Friday, April 30, 2010

Stud Muffins!

Why have one stud muffin when you can have six? I have always been a strong advocate for the beauty of excess.
This month's Bread Baking Day theme is Bread in Pots. Now I know I have about half a dozen cute little flower pots... somewhere in this house. By about the second day I gave up looking for them and decided that little black ramekins made a lovely choice in which to bake this month's bread.
But what to bake? A quick inquiry on Twitter gave me the answer. My friend Nancy suggested the Stud Muffin, which she herself had baked some time back. Of course, she referred to it as Italian Cheese Bread. Wimp. ;-) Too much of a lady to say stud muffin? I don't have that problem. STUD MUFFIN! I am easily amused..

The Stud Muffin is so called because it is studded with cheese and looks like a giant muffin. I switched up the Gruyere for ham, halved the recipe and baked it in 6 cute little black ramekins. (After 20 minutes of baking, I just kept an eye on them for brownness and internal temperature.)

Stud muffins always look cute in black. And they are delicious! Perfect for grabbing for breakie or throwing into a lunch sack.

Stud Muffin(s)
Rose Levy Beranbaum
The Bread Bible
online recipe sourced from CookEatShare, Two Girls Cooking

Starter:
1 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup water at room temp

Place flour, yeast and water in medium bowl. Whisk until very smooth, about 2 minutes. It will be like a thick batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to stand for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature.

Dough:
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 oz Romano cheese
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup water at room temp
1 large egg
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Gruyere cheese, cut into 1/4 in chunks

Use either a grater or a food processor to finely grate the Parmesan and Romano cheeses. In a measuring cup with a spout whisk together the water and egg.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all but 1/4 cup of the flour, yeast, salt and pepper. Sprinkle this over the starter. Add the softened butter and mix with the mixer's dough hook on low speed while gradually adding the water/egg mixture until the flour is moistened, about 1 minute. Add the Parmesan and Romano cheeses, raise the mixer speed to medium and kneed the dough for 5 minutes or until elastic. The dough should be slightly sticky. If it doesn't pull away from the bowl, beat in some or all of the remaining flour.

Empty the dough onto a lightly floured counter and flatten it into a rectangle. Press 1/2 cup of the Gruyere into the dough, roll it up, and knead it to incorporate.
Place the dough in a medium/large bowl lightly greased with cooking spray. Push down dough and lightly spray the top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough, allowing to chill for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days to firm and develop flavor. Pat it down 2 or 3 times after the first hour or two until it stops rising.

Turn the dough out onto a counter and knead it lightly. Round into a ball, push it down into the souffle dish; it will fill it about halfway. Cover lightly with a piece of wax paper and let it rise in a warm area until it almost triples, about 3 to 4 hours. The center should be 1/2 to 1 inch above the top of the dish.

Preheat the oven to 350 about 45 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking sheet lined with foil on it before baking.

Brush the surface of the dough with a lightly beaten egg, being careful not to brush it over the top of the dish (which would impede rising). Gently insert the remaining 2 tbsp Gruyere cubes into the dough, leaving them still visible.

Place the dish on the hot baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the bread is golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. With the tip of a sharp knife, loosen the sides of the bread where the cheese may have crusted on. Unmould the bread on a soft towel on the counter to finish cooling. This will prevent the soft fragile sides from collapsing; turn it a few times to speed cooling. It will take about 1 hour to cool completely.

These Stud Muffins have been Yeastspotted!

BreadBakingDay #29 - last day of submission May 1st, 2010