Dugan-ish Coffee Cake

[image: slice of coffee cake]

Happy birthday to my mom! She requested I make a coffee cake that she remembered from her childhood. She said the Dugan’s Man used to come around the house selling breads and cakes, and her father’s favorite was a coffee cake with cinnamon, almond paste, and raisins. She rarely got to eat it because it was her dad’s and You Do Not Touch Carl’s Stuff.

She found this recipe on Simply Recipes, thought it looked right, and asked me to make it. I did, and it turned out really, really well. So well, in fact, that I’m considering making it again this weekend. (It’s really good.)

My mom says it’s almost exactly like the coffee cake she remembers from the Dugan Man. So: Dugan-ish Coffee Cake.

For more information about the Dugan Brothers’ Bakery:
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New York Times (subscriber access only)

1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp) dissolved in 2 Tbsp warm water
2 cups AP flour, plus extra
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp kosher salt
vegetable oil

1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/2 Tbsp granulated white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of table salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp almond paste (like 30 grams by weight. ish)50 grams of almond paste (it tastes better with more)

Egg wash:
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp whole milk

Sugar glaze:
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water
dash of table salt

Scald the milk (heat in a pot over medium heat until steaming but not boiling) and take off the heat, then stir in the butter, sugar, and cardamom. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl if kneading by hand). Stir in the yeast mixture and egg by hand, then add in the salt.

Add one cup of flour to the bowl. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on low. Once incorporated, gradually add the second cup. Turn the mixer up to medium speed. Add more flour if necessary. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixer, but keep the dough soft. (I added another 1/4 cup flour to mine.) Run the mixer for 5 minutes, or knead by hand for 5-7 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour. Press dough out into an 8-inch by 16-inch rectangle. (If it fights you, let it relax for 5 minutes and give it another go.)

Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a half-inch border around the edges. Mix together the sugars and cinnamon with a dash of table salt, then spread evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the raisins and almonds evenly over the dough. Either tear the almond paste into little bits and distribute them evenly or roll the paste out into a very, very thin sheet and drape over the dough.

Starting at the back, slowly and carefully roll the long end up towards you. Flatten the seam on the bottom as well as you can, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Shape the tube into a ring and work the ends together.

Using kitchen shears, cut the dough most of the way through at about 1-inch increments on a slant. Pull each piece out or into the circle, alternating. It will look (vaguely) like a wreath.

Cover with plastic wrap and place back in your proofing spot for a half hour.

Heat the oven to 350. Whisk the egg and milk together, then brush over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes.

Carefully remove to a rack and let cool completely. Whisk together powdered sugar, water, and a dash of table salt to make a glaze. (Add more water or powdered sugar if the glaze is too thick or thin.) Drizzle over cooled pastry in zig-zags.

Serve in sliced with a smear of softened butter (and maybe an extra sprinkle of salt if you’re me).

Made a cinnamon/raisin/almond coffee cake for my mom's birthday. Gotta let it cool before I can glaze it.

A photo posted by sarah (@braisinhussy) on

Hearth Bread

I made an angry-looking bread.

A photo posted by sarah (@braisinhussy) on

DANG IT ALL TO HECK. This is an old photo of when I made this bread, and NOT the version I made tonight, because that got burnt. I’m annoyed with myself.

Recipe from King Arthur’s Flour. It’s a good bread recipe. Don’t burn it.

Note: this recipe makes two loaves. I’ve made it as one large boule (see above photo), but I like it better in two baguettey shapes.

1 packet active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp table salt
2 cups lukewarm water
5 1/2 to 6 cups AP flour

Using 5 1/2 cups of flour, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn dough out onto floured surface. (I keep the remaining half cup of flour sitting to the side for dusting and extra integration if necessary.)

Knead dough for 5–7 minutes, sprinkling with tiny bits of the reserved half cup of flour when needed. Roll into a ball. Grease the bowl with some oil then use what’s left on your hands to grease the dough ball. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, one to two hours.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper (I just used one, but you run the risk of your loaves rising into one another). Turn dough out onto work surface and gently deflate. Cut in half. Shape each half in a sort of long oval. Place on baking sheet. Let rest 5 minutes. During this time, boil some water and adjust your oven racks to the lowest and middle positions.

Slash each top diagonally three times and pat with cold water.

Fill an 8-inch baking dish 1-inch deep with the boiling water. Place on the lowest rack (or if you don’t have a heating coil on the bottom of your oven, place on the floor of the oven).

Slide baking sheet into cold oven. Turn the oven to 450 and set the timer for 30 minutes. Check loaves at 30 minutes, crust should be well browned and the internal temperature at least 190F. May take up to 45 minutes.

Turn off oven, remove baking sheet and carefully remove very hot dish of very hot water. Take the loaves off the baking sheet and return to oven, placing directly on rack. Leave the door ajar and let oven and loaves slowly cool down together. This results in excellent crust (it also results in burnt crust if you close the door, so don’t do that). After about a half hour, remove loaves to a rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before storing.

Sweet Potato Spice Bread

[image: loaf of sweet potato spice bread]
[image: loaf of sweet potato spice bread]

It’s funny, I haven’t even posted the recipe I bought the buttermilk for originally, just the ones I made trying to use it up. This bread is good for people who like sweet things. It’s dense, very moist, and heavy on autumn spice flavors. I think it could probably use a bit more salt. And although I used buttermilk, sour cream might be better. Or a bit of orange zest? I just think it needs some more ‘zazz. It’s nice with a cup of tea for breakfast or in the afternoon.

cooking spray or baker’s joy
1–2 sweet potatoes/garnet yams, between 1–1.25 lbs. (you want 1 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potato once they’re steamed)
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk (or sour cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon (all spices ground)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt (full tsp might be better)

Heat oven to 350. Prep a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray or baker’s joy.

Cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place in a steamer insert. Put an inch of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place insert in pan and steam sweet potatoes for approximately 15 minutes or until quite soft. Remove to a bowl and mash to a pulp. (This can be done by hand, with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer.)

Mix in the sugars. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and beat until combined. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in stages and mix until the flour mixture has been incorporated thoroughly (however, try not to overbeat—fold in if you’re doing it by hand).

Empty batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 350 for 60–75 minutes, checking for doneness with toothpicks. Cool in pan for 15–30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack.

Bavarian Pretzel Rolls

1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp honey
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp table salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda
salt (Pretzel or Kosher salt for sprinkling)

In a mixer bowl, add yeast and 1 1/2 cups warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes until it foams and smells yeasty.

Add honey, flour, salt, and melted butter. Mix with the dough hook until it forms a dough ball, about a couple minutes.

Cover and let rise about 1 hour. Punch down and turn ball out onto a lightly floured counter.

Roll dough into a “rope” and cut into the approximate sizes you want your rolls—about 12-16 rolls. Shape into rolls.

Put the rolls on 2 parchment lined cookie sheet or two. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 425 (use the convection setting if you’ve got it) and set 2 quarts of water to boiling.

When water is boiling, slowly (carefully!) pour baking soda into the water.

2 or 3 at a time (don’t crowd the pot), poach the rolls in the baking soda bath. About 30 seconds in the water, then remove with a slotted spoon or spider. Place back on cookie sheets.

Sprinkle with pretzel or kosher salt while still damp. Score tops with an X. (As you’ll see below, this really only attempts to persuade the pretzels—they basically expand whichever way they want to.)

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Rotate cookie sheets top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking.

Classic Sandwich Bread

King Arthur Flour

3 cups AP flour (preferably King Arthur)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 to 2/3 cup hot water (add just enough to make a soft, smooth dough)
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 tsp table salt
2 tsp instant yeast

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8-inch log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1 inch above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Light and Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup hot water
1 egg
3 cups AP flour
Nonstick cooking spray

Combine the warm water and yeast. Whisk together and let sit.

Combine the butter, salt, sugar, and hot water. Stir together until the butter melts. Place in the fridge for five minutes or so to cool down to under 120 degrees. Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Beat in the egg, then mix in the flour. The dough will be very, very soft.

Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 2 to 12 hours. (I rose it on the counter, but the dough was very sticky and hard to handle. I think it’s better to refrigerate it.) Punch it down. Prepare a muffin pan or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (you may have to use both, as this recipe yielded 15 rolls for me), and fill the cups about halfway full with dough. Oiling your hands may be necessary if the dough is really sticky. If using a baking sheet, place the rounds about two inches apart. Let rise for about 30 minutes (turn the oven on to 425 about 15 minutes in), or until doubled in bulk. Back at 425 for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from pan or sheet and cool on a rack.

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup banana pulp (~2 bananas)
1 1/2 cup minus 2 tbsp AP flour (so 1 3/8 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until light. Add baking soda and sour cream. Beat well. Add bananas, flour, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Mix well with mixer on low power. Bake in buttered bread pan at 350. Start checking on it at 45 minutes, although it may end up taking closer to an hour. It’s finished when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.