Category Archives: Breakfast

Voulez vous croissant avec moi?

As I have worked on the tarts posted earlier, I entered the “french mood” and what can be more french than croissant, Pierre Herme’s croissant better to say.
They all say that making croissants is too much work, but I really do not feel like that and even if it would be, the results are sooooo damn worthy.

Just look at my little princess how much she enjoys it. She even said: “mom, did you know that my tummy is always laughing and happy after I eat what you are making for us?”. That for me is enough….

For the dough

510 g flour
35 g butter
salt (about 10-11 g)
60 g sugar (the original recipe required 75 g, I used less brown sugar)
3-4 g instant dry yeast
235 ml milk (the original asked for powdered milk and water)
tournage butter – 88+88 g


Mix all ingredients, minus the tournage butter and knead for about 5 minutes until you have a satiny, elastic dough.
Roll the dough to fit an oven tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll it to be twice longer than wide. Spread 88 g of cold butter over 2/3 of the dough (cut the butter in small flakes). Bring the butter less 1/3 of dough over the center and then the buttery 1/3 still on the center (simple tour). Roll the dough again (have the opening on your left) to be again twice as long as its width. Now, fold the dough as you did before, but without adding extra butter. Roll the dough again on its length, place it in the tray, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove the dough from the refrigerator and repeat all the steps above with the remaining 88 g of butter.
Roll the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before shaping it. I have kept mine overnight.

Shape and bake

When ready to shape and bake, remove dough from the fridge and divide it in 2 parts (return one to the fridge).
Roll the dough into a rectangle (mine was 25/ 40 cm). Cut into triangles: I wanted mine not very big, so I cut the dough once lengthwise, then in 4 on the width, resulting 8 rectangles. Then, I cut each rectangle diagonally. Roll the croissants (do not roll them too tight) and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them proof for at least 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Brush the croissants with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten). Bake them for about 10-15 minutes, rotate the tray, lower the temperature to 180 and bake for 10 more minutes (or more depending on their size). They must be golden.

They can be frozen after completely cooled.
They are great plain, with a cup of coffee or tea, or drizzled with chocolate sauce, honey or fruit sauce.

Bagel, bagel where were you?

I like bread: I like making bread and eating bread. Oh, you knew that already….
I made bagels a few times so far, they were good but not blog worthy. I had Peter Reinhart’s receipe from his wonderful book – The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, but every time I found an excuse to postpone it. It is long, and the fact that you start it today and have the bagels next day was even a better excuse for it.
But somehow I started working on one of the best breadish thing I have ever eaten.

Bagels (adapted* from Peter Reinhart)
* I used part whole wheat flour (I am glad I did)
For sponge
6 g instant yeast
400 g bread (I used all purpose) flour
160 g whole wheat flour
600 ml water, room temperature

3g instant yeast
435 bread (I used all purpose) flour
90 g whole wheat flour
13 g salt
20 g honey

To Finish
6.5 g baking soda for every 240 ml water

Cornmeal for dusting

Day one
The sponge
Stir the yeast into the flour in quite a big bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the counter top.

The dough
Add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add the rest of the flour, minus 100g, the salt and honey. Stir until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 100g flour to stiffen the dough.

Knead the dough on a counter, for a minimum of 10 minutes (it took almost 20 in may case – with small breathing breaks). We are aiming for a firm dough, but elastic and smooth. The final dough should pass te window pane test or register 77 to 81 F on an instant thermometer (sorry for not giving C degrees values, but I used to use the F value when the recipe states it). If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

Immediately divide the dough in pieces (I divided mine in 50 g pieces as this is the amount both I and my little C are comfortable with). Form the pieces into rolls. Cover them and let them rest for about 20 minutes.

Line a few pans with parchment paper, lightly brushed with oil. Shape the bagels by either poking a hole in the dough roll or by rolling the dough into a rope and pinching the ends together.
Place the bagels on the pans, brush with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes until ready to be retarded (hubby laughed like mad when I told him about this step).

To see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator use the “float test”: fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float. Return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats.

The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 250 degrees C. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda.

Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 30 seconds flip them over and boil for another 30 seconds. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling time. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour.
I topped them with salt (kosher) and sesame seeds.

When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pan in the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

They freeze well and can be reheated successfully in the microwave.

Am I sorry I waited that long to try them? Yes, but I am glad I did it now and I can say they are good, really good.

Healthy eating with whole wheat tortillas

As you all might already know, I like breads or bread like food. Tortillas are no exception. These are always my “to go” food for quick lunches or even breakfasts.
They are so unsophisticated and can be filled with anything (haven’t yet tried sweet fillings, but I am sure I could find some good match).

I haven’t wrote about them until now, because I always wanted to blog about more “exotic stuff” and these looked too ordinary for me. But they are not, trust me. I learned this myself and now I am sorry I did not post them earlier.

These are perfect for kids, at least my little one loves them stuffed with spicy grilled meat (either chicken, pork or veal), grated mozarella, sweet corn, red bell peppers and tomato sauce.
Hubby likes them with lots of guacamole, shredded pork, grated emmentaler, red onion rings, red bell pepper and salsa. And that’s what he has in his lunchbox for today.

For the tortillas
390 g flour (i have made them with a mix of all purpose-140g and whole wheat – 250g, but they are great with only one of them)
10 ml olive oil
6-7 g salt
265 ml warm milk
13g baking powder
Mix all the above ingridients and then kned for a couple of minutes until you get a smooth, elastc, firm dough.
Place the ball of dough on a cutting board and cover it with a dump towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Make balls out of the dough (50g are mine), place them on the board, cover with the same towel and let them rest for 10 minutes, so the gluten relaxes and makes them easier to roll.
Heat a pan (do not oil/ butter it) on medium. Lightly flour the work surface and roll you balls into thin circles. Place them in the pan for 30-40 s per side – you will know they are ready when bubbles form on the surface and they start to get slightly brownish.
Tortillas can be kept in the fridge well wrapped and reheated when needed but have their best taste when eaten right after being made.

As I made more of them yesterday evening, I am having them as breakfast and as lunch.
For breakfast they are filled with: shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, a few shrimps, strips of red bell peppers all mixed with creme fraiche and topped with a bit of salsa.
For lunch: grilled pork tenderloin, sauteed mushrooms, green salad leaves, cucumber sticks and salsa of course.

Snacking on banana and chocolate

This is the most present snack in our house but never got to blog about it or take pictures of it.
Last week my sis asked for the recipe and since then I am trying to find time to post it.
So, this one is for you sis!

4-5 bananas (overripe with black spots – around 450-500 g)
2 eggs
150 g sugar (I use brown)
vanilla extract
210 g flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
bittersweet chocolate chips/ raisins/ cranberries

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
Mash the bananas and mix them on high speed for 2-3 minutes.
Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla and mix on high speed for about 5-6 minutes untill double in volume and fluffy.
Separately sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add this to the bananas and mix just until blended with an offset spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter.
You can bake it at this point or you can add chocolate chips (previously refrigerated) or raisins (previously soaked in rum) or cranberries or whatever mix of dried fruits/ nuts you feel like.
Bake the cake for about 40 minutes or until a tester inserted inside comes out clean.
The cake can be baked in 2 loaf pans (5/ 22 cm) or in a bigger cake pan or in muffin cups (decrease baking time in this case).
It is great with a cup of milk on the side, drizzled with some chocolate sauce or just plain.

Batoane cu cereale si zmeura

Baza& crusta

85g faina
85g zahar brun
80g cereale de secara/ grau/ orz
1/3 lgt praf de copt
1/4 lgt bicarbonat
60g unt (40% grasime President)

Se amesteca toate. Se pune 2/3 din amestec intr-o tava (aprox 13/ 20 cm) si se coace la 175 grade aprox 15 minute. Se lasa la racit

20g zahar brun
5g de faina (integrala am pus eu)
225-250g zmeura (eu am pus amestec zmeura si visine)
10 g de unt topit si racit
Se amesteca toate si se intind peste baza de mai sus. Se presara crusta si se coace inca 30-45 de minute (crusta trebuie sa fie aurie si umplutura sa fiarba).