Asiago Basil Bread

I have to think of words to describe this bread.
I wanted to work on my breads this month. Last week I tried a cheesy herb bread but I wasn’t completely happy with the results. I was tired of trying this and that internet recipe with this and that bread techniques so I turned to an expert.
My friend’s Dad bakes breads and we’ve heard tales of his dad breads. I’ve even tried his dad bread and it was delicious! He gave me tips on the perfect crust and on getting bread with a good, chewy texture.

While giving me tips, he told me he was making an asiago basil bread…which honestly, sounded absolutely amazing. So…I tried it!

I have to say, I’ll be making this forever. The aromas that came from my oven were a.m.a.z.i.n.g. The whole apartment smelled like a giant asiago cheese bagel with basil infused throughout.

The top of this bread literally tasted like a cheese-it (cheez-it? cheeze it?). A rich, cheesy, delicious, amazing, crispy perfect crust.

…with the most amazing perfect, chewy, herb filled inside. We’ve been topping this with cream cheese and just devouring it. Straight up devour.

Oh yeah, you know what else? Those red flakes? The bread had dried italian dressing seasoning inside courtesy of my mother in law! Do you want to talk about flavor? Nah, we should just eat it instead.

Asiago Basil Bread

Adapted from foodiewithfamily and Mr. Roberts’ years of experience

3 cups all purpose flour + some for dusting
3/4 cups grated asiago cheese + a little more for making that crust!
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dried italian seasoning (or dried italian dressing seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup minced, fresh basil
1 1/4 cup warm tap water

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups of your flour and all of your dry ingredients. Add in the water and slowly add in the rest of your flour until well incorporated. Once you’re able to form a ball of dough, knead for 8-10 minutes (good arm workout!). Add just enough flour to make sure that your dough doesn’t stick to the board.

Rise #1: Once you’re done kneading, coat your dough with olive oil and place back into your mixing bowl. Cover your bowl with saran wrap or a moist towel and place in a warm location and let rise 1.5-2 hours or until doubled.

Rise #2: Once doubled, gently stretch your dough out into a rough rectangular shape and then fold into thirds lengthwise (hotdog style) and then into thirds again (hamburger style). Plop back into your bowl and let rise for about 30-40 minutes.

Rise #3: Repeat rise #2. At the beginning of this rise, preheat a baking pan made of some sort of stone (i.e baking stone, dutch oven, or ceramic tart pan as I did) in a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes. Also in the oven, throw in a cookie sheet or any sort of pan that will fit. We’ll use that for later.

Baking: Once your third rise is done, plop your dough (being careful to disturb the rise as little as possible) onto your hot ceramic pan. Slash a large “X” on top of your loaf using a sharp knife or a razor blade. Sprinkle as much asiago cheese as you can possibly fit onto the top of the loaf and into the folds of the “X”. Spray the top of your loaf with water if you want a crispy crust. Put your stone with bread back into the oven, decrease to 375F and right before you close that door….throw in 1/2 cup of water into that hot cookie sheet/pan that you also had waiting. Then, close that door!

Mr. Roberts taught me that throwing in that water helps to create steam in the oven, making for a beautiful crust. Similar to the technique used in the no-knead bread that I had posted about a few months ago!

Bake for 35-40 minutes, trying really hard not to check on it too often even though it smells really really good!. Once it sounds hollow when you tap it, the bread is done!

Enjoy warm as it is prime crust time!

 

Olive Oil Almond Orange Cake

I spent an afternoon on the phone fighting with insurance companies. During which time, I made a cake. Also – we’re having a guest over tonight (Hi Mike!) and I figured a cake would be fitting.

The recipe calls for “finely ground almonds”. Well, I didn’t have that. So I just threw slivered almonds into a food processor and called it fine enough for me. I also don’t have a grater here in boston, so the orange zest was cut into fine pieces by hand. This cake was quite rustic – in a lovely way.

After a tasting of said fruity, almond filled cake, I also decided that it needed chocolate. I was fighting with the insurance company after all. Chocolate was a must. Speaking of must, I must say that this cake certainly helped to take the edge off.

Olive Oil Almond Orange Cake

Adapted from refinery29 (who got it from Cat Cora)

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup finely ground almonds (pre-ground or grind yourself! the finer the better)
Zest of one orange

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine your olive oil, powdered sugar, and eggs in a bowl and whisk until well incorporated.

(Funny story…in addition to not having ground almonds or a grater…I also don’t have a whisk. Two forks do quite well though, in case anyone was wondering.)

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, almonds, and orange zest.

Finally combine the two bowls and stir until well mixed. Plop into a greased 9×9 pie pan (or pan shape of your choice) and bake for about 35-40 minutes.

Let your cake cool and then top with more powdered sugar and if you desire, chocolate!.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Time to use up those fresh blueberries while they’re still in season! I always double the blueberries in my muffins…because when it comes to blueberry muffins, I say, “Go big or go home!” It’s a good idea to line the muffin tin with cupcake liners to contain all those extra blueberries though. These make a great portable summertime snack!

 

For the muffins:

1 cup milk
½ stick butter, melted and cooled (you can also use ¼ cup of a healthy oil like canola)
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour (I used ½ cup whole wheat +1 ½ cups all purpose)
1/3 to ½ cup granulated sugar (depending how sweet you want them)
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry

For the streusel:

½ stick butter, melted or room temperature
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup flour

Recipe from good old Betty Crocker.

Preheat the oven to 375°F * and line muffin tins with about 12 papers (I had extra batter).

*ok one small rant – every time I bake muffins, they always say to crank the oven up to 400 or 425°F, but this ALWAYS seems to burn my muffins on the outside and leave them undercooked on the inside. Hence, my suggestion to set your oven to a temperate 375°F instead.

For the streusel, mix all ingredients together into a crumbly mixture and set aside.

Combine the milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Sifting really does make for a lighter texture!

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and gently combine. Add in the blueberries. Fold these in carefully. Over mixing will create tough muffins and break the blueberries…not cool.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners. Crumble streusel on top.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

Action shot!
Right before the oven…
 
Right after the oven! 
 
Enjoy!

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Crisp

It’s been cooler this week in Boston. In a desperate effort to hold onto summer, I made a summer fruit inspired cobbler slash crisp slash vehicle for ice cream.

Also we had a bunch of peaches and my husband despises the peach fuzz and I abhor fruit flies. So instead, I baked them into this delicious fuzz free, fruit fly safe product.

Flaky crust and fruity filling – who said fall has to come? Oh fine, I guess that’s how you describe a pie as well…which is a fall pastry. I really need to stop writing about things that would be great with ice cream and actually photograph some things with ice cream on top. I’ll work on that.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Crisp

Adapted from lecremedelacrumb (cute name!)

For the crust
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled
6 tablespoons milk

Preheat your oven to 375 F

Combine your flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in your chilled butter with a pastry cutter or with a fork until you have mixture with lots of fine crumbs. If you’re going to go the fork route, do yourself a favor and pre-cut your butter into as little cubes as possible. Add in your milk and mix until well combined. Take your mixture (should still be crumbly) and press into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish making sure the corners come up about 1 inch on each side. Alternatively, you can do as the original recipe states and roll out in between two sheets of saran wrap but I found that pressing works quite well.

For the Filling
6 peaches (peeled or not, your choice), cut into slices
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups blueberries

This part is easy. Mix it all together in a large bowl. Spread on top of your crust. Easy.

For the topping
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled.

Combing all of your ingredients except the butter. Then, once again, either using a pastry cutter or a fork cut your butter into your dry ingredients until fine crumbs of butter covered in sugary yumminess forms. Sprinkle this all over your peaches and blueberries.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, covered with foil. Then uncover your pan and bake for about 10 minutes until the edges of your crust are golden brown.

Let sit for 20 minutes before cutting into it and by all means, get some ice cream on that guy!

Enjoy!