Sunday, August 19, 2012

Whole-grain Challah & Devil's Food Cake with Hazelnut Crunch


In a few weeks (September 16th), my hubby and I will celebrate 44 years of marriage:-)  Not bad for literally love at first sight!  He proposed on our second date and two weeks later we got married because he was going into the navy after being deferred while in college.  I never really got to be a navy wife like my mom--hubby was home in a month after discovering a broken bone in his arm had fused when he was a kid and he couldn't rotate his hand 180-degrees; something necessary for handling a rifle.  However, I've lived in more states than my mother and never regretted saying Yes!

The reason I bring up my anniversary is that I have bought myself something I've wanted for awhile--a grain mill for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  (I actually would rather have a kitchen gadget than jewerly!)
I can now grind my own flours, which is something I've wanted to do to add to the freshness of my baking.  Today, I ground 100% Organic Emmer Wheat, also known has farro  It's an ancient grain which has a distinctive flavor that is sweet, nutty, and a little gritty.  You might have had it in salads or soups, but it's best in flour form.

The grain mill attaches to the Kitchen Aid and you set the dial for how fine you want the flour; I set it on the lowest for the most fine grind.
Add the wheat to the top, turn on the machine and place a bowl or a canister underneath to catch the flour.
In less than 10 minutes, I had about 3 cups of flour for wonderful whole-grain baked goods.
Whole-grain Challah
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup Emmer Wheat flour
1 1/2 T dry yeast
2 T granulated sugar
2 T shortening
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
3/4 - 1 cup warm water

In a 1 cup measure, proof the yeast.  Sprinkle the dry yeast over 1/2 cup warm water (105F-degrees).  Add about 1 tsp. of sugar and whisk.  Set aside to proof, about 7 minutes.
In a stand mixer, using the dough hook attachment, measure the flours, sugar, salt, and shortening and mix to combine.  Add the proofed yeast and 3/4 to 1 cup of water.  Mix on Speed #2 until the dough comes together and the sides are "clean."
Transfer dough to a lightly floured board and knead until the dough is smooth. Form into a ball.
 Place the dough into a bowl, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, turn once.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, (I use a plastic "bucket"). 
When doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and divide into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece into a 15"-18" rope.

Refer to this video on King Arthur flour's site for braiding
I'm still working on that 6 section braid:-)
I sprayed the dough with Bread Shine and sprinkled with Sesame Seeds.
Cover again with plastic wrap and let rise another 30 to 40 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat oven to 375F-degrees.
When doubled, baked for 40 to 45 minutes until a golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 190F-degrees
The loaf had a wonderful crust with a soft middle.  It was perfect with a bowl of soup, which I also made today since it looked a little grey outside and very fall-like. 

I also baked a cake today...yes, I went a little nuts, but after getting my September bon appetit magazine in the mail a couple of days ago, this cake just begged to be baked. 
It's a Devil's Food Cake with an addictively wonderful hazelnut crunch.  

I'm thinking it's going to be a great dessert for a special anniversary; what do you think! Enjoy!!

 

23 comments:

  1. Both the bread and the cake look wonderful!

    I'm with you, I prefer many other things to jewellery - your Kitchen Aid gadget will give you lots of fun.

    September 16th is obviously a special day, your 44th anniversary - for which many congratulations!
    It is also my daughter-in-law's birthday and it was my mother's birthday. Now I have three reasons to celebrate.xxx

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. I'm going to try corn next to grind for cornmeal; it looks like chili and soup is going to be a staple around here with the weather changing.

      Even for my birthday, I'd rather have an antique tea cup or one year, everyone gave me place settings to my favorite Transferware set. As far as jewerly goes, I only wear my wedding band and my Claddagh ring--I'm pretty simple. XOXO

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  2. Your new gadget sparkles like a diamond...so why not!!!
    How are you going to celebrate your very special day?
    Jane x

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    1. I know it sounds crazy, but I usually cook a special dinner; my dear sweet hubby says my cooking is better than you can ever get in a restaurant! We've talked about taking a trip to Portland, but not sure with our schedules if that will be possible in September. One year we went to Nantucket, but not until the end of October, which was great because we were there for the cranberry festival--just after they flooded the bogs. It was wonderful! XOXO

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  3. You are killing me here. I almost bit into the screen when I saw that braided bread. Oh my goodness.

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    1. You're invited...anytime! I've been told that I do a pretty good imitation of a great B & B if you come for a visit!! XOXO

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  4. Happy Anniversary, Susan! Wow, 44 years...And, such a great love story, too. :) Okay, so I need to learn to make challah. My sister used to make it a long time ago, and it's one of my favorites. I use is for baked french toast with blueberries. It's actually really hard to find here, at least challah without raisins. And, that grain mill...Well, my friend, you're on your way now! Don't you love those days when you just have to keep baking and baking and baking? Those are some of the best days for me...Lv, me

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  5. You understand me so well. Lately, I just get in the mood and don't move from the kitchen!! Challah is so easy to make and, you're right, makes great French Toast! I can imagine you probably spike your blueberries with blueberry liqueur!
    Love you, XOXO

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    1. How did you know I was making blueberry liqueur???!!! I have my first batch on the counter. It will be 2 mo of "brewing" and then I can strain and add the saturated simply syrup. It already looks so beautiful. And, you're right...I'll be spiking wit this next time! :) LV.

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    2. We're soul mates...remember!!

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  6. 44 years!! wow...Happy Anniversary and CONGRATULATIONS!!
    I am always a fan of homemade bread. Your wholegrain challah looks fantastic. And yes, that devil food cake is definitely for the celebration!

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    1. Baking bread is so comforting and the rewards are so good!

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  7. Congratulations Susan to you and your husband! I love what you have gotten for that special anniversary--The cake looks absolutely wonderful--so professional. I just might have to bake it for my husband and my anniversary--it will be 45 years for us! xoxo ♥
    Martha Ellen

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    1. Doesn't time fly when we're having fun:-D That cake is fabulous and not hard to do at all!! XOXO

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  8. I love your new kitchen gadget! And the bread and cake look wonderful!
    Time really does fly and we have had fun!! Dick and I will celebrate our 55th anniversary on August 30th. Hugs, Barb

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    1. I love your new gadget--that's a great birthday gift! Now, 55 is something to shoot for:-D XOXO

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  9. I'm with you, Susan. I much prefer a kitchen gadget to jewelry. I've been looking at mills for a while. When I get settled in my new home, I will check out the one you purchased. As always, your recipes are wonderful. Your blog and photos send comfort my way!!

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    1. I know, we are two peas in a pod! Your blog sends comfort my way too; my heart is with you. XOXO

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  10. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary and 44 years of marriage! I'm right there with you. I'd prefer a kitchen gadget to jewelry any day. The Challah is so pretty. I can't wait to give it a try. Have a fabulous week!

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    1. It is pretty amazing since we only knew each other for two weeks! When you find your soul mate you're lucky and I am lucky! XOXO

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  11. Congratulation on your 44 years of marriage! And nice too that you receive a grind mill for your KA and it looks very impressive.

    With all your well-equipped kitchen gadgets, both your challah and devil's cake look wonderfully made.

    Happy to follow your blog to see more of your delicious baking :D

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    1. Thank you. My mother was appalled when I bought my first food processor; she said, "that's not how you make bread!" She had given me a wooden bowl for my wedding to make bread. However, about 2 years after I had bought my food processor, she bought one and then said, "I guess technology is good:-)" XOXO

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