Kasha with Root Vegetables

Buckwheat is an ancient crop that has been a staple food for centuries, especially in cold regions with short growing seasons. The word kasha comes from Persian for porridge although in the United States it commonly refers specifically to buckwheat groats after the Polish and Yiddish usages. Interestingly, it is not a true cereal grain actually an herb related to rhubarb. Nonetheless it is usually prepared in the same way as grain like rice, wheat, or millet. In this recipe, I prepare the kasha with root vegetables and onions as a colorful, tasty side dish. I used carrots and beets, but turnips, parsnips, or rutabagas would also work. Mushrooms would also be a nice addition. Chose the stock to complement whatever you are serving the pilaf with—I used shrimp stock to go with salmon cakes. When in doubt, chicken stock will always do as will plain water in a pinch. Because kasha cooks rather quickly, the roots have to be tender before adding since they will not have time to soften in the pot.  

Makes two to four servings

Ingredients

 

Kasha

100 grams

½ cup

Egg white

1

1

Oil or butter

As needed

As needed

Onion

100 grams

One small

Carrot

100 grams

One medium

Beet

100 grams

One medium

Stock

250 milliliters

1 cup

Salt and pepper

To taste

To taste

Method

Rinse the kasha and drain well. Put it into a bowl and stir in the egg white making sure that the grains are well-coated. Set aside.

Cut the vegetables into small dice, about 6mm (1/4 inch). Heat about 15 milliliters (1 Tablespoon) butter or oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté each of them in turn over medium heat starting with the onion and ending with the beet. As each is done, set it aside.

Bring the stock to a simmer.  

If needed add a bit of butter or oil to the pan and fry the kasha over medium heat until the grains are dry and separate. Stir in the stock then the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover tightly and set over low heat until all of the stock is absorbed, around ten minutes.

Fluff with a fork and serve hot.

Roasted Duck with Root Vegetables

Duck with root vegetables

Although the consumption of duck in the United States has risen by some 35% over the past two decades it lags far behind that of chicken. Roughly 24 million ducks are eaten here annually compared with more than eight billion chickens. Price accounts for part of that: duck costs two to three times what chicken does. But perhaps the main reason we eat less duck than many other countries is misinformation. Many people think that duck is difficult to prepare and high in fat: the first is untrue, the second true but with a caveat. Yes, duck, being a water bird and thus needing a layer of insulation, has more fat than chicken. But like with chicken, the fat is subcutaneous meaning that the meat itself is quite lean. And duck fat, much prized in France and elsewhere as a cooking fat, is about halfway between olive oil and butter in composition. Duck fat contains 50.5% monounsaturated fats, 35.7% saturated fats, and 13.7% polyunsaturated fats compared to olive oil with 75% monounsaturated, 13% saturated, and 12% polyunsaturated and butter with 21% monounsaturated, 51% saturated, and 3% polyunsaturated. Duck is no harder to cook than chicken but must be handled a bit differently to manage that fat. Most recipes for roasting duck call for pricking the skin and letting the fat collect in the roasting pan. But there is a better way: steaming or poaching the duck to render out the fat before roasting it. Not only does this result in a lean bird with crispy skin but the cooking liquid yields a delicious broth for making gravy and mildly flavored fat perfect for roasting root vegetables. For those I use potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, or parsnips depending on what I have on hand. You can also add some halved Brussels sprouts.

(Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef (NY: Hyperion, 1999), 124-125)

Ingredients

 

Duck

About 2 kilograms

About 4 pounds

White wine or water

250 milliliters

1 cup

Dried thyme

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Dried parsley

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Dried savory, optional

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Assorted root vegetables, cubed

About 1 kilogram

About 1 pound

Flour

About 30 milliliters

About 2 Tablespoons

Salt and pepper

To taste

To taste

Method

Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).

If present, remove the giblets from the duck and set aside for another use. Pat the bird dry and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Truss if desired. Put a rack into the bottom of a large Dutch oven and pour in the wine. Place the duck on the rack and sprinkle on the dried herbs. Bring the liquid to a boil on the top of the stove, cover, and place in the oven.

If your duck does not fit in your Dutch oven, put it on a rack in a roasting pan, adjust the amount of liquid as needed, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Prepare a roasting pan with a rack for the duck and a suitable sheet pan for the vegetables. After an hour, remove the pot from the oven and transfer the duck to the rack in the roasting pan, leaving as much fat and juice as possible behind in the Dutch oven. Pour the cooking liquid and fat into grease separator or a measuring cup. When the fat has risen to the top, separate it from the broth and set both aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 190°C (375°F). Arrange the oven racks so that one is at the lowest level and another is two levels above it. Place the roasting pan with the duck onto the top rack.

If you are using beets, you might wish to parboil them for about 15 or 20 minutes and let cool.

Put the vegetables into a large bowl and toss with some of the duck fat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on the sheet pan in a single layer. Place the pan onto the lower oven rack.

The duck and vegetables should be done in about 40 minutes. Check that the temperature of the duck measured in the thigh is 80°C (175°F) and that the vegetables are tender. Remove the duck from the oven and cover loosely with foil. You can leave the vegetables in the turned-off oven while you make the gravy.

Put 30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons) of the duck fat into a sauce pan. Stir in the flour to make a smooth roux. Strain the broth and add it a bit at a time to the roux while whisking vigorously until it comes to a boil. Keep adding broth until the gravy is the consistency you prefer. If you do not have enough broth, use water or stock.

Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter and place duck on top of them. Serve with the gravy.

Bay Scallop Risotto

Scallops are just about my favorite seafood. Unfortunately, the large sea scallops that I prefer have become prohibitively expensive. The smaller, somewhat sweeter farm-raised bay scallops, however, remain affordable. I find that even when dry-packed they contain too much water to sear properly so they are best served in a sauce, gratinée, or in a rice dish. One could simply add the raw scallops to the risotto and let the hot rice cook them, but I prefer to poach them lightly first, in part to extract some of their flavor with which to infuse the rice. The bacon is optional but I think that it is the perfect foil for scallops. And one could use onion or shallot or both either with or in place of the garlic. I folded in a bit of grated asiago before serving—parmesan or Romano would work equally well.

Serves two.

Ingredients

 

Bay scallops

250 grams

8 ounces

Water

750 milliliters

3¼ cups

Shrimp shells and tails (optional)

30 grams

1 ounce

Bacon (optional)

30 grams

1 ounce (one rasher)

Olive oil

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Garlic, minced

15 grams

about 1 Tablespoon

Arborio rice

250 grams

1 cup

Vermouth or white whine

50 milliliters

¼ cup

Spinach, chopped

100 grams

4 ounces

Salt

to taste

to taste

Truffle oil (optional)

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Asiago cheese, grated

20 grams

1 Tablespoon

 

Method

Bring the water to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the scallops and let them poach for a minute or two. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Put the shrimp shells, if using, into the water and let them steep for a few minutes. Remove and discard. Keep the liquid at a simmer while making the risotto.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible. Sauté the garlic in the hot fat for a few seconds then add the rice. Fry, stirring constantly, until the rice is chalky and the garlic has begun to color somewhat, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vermouth or wine and let the alcohol boil off, then add about 120 milliliters (½ cup) of the water. Stir until the liquid is almost absorbed. Continue adding water 60 milliliters (¼ cup) at a time, stirring each addition until almost absorbed. When about two thirds of the water is gone, fold in the chopped spinach. Continue stirring liquid until it is almost gone then check the rice for doneness—it should be tender with just a hint of “tooth.” Season to taste with salt and fold in the scallops, truffle oil if using, and cheese.

Serve hot.

Buttermilk White Bread

First published in 1973, Beard on Bread by James A. Beard is a classic that got many of us of a certain age interested in the art of baking bread. The fact that the book was still in print in 2008 when I bought my 1995 paperback edition attests to its popularity. It does, however, share a major shortcoming with nearly every other American cookbook: all the measurements are by volume in Imperial units. This makes the recipes needlessly difficult to reproduce accurately and almost impossible to scale successfully.  So, I have taken to adapting—reverse engineering, if you will—my favorite recipes from this book into baker’s percentages and gravimetric metric units. You need not become completely fluent in the metric system to use these recipes; just buy a digital scale that reads in metric units. In fact, you can even buy a baker’s scale that lets you work directly from baker’s percentages.

The first step in converting the recipe is to change the volumetric units to metric weights.

 

Ingredient

Recipe amount

Metric weight

Active dry yeast

2 packages

14 grams

Granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon

12 grams

Warm water

½ cup

113 grams

Unbleached bread flour

4 cups

508 grams

Salt*

1 Tablespoon

17 grams

Unsalted butter

3 Tablespoons

42 grams

Buttermilk

1 to 1½ cups

240 to 360 grams

* assumes table salt, kosher salt has a somewhat different density.

 

Now one can calculate the baker’s percentages of the ingredients. I chose to use the lower amount of buttermilk which results in a hydration ratio of 69%, which is about right for this sort of bread. Also, I converted the buttermilk to equivalent amounts of water and dry buttermilk powder. I rearranged the order of the ingredients to make the baker’s percentages clearer.

 

Ingredient

Metric weight

Percentage

Unbleached bread flour

508 grams

100%

Warm water

353 grams

69%

Buttermilk powder

30 grams

6%

Granulated sugar

12 grams

2.3%

Active dry yeast

14 grams

2.7%

Salt

17 grams

3.3%

Unsalted butter

42 grams

8%

 

Since I want to scale up the recipe, I need to calculate the total percentages. They come to 191.3%. To make four 500-gram loaves, then, I need 1045 grams of flour (2000g/1.913). The baker’s percentages let me easily calculate the needed weight of each of the remaining ingredients. And I rearranged the ingredients again, this time into the order they are used. Note my usual caveat: the Imperial units are roughly equivalent to the metric ones but the two are not interchangeable.

Ingredients

 

Water

721 grams

3¼ cups

Granulated sugar

24 grams

2 Tablespoons

Dry yeast

28 grams

4 packages

Unsalted butter, melted

84 grams

5½ Tablespoons

Unbleached bread flour

1045 grams

8 cups

Buttermilk powder

63 grams

½ cup

Salt

34 grams

1¾ Tablespoons

Method

Weight the first four ingredients into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer and stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients and knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes on the recommended power setting. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface—it will be rather sticky—and with floured hands form into a ball.  

Pour enough oil into a large earthenware or glass bowl to just cover the bottom. Add the dough and roll it around so that it is evenly coated with the oil. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap set directly on the dough and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Set aside to proof until doubled in size, about one to one and a half hours depending on the temperature.

At the end of proofing, punch down the dough and divide it into four equal parts. Form the loaves and place them in lightly-oiled pans. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again until the dough is just above the sides of the pan.

Bake in a preheated 190°C (375°F) for about 40 minutes. (I use the convect pastry setting on my convection oven). The best way to determine doneness is with a thermometer; the center of the loaf should be between 95°C (200°F) and 100°C (212°F).

Andouille and Sweet Potato Hash

The question “what’s for dinner?” at our house is often rephrased as “what’s about to go bad?” I confess that I sometimes pick up items from the market that look good at the time but which I have no plans for how to use, so they sit accusingly on the counter or in the refrigerator until I am forced to put them out of their misery in the compost bin. And, of course, I then feel guilty for having wasted food. Yesterday I had to euthanize a couple of avocados that went unnoticed from unripe to an unhealthy dark brown. The two sweet potatoes looking on accusingly from a basket on the kitchen counter pled that I not condemn them to the same fate. As luck would have it, a package of Andouille sausage I had bought held a couple more links than would fit in a freezer bag so I had two seemingly compatible ingredients. A hot chili in the crisper drawer—the lone survivor of another enthusiastic purchase—rounded out the tableau. A quick Internet search turned up a suitable recipe which I adapted to suit my tastes.

Serves two as a one-dish dinner; four as a breakfast side dish with eggs.

Ingredients

 

Oil or lard

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Andouille sausage, diced

250 grams

8 ounces (2 medium links)

Cinnamon, ground

1 milliliter

¼ teaspoon

Cumin, ground

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Sweet potato, cut into small dice

400 to 500 grams

about 1 pound (2 medium)

Onion, cut into small dice

150 grams

5 ounces (1 medium)

Jalapeño or bell pepper, seeded and minced

30 grams

1 ounce (or to taste)

Salt and pepper

to taste

to taste

Method

Heat the fat in a skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. If it is raw, cook it until nicely browned; if cooked, as most store-bought Andouille is, simply heat it for about 5 minutes to render some of its fat. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and cumin, stirring to coat evenly.

Add the sweet potato, onion, and jalapeno or bell pepper to the skillet and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook gently until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Coq au vin

This classic French braise is almost certainly derived from a peasant dish. It would have been made in a large cauldron over an open hearth and once an ingredient went in it did not come back out until the dish was done. Similarly the wine would probably have been rather rough and a few days past drinkability. I have tried to find a middle ground between the farm and the haute cuisine restaurant, eschewing some of the more precious touches that have crept into the recipe. After all, this was originally a way to make a “retired” laying chicken tender. I’m sure it is still best made with a tough old bird full of flavor. But, alas, such are nearly impossible to procure today. I like to use leg quarters rather than whole chicken because the breast meat of today’s young frying chickens is just too delicate for the long cooking this recipe requires. Although some insist that one must use a good wine for cooking, I find that a reasonable box or jug wine is just fine. Traditionally the sauce was thickened with chicken blood mixed with pounded liver and brandy; modern recipes use beurre manie. Rice flour works well if you can to make the dish gluten-free. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the chicken to cook, especially if you are using an older bird otherwise it will be tough.

Ingredients

 

Bacon

60 grams

2 ounces (about 2 rashers)

Chicken fat, butter, or oil

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Chicken pieces

2 kilograms, approx.

5 pounds, approx.

Pearl onions

120 grams

4 ounces

Carrot, diced

60 grams

2 ounces

Celery, diced

60 grams

2 ounces

Garlic, minced

6 cloves

6 cloves

Mushrooms, thickly sliced

120 gram

8 ounces

Cognac

65 milliliters

¼ cup

Dry red wine

about 500 milliliters

about 2 cups

Dried thyme

5 milliliters

1 teaspoon

Salt

to taste

to taste

Freshly ground pepper

to taste

to taste

Butter, unsalted, softened

30 grams

2 Tablespoons

Flour

30 grams

2 Tablespoons

Method

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).

Cut the bacon into lardons, i.e. pieces about the size of matchstick. If you have sliced bacon cut it crosswise into 3 mm (⅛-inch pieces). Heat the fat in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and render the bacon until crispy. Remove to a bowl leaving as much fat behind as possible.

Turn the heat up a bit and, working in batches, brown the chicken pieces well on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Sweat the onions, carrots, and celery until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Continue to cook the mushrooms give off their liquid.

Return the chicken pieces to the pot and pour in the brandy. Turn off the vent hood, if it is on. and light the vapors with a long match. When the flames die down, add the wine to just cover the chicken. Return the lardons to the pot and season everything with thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and place in the hot oven. Bake for about 30 minutes—several hours for an old bird. Remove the cover and return the pot to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Skim the fat off of the liquid and add to the softened butter. Mix in the flour to make a smooth paste, beurre manie. Stir into the broth and bring to a boil to thicken.

Serve hot over noodles or potatoes. Or, best of all, by itself with some crusty French bread.

Shameless self-promotion

Besides this blog I also write one of commentary on issues that concern me, be they international, national, or local to the Binghamton, NY area. Some may find some of the content controversial. That is fine because my intent is to stimulate discussion. I invite you, the readers of Dinner at Leo’s, to visit my alter ego at Moose Morsels, the blog from the bog.

Thai Chicken and Summer Squash Curry

Known in French as courgette, summer squash is one of my favorite vegetables. There are so many ways to prepare it from stewed into ratatouille to sliced and grilled or even just cubed and eaten raw. And, if you are careful not to overcook it into mushy bits it is very good in light Thai-style curries. I suspect that this recipe would most authentically be made with the golf-ball-sized green eggplant popular in Thailand, but this combination is well worth a try. Besides the aforementioned eggplant, one could use zucchini or any other of the summer squashes in this recipe.

Note that I use rather a lot of squash for the amount of meat. That is because I am cutting back on meat partly because it is better for the environment and partly because I believe recipes like this are more authentic with less reliance on protein. Feel free to use more chicken if you wish.

You can buy green curry paste and coconut milk at any Asian market and at most larger American supermarkets or you can make them yourself. Lemongrass is readily available in Asian markets as well and many supermarkets now carry it. I have not seen fresh kaffir lime leaves in my area so I use shredded ones that come in jars. Again, they are generally available in Asian markets and some American grocery stores. If you cannot find them, just leave them out.

Yield: two servings with rice

Ingredients

 

Chicken cubes*

250 grams

8 ounces

Oil

30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Green curry paste

45 milliliters

3 Tablespoons

Lemongrass**

1 stalk

1 stalk

Kaffir lime leaves, chopped, optional

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Fish sauce

60 milliliters

¼ cup

Palm sugar***

60 milliliters

¼ cup

Coconut milk

400 milliliters

1⅔ cup

Summer squash in bite-sized cubes

1 medium (500 grams)

1 medium (1 pound)

* thigh and/or breast meat

** or substitute 30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons) lemon juice

*** or substitute light brown sugar

Method

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan and fry the curry paste for a minute or two until very fragrant. Add the chicken and stir fry until no longer pink on the outside. Bruise the lemongrass with the side of a knife then put it into the pan along with the kaffir lime leaves, if using, fish sauce, palm sugar or substitute, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is nearly cooked through—about 20 minutes.

Mix in the squash, making sure that they are all in the liquid. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the squash are tender but still firm.

Remove the lemongrass stalk and serve over steamed jasmine rice.

 

Adapted from: http://australian.food.com/recipe/easy-thai-chicken-summer-squash-curry-200808?mode=us&scaleto=3.0&st=null

Sandwich Bread

Before I acquired a Kindle, I was a great aficionado of bookstore remainder tables. Sometime in the late 1990s in the Maryland Book Exchange near the University of Maryland campus, I came upon a stack of On Cooking: Techniques from Expert Chefs(1)at less than half of its $49.95 cover price. A cross between a text book and a cookbook, it is perhaps the most valuable piece in my culinary library. (It is still available, by the way, in a 2003 third edition.) I adapted—reverse engineered, if you will—this recipe from one on pages 796 and 797 of that book.

Since I bake bread in different size batches on different occasions, I have taken to converting my recipes to baker’s percentages which make them easy to scale. I also change them to metric gravimetric units that are both more accurate and easier to work with that conventional American volumetric units. You do not need to become completely fluent in the metric system to use these recipes; just buy a digital scale that reads in metric units.

This cookbook lists ingredients in both US common and metric units so I only need to determine the baker’s their baker’s percentages. The eggs complicate the process a bit as I will explain. The basic recipe is:

Water

340 grams

Dry milk powder

35 grams

Sugar

30 grams

Salt

10 ml

Active dry yeast

15 grams

Bread flour

680 grams

Unsalted butter

20 grams

Eggs

2

Before I can convert those ingredients to baker’s percentages I have to allocate the constituents of the eggs. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a standard large egg weighs 50 grams and contains 38 grams of water, 5 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrate. For the purposes of this recipe we are only concerned with allocating the first two. You can either carry the remainder as “other,” as I have to make my formula mass work exactly, or just ignore it. I also convert the volume of salt to mass, assuming regular table salt. (Kosher salt has a different density so a milliliter of it is not the same weight as a milliliter of table salt.) And, because I use instant dry yeast, also called bread machine yeast instead of active dry yeast I reduce the amount of yeast by a third. So, the recipe with baker’s percentages becomes (with rounding):

Water

416 grams

61%

Dry milk powder

35 grams

5%

Sugar

30 grams

4%

Salt

12 grams

2%

Instant dry yeast

10 grams

1%

Bread flour

680 grams

100%

Fat

30 grams

4%

Egg “other”

14 grams

2%

Formula percentage

179%

Today I want to make four 500-grams loaves, so my formula mass is 2000g. Dividing that by the formula percentage, 179%, gives the amount of flour I will need: 1117 grams. Applying the baker’s percentages, I figure out how much of the other ingredients I need:

Water

61%

681 grams

Dry milk powder

5%

56 grams

Sugar

4%

45 grams

Salt

2%

22 grams

Instant dry yeast

1%

11 grams

Bread flour

100%

1117 grams

Fat

4%

45 grams

Egg “other”

2%

22 grams

Since I know that each egg contains 7 grams of “other,” this tells me that I need three eggs. Those eggs contribute 114 grams of water and 15 grams of fat so I have to adjust the amount of water and butter accordingly. I also like to use about 15% whole wheat flour. And my final recipe is (with Imperial equivalents):

Ingredients

 

Water

567 grams

20 ounces

Dry milk powder

56 grams

½ cup

Sugar

45 grams

¼ cup

Salt

22 grams

1 Tablespoon + ½ teaspoon

Instant dry yeast

11 grams

4 teaspoons

Whole wheat flour

167 grams

1⅓ cups

Bread flour

950 grams

7½ cups

Unsalted butter, melted

30 grams

2 Tablespoons

Eggs

3 large

3 large

Method

Weight each ingredient into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Knead for about 10 minutes on the recommended power setting. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface—it will be rather sticky—and with floured hands form into a ball.  

Warm a large, heavy earthenware or glass bowl with hot water then dry and pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom. Place the dough into the bowl and roll it around so that it is evenly coated with the oil. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap set directly on the dough and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Set aside to proof until doubled in size, about one to one and a half hours depending on the temperature.

At the end of proofing, punch down the dough and divide it into four equal parts. Form the loaves and place them in lightly-oiled pans. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again until the dough is just above the sides of the pan.

Bake in a preheated 200°C (390°F) oven to 400°F (205°C) for about 35 minutes. (I use the convect pastry setting on my convection oven). The best way to determine doneness is with a thermometer; the center of the loaf should be between 95°C (200°F) and 100°C (212°F).


[1]Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause, On Cooking: Techniques from Expert Chefs (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall: 1995).

Onion/Dill Rye Bread

A reader pointed out that this recipe had an error. This is the corrected version.

The other day I had the thought of making bread with yogurt. Most of the recipes I found on the Internet seemed to over-compensate for the tartness of the yogurt with massive amounts of sweetener—one called for a quarter cup of honey in a one and a half pound loaf. I adapted this recipe from one calling for sour cream, onion, and dill. I added some rye flour because that seemed to me to be a good match for the dill. The result was a somewhat dense but very tasty bread that toasts nicely. The recipe here is a work in progress so let me know how yours works out.

Note: the metric and imperial units are internally consistent but not necessarily interchangeable. 

Yield: two medium loaves

Ingredients

 

Rye flour

100 grams

3½ ounces (about 1cup)

Bread flour

400 grams

13 ounces (about 3 cups)

Yogurt

150 grams

½ cup

Warm water

200 milliliters

Generous ¾ cup

Sugar

15 grams

1 Tablespoon

Salt

10 grams

2 teaspoons

Active dry yeast*

15 grams

½ ounce (2 envelopes)

Canola oil or melted unsalted butter

30 grams

2 Tablespoons

Dried minced onion

15 grams

2 Tablespoons

Dried dill leaves

2 grams (15 milliliters)

1 Tablespoon

* or 10 grams (1 Tablespoon) instant dry yeast

Method

Weigh the flours into a bowl. In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer combine the yogurt and warm water using the paddle beater. Add the sugar, yeast, salt, onion, dill, and about a quarter of the flour. Beat gently until smooth.

Replace the paddle beater with the dough hook. Add the remaining flour to the bowl. Knead on the recommended speed setting for your mixer. After about five minutes the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If it does not, add more flour a bit at a time until it does or, if the dough does not come together, add a bit of water. Knead for a further five minutes.

At this point I like to weigh the dough to make dividing it later more accurate.

Warm a large, heavy earthenware or glass bowl with hot water then dry and pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom. Form the dough into a large ball, place it in the bowl, and roll it around so that it is evenly coated with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to proof until doubled in size, about one to one and a half hours depending on the temperature. At the end of proofing, punch down the dough and divide it into whatever size loaves you prefer. Form the loaves and place them into lightly-oiled pans. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again until the dough is just above the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C) for small loaves or 375°F (190°C) for large ones (I use the convect pastry setting on my convection oven at 375°). Bake for 35 minutes for small loaves to 50 minutes for large ones. The best way to determine doneness is with a thermometer; the center of the loaf should be between 200°F and 210°F (93°C and 99°C).

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