Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Posts Tagged ‘Regional American Food’

Boston Brown Bread (Yeasted) World Bread Day 2009

Posted by bakinghistory on October 16, 2009

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Boston Brown Bread dates back to Colonial times and is traditionally paired with Boston Baked Beans

world bread day 2009 - yes we bake.(last day of sumbission october 17) Today is World Bread Day and as always I am happy to participate in this event hosted by Zorra.

I write from Massachusetts, so I chose an old-fashioned recipe for a classic New England bread, made since Colonial times. It contains equal quantities of rye, corn, and whole wheat flour, plus molasses and yeast, and it is steamed rather than baked. The result is a moist loaf, with a complex flavor and a mild sweetness. Great for dinner on a cool Autumn evening—along with a steaming bowl of baked beans or soup.

From the original recipe by Paul Richards

In: Baker’s Bread, 1918—USA

Ingredients

100 g rye flour

100 g whole wheat flour

100 g cornmeal

100 g Graham flour

5 g active dry yeast

8 g Kosher salt

135 g molasses (not blackstrap)

100 g boiling water

100 g warm water

milk as needed

Mix the rye flour and yeast with lukewarm water and set aside to ferment until light.

Scald the cornmeal with boiling water and set aside until cool.  Add molasses and salt, then remaining flours and rye sponge. Add drops of milk if dough is too stiff.

Place mixture in a well greased glass or stainless steel steamed pudding mold, which mixture should fill by 2/3. Cover tightly. Place mold in large pot of boiling water (having first placed a rack on the bottom) and steam, covered for 2 hours, keeping the water always boiling and reaching 2/3 up the mold. Add additional boiling water as needed.

Unmold and serve immediately.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Regional American Food, Rye, State Foods, whole grains, Yeasted Breads | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Squash Bread (World Bread Day ’08)

Posted by bakinghistory on October 16, 2008

A wonderful loaf with a moist, chewy crumb and a crispy crust

3rd World Bread Day hosted by 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf

For this 2008 edition of World Bread Day, a blogging event founded and hosted by Zorra, I wanted to bake a bread with an ingredient with ties to the region of the United States where I live: New England.

So I chose to bake a bread made with  buttercup squash. The word squash originates from the Massachusett Indian word askutasquash, which indicated a vegetable that was eaten raw.

This bread is one of the best I have ever baked, and definitely one of my family’s favorites in the Fall. The squash provides a very moist and holey crumb, and the most gorgeous golden-orange color. The crust bakes crisp and the bread tastes only slightly sweet. It is great with a hearty soup for dinner on a cool Autumn evening.

The recipe comes from Mary Johnson Lincoln, a Massachusetts native who was a teacher at the famed Boston Cooking School and whose students included Fannie Farmer.

I recommend using buttercup squash because of its superior flavor and texture.

From the original recipe by: Mary J. Lincoln

In: “Mrs. Lincoln Boston Cook Book”, 1916—USA

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 g) baked and pureed  buttercup squash

2 tbsp (25 g) sugar

1-1/2 cups (366 g) whole milk

1 tbsp (15 g) butter

1/2 tsp (2 g) active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp (15 ml) warm water

1 tsp (6 g) salt

3-1/3 cups to 4-1/3 cups (455 g to 595g) bread flour (as needed) I use King Arthur bread flour

semolina or cornmeal for the baking sheet

Scald the milk, then mix in it the pureed squash, butter, salt, and sugar.  When this mixture is cool add the yeast (mixed with the lukewarm water) and enough flour to have a dough that is well developed and supple, but rather slack. Knead well.

The dough should be soft and feel slightly tacky. Let it ferment, in a slightly greased bowl, covered, until double in bulk. Then gently shape it into a loaf on a floured surface, and place it on a baker peel or baking sheet on which  you have sprinkled a layer of fine semolina or cornmeal. Let the bread rise, covered, until light.

Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

Bake the bread directly onto a baking stone if you have one or on the baking sheet for about 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Add steam for the first 10 minutes, by placing in the oven a small metal pan filled with boiling water. Lower the temperature to 425°F (218°C) after the first 15 minutes.

This is how the crumb will look: (click on picture)

Thank you Zorra for hosting again World Bread Day!!!


Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Regional American Food, Yeasted Breads | Tagged: , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Chess Pie (quiche, tarte, & co.)

Posted by bakinghistory on October 14, 2008

A Southern classic: Chess Pie

Blog-Event XXXIX - Quiche, Tarte & Co.

This is my entry for the event hosted by  Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte .

ROUNDUP IS HERE

Chess pie is a classic dessert in the culinary repertoire of Southern U.S. The flaky crust encloses a sweet, sweet, sweet, and creamy filling topped by an ever-so-thin, crispy layer of meringue.

From the original recipes by:  Mattie Lee Wehrley

In: “Handy Household Hints and Recipes”, 1916, USA

and Juniata L. Shepperd

In: “Handbook of Household Science”, 1902—USA

Ingredients:

Filling:

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

2/3 cups butter

1 tbsp flour

1/2 cup milk or cream

Crust:

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (scant) butter

1/4 tsp salt

ice water as needed

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).

Make the Crust: In a food processor put flour salt and butter (diced), and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running add enough water for the dough to come together. Do not overprocess. Wrap the dough in wax paper and let rest in a cool place for about 30 minutes. Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness and line a deep pie dish, make a decorative rim.

Filling: melt the butter and let cool. Warm the milk and set aside.Beat the eggs at high speed with the sugar until very light (at least 15 minutes), then add the flour, the melted and cooled butter, and the lukewarm milk. If the milk is cold the mixture will curdle. If this happens, blend with an immersion blender until smooth and glossy.

Pour the filling in the prepared pan and bake at 350F (180C), until the top of the filling is golden brown. Let the pie cool in the pan placed on a rack. Serve cold; refrigerate any leftovers.

A note on the pie pan to use: I recommend using a metal deep-dish pie pan. In my experience, pies baked in  glass and ceramic pie dishes often have a soggy, undercooked pastry layer, which spoils the final result. Natural finish aluminum pie pans are best because they bake evenly.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Dairy, Desserts, Pies & Tarts, Regional American Food, Tarts & Pies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Cornmeal Muffins (Homegrown Gourmet #5)

Posted by bakinghistory on February 7, 2008

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Made with yellow corn meal and a touch of sugar, the corn muffin is the official muffin of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

                                roundup is HERE

This is my entry for the Homegrown Gourmet #5 blog event hosted this time by Gretchen from Canela & Comino and initiated by Bean’s Bistro.

Gretchen’s theme was Quick Breads and she specified that each entry should “somehow represent your home region, hometown, state, or area. Representation can feature a local ingredient, be a traditional dish from your area, or be a creative twist”.

I write from the beautiful State of Massachusetts, so for this event my entry could only be Corn Muffins, which are the official muffin of the Commonwealth.

This recipe gives buttery, very light muffins, with a pleasant crunchiness provided by the stone ground cornmeal, and a nice touch of sweetness. Ideally, they should be baked in cast iron muffin pans, which should be heated in the oven before being filled with batter. This would ensure that the muffins turn out crispy on the outside and nice and spongy inside. Otherwise, regular muffin pans will work almost as well, of course without preheating.

From the original recipe by Lucia Gray Swett

In: “New England breakfast breads, luncheon and tea biscuits, 1891—USA

Ingredients (the recipe can be halved)

1/2 cup (115 g) butter + a little extra to grease the pans

1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar

4 eggs, divided

2 cups (245 g) yellow cornmeal (stone ground)

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups (250 g) AP flour (unbleached)

2-1/4 (535 ml) cups milk

3 tsp baking powder OR 1 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). If you are using cast iron muffin pans preheat them in the oven.

If you are using baking powder, sift it with the AP flour. If you are using baking soda and cream of tartar sift the cream of tartar with the AP flour and dissolve the baking soda in some of the milk. Sift the cornmeal with the salt.

Cream the butter with the sugar, add the yolks, the AP flour (sifted with either baking powder or cream of tartar), and part of the milk (not the amount in which you dissolved the baking soda, in case you used it). Add the cornmeal and salt, then add the remaining milk (the amount in which you dissolved the baking soda if using it). Mix the ingredients quickly, by hand. Finally fold in the egg whites, beaten until stiff.

Grease the muffin pans with melted butter (using a small brush is best). Do this carefully if you preheated the cast iron pans in the oven. Fill each muffin cup for about 2/3 and quickly place them in the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 400°F (200°C) bake until the muffins are puffed and golden, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

P.S. The book recommended using cream of tartar + baking soda as they would give better results than baking powder, and I found this to be true.


 

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cast-iron cooking, Comfort Food, Corn Bread, Grains, Muffins & Biscuits, Regional American Food, State Foods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Boston Cream Pie

Posted by bakinghistory on January 20, 2008

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The official dessert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: delicious Boston Cream Pie
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taste300.jpg This is my entry for the blog event “A Taste of Terroir” hosted by Anna’s Cool Finds for which entries should highlight a specific food typical of a given area.
I write from beautiful Massachusetts, and there are many wonderful foods that are typical of this area: from chowder to corn muffins, from cranberries to chocolate chips cookies to Parker House rolls.
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One of my favorites is Boston Cream Pie, which is Massachusetts official dessert—A light sponge cake filled with vanilla cream and then iced with a dark chocolate icing, which provides a nice counterpart to the sweetness of the filling.
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The version I propose here is the most known, and was created in 1856 at the famous Parker House Hotel in Boston by French chef M. Sanzian. An earlier version was made without the chocolate icing and simply sprinkled on top with powdered sugar.
As for why it is called a “pie” while it is in fact a cake is not entirely clear, one possible explanation is that pie plates were once more common and easily available and were used to bake cakes as well.
Whether this is the actual reason for the name or not, it is indeed a delightful dessert.
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The recipe I used is an antique receipt and gives outstanding results—it is really worth trying.
Of course, if you have a chance, do visit Massachusetts and taste the Boston Cream Pie in its home State.
From the original recipes by Fanny L. Gillette
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In: The White House Cook Book” , 1887—USA
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Ingredients
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Filling
2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
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2 eggs
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1 cup (200 g) sugar
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1/2 cup (60 g) flour
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2 tbsp (30 g) butter
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1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract or paste
Cake
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3 eggs, divided
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1-1/2 cups (180 g) sifted flour
1 heaping tsp (6 g) baking powder
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2 tbsp (30 ml) milk or water
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Plain Chocolate Icing
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1 oz (30 g) bittersweet chocolate
3 tbsp (45 ml) milk or cream
1 tbsp (15 ml) water
scant 2/3 cup (120 g) sugar
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Make the Cream Filling: Scald the milk and set aside to cool. Mix together the flour and sugar, then beat the eggs and add the flour-sugar mixture, stirring until well incorporated. Add the warm milk in a thin stream, mixing well. Place on medium-low heat and cook stirring continuously, adding the butter as soon as the mixture starts to simmer. Cook the cream, always stirring to prevent scorching, until it thickens–it will offer some resistance to the spoon while you stir. Take the cream off the heat and stir in the vanilla, mixing well.
If any lumps should form, you can either strain the cream once it is ready, or blend it briefly with an immersion blender. Let the cream cool and then refrigerate it in a glass container with an airtight lid.
Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9-inch (23 cm) cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the paper as well.
Sift the flour with the baking powder. Beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy, being careful not to overbeat them. Set aside.
Beat the yolks at high speed for at least 15 minutes, adding the sugar little by little until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Add the milk or water, then add the flour-baking powder mixture little by little. Finally fold in the egg whites, making sure not to deflate them. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for about 20-25 minuets, until golden. Let the cakes cool in the pans for five minutes, then unmold them and let them finish cooling on racks.
When the cakes are cold, assemble the cake: spread a thick layer of cream on top of one of the cakes, then place the second one on top.
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Make the Chocolate Icing: Melt the chocolate on very low heat, then mix in the cream or milk and the water, finally adding the sugar little by little. Place on low heat and mix until the sugar is dissolved. If any sugar granules adhere to the sides of the pan, wash them off with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, or the icing will be grainy. Stir the mixture until it starts to boil, then let it cook, without stirring, for five minutes. Immediately pour the hot chocolate icing on top of the cake, starting form the center and letting the icing fall down the sides. Do not use a spatula to spread the icing or it won’t be glossy. The icing hardens quickly, so you need to be fast pouring it on the cake.
Let the icing set, then place the cake in the refrigerator in a closed container large enough that the lid does not touch the top of the cake. Serve the cake slightly chilled.
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Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cakes, Regional American Food, State Foods | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

 
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