Daring Bakers- March madness! Updated

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

Dutch Crunch Topping

Servings: This recipe should make sufficient topping for two 9×5 loaves (23cmx13cm) or 12 rolls. If you make only 6 rolls in the first soft white roll recipe, you can cut the topping recipe in half.

We’ve provided this recipe first because it is the mandatory aspect of the challenge. Note, however, that you should not prepare the topping until the bread you’ve selected to bake is almost finished rising (~15 minutes from baking).

2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping. With the Brown Rice Bread, the loaves should stand for 20 minutes with the topping before baking.
4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Cruch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

Soft White Roll

Servings: Six sandwich rolls
This recipe approximates the quintessential white sandwich roll found throughout the Bay Area. The recipe is simple, quick, and addictive.
1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ ¼ oz) active dry yeast
¼ cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (No need to use a thermometer – it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).
1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (We’ve tried both nonfat and 2%, with no noticeable difference) ; **I used coconut milk**
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (20 gm/ ⅔ oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (9 gm/⅓ oz) salt
Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).
2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together. (The photo to below is with the first 2 cups of flour added).
3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, as shown in the photo below (For us, this usually required an additional 1½ to 2 cups of flour).
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled (or more) in size (see photo comparison).
6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point).
7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
8. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.
9. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

I did half the recipes for both and felt like I should left the bread in the oven for just 5 more minutes but it was smelling so heavenly, so yeasty- I let my impatient side take over 🙂
For more of the gorgeous takes on this month’s challenge- hop on over to DBers page.

Two recent pieces

I finally organized my beading and scrapbooking stations and that seems to be working well especially since I actually could make a couple of decent pieces.

Who knew I would turn into a sourdough afficiandao?

Once again, thanks to the December 2011 DB challenge-I now have a sourdough starter in my refrigerator (I do feed it every week or every two sometimes!). This is my first recipe after the basic sourdough bread I made way back in December. The inspiration of this recipe comes from Christy of Whole foods on a budget.

Christy’s Family’s Favorite Breakfast Cake — My Version


20g  sourdough starter
10g white whole wheat flour (or flour of choice)
10g water

1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup coconut oil

2 eggs
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extracts
a pinch or two each of ground nutmeg and ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups dried wild blueberries and diced dried apricots


Twenty-four hours prior to baking the cake, combine the first 3 ingredients together in a large glass bowl.  Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.  Let sit for roughly 12 hours.
Uncover the sourdough mixture and add the next 3 ingredients, mixing well.  Re-cover and let sit for roughly 12 more hours.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Grease a square glass baking dish. 
Prepare the fruit you (made a rookie mistake and did not coat the fruits with flour first) will add and set aside. 
To the sourdough batter, add the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and spices.  Mix well with an electric mixer.  Mix in the fruits.
Sprinkle the baking soda on top of the batter and mix again (This was a complete blunder- I forgot baking soda but then remembered it and then decided to add it to a mixture that was at 400F for about 5min)
Pour the batter into the baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
Let it cool for a few minutes.  Cut large pieces and serve topped with a honey-sweetened greek yogurt topping.

Judgement: Despite all my mistakes- the cake turned out to be fabulous!