Monday, July 9, 2012

Food Entries 2012 County Fair II

This morning I got up and put the preferment on the counter to warm up and start rising again.

While the preferment warmed I went out and checked the paper.  I moved the tools off the paper stack. The paper was still quite damp.  Normally I would just let the paper dry on its own.   But because I wanted to enter the paper into the Craftsters contest I brought it inside and put it in the oven.  We have a gas oven which is perfect for slow drying because of the heat from the flame.  I do not turn on the oven.  I use the constant heat from the pilot light.

The next thing was to roll the truffles and melt the chocolate for dipping them.  The flavor of the truffles was a bit disappointing.  They taste more of tea then smoke.  They are delicious but not what I wanted, I love the smoky flavor.

Tea Smoked truffles Recipe

One of my favorite treats is to drink hot Lapsang Souchong tea and eat milk chocolate so it only makes sense to combine them.

1 lb of quality milk chocolate
1/2 cup of cream
1/4 cup of lapsang souchong tea
1 to 2 teaspoons of Vanilla
Cocoa powder for rolling chocolate

Gently melt the chocolate in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave.  Chocolate can explode in the microwave if it is heated to fast.

Next scald 1/2 cup of cream.  Then stir in the 1/4 cup of Lapsang Souchong tea, add more cream if necessary.  Let the tea steep for 5 minute.  Strain the cream.

When the chocolate is melted pour it and the cream together and gently stir.  Stir in the vanilla.

Let the truffles harden over night.

Eight or more hours later spoon out small batches of truffle mixture and roll into balls using cocoa powder to keep them from sticking to your hands.  I try and make the balls big enough for two bites.


You can finish truffles in many ways.  Cover them with cocoa powder is my favorite but a lot of people find it bitter.  You can warm the truffle in your hand and roll the truffle in finely chopped ingredients like nuts and cookie dust or dip them in chocolate.  Dipping them in chocolate is a lot of work but they taste so good.  You can either melt a 1lb bar of quality chocolate very slowly.  If it melts two fast it can loose its temper and will be gooey on the truffles.  You can also use the candy melts at craft stores.  They don't taste as good but it is a good place to start when learning chocolate work.

Truffle will keep for a week refrigerated or a month frozen.  Let warm up 30 minutes before eating.

If you want more technical information go to my blog

Focaccia Recipe

3 cups of preferment at room temperature
3 cups of unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
6 tablespoons of olive oil
3/4 cup water, luke warm

Start by putting the preferment in a bowl for a mixer.  Mix the yeast, flour and salt and add to the bowl.  Add the water and olive oil.  Use the mixer on low to start mixing the dough.  It should form a soft ball.  I find that I almost always need more flour so add more if you need to.  Once it is mixed and forming a ball, change to a dough hook. With the dough hook is on start it kneading the dough start slowly and work up to the highest setting the machine can handle.  Never walk away from the mixer and only knead for 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn off the mixer and let it sit for 5 minutes, this will help it to not over heat.  Then resume kneading for another 4 minutes.

After machine kneading pour the dough on a floured kitchen board.  If  it seems to soft add flour and knead by hand.  Then let the dough sit for 10 or 15 minutes for it to relax.  Stretch the dough and then fold it envelope style.  Turn 90 degrees and then fold again.  Oil the top of the dough and cover it with plastic wrap or I use wax paper.  Let rest for 30 minutes

Stretch and fold the dough again.  Oil and let sit 30 minutes.

Stretch and fold the dough again. Oil and let sit 30 minutes.  This is important because you are folding air into the bread to give it texture.  This is the last folding.

Take and gently stretch the dough to roughly the size of your pan and let it rise for an hour.

Put the dough in the pan either with parchment paper or corn meal on the pan.  Gently press your fingers into the dough making indents and then cover with olive oil.  Let rise again and the dough will absorb the oil.  About 30 to 45 minutes

When the bread has risen in the pan.  Heat the often t0 500 degrees.  Place the pan in the heated oven and turn down the heat to 450 degrees.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Turn pan and bakes another 10 minutes.  If you want Parmesan on top sprinkle it on the dough, bake anther 5 minutes.  Everyones oven is different so use your own judgement.  The bread should be golden brown when done.

Remove the focaccia from the pan onto a rack to cool.  Wait at least 15 minutes before cutting.  The next day this bread is good toasted in the oven and then used for sandwiches.

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