Tag Archives: olive oil

Basil Olive Oil Gelato – Where Have You Been All My Life?

I know what you are thinking. “She’s lost her mind. Gone completely coo coo. Basil olive oil gelato? Huh?”

Oh it is so good. After one bite you’ll wonder why you haven’t had it before.The basil makes it a bit minty and the olive oil adds a fruity and peppery side. Combine the two and flavors explode in your mouth. It’s refreshing. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s unique and it is delicious. We first had this at a local restaurant and now it has become one of our favorite flavors.

I did a lot of research trying to find a recipe that would be as close to the real gelato (Italian style ice cream) I once had in Italy. It’s hard to find here, and it is hard to find solid info on how exactly gelato should be made. Two things are certain: gelato has less fat than American style ice cream and has less air. That combination gives you more bang for your buck with each bite. The flavor is more concentrated.

Now, as for the whether or not gelato should have eggs is rather dependent upon the region. Either way, it should have far fewer eggs (4 yolks is about the max per batch) and it should not have cream. When researching recipes, those that had too many yolks and cream were out. Yes, I’m certain those recipes would have been delicious, that’s not the point. That would have made it American style ice cream. I’m going for Italian here.

I was a bit surprised to find many recipes use corn starch as a thickener instead of egg yolks. Corn starch doesn’t exactly bring “tasty” to mind. But, it does make sense. Egg yolks have a strong flavor and they distract from the flavor of the gelato, in this case, basil and olive oil. The best part, in my humble opinion, about using corn starch is that you don’t have to worry about tempering those eggs. Sure, it’s not that difficult, but it does make for a much more relaxing experience when you aren’t worried about curdling your eggs and checking the temperature frequently. It. Was. Easy.

I actually rarely make ice cream because when all is said and done, it’s not cheaper to make it at home and it can be tedious. Egg yolks and cream add up. This gelato was not expensive and it was so much easier to make. So I’m hooked.  I will be using this recipe as my base for other flavors.

I finally decided on this pistachio recipe from Saveur. I obviously didn’t add the pistachios. I steeped a vanilla bean and basil in the milk overnight, then added olive oil the next day. To finish I folded in minced basil. I’m so happy with how it turned out. At first I was worried it was too much olive oil, but after freezing the flavor is perfect. It is very easy to adjust to your liking.

It’s very important to use a good extra virgin olive oil here, otherwise you won’t taste it. And if you can’t taste it, what’s the point?

Basil Olive Oil Gelato

Modified from Saveur

Yield: 6 cups of gelato

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Time: 20 mins to make mixture; chill overnight; 20 to 30 minutes in ice cream maker

Special Equipment: Ice cream maker

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 TB cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, divided, leaving 2 to 4 whole and the rest finely minced
  • 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil, plus additional 2 TB if needed
  • Tiny pinch of salt

Directions

1. Heat 3 cups of milk to a simmer. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, mix the remaining 1 cup milk with the sugar and corn starch.

2. Stir sugar mixture into the hot milk. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly (using a spoon not a whisk!), for 8 to 10 minutes. Mixture will thicken, but not much.

3. Stir in 2 to 4 whole basil leaves and the vanilla bean. Pour into heat proof bowl. Let cool slightly, stirring frequently, then cover and chill completely overnight.

4. The next day, remove the basil leaves and vanilla. Add in 1/4 cup of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mix according to your ice cream makers instruction, stopping after about 10 minutes to taste. Add additional olive oil if desired. Flavor will be less pronounced as it freezes.

5. After the mixture is done in the ice cream maker, fold in your minced basil and freeze. Enjoy!

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under frozen treat

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

How did we get to the middle of January already? Wasn’t Christmas just yesterday? The month is flying by and I can’t believe it has been two weeks since my last post. Oops. I have no good excuse, really, other than, where did January go? Wait, I already asked that question. Oh, and I was going to post my birthday cake, but well, it was a bit of a disaster. My cake, that is, not my birthday. I had a great birthday and ended up just buying a cake. Shock, I know!

This bread, rosemary olive oil, is definitely one of my favorites. I first learned the recipe back in culinary school and it has become a staple in my house. It’s great for burgers (I prefer black bean), great just dipped in olive oil (with a glass of wine and cheese), great with pasta and salad. Don’t forget breakfast…slather a little butter and you have the perfect companion for your eggs. It’s a one stop shop!  And, it freezes and reheats beautifully. It has a crusty exterior and a pillowy interior. It works great as rolls and great as a loaf. It can all be made in one day since the starter only needs three hours. You can mix up the herbs if you don’t have (or like) rosemary.

The recipe comes from DiMuzio’s Bread Baking: An Artisan’s Perspective. It was the book we used in culinary school and I continue to use it for reference and my favorite recipes. It has the history of bread baking, important techniques, and so many great recipes. It doesn’t have a lot of pretty pictures and sometimes reads like a textbook, but I still find it incredibly useful.

One Year Ago: Macarons

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

From DiMuzio

Yield: About 18 rolls or two small loaves

Time: Hands on 1 hour | Total 8+ hours

Difficulty: Medium

Starter (Old Dough)

  • Bread Flour 250 g (8.5 oz)
  • Water (room temp) 170 g (5.8 oz)
  • Salt 5 g (0.2 oz)
  • Instant Yeast 2 g (pinch)

To make the old dough, scale out all the ingredients and knead lightly until combined. It will not be smooth. Just knead until it is all combined and starts to get slightly sticky. Let rest for three hours at room temperature or let rest one hour at room temperature and refrigerate overnight.

Dough

  • Bread Flour 750 g (1 lb 9.5 oz)
  • Water 510 g (1 lb 1.3 oz)*
  • EVOO 40 g (1.4 oz)
  • Rosemary leaves, chopped 5 g (0.2 oz)**
  • Salt 15 g (0.5 oz)
  • Instant Yeast 5 g (0.2 oz)
  • All of Old Dough

*If it is humid, add less water. Start with 450 g. If it looks dry in the mixing bowl after a couple minutes of mixing, lightly spritz with additional water.

**Any herbs can be used. Dried will work too.

1. Scale all of your ingredients into a mixing bowl and attach the dough hook. It helps to put the ingredients in the bowl in this order: starter, liquid, dry. That’s usually the case with most bread recipes because it helps the mixing process. If you don’t put everything in this order, don’t worry, it will still work but may take a bit longer.

2. Turn your mixer to speed 1 and set the timer for 5 minutes (clean up stage). Watch the dough carefully and spritz water if it is looking too dry. After 5 minutes, increase to speed 2 for 3 to 5 minutes. If the dough is still looking a little droopy and not well formed, mix for another minute or two.

3. Pour the dough into a lightly oiled proofing bowl. Perform one stretch and fold. Set the timer for 30 minutes and then perform another stretch and fold. At this point the dough should be fairly strong, but will need to proof awhile longer. If it is still not strong, perform one more stretch and fold after 30 minutes. It took my dough 90 minutes and my house is about 68 degrees. It will double, or come close to doubling.

This is what it looks like after the first rise:

At this point you can either divide the dough in half and make two loaves, or make rolls. Trying to describe how to shape bread in words is not easy and I’m likely to confuse you. So once again, I’m sending you to Ciril Hitz. This particular video shows numerous shaping techniques.

How to Shape Bread

If you are short on time, making round loaves is by far the fastest way to go. Rolls are easier to reheat individually, but take longer to shape.

Here’s my rolls before rising. I did 90 g per roll.

And after rising:

I probably could have let them rise a bit longer, but it was getting late and with my cold house, it was going to take awhile!

The oven temperature will depend on what you are making. For rolls, preheat the oven to 425F. For loaves, 350F. Score the bread before baking. My hubby does the scoring in the house and he made “x” on each roll. For loaves you could do the same. It doesn’t really matter just as long as you score. Spray with water when you put in the oven to help them brown. You can also dust lightly with flour if you desire for a more rustic look. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes, rotating and spraying once more with water at the halfway point. Loaves will take around 30 minutes, but be sure to check the internal temperature. It should read at least 180F.

I hope this bread becomes a favorite of yours too! Enjoy!

As usual, check out Yeast Spotting for more bread recipes and tips!

1 Comment

Filed under bread

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Focaccia & Soup

Happy New Year! It’s been cold here the past few days, down in the 20s at night. And since I’ve been in warm environments for the past eight years that is darn cold to me. But I was born and raised in the frigid state of North Dakota, so people are shocked to find that I’m from there and actually get cold (and also because I’ve lost all traces of my Northern accent. Seen the movie Fargo? Yup, that’s how they talk).  In my defense, I was not a very good North Dakota girl. Up there people will start leaving their coats at home when the temperatures rise, yes rise, to the 30s. I was still bundled up. People start wearing shorts when the temperatures hit 50, meanwhile I was still wearing my warmest sweaters. So I was never very good at being a North Dakotan.

And now when I’m cold the first thing I do is make some hot soup. And you can’t have soup without bread right? As part of my New Years goals I want to blog about bread more. It’s easier than you think and can easily be worked into a busy schedule. I know lots of people are starting their “eat healthy” New Years Resolutions, many which will die in a matter of weeks, and may be cutting out bread entirely. I long ago quit trying to lose weight by cutting out the things I love. I love bread and I love desserts so any diet not involving those will fail. So instead I eat some every day. But not a lot, just normal serving sizes (with the holiday period excluded, of course; all willpower is out the door). It works for me and I hope it can work for you too.

Focaccia is a great bread for beginners because there is no shaping involved. Unfortunately it is not a bread that you can just leave alone for hours; it does require a minute (literally) of your attention every 30 minutes for about 2 hours. But total hands on is about 45 minutes. Basically you just have to be home.

This recipe is from Ciril Hitz: Baking Artisan Bread. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to make bread. Lots of pictures and very clear step by step instructions. And it comes with a DVD with videos on shaping, which is also quite helpful for a new bread bakers.

Focaccia is a very versatile bread. You can keep it simple and just sprinkle with salt & pepper. You can do what I did and put caramelized onions and cheese on it. You can use it to make a sandwich or just dip it in olive oil. And no one can resist the light and airy texture, so perfect for dipping in soup.

A couple of tips on bread making: a scale is not necessary but will give you better results. And it is much easier. All of my bread recipes use instant yeast, which is different from the active dry yeast found in grocery stores. Instant yeast requires no proofing. You just throw it in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and away you go. I find it much more convenient and cheaper. You can find it at Sam’s Club or at King Arthur Flour. That 16 oz bag lasts me a year stored in the freezer, so you can see how much more affordable it is compared to active dry. And really, who wants to sit around waiting for yeast to proof?

And the most important tip yet: use good flour. You know I use King Arthur. In the summer I can get a local flour at the farmers market which also works great. Stay away from store brands and anything bleached. Also, bread flour will give you the best results but if you can’t find bread flour AP will work, just expect it to be less chewy.

Enough chit chatting, let’s make some bread!

Focaccia by Ciril Hitz

Yield: One half sheet pan of delicious bread

Time: Less than one hour total hands on/20 hours including rising time

Difficulty: Medium

Starter (Poolish, which is equal parts water and flour to make for a very wet starter)

  • 330 g (11.6 oz) (2 1/2 cups) Bread flour
  • 330 g (11.6 oz) (1 1/2 cups) Water, room temp
  • Pinch of Instant Yeast

The day before make your starter by putting all ingredients in a medium bowl and stirring until you have a sloppy dough. It will be very wet and look like this:

Cover and let rest overnight for about 16 hours. After resting it will look like this, all bubbly and ready to use:

When your poolish is ready, gather the remaining ingredients:

  • 613 g (1 lb + 5.6 oz) (4 1/2 cups + 2 TB) Bread Flour*
  • 405 g (14.3 oz) (1 3/4 cups) Water at 104F**
  • 2.6 g (0.09 oz) (7/8 tsp) Instant Yeast
  • 18 g (0.6 oz) (3 1/2 tsp) Sea Salt
  • All of the Poolish

*I used 413 grams of Bread Flour and 200 grams of KAF Italian Style Flour, which has a very low protein content. I wanted the chewiness of the bread flour, but also wanted an light bread. I’m guessing you aren’t like me though and don’t have five six seven different kinds of flour in your pantry, so if you want to mix it up use both bread flour and AP flour.

**If you are making this bread in the summer time in a warm kitchen lower the temperature to about 80 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, first, get one, and until then just use your finger. If it feels hot, it probably is and will kill your yeast. Better to go with cooler water than warmer water. It will just take your bread longer to rise.

Place all ingredients into your mixing bowl. (Since this is such a wet dough, it’s really hard to do by hand. You can though, just use a wooden spoon to stir or a dough whisk.) Using a dough hook, turn the mixer speed to low and mix for six minutes, stopping every two minutes to scrape the bowl. If you don’t scrape the bowl you will have blobs of flour that didn’t get mixed.

After it is done mixing it will look like this:

There’s really no structure yet at all since it is a wet dough. We’ll fix that though with multiple stretch and folds. I tried to take a picture of myself doing stretch of folds which was nothing short of disastrous, and instead found this video of Ciril Hitz doing a stretch and fold, as well as explaining the purpose.

Stretch and Fold

He’s using baguette dough which is much stronger than focaccia, but it serves the same purpose. The first stretch and fold you do will be quite difficult so don’t fret. Just do the best you can and know that the dough will get stronger.

So after mixing, scrape all the dough into a bowl (or I suppose you could just leave it in the mixing bowl) for rising and do a stretch and fold. Since this is a sticky, wet dough, it helps to dampen your hands with a bit of water first. It will look like this:

Then set your timer for 30 minutes. Do another stretch and fold. It won’t rise much and will look like this:

You can see it is starting to bubble. Set your timer for another 30 minutes and then perform another stretch and fold. It will then look like this:

You should notice the dough getting stronger and easier to stretch at this point. Set your timer for another 30 minutes and then the final stretch and fold for a total of four including the first one right out of the mixing bowl.

More bubbles! Set your timer again for 30 minutes for the final resting before transferring to a pan. Look at all those bubbles! And you can see it pretty much doubled in size. That may not always be the case though. The signs that your bread is ready: dough should be noticeably stronger than when you first finished mixing.

At this point, prepare a half sheet pan with parchment and olive oil. Alternately, you can use round cake pans. Ten inch work best and you’ll have to divide the dough in half.

Dump all the dough onto your prepared pan:

Now we are going to gently stretch the dough so it fills the pan. Put some olive oil on your hands and “…spread your fingers apart like a pianist” (Ciril Hitz) and gentle stretch the dough by dimpling with it with your fingers. It will not stretch all the way the first time and will look like this:

At this point, preheat your oven to 450F. Set your timer for 10 minutes. If you are going to add toppings, add them on the second stretch, with the exception of cheese. The cheese is added during baking to prevent it from burning. I added onions but well, forgot to add them at this point. But you won’t do that, right? Right. This is what it looks like after the second stretch:

You can see it is almost filling up the pan now! Set your timer for another 10 minutes, then come back for the final stretch. It should now fill up the pan and look like this:

Looking yummy, huh? Let rest for another 15 minutes before baking. Then bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden. If you are adding cheese, add after about 20 minutes of baking.

The final product:

Delicious, huh? It really is as good as it looks. Try to let it cool for 30 minutes before slicing. That will be hard though!

For the soup, I used this recipe for a guide: Tomato Soup but am out of celery and carrots. Sheesh, guess I need to head to the store!

I hope you enjoyed making focaccia. The possibilities are endless with this bread. Enjoy!

Check out Yeast Spotting for more bread tips and recipes!

3 Comments

Filed under bread