February 15, 2010

Gluten Free Parmesan Cornbread

Gluten Free Parmesan Cornbread

So yes we still have snow:

The View From The Front Porch

We still have A LOT of snow!

My Patio

It has melted a little, but not much. I'd say we might have had 1 or 2 inches of melting at most.

The roads are relatively clear, though in some places it's more like a lane and a half instead of two lanes:

Snowy Road

But hey that works!

And you're going to drive by a lot of really big piles of snow!

Big Old Pile of Snow

We're supposed to get up to 7 more inches today in to tonight and then possibly a bit more on Wednesday. While 7 inches does make me want to cry hysterically, I'm still not thrilled about it. BUT at least 7 inches of snow can be driven over easily. The path to the backdoor will have to be cleared again, but clearing 7 inches of snow, versus 27, well I'll take 7!

Now let's talk some cornbread!

This isn't a cornbread that Jamison would eat, but I've found that I really like the addition of the corn flour to cornbread in place of regular flour. It really just helps the over all corn flavor, so I've started making all of my cornbreads this way. The Parmesan gives the bread a nice savory punch and this is just perfect with a big bowl of soup or chili.

Sounds perfect for this kind of weather don't you think?

What You'll Need:
2 cups of stone ground yellow cornmeal (Note: Look for a variety that is certified gluten free.)
1 cup of corn flour (Note: Corn Flour is NOT corn starch. Again look for a variety that is certified gluten free.)
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of finely shredded Parmesan cheese (Note: You want to shred or chop this yourself. The stuff that comes in a bottle won't work. I like to use my food processor to do this.)
2 cups of buttermilk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large glass bowl stir together corn meal, corn flour, baking powder, sea salt and Parmesan until incorporated:

Gluten Free Parmesan Cornbread: Dry Ingredients

Add milk and eggs:

Gluten Free Parmesan Cornbread: Eggs and Buttermilk

Stir until batter forms and all the ingredients are well mixed:

Gluten Free Parmesan Cornbread: Batter

Place batter in a 9 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Gluten Free Parmesan Cornbread: Ready to Bake

Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown:

Gluten Free Parmesan Cornbread: Baked

Let sit for 5 minutes and then cut and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Notes: You could add in a cup of corn kernels too if you liked.

Posted by Dianne at 10:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 11, 2010

Whole Grain Bread

Whole Grain Bread

I love to make bread and for a while now I've been thinking about coming up with a bread recipe for Alexis and I so that I could stop buying bread at the store and dealing with all those plastic bags and things that bread is inevitably packed in. I already make Jamison's gluten free bread each week, so why not make one Lex and I can enjoy too?

I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. I don't see the point. They are easily made and easily broken, but I see nothing wrong with making a few goals. Goals are much easier to focus on and aren't as daunting to me. So last week I set out with the goal to come up with a really good whole grain bread that both Alexis and I could enjoy and this is what resulted. It took two tries, but on the second it really came together!

So goodbye store bought bread! This version is delicious and easy. You can't get better than that!

What You'll Need:
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
1 cup of oats, processed until smooth
1/3 cup of flax seed meal
1/3 cup of vital wheat gluten (Note: You really need to add wheat gluten if you're making a whole grain bread. It really makes a BIG difference!)
1 2/3 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour
2/3 cup of corn flour (Note: Corn flour is NOT corn starch.)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of honey
1 cup of orange juice (Note: You can use freshly squeezed or out of the carton.)

Mix yeast and water together and let sit for 5 minutes or so or until foamy:

Whole Grain Bread: Yeast

While yeast is proofing place oats in a food processor and process until relatively flour like in consistency:

Whole Grain Bread: Oats

Next mix processed oats, flax seed meal, gluten, flours and sea salt in a large glass bowl until completely incorporated. Add water/yeast, olive oil, honey and orange juice and stir until dough forms.

Now here's where I do things a little differently...You ready?

Instead of putting the dough on a floured surface and kneading, I just sprinkle the dough with white whole wheat flour and knead it right in the bowl! Works perfectly and saves you the steps of having to clean the counter after you're finished.

Knead for 1-2 minutes until dough is elastic. (Note: That means when you poke it it bounces back.) Place dough in a bread pan that has been brushed with olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray:

Whole Grain Bread: Ready to Rise

Place in a warm place (I like to put it in the oven with the light on) and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until you can see a noticeable rise:

Whole Grain Bread: Risen

Remember that with whole grain breads the rise is very subtle. It's not going to double in size or anything of that nature while in the rising period, but you will be able to see a slight enlargement.

Once the dough is risen turn oven on to 400 F with the loaf in the oven. Close the door and when the oven is preheated THEN start counting time. (In other words you're going to preheat your oven WITH the loaf inside. The loaf will continue to rise a bit more as the oven preheats.)

When the oven is preheated you will bake from 35-45 minutes until loaf sounds hollow and is browned all over:

Whole Grain Bread

You might have to cover the loaf with foil in the last 10 minutes or so if it gets really brown. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Store in an airtight container once completely cooled.

Notes: No notes on this one.

Posted by Dianne at 10:29 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 5, 2010

Easy Sour Dough Bread

Easy Sour Dough Bread: The Inside

Making your own bread is really easy, not to mention a lot of fun! Sour dough is sometimes conceived as difficult, but it really isn't. You make a "starter" and let it do it's thing. The longer you let it sit the more "sour" it becomes. You can even make a loaf the day you begin the "starter" as I did with this loaf. Or you can store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks at a time. As long as you feed it (i.e. add flour from time to time) it can go on indefinitely in the fridge.

This version is a quick start. You whip up the "starter" in the morning and by the afternoon you're making dough. Or if you don't want to make it that day you can as I mentioned above store it in the fridge in a glass jar and feed it right before making the bread. The directions below are for making the day the "starter" begins, but trust me it's a good loaf of bread either way!

Easy Sour Dough Bread: "Starter"

What You'll Need for the "Starter":
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

In a large glass jar mix together water, sugar, yeast and flour and stir to mix. (Note: Use wooden utensils and avoid letting metal or plastic touch the "starter") Let sit for at least 1 hour to overnight to proof.

As you can see above my "starter" got a little happy and crawled right out of the jar. That doesn't usually happen, but sometimes yeast just has a mind of its own.

What You'll Need to Make the Bread:
1 "starter", proofed
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of warm water
2-3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

In a large bowl add starter, salt and water. Stir to mix. Slowly add flour until dough ball forms. (Note: You made need some, all or possibly even just a bit more flour. It all depends on humidity and such. You want dough you can handle without sticking to your hands.)

Once dough is formed turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until dough is elastic. Shape into a ball, place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper and score the top of the loaf:

Easy Sour Dough Bread: Ready to Rise

Let rise for 30 minutes to an hour or until the loaf has risen:

Easy Sour Dough Bread: Risen

Set oven to 400 F.

Add risen dough to the oven as it preheats instead of waiting for the oven to preheat. Bake for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped and is golden brown.

Easy Sour Dough Bread: Baked

Notes: I haven't tried this yet with whole grain flours, but I plan to do that the next time around.

Posted by Dianne at 1:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 14, 2009

Raisin-Pecan Bread

bread1

Up today is my friend Melissa! She has guest blogged for me before as well. Check out this gorgeous bread and be sure and say hello!

Thanks Dianne, for having me as a “guest” this week!

One of my very favorite things to eat is raisin-pecan bread, it’s so versatile! Fresh out of the toaster, a slice of this yummy bread is infinitely more filling than a frozen waffle and oh-so-much-more-tasty! With some honey drizzled on top, it’s the perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea. Spread with cream cheese, it’s an excellent breakfast. The list goes on. Before we moved to Florida in May 2008, I bought this bread at least once a week from the Best Buns Bakery in Arlington, VA. Oh, how I missed that bread…until I discovered that one can make bread at home rather easily, thanks in part to Dianne. I played around for a bit and came up with the following recipe, which I pieced together from various others. The nice thing is that there is some wiggle room in the amount of raisins and pecans one adds – for me, the more, the better.

Ingredients:
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
3 TB honey
2 C warm (105 – 115 degrees) water, divided
2 TB canola oil
3 C whole wheat flour
1 C+ all purpose flour OR 4 teasp vital wheat gluten, optional
1 teasp kosher salt
1 heaping cup of chopped pecans
1 heaping cup of raisins
1heaping cup of golden raisins

I fully admit that I find bread-making easy because I have a kitchen workhorse – my trusty mixer. I just throw in the ingredients and it does the work for me, down to the kneading. But give me a break, I work full time and have two young children (one is 4 months old), so I take the help where I can get it. However, don’t be discouraged if you do not have a mixer powerful enough to do the job, it’ll just require some elbow grease.

bread2

In a large bowl (I use the mixer bowl for this), mix ½ cups of the water with the honey until dissolved. Add the yeast and dissolve, let set for 5-10 minutes until foamy. If the yeast does not foam, start over – your water may have been too hot or too cold or the yeast may be expired, so do check on that.

Next, add the remaining 1.5 cups of water, the salt, and the oil. If using a mixer, keep it on “stir” using the paddle attachment. Slowly – ¼ to ½ cups at a time – add in the whole wheat flour and combine well. This is the point where, if I am using only whole wheat flour, I add in the vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten helps with the rise and crumb of the bread when using only whole wheat flour – otherwise the bread may be dense and chewy, and not in a good way. If you prefer to provide some gluten using all-purpose flour at the end, then omit this step.

bread3

The dough will be kind of loose at this point, which is good because this is where you add the nuts and raisins. Feel free to adjust the measurements, I like the loaf to be packed with these goodies so I put in a lot, you may put less if you like or only one kind of raisin, etc. Once the raisins and pecans are in, slowly add in more flour (whole wheat if you want to keep it 100% whole wheat, or all purpose at this point if you prefer) until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl. You may need a cup or more, so just watch the dough. It should start to come together in a ball and lose its stickiness. At this point, if using a mixer, switch to the dough hook, set on level 2, and start to knead, increasing to level 4 to help keep it in a ball for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out on to a clean and floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, again until the dough is smooth and elastic.

bread4

Next, oil a mixing bowl and place the kneaded dough in it, turning it to coat with the oil. Cover with a damp dish towel and place in a warmish environment to rise until roughly doubled in size. Note that if you are using 100% whole wheat flour, it may not double in size, even with the vital wheat gluten. I rise my bread in the oven with the oven light on. For this loaf, it takes about 1.5 hours, but watch it because it depends on the flour used and temperature it is rising in. While you’re waiting, have some tea or a glass of wine!

bread5

Once dough has risen, punch it down, turn it out on to a clean and lightly floured surface again and then decide how you would like to shape it. In this case, I used two medium loaf pans so I cut the dough in two, shaped each half into a rough rectangle, dropped it in the pans that I had sprayed with nonstick baking spray, and pressed it down to fill the bottom of the pan evenly. You may opt to leave it as one big loaf and go for the “artisan” bread look, or split it into two (or more) smaller freeform loaves . In this case, I wanted some uniformity in the slices so I went with loaf pans.

Cover with the damp towel again and let rise for another 30-60 minutes (again, depending on the flour used the rising temperature). Once doubled in size (remember the 100% whole wheat qualifier), slash the tops and bake in a 375 oven for 20-30 minutes*. Bake time depends on the oven, so check frequently. The bread is done when it reaches an internal temp of 190 degrees or sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Take care not to overbake. Once baked, cool on wire racks and feel free to sample when it’s warm…YUM.

bread6

*If you opt to do a freeform loaf, then I highly recommend baking it on a baking stone. Shape the loaf on a piece of parchment paper that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, using a pizza peel to set up the whole thing is easiest. Slide it onto the stone that has been preheating in a 375 oven and spray the loaf with water a few times during the first 5 minutes of baking. This helps the bread rise (I think it is called oven spring or something) and start to brown, but not get too brown too fast. It will also help make it rather crusty. Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf (even less if you’ve done mini loaves), cool, and enjoy!

Posted by Dianne at 8:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 3, 2009

Kicking Up A Tomato Sandwich With Cornmeal Waffles!

Cornmeal Waffles: Tomato Sandwich

I'm late today, but I'm here!

Yesterday was one of those days. I woke up with a migraine that would just NOT GO AWAY! It wasn't a functioning migraine either, it was a shut myself in my dark room with the fan on and sleep all day sort of migraine. Even after the migraine finally started to abate around 4:30 yesterday afternoon I felt tired, zombie like and sore. Days like that make me glad Jamison works from home most days! I woke up this morning feeling better, but way behind on everything!

So without further ado, let's talk some cornmeal waffles/tomato sandwiches!

Tomato sandwiches are one of my all time favorite summer treats! There is just nothing like a tomato sandwich on a corn cake! It takes a while to make corn cakes though, so I started thinking of ways to speed up the process. I'm all about finding ways to do things faster!

Corn cakes are cooked like pancakes, so there is a lot of standing around waiting to flip them and such. Pancakes made me think of waffles, because I prefer waffles over pancakes for the simple fact that you can make them much faster, and then I decided the perfect way to cook corn cakes would be in waffle form, so I decided to give it a whirl and it worked perfectly!

This method is a quick, easy way to make delicious, hearty yet healthy, whole grain corn cakes. What's better than that?

What You'll Need:
2 cups of yellow stone ground corn meal
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 1/4 cups of buttermilk
2 eggs
Tomatoes
Sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat waffle iron at medium heat.

In a large bowl stir together corn meal, salt, baking soda and baking powder until well mixed. Next add milk and eggs:

Cornmeal Waffles: Making the Batter

Stir together ingredients until thick batter forms:

Cornmeal Waffles: Batter

(Note: Depending on humidity you might need all of the milk, part of the milk or maybe just a bit more. You want a thick batter that is not runny.)

Spray your waffle iron with non-stick spray or brush with oil. Place scoops of batter on your preheated waffle iron:

Cornmeal Waffles: Ready to Cook

If you want you can spread the batter out to the edges to make them uniform, but with these I actually like them to be a bit rustic.

Cook for 2-4 minutes until golden brown:

Cornmeal Waffles

Repeat until you run out of batter. This will make 6-8 waffles.

Cornmeal Waffles

Now you're ready to make your sandwiches!

How you put together your sandwich is a matter of choice. I like tomato sandwiches when they are on corn cakes or corn waffles pretty simple. I either like them with mayo and tomatoes, or with mayo, tomatoes and cheese. This go around I stuck with the former. If I eat a tomato sandwich on regular bread I like it with avocado, green pepper strips, cucumber, sprouts, cheese and mayo, which is probably my all time favorite sandwich, which is neither here nor there.

Anyway...

You want a nice ripe tomato and big, thick slices:

Cornmeal Waffles: Tomato Sandwich: Tomatoes

This is an heirloom variety we got from our CSA.

Place your condiment(s) directly on to your waffle and then top with tomato(es) and sprinkle with sea salt:

Cornmeal Waffles: Tomato Sandwich

Add lettuce, cheese, bell pepper, avocado, etc. Whatever floats your boat and then top with another waffle and voilà...The perfect tomato sandwich!

Notes: No notes for this one!

Posted by Dianne at 12:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 17, 2009

Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffins

I've really been enjoying the strawberries we've gotten from our CSA. I miss my little strawberry patch that I planted at our old house. (Though I'll readily admit there isn't much else I miss from there! ;oP) When strawberries are in season my first task is eating them all by their little selves. Once that thrill wears off, which is about a week or so, I start doing other things with them. I have frozen some for later, I've made salads, I've made jam, ice cream is always a good idea and then I decided it was time to do some baking!

But what to bake? You can always make strawberry shortcake...I mean who doesn't like that classic? Or you could make another classic...Cobbler! And then there are always muffins! Blueberry muffins are usually the norm around here when muffins are made, but this time around I wanted to make some strawberry muffins because I've always wanted to try them!

Jamison works from home a lot. I like it when he works from home. It's nice to have him in the house even though he's working anyway. But when he goes in, from time to time, I like to send in treats with him to work. It let's me try something and have a little of it, without having to worry about eating it all myself! This way I got to have my muffin and eat it too so to speak! ;oP

For the past two weeks Jamison has had to go in each day because he's teaching a class, so last week I decided that it was high time to make a batch of strawberry muffins and send them in with him. I liked how these turned out...The strawberry flavor was just right, while the muffin itself was very moist and tender. I'll definitely be making these again. If you like strawberries then this is the muffin for you!

Strawberry Muffins: Ready for Jamison to Take to Work

What You'll Need:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt (Note: I like Oikos.)
2 eggs
1/8 cup of safflower oil
2/3 cups of buttermilk
2 cups of strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Strawberry Muffins: Strawberries

In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder until well mixed. Add yogurt, eggs, oil and buttermilk and stir until completely incorporated and thick batter forms. (Note: Flours is a finicky thing. You might need to add a little more buttermilk. You want the batter to be thick enough to sort of hold up the strawberries, but still be able to be stirred without strain.)

Once batter is mixed slowly stir in strawberries and stir until just mixed:

Strawberry Muffins: Batter

Line a muffin pan with muffin liners. (Note: If I'm making muffins for us I use silicone cupcake liners instead of paper. You can use them over and over and they cut down on waste! When I'm making something to send out I use the traditional paper liner.)

Fill each cup 3/4ths of the way full:

Strawberry Muffins: Ready to Bake

Bake for 18-20 minutes until muffins are golden and stick done.

Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container.

Strawberry Muffins: The Inside

Notes: You could add half strawberry and half rhubarb if you wanted to shake things up a little bit. Or how about half strawberry and half blueberry?

Posted by Dianne at 8:23 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 21, 2009

Yeast Rolls a la Dianne

Yeast Rolls

I don't make yeast rolls that often anymore. Before Jamison's Celiac discovery I made them for him once a week or so. Now that he can't have gluten I rarely make them because he can't have them, though he really would love to dive right in! So now I only make them on special occasions.

When Jamison's parents were here over the Easter weekend I made a batch to go with Easter dinner. These turned out great! And did I mention how easy these are? Your mixer does all the work other than shaping them into individual yeast rolls. That is always a good thing!

So if you like yeast rolls and don't want to go to a lot of trouble, look no further...These are the yeast rolls for you!

Yeast Rolls: The Inside

What You'll Need:
2 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 eggs
1/3 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
4-6 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of butter

Mix yeast and warm water. Set aside for bout 5 minutes until yeast/water is foamy.

In the bowl of your mixer cream together butter, eggs, sugar and sea salt. Add water and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix on low until incorporated and then turn the mixer on medium and mix for 2 minutes.

At the end of two minutes slowly add flour with the mixer on low until dough ball forms and is no longer sticky. You may need all the remaining flour or just some of it. As always it depends on relative humidity and such. Once the dough ball has formed (and again isn't sticky) turn your mixer back to medium and mix for 4 minutes. This is your "kneading" stage. You're letting your stand mixer do the work for you!

Once the dough is kneaded shape into a ball and place in a very large glass bowl that has been lined with butter:

Yeast Rolls: Dough Ready for 1st Rise

The best way to handle the butter is just to take the two tablespoons and squish it between your fingers and rub it all over the bowl.

Place the dough in a warm place and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size:

Yeast Rolls: Dough After 1st Rise

(Note: This picture above is actually about halfway through the rise. It will get a bit bigger than this.)

Once the dough is risen, punch it down and break off pieces about the size of a golf ball and shape into rounds:

Yeast Rolls: Ready for 2nd Rise

Let rise in a warm place for about an hour. They should roughly double in size again.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Yeast Rolls: Baked

Makes about 2 dozen rolls.

Notes: You could use white whole wheat flour if you liked. I haven't actually tried that with this recipe, but it should work fine.

Posted by Dianne at 12:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 31, 2009

Sandwich Buns

Sandwich Buns

Why not hamburger buns you ask? My answer to that is a question in and of itself: Why limit a bun to one thing?!?! These are great with pulled pork, chicken salad, a regular turkey or ham and cheese sandwich, etc. What's not to like about that?

For a while now I've been wanting to play around with chicken burgers (which you'll see tomorrow!) I got some ground chicken and set off to do just that and then realized I hadn't purchased buns. Luckily I figured this out early enough that I was able to make some dough and play around with making some buns myself and it actually worked on the first try! I just love it when ideas like this come together so quickly!

Sandwich Buns: The Inside

What You'll Need:
2 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
5 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (Note: You could use white whole wheat flour instead.)
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 egg, beaten for an egg wash
Sesame seeds (optional)

In a glass measuring cup combine water, yeast and sugar. Let sit for 3-5 minutes until foamy.

Sandwich Buns: Dough

While the yeast is proofing mix together 3 cups of flour and sea salt in a large glass bowl until incorporated. Add olive oil and yeast mixture and stir to mix. Slowly add remaining flour until dough ball forms. I like to add 1 cup to the bowl and then pour 1 cup out on the counter to mix in while kneading. Keep in mind, as always when working with flour, that you may need slightly more, or slightly less depending on humidity conditions and such.

Sandwich Buns: Cut

Knead for about 3 minutes or until dough is elastic. This means that if you poke it with your finger it bounces back. Once it is kneaded cut the dough into 12-14 pieces that are roughly the same size.

Sandwich Buns: Ready to Rise

Place on two baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and let rise for an hour or until roughly doubled in size.

Sandwich Buns: Risen, Brushed, Sprinkled and Read to Bake

Once the buns have risen preheat oven to 375 F. Next brush them gently with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

If you chose to use sesame seeds they'll look like this:

Sandwich Buns: With Sesame Seeds

If you chose not to top them they'll look like this:

Sandwich Buns: Without Sesame Seeds

Let cool and store in an airtight container for about a week. You could also freeze these for use later.

Notes: You can do many things with these buns. You can make them straight up, you can top them with sesame seeds, you could top them with dried onions and seeds to make an anything type bun, etc. What's not to like about something so versatile?

Posted by Dianne at 11:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 17, 2009

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread

When I think of Saint Patrick's Day one of the first things I think of is brown bread. I've had this recipe for years. I don't remember who gave it to me, or where they got it, but it's been a favorite of mine since I first tried it and everyone I have served it to has loved it as well. It's a simple, no kneading, quick, has a fabulous texture and is perfect hot or cold rustic loaf of bread.

This is also the perfect bread to introduce whole wheat flour to someone that might not be a fan (or think they aren't anyway) because the over all texture is so nice. If you're looking for an easy brown bread, then look no further...You've found it!

If you'd like some ideas about other Saint Patrick's Day type dishes then visit my Saint Patrick's Day set on Flickr from 2007 when we were celebrating our trip to Ireland, which later was canceled when life got in the way, but we had fun with the feast none the less!

ddspd2009

Now let's get down to some brown bread!

What You'll Need:
2 cups of whole wheat flour (Note: I like the King Arthur Flour version.)
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 3/4 cups of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large glass bowl stir together flours, baking powder and salt until mixed. Add buttermilk and stir until dough forms. (Note: You may need slightly less than the amount of buttermilk listed above or slightly more. It all depends on humidity and such.)

Form dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. You don't need to knead the dough, (isn't that a mouthful! ;oP) just shape it and go.

Irish Brown Bread: Ready to Bake

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Irish Brown Bread: Baked

Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: No notes for this one. It's pretty straight forward!

Posted by Dianne at 8:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 3, 2009

Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns: Yummy Bite

Before we found out Jamison couldn't have gluten cinnamon buns were one of his all time favorite breakfast foods. I keep trying to come up with a gluten free version that he would like, but so far I haven't had a lot of luck. We'll get back to that in a minute....

For me I was a sometimes cinnamon bun sort of girl. I would have one occasionally and enjoy it, but my ideal breakfast is something much lighter. I'm not much of a morning person truth be told and I prefer cereal or some sort of fruit to get things started. But as I said above from time to time though I would get the urge to indulge and lately I kept thinking about cinnamon buns and thinking about them a lot.

So I started thinking, but I felt guilty about making them because I didn't want to taunt Jamison. He however said I should just make them, so I did! And oh boy these were good! Who doesn't like a fresh, warm, fabulous cinnamon bun? Top them with a little cream cheese frosting and you've got the prefect, sinful breakfast sometimes treat!

Cinnamon Buns: Dough

What You'll Need for the Dough:
2 cups of warm water (Note: I just use warm tap water. You want it warm to the touch, but not hot.)
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons of yeast
2 teaspoons of sea salt
4-5 cups of unbleached bread flour

In a large glass bowl mix together water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until mixture is foamy. (Note: Sometimes it foams within a minute or two. When it's foamy you're good to go.)

Add sea salt into the foamy sugar/water/yeast mixture and stir to mix. Next slowly add flour until dough ball forms. (Note: As with any bread you might need only some of the flour, all of it or more. When dough forms stop adding flour.)

Turn dough ball out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. (Note: You want to knead just until the dough is elastic. You don't have to knead it for a long time.)

Now you're ready for the next step....Finishing the buns!

Cinnamon Buns: Ready for Cream Cheese Icing

What You'll Need to Finish the Buns:
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
Cinnamon

First you want to roll out your dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick:

Cinnamon Buns: Ready for Butter

Next you want to brush the surface of the dough with melted butter and then sprinkle with sugar and then cinnamon:

Cinnamon Buns: Cinnamon and Sugar

Then you want to start to roll the dough on one of the long sides:

Cinnamon Buns: Starting to Roll

Keep rolling until the dough is completely rolled:

Cinnamon Buns: Rolled and Ready to Slice

Next using a serrated knife, cut the dough into slices roughly 3/4ths to 1 inch thick:

Cinnamon Buns: A Slice

Place slices on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat:

Cinnamon Buns: Ready to Rise

Set baking sheet in a warm place (I like to put them in the oven with the light on) and let rise until roughly doubled in size:

Cinnamon Buns: Risen

After the buns have risen preheat oven to 350 F. (Note: If you use your oven as your rising spot, be sure and take the buns out BEFORE you preheat!) Bake for 25-20 minutes or until golden brown:

Cinnamon Buns: Baked

You can eat these plain OR you can frost with cream cheese frosting. (See below.)

Cinnamon Buns

What You'll Need for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add sugar and mix until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and stir until just mixed. Use immediately.

Notes: Sometimes I use natural brown sugar instead of organic cane sugar. You can use as much, or as little, cinnamon as you like. I normally use 2-3 tablespoons at least.

Posted by Dianne at 8:16 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 18, 2009

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

I love Red Lobster. Well actually I love seafood and sometimes I like to go to Red Lobster and while their seafood is ok (I prefer going to Phillips here in Maryland, specifically the Annapolis location! Though looking at their website Annapolis doesn't appear to be listed there anymore, so perhaps it closed? I haven't been over to Main Street in Annapolis in a year or so.) I have to admit that sometimes I want to go eat there simply for their garlic cheese biscuits!

Several years ago I decided that it couldn't be that hard to come up with something similar so I set to work. At first I used garlic salt, but it can tend to make the biscuits too salty overall. I finally settled on garlic powder and it works like a charm! The biscuits are light and tender and just the perfect savory bite! There is melted cheese throughout as well. These are just fabulous by themselves or with a dab of butter while still piping hot!

What You'll Need:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups of shredded cheddar (Note: I highly recommend shredding your own. They put some weird stabilizers in pre-shredded cheeses that cause them to not work quite as well. They will still work, but the results will be much better if you shred the cheese yourself.)
1 1/4 cups of buttermilk (Note: You may need a little more or a little less depending on humidity conditions when you are baking.)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, sea salt, garlic powder and baking powder until incorporated. Using a pastry cutter or a fork cut in butter until mixture is pebbly:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Butter

Next stir in cheese:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Cheese

You want to add the cheese before you add the liquid so that you can ensure that the cheese will be spread throughout the dough. It's nearly impossible to work the cheese in after you've made the dough without ending up with tough biscuits.

Next add liquid and stir until dough forms. The dough will be shaggy at this point, but will continue to come together in the next step.

Shape into a ball on a floured surface:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Ready to Roll

Next roll out dough with a floured rolling pin until about 1/2 an inch thick:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Ready to Cut

Using a floured glass or biscuit cutter cut biscuits and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Ready to Bake

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

This makes about 15 biscuits with the juice glass that I use to cut. How many it will actually make depends on the size of your cutter.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: The Inside

Notes: There are many variations that you can do with these. Sometimes I add in dried chives and/or parsley. You could omit the garlic and use dill instead. You could also make these using white whole wheat flour.

Posted by Dianne at 10:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 19, 2009

Better Bites: Whole Grain Banana Bread

Whole Grain Banana Bread

Banana bread...Most people like it...What's not to like? It's just the right mix of fruit, yet it still has that satisfying aura of bread. On the other hand, bread isn't something you want to over do. But who says you can't take a classic and make it better for you, by using natural, whole grain ingredients? And of top of that it's also sinfully easy to make! It's still not something you want to go overboard on, but this takes banana bread to a whole new, healthier level!

bbdd2

What You'll Need:
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup of natural brown sugar
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl mash or beat bananas until smooth. Next add sugar, eggs, vanilla and apple sauce to the bananas and mix until smooth. Add sea salt, baking powder and baking soda to the banana mixture an stir to mix. Slowly add flour and mix until just incorporated.

Whole Grain Banana Bread

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray add the batter. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes until bread is done through. Let sit in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then turn out to cool.

Notes: You can add 1 cup of nuts if you like.

Posted by Dianne at 8:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 6, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Today we're going to take a walk down the path of life backward, all the way back to Thanksgiving! Why the journey back in time? Because I haven't really blogged new recipes since this was made and this one was just too good not to share! In fact the recipes over the next few days will all be Thanksgiving throw backs, but trust me...You'll want to try them! Who says it has to be Thanksgiving to have a little dessert?

I'm a huge pumpkin fan. I have been for as long as I can remember. I look forward to the time of year when it's "acceptable" to pull out the pumpkin, though these days you can buy it in the can year round (and in fact this bread was actually made with the canned variety), or you could even make up some pumpkin and freeze it when pumpkin is in season to pull out for later use. Heck you could even make the actual bread and freeze it for later use! What's not to like about that?

The special touch to this bread is walnut oil and maple syrup. Both of the elements give the bread and very lovely undertone. This bread is perfect warm or even at room temperature. I love it for breakfast or a snack. I also think it would be neat to take it and make a French toast casserole, but I haven't put that idea to the test yet. For now let's get on with things and a get a little pumpkin bread baking!

What You'll Need:
1 - 29 ounce can of pumpkin (Note: NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
4 eggs
1 cup of natural brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 cup of roasted walnut oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Pumpkin Bread: Ready to Bake

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl cream together pumpkin, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Next stir in nutmeg, cinnamon, sea salt and baking powder until completely incorporated. Add oil and maple syrup and stir to mix. Last add flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter evenly between two loaf pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake in a preheated oven for one hour or until bread sticks done.

Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 15-20 minutes and then turn out onto a cotton towel and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Notes: If you are making this for someone with nut allergies obviously the walnut oil is a no no. You could substitute safflower or light olive oil instead. If you aren't dealing with nut allergies you could add in a cup of chopped walnuts too.

Posted by Dianne at 8:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 17, 2008

White Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls

White Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls

I love white whole wheat flour! You can use it pretty much cup for cup in place of white flour* and the results are fabulous! It's extremely easy to take something not so good for you and make it better with whole grain flour. Want a yeast roll that is a little better for you and ridiculously easy to make? Then look no further!

*I have yet to play around with white whole wheat flour in dessert type dishes, but I plan to in the near future. For bread though it works great!

White Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls: The Inside

What You'll Need:
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2/3-1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
1/4 cup of honey

In a large bowl stir together flour and salt until well mixed and set aside.

In a glass measuring cup mix 2/3rds cup of warm water with yeast and honey and let sit for 3-5 minutes until foamy. Add the flour mixture and stir until dough forms. (Note: If you need more water add it slowly until dough comes together.) Knead for about a minute in the bowl until dough is slightly elastic (Note: No need to turn it out onto the counter) and then form dough into golf ball sized circles and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet:

White Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls: Ready to Rise

Let the rolls rise in a warm place. (I usually do this in my oven with the light on) for about an hour or until rolls have risen:

White Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls: Risen

(Note: Whole grain flour isn't going to rise quite as much as white flour, but you should still see a change in size.)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Bake rolls for 12-18 minutes in preheated oven until golden brown. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container after cooled to room temperature.

Notes: This would be perfect on your Thanksgiving table!

Posted by Dianne at 8:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 26, 2008

Bread Week: Whole Grain Cheddar Beer Bread

Whole Grain Cheddar Beer Bread

So let's round out bread week with something cheesy shall we?

I love cheese breads. I've actually baked them in one form or another since I was young. There was a lady who attended the church that I did growing up that just loved cheddar cheese bread. From time to time I would bake some cheese bread to take to her. She always enjoyed it and I enjoyed making her day special. She was such a lovely person. One of those fabulous elderly people who had not grown bitter and hateful, but was happy and kind. I just adored her!

For a while now I had been wanting to play around with not only using beer as an ingredient, but also using a whole grain flour in place of white flour. The result was just fabulous! This bread is cheesy and surprisingly light despite the fact that there is no white flour in the bread itself. If you want something whole grain, yet a little decadent, then look no further!

ddbreadweek2008

3 cups of white whole wheat flour (Note: If you want you could use unbleached all purpose flour instead, but of course then it would not be whole grain.)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 cups beers

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, sea salt, baking powder and onion powder until completely mixed. Next stir in the shredded cheese so that it is incorporated throughout the flour mixture. Next slowly add beer and stop adding when thick batter forms.

Divide batter in half and pour into 2 bread pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes until bread is golden and done through. (You can usually tell by looking, but if you aren't sure you can test it like you would a cake with a toothpick.)

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Turn loaves out onto a cotton towel and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Whole Grain Cheddar Beer Bread

Notes: You can omit the onion powder and exchange it for garlic powder and add dill for a garlic dill cheese bread. You can also use buttermilk in place of the beer if you like.

Posted by Dianne at 8:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 25, 2008

Bread Week: Gluten Free Cornbread

Gluten Free Cornbread

What would bread week around here without a gluten free entry? My first thought was to make some gluten free cinnamon rolls, but I still haven't come up with anything that passes the test. I had high hopes with the Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuit dough, but it didn't really work out as I had hoped. I'll keep looking and trying a recipe for cinnamon rolls, but for now my next thought was cornbread.

I'll tell you upfront that Jamison isn't a huge fan of cornbread, but that didn't stop me from trying a gluten free version anyway. I knew though if I was going to get him to try it that it had to be a sweet version and this is what resulted. I thought it was fabulous and Jamison even thought it was ok and ate a couple of slices.

This is one of those breads that no one would even know was gluten free unless you just pointed it out. You could easily pass this one off to gluten eaters with no complaint! It would be just perfect for a picnic or a potluck, especially if you needed something sans gluten that would satisfy a crowd.

ddbreadweek2008

What You'll Need:
2 cups of stone ground yellow corn meal
1 cup of corn flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar (Note: The only way Jamison will eat cornbread is if it is sweet. If you like cornbread that isn't sweet then feel free to omit this.)
4 eggs
2 cups of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl stir together corn meal, corn flour, sea salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar until incorporated. Next add eggs and buttermilk and stir until completely mixed.

Pour into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown and done through. Slice and serve immediately.

Gluten Free Cornbread

Notes: If you wanted to make a Mexican cornbread you could add in 1 cup of sautéed onion, 1 cup of chopped, seeded tomato and 1/3 cup of chopped jalepeno or sautéed bell pepper. You could also add in corn kernels.

Posted by Dianne at 8:16 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

October 24, 2008

Bread Week: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: A Slice

I love cinnamon. Seriously, there is just something about it that makes me happy. That's weird, I suppose, but it's a definite favorite none the less.

As a child I loved cinnamon toast, but my cinnamon toast had a twist...There was no sugar on it! My version was simply bread, margarine (that's what my mom used when we were kids) and cinnamon. In fact I still eat it that way sometimes! Just thinking about it brings back all sorts of memories, but I won't bore you with that right now.

Let's get back to cinnamon shall we? Or more specifically cinnamon swirl bread!

For a while now I've want to try to make a cinnamon swirl bread. I knew the general concept was much like you roll cinnamon rolls, only you didn't slice the loaf. I was very impressed with how it came out! It was cinnamony, sweet and just perfect for breakfast. I think it would have made some fabulous French toast, had it lasted that long of course!

I made two loaves and Lex and I kept one and we gave the other to our neighbor as a thank you for mowing our grass. If you're a cinnamon lover then this is the bread for you!

ddbreadweek2008

What You'll Need:
1 cup of warm milk (Note: I usually put it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and then stir. You don't want it hot, just above lukewarm.)
4 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups of bread flour
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
Cinnamon
Sugar
Melted butter

Mix warm milk and yeast in a glass measuring cup and set aside until foamy. (This usually takes 1-4 minutes in a warm kitchen.)

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: Dough Ready To Roll.

While yeast is proofing, in a large bowl mix together flour, sea salt and sugar until completely incorporated. Slowly add the milk until dough ball forms. You may need all of the milk or some of the milk, flour is funny like that. It all has to do with humidity in the air and such. Once dough is formed turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes or until elastic.

This will make one large loaf or two smaller loaves. If you choose to do two smaller loaves then cut the dough in half now.

Next shape the dough into a rough square and roll out until about 1/4 on an inch thick:

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: Dough Ready for Sugar and Cinnamon

Make sure that the width of your dough doesn't get too much longer than the length of your bread pan.

Sprinkle the top of the dough generously with sugar and cinnamon:

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: Sugar and Cinnamon

And then roll the dough up into a roll and place into a bread pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: Ready to Rise

Next place the pan(s) in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size.

Once loaf(ves) are risen preheat oven to 350 F.

Gently brush each loaf with melted butter:

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: Risen and Buttered

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove loaf gently from pan and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: Baked and Cut

Notes: If you make a single loaf it has more height and swirls, but two loaves turn out nicely too. You could also add raisins in before rolling the loaf if you wanted to make a Cinnamon Raisin bread.

Posted by Dianne at 7:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 23, 2008

Bread Week: "Bear" Bread

"Bear" Bread: Baked

If you've been a reader of Dianne's Dishes for a while, you know I'm all about letting kids be involved in the kitchen. Alexis has been involved in one way or another in the kitchen since day one. (You can read more about that in my FAQ section.)

One of my fondest childhood memories was baking "bear" bread. I think we baked it once or twice, but it was so much fun. I knew that when I had a child of my own I'd want to bake "bear" bread with them. I have my mom looking for the picture of the bear loaves now. If she finds it I'll have her scan it in so I can share it with you! But that's neither here nor there...

A while back when we were studying B in Miss G's lessons we baked bear bread. Get it? B...Bake...Bear...Bread...Oh never mind! ;oP Alexis had a blast! She's been wanting to do it again so I think we may make a pumpkin shaped loaf soon, or maybe we'll do a cat or a moon? Who knows? The point is, this is a very easy recipe to follow and kids really love the process!

There really isn't anything that is special about this bread, in fact you could make it with any bead dough that was shapeable. (You could really make any shape you wanted...I even made Santa bread one time!) The one I use though is really fabulous and has such a light airy texture. It's just perfect! Not only is the bear adorable, but it tastes good too! What's not to like about that?

ddbreadweek2008

What You'll Need:
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of water
4 - 4 1/2 cups of all purpose or bread flour, divided (Note: You can use white whole wheat flour instead if you prefer.)
4 teaspoons of yeast
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 eggs, beaten for the egg wash
Raisins for decoration

In a large bowl mix 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar and yeast until well incorporated. Set aside.

"Bear" Bread: Dough

Mix sour cream and water and heat to 110 F over low heat and check the temperature using a thermometer. Pour into bowl with flour mixture. Continue to add flour until dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes until dough is elastic.

Cut dough in half and then cut each half into separate pieces: 1 large piece for the body, 1 smaller piece for the head, 2 small circles for the arms, 2 small circles for the legs and finally 2 smaller pieces for the ears:

"Bear" Bread: Body Parts

Next assemble bear on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper:

"Bear" Bread: Arms and Legs

Shape the body first, then shape the head and lay it above the body. (Note: As long as the pieces are touching firmly they'll bake together. No need to man handle the dough or anything.) Then add the arms, legs and ears.

Once the bears body is assembled add raisins for eyes, ears, mouth and belly button:

"Bear" Bread: Ready to Rise

Mash the raisins slightly into

Posted by Dianne at 7:17 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

Bread Week: Honey Fruit Bread

Honey Fruit Bread: The Loaf

Around here I've always got over ripe bananas coming out of my ears. I put them in the freezer and then forget them, but sometimes I just need to space so I pull some out and set off to make bread. Don't get me wrong, regular old banana bread is fabulous, but sometimes it's just nice to take banana bread to a whole new level. So if you're going to that new level, why not go all out and make some fruit bread instead. This is just perfect for breakfast or a snack...If you like fruit try it and see!

ddbreadweek2008

What You'll Need:
2 peaches chopped
1 cup of blueberries
1/4 of a cup of organic cane sugar
3 bananas
4 eggs
1 cup of honey
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder
2 cups of unbleached flour or white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl toss peaches and blueberries with sugar and set aside.

Honey Fruit Bread: Ready to Bake

In a large bowl cream bananas, eggs, honey and yogurt until relatively smooth. Stir in salt, baking soda and baking powder until well mixed. Next add flour and stir until just mixed. Add peach/blueberry mixture and stir until incorporated. Pour into two bread pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Honey Fruit Bread: Baked

Bake for 50-60 minutes until loaves are golden brown and stick done.

Honey Fruit Bread: A Bite

Notes: You could use any type of fruit that you like for this bread. Strawberries would be really good, as would pineapple.

Posted by Dianne at 7:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 21, 2008

Bread Week: The Ultimate White Bread

Ultimate White Bread

The majority of bread that I eat is whole grain, but once in a while, it's just nice to have a big slice of good old white bread! This white bread is the ultimate loaf of bread. If you're looking for white bread perfection, then look no further...You've found it!

ddbreadweek2008

What You'll Need:
2 cups of warm water (Note: I just use warm tap water. You want it warm to the touch, but not hot.)
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar (Note: Next time I make this I'm going to use honey to see how it turns out.)
2 tablespoons of yeast
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cups of unbleached bread flour

Ultimate White Bread: Proofed Yeast

In a large glass bowl mix together water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until mixture is foamy.

Ultimate White Bread: Dough

Add sea salt and olive oil into the proofed sugar/water/yeast mixture and stir to mix. Next slowly add flour until dough ball forms. (Note: As with any bread you might need only some of the flour, all of it or more. When dough forms stop adding flour.)

Ultimate White Bread: A la Alexis: Kneading

Turn dough ball out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. (Note: Just until the dough is elastic. You don't have to knead it for a long time.) Cut dough in two and place each half into a bread pan that has been brushed with olive oil thoroughly to prevent sticking. (Note: I made one large loaf and let Alexis play with a smaller portion of the dough and make her own little round loaf. You could also make two regular sized loaves with this mix.)

Ultimate White Bread: Ready to Rise

Shape the loaves and place them into the oiled pans. Let rise in a warm place 20-30 minutes or until doubled in sized. (Note: As always I just place the dough in the oven with the light on. The light gives off just enough heat to make a nice, warm rising environment. Once dough is risen remove from the oven before preheating it.)

Ultimate White Bread: Risen

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place risen dough into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. (Note: Alexis' smaller loaf only took 20 minutes.) Remove pans from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on a wire baking rack.

Ultimate White Bread

Turn loaves out and let cool, covered with a towel for at least 20-30 minutes before cutting.

Ultimate White Bread: A la Alexis

Notes: All purpose flour would most likely work for this bread as well.

Posted by Dianne at 7:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 20, 2008

Bread Week: Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread

Making bread has a bit of a mystique to it, but it really shouldn't. It's one of those things that some people are terrified of, that they simply shouldn't be. Homemade is surprisingly easy and you just can't beat the flavor! You also can't beat the price...It's much cheaper to make your own! Plus you can control what goes into each loaf. Want a delicious whole grain bread? Then you can have it! Who says whole grain bread has to taste bland? Trust me...This one is fabulous!

ddbreadweek2008

What You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups of warm water
2 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 tablespoons of powdered milk
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of honey

Dissolve yeast in water and let sit for bout 5 minutes or until foamy.

In a large bowl stir together white whole wheat flour, whole wheat flour, sea salt, powdered milk and sunflower seeds until completely incorporated. Add olive oil, honey and yeast water until dough forms. (Note: Whole grain flours, just like more refined flours, react differently depending on humidity. You might need all of the water, or just some of it, or you might even need a bit more. Your dough should be firm, yet elastic. Don't worry if you add too much water...Just add flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough is good. If you get too much flour, then add water a tablespoon at a time in the same manner.)

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread: Dough

Turn dough out onto a floured surface (Note: Use either whole wheat or white whole wheat flour) and knead for 2-3 minutes until dough springs back when touched. Shape dough into a loaf and place into a bread pan that has been brushed with olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray:

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread: Ready to Rise

Let bread rise for an hour or so in a warm place until doubled in size:

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread: Risen

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until bread sounds hollow when tapped and is golden brown:

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread: Baked

Let rest in pan for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a cotton towel to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread: Ready to Slice

Notes: If you don't like sunflower seeds you can chop up some oats instead or even nuts.

Posted by Dianne at 7:51 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 6, 2008

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits

Jamison loves bread. While I can go days without even touching a single piece of bread, Jamison has always liked bread, in some shape or form, with every meal. When we discovered that he could not have gluten this changed.

The first weekend that we were dealing with the Celiac bomb as I like to call it, we tried out several pre-made gluten free baked goods and I have to say the results were not that stellar. Then we tried a few bread mixes in the bread machine that were ok and ultimately I ended up coming up with my own gluten free bread that I bake every week or so for Jamison's lunches. I've tried some gluten free roll type concoctions here and there, but they were ok, but not quite what either of expected and then came this gluten free buttermilk biscuit!

The first thing I was really surprised by was how easily it came together and how well the dough formed. I've never made a gluten free dough that was anywhere near comparable to a gluten dough in texture, but this one was pretty close and it even was able to be rolled! The most fabulous thing was that the texture held when baked! By simply starting with a dry gluten free base (which is simply the dry base for Jamison's gluten free sandwich bread) you open up infinite possibilities!

What You'll Need for the Gluten Free Baking Mix:
2 cups of sweet rice flour
1 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of sorghum flour
2 tablespoons of xanthum gum
2 teaspoons of sea salt

Mix together ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuit

What You'll Need for the Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits:
2 cups gluten free baking mix (see above)
3 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
Tapioca flour for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl add gluten free baking mix, sugar and baking powder and stir to mix. Add olive oil, eggs and buttermilk to the dry mixture and stir to form dough. Turn dough out onto a surface that has been dusted with tapioca flour and knead briefly to form ball (roughly 1 minute).

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits: Dough

Roll dough out to about an inch thick and dust a glass or cutter with tapioca flour and cut biscuits until dough runs out. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits: Read to Bake

Place in baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 8-15 minutes until biscuits are slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits: The Insides

Notes: Look at that inside texture in the picture above! How's that for fabulous? Next time I make these I think I am going to try to brush the tops with melted butter. They also kept for several days in an airtight container without drying out.

P.S. Don't forget to take this link and sign up for your chance to help me celebrate my birthday and win a $50 Williams Sonoma gift card!

Posted by Dianne at 8:54 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

August 22, 2008

Taste and Create XIII: Potato Rosemary Fougasse

Potato Rosemary Fougasse: Baked

For this month's Taste and Create I was paired with Pam from The Backyard Pizzeria and after looking through her blog I finally decided to make the Potato Rosemary Fougasse because I had never made a flat bread before and potatoes and rosemary...What's not to like? And I must say this did not disappoint! It was fabulous!

First off let's talk some dough!

Potato Rosemary Fougasse: Dough

If you've never made bread with potato in it before you have to try it! The potato gives the bread such a wonderful texture and the dough is just a dream to work with! I somehow forgot to add the brown sugar, but the bread turned out fabulously, so I didn't miss it!

Once I had the bread together I put it in a large bowl that had been oiled with olive oil to let it rise:

Potato Rosemary Fougasse: Ready to Rise

And I let it do its thing for about 45 minutes until it had risen nicely:

Potato Rosemary Fougasse: After First Rise

From there I divided the dough into one small ball and one large flat bread:

Potato Rosemary Fougasse: Ready for the Second Rise

I cut slits into the flatbread as you can see above. I also wanted to see how it would work as a smaller "bun" type deal and thus the smaller version as well, which I left untouched other than shaping.

After about 40 minutes the bread had risen to this:

Potato Rosemary Fougasse: Risen and Ready for the Oven

How gorgeous is that?

I baked it for about 23 minutes and it turned out great! I mean look at that crumb!:

Potato Rosemary Fougasse

Look at those lovely bits of rosemary throughout!

Let's take a little closer look at that shall we?

Potato Rosemary Fougasse: Up Close

Isn't that fabulous?

I was very pleased with this bread. I wish I had remembered it last night when my sister was here and we had salads, it would have been the perfect accompaniment! I'd like to make it again and play around with using White Whole Wheat flour in place of the white flour. I think it would work perfectly!

As always Taste and Create was so much fun. Be sure to stop over at the main site and see everyone else's contributions and stop over at the The Backyard Pizzeria for the actual recipe!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! A friend of mine who I haven't gotten a chance to spend a lot of time with lately is coming over on Saturday so that should be a blast! Other than that we're just relaxing! Check back later for What's For Dinner and then I'll see everyone on Monday!

Posted by Dianne at 7:21 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 14, 2008

Quick and Easy French Bread

Quick and Easy French Bread

A few weeks ago when Jamison's parents were here we had lasagna and I wanted a nice loaf (or two!) of bread to go with the meal. Running short on time in all the prep for Alexis' Tinkerbell cake and party I decided to just whip up some of my own!

This bread is quick and easy in that you literally just throw together the starter and let it sit all day, then you add more flour and shape it into loaves, slash, let it rise for thirty minutes to an hour and then bake. There is NO kneading what so ever! You could throw together the starter before you go to work and shape the loaves when you got home and you'd have delicious homemade bread ready when your meal was! How easy is that?

What You'll Need for the Starter:
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups of warm water

In a glass bowl mix together flour, salt and yeast until incorporated. Stir in hot water and let sit covered to proof at room temperature for 6-8 hours.

After about an hour you'll see bubbling action:

Quick and Easy French Bread: Proofing

After about 6 hours you'll see that the starter has proofed up the side of the bowl even further:

Quick and Easy French Bread: Proofed

When you get to this stage you're ready to proceed to making the actual loaves.

What You'll Need to Make the Loaves:
1 proofed starter (See above)
2-4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Slowly add flour 1 cup at a time stirring with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Your dough should look like this:

Quick and Easy French Bread: Dough

Depending on the humidity you may need some or all or the flour, or even need to add just a bit more. Bread is finicky like that, or more aptly flour is. Don't worry if you don't need to add all of the flour or even if you need a bit more than 4 cups. When you dough is soft and springy you'll know to stop.

Place the dough ball on a floured surface and then cut it in two and shape into two long loaves. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet:

Quick and Easy French Bread: Ready to Slash and Rise

Next comes slashing. I like to make the slashes on the top of the loaves BEFORE they rise. If you wait until after it has risen you take the risk of deflating your lovely loaves and let's face it who wants to do that? Using a very sharp knife place 3-4 slashes across the top of each loaf:

Quick and Easy French Bread: Slashed and Ready to Rise

Place sheet in a warm place to rise for thirty minutes to an hour. It took these loaves about thirty minutes to rise. I placed them in my oven with the light on. The light gives off just enough heat to make them rise nicely. When they have doubled in size as shown below you're ready to bake!

Quick and Easy French Bread: Risen

Once the loaves are risen preheat oven to 425 F.

Place the risen loaves into the preheat oven and spray with a few spritzes of water from a spray bottle. Repeat this process several times throughout the baking process. I like to spritz the loaves every 5-8 minutes while baking. It helps give a lovely crust.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until loaves are golden. Let cool 5 minutes and then they are ready to slice and serve!

Quick and Easy French Bread: Baked

Notes: I want to try this process in the near future with white whole wheat flour. Some might debate the term "quick" but in terms of actually making the loaves it is very quick. You can basically ignore the starter all day and then once you're ready to make the loaves throw the rest together. That's the very epitome of quick and easy when you're talking about bread! ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 7:02 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

July 2, 2008

Apple Raisin Sconey Muffins

Apple Raisin Sconey Muffins: Now With Drizzle

Apples and cinnamon...What a fabulous combination! Throw in some raisins and you've got a muffin that is begging to eaten! Top it with a little sugar drizzle and it becomes even better! This is the perfect muffin with or without topping when you need a little snack or even just want a delicious breakfast on the go!

Apple Raisin Sconey Muffins:

What You'll Need For the Muffins:
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of dried apples, chopped
1 cup of raisins, chopped
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of milk

Pre-heat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda until mixed. Next stir in sugar and cinnamon until incorporated. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry mixture until crumbly. Stir in apples and raisins until incorporated. Next stir in sour cream and milk until sticky batter/dough forms. Spoon dough into a muffin pan that has been lined with cupcake liners and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

What You'll Need For The Drizzle:
1 cup of powdered sugar
A few tablespoons of water

Drizzle over muffins right before serving.

Apple Raisin Sconey Muffins: The Yummy Inside

Notes: Chopped pecans or walnuts would be a fabulous addition to the muffins!

Posted by Dianne at 9:15 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 30, 2008

Gluten-Free Dinner Muffins

Gluten Free Dinner Muffins

Still on my quest to find a dinner "roll" for Jamison that is gluten-free. I've tried some of the recipes out there that are supposed to be to "die" for, but so far no dice. This recipe makes a quick, yeast free muffin and they are really quite good, however you would want to eat these the day you bake them or the next because after that they get kind of gummy and/or chewy.

What You'll Need:
2/3 cup of tapioca flour
3/4 cup of sweet rice flour
1 1/2 cups of sorghum flour
2 tablespoons of xanthan gum
2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
2 eggs
1 2/3 cup of buttermilk
1/3 cup of safflower oil

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl mix tapioca flour, sweet rice flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, organic cane sugar, sea salt and baking powder and stir until incorporated. Dump eggs, buttermilk and safflower oil into the dry mixture and stir until a sticky dough forms:

Gluten Free Dinner Muffins: Dough

Next spoon the "dough" into a muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Gluten Free Dinner Muffins: Ready To Bake

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes roughly 2 dozen muffins.

Notes: No notes for this one...Gluten-free baking is a pretty exact thing. If you tweak it you end up with a mess.

Posted by Dianne at 1:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 30, 2008

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: The Inside

Gluten free bread, whether commercially made, or made from scratch is largely hit or miss, especially when you are used to eating the glutenized equivalents. I've talked to several people who no longer can eat gluten and their reactions are largely hit and miss too. One person told me after not having gluten for years they still hadn't found a gluten free bread that was to their liking. Another told me that they had no problem switching over to gluten free breads and actually enjoyed their bread of choice. Jamison would squarely fall in the former category and not the latter and given he's a very picky eater (yeah I know) this bread journey has been an adventure in and of itself! I have to admit though he's been a very good sport.

Right after we found out that Jamison couldn't eat gluten we purchased a bread machine that has a gluten free setting and ironically the bread I ended up coming up with works better on the basic setting, than the gluten free one. What can you do? You do what works and in this case the basic setting is the one to go with.

This bread is really good for gluten free. It doesn't dry out after a day or two after some gluten free baked goods do. It has a very nice texture and a nice crumb too. The taste is also mild and it doesn't overpower what you're putting on your sandwich. We've been really pleased with this concoction and I bake a loaf every week or so so that Jamison has bread for his lunch to take to work. I have not tried it out in a conventional oven, though I intend to do that one day soon. So far we've just stuck to the bread machine because it's simple and I don't have to hover over the process. You just set it and go. If one of you gets adventurous and tries the conventional oven before I post anything about what might have occurred then let me know how your results turn out.

What You'll Need:
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of warm water
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons of powdered milk
1 tablespoon or organic cane sugar
2 cups of sweet rice flour
1 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of sorghum flour
2 tablespoons of xanthum gum
2 teaspoons of sea salt
4 teaspoons of yeast

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: Bread Machine

Into the well of your bread machine dump eggs through organic cane sugar. The machine will do the mixing for you so don't worry about stirring.

In a large bowl whisk or sift together sweet rice flour through sea salt until well incorporated. Once mixed dump the dry mixture on top of the wet ingredients. The machine will mix these together too. Dump yeast on top of the dry mixture and set the machine on the Basic 2 pound setting.

My machine also has a setting for light, medium or dark crust. If yours has this setting too then set it for medium. Start the machine and go back in and take a look between five and ten minutes to make sure that all the flour is incorporated. You may need to scrape down the sides of the well to make sure everything incorporates. I'm not sure why this is the case with gluten free breads, but I've had to do this with every loaf I've made even the mix I purchased. When the cycle is through and the bread has baked let it sit for 10 minutes in the machine and then remove the loaf from the pan and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

After the first mix and when you've scraped down the sides the dough will look like this:

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: Rising

The dough is very shaggy and makes a very rustic loaf.

After it has risen it will look like this:

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread: Risen

Still shaggy, but roughly doubled in size.

The top and sides turn a lovely brown:

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

And thus your have your finished loaf. It's moist and holds up well and is easily sliced with a bread knife. It's just perfect for sandwiches.

Notes: Make sure that you use sweet rice flour and not just plain brown or white rice flour. It really adds to the texture and taste of the bread. Also the tapioca flour helps retain the moisture and give you the tender crumb. You could most likely use all honey or all organic cane sugar and it should work fine. The olive oil also lends to the crumb and flavor. You could substitute safflower oil or something if you wanted, but I wouldn't recommend that substitution.

Posted by Dianne at 9:21 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

Banana Bread with Toasted Pecans

Banana Bread

Right before Grant was born my sister and I were discussing banana bread as I had a ton of bananas that were past eating stage, but just right for baking banana bread. She told me about a recipe that utilized toasted pecans, but I am really a sold on my adapted version of my mom's banana bread recipe and I think it's the best banana bread I've ever had, though the idea of the toasted pecans intrigued me. So what to do? I decided to toast some pecans and add them to my base recipe and I have to admit it was really good!

This recipe is a simple, quick solution that makes use of those bananas that are past their prime. The banana gives the bread such a lovely undertone, while the toasted pecans give it just the right punch. The best part is that the recipe makes two loaves so you have one for you and one to share or you can even freeze a loaf for later!

This bread is wonderful sliced right out the oven and it's also good at room temperature. You can eat it plain, spread on a little butter or even a little peanut butter and you've got a wonderful snack or even breakfast! What's not to like?

Banana Bread

What You'll Need:
6-8 very ripe bananas
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of safflower oil or unsweetened apple sauce (Note: The apple sauce would make it healthier all while helping hold together the bread as the oil does. I make it with oil sometimes, but for the most part I utilize the apple sauce instead.)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (Note: You can use white whole wheat flour if you like. This batch was made with all purpose flour, but normally I use the white whole wheat flour instead.)
2 cups of pecans, chopped and toasted

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In the bowl of a mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat bananas until smooth.

Next add sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil or apple sauce to the bananas and mix until smooth.

In a large bowl sift or whisk together flour, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix dry ingredients in with the banana mixture and stir until mixed. Set aside.

Banana Bread: Toasted Pecans

In medium sized skillet add chopped pecans and toast in a dry pan over medium heat until they turn slightly brown and you begin to smell their nutty flavor. Add nuts to the batter and stir to mix throughout.

Banana Bread: Ready for the Oven

Spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray and half the batter between the two pans. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes until bread is done through. Let sit in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then turn out to cool.

Banana Bread

Makes two loaves.

Banana Bread

Notes: For an added bonus you can stir in chocolate chips or raisins or even blueberries. You could also use a different type of nut. It's all up to you and your tastes.

Posted by Dianne at 7:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 29, 2008

Daring Bakers February 2008 Challenge: Julia Child's French Bread

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: The Inside

This month's challenge was hosted by Mary from The Sour Dough and Sara from I Like To Cook and they chose Julia Child's French Bread and let me tell you the finished product is to die for! I ended up baking one batard and two round loaves and I was very pleased with the result.

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: Baked

Up front I have to admit I've never really been a huge fan of Julia Child. I saw her as a child on television here and there and I knew she cooked, but she never really made that much of an impression on me. I know there are a lot of food bloggers out there that were big fans however and when this challenge was announced they were thrilled. The Julia factor didn't mean that much to me personally, but when I found out we were making French Bread however I was ecstatic! I mean homemade French Bread...What's not to love??

I've always wanted to try to make homemade French Bread, but just never got around to making any. I took one look at the recipe and its length and then coupled with some of the chatter from some of the other Daring Bakers I began to feel a bit of apprehension, but that apprehension was completely unfounded. The recipe, while in-depth, was actually quite uncomplicated and straight forward, though honestly it was time consuming, but in the end the effort was well worth the results.

The recipe said to let the bread rest for several hours before cutting into it, but we ended up enjoying one of the round loaves right out of the oven and it was heavenly! The bread was very good the next day reheated as well, but there is just something about bread right out of the oven and I actually liked it best freshly baked, but again it was really good the next day too, so you wouldn't really be cheating yourself by waiting.

I baked my loaves on my Silpats and I also placed a dish of water in the oven before preheating it to make a nice, moist baking environment. Another trick I used was spritzing the loaves with water with a spray bottle a couple of times both before baking and during the first ten minutes of the baking cycle. I also spritzed them once after removing them from the oven. I do this when I bake sour dough bread (minus the last spritz once out of the oven) and it just creates an unbeatable crust and helps the bread itself as it's baking.

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: Baking

The round loaves would be just perfect to hollow out and use a bread bowl for soup, chili or stew. They could also be used to serve dips or something of that nature at a party or pot luck for a little extra pizazz and flare. Most of all they could just be eaten as is, because after all we are talking homemade French Bread here and what's better than homemade bread! ;o)

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: Round Loaf

The batard, the long loaf, turned out just how you would expect a loaf of French bread to turn out. Jamison actually enjoyed some of this the next night with a little butter to accompany his spaghetti. The round loaves were impressive, but the long loaf was really just beautiful. The way it baked, the slits just split perfectly, the crumb was gorgeous and I had no complaints whatsoever.

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: Batard

The dough itself was just gorgeous too. This is before the first rise:

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: Dough

It was supple and very smooth.

The next picture is after the first rise:

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: After First Rise

There were lovely little gas bubbles throughout the dough. You can see one of them poking out there on the back side.

Another element I really liked about the bread was the crumb as I mentioned above. It was so light and airy, yet it had a substance to it as well.

Daring Bakers Challenge February 2008: French Bread: The Inside Close Up

As I mentioned above the recipe is quite detailed. Instead of putting it here I'll just let you visit Mary and/or Sara and see the details there. Thanks ladies for a great challenge! Also don't forget to stop by the Daring Baker's Blog Roll and see how the other ladies and gentleman's loaves turned out.

I can't wait to see what next month's challenge brings! :o)

Posted by Dianne at 6:48 AM | Comments (31) | TrackBack

December 10, 2007

Banana Carrot Bread

Banana Carrot Bread

Most everyone liked freshly baked breads and that makes them the perfect holiday gift! Bread doesn't have to be your standard white bread either. You can do all sorts of things with various fruits, veggies and grains! Throw in some nuts and you've got a wonderful loaf that makes a gift that bread lovers will love to receive.

This recipe is wonderful in that it makes two loaves, so you have two to share, or one for yourself and one to share. You can even make muffins instead of loaves and have a few dozen muffins to share! This is also one of those breads that freezes beautifully so you can make it now and share it later or pull it out for a special holiday breakfast. No matter what you do if you like bananas and carrots, or know someone that does, then this is the bread for you!

What You'll Need:
5 bananas, mashed
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of natural brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups of flour (Note: You can use whatever type of flour you want. All purpose, white whole wheat, whole wheat, etc.)
2 cups of carrots, shredded
2 cups of pecans, chopped (Note: Measure two cups of pecans and then chop them)
1 cup of raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl mashed bananas. Add sugars, eggs and vanilla and mix until creamed. Stir in sea salt, baking powder and baking soda until just mixed. Next add flour and mix until just incorporated. Stir in carrots, nuts and raisins and pour batter into two loaf pans that have been greased or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour until bread sticks clean.

Banana Carrot Bread

Notes: If you want you can add in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg to the mix. You could also "frost" the loaves with cream cheese icing for a more cake like gift. The texture of this bread is amazing. It's moist and the bits of fruit and nuts add just the right touch.

Posted by Dianne at 12:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 26, 2007

Daring Bakers: Tender Potato Bread

daringbakerlogo1.JPG

I have joined the Daring Bakers and this months challenge was Tender Potato Bread! The recipe is from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid and was given by this month's host Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups.

Now let's talk about the bread itself! This truly is a delicious bread! You simply have to try it! It can be made into so many different things and nothing is better than a versatile recipe! ;o) Tanna's directions are below and my notes follow.

Tender Potato Bread Sliced

What You'll Need:
4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks. (Tanna Note: For the beginner bread baker I suggest no more than 8 ounces of potato; for the more advanced no more than 16 ounces. The variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold, there are others.)
4 cups(950 ml) water, reserve cooking water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups (1 kg to 1350g) unbleached all-purpose
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (130g) whole wheat flour

Making the Dough (Directions will be for making by hand):

Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.

Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well. (Tanna Note: I have a food mill I will run my potatoes through to mash them.)

Measure out 3 cups(750ml) of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F/21 - 29°C) – stir well before testing the temperature – it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.

Add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.

Tender Potato Bread Yeast Stage

Note about Adding Yeast: If using Active Dry Yeast or Fresh yeast, mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mix and allow to rest several minutes. If using Instant Dry Yeast, add yeast to 2
cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.

Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.

Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated.
(Tanna Note: At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe.)

Tender Potato Bread After Frist Knead

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; use
a dough scraper to keep your surface clean. The kneaded dough will still be very soft. Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Tender Potato Bread After First Rise

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.

Tender Potato Bread Ready for the Pan

Forming the Bread:
Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other). Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.

To shape the large loaf:
Butter a 9 x 5 x 2.5 inch loaf/bread pan. Flatten the larger piece of dough on the floured surface to an approximate 12 x 8 inch oval, then roll it up from a narrow end to form a loaf. Pinch the seam closed and gently place seam side down in the buttered pan. The dough should come
about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until puffy and almost
doubled in volume.

To make a small loaf with the remainder:
Butter an 8x4X2 inch bread pan. Shape and proof the loaf the same way as the large loaf.

To make rolls:
Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.

To make focaccia:
Flatten out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some rosemary leaves, if you wish and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.

Baking the bread(s):

Note about baking order: bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf; bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.

Note about cooling times: Let all the breads cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Rolls can be served warm or at room temperature.

For loaves and rolls:
Dust risen loaves and rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Slash loaves crosswise two or three times with a razor blade or very sharp knife and immediately place on the stone, tiles or baking sheet in the oven. Place the rolls next to the loaf in the oven.

Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes. Bake the small loaf for about 40 minutes. Bake the large loaf for about 50 minutes.

Transfer the rolls to a rack when done to cool. When the loaf or loaves have baked for the specified time, remove from the pans and place back on the stone, tiles or baking sheet for another 5 to 10 minutes. The corners should be firm when pinched and the bread should
sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

For foccaia:
Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a no edged baking/sheet (you want to be able to slide the shaped dough on the parchment paper onto the stone or baking sheet and an edge complicates things). Place the stone or cookie sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F/230°C.

If making foccacia, just before baking, dimple the bread all over again with your fingertips. Leaving it on the paper, transfer to the hot baking stone, tiles or baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack (remove paper) and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Tender Potato Bread

Dianne's Notes: First off this recipe simply makes a very beautiful dough. It's just perfect!

The recipe said to bake for almost an hour at 400 F. The bread was done after 30 minutes and if I had left it in the oven for an hour it would have been burned to a crisp. If I made this again I would drop the temperature to 350 F and bake for about 45-50 minutes instead of the higher temperature.

On the potato front I ended up with twice what I needed. I think two potatoes would be more apt to the amount needed, but as Tanna mentioned it all is in your perception of what a medium potato might be and I'm sure everyone would look at that differently.

I ended up baking two loaves of bread. A big one and a small one. I braided the bigger one, but it was hard to see in the baked outcome. The smaller loaf was "prettier", but it all tastes the same in the end! ;o)

I would like to try it with one of the more "healthy" potatoes such as sweet potatoes or blue potatoes to see how it would turn out. I would also like to try it with all whole wheat or white whole wheat flour instead of using white flour.

That was fun! I can't wait to see what December's challenge brings! ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 4:40 PM | Comments (32) | TrackBack

November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Yummy: Maple Pumpkin Bread

Maple Pumpkin Bread

Oh my what a day, what a DAY! I don't think I've made an entry this late in the day (or night as the case may be! ;o)) since I started Dianne's Dishes, but that's neither here nor there. Let's get on to the Thanksgiving recipe instead, shall we? ;o)

Even on Thanksgiving you've simply got to eat breakfast! Why not go with a pumpkin theme? Mmmmm Pumpkin! Maple Pumpkin Bread is just the thing to get the day started off on a holiday note. This bread is simple, quick and delicious! The best part is that you can make it ahead of time and simply enjoy a leisurely breakfast before all the joy and thankfulness! ;o)

What You'll Need:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour OR white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice mix
1 1/4 cup of natural brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
1 - 15 ounce can of pumpkin (Note: NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (Also know as pepitas)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl mix flour through pumpkin pie spice mix, along with 1 cup of brown sugar and stir to mix. Add maple syrup through pumpkin and stir to mix thoroughly. Stir in nuts and pumpkin seeds until incorporated. Pour batter into 2 greased or sprayed loaf pans. Sprinkle the batter with 1/4 cup of brown sugar spread evenly between the two loaves.

Maple Pumpkin Bread Ready for the Oven

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool to the touch before removing the loaves from the pans. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Maple Pumpkin Bread

Notes: You could easily make this batter as muffins. They would most likely bake for 12-15 minutes or until they stick done. You could also add in a cup of raisins or use another type of nut. 2 cups of chopped apple would be a nice addition as well. You can serve it right out of the oven OR you can freeze it for up to six weeks and thaw before using. You can even top a slice with a little peanut butter...It sounds weird, but it's great so what are you waiting for? ;o)

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November 8, 2007

Batter "Muffins"

Batter Muffins

I've been experimenting lately with breads that don't require yeast. Sometimes it's just nice to whip up a batch of something without having to wait for proofing and rising and such. These "muffins" are quick, easy and delicious. They are just perfect as a complement to a quick week night meal!

What You'll Need:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
2 eggs
1-1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar with a spoon until incorporated. Add eggs and enough milk to make a thick batter. (Note: Due to humidity you may need more or less milk. Eyeball it. You want the batter to be much thicker than pancake batter, but not quite dough like.) Spoon batter into a muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray filling each cup 3/4ths of the way full. Bake for 10-12 minutes until "muffins" are golden brown.

Notes: You could add in 1/3 cup of chives and 1 cup of cheddar for Cheddar Chive "Muffins". You could even add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or salt as well, but if you choose garlic salt, omit the sea salt from the recipe above.

Posted by Dianne at 9:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 30, 2007

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Herb Bread

Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Herb Bread

Nothing beats home baked bread. It tastes heavenly and it doesn't have all those nasty preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or trans-fats! If you have a bread maker it's even easier! By utilizing whole grains and natural sweeteners you can make a killer loaf of bread that isn't so bad for you.

What You'll Need:
1 1/4 cup evaporated skim milk
1/3 cup of warm water
1 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of honey
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil (optional)
1 teaspoon of dried thyme (optional)
4 teaspoons of yeast
1 tablespoon of wheat germ
1 tablespoon of wheat bran
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
1/2 cup of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

Dump ingredients into a bread maker and set to the 2 pound whole wheat cycle.

If you wanted it would be simple to make this bread the traditional way too. Mix the ingredients until the dough forms. Let rise in a greased bread pan for 1 hour. Preheat you oven to 375 F and bake until golden brown (approximately 30-40 minutes).

Notes: You can use any herbs you like. 2 tablespoons of chopped dry rosemary and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for Garlic Rosemary bread. You could add in a couple of tablespoons of dill and a cup or so of cheddar for a lovely Cheddar Dill Bread.

Posted by Dianne at 7:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 24, 2007

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Honey Wheat Banana Muffins

This recipe is a healthier take on my Mom's traditional Banana Bread recipe utilizing whole grains and natural sugars. The great thing is that in muffin form it's also quick and easy! They are good hot right of the oven or cold the next day. If you like banana muffins then these are the way to go!

What You'll Need:
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup of honey
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup pecans, chopped (Note: You can use any nut you like or even omit them.)
2 cups of white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream bananas, honey, eggs and apple sauce until relatively smooth. (Note: A few banana chunks here and there is not a bad thing.) Add remaining ingredients, except flour and mix well. Stir in flour until just incorporated.

Scoop out into a muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or has liners and bake from 12-15 minutes until golden brown and muffins stick done.

Makes approximately 24 muffins.

Notes: You can add in a cup of other fruits along with the bananas if you like such as peaches or blueberries. You can also add in a cup of peanut butter for a different twist.

Posted by Dianne at 7:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

Lazy Weekend

We had a very lazy weekend this weekend. It was fabulous! I also took a break from cooking. I know, I know...Me not cooking? Scandalous isn't it? ;o)

Here's a couple of picture of the rolls I made on Friday before my cooking strike. I found a recipe for Parker House Rolls over at Dine and Dish and decided to try them and oh my they were heavenly!

The dough was beautiful!

Parker House Roll Dough

It was elastic and wonderful! Truly some of the best dough I've worked with!

And the rolls turned out beautifully too!

Parker House Rolls

They rose perfectly and continued to grow while they were in the oven!

And the inside...

Parker House Rolls

The inside was light and airy! Delicious!

Now the basics of what I did. I halved the recipe and it made about 15 rolls. I also let my mixer do the last kneading step with just the regular paddle attachment for 2 1/2 minutes on low instead of 10 by hand. I cut the rolls, but didn't fold them. I just left them to rise and then brushed them with butter before baking. I'll definitely be making these again!

I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe and such. My cooking strike is over! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend as well. I know I did!

Posted by Dianne at 10:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 1, 2007

Fried Buttermilk Chicken and Biscuits

Fried Buttermilk Chicken

It would appear I'm on a southern food kick this week! It must be this god awful heat that is making me think of childhood comfort food from Tennessee! ;o) Fried Chicken is the very epitome of what you think about when you think of southern cuisine. Throw in some Buttermilk Biscuits and mashed potatoes and you've got southern through and through!

What You'll Need For the Buttermilk Fried Chicken:
1 chicken, cut into pieces
1 quart of buttermilk
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
3 tablespoons of Vogue Cuisine Instant Vege Base Soup and Seasoning or vegetable bullion powder
Sea salt
Black Pepper
Oil for frying (I like safflower)

You can either buy the whole chicken cut up by your butcher or you can cut it up yourself. Either way, once it's in pieces wash chicken and pat dry. In a large container with a sealable lid place layer the chicken and cover with the quart of buttermilk. Place container in the fridge and leave it there for at least 24 hours.

When ready to make chicken heat oil to 350 F in a large skillet or stock pot. ( I prefer to use a stock pot...Less splashing and chance for burns!) Preheat oven to 425 F.

While oil is heating mix together flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and Vogue Cuisine Instant vege Base Soup and Seasoning and place in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Then dredge each piece in the flour mixture to cover completely. Place directly into heated oil and cook until each piece is golden brown turning once or twice to ensure all sides are browned.

Fried Buttermilk Chicken Frying

Place fried chicken on a baking sheet that is topped with a cookie wrack or a broil pan with top and bake for 10-12 minutes to make the chicken crisp. Drop heat to warm (about 170 F) and leave chicken in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

Fried Buttermilk Chicken

Notes: The larger the piece the longer the frying time. It takes roughly 7-10 minutes per side for a large breast piece. A wing takes about 2-3 minutes per side. Watch the color and you want it to just be golden. You also don't want to completely cover the chicken with oil. You just want it to come up the sides of each piece. 2-3 inches of oil is usually what you're looking for. Fried Chicken also makes a good picnic food the next day cold.

Buttermilk Biscuits

I decided to change my regular biscuit recipe a bit and play around with it a little. This was the result...I was very pleased!

What You'll Need For the Buttermilk Biscuits:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 stick of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk (Note: You made need more or less depending on humidity. Add slowly and once the dough forms stop!)
Melted butter for brushing, optional

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and sea salt into a large bowl or into the bowl of your food processor. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or the food processor until crumbly. Add buttermilk and stir until just mixed. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out the dough and cut into biscuits using a glass or biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Let the biscuits sit for 20-25 minutes and rest. Then brush with melted butter if desired and baked for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Posted by Dianne at 9:49 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007

Yeast Rolls

This morning when I was perusing my daily RSS feeds I came across this recipe on the food blog called What Geeks Eat.

Yeast Roll

Oh.

My.

Gosh!

These are so good! I didn't have any milk so I used a pint of half and half instead. I also only used a teaspoon of salt, instead of two. Jamison thought they needed a bit more sugar, so I may experiment with that next time, but personally I think they were good as is! Alexis liked them too!

And the dough...

Yeast Roll Dough

The dough is soft and supple and is a joy to work with!

The rolls also rise up like a dream...

Yeast Rolls Rising

And they almost double in size when baked!

If you get a chance try these rolls! They are extremely simple to make and I think you'll love them!

Posted by Dianne at 8:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 6, 2007

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

This recipe is quick and easy! It's a great way to get rid of those bananas that are bit too ripe! Who doesn't have a few of those lying around? ;o)

What You'll Need:
1/2 cup of safflower oil or unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (or nuts of your choice), optional
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat together bananas, sugar, eggs and apple sauce. Add remaining ingredients, except flour and mix well. Stir in flour until just incorporated.

Pour batter into a loaf pan or muffin pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake loaf for 1 hour or until loaf sticks done. Bake muffins for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 1 loaf or about 24 muffins.

Banana Bread

Notes: You can add a cup of raisins or chocolate chips to mix it up a bit. As stated in the recipe any type of nut will work as well. Blueberries would make a nice addition or peaches, for a multifruit loaf. As always play around with it...You never know what you might come up with! ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 1, 2007

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread is one of those things that immediately sounds delicious if you're in to such things. There are many variations of this bread, but my recipe is an adaptation of my mom's Banana Bread. I've even seen recipes that called for chocolate chips! The possibilities are endless, but anyway you slice it (yeah I went there again! ;op) it's delicious!

What You'll Need:
2 large zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup of safflower oil or unsweetened apple sauce
2 eggs
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup of raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat together oil (or apple sauce) and sugar. Stir in eggs and zucchini. Add remaining ingredients and place batter into one prepared loaf pan. Bake for 35-30 minutes or until golden brown and sticks done.

Zucchini Bread

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March 30, 2007

Yeast Muffins

Yeast Muffins

These are a staple around my household. Alexis and Jamison love them! I adapted the recipe from one of my Mom's recipes and I even tweak it to this day. You can add cheese and garlic to make garlic cheese muffins, or onions and rosemary for another twist. The possibilities are endless! They are quick, easy and delicious when you really want a yeast bread and fast! There is no rising process...What's not to like?

What You'll Need:
1 cup of warm water
1/3 cup of organic cane sugar
4 teaspoons of yeast
1 stick of butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of low-fat sour cream
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Mix yeast and sugar into water and let sit until foamy. (About 2 minutes.)

Melt butter in a large glass bowl and add yeast mixture and salt. Stir in sour cream and flour and mix well. Dough will not form into a ball. It's a very sticky type dough that resembles very thick pancake batter. Scoop into a muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 12 muffins.

Posted by Dianne at 6:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 19, 2007

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

I've always loved Irish Soda Bread and have made it several times over the years. This recipe is adapted from The Little Irish Baking Book by Ruth Isabel Ross. It's warm, hearty and oh so good!

What You'll Need:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
6 cups of whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 quart of buttermilk

Irish Soda Bread

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix all ingredients in a very large bowl until dough forms. Divide dough and shape into two large or 4 small round loaves. Cut an X on the top of each loaf and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Note: Smaller loaves will take less time. Check them 30 minutes into the baking process and keep an eye on them from there if they aren't done yet. They brown quickly, but the inside takes longer to bake.

Posted by Dianne at 9:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2007

Potato Soup With Buttermilk Biscuits

There's nothing like a warm, creamy, potato soup! It's comforting and oh so good! Throw in some buttermilk biscuits and you've got comfort food to a tee!

What You'll Need For The Potato Soup:

Potato Soup

3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 of a large leek, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of heavy cream
2 cups of skim milk

Peel 3 small potatoes and slice into rounds. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and mash. Set aside.

In a medium sized pot sauté onion, leek and celery until tender. Stir in cubed potatoes a little sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. Add butter and let melt. Once butter is melted stir in heavy cream and skim milk. Cook for 30 minutes and then stir in mashed potatoes to help thicken the soup. Cook for an additional 30 minutes and serve warm.

Pot Of Potato Soup

Makes 2-4 servings.

What You'll Need For The Buttermilk Biscuits:

Buttermilk Biscuit

3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of transfat free vegetable shortening
2 cups of buttermilk
Butter, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix flour, sea salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut vegetable shortening into the flour mixture. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Roll out dough with a rolling pin and cut biscuits with a glass or biscuit cutter. Place onto a baking pan that is lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Brush the tops with melted butter if desired. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Buttermilk Biscuits Baking

Makes about 15 biscuits.

Posted by Dianne at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2007

Homemade Loaf Bread

Homemade Loaf Bread: The Inside Goodness!

I've been making a lot of bread lately and it's true...Once you start making your own, the stuff you buy at the store just doesn't seem that appealing! This is an old recipe that I've had for years. I remember making it when I lived in Knoxville and I left there in 1997, so it's been a while. I believe I copied the recipe from my Mom's recipe box, but I can't remember for sure and of course being me I've adapted it over the years. Regardless it's extremely good! Try it...You'll like it! There's just nothing like freshly made bread right out of the oven!

What You'll Need:
4 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/4 cup of warm water
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 tablespoons of honey
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Mix yeast, water, butter, salt and honey and stir to mix. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until elastic. Place in an oiled bowl in a warm spot and cover. Let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour and let double in size.

Punch dough down and shape into a loaf. Place in a bread pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, cover and let rise again for 45 minutes to 1 hour and let the dough rise and fill the pan. (I have a larger bread pan and when I first put the dough in it doesn't "fit" the pan, but after it rises for a while it fills in nicely!)

Homemade Loaf Bread: Ready For The Oven!

Preheat oven to 375 F and bake for 30 minutes.

Homemade Loaf Bread

More bread to come. I'm trying to find one that Jamison adores, and anyone that knows him knows how picky he is! This one wasn't quite what he was looking for, though I liked it a lot! My goal is to not have to buy the nasty stuff at the store anymore! ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 8:45 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 26, 2007

Dianne's Take On Semolina Bread

Semolina Bread Sliced

A few days ago I came across this recipe for Semolina Bread and I knew I would have to try it! The below recipe is my adaptation. Even Jamison liked it! ;o)

Semolina Bread

What You'll Need For The Starter:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water
1 teaspoon dry yeast
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Mix water and yeast in a bowl and let sit until yeast foams. Add flour and stir until dough is incorporated. Dough will be sticky. Transfer starter dough into a large oiled bowl and let rise, covered overnight. (I usually let bread rise in my oven with the light on. It gives off just enough heat to make a wonderful raising area.)

What You'll Need For The Semolina Bread:
1 cup of starter
3 cups warm water
3 teaspoons dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
4 cups semolina flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl add 3 cups of warm water and add yeast. Let yeast sit until foamy. Add starter to yeast mixture (reserve left over starter in fridge to make bread again) and stir until it begins to dissolve. Sift together salt and flours. Add flour mixture to water mixture until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Place dough in a large oiled bowl and let sit for 45 minutes until 1 hour until doubled in size.

Semolina Bread Dough Rising

Punch down dough and cut into 4 pieces. Roll out once section of dough until it's flat:

Semolina Bread DoughRolled Flat

Then roll the flat dough into a tube:

Semolina Bread Dough Rolling

Semolina Bread Dough Rolled


Twist dough tube into a figure eight and place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper:

Semolina Bread Dough Shaped Into Curves

Brush with a beaten egg:

Semolina Bread Dough Curves With Egg Wash Rising

Top with sea salt and/or sesame seeds and/or herbs or leave plain with just egg wash:

Semolina Bread Dough Curves With Sesame Seeds Rising

Repeat procedure with other 3 pieces of dough.

Let shaped dough rise for 30-45 minutes until it rises again.

Preheat oven to 450 F and bake loaves for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Semolina Bread With Sesame Seeds And Kosher Sea Salt

Semolina Bread

Makes 4 small loaves, 2 medium loaves or 1 large loaf.

Posted by Dianne at 1:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 7, 2007

Butternut Squash Soup And Cheese Muffins

We woke up this morning with snow on the ground and on days like today I want to bake things and I want to make soup! I decided I wanted to make an old stand by of mine Butternut Squash Soup and then my mind flew to Cheese Muffins and I wondered how the two would go together. It turns out they compliment each other quite well!

Butternut Squash Soup

What You'll Need For the Soup:
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, cut into cubes
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large apple, cored and chopped
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
Coarse ground pepper
Pinch of sea salt
1 container of vegetable broth

Place veggies and apple in a large stock pot and pour in broth. Add water until the veggies and apple are just covered. Add salt and pepper. Bring ingredients to a boil over medium heat and cook until tender. Remove vegetables from broth, reserving the liquid. In a food processor or blender process veggies until smooth adding broth as needed to smooth out the mixture. (Normally no more than 1 cup of broth total).

Serve immediately.

Note: Leave the peels on the potatoes and apples for added vitamins. You can also add 3 or 4 garlic cloves if you like. It's a healthy, easy soup to play with and it's delicious!! I usually reserve the left over broth to make lentil soup or something later.

Cheese Muffins

For The Cheese Muffins:
1/2 cup of butter, melted
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups of buttermilk
2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, etc.), divided

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix melted butter, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and milk until a very sticky dough forms. Stir in 2 cups of shredded cheese and stir until incorporated. Spoon into a muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and put a little cheese on the top of each muffin. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 20 muffins.

Note: You can add in garlic salt with parsley or garlic powder and they taste very similar to the garlic cheese biscuits they serve at Red Lobster.

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February 6, 2007

Bread Machine Brown Bread

Brown Bread

I love brown bread! The darker the better in fact! I was recently very surprised to learn that the flour is not what makes the bread brown, but in fact the addition of unsweetened cocoa (no you didn't read that wrong...COCOA!) and/or coffee are what do the trick! I even asked a local baker what they used and their reply was "You won't believe me, but cocoa!" So I knew the recipes I was finding must not be off, though at first I was convinced that there were a lot of typos out there! ;o)

My pumpernickel flour has not arrived yet, but I decided to try a dark rye bread instead. This recipe is an adaptation from page 94 of the book "The Cook's Encyclopedia Of Bread Machine Baking" by Jennie Shapter entitled "Russian Black Bread". I switched some things around and did not add the coffee, because well I was afraid it would taste like coffee and who wants that? (Not me!) The Cocoa however surprisingly does not make the break taste like chocolate.

The bread is very hearty and soft. It's perfect! And I'm really beginning to believe the old adage if you make you own bread you won't want the stuff that comes from the store. It just tastes better!

Brown Bread

What You'll Need:
Almost 1 2/3 cups of water
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons of honey
1 1/4 cups of rye flour
3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons of wheat bran
3/4 cup of bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast

Place in your bread maker's pan and set to the whole wheat cycle. (I used the 2 pound whole wheat rapid cycle). Sit back, let it do it's thing and in a few hours you'll have a scrumptious loaf of brown bread!

Posted by Dianne at 2:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 1, 2007

Everyone's Doing It: No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread Baked

For a while now I've been reading with interest the buzz around the food blogs concerning a no knead bread recipe that was published in the New York Times. The recipe is adapted by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery and I decided that it sounded good and had to be tried. The results were excellent!

My next endeavor is going to be figuring out a whole wheat version, as well as a dark pumpernickel version, but for now I share with you the basic white no knead bread! It's super easy. What's not to like?

What You'll Need:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water

Mix the ingredients together in a large dish and cover with a towel or saran wrap and sit in a warm place for 12-20 hours. (I've done two loaves and have let one sit 18 hours and one about 19.5.) I usually just put the dish in my oven with the oven light on. The light makes enough heat to make a nice rising place.

After it has risen it should look something like this:

No Knead Bread After 18 Hours

This is a sitcky dough so don't let that make you think something is wrong. It isn't. It should be sticky.

Using a little bit of flour or corn meal turn the dough out onto a flat surface and fold over once. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

At this point I deviated a bit from the recipe after the first go around. The recipe calls for taking a cotton towel (not terry cloth) and placing it in a bowl. Then you are supposed to cover the towel in flour and place the folded dough into the towel lined bowl. I did this the first time and the dough stuck to the towel . It wasn't pretty! It was a mess! So the next time I made it I lined my bowl with aluminum foil and sprayed it with a little non-stick spray. That worked MUCH better!

Let dough rise in the line bowl for about 3 hours. After 3 hours it should look something like this:

No Knead Bread Second Rise

After the dough has risen for 3 hours you need to preheat your oven to 450 F WITH the bowl/pot you plan to bake the bread in in the oven. I used a Pyrex dish with a lid. I've seen it done in cast iron skillets or pots. It's up to you. I only heated the dish and not the lid.

Once the oven and dish/pot is preheated then remove the dish and dump the bread dough into the hot dish/pot carefully. Shake it around a couple of time with a pot holder to settle the dough. It may look lumpy, but don't worry it will all work out in baking. Put the lid on the dish/pot and bake for 30 minutes. Do NOT grease the pan. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but trust me it works!

At the end of 30 minutes take the lid off of your dish/pot and let the bread continue to cook for 15-20 more minutes or until browned.

You'll end up with a crusty, hearty white bead that is to die for!

No Knead Bread: The Inside

At first when I saw this recipe, though everyone kept going on and on about how simple and good it was I hesitated due to the fact you have to let it sit so long the first rise. The best thing to do is mix it up in the afternoon and let it rise over night and then begin in the morning. It's really quite easy and it's really quite good! Try it...You'll love it!

Posted by Dianne at 2:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack