Easy Pumpernickel Bread

 

Pumpernickel is a heavy, slightly sweet bread made with rye. It’s soft and tender, and perfect for winter weather. Even though traditional German style Pumpernickel contains no coloring agents, and during baking, a process known as the Maillard reaction produces the deep brown color, sweet, dark chocolate, coffee flavor, and earthy aroma that Pumpernickel is known for. But in order to achieve this, the loaves have to be baked in long narrow covered pans for 16 to 24 hours in a super low-temperature (about 120 °C or 250 °F) and allow the steam to slowly cook it in the oven. If you want to check it out, the Youtube channel Great Big Story made a video called Baking Bread with Lava in Iceland, talking about a similar tradition in Iceland. However, what we are making today is a much easier version of it with almost a very similar flavor and texture profile, with the addition of wheat flour, at a higher baking temperature, and a dramatically shortened baking time.

You’ll Need:

  • 360 g (or 3 cups) bread flour
  • 160 g (or 1.5 cups) dark rye flour
  • 50 g (or 0.5 cup) cornmeal
  • 25 g (or 0.25 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 470 mL (or 2 cups) whole milk
  • 60 mL (or 0.25 cup) molasses
  • 3 g (or 1 tsp) kosher salt
  • 20 g (or 1.5 tbsp) dark brown sugar
  • 10 g (or 1 tbsp) active dry yeast
  • 45 g (or 3 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened (plus more for greasing)

How to make this:

  1. In a large glass bowl, whisk together the bread flour with the rye flour, cornmeal, cocoa powder, and salt. (This is the dry mix, notice we didn’t add the sugar to the mixture because in baking, sugar is usually considered to be apart of wet mix)
  2. Heat up the whole milk in a cream pan until it reaches about 40 °C or 204 °F. Mix the brown sugar and the yeast into the full milk and let it stand at room temperature until it gets a little foamy, which takes about 5 minutes. (In this process, we add the sugar to the warm milk so that we can provide an ideal environment for the yeast to do its thing)
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast mixture with the molasses until it mixes together evenly at low speed. Then add the dry ingredients to the bowl and continue mixing at moderately low speed until the dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl, which takes about 6 minutes. And finally, add the softened butter and increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the butter is incorporated and the dough is sticking to the hook, about 6 minutes more. (The dough at this point will look kinda greasy)
  4. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and it springs back to the touch,  it takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Then transfer the dough to a buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1.5 hour.
  5. Pat the dough down, then place it in a lightly butter a loaf pan, and cover it an let it rises for another 3o min. When the dough is at its final rise, preheat the oven to 190°C or 375°F. Then bake the pumpernickel bread for about 35 minutes, until the crust is dark brown. Let the bread sit for more 10 minutes outside the oven in the loaf pan, then carefully remove the bread from the loaf pan and let cool completely (1 hour or longer).
  6. Optional: I like to sprinkle on some rolled oats before baking to add a nice crunch on the crust. You can add almost any crushed nuts into the dough but always soak them in water before adding them, to the dough.

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(Freshly Baked Pumpernickel Bread)

 

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Lamb Burger

When people say “Aussie Burger”, two burgers comes to my mind, one is a classic beef burger, but with grilled pineapples & pickled beets, or a burger with a lamb patty, plus egg & bacon. In this case, we are making a good old lamb burger, since grilled pineapple and beets really shouldn’t go on a proper burger.

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 lbs ground lamb (80% lean)
  • 1/4 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 slice goat cheese (or any soft cheese)
  • 4 slice bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp mayo
  • 1/2 tbsp relish
  • some lettuce
  • 2 kaiser rolls, split (or hamburger buns)

How to make this:

  1. The ground lamb should be about 80% lean, finely mince the onion and garlic, then mix the meat, onion, garlic, salt and ground black pepper. Form them into 2 patties and place them in the fridge and let is set for 20 min
  2. Place the bacon in the oven and roast at 175C or 350F degrees for 20 min or until it turns crisp. Save the bacon grease, then fried 2 egg in a pan over medium heat
  3. In the same pan, turn the heat up to medium-high, pan sear the patty for about 6-7 min each side. You can also cook the patty on a medium heated grill for about 5 min each side
  4. Mix the ketchup, mayo & relish into a sauce, slice and toast the kaiser rolls, spread on the sauce, place the lettuce, patty, bacon & egg

Lobster Roll

Among the many coastal cities in the U.S., one of my favorites in Boston, with its fresh seafood dishes, such as clam chowder, and the signature lobster roll.

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You Need:

  • 2 1 lb live lobsters (or 3 5 oz lobster tail)
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp butter; 1 tbsp mayo
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 buns of your choice

How to make this:

  1. Boil a large pot of water with lots of salt, the saltiness should be similar to that of the sea water. Place the lobster in the boiling water, for every pound of lobster, you need to add 4 min to the cook time
  2. Chill the lobster in ice water for 5 min, then take the lobster apart, you can use the head to make a good seafood stock, you only need the meat in the claws and tails
  3. Roughly chop the meat, toss it with the ground black pepper, chopped celery, fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh chives, butter, and mayo. You can brown the butter before mixing it, to make it even better, chill them after mixing
  4. Toast the buns with butter, any soft buns works, brioche or bolillo buns are perfect for this, but you can be creative with some pretzel buns
  5. Serve it with some coleslaw and chips

 

Memphis Style Pulled Pork

I spent a lot of time living in Texas and Tennessee when I was growing up, and smoked meat was a big part of my daily meals. After I moved, how to recreate that perfect smoked, tender, juicy meat with an indoor oven became my obsession. This recipe is gonna take a lot of time, so if you want to make this, do it a day(24h) ahead of the time.

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You need (Pulled Pork):

  • 3 lb pork shoulder roast(or called butt)
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 20 g apple wood chips

How to make this:

  1. Mix the sweet paprika, ground black pepper, dark brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, dry mustard, ground cumin in a bowl, this will be the dry rub for the meat
  2. Rub the pork shoulder/butt with olive oil, then generously rub it with the dry rub, place it inside a container and let it marinate for 8-12 hours
  3. Preheat the oven to 100C or 210F degrees
  4. Roughly chop the onion, place them on a bottom of a dutch oven or a roasting tray, place the marinated meat in the pan or tray, then burn 1/2 of the applewood chip little bit with a lighter or torch and place them an oven-proof baking dish and place it next to the meat
  5. Place the meat in the oven without the lid for 8 hours first
  6. Lightly burn the other half of the apple wood, replace them with the wood in there, then close the lid and cook for another 4 hours
  7. Take it out and let the meat rest for 20 min, there is a bone in the center of this cut, and you should be able to pull it out with very little force
  8. Pull the meat apart, mix it with any BBQ sauce you like, serve it on a bun with some cole slaw to make a great pulled pork sandwich, or just serve it with some cornbread