In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review: The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook

Written by Donna Desfor | Nov 23, 2015 1:41 PM
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Cookbook Review:

The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World

By Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and the bakers of Hot Bread Kitchen

With Julia Turshen

Principal photography Jennifer May; Additional photography by Evan Sung

This is a terrific, usable book for beginner as well as the accomplished cook.  While the emphasis is, indeed, on bread baking, the book is filled with additions and accompaniments to pair with the breads.  I would rate it at the top of my list for an all-purpose holiday gift for anyone that cooks or bakes, or wants to expand their basic bread repertoire.

What you need to know:

Published by Clarkson Potter, October 13, 2015

304 pages, $35.00 (or Amazon, $19.25; Kindle, $18.99)

Color photos on almost every page, including important step by step technique photos, and the women of Hot Bread Kitchen who's recipes span generations and the globe.

Recipes: about 115, plus variations


When it comes time for the holidays, nostalgia sets in and the aprons come out.  But to truly recreate that delicious aromatic bread that grandmother or great grandmother pulled from the oven isn't always so easy.  Especially when they were cooking recipes from their homeland.  Now, The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World offers us a survey of the world's most beloved and traditional bread recipes, complete with ample instruction, photos to guide you and tips for success.  Delicious success.

The book opens with a short, but surprisingly thorough, section on bread baking, which unlocks the mysteries of artisanal bakery breads.  Then you are off on a trip around the world and its varied cultural breads through recipes such as m'smen, soft lavash, nan-e-barbari, tortillas, onion bialys, and stollen.  When you tire of your journey, classic bread recipes such as challah, rye, Parker House rolls, and monkey bread are waiting for your pleasure.  Still, for me, the chapter on Filled Doughs is worth the price of the book. 

If you select this book, and it is worth selecting, you should have a kitchen scale on hand as a lot of the measurements are offered in both standard and by weight, and be prepared for some small and seemingly odd measurements (e.g., in the pâte fermentée, 2/3 teaspoon yeast; in the nan-e-barbari pizza, 3 marinated artichokes).  Precision is clearly what this book is dedicated too and when the recipe calls for an odd amount I've learned to simply trust that.  The recipes I've tried test true.

The Chocolate Cherry Rolls, discussed on Smart Talk with Scott Lamar, are easy enough to tackle with kids, and take a good long day of slow rising.  The end result is a delicious treat for anyone at the dinner table, or as the author suggests, at breakfast doused with hot espresso or in a bread pudding (with a recipe provided!).

For anyone interested in trying their hand at an easy flat bread that is perfect for the Thanksgiving table or any cheese board during your holiday entertaining, I highly recommend the Nan-E-Barbari.  Unable to locate nigella seeds, I opted for black sesame seeds on one loaf and decided to skip the sesame seeds all together on the second loaf.  Instead, I used an onion spice blend (Onion Obsession, available through The Spice & Tea Exchange), with great success.  It speaks volumes about a recipe, and a cookbook, when you can navigate a recipe to easily personalize the flavor profile.


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Chocolate Cherry Rolls

 

Chocolate Cherry Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

  • ½  cup plus 1 tablespoon/75 g DRIED CHERRIES
  • 1 ounce/30 g BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE (60% to 70% cacao), melted, plus 5 ounces/ 140 g additional bittersweet chocolate, cut into ⅜-inch/1 cm chunks
  • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon/210 g
  • WARM WATER
  • 2⅓ cups/295 g BREAD FLOUR
  • ¼  cup/20 g UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER
  • 2 ¼  teaspoons KOSHER SALT
  • Scant ¼ teaspoon ACTIVE DRY YEAST
  • ⅓ cup/80 g (risen and deflated)
  • PÂTE FERMENTÉE (page 126),cut into walnut-size pieces (recipe follows)
  • CANOLA OIL

1. Cover the cherries with hot water and set aside to soak.

2. Put the melted chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and let cool until warm (about 100°F/38°C). Gradually whisk in the warm water (if you add water too quickly or if the water is too cold, the chocolate will break up). Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, yeast, and pâte fermentée. Mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth, pulls away from the sides of the bowl (and leaves the sides clean), has a bit of shine, and makes a slapping noise against the sides of the bowl, 5 to 6 minutes. You will know the dough is ready when you lightly tug a piece of the dough and it doesn't pull right off--it snaps back.

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3. Drain the cherries and add them to the dough along with the chocolate chunks and mix on low speed until just combined, about 2 minutes. The dough may feel slightly soft and sticky, but it will firm   during the long rising time.

4. Coat the inside of a medium bowl with oil and transfer the dough to it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until it has risen, 2½ to 3 hours. Alternatively (for slower fermentation), let rise at room temperature for 45 minutes until you start to see the dough getting softer and rising slightly. Fold the dough in half and cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 12. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before proceeding.

5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (each weighing around 2½ ounces/70 g). Working with one piece at a time (keep the rest covered with plastic wrap), shape each into a roll (see page 123). If chocolate chunks or cherries break through the surface, push them back into the dough with a finger and pinch the hole to seal it. Transfer the rolls to the baking sheet, seam side down, arranging them so that they're nearly touching each other but aren't too tightly packed. Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let stand until they almost fill the pan, 2½ to 3 hours.

6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to400°F/205°C. Put a baking dish on the bottom of the oven.

7. Score each roll with an "X." Put the baking sheet in the oven and put 10 ice cubes in the baking dish. Bake until the rolls are even darker brown, the tops feel crusty, and when you gently separate the rolls with a thin knife, the interior dough is fully cooked, not gummy, 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store rolls in a plastic bag for up to 4 days.

Reprinted from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook. Copyright © 2015 by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez. Photos copyright © by Jennifer May and Evan Sung. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC


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Pate Fermente

Pâte Fermentée

MAKES ABOUT 1¼ CUPS (RISEN AND DEFLATED)/300 G

Pâte fermentée is an ingredient in many recipes in the lean and enriched doughs chapters. You need to make it eight to twenty-four hours before you bake your bread. This extra step extends fermentation time and allows you to achieve a light, flavorful loaf with less yeast. Pâte fermentée contains the ingredients of simple French bread dough--flour, water, yeast, and salt--so, in a pinch, you could bake and eat it. Unlike other types of pre-ferments, such as levain, pâte fermentée does not impart a sour flavor to the bread. Instead it adds depth of flavor and extends the shelf life of your bread. If you make bread often, you can save the trimmings from lean doughs to use in your pâte fermentée. More likely, if you are making a Rustic Batard (page 128), Traditional Challah (page 175), or any number of the breads in this book, you will mix a batch of the pâte fermentée the day before, then refrigerate it until you are ready to bake.

  • ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon/120 g
  • LUKEWARM WATER
  • ⅔ teaspoon ACTIVE DRY YEAST
  • 1⅓ cups plus 1 tablespoon/180 g BREAD FLOUR
  • 1 teaspoon KOSHER SALT

1. Put the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes until combined into a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Refrigerate the mixture for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 24. (There is no need to return it to room temperature before using.)

3. If you're measuring the pâte fermentée rather than weighing it, be sure to deflate it with a wooden spoon or with floured fingertips before measuring.

Reprinted from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook. Copyright © 2015 by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez. Photos copyright © by Jennifer May and Evan Sung. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC


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Nan-E-Barbari

Nan-E-Barbari

MAKES 2 (14 × 5-INCH/35 × 13 CM) LOAVES; SERVES 6 TO 8

  • 2 cups/450 g LUKEWARM WATER
  • 2 ¼  teaspoons ACTIVE DRY YEAST (1 envelope)
  • 4 cups/510 g BREAD FLOUR, plus more for shaping
  • 2 teaspoons KOSHER SALT
  • CANOLA OIL
  • 2 teaspoons ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
  • ½  teaspoon SUGAR
  • ⅓ cup/80 g COOL WATER
  • 1 teaspoon NIGELLA SEEDS (aka black onion seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon SESAME SEEDS

1. Stir together the water and yeast in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

2. Add the bread flour and salt and mix on low speed until the flour is integrated. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is elastic, about 6 minutes. The dough should be cleaning the sides of the bowl. Coat the inside of a large bowl with canola oil and transfer the dough to it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or put the whole bowl in a large plastic bag and let rest at room temperature until the dough is softer than a firm balloon, is supple, and holds an indentation when pressed lightly, about 1 hour.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half (each piece should weigh about 490 g). Gently form each piece into a rectangle and perform a log roll (page 120). Loosely cover the pieces of dough with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let rest at room temperature until the dough has risen and is supple, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, combine the all purpose flour, sugar, ½ teaspoon canola oil, and the water in a small saucepan. Cook the flour paste over medium heat, whisking, until bubbles form around the edges and it becomes thick and opaque, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

5. Put a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat to 450°F/235°C. Let the stone heat up for at least 30 minutes.

6. Line the back of a baking sheet with parchment. Put one piece of dough on the parchment; leave the other covered and in a cool place. Gently pulling the ends and pressing down on the dough, extend it into a 14 × 5-inch/35 × 13 cm rectangle. Using your fingers, press 5 deep lengthwise ridges into the dough being sure not to break the dough. Rub half of the flour paste over the surface and sprinkle with half of the nigella and sesame seeds.

7. Slide the dough and parchment onto the hot stone and bake until the bread has puffed up and is golden brown, about 18 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack, dispose of the parchment, and repeat the process to make the second loaf. Serve warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight plastic bag at room temperature for up to a couple of days

Reprinted from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook. Copyright © 2015 by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez. Photos copyright © by Jennifer May and Evan Sung. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

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Cheg Donna Desfor makes an appearance on WITF's Smart Talk.

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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