Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bread for Mom's Day

In a family full of women, the question always rolls around on Mother’s Day, “So… Who’s going to do the cooking??” Generally, we try to make it a pretty laid-back affair with minimal fuss, and this year was no exception.

Since Mom had already celebrated with my sister and the munchkins earlier in the week, Sunday ended up being just me, Mom, and the girls. Didn’t really accomplish much other than bemoaning the state of the weather (I’m not sure Oregon’s seen a 65 degree day yet, and the few sun breaks haven’t really allowed for much-needed yard work to get done) and taste testing the bottle of wine that O1 bought for me (still trying to get used to the idea of having a child that can buy alcohol), but we relaxed, laughed and had a goodtime.

I decided to keep the meal simple, using the standby that everyone seems to enjoy (which, oddly enough, I also made for Mom’s birthday) and included some roasted zucchini slices with garlic, and a loaf of French bread.

For dessert I played homage to Mom’s favorite candy - Almond Joy. We had homemade brownies (a tried and true recipe from the Hershey’s cookbook that I’ve been using for years) with ice cream, candied almonds and toasted coconut. Very satisfying combo, I have to say.

I also wanted to bake some bread for the occasion and at the same time try some of the hazelnut flour I had been given by a friend from work. I ran across a similar recipe to what Carley had given me for a mocha hazelnut bread, but since my no-knead bread recipes have not been the most stunning successes in the past (I’m quite sure there’s something key I have overlooked- I just haven’t figured out what it is yet), I opted for a traditional yeasted bread with a few modifications. This turned out to be a nice, soft bread, probably more suited for a sweet topping, or just plain butter, than for a savory application. But it did make for good breakfasting.

Mocha Hazelnut Bread

4 cups whole wheat bread flour, divided
½ cup hazelnut flour, sifted
2/3 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
½ cup cocoa powder
1 packet espresso powder (about 2 tsp)
1 ½ cups milk
1 stick butter
½ cup sour cream
1 egg
1 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups whole wheat flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cocoa and espresso powder. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add milk and sour cream. Stir until sour cream melts and remove from heat. Do not allow mixture to become too hot. If it does, allow to cool to lukewarm.

Slowly pour warm milk mixture into flour mixture. Using a hook attachment, combine the mixture at a medium setting just until flour is incorporated. Stir in hazelnuts.

Add another 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour, and the ½ cup of hazelnut flour to the mixture. Mix until flours are incorporated. Add the remaining ½ cup of bread flour, a ¼ cup at a time, mixing on low speed.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour if dough is too sticky. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm area, free from draft, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide into 2 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans, cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350º. Bake in center of oven 27 - 30minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Turn out of pans immediately and cool on wire rack.

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