Pesto Babka

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Do you guys watch Seinfeld? 

My husband is obsessed with sitcoms, and Seinfeld is definitely on the list. There’s an episode where babka plays a big role, which is one thing I think of when I think of this recipe- “Lesser babka? I think not!” 

Anyways, if you don’t watch the show, that was probably nonsense to you. The bigger reason I love babka, though, is that I am carb-obsessed. If you’re here, you probably are too. It’s cool, this is a safe space for us bread lovers. 

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Basically, babka is typically a sweet number, but today we’re switching it up a bit. Normally you’ve got lots of layers of a dense yeast bread and some kind of gooey chocolate or cinnamon filling, and let me tell you, that version of things is fan-freakin-tastic. But sometimes you need a little bit of savory bread too. 

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The way this recipe works is by rolling your dough super thin. It rises while baking, so even though the dough feels super delicate while you work on filling and shaping it, the result is perfect. 

Since pesto has both olive oil and cheese for moisture, it offers a very similar texture to your traditional babka recipes as well. More importantly, I love pesto. 

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Baking bread at a high altitude is tough you guys. I get it. Baking in general is much more complicated at altitude, but when you spend hours letting bread rise, and shaping it, and letting it rise again, only to end up with something you don’t want to eat?? It’s suuuper disappointing. 

Here’s my biggest tip for bread at a high altitude- watch the dough, not the clock. When I realized I was over-proofing most of my bread doughs, everything got better. 

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Make the pesto babka. It’ll work, it’ll taste awesome, and it’ll impress you’re friends. 

Pesto Babka

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2- 2 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tbs. active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup pesto (use whatever you like best here- homemade or jarred)

Instructions

  • Butter a large bowl generously, and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together 2 1/2 cups bread flour, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  • Heat your whole milk in the microwave until it reaches 115 degrees.
  • Stir the sugar into the whole milk, and then stir in the yeast. Let the mixture sit and bloom for 5-10 minutes, or until it's bubbly and frothy.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the eggs and melted butter.
  • Add the yeast mixture into the egg mixture, and stir to combine.
  • Add in the flour mixture, and stir until combined, and a dough has formed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour as needed, for about 5 minutes. The dough will be fairly stiff.
  • Place the dough into your buttered bowl. For the first rise, you want the dough to double in size. For me, this takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, but you should keep a close eye on your dough after 30 minutes. Do not let the dough rise to more than double in size.
  • Remove the dough from your bowl, and roll it out on a floured surface.
  • You want the dough to be very thin, 1/8-1/4 inch thick, and in the shape of a large rectangle. Since the dough will be a bit elastic, this may take some working.
  • Spread your pesto evenly over the entire rectangle, all the way to the edges.
  • Lightly grease a loaf pan, and set aside.
  • Begin to roll your dough, very tightly, like you would a cinnamon roll, starting on one of the shorter sides of your rectangle.
  • Once you have the dough completely rolled up, slice the roll in half length-wise.
  • Twist the two halves together, lightly pinching each end together.
  • Place the dough into your prepared loaf pan, and cover.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and let the dough rest for 25-30 minutes. The dough should rise during this time just slightly, by about 1/3 at most.
  • Bake the dough uncovered for 40-45 minutes. If you notice the bread becoming too brown on top, cover with foil for the remaining bake time.
  • Using an instant-read thermometer, the inside of your dough should reach about 165-170 degrees on the inside when it is finished baking.
  • Remove from the oven, and cool completely in the pan. Slice, and enjoy!
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Soft Pretzel Twists

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High Altitude Baking, Savory | February 13, 2017 | By

Hi everyone! Today is a special post- it’s actually my 100th recipe on the blog! 

I’m going savory for number 100 with these soft pretzel twists, and they’re super easy to make actually. Let’s just have a real moment here, where we all admit to ourselves that soft pretzels are one of God’s gifts to earth. Like what self-respecting carb-lover does NOT like soft pretzels?

It’s actually one of the easier bread types to make because it only has to rise once, which means there’s less chance to screw it up basically. It does, however, have the odd step of boiling the dough before baking it, but that’s what gives it that pillowy texture we all love. 

Here’s the idea; you make the dough, give it a bit to rise, until it doubles in size and looks about like this: 

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Then, divide your dough in half, in half again, and then into fourths. Roll into a rope, fold it in half and twist. Then tuck the ends into the loop so you end up with a twisted roll shape, like this: 

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Next, you’ll boil the dough twists in water mixed with baking soda for about 30 seconds. Place it on your baking sheet, brush on an egg wash, and sprinkle coarse salt and pepper over the tops: 

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Then bake ’em up! Here’s what they look like all pretty and golden: 

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Even if you haven’t been following Dough-eyed for too long, I hope you celebrate this 100th post with me, and bake up some pretzel twists. You can use them as slider buns, a twist on dinner rolls, or just with nacho cheese- the classic. 

Enjoy!

 

Soft Pretzel Twists

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups warm water (around 125 degrees)
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 6 tbs. melted butter
  • 2 ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups flour
  • 2 quarts water
  • ¼ cup baking soda (that’s right, a whole quarter cup!)
  • 1 egg beaten with a little water
  • Coarse salt and pepper for topping

Instructions

  • If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. If not, a hand mixer will work. In a large bowl, mix together warm water, brown sugar, yeast, and melted butter. Let stand for about five minutes.
  • In the meantime, mix together the salt, and 4 ½ cups flour
  • Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and combine until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky, so use more flour if needed.
  • Knead the dough on a flat surface for about five minutes, and form into a ball. Grease a medium bowl with a small amount of oil. Toss the dough in the bowl, flipping to coat the top. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for 30 minutes to an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large pot, bring two quarts (eight cups) of water to a boil. Add the baking soda to the boiling water quickly and be careful because it might splatter!
  • Prepare two sheet pans with a non-stick silpat sheet.
  • Divide your dough in half, then in half again. Then, each of those halves should be divided into four.
  • Roll each small section into a rope. Then fold it in half, and twist, and finally, fold the ends of the twisted rope into the loop on the top. This should create a twisted roll shape.
  • Use a slotted spoon to boil and remove about four pieces at time, for about 30 seconds each. You can put the boiled pieces directly onto your prepared sheet pan.
  • Then, brush the pieces with your beaten egg mixture and immediately top with salt and pepper. Bake for about twelve to fifteen minutes, until golden brown!
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Fresh Bread and Pesto Garlic Butter

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Fresh baked bread is maybe the best thing you can do. Your whole house is going to smell AMAZING, I promise, and you can enjoy it with super yummy butters, like this garlic pesto version. 

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This is a high altitude recipe, so if you’re making this at sea level, you’ll want to decrease the liquid by about 1/4 cup, and let your dough rise for 15-20 minutes longer on each rise. 

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On another note, if you’ve ever tried to make bread at a high altitude, you’ve probably been unhappy with the results. In my case, I almost always ended up with a very dense, heavy, and overly chewy end product that was… not good basically. In high altitudes, the rising times are a huge factor, so pay close attention to each rise for your dough!

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Eating bread thats still warm from the oven is one of the better things in life, and this recipe is an easy one. Bake bread today. Tomorrow. And everyday. (JK, that’s just a dream of mine). 

I also made mine with a honey cinnamon butter, which is fantastic too!

Enjoy!

 

Fresh Bread and Pesto Garlic Butter

Ingredients

  • For the bread:
  • 4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups (to 5 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 2 tbs. milk
  • For the butter:
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 2 tbs pesto of your choice
  • 1 tbs. roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Instructions

  • For the bread:
  • Mix together the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let this sit for 5 minutes until the yeast has bloomed.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat together the whole milk, water, canola oil, and salt until about 120 degrees.
  • Pour the milk mixture into a stand mixture, or a large bowl. Add in 4 cups of flour to start, and beat together until combined.
  • Add in the yeast mixture, and beat together for several minutes. You will have a lumpy, very wet mixture at this point.
  • Add in another 1/2 cup of flour, and beat together. Continue slowly adding flour until dough leaves the sides of the bowl, and is no longer sticky.
  • Then, pull the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead in a little more flour until it's smooth.
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 50-55 minutes for the first round.
  • After the first rise, punch down the dough, and knead on a floured surface once or twice. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let it rise again for about 40-45 minutes this time.
  • Once the dough has risen a second time, pat the dough into a large rectangle, and roll it into a log. Pinch the seam closed, and then pull the dough into a ring, and pinch that seam closed
  • Place into a lightly greased tube pan and cover with plastic wrap. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Let your dough rise again for a final 20 minutes while your oven preheats. Then, brush the top with milk.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Continue baking for 30 minutes, or until golden. The inside temp of the bread should be 190-195 degrees.
  • Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.
  • Enjoy!
  • For the butter:
  • Mix everything together with a hand mixer or stand mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Store in a small container or mason jar in the fridge!
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Cheddar Bacon Herb Biscuits

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Pastries, Savory | January 30, 2016 | By

Today we’re talking biscuits guys. 

For me, biscuits are up there on the list of comfort foods, and I’m kind of a carb-o-holic. Biscuits and gravy is maybe my favorite breakfast meal, and guys, can you imagine THESE biscuits under your gravy??

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This version is loaded with sharp cheddar cheese, thyme, rosemary, and bacon. Could there really be anything better? Don’t get me wrong, I love plain old classic biscuits, but these are crazy flavorful. I pulled them out of the oven and they barely lasted long enough for me to take pictures. 

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I used thyme and rosemary for mine, but you can really add any fresh herbs that you prefer in here. I also used traditional yellow cheddar cheese, mainly just for the color appeal, but if you’ve got white cheddar, that’ll taste just as amazing!

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The key with biscuits is to avoid over-working them. Just keep it gentle, and don’t worry about getting everything perfectly incorporated- that will make for a tough biscuit! 

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The cheese will caramelize a bit in the oven, and with some coarse sea salt on top, you can just eat these babies plain. I was going to serve them with some herb butter, but the herbs come out in a beautiful way already inside the biscuits, so it’s totally not needed. 

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Enjoy!

Cheddar Bacon Herb Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour, pus more for rolling
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh herbs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 tbs. crumbled bacon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Milk and coarse sea salt to top

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment or a non-stick sheet.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and herbs.
  • With a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the shortening until mixture is crumbly.
  • Stir in the cheese and bacon. Stir in the buttermilk until just combined.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Pat the dough into a square about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cut out the dough into 10-12 square biscuits, and place onto your cookie sheet.
  • Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown on top!
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Tomato Garlic Focaccia

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Savory | January 23, 2016 | By

Hey guys! Today I’m sharing the rare savory recipe. 

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You guys know I’m a baker, and I tend to gravitate towards desserts. That being said, I also cook and bake a lot of savory foods as well. There’s one more thing you should know- bread is my ultimate favorite food. 

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Breads tend to be a bit of struggle to bake at a high altitude, and I’ve got some great tips on getting it right, which you can find here

Now, on to the focaccia! Focaccia is a super easy bread to make, and it’s similar to pizza dough actually. I topped mine with thinly sliced tomatoes and chunks of roasted garlic. You can top yours any way you want- it’s even great with just some salt and pepper on top!

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The tomatoes on top will bake into the bread a bit, and they become super flavorful from being roasted into the bread. This is a great side-dish bread, but to be honest, I ate like an entire loaf by myself as a dinner one night. Listen, it’s got tomatoes, I think that makes it a whole meal. 

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I promise you’ll love this bread, and you’ll love the fact that you don’t have to do any rolling or shaping here. You just use your fingers to press it out onto your sheet pan, top it, and you’re good to go!

Enjoy!

Tomato Garlic Focaccia

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
  • 2 tbs. warm milk
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons quick rise dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of roasted garlic, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Mix together your water, milk, sugar, and yeast and let bloom for 5-10 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer
  • With the dough hook attachment, add in the flour, olive oil, and salt, and knead until dough comes together. Add more as needed- the dough should be slightly sticky.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times by hand.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm area to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Divide the dough in half, and place each piece on a oiled baking sheet. with a little bit of olive oil on top, use your fingers to spread them out until about 1/2 inch thick. The dough should be dimpled.
  • Cover and let rise for another twenty- thirty minutes, until the dough has risen again by about a quarter.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Spread the roasted garlic on top of each loaf, and then layer on your sliced tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Enjoy!

Adapted from Cooking Channel TV

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