Friday, October 30, 2009

behold...the german taco

I am proud of my latest culinary creation. Behold!

The German Taco: a cross-cultural, trans-national fusion of deliciousness!

You'll need:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Cooked taco meat (carne asada, ranchera, tri-tip, or steak; any kind of roasted or braised pork would also be excellent)
  • Red cabbage braised in red wine (recipe follows)
  • Spicy mustard
  • "Senf" Crema (recipe follows)
  • Minced onion or shallot
  • Minced parsley

  • Toast your tortillas on a flame or grill (I like them double-stacked)
  • Spread tortilla with mustard, then taco meat
  • Top with red cabbage, crema, minced onion and parsley . Throw down with some German weissbier (try it with lime!) and maybe some "El Yucateco" hot sauce for a kick.
Braised Red Cabbage In Red Wine
(adapted from A. Green's "Starting with Ingredients")

1 medium head red cabbage, cored and shredded
2 tbsp. bacon or smoked pork fat (substitute olive oil if unavailable)
1/4 cup smoked bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 tart apples (like Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c hearty but soft red wine, like Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot, maybe even Rioja!
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300. In dutch oven, heat pork fat and cook bacon for 5 minutes. Remove bacon onto paper towels, remove all but 3 tbsp. fat from pan.

Add onion and saute over medium heat until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add apples, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes more.

At once, add brown sugar, vinegar, wine, and cabbage. Bring to a boil (about 1 minute), stirring to moisten all of cabbage.

Cover and bake in oven for 45-50 minutes.

"Senf" Crema

1/4 c. mayo
1/4 c. plain yogurt
2 tbsp spicy mustard, deli mustard, or Dijon
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. honey
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper

Whisk all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let flavors distribute. Add more lime juice or mustard to taste.

Columbia bread #4

Again, another 1/2 size recipe (1 loaf)
Levain rose for about 8 hours.
After mixing, rose 945am to 1245pm (3 hours).
Folded once at about 3 hours, then right into fridge in ceramic bowl from 1245p until 700p (6hr 15min)
Remove from ceramic bowl from fridge, rough shape, into floured basket smooth side down, rise in inflated bag on counter from 645p to 1045 (4 hours).
Bake as usual, 450 for about 30 minutes; I forgot to set the timer, but I'm sure it was very close, at least 25 minutes.

  • Again good oven spring like #3.
  • Crust: very nice, thin, like #1 and #2. Perfect browning; if you wanted it a bit richer it could have stayed in the oven for a few more minutes.
  • Texture & flavor: seems like it needed more salt or more barley malt. Otherwise, texture was really moist but not wet, perfectly soft and chewy but not gummy.
For next time:
  • Try "flower" or "grapevine" slashing of dough next time

Friday, October 23, 2009

Columbia bread #3

Making one loaf; halved all of the quantities. This time measuring by weight in grams.

I screwed up the instructions: let it go for an initial rise of about 3 hours without turning. Then turned, put into the fridge at 10am this morning. Removed from fridge at 530pm to come up to temp (7.5 hours in fridge).

3 hours rise time out of fridge in ceramic bowl. (530-830pm)
Remove from bowl, fold, shape and let rise 3.5 hours. (830pm-1200am)
Bread went in the oven at 12am sharp Saturday morning. It had finally (definitely) risen. Spring back test worked well (poked a finger, didn't spring back); this time, when slashes, didn't immediately deflate. Looks like it's getting some good oven spring.

  • Crust was very close to the same as before, possibly slightly bit thicker
  • Oven spring was the best of any load I had ever made; I think previous loaves didn't rise enough!
  • Texture and flavor was excellent!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Columbia bread #1 & #2 (sourdough)

Made some breads based on Glezer's "Artisan Baking" book. Tried measuring recipe in grams, seems much easier, although it seems the scale doesn't do odd-numbered grams! I really like both of these breads; they may replace my LBB recipe as my favorite!

1. Firm Starter

1.5 tsp sourdough starter
1 tbsp + 2 tsp lukewarm water
1/3 c. bread flour

Mix and knead into fairly stiff dough. Let rest for 8-12 hours between feedings.

2. Levain

30g starter
95g lukewarm water
150g bread flour.

Dissolve starter in water. Knead together with flour til smooth. Cover and let rest at room temp 8-12 hours.

3. Bread

600g bread flour
55g whole wheat flour
15g rye flour
20g wheat germ, toasted
450g warm water
20g barley malt syrup (available in health food stores!)
1 portion Levain
16g salt (1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp)

  1. Mix levain and let rise 8-12 hours.
  2. Whisk 1st 4 ingredients in mixing bowl.
  3. Dissolve barley malt syrup in water.
  4. Add water to flours. Mix until just combined. Let rest 20 minutes.
  6. Knead in mixer at speed #2 (Kitchenaid) for 5 minutes.
  7. Put in covered tub, let rise for 1 hour, til it (at least) TRIPLES in size.
  8. Turn out and fold once (4 fold: left, top, right, bottom) and return to tub.
  9. RETARD? At this point, you can retard in fridge 8-12 hours. If so, then remove from fridge and do step #10.
  10. Let rise 3-5 hours, until not quite doubled.
  11. Turn dough out onto floured surface, cut in 2, rough-shape into rounds, and let rest 10min.
  12. Shape dough into batards 10" long, or place into proofing baskets.
  13. Cover with inflated plastic bag, and let rise for 2.5 hours.
  14. At 2.5 hours, preheat oven to 475F. Position rack in middle with baking stone, broiler pan on bottom. Let oven preheat for 45 minutes.
  15. Add 3/4 c. hot water to broiler pan.
  16. Turn bread out onto cornmeal-and-flour dusted peel. Slash with razor blade.
  17. Spritz bread with water (I didn't do this, but the recipe calls for this).
  18. Bake for 30-40 minutes (mine seem to be done in about 30.)
  19. Let rest for at least 1 hour on rack before cutting into (2 hrs. rest preferred)

Results #1:
  • Final rise of this was about 3.25hrs.
  • Wow, crust has the best chew of any bread I've made so far; nice and thin, real chew like good restaurant bread
  • Barley malt adds great flavor and aroma, kind of molasses-y
  • Good open texture is just as good as "My Florist" sourdough
  • Just wish crust was shinier, seemed a little tannish
  • I also wish it got better oven spring! All my loaves don't rise enough!
Results #2:

  • This one has final rise of about 4 hours.
  • This one sat in a wicker basket. Dough needs to be much better floured in wicker basket before it goes in; it was stuck coming out, which affected the oven spring/deflation
  • Nice texture from wicker
  • Darker color than #1 overall
  • Nicer blisters than #1 (more consistent, but just about the same size)
  • Texture-wise, same as #1
  • Both of these have best flavor and crust of all sourdough breads I've made.
  • These are more tender, not as tough/dry as LBB seems to be.
  • Crusts are super-thin and chewy on both, which is better than LBB.

Next time:
  • Try making batards instead!
  • Try more "turning"/folding? This would be done between steps 7-11 above. More folds should help oven spring. As long as you wait 15-30 minutes between turns, should be fine.
  • Try retarding it overnight
  • Try slightly longer rise time; that should also help oven spring!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a possible BBQ rub?

I was watching Guy Fieri's "Diners..." show and he was in Chicago at a BBQ place. The guy he was interviewing won 3rd place in Memphis in May, and here are the ingredients that went in his rub:

The rub:
Crushed red pepper
Chili Powder
Spanish paprika
Dried Ginger
Rubbed sage
Onion powder
Equal parts black and white pepper

He used a mustard slather on top of the pork: yellow mustard + beer + pepper + salt + italian salad dressing solids only + apple juice + some of the above rub

Sounds pretty damn good to me!

fish tacos #2

Turned out well, followed my previous recipe. I think the batter could've been a bit thicker. Funny, I used over 1.25 c. flour, and it still seemed a bit thin.

Used a new sauce recipe, based on something I found at Chowhound:

Fish Taco Sauce

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
Salt + pepper to taste
1 habanero or jalapeno, minced
4 dashes hot sauce

Mix all to combine, and let sit at least 30 minutes.

Results: good flavor, nice tang. I deseeded the jalapeno, so there's not a lot of heat. Habanero or a really hot japaleno would be nice in here too, if you like more heat.

Monday, October 12, 2009

whole wheat bread #1

Made some ATK whole wheat bread this evening. I opted out of a punch down + final rise, as I didn't think it'd help that much. Then again, it might :)

Whole Wheat Bread #1

This is purely ATK recipe.

1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
2-1/4 tsp. instant yeast
3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
2 cups bread flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tsp salt

  1. Combine milk and water in measuring cup. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  2. Stir honey into milk mixture.
  3. Add yeast and stir to dissolve. Let rest for 3-5 minutes.
  4. In mixer bowl, combine flours & wheat germ and stir to combine.
  5. Add milk mixture to flour
  6. Mix with dough hook for 2 minutes
  7. Cover with plastic and let rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Knead in mixer with dough hook on setting "1" for 9 minutes
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  11. Shape into a rectangle, then roll into a log
  12. Pinch seam and put seam side down in buttered/floured baking pan
  13. Inflate plastic bag and let rise in bag for 1.5 hours
  14. (this is normally where you'd punch down, roll into log, and let rise for 1-1.5 more hours)
  15. Slash loaf
  16. Bake on lower rack for 45 minutes
  17. Let cool 5 minutes in pan

My mods:
Baked at 375 for 45 minutes


  • Good rise, decent oven spring
  • Texture was slightly damp, and slightly mealy, but even and soft
  • Crust had good browning on top and sides, albeit possibly slightly thick
  • Good saltiness, but not sweet enough, need to increase hone
  • Good softness initially; dried up pretty good by the next day; definitely not super soft & fluffy like sandwich bread.

For next time
  • Could've baked longer @ 375, maybe 50 minutes
  • Try higher temp baking
  • Try 1/4 cup honey next time, maybe 1/3 cup, and reduce water slightly.
  • Try overnight retard
  • Try less yeast, esp. if overnight retard (2 tsp instead of 2.25 tsp)

LBB sourdough adapted #1

I started some starter for my dad in Florida last week. It was really warm in their house (room temp is probably 77 degrees), so in 2 days the starter was bubbly and "cheesy" smelling, just like my LBB starter was. In his case, I just used 3/4 c white flour with a 1/4 c cup rye, 1 cup water, and let it sit 2 days in a tupperware on the counter.

Now I need to send him the recipe. I don't think he has a scale, so I weighed the ingredients of the original recipe on my scale. Here is the adapted version:

For 2 loaves (original):

7.5 cups + 1.5 tbsp unbleached bread flour
1/2 c. wheat germ
1-1/4 c. starter
2-1/4 c. water
4.5 tsp. table salt

For 1 loaf:

3-3/4 cups + .75 tbsp unbleached bread flour
1/4 c. wheat germ
3/4 c. starter
1 c. + 2 tbsp. water
2-1/4 tsp. table salt

  1. Add flour + wheat germ to mixing bowl. Then add starter and water.
  2. Knead on lowest setting on mixer using dough hook for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover and NOW ADD THE SALT.
  5. Knead on lowest setting on mixer for 5 more minutes (10 minutes total). You may need to clear the dough hook if it gets clogged up; however, dough will clear the sides of the mixing bowl.
  6. Remove from mixer.
  7. Form into ball: cup your hands together on the top of the loaf, over the sides and pinching to the bottom, like you are running your hands down both sides of a globe, starting at the Arctic Circle, down through Americas and Asia, pinching your pinkys together at Antarctica.
  8. Place in lightly oiled ceramic bowl. Cover with inflated plastic bag, and let rise 3.5-4 hours at 75 degrees. If your room is hotter (78 deg), you will need less rise time, maybe 2.5 hours. If your room is colder (72 deg) , you will need 4 hours.
  9. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter.
  10. Cut dough into two equal pieces. Slap each piece to deflate.
  11. Tuck all edges under, rough-shaping into a ball. Let rest for 15 min.
  12. Shape each into ball, and place into lightly oiled bowl or floured basket. Let rise for 1 hr.
  13. Cover rounds with inflated plastic bag, and put in fridge for about 8-12 hours, no more than 24 hours.
  14. Remove dough from fridge, cover with inflated plastic bag, and let rise on counter at room temp for ~3 hours. Dough should be doubled in size and at ~62F.
  15. Heat oven to 500. Set your baking rack 2nd from the bottom. Put a broiling pan at the bottom of your oven
  16. Slash the loaf 2 or 3 times across the top with a sharp knife or razor.
  17. Put loaf in, add 1 cup hot water to broiling pan, and bake for 45 minutes as follows:
  • first 5 minutes at 500
  • next 20 minutes at 450
  • rotate bread
  • 20 more minutes at 450 (total of 45 min).
Should hit 210F when fully baked, and sound a bit hollow.

Remove from oven.

Let bread cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting in!


  1. In mixer it came together correctly, definitely cleared bottom of bowl. 10 minutes total kneading in mixer, as listed.
  2. Initial rise was 3 hours in oiled bowl
  3. After punch down and basket, next rise was about 2 hours
  4. Fridge retardation time was approximately 13 hours; removed from fridge at 310pm.
  5. Rise time out of fridge in bag: 3 hours.
  6. Preheated oven for 45 minutes prior to baking.
  7. Baking on middle rack with stone.
  8. Single slash in middle of loaf.
  9. Flour + cornmeal on the peel
  10. Loaf in oven, then 2/3 cup near-boiling water in broiler pan.
  11. Bake for 5 minutes @ 500, 35 minutes @ 450, middle rack on baking stone.
  12. Let cool for 1 hour on rack.


  • Great chocolate mahogany exterior
  • Really good oven spring (perhaps best so far)
  • Good blistering but not huge
  • Good flavor
  • Texture was pretty good: cooked through, tender with nice chew. No real problems to speak of, I want bigger holes though.
  • Could be a slight bit more sour...maybe add a touch of rye flour?
  • Crust was a little thick, perhaps too much steam for too long?
  • 3 hours seemed like a good new final rise time; could even try 2.5?
For Next Time:
  • Less hot water in broiler pan (1/2 cup only); OR no steam but brush/mist crust with warm water right before the oven
  • More water in the dough, increase to 1-1/4 cup (add'l 2 tbsp) for each loaf.
  • Slightly longer fridge ferment - 15 hours? 18 hours? Grandma's bread had a nice crust at 24 hours.