Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buckwheat Bread Recipe

I was feeling like baking, found some left over buckwheat flour (around a cup) and made this delicious buckwheat bread.

A Delicious Buckwheat Bread!

- 1 T yeast
- 1 and 1/8 cups of buckwheat
- 1 and 3/4 cups of all purpose flour + around 1/2 cup for kneading
- 2 T molasses
- 4 T butter
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup milk + some to brush the top of the bread

1. Melt the butter with the milk, and molasses and let it cool down until you reach a temperature of 105 degree. 
2. Pour yeast to the milk mixture and sprinkle just a pinch of white sugar. Let it set for 10 minutes.
2. Grease a bread cooking pan with spray and set aside.
3. In a large bowl combine the 2 flours and salt and mix well.
4. Pour the beaten egg in the flour and gradually pour the milk/yeast mixture. Make sure to stir well.
The dough should be slightly sticky at this point.
5. Sprinkle some white flour on your kitchen counter top and start kneading the dough for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes the dough felt nice and soft and kept kneading until I reach the 10 minute mark. I did not had anymore flour as well because it was not needed.
6. Put the dough in the greased pan
7. Cut the top of the bread with a knife.

The signature of the baker
8. Cover the bread with some plastic wrap (spread as well) and let it rise for over 2 hours. 
Tip: To rise my dough, I place it in the oven (off) with the light on and with a steaming cup of almost boiling water.
9. Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
10. Brush the top with some milk.

After rising over 2 hours
11. Bake the bread for 10 minutes at 400 and 15 at 375 or until the top of the loaf is golden brown. 
12. Cool on a baking rack and serve.

A Perfect Loaf

Happy Baking, :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It is King Cake Time!

Today is Mardi Gras. To celebrate the occasion, I made a king cake (click on the link for the recipe). It was my first try and it turned out great! It tastes good and looks colorful. I will make it again. I have to be honest with you, I have never had a piece, but I have been told that it taste like the real one. Thanks to Jo for this great recipe. Nevertheless, we will have to make a trip to New Orleans to have a piece...

My First King Cake

Ready to rise for over 2 hours

  • What Do I think about the overall  recipe?

Preparing the Dough and Filling:
- The instructions were overall clear.
- I only used 2 and half cups of flour for the dough itself and a little more kneading. I only made half of the recipe which should be 5 cups instead of 5 and half for the original recipe.
- I kneaded the dough for 8 minutes. After 5 minutes, I noticed that the dough was nice and soft. I kept kneading without adding extra flour because of the texture. I let the dough rise for 2 and half hours to double. Click here for tips about rising bread. I did not follow the instruction at all because I am like the result I get rising my dough in general.
- I only made half of what the recipe asked for and served at least 12 people.

Shaping the Cake and Baking:
-  I laid the dough on wax paper with no additional flour on the paper and rolled it. After spreading the filling evenly on the dough, I rolled it like a sushi and made sure that it was nice and tilleefd.
- I greased a big rectangular cooking pan and placed the rolled dough on it and shaped it as a crown. It is what the cake represents to me. After I made a circle and connected both ends by pinching both dough, I place a tin can (around ....inches wide) in the center of the cake. Be sure the apply some oil, butter or spray around half way through the can before placing it in the center. It would be easier to place it in the center and to remove it after it had rose for another hour before baking.
=> I did not think of taking a picture with the tin can but you have a picture of the cake below after rising. I used the same process as for rising the dough earlier.

Ready to be baked
- The cake baked for 25 minutes but it might need less time. Coming out of the oven, the cake looked dry and not very appealing. I think that I might use some milk or a bitten egg and brush it on the cake before baking to give it a nice golden and shiny color.
- I let the cake in the cooking pan because it was going to be my serving dish. However, if you want to serve it in a different pan wait several minutes for the cake to cool down before transferring it on cooling rack or a dish of your choice.

Ready to apply the frosting
- I followed the recommended ingredients in the instruction and it was not enough at all. I had to triple them to cover the cake.
- The instructions about how to frost cake were not clear to me considering that I had to sprinkle some colored sugar on it and had to stay on the cake. To frost the cake, you could either take a spatula and cover the cake with frosting (it is was I did) or take your bowl with your frosting and directly pour it on the top of the cake. If you decide to do it this way, I would recommend to have the cake on a cooling rack because a lot of extra frosting will run down from the cake. When the frosting and colored are set place it on your serving dish.
- Immediately after pouring the frosting sprinkle the colored crystal sugars in the following order: purple, green and yellow and several times. Make sure you have the same sequence of colors.

Describing the taste and texture:
I would describe the cake as a brioche-roulé. The cake tastes like a cinnamon roll because of the cinnamon-pecan filling and not too sweet even with the frosting. The level of sweetness fells just right. As for the texture, it is not as soft as a brioche but tender in the inside compare to the outside. I was afraid that the cake would be too much but I guess that I would have had a stronger brioche like texture if I would not have cut the recipe into two. No cutting ingredients by half for next time, we will enjoy the cake even more...

HaPpY mArDi GrAs!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Second Life of my Jean's Skirt

Let's take up the hem

I had a 36 inches long jean's shirt that was collecting dust in my closet and seemed that I did not want to give it away. I bought the jean's skirt 10 years ago and after all that time I could still wear it. So, I decided to give a new look to the shirt by making it shorter. It is fashionable right now with a pair of leggings and living in Colorado, a jean's shirt cannot be outdated with a pair of nice boots...

Before - 36 inches long
After - 20 and 1/2 inches long

Time: It is a perfect afternoon project for nap time.

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: Skirt and brown thread


Project Description:

It is pretty straight forward. After you have decided of the length that you are comfortable with (just above the knee for me) cut the extra piece of fabric. I left around 1 inch for the hem which I folded in half.

Tips: If you are working with an existing piece of clothing keep everything uniform such as the color of the thread, width of the hem, and stitch length

Happy New Wardrobe!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It is "Crêpes" Time!

February the 2nd is Crêpes Day in France. This celebration has several names but is commonly referred as "La Fête des Crêpes" or " La Fête de La Chandeleur".

For the occasion, I am sharing with you my grandma's crêpes recipe.

Mamy's Crêpes Recipe

This recipe makes between 15 to 20 crêpes. It takes a long time to make crêpes. To make that batch, it takes around 1 hour and a half. So be prepared to be in the kitchen for quite some time.


- 2 cups of flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of water
- a spoon (dessert) of Rum
- a pinch of salt
- Milk

  • The batter
1. Mix the flour and eggs.
2. Gradually add milk and whisk well until you get a soup consistency. This step is very important because it is very easy to get a lumpy batter..
3. Add the water, salt and Rum and stir.
4. Let your batter rest for a bit. After resting check the consistency of the batter with a soup spatula. If it feels thick add some extra milk.
  • Time to flip the crêpes
1. Get a skillet and whip the bottom with a paper towel which is sucked of canola oil.

2. Put the skillet on a medium heat over and wait until it is hot.

3. Take 1 scoop of batter with your soup spatula and pour it in the skillet. As you pour the batter make sure to move the skillet (top, bottom, left and right) to have the batter covering the bottom of the skillet. If you have some holes pour a little more batter. You should have a thin layer. The first crêpe is always the most difficult to make. You can adjust how much batter you need to scoop in your soup spatula to make the crêpe to your taste.

4.  Let the batter set in the skillet for several minutes.
Tips to check if the crêpe is ready to be flipped, you can look at:
- The edges. The edge is detached from the skillet and you should see a nice crispy brown color and texture.
- Lifting the crêpe a little bit to see if the bottom has a light brown color
- If you can move the crêpe by shaking the skillet

5. Flip your crêpe.
Ways to flip your crêpe:
You can flip your crêpe two different ways. First, you can flip the crêpe with the skillet. For that
you need a fast, strong and control movement. You shake the skillet back and forth several times to make sure that the crêpe does not stick to the bottom. With your elbow backward, holding the skillet straight, move the skillet forward, up and fast at the same time to have enough motion to have the crêpe moving up in the air. As the crêpe flips up, follow it with your skillet for landing horizontally. Second, You can flip the crêpe using your fingers. Grab the edge of the crêpe with your finger tips and flip. Your hand should be 2 inches a part.

6. Let the crêpe brown a little until you see pockets of airy.

7. Your crêpe is ready. Slide it in a plate and enjoy with your favorite(s) filling (sweet or salty) or stack them to eat them later. Crêpes can be eaten warm or cold and for any meals!

Happy Crêpes!