This is once again a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe from The Bread Bible. During the winter I often find myself baking a lot of bread. In fact, I bake more bread than Craig and I are capable (or should attempt) of eating prior to it going bad. Luckily I manage to have pretty good luck in freezing my loafs, and when we don’t have great sandwich bread to fall back on, I find myself disappointed and get down on myself for not just baking off a few loaves of bread every now and again to prevent us from eating something with 11ty different ingredients from the supermarket. This bread also makes incredible hamburger buns if you decide to shape it into small rounds. This recipe has a permanent bookmark on it.
This bread requires a preferment. That is a small batch of saltless dough that is usually pretty low on flour that spends time allowing the yeast and other microbes in the flour to start developing flavor and interesting. These are especially important in hearth style breads, but almost all breads can benefit from a little bit of preferment. Depending on the culture that the style is from, the preferments will have different names. Italian breads have a biga, French breads have pate fermentee, and American style recipes just have a preferment or a sponge.
Since I only ever use my stand mixer to make bread, my instructions call for the use of the mixer. If you prefer to make this by hand, please do so, but consider that hand kneading tends to take longer than using a mixer. I also urge you to cook by weight. This makes bread baking so much easier. And note that instant or bread machine yeast is not the same thing as active dry (which is less fervent than instant)
Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf – Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum
Makes 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf
Let the Dough Rise
Whoa nelly, that is a mouthful. It has been hot in the Seattle area. Hotter than most of us are equipped to deal with. With many stretches of days in the 90s, the idea of turning on the oven, and frankly even using the stove has been far from appealing. I have set up shop on our covered back deck and doing the vast majority of my cooking out there. We have a little plug-in induction burner that I’ve been using extensively. We also have the Weber grill and my somewhat ghetto fabulous styrofoam cooler lined with a black trash bag that I’ve been doing sous vide cooks in. It’s super efficient so we’re using a lot less power to cook stuff. As is my true summer style, I’ve been slacking pretty phenomenal at avoiding meal planning, and that has resulted in pretty sad improvised dinners and lots and lots of breakfast sandwiches (I haven’t told you about the new chickens yet, but we’ll get there).
I really needed to get back on the wagon and start pretending to be a grown up who is actually capable of managing their own life and feeding themselves and their family, so I came up with a meal plan for the week. One of my favorite make-ahead breakfast items is quiche. Crustless if I’m being lazy or otherwise avoiding extra carbs. Unfortunately, part of making quiche involves turning the oven on. Sometime last year I read post about making personal sized cheesecakes in jars. Makes sense, you use a water bath to regulate the temp of cheesecake in the oven anyway. I imagine that you’d get an even more even perfectly silky texture with a sous vide style water bath. That got my wheels turning and I decided to try my hand at making personal size crustless quiches in the water bath, and damnit, they are fantastic! They are creamy and custardy (totally set) but not dry or runny.
Sous Vide Crustless Quiches (Ingredients for one, easy to scale)
Ingredients (per quiche – if you have a calculator or basic math skills, scaling up is pretty easy)
Nutritional Breakdown if that matters to you:
I totally stole this idea from another blog. It sounded pretty legit, so I fussed with it to suit our tastes and not depend on leftovers. I am well aware that this is one of the least photogenic foods that has existed. I’m comfortable with that. It’s delicious. If you’re not being so strict about watching carbs, adding shredded carrots or thinly sliced red bell pepper would be really nice. Really anything can be modified, this is just what I put in mine.
Eggroll Stir Fry Bowls (makes 8)
Nutrition Breakdown (per 1/8 recipe)
36 g protein
This is as ridiculous as it sounds. But it is also delicious, filling, and if you’re keeping an eye on your carbohydrate intake, low carb. It also gives you all the flavor of a bacon cheeseburger without the bun. Either eat this on its own, or have it over a simple salad. I like to double the recipe, make 2, and freeze one of them for a few weeks later. In my experience, when eating a restrictive diet, the easiest way to set yourself up for success is having tons of “premade” stuff that is ready to eat – which is why I usually have already peeled boiled eggs, string cheese, salami, and jello in the fridge. This bacon cheeseburger quiche is one of those puzzle pieces. It keeps in the fridge for a full week easily, although we’ve never had it last any longer than that, if you know what I mean. 😉
Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche (makes 6 servings – photos show a double recipe)
Ingredients(one pie plate):
This recipe is originally from the now neglected Not So Humble Pie. It has been heavily modified and dolled up to suit my increasingly picky tastes but is quite good. The secret to this recipe is the orange bakery emulsion. It gives you a strong and bright orange flavor that doesn’t bake out the way that an alcohol based extract does.
Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Makes 23 (I know, right?)
This is based off of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Mousseline Buttercream. Simply put, it is the greatest base buttercream recipe. Period. It is just so stinkin’ delicious. The texture is light for a European style buttercream, it takes hardly any time to throw together, and it’s not too sweet. It retains a glossy appearance and since it doesn’t contain powdered sugar, it doesn’t dry out or get crusty, making it a perfect option for sitting out all day. The only caveat is that it needs to be consumed at room temp. If eaten out of the fridge, the texture resembles that of cold butter, and it is utterly unappetizing. You’ve been warned. The dual color technique looks super complicated, but I promise, it is super easy. It’s even way less messy than using a piping bag like normal. FWIW, if you want to look up some youtube videos, the technique is called icing plugs. Go ahead and do some watching. I’ll wait.
Orange Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream
Makes enough to ice at least 36 cupcakes
I learned last minute that we would be celebrating a coworker’s birthday the next day. I just started at a new company a month and a half ago, so I am still in the phase where I’m doing my best to show them how incredible I am. Since this particular coworker eats satsumas and oranges all the time, I knew that my creamsicle cupcake recipe would do the trick. Unfortunately, I made it experimentally and didn’t do that thing where I actually noted down what I did, so to figure out what happened last time, I had to find old posts that I had made on chowhound to see if I had described how I made it. You see, orange curd is more difficult than you might expect. The acid in lemon juice is what is responsible for the thickening in lemon curd, and since I wouldn’t be using lemon juice, I had to come up with ways to thicken it. Gelatin is an option, but for something piped, getting a creamy consistency is a toughy. I used my super thick lemon curd recipe, doubled the egg yolks, and used orange juice concentrate. It came out thinnish, but useable as a cupcake filling. Usually when I’m baking cakes/cupcakes, I premake my cake and my fillings, then make the frosting the day of and go from there. I didn’t have the luxury of time, so I decided to go for it and cook the curd sous vide! I would call it a success, and I’m not sure that I’d make lemon curd on the stovetop again!
Sous Vide Orange Curd
Makes about 3.5 cups, or enough to fill at least 48 cupcakes
Instructions (Sous Vide):