This summer has been all about cookbooks for me.
I have been working on a personal goal of spending my free time devouring as many books filled with recipes as possible, and this has been reflected in my content here. After all, food is best shared, and recipes are treasures. As I inhaled these texts and beautiful images, I also wanted to work on refining my baking game. What could I learn from true masters to make baking in my own kitchen yield a more delicious and personally gratifying result?
One book that I studied thoroughly was A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets. This book adapts the recipes of a New York baking legend, George Greenstein, to the home cook. From Jewish holiday baking to my area of interest, European classics, he presents his dough and pastry recipes in a way that creates dazzling results for the just beginning and highly experienced home baker.
I baked my way through this amazing cookbook with more delicious pastries than my household could possibly consume. Even after years of baking, I found new adaptations to my own recipes that really opened me to new and excited baked results. I journeyed with this book and came out a better baker.
One recipe for dough that I felt I had to share is the bundt dough recipe. Bundt dough is the basis for great recipes such as crumb cakes, streusel buns, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, hot cross buns and many other baked delights we all enjoy throughout the year. It is a basic, yeast risen dough with lots of sweetness. I’ve always had my own dough recipe that I use for bun baking, but I found this one to be a delicious new addition to my arsenal, yielding fluffy, flavorful baked goods that my husband and friends enthusiastically devoured.
I will be sharing a great recipe from the cookbook to use with this versatile dough, but first, I wanted to share the dough itself. A great dough is the basis of any bun or bread, and a strong foundation is the key to great results. Use this dough for your next batch of hot cross buns or sticky buns. It is easy to assemble, rises beautifully, and is the basis for a beautiful pastry.
I’ll be sharing a recipe incorporating this dough tomorrow. Until then, mix up a batch, put it in the refrigerator, and be ready to bake something sweet and delicious tomorrow. Would you like a hint?
Master Recipe – Bundt Dough
From A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets / George Greenstein with Elaine Greenstein, Julia Greenstein, and Issac Bleicher
Makes four pounds of dough
- 1/2 cup warm water (95 to 115 degrees)
- 3 scant tablespoons (3 packets/21 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, diced, or half butter, half solid vegetable shortening
- 3 eggs
- 6 cups bread flour (preferred) or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferable freshly ground (optional)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over warm water to soften. Add the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, flour, nonfat dry milk, salt, vanilla, and cardamom. Pulse with the on/off switch until blended, making sure the flour does not fly out of the bowl. You can cover the mixer with a kitchen towel for the first few pulses to keep the flour contained. Then mix at slow speed until the dough comes together. Change to a dough book, if available. If mixing by hand, stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead with a dough hook in the stand mixer or turn out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for 8 to 10 minutes, or more if necessary, until the dough has become elastic and has a silky sheen.
Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes (the time will vary with temperature and humidity) or allow to rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Punch down, fold the ends in toward the center, and roll up into a tight rectangle. Allow to rest for at least 10 and up to 15 minutes.
At this point, the dough can be refrigerated overnight. (All or part of the dough can be frozen at this stage for a week or more, if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.) I recommend dividing the dough into 8-ounce portions and shaping into balls. Wrap and freeze individually.
Note: For a nondairy dough, substitute water for milk, margarine or shortening for butter, and omit the nonfat dry milk.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions on this book and its contents are my own. I only work with companies and endorse products that I have positive personal experience with and enjoy.