t8wq2y

Making the dough was easy. It rose well. It rolled out just fine. The filling was super simple. Cutting it and putting it in the pan was a little messy but whatevs. I was afraid it would overprove as it rose overnight, or that it wouldn’t prove because it was going to sit in the fridge. When I woke up in the morning though, it had filled the casserole dish with delish looking, perfectly plump cinnamon rolls. I let them sit on the counter for a bit as I made coffee, and popped them in the oven.

h7niyrutxaei8

When they came out they were beautiful. I iced them with a quick homemade cream cheese icing and we nommed right into that shit. Easy. Peasy. If a bit tedious. I’d say this world could use a little more love right now, so maybe you should get up off your equally bitter ass, get your mixer ready, find an easy recipe for cinnamon rolls online, and make them for your S.O. for breakie tomorrow. Let’s sweeten this world up together.

tidtdukytd0lo

Peace.

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Kugelhopf

One of the  most alluring concepts for me in baking is old recipes. When the Great British Bake-Off series that aired in the U.S. in 2015 explored yeast-raised continental cakes, there was one that caught my eye…the Kugelhopf. Finally presented with an opportunity that was appropriate to make this old Austrian recipe, I had a look at the ingredients, decided I had everything, and got to work.

So, Kugelhopf is a recipe from the Habsburg Dynasty in Austria that apparently got its name from the shape of the pan resembling the disembodied head of a Turk. The cake was originally baked to celebrate the Habsburg victory over the Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1485. That makes this a 15th century recipe.

mb16kkj4hpd16

So basically, you melt butter in milk and dissolve sugar in it, form a “volcano” of flour and yeast in your mixer, and pour the liquid into the dry as it mixes. When it comes together you add orange zest and raisins, let it beat until the gluten forms nicely, and plop it into your kugelhopf mould. Of course, I don’t have a kugelhopf mould (yet…Christmas is coming), so I just used a bundt pan.

It bakes for 15 minutes, gets covered with foil so the bottom doesn’t develop too much of a tan, and then continues to bake another 25 minutes or so. I “topped” mine with apricots, but they burnt to  a crisp so I pulled them out and pretended that the inlaid pattern of light and dark was done on purpose. Pro-tip: people will believe anything you tell them about baking because they don’t do it themselves.

1zirljjaujaqa

So it turned out pretty well. It’s not a cake, per se, because it’s not very sweet and has a much more bread-like texture. I think next time I may double the orange zest, and use cranberries instead of raisins. You know, for Christmas.

At any rate, kugelhopfs are good, and I recommend them to anyone who has to take something to work for a potluck.

The end.

 

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Ciabatta be kidding me!

Homemade ciabatta fresh out of the oven #bread

A post shared by Charlie (@daddyprimate) on

This week I decided to have another go at ciabatta. The last time I made it went alright, however I didn’t leave it in the oven long enough to get a nice golden brown crust, and the dough was so thin the bread was tiny once it baked up.

This time I divided the dough in 2 instead of 4, and took it out based on color, not time. It turned out beautifully. What a terribly wet dough, though. It’s difficult to work with without knocking out all of the air. I didn’t need it to be perfect, just good enough to thicken a ribollita for dinner. That’s what it did, and it did so beautifully.

I think the next time I bake it will have to be something a bit more ridiculous, like a charlotte russe, or a povitica. Perhaps that will inspire greatness.

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Scones

8gi3p2vs0ff6m

Baking in the morning is generally not something I do, because who the hell can do anything precisely before about 6 cups of coffee? Well, my mother in law was in town last weekend and she’s a delightful little lady who apparently sees my instagram posts and wanted baked goods.

voikctmqvpppi

About the same time, mommyPrimate had just started a new job, and she had a few things to get done on Saturday. Funny enough, the only time anyone can focus meaningfully on anything is when babyPrimate is napping, so mommyPrimate needed the morning to work. As luck would have it, she had a plan for breakie already that was basically a frittata and scones, so I said, “Don’t you worry mommyPrimate, I will handle this!” Then I guzzled my coffee and got to baking.

mb16kkj4hpd16

So scones are actually damn simple. I quickly put the dough together, formed it into a circle, brushed the top with egg, and popped it in the oven.

My scones working their fierce angles. #food #foodporn #baking

A post shared by Charlie (@daddyprimate) on

When this came out of the oven I felt like I’m basically a fucking magician. They were a little lighter than scones I’ve had in the past, not too sweet…delightful.

Scones are a go!

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Baguettes

c9yognpe5qwim

I’ve always thought there was something kinda noble about a plain old baguette. It’s super simple as far as ingredients go, but packs such a punch of flavor that it can stand up to your tastebuds without any help from butter or jam…and when you add butter and jam omg. But I always thought they would be super difficult to make.

5z3mhbzjnijke

So I got out my good old friend Paul Hollywood’s book and got to work. Flour, yeast, salt, water, mix mix mix, rise rise rise. Bake bake bake.

bcqdqiugxp5yi

What I ended up with looked nothing like a baguette or even a demi-baguette (because let’s get real, you need a freaking HUGE oven for full sized baguettes. But it tasted like a baguette, and was just a few minutes away from the perfect crust.

Next time I will nail it, because j’adore les baguettes!!!