Lemon, Coconut Sweet Bread

I have a little bone to pick … with life that is.

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Why is Meyer lemon season seriously .0823123 seconds long?!?! And how the heck to I get my hands on some without them going bad?!

See, originally I wanted to make this recipe using Meyer lemons – because they’re so little and cute and lemony, but not super tart. So I bought a bag ( I could have bought a car for less … by.the.way. – not the point) I ended up keeping them on my counter for a couple of days – and poof – they turned.

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Heartbreak.

So I used regular lemons. And this bread came out spectacular however if you have Meyer lemons, please use them instead and kindly send me a slice of bread … and a box of tissues.

Rant over.

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Also, why do people say, I have a bone to pick .. that’s gross – I’m kind of wishing I didn’t say that now. But what’s done is done – when life gives you lemons – make bread … okay, now I’m definitely wishing I didn’t say that. Although, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t on the floor laughing.

….

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Normally, I share what I bake for the blog with family, friends and co-workers – this bread though, it didn’t even make it out of our home … the top gets so crusty and it smells so lemony as it bakes. I’m clearly welcoming spring with open arms with the combination of lemon and coconut – it was a gamble with the citrus and sweet coconut buuuttt Daaaamn, Daniel!

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Lemon, Coconut Sweet Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • ½ cup dried coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp Malibu rum
  • 2 c milk
  • ⅔ c olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine brown and granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, sea salt, lemon zest and dried coconut.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs, lemon juice, milk, Rum and olive oil.

Combine, the wet and dry ingredients.

Pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour ( it should pass the crumb test by this point)

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Making Dough — Cookbook Review … and I made Croissants

When I first got the e-mail to review this book, I thought it was a joke. I thought it was spam … but i wanted it to be real soooo badly that I provided all of the required information, and remained hopeful.

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When the book Making Dough by Russell Van Kraayenburg showed up at my door step, again, I thought it was a joke. Hah, me? – review a cookbook, an actual cookbook with amazing pictures, and recipes, test out, and give my opinion on someones labour of love – stepping into their shoes and experimenting with their baking journey. Me, are you sure?!?!  

I knew i had a great task at hand.

I was honored.

Humbled.

So first, thank you Quirk Books, Pinguin Random House Canada and Russell … can I call you Russel, like we’re friends?!?!

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I cracked open the book, loving the sound of that spine cracking and the smell of fresh pages. In the most ironic possible way … the book was “recipes and ratios for perfect pastries” hahaha … good joke. Remember how I’m crazy scared of pastries … again, was someone playing a joke on me?!?!

I thought though, this was my chance, this would actually be a true test of this book. I’m not a dainty baker, ask me to dump cake batter in a pan and bake it, done — ask me to scoop out cookies on tray suuuuurrreee … ask me to make a soufflé-fra-li-lah … yea, no, not happening. I normally put pastries/ doughs under that “ soufflé-fra-li-lah” category.

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As I skimmed through the book, divided by 12 key dough recipes I realized, I’m actually a big huge liar … I’m not actually scared of pastires, according to Russell’s book, I’ve actually made tons of pastries!! Scones, done it – Biscuits, nailed it … and the idea that Gnocchi is a type of Pate A Choux excited me … I thought, you know what, I can totally do this.

And then I decided to make croissants.

And not just any old kind of croissants, but poolish croissants – promised as a more “yeasty flavoured” croissant.

Review of the book:

My first reaction was, its beautiful. I flipped through the pages drooling and intrigued by recipes like Bourbon-Maple Glazed Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Blueberry Mascarpone Hand pies and Salted Caramel Eclairs topped with Salted Caramel Popcorn … 2 words: I.DIE.  I knew it would be tough to narrow down exactly what I was going to bake.

As I continued reading, I realized this wasn’t just a cookbook – and in fact if I were to give it an alternate title – I would call it “ The Theory of Dough” the time, patience and detail included in each of the steps, the explanations included in how your dough should look as you progress through a recipe, the attention to explaining each component of your masterpiece it definitely gave me a new perspective on baking.

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Quite often, baking is compared to science – and I suppose it is ( although i was NEVER good at science) Russell’s book is a true testament to the science of baking. I wouldn’t say it’s overly technical, but it is extremely detailed. I would deem it a baking textbook, one that every ambitious baker should have on their shelf. There is a lot to learn, and Russell makes it easy to do so.

I would definitely refer Making Dough to a seasoned baker; while the steps included are clear and easy to follow – I found that a lot of the required tools ( a kitchen scale, candy thermometer, marble slab) just aren’t tools a home bakers like myself have on hand ( hehe … this could DEFINITELY be a hint to that Santa!!). I also found it challenging to work with weight measurements as opposed to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons.

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For those who are new to the baking game, I think this book could serve as a great method to learn the ins-and-outs of how to be a great baker … I would definitely package this book with a couple items – a food scale, thermometer, pastry brush and ruler … hhheeellllloooo foodie gift basket!! 

Baking from the book:

First … look what I made!!

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Croissants are NOT an easy feat – I must say, this recipe has taken my baking ambition to a whole new level. I’m going to deem this a win, as a first time try but honestly, I probably won’t be making croissants again in a while.

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They.take.SO.long. either that, or I just lack any sort of patients!! The result was a flakey pastry and buttery center – worth the 26 hours …. Mmmm … for the smell of my home; yes – for how they actually turned out, not so much. I must have done something wrong ( and it’s very possible …) my croissants were heavy, not light and fluffy as I hoped. They also baked a lot faster than the suggested 45 minutes. While the tops were golden brown, the bottoms were toasted – not burnt, but definitely more cooked than probably necessary.

Baking from the book was relatively easy – the instructions provided are clear, and detailed. One thing that definitely stood out ( and maybe this was based on the recipe that I choose) I continuously had to flip back and forth to reference other information; as well, as I mentioned before, some of the tools required, I just didn’t have and I ended up improvising.

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There are a ton of other recipes I would like to try. Overall, I would say Making Dough is a keeper – ideal for any seasoned baker as a Christmas present; and a new adventure for novice bakers such as myself.

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