How to be a successful recipe developer? Dorie Greenspan shares the secret

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“The cake itself is kind of ‘teeter-tottery,’” says Dorie Greenspan of her miso-maple loaf, which can be served with cheese or jam. Photo by Mark Weinberg.

There’s something about fall that signals turning on the oven and baking. Dorie Greenspan has authored 14 cookbooks and shares her methodical system for taking old standbys and creating new recipes. Starting with breakfast, Greenspan tweaks her biscuits by adding everything from potato flakes to cottage cheese. Her “sweetheart” recipes are her favorites and includes cheese-swirl babka buns. She plays with incorporating savory into sweets when making dinner with miso and maple on salmon, which turned into her miso-maple loaf. It’s November and time to start “Baking with Dorie,” the title of her latest book. 

Miso-Maple Loaf
Makes about 10 servings

IF I OWNED A BED-AND-BREAKFAST, I’d make this my signature treat. Sturdy, coarse-crumbed (I say this with admiration) and on the brink of savory, the loaf is reminiscent of many crowd-pleasers. It may make you think of honey cake or gingerbread or banana bread, but in the end, it will never be anything other than itself—it’s an original.

The miso and maple are less stand-out individual players than they are a team working together to create flavors that are robust, warm and mysterious. And, along with the recipe’s buttermilk, their moistness contributes to the bread’s lovely crumb, which is slightly open and very tender.

I prefer white (shiro) miso here, but if you’re looking for a stronger flavor, you can use red. You can also switch the orange or tangerine zest for lemon, if you’d like.

Ingredients 

  • 1¾ cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange or 2 tangerines
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (70 grams) white miso
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) buttermilk (well shaken before measuring)

FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)

  • About ¼ cup (80 grams) orange marmalade or apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

-Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch loaf pan and dust with flour, or use baker’s spray. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

-Put the sugar, salt and zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl that you can use with a hand mixer. Reach in and rub the ingredients together until the sugar is moist and fragrant; it may even turn orange. Add the butter, miso and maple syrup to the bowl. If using, attach the bowl to the mixer stand and fit it with the paddle attachment.

-Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl and beater(s) as needed, until you’ve got a smooth, creamy mixture. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after each goes in. Beat in the vanilla. The mixture might curdle, but this is a temporary condition. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients all at once and then pulse to begin the blending. Beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. With the mixer still on low, pour in the buttermilk and blend well. Scrape the batter into the pan, working it into the corners and smoothing the top.

-Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, checking the bread after 40 minutes and covering the top loosely with a foil or parchment tent if it’s browning too fast. The loaf is properly baked when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top will be flat—this bread doesn’t rise above the pan—and most likely cracked down the middle. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the bread rest for 5 minutes, then run a table knife around the edges of the loaf and unmold onto the rack; turn it right side up.

*IF YOU’D LIKE TO GLAZE THE BREAD: Stir the marmalade or jam and water together and heat the mixture in the microwave or over low heat until it comes just to a boil. Using a pastry brush (or a spoon), cover the top of the loaf with the glaze. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing.

*STORING: Wrapped well, the bread will keep for about 4 days at room temperature. If it stales—or maybe even if it doesn’t—toast it lightly before serving. If you haven’t glazed it, you can wrap it airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months; defrost, still wrapped, at room temperature.


Dorie Greenspan shares that 500 days was the longest time away from Paris since she began traveling to that city, and upon returning, the first thing she ate was an omelette, so breakfast became the first focus of her latest cookbook. Photo by Mark Weinberg.


Dorie Greenspan has written 14 cookbooks. Her latest, “Baking with Dorie,” spins savory ingredients into traditional sweet recipes. Photo courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Host:

Evan Kleiman