Category Archives: Bread

BASIC WHITE BREAD

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Something about the smell of bread baking always makes me hungry. Many avoid making their own bread by hand because they believe it is too hard, but it really is easy if you follow the directions. Believe me, I do like a bread machine and plum wore my last one out. However, baking it the old way in the oven I think produces a different texture and the kneading itself can be very relaxing. There are lots of variations to making a simple loaf of bread, and once you have the basics down changing recipes is not that hard. This recipe has very simple ingredients and produces 2 loaves of bread.

INGREDIENTS:
2 pkg yeast
2 c Warm Water (105-115 degrees)
2 Tb Sugar
1 Tb Salt
2 c Bread Flour
4 to 5 c All Purpose Flour

time: kneading 10 + rising 1hr 45 min + baking 35 min

If you do not have bread flour all-purpose may be used. Bread flour provides a little extra gluten and will provide a slightly different texture in your loaves. I find using a combination of the 2 flours provides the best results.

Dissolve the yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar in the cup of warm water. Allow it to rest for a couple of minutes to ensure it blooms. You should have a foam on top of the water. If there is no bloom either your yeast is old or the water was too hot and killed it. The sugar feeds the yeast and speeds up the process of blooming.

In a bowl combine the bread flour and 1 cup of the all- purpose flour, salt and the remaining sugar. Pour in the water and oil and beat until smooth. Slowly add up to 3 cups of the all-purpose flour until a soft ball forms that is easy to handle. You most likely will not have added 6 cups of flour to get tot his point, that is okay. You can add more as you work the dough on the counter.

Sprinkle the counter with some of the remaining flour and scoop the dough onto the counter. As you begin to knead you will know if more flour needs to be added. When there is high humidity you will need more than on the days it is try. If the bread is sticking to your hand or the counter keep sprinkling on more until it has a nice smooth texture that kneads easily. If you have never kneaded before, check out how to do it hereThis will take about 10 minutes.

Using the bowl you mixed in, pour about 1 tsp of oil. Place the ball of dough in the oil and roll it around, leaving it with the seam side down. Cover the bowl with cellophane or a towel and place in a warm place to rise.

The dough needs to double in size. Allowing it to rise too much can mean the bread won’t rise properly when it is baked so keep an eye on it. A good test is that you can push your finger in and it leaves a small dent. This will take about 45 minutes.

Sprinkle your counter with flour and punch down the dough. Literally, you get to make a fist and punch the dough! Talk about getting out some aggression. Divide the dough in half. Set one to the side and begin rolling the first half out. Form a rectangle (18×9 inches) that is slightly less wide than the pan is long.

Beginning at one end, roll the dough as if you are making a jelly roll. When you are finished, pinch the end shut and use your hands to seal the sides.

Place the log into a greased and floured pan. Dark pans work better than glass for baking bread. Once both pans are done, cover again and place in a warm place to rise. This time it will take about an hour. The dough will be about 2 inches over the edges of your loaf pans. To show you how important it is to follow the process, I only rolled out 1 of the loaves in this batch. The second loaf I simply shaped and plopped into the loaf pan. Can you take a wild guess which one I did that on?

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake 35 minutes. The racks should be low so that the tops of the pans are in the middle of the oven. Be sure that the pans are not touching each other. Check a few minutes early by tapping. Just like a watermelon, if it sounds hollow, it is ready. Place the pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before trying to remove the bread. Allow to finish cooling on the rack before slicing.

You can see the end result of not rolling the dough out is a flat loaf.

Here is the way you want it to look, ready for dinner and sandwiches the next day.

Enjoy!!!

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BANANA BREAD

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A part of me cringes every time I throw food in the trash. I use every last bit of the food that comes in the house to the best of my ability. I have no doubt that is how foods like carrot cake, zucchini bread and banana bread came to be. A cook looked at those black bananas and thought there must be something she could make with them. Oh there is my friend, there is!

INGREDIENTS

2 c Flour
3/4 c Sugar
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3 – 4 (1 1/2 c) Very Ripe Bananas
6 Tb Melted Butter/Margarine
2 Eggs
1/4 c Sour Cream
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg

Quick breads differ from a yeast bread in the ingredient they use to rise the dough. A yeast bread requires kneading and takes a couple hours to prepare the dough to rise, compared to the short prep time of stirring a batter in the mixing bowl for a quick bread. Banana bread falls into the quick bread category.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. This is one of those times that a dark pan works better than the glass one.

Combine all the dry ingredients. I do it on a bendable cutting board as it makes t easier to pour into the mixing bowl.

The darker the banana’s peel, the softer and sweeter the fruit is going to be. These were almost there, another day and they would have been perfect I think.
If your bananas are not ripe enough, place on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes or the peel is nice and dark.

Whisk all the wet ingredients together. Be sure the butter has cooled but is not chilled. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, just as if you are making a mousse. Don’t worry if it looks lumpy, that is normal.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes. Insert a long skewer and make sure it come out clean. If there is batter sticking to the skewer, bake another 5 to 10 minutes as needed. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on a rack and then flip over the pan to remove the bread. If it does not want to plop out, tap the bottom of the pan and it should loosen it up.

Technically you should always let a quick bread cool for an hour before slicing. But we are talking, warm banana bread here. You know you want to……

You can smear a little butter or cream cheese on if you prefer.

Wrap any leftover bread up nice and tight and it will stay moist for you for several days. You can freeze a loaf for up to 2 months if it is tightly wrapped. I use cellophaneI and then tin foil as a bread can pick up flavors easily.

Optional: If you like nuts add 1 cup chopped walnuts, macadamia or even cashews to the batter. Don’t chop them too small or you won’t even notice they are in there. If you prefer chocolate, coarsely grate 1/8 cup and mix into the batter. Id you try to use chocolate chips you have a hard bit of chocolate instead of just a smooth flavor. Grating it allows it to melt in places throughout the bread.

I hope you give this quick bread a try, let me know if you like it!

Simple Cornbread

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Quick breads are types of bread that rise quickly, without the aid of yeast. Banana bread, biscuits and cornbread all fall into that category. Cornbread is a simple bread that requires absolutely no kneading and from start to finish takes about 30 minutes. Make an extra batch and use it for stuffing the next day. This version requires ingredients that typically most people have on hand on a consistent basis.

INGREDIENTS:
1 c Flour
1 c Cornmeal
1/2 c Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 c Sour Cream
1/4 c Milk
1/4 c Canola Oil

In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and crack the 2 eggs into it. Whip the eggs and then mix with the dry ingredients. Mix in sour cream, milk and oil till combined.

Grease a 9×9 inch pan and dust it with cornmeal.

Pour the batter into the pan and shake it until it is smooth. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes.

The end result is a very light and fluffy cornbread.

Cornbread goes well with just about any main dish, not just chili.

I hope you give it a try, let me know how it goes.

Honey Cornbread

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A good cornbread should be light and just a little crumbly. It is so easy to make that the Jiffy boxes really are not bad. This recipe only take a couple minutes to throw together and the honey is included for you so you don’t have to pour it on top. A basic cornbread recipe can offer lots of variations to the creative cook.

1 c Cake Flour
1 c Cornmeal
1/2 c Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 c Cream
1/4 c oil
1/4 c Honey

Sift all the dry ingredients together. In a bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Mix the wet and dry just until thoroughly combined. Over mixing will make a tougher cornbread.

Oil and flour a 9″ square pan and pour in the batter making sure it is smooth. You can tap the pan on the counter if need bee. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes so all the dry ingredients have a chance to be absorbed. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes. If using a dark or cast iron pan, reduce the heat to 375. The bread is ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

variations:
2 Tbs diced Jalapeno Peppers
1/4 c chopped Green Chilies
1/2 to 1 c Chedder Cheese
1/2 c crisp Bacon chopped
bake in muffin cups, the time will be reduced depending on the size. Be sure to check after 12 minutes
1 c Cream Corm, reduce the cream by half

What do you like to add to your cornbread?

Honey Butter Crescent Rolls

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Yummy crescent rolls are available at every grocery store in the dairy aisle. SO why bother making your own? Because homemade has much better flavor and you can put up extra in the freezer for all sorts of dishes.

INGREDIENTS:
1 pkg 2 1/4 tsp Yeast
1/2 c water (105 – 115 degrees)
1/2 c milk
1 stick softened butter
1/3 c Sugar
1/4 c Honey
1 Egg
3 1/2 to 4 c Flour
1 beaten Egg

Prep time = 15 minutes Rise time = 1 hr 40 minutes Bake time = 15 minutes

Makes 12 to 16 large crescent rolls

Mix the yeast and water in a bowl and allow the yeast to bloom. Adding a little of the sugar to the yeast feeds it and helps it to bloom faster and better.

Heat milk over medium low heat until you see tiny bubbles appearing on the edge.

Combine the butter, sugar, honey and salt with the milk until it has all melted.

In a mixing bowl combine the yeast and milk mixtures with the egg. Add 2 cups of the flour on low-speed until the batter is smooth. Slowly add more flour until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl.

On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Lightly grease the mixing bowl and place the dough in int, making sure to coat the dough with the oil. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

If freezing the dough, divide in half wrapping it well in cellophane and placing in a freezer bag. Remove as much of the air as you can. To use once frozen, thaw in the refrigerator then move to the counter and bring up to room temperature before rolling out.

After the dough has risen for 1 hour, punch it down and divide in half. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before rolling out. A 12 inch circle will make 6 rolls. An 18 inch circle will have thinner layers and make 8 rolls.

Each half can be rolled into a 12 inch circle. Using a pizza cutter, make 6 wedges just as if you are cutting a pie. Roll up starting at the widest end and place on a baking sheet. Either lightly grease the pan or sprinkle corn meal so they do not stick. Cover with a town and allow to rise in a warm place until the dough has once again doubled, about 30 minutes. If you are not very good at eyeing things (and I am horrible at it) pull out a ruler and measure so that the wedges are fairly consistent in their size.

To the beaten egg, add a tablespoon of warm water. Use a pastry brush to coat all the crescent rolls. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake 15 minutes.

I usually put half of the dough into the freezer. It also holds up well overnight if you want to make the second half for the next night’s meal.

If you learn to make your own dough, there are so many uses for it. It can be used for all kinds of appetizers and deserts as well as pocket sandwiches. Since you roll it our yourself, you can cut it into whatever size you like for the portion sizes you like.

I hope you give crescent rolls a try, let me know how it goes. Happy baking!

Sally Lunn Bread

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Sally Lunn Bread

There is something about the yeasty smell of baking bread that makes my mouth drool. Growing up my mother made it on occasion and usually told us kids to stay out of it till it cooled. There were times she forgot and I cut it in time to slather on some butter and watch it melt into a tasty treat. Funny thing is every single time she saw what I had done her response was always “well, since you already cut into it, I may as well have a piece too”. Sometimes I suspect she “forgot” to tell us on purpose.

Forging into the world of bread making can be a little scary, there are so many rules to follow. The rewards are worth it I believe. The trick is to start with a recipe that is so simple and easy it is hard to mess up. That is where the Sally Lunn bread enters the scene. Believed to have been created in 17th century England, it is a sweet bread that is great served hot at the dinner table and requires absolutely no kneading

INGREDIENTS:
1 pkg (or) 2 1/4 tsp Yeast
1/4 c warm Water 110 to 115 degrees
1/2 c Butter softened
1/4 c Sugar
3 Eggs at room temperature
1 c warm Milk 110 to 115 degrees
1/4 c warm Honey
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 c Flour
2 tsp Salt

Tools:
large angel food pan

TIME: Prep 10 minutes; Rise 2 hours; Bake 30 minutes

In a small bowl combine the water and yeast with a little bit of the sugar. Allow to set until you know it has proofed. This is evident by the foam you will see on top of the water. If it has not proofed, do not use it. The yeast is either old or the water was not the correct temperature.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk and honey. A trick to getting honey out of a measuring cup is to first spray the cup with a little oil. Then when you pour the honey in it won’t stick but will slide right out. The proofed yeast is next. Combine the salt with the flour and then slowly add it to the bowl. One way to do this is to measure the flour onto a bendable cutting board or parchment paper. This allows you to keep the mixer running while you slowly add the flour. Doing it slowly prevents lumps and allows you to keep an eye on the dough.

Depending on how dry the flour is and the humidity level, you may not need all the flour called for in the recipe. Whenever making bread you start with less than the minimum amount specified. Add a little at a time, thoroughly incorporating it into the dough before adding more. One can always add more, you cannot take it out. You want a nice soft ball that is pulling away from the edges of the bowl. It can be a little hard to get there with a mixer so when I know it is close, I prefer to finish it by hand. You can feel when it is ready because it is no longer sticky. Then I form a ball and place the seam on the bottom when the dough goes back in the bowl. Cover, place in a warm place and allow to rise till doubled, about an hour.

Once it has doubled, punch it down (removing half of the air) and remove from the bowl. Your pan should be greased and floured to prevent sticking. Make sure you get the tube in the middle! Stretch the dough so that you can wrap it around the center tube of the pan until the ends meet and you can pinch them together. Smooth it down so that it is even all the way around. Cover again, place in a warm place and allow to double for another hour.

Doubled

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack. An old trick to determine doneness is to flick bread. If it sounds hallow it is ready to pull out.

It looks lovely on a buffet table and guest can slice off pieces as thick as they like.

I am sure you won’t be surprised to learn I slap butter on while it is nice and hot.

Let me know how it goes.

Parmesan Rounds

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Bread is such a great side to the family dinner, but the same thing every night can get a little boring. This variation to a simple biscuit adds a lot of flavor and is so easy the kids can do it by themselves. Boo made these for her food demonstration at fair last year at the age of 9 and received a blue ribbon. The judge enjoyed them so much she copied down the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
2/3 c finely grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 c Mayonnaise
1/4 tsp dried Basil
1/ tsp garlic Powder
1/8 tsp Oregano
1 tube refrigerator Biscuits 12 to 16 ounces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl combine everything except the biscuits.

Cheese Mixture

Open your canned biscuits and lay on a baking sheet. I have a friend who refers to them as Whump Biscuits, because you have to “whump” them on the counter to get the tube open. Flatten each biscuit to about 4 inches in diameter.

The difference between flattened and out of the can.

Equally distribute the Parmesan mixture onto the biscuit rounds and spread without going all the way to the edge.

Place in a preheated oven and bake 10 – 15 minutes. The larger sized biscuits will take about 2 minutes longer than the traditional size. They should be a nice golden brown.

If you want to use biscuits from scratch, the batch will probably be larger than you get from a can. Either save half the dough for tomorrow night, or double the Parmesan mixture.

Let me know how you like them!