Friday, October 3, 2014

Whole Wheat Cheese Straws

Laminate dough...when I mentioned it to my husband, he gave me the funniest look. To him, laminating something means something completely different...he couldn't understand what I was talking about! In baking terms, laminating is basically layering butter with the dough, which creates flaky pockets and puffs when the butter melts during the baking process. It is the science behind puff pastry and the science behind cheese straws. It's a process much harder than I anticipated when using whole wheat flour. I discovered early on that I would need more liquid than the recipe called for...the whole wheat flour sucked up the initial 1/4 of milk so quickly it felt like I hadn't even put it in there, so I added more. The whole wheat flour added a nice nutty flavor to the cheese straws. I'll definitely keep practicing my lamination skills!

Whole Wheat Cheese Straws
by Mary
Adapted from New York Times Cheese Wafers or Straws

2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut in 1/4-inch pieces
4 ounces coarsely grated cheddar cheese - you could use any flavorful hard cheese
1/2 cup cold milk
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
Flaky salt, for sprinkling 

Mix flour and salt in bowl, using your fingers, mix half the butter into the flour until it becomes like crumbly sand. Add the rest of the butter chunks and cheese and stir with a fork. Mix in milk and form dough into a ball with floured hands. Pat dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. 

Dust dough with flour and roll into a long rectangle, about 8 x 14 inches and about 1/2-inch thick. Fold dough into thirds, like folding a letter, one side over the middle, then the next. Dust again with flour and roll out to make same size rectangle, then fold it again. Dust and repeat again. Wrap well in plastic film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day in advance. 

Heat oven to 400°F. Cut dough in half. Refrigerate half the dough and roll the other piece out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. Cut dough into strips approximately 1/2-inch wide and 5 inches long. Twist 2 or 3 times and press ends down. 
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, until well browned and crisp. Let cool before serving. Repeat with remaining dough.

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