Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Turtle Bread - #BreadBakers

There is a really old Jamaican Christmas tradition of using bread shaped like animals as a centrepiece on the Christmas table. Some refer to them as fancy breads. This tradition is so old that most of my friends had never heard of it. I guess it has gone the way of the Jonkonnu parades. They happen in some communities somewhere but most of us have only read or hear about them. I actually saw one in person for the first time this past Christmas. I was in a supermarket that I don't normally go into. The bakery by my house apparently sells them too but I didn't get a chance to stop by. 

Jamaican Duck Bread Source

The most popular animal seems to be a duck floating in a pond. I looked at a picture and honestly just couldn't figure out how I would do it. Probably a cop-out but I just couldn't figure out the breast area in particular. It seems a lot of details might get lost in the oven. So I went turtle instead. Easy enough - the hardest part is doing the slashes on the shell. I didn't do it well and Mr. Turtle looked fine enough. 

My nephew won't let me eat Mr. Turtle. He says the turtle needs to live out his 100 years so Mr. Turtle is now in the freezer. Don't tell my nephew, but he is going to become a bread pudding next week. 100 years comes really quickly when you're a turtle.

Thanks for hosting Animal Shaped Bread, Stacy! It was fun getting creative with my dough and I can't wait to try other animals - even that duck. Scroll down to see all the other animals. 

Turtle Bread

400 grams flour
3 tablespoons sugar 
2 teaspoons yeast 
1 teaspoon salt 
220 ml milk
3 tablespoons oil 
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 raisins or currants (eyes)
1 egg white plus a splash of water (egg wash)

Mix together all the ingredients (except the raisins and egg white) and then knead until you have a smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky. If it is sticky, add in some more flour. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it has doubled. Alternatively, you can allow it to rest in the refrigerator overnight. 

When the dough is ready, pinch off a 70-gram piece and five 30-gram pieces. These will form his head, legs, and tail and the remaining dough will form the body. Shape the body into a flattened boule. Shape the 70-gram piece into a ball and then attach the head to the body.  Next shape the legs and tail. You can shape the tail a bit triangular. 

For the eyes, I suggest putting the raisins up a bit higher than you would think. As my dough proofed, the raisins moved lower and ended much lower during the oven spring. I had to use a toothpick to reattach them in the correct place. Honestly, sticking them on with a toothpick after baking is probably the easiest route. 

My eyes are too low.

Cover the dough and allow to proof at room temperature until noticeably puffy. This could take up to an hour depending on the temperature of your room. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

When the dough is ready, brush with the egg white mixed with water. Next, slash his back with a sharp knife to form his shell. Stress not if it isn't perfect. You can also give him some toes. I did cut some but didn't snip deep enough so that detail was lost in the oven.

Bake 35 minutes or until golden. 
Enjoy your creation! 

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Gingerbread Spice Christmas Tree Bread #BreadBakers

I am extremely excited about how this bread turned out. I pictured it in my head and went over how I would shape it way too many times. How many layers should I use? How much dough do I need? How would I shape each layer into the same size triangle? Decisions. Decisions. I calculated the area of the circles of star breads I have made in the past then figured out rectangles with the same area. I drew a sketch of what I would do. Who says you don't use maths after you leave school?

Try to work as quickly as possible. You don't want this bread rising too long or it will start to lose its shape. However, even if it does, it will still look great coming out of the oven. Your hard work will not be for naught. 

Thanks so much, Felice for hosting this month's Tear & Share Holiday Breads. I was so happy to flex some creative muscles. Scroll down to see some other gorgeous loaves for your holiday table. 

Gingerbread Spice Christmas Tree Bread 

330 grams flour 
3 tablespoons sugar 
2 teaspoons yeast 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 egg
1/2 cup milk 
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 egg, beaten 
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon 
2 teaspoons ginger 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon allspice


Mix all the dough ingredients together and knead for about 7 minutes. You want a very soft dough. It should not be too sticky to handle though. If so, sprinkle in some flour, if it is dry, add a tablespoon or so of milk. 

Place the dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled. I prefer to let it rest in the fridge overnight. 

When the dough is doubled, mix together all the filling ingredients. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Working with one piece at a time,  roll each into an 11" x 14" rectangle. Using the diagram below as a guide, cut out a triangle that has a base of 11 inches and a height of 14 inches. 

Place the unshaded (isosceles) triangle on the parchment paper.  Brush with the beaten egg then top with a third of the filling - roughly 3 tablespoons. 

Form the two remaining pieces of dough (the shaded areas or right-angled triangles) into a triangle on top of the filling. The 14-inch sides should meet in the middle. 

Brush with more egg and sprinkle with another third of filling. 

Top this layer of filling with the shaded (right-angle) triangles from the second piece of dough.
Brush with egg again and top with the rest of the filling. 

Cover with the second unshaded (isosceles) triangle. You may need to stretch the top piece a bit. But fret not, it will work out in the end. 

Gently mark out a center "trunk" for the tree. I started with a one-inch trunk at the bottom and then narrowed that towards the top. 

Cut one-inch strips on either side of your trunk. Be sure not to cut your trunk! I placed my ruler in the middle for the one-inch areas and used wooden spoon handles as I narrowed. That ensured I didn't cut too far in.

Twist each strip in the same direction. 

Allow the tree to rest for about 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 F. 

Brush the dough with the remaining beaten egg. 

Bake 25-30 minutes. 

Celebrate! You made it!

 #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month the Bread Bakers are making Tear & Share Holiday Breads, a theme chosen by Felice from All That's Left Are The Crumbs.


And don’t forget to check out all the amazing breads baked by our talented bakers ~
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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Mini Peanut Butter Bundts - #BundtBakers

I have been thinking about this month's Bundt Bakers for months! I haven't been able to participate in Bundt Bakers consistently so when I see a theme that I can do, I get a bit excited. Thanks for hosting and choosing this theme, Wendy!

This recipe is slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction and is actually a cupcake recipe. Sally uses creamy peanut butter plus crushed peanuts because she finds chunky peanut butter to be drier. However, I already had a huge jar of chunky that I was saving just for this recipe and decided to risk it. The mini bundts were extremely moist! Definitely not dry. I could see how some extra peanuts could add some extra flavour but I loved them as is with some crunchy from the chunky peanut butter. Loved, loved, loved them! 

Mini Peanut Butter Bundts
I happily had this as my post-class snack yesterday and am looking forward to eating another one later today. I showed my students one of them and they were not happy that they were stuck online and couldn't taste my cake in person. I must admit, I was teasing them. Side note: The class has nothing to do with food but somehow we always end up talking food. The first day of class, we all got to talking about how hungry we were. Last week we were talking about cakes and it came out that one of the students and I share a birthday. That is probably the 8th person I know born on my birthday.

Mini Peanut Butter Bundt Cakes 
Yield: Four 1-cup mini Bundts.

150g  all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup canola oil 
1/2 cup of peanut butter 
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup of yogurt, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
3/4 cup milk, room temperature


Grease and flour four mini Bundt pans. My pans hold a cup of liquid each. You might have a little left over, so you can bake a little cupcake too. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt. Use a mixer to mix oil, peanut butter, egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and milk and mix until completely combined.

Fill each mini Bundt about 2/3rds full. Bake 20-25 minutes. 

Cool and enjoy.  

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page

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