Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Archive for August, 2007

Rye Bread I

Posted by bakinghistory on August 28, 2007


An excellent recipe for a bread with a good rye flavor complemented by caraway and a mild sour taste.

Very similar to traditional “Jewish Rye”, with a moist crumb and thin crust. Ideal for sandwiches.

bbd #03 - bread with rye sourdough

This is my entry for Bread Baking Day #03, hosted by Ulrike at Küchenlatein. Thanks to Ulrike for proposing a great theme: Rye Sourdough Breads. And thanks to Zorra for initiating this monthly event.

The bbd #03 roundup is here

From the original recipe by The Council of Jewish Women (Portland Section, 1912)
In The Neighborhood Cook Book” 1914–USA


180 g (1 cup) sourdough*

105 g (1 scant cup) dark rye flour (whole grain)

345 g (2-1/2 cup) bread flour

240 g (1 cup) water

9 g (1/2 tbsp) salt

10 g (1-1/2 tbsp) caraway seed

1 egg white to glaze the bread

Make the sourdough: Mix 90 g (scant 3/4 cup) dark rye flour + 90 g (3.06 fl oz) water + 5 g (1/2 tbsp) mature sourdough culture** (100% hydration) and let it ferment for about 8 hours at room temperature.

Place the prepared sourdough in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the water, then mix at the lowest speed with the flat paddle attachment. Add the bread flour mixed with the rye flour and mix at the lowest speed to make a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then switch to the dough hook attachment and knead until the dough is well developed (it will clean the sides of the bowl and be slightly tacky). Add the salt and the caraway seeds and mix until well incorporated. I prefer to finish kneading the dough by hand, and after 2-3 more minutes of hand kneading it will be smooth, elastic, supple, and only barely tacky.

Shape the dough in a ball and let it ferment for about 1 hour, then shape as desired (either free form or place in a loaf pan) and let it finish rising for about 60 minutes on a peel or baking sheet sprinkled with semolina (or in the bread pan). Brush the top of the loaf with egg white mixed with water and score the surface of the loaf with a sharp blade.
Bake in a preheated oven (450°F-232°C) till golden brown (about 1 hour). Cool the bread on a rack.

This bread is at its best the day after it is baked, and keeps fresh for a few days.

** sourdough culture: can be made by mixing equal weights of (organic) whole grain rye flour and water, (200 g each) left to ferment in a covered glass container for 48 hours at room temperature. After 48 hours some signs of fermentation should be visible. Keep 100 g of the mixture (discard the rest) and add equal weights of rye flour and water (100 g each) . These refreshments should be made ideally every 12 hours during the the first week.

Posted in Blog Events, Jewish Cooking, Rye, Sourdough | 10 Comments »

Mint Julep

Posted by bakinghistory on August 27, 2007


The coolness of mint is balanced by the tartness of lemon in this very pleasant and refreshing drink

This is my entry for the Monthly Mingle event (the theme for September: Liquid Dreams) hosted by Meeta at What’s for Lunch, Honey?


From the original recipe by Maria Willett Howard

In “Lowney’s Cook Book” 1907–USA


1 bunch of mint (I used chocolate mint, a cultivar of peppermint)

2 cups (500 ml) ice water

lemon juice to taste

2 cups (400 g) sugar

4 cups (1 liter) water

To serve: plenty of crushed ice & fresh mint leaves to decorate


Make the mint water: place ice water and mint leaves (well washed) in a blender and blend till the leaves are liquefied, place the mint water in a glass container and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Make the syrup: dissolve the sugar in 4 cups of water and boil for 5 minutes, let cool then refrigerate in a covered glass container, overnight.

Assemble the drink: Mix the syrup with the strained mint water and add lemon juice to taste. Serve with plenty of crushed ice and a sprig of fresh mint.



Posted in Beverages, Blog Events, Herbs | 6 Comments »

Indian Pound Cake

Posted by bakinghistory on August 15, 2007


This is a lovely variation on traditional American pound cake, made entirely with very fine cornmeal–once called Indian meal. It has a delicate, velvety texture and the delicious flavor of butter, corn, and nutmeg.

From the original recipe by A Lady of Philadelphia (Eliza Leslie)

In “Seventy-Five Receipts, for Pastry, Cakes, And Sweetmeats” 1828 –USA


8 eggs

the weight of 8 eggs in sugar (1 lb–454 g)

the weight of 6 eggs in very fine cornmeal (corn flour) (12.5 oz.–354 g) + a little extra for the pan

1/2 lb (2 sticks–227 g) butter

1 pinch salt

1 whole nutmeg or 1 tsp (2.3 g) ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C). Generously butter a 5.4 x 9.1-inches loaf pan (13.6 x 23.2 cm), then sprinkle with corn flour, shaking off excess. Lining the pan with aluminum foil (buttered and floured as well) makes it easier to unmold the cake.

Grate the nutmeg, if using it, then mix it with the sugar. Pulverize the sugar mixed with nutmeg in a food processor or coffee grinder. If you use cinnamon instead mix it with the pulverized sugar at this point.

Cream the butter, then gradually add the powdered, flavored sugar to the creamed butter and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs two at a time alternating with the corn flour (to which you have added the salt). Add the corn flour to the butter mixture through a fine sifter. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula once in a while to mix everything properly. Beat the mixture on high speed until light and creamy, for at least 7 minutes.

Delicately pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour–a cake tester must come out clean. If the top browns too quickly, lightly cover with a piece of aluminum foil.

Let the cake cool in the pan placed on a rack for about 10 minutes, then take it out of the pan and let it finish cooling on the rack. It will be fragile while still hot.

The cake should be made 1 day ahead to be at its best. It stays moist and fresh for a few days if kept wrapped in aluminum foil, and its flavor improves.

Notes: It is important for achieving the right texture to use very fine corn flour, not fine corn meal, which is still too gritty. If you don’t find corn flour, you can process fine cornmeal in the food processor. Also pulverizing the granulated sugar is essential as well as it is sifting the flour while you add it to the batter.

The oven temperature must be no more than 325 °F (170° C), or the cake will develop a hard brown crust too soon and remain raw in the center.

Miss Leslie indicated only nutmeg and cinnamon as flavorings, but I also tried with anise, lemon zest and almond extract and all work well.

Posted in American Cooking, Cakes, Flourless Cakes, Gluten-free, Grains, Spices | 2 Comments »

Bread Baking Day #03

Posted by bakinghistory on August 13, 2007

bbd #03 - bread with rye sourdough

Ulrike at Küchenlatein is the host of Bread Baking Day #03. Ulrike’s theme is

Sourdough Breads, preferably made with rye.

All information to participate is posted on her blog

Posted in Blog Events | Leave a Comment »

Semolina Cake (Torta di semolino)

Posted by bakinghistory on August 4, 2007


A classic Italian cake with a creamy texture and a nice flavor of almonds and lemon zest

From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi

In: “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” 1891–Italy


1 quart (1 liter) whole milk

3/4 cup (130 g) fine semolina

3/4 cup (130 g) sugar

3/4 cup (100 g) blanched almonds (whole)

1-1/2 tbsp (20 g) butter (unsalted)

4 eggs

grated zest of 1 (organic) lemon

1/8 tsp (.5 ml) pure almond extract (or to taste)

1 pinch of salt

Confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle on top


Grind the almonds with the sugar until very fine and set aside. If the almonds are not ground fine enough this will affect the texture of the cake, making it gritty rather than smooth.

Bring the milk to a boil with a pinch of salt and the lemon zest, then add the semolina little by little, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook the semolina for about 8 minutes, on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Then add the almond-sugar mixture and cook for 1 minute more, finally add the butter and stir until well mixed. Take off the heat, mix in the almond extract and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F (180°C) and lightly oil a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan.

When the semolina mixture is lukewarm add the eggs (the eggs should be beaten and put through a fine strainer). Mix well until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Distribute the semolina mixture in the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden on top.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. When cold unmold the cake and cut it into diamonds or squares. Sift confectioners’ sugar on top only when ready to serve, or it will make the cake soggy.

Refrigerate any remaining portions.

Posted in Cakes, Grains, Italian Cuisine, Italy | 13 Comments »

Raised Oatmeal Muffins

Posted by bakinghistory on August 1, 2007

These muffins have a moist, spongy crumb, a touch of sweetness and the good flavor of oats. Great eaten warm as soon as they are out of the oven or split and toasted and spread with jam.


From the original recipe by Fannie M. Farmer
In “The Boston Cooking School Cook Book” 1896–USA

These muffins should be baked in a gem pan, similar to a muffin pan but with shallow cups. Cast iron gem pans are still made, easy to find and not at all expensive. Earthenware or glass ramekins, muffin rings placed in a baking pan, or regular muffin pans will work as well.


3/4 cup (180 ml) milk, scalded

1/4 (50 g) cup sugar

1/2 tsp (3 g) salt

1/8 tsp (.5 g) active dry yeast

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk, lukewarm

2-1/2 cups (315 g) all purpose flour (unbleached)

1 cup cooked oatmeal, cold (I used 1/2 cup (80 g) steel cut Scottish-style oats (pinhead oats) cooked in 1-1/2 cups (355 ml) milk + 1/8 tsp (0.75 g) salt for about 20 minutes–you can use any type of oats you like as long as they are not instant. Cook them following directions given on the package)

Add sugar and salt to scalded milk and set aside to cool. Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm milk and set aside. Place the cooked oatmeal in a bowl and mix well with the flour. Add the milk and yeast mixture, and finally the milk mixed with sugar and salt. Beat the mixture throughly, then cover the bowl and let rise overnight. The following morning grease a muffin pan (or ramekins, muffin rings placed in a baking pan, or a cast iron gem pan) and fill each cup 2/3 full.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and leave the filled pan on the stove to warm up. The muffins batter will rise quickly: when the batter fills the cups to the top it is ready to bake. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

These muffins stay fresh for a long time thanks to both a slow fermentation and the cooked oatmeal. They also freeze well.


Posted in American Cooking, Cast-iron cooking, Grains, Muffins & Biscuits, Yeasted Breads | 2 Comments »