06 November 2010

Weekend Cooking: Review: Flour by Joanne Chang (and Bonus)

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Yesterday morning when I should have been doing many other things, I got the urge to bake. The first thing I did was get going on making soft wheat rolls to go with a pumpkin curry soup I was having for dinner. I'll share the bread recipe next week, if there's interest (the soup is being made by a friend), but here is my adventure in photos:

Since there is plenty of sitting around time when it comes to baking bread (waiting for the dough to rise), I thought I'd use my time wisely by baking a treat. I chose a recipe from the fabulous cookbook Flour by Joanne Chang. There are many reasons to want to live in the Boston area, but if the recipes in this restaurant cookbook are any small indication, I want to live in Boston so I can frequent the Flour Bakery + Cafe.

The recipes in this book are for some of the many of the goodies one can buy at the bakery run and owned by Chang. So often, cookbooks written by professional chefs fall flat when taken into a personal kitchen that is equipped with basic appliances and cookware. Not so with Flour.

As with any good cookbook, the first few chapters are all about techniques, equipment, and ingredients. But Chang also includes her 12 tips for successful baking. I love them, especially the last rule: "Have fun and relax." That is exactly what I do when I putter around the kitchen.

The chapters cover breakfast, cookies, cakes, pies, other sweets, and breads. The recipes use common ingredients and the directions are well written and non-intimidating. There are ample beautiful photographs throughout the book (though not every recipe has a photo). Recipes I want to try are Ginger Molasses Cookies; Lemon-Raspberry Cake; Country Ham, Cheddar, and Tomato Quiche; and Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding. Yummmm.

What I made yesterday morning were the following yummy rustic scones.

Oatmeal-Maple Scones
makes 8 rustic scones
  • 1 1/4 cups (210 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (125 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) pecan halves, toasted then chopped
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick 114 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (160 g) maple syrup
  • 1 cold egg
  • 1 cup (140 g) confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350F.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle (or handheld mixer), mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pecans, and raisins on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds, or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is somewhat broken down and grape-size pieces are still visible.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, maple syrup, and egg. On low speed pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture and beat for 10-30 seconds, or just until the dough comes together. It will be fairly wet.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure that all of the dry ingredients are mixed into the dough. Using a 1/3-cup dry-measuring cup, drop mounded scoops of the dough onto a baking sheet, forming 8 scones and spacing them 2 to 3 inches apart.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

To make the glaze, mix the ingredients together, using enough of the water to make a smooth, pourable glaze. Pour over the cooled scones and serve.

Beth Fish's notes: I didn't have cream and used milk. They still tasted great. I made the glaze into more of an icing. Yummm.

Flour at Powell's
Flour at Book Depository
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Published by Chronicle Books, October 2010
ISBN-13: 9780811869447
YTD: 99
Rating: B+
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Marg 11/6/10, 6:12 AM  

Yum. These look as good as they sounded when you were talking about them last night!

I don't bake very often at all. One day!

leeswammes 11/6/10, 6:28 AM  

Thanks for the recipe. I like trying out new things. I think I know a shop here in the Netherlands where I can get baking soda. It doesn't seem standard fare here. I used lemon juice in another recipe instead of it, not sure it had the desired effect.

Your soft buns look professional!

Mary 11/6/10, 6:58 AM  

Oooh, I love a good scone. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Alice Teh 11/6/10, 7:31 AM  

Oh boy, oh boy! I love buns, breads, and cookies!

caite 11/6/10, 7:33 AM  

I always wonder why recipes call for unsalted butter...then add salt.
Ok, maybe it is about controlling the amount or whatever, but I always find it funny.

AS I sit here with my tea, I sure wish I had one of those. They look and sound lovely.

bermudaonion 11/6/10, 8:06 AM  

I have never mastered yeast, but I know my guys would love it if I did because there's nothing better than homemade rolls. Your scones look to die for!

Molly 11/6/10, 8:15 AM  

My mouth is watering and I am wishing I was at your house for dinner last night :)

I will definitely have to try the scone recipe some day this winter, and I am wondering if you have plans for a post that includes the pumpkin curry soup recipe?

Beth 11/6/10, 8:43 AM  

I love a maple oat combination! My favorite everyday breakfast is oatmeal + maple peanut butter, so this would be a great weekend treat!

Julie P. 11/6/10, 11:02 AM  

Too funny. I made pumpkin curry soup too this week. I cheated and bought my bread at Wegmans.

Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree 11/6/10, 11:56 AM  

Those look delicious. But if there's one thing I'm horrible at it's baking. I trade chili, pasta sauce, soups for cookies! I know a few people who would love this book though.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 11/6/10, 12:24 PM  

You are an over-achiever in the kitchen! I love the smell/taste of fresh-baked rolls, and don't even get me started on the scones! How long did they last in your house?

Margot 11/6/10, 12:31 PM  

Those scones look and sound yummy. I'd eat them even without the glaze.

Peaceful Reader 11/6/10, 1:26 PM  

Oh, yum! I love a good scone and haven't made them for awhile. This recipe inspires me. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the book.

marthalama 11/6/10, 2:32 PM  

Oh yummy, I may have to look for this book for some Thanksgiving treats.

Michelle 11/6/10, 2:58 PM  


Now this is the kind of cooking even *I* can get behind. It all looks so delectible.

JoAnn 11/6/10, 3:59 PM  

You can bet I'll be trying those scones! Will also be checking the library for the cookbook...

Heather 11/6/10, 4:42 PM  

I'm with you, I find baking relaxing, unless it's Christmas eve and I still have five or six things to make. Dinner is more a chore with a very specific deadline.

Nice review. Thanks, I hadn't heard of this book.

Trish 11/6/10, 11:44 PM  

Yes! Definitely share the rolls. I've always been too intimidated to make my own, but yum!

Nymeth 11/7/10, 8:07 AM  

Mmm... these sound delicious. And now I kind of have the urge to bake :P

Rose City Reader 11/7/10, 11:31 AM  

Yum! Now I want a homemade oat scone. Your post demonstrates the limits of the internet. :)

This is a terrific weekly event -- thank you so much for hosting it. Just knowing it is coming up inspires me to dive into a new cookbook.

Alyce 11/7/10, 2:09 PM  

The desserts on the cover look delicious. It's nice that it translates well for a home kitchen, you're right that so many others don't.

nat @book, line, and sinker 11/7/10, 5:23 PM  

my husband is on a maple kick right now--he had a maple vanilla latte at lunch yesterday. must be the fall weather. maybe i'll surprise him with these yummies!! had fun with the challenge this weekend. :) thanks for hosting.

Jane of Australia 11/7/10, 6:56 PM  

with a couple of changes this might fit into my eatng plan.
The rolled oats are a big yes
I must find out about maple syrup.

Veens 11/7/10, 8:44 PM  

I somedays wish I could bake.. I don't have a oven, but mom does :(

I want to know that wheat roll recipe!

Sheila (Bookjourney) 11/7/10, 11:34 PM  

The scones look so delicious! I really have to join this meme once my life slows down to a sprint :)

Elva 11/8/10, 2:56 PM  

It all looks so good! I used to bake a lot of bread but time is just something I do not have a lot of now. I am hoping to getting back to baking again this winter.

Kris 11/11/10, 4:20 PM  

It seems like a wonderful cookbook, I'm going to check my library for it!

pickygirlfoodfilmfiction 11/11/10, 8:40 PM  

oh my goodness. these look so good!

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