Sunday, October 11, 2020
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a 8 inch / 20 cm pan with a parchment round, and grease with non-stick baking spray.
- Mix together 3 cups all purpose flour, 3 cups sugar, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer until fully combined.
- Mix in 1 cup of unsalted butter slowly into the dry ingredients on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain and the mixture looks crumbly.
- Pour in 1 cup of egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
- Add in 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil and 2 tsp of vanilla extract and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.
- If you plan to color your cake layers, add in the gel food coloring with the vanilla and oil.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat on a low speed for about 30 seconds to make sure everything is properly mixed together.
- I only have one 8 inch pan, so I had to do my best to eyeball how much batter looked like about a third of it. Ladle the batter into your prepared pan.
- Bake for 33-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the pan to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Apply a new baking paper round, spray with non-stick baking spray, and repeat for 3 other layers.
- Allow to fully cool before attempting to handle.
- Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers right before you plan to assemble your cake, or you can wrap and freeze them in you're making them in advance. I wrapped and froze them just as this link suggested.
- Beat 2 cups of unsalted butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds until smooth with a paddle attachment / stand mixer or a hand mixer.
- Mix in 1 tbsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt on a low speed.
- Slowly add in 7 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with 3 tbsp of heavy cream, and mix on a low speed.
- Mix on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached.
- If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
- If you plan to color the buttercream, add in the gel food coloring once the frosting is fully made, and beat on low until it reach the desired colored. I used pink and a little yellow.
- Watch lots of youtube videos on how to frost and assemble a cake.
Friday, October 2, 2020
(I'm going to write the timing of this for what I do. It's basically a 24 hour process.)
1. I feed my starter first thing in the morning, 50 grams of water and 50 grams of flour. After about 5 hours, it’s reached its peak.
2. In a large bowl combine 3 cups of all purpose flour, 1 ¼ cup water, 1 ½ tsp salt. Using your hands combine it until it forms a shaggy dough. Cover your bowl with a dish cloth and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. This is the autolyse portion.
3. After the 20 minutes add ½ cup of your active starter. Combine it with your hands again, cover it with a dish towel, and leave it somewhere warm to rise. I use my laundry room.
4. After ½ hour, perform a stretch and fold motion on your dough. Cover. Wait another ½ hour and repeat. Do this 2-4 times. After that, allow the dough to rise for 6-7 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
5. Lightly flour your surface, scrape out the bowl, and carefully (you don’t want to lose your precious bubbles), form your dough into either a ball or an oblong shape, depending on your proving basket. (For the pumpkin, I used a round one.)
6. Allow your dough to rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.
7. Next, flour a dish towel, place it in your proving basket, place your dough inside, cover it with a dish towel, and place it in your fridge overnight.
8. In the morning, turn your oven to 430-435 F / 225 C. While it is warming up, pour some polenta or corn meal in the bottom of your dutch oven. The polenta helps the bottom of your bread not burn, and the reason you bake your bread in a dutch oven, is you create steam to better help your bread rise in the oven.
9. Place a sheet of baking paper on your counter. Cut 4 long pieces of string, lay them criss-cross, and tie them at the middle.
10. Remove your dough from the proving basket, place in the middle of the strings. Tie the stings in the middle - not too loosely, or you won't get those nice segments. Space out the string to make sure the segments are pretty equal. Cut the excess string off the top.
11. This is the fun part. We are going to score the bread. Use a straight blade or sharp knife. You can go as simple or as elaborate as you want! I've done just a simple slit in each section, but I've also done a couple different designs. (If you want, you could push a cinnamon stick into the top for a stem if you don't have a pumpkin stem.)
12. Once that is done, place the whole thing - bread and baking paper - in the a dutch oven. Place the lid on your dutch oven, and put it in the oven. Bake it for 20 minutes. At this point take off the lid, and bake it for another 25-30 minutes, depending on how brown you want your loaf to be.
13. Once you take your loaf out of the oven, unfortunately it is best to wait until it comes to room temperature before you try cutting into it. Cutting into it too early ruins your crumb, and doesn’t allow the middle to cook as well as it should.
14. Cut the strings, remove them from the bread, pop a pumpkin stem on top, and voila!
*For a non-pumpkin sourdough loaf, just skip the strings, and go ahead with scoring, and follow the rest of the recipe as written.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
I found an image of something like this on Pinterest, then watched a couple tutorials I found on YouTube, and got to work! It was actually easier than I thought it would be, although you do have to be careful, because as soon as you cut into a watermelon it wants to crack all over. But we did it, yay! (Luckily for us it's still watermelon season, so it was easy to find.)