Instant-Potato Bread, page 66, August 23, 2017

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I am craving a hearty, simple loaf of bread and came upon this recipe as I perused the cookbook.  I usually like potato breads, and have everything on hand, so this is the winner.   The author comments that she used to avoid the use of instant potato flakes in her bread baking until being introduced to this recipe.  Now she always keeps a box of instant mashed potatoes on hand.

One thing mentioned in the recipe description is that potatoes stimulate yeast. As a result this tends to be a high-domed loaf of bread.  I’ve had one or two issues in the past with bread rising too much and hitting the top of my machine, and will be sure to keep an eye on this.  Another note about working with the potato flakes is that they will quickly absorb liquid. To avoid  a dry dough ball, be sure to add the flour to the liquid ingredients first.  This separation ensures that the potatoes will not soak up too much of your liquid ingredients while you’re measuring and adding the flour.

Into my bread machine pan I added 1 1/2 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of instant buttermilk.  (If you are using fresh buttermilk, change measurements to 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup buttermilk.) Next, I added 2 tablespoons, each, of olive oil and dark honey.  Following the author’s suggestion, I next added 3 cups of bread flour, followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten, 1/2 cup instant potato flakes and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

I am using the basic cycle and medium crust setting.  The cookbook mentions that the dough ball, when tested, should be nicely formed, slightly sticky and stiff.  The stickiness it to be expected so there is no need to add additional flour.  ( The potato flakes will continue soaking up moisture during the rises.)

There is another note in the cookbook that I would like to share.

“This loaf can be baked on the Quick Yeast Bread cycle since the potatoes encourage the yeast.  (See your manufacturer’s manual for guidelines for adjusting the quantity of yeast when using this cycle.)”

As a reminder, the above quote is referring to the “Quick YEAST Bread” cycle, which is not the same as a “Quick Bread” cycle.

The loaf cratered again, but that didn’t affect the flavor.  This bread has a dense, moist interior with a crunchy golden crust.  Flavor-wise, it nicely combines honey sweet with buttermilk tang.

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Peasant Bread, Page 199, August 7, 2017

This loaf is referred to in the cookbook as “a simple country bread.”  Instead of butter, this recipe uses olive oil as the fat element, so it is considered a “lean” bread.   Ms. Hensperger notes that the final product will vary slightly depending on the type of olive oil you use.  French is acidic and fruity, Spanish, smooth with an olive flavor, Greek is thick and robust while Italian is fruity and clean.  I am varying the recipe a bit more by using a rosemary-infused Greek olive oil I have on hand.

Into the bread pan, I placed the following:

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 1/4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon gluten

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

The dark crust and French bread settings are recommended.  However, it is noted that you can use the basic cycle provided you stop the machine after the second knead, unplug it, and start the cycle again, which will allow the addition knead required for French breads.  The dough ball should be smooth, slightly moist and springy.

Once the cycle was completed, I immediately removed the loaf to a wire rack and let it cool.

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This loaf baked up nicely with a golden crust and rounded top.  I didn’t notice a strong rosemary flavor or scent, but I did appreciate the flavor imparted by the olive oil itself.  This recipe produced a chewy, delicious and flavorful bread.  I may try it in the future with another variety of olive oil, just to see if I can discern a difference.  If any of you try making this, let me know what olive oil you use, and how it turns out.

Pain D’Ail, page 343, August 3, 2017

“There are five elements: earth, water, air, fire and garlic.” — Louis Diat

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This recipe uses freshly peeled garlic, but if you prefer a more subdued flavor, you can used roasted garlic.  I had some fresh garlic I wanted to use and thought this loaf sounded delicious.  According to the cookbook, it is good served with roasted meats and rice casseroles.  I look forward to trying it with pasta as well.

The first step was to set 3 tablespoons unsalted butter aside to soften.  When the butter was ready, I peeled 4 garlic cloves and pressed them directly into the butter.  Then I mashed them together, well.

The prepared garlic butter went into the bread machine pan first, followed by 1 1/2 cups water and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt.

Next, I added 4 cups bread flour, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.  I made a small well in the top of the dry ingredients, into which I added 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

This loaf requires a “medium” crust setting and the “French” bread cycle.

WOW!

I may have met my version of ambrosia here.  This loaf is incredible.  Just enough garlic to be present but in no way overwhelming.  After tasting this, I may try making it again with roasted garlic, just to see how that turns out.  I can’t imagine it could be an improvement though.  This is really tasty.  The crust has a nice crunch to it and the bread itself is soft and just slightly chewy.  Great served warm with a little butter, but I plan on serving it for dinner tonight with some pasta bolognese.  This bread just cries out for sopping up the remaining sauce from a pasta bowl.

So, so good.   So, so garlicky.  So, so going to make this one again sometime.

Coconut Milk White Bread, page 60, July 13, 2017

I thought this sounded like an interesting twist on the standard milk bread, and one I will be able to enjoy myself.  However, I will be headed to my parents’ home in a few days so if any is left over (and if I remember) I will bring along the leftovers.

“The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk.” – Dustin Hoffman

There are a few notes worth mentioning with this recipe.  First, be sure to use coconut milk and not canned cream of coconut.  Second, before opening your can of coconut milk, take a moment to shake it well since the solids may have settled toward the bottom of the can.

The coconut milk replaces the need for any additional fat or sugar in this recipe, since it naturally provides both.  According to the cookbook, this loaf is perfect with Thai, Caribbean and Creole foods.

I am making a 2-pound loaf and put the ingredients into the pan in the following order:

1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast  (if you are making this with bead machine yeast, use 1 tablespoon)

This loaf uses the medium crust and basic cycle settings on the bread machine.

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Now, officially I was supposed to let this get to room temperature before slicing it, but it smelled so good, I couldn’t wait that long.  This loaf is tender, flavorful and soft.  There is no flavor of coconut at all, but that is not really surprising.  This one is definitely a keeper.

Tomato Bread, page 346, June 29, 2017

I have always been a tomato fan, and ate them like apples when I was little.  This recipe looks intriguing and thought it would be a nice summer-time loaf.   My mouth is already watering thinking of cheese or bacon and avocado sandwiches, or even croutons made using this bread.

This is a loaf that can be made using the machine’s delay timer, but I am opting to make it using the basic program.  I am also making a couple changes to the recipe, because it calls for a small amount of whole wheat flour which I don’t eat, and the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes I have on hand contain garlic and herbs.  (I think the garlic and herbs will only add to the loaf, so I am unworried about that change.  I know that whole wheat flour is slightly lower in protein than bread flour, so I hope that substitution in this small an amount won’t negatively affect the finished product.  In the recipe below, I will list what I put in the pan, with the actual recipe ingredients in parentheses.

I put the ingredients into my bread machine in the following order:

3 tablespoons imported Italian tomato paste (the cookbook states that you can use standard canned tomato paste if the Italian is unavailable, but that the Italian can sometimes be found “stashed at the deli counter.” I found mine online.)

854693000102-mutti-double-concentrated-tomato-paste-in-tube.jpg1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, with their oil (Here is where I used tomatoes with garlic and herbs.  I also realized, as I am typing this, that the recipe calls for 1/3 cueae59e68-092c-4053-8558-7f435da98265_1.cebd291101106a824433ed896ace135e.jpegp, not 1/2 cup.  Hmmm, I really need to get my act together here.)

 

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 1/4 cups bread flour (Here, the recipe calls for 2 3/4 cups bread flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)

1 1/2 tablespoons gluten

2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

I then set my crust on medium and started the “Basic” cycle on my bread machine.

Well then, I just snuck a peek at the dough and it is a lovely red color and smells like tomato soup.  Let’s just hope my changes (and accidents) don’t cause any problems.

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As you can see from the photo, this loaf is intensely red.  The tomato flavor is just as intense as the color (good if, like me, you love tomatoes.)  I do wonder if it would have been a little milder had I got the amount for the sun-dried tomatoes correct. The bread is moist and delicious with a crunchy crust and bright bites of sun-dried tomato throughout.

Just a note, and I know this will seem trivial based on the fact that I got the measurement wrong anyway, but the “with their oil” direction regarding those tomatoes drove me a little nuts.  How much oil from the jar was I supposed to include?  Did this just mean I was supposed to NOT rinse the tomatoes, but forgo  purposefully including the oil from the jar?  Should I have made sure to get a lot of oil?  I spooned tomatoes and oil into my measuring cup, but was unsure if I had the proportions correct.  As with most bread I bake, as long as it tastes good, which this does, I am calling it a win.

Semolina Country Bread, page 202, June 15-16, 2107

Yes, I am finally back at it.  I know I have dropped the ball on this project, but I am back now.  Thanks to anyone still around.

My parents, my Aunt Kathy and Uncle John are coming to town tomorrow and (according to Mom) Aunt Kathy requested a loaf of bread.  I found this loaf in the cookbook and it can use the delay timer, so I am putting the ingredients in the machine tonight and setting my delay timer to be ready tomorrow morning.  They will be here in the late afternoon. This is definitely a test case, as I haven’t been baking in a while and I’m unsure about the freshness of my ingredients.  Everything opened has been stored in the refrigerator, so I am hoping for the best.

This loaf is supposed to be fantastic served with garlic butter and makes great bruschetta.

Ingredients for this two-pound loaf went into the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 3/4 cups water

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1 3/4 cups semolina flour (be sure to use the finely ground semolina flour that is used to make pasta rather than the coarser grind that is similar to farina.

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten

2 1/4 teaspoons SAF yeast

I set the crust for dark and the program for French bread with a 8 hour delayed start on the timer.  Now to bed and I will complete this post in the morning.

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Dang, it cratered.  I am not terribly surprised though,  In addition to not having baked in a while, I did note liquid seeping up through the flour in the bread machine after I set the delay timer.  If the water, oil and salt came into contact with the yeast too soon, it could have caused this result.  If the yeast is activated too soon, the loaf can  rise and then collapse before baking time.

I made baked potato soup for dinner and we served the bread, sliced and buttered with the soup.  Crater notwithstanding, the bread was delicious.  The semolina flour added a pleasant chewiness and there was just a hint of sesame seed flavor.  As you can see from the photo, the crust is a deep golden brown.  The crust was crispy and a little difficult to cut through at the corners ( we didn’t have a bread knife).

I am glad to be back up and working on this blog, and I am pleased with the flavors in this loaf.  Everyone enjoyed it and several people had seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welsh Bara Brith and Pumpkin Apple Butter, Goodbye Downton Abbey

My sister and I decided to get together for a little tea party and viewing of the series finale of Downton Abbey. (I will miss that show.) I thought this would be a good opportunity to use my mom’s bread machine to make a quick bread, and a spread.  (Her machine has both of those settings.)

The Welsh Bara Brith is very similar to what we in America think of as a fruitcake, however, the dried fruit is soaked in Earl Grey Tea instead of liquor.    I deviated from the recipe a bit, I will mark deviations with parentheses.

The night before I was going to make the bread, I boiled 1 1/4 cups of water and poured that into a 4 cup glass measuring cup.  To the water, I added 2 Earl Grey tea bags and let that steep for 10 minutes.  I then removed the tea bags, squeezing them to release all the tea.  To the tea, I added 4 oz of chopped dried apricots, 2 oz of dried cranberries and 2 oz of chopped dried figs.  I allowed that to come to room temperature, and then put it in the refrigerator overnight. (The recipe called for 8 oz of chopped dried fruit, so I used what I had on hand. The recipe also says to let the fruit soak for 1 to 4 hours.)

In the morning, I added the following to the bread machine pan:

The tea-soaked fruit, with liquid

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted (the recipe says that the butter can be melted, or at room temperature)

3 tablespoons of apricot preserves (The recipe calls for your choice of apricot preserves, orange marmalade or ginger marmalade)

1 cup light brown sugar

2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup dark raisins (recipe says dark or golden)

1/2 cup candied cherries (Here was a big deviation, the recipe said candied orange peel, I used what I had on hand)

2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons apple pie spice

3/4 teaspoon salt

The recipe says to used the Quick Bread/Cake cycle on the machine and then, when the timer goes off, use the bake only cycle for another 20 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch, it shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  (20 extra minutes was no where near long enough,  I kept adding time, in 20 minute increments until the loaf was done.  All total, I think I may have added another hour or more.)

Once the loaf was done, I removed it, still in the pan, to a rack to cook for 1o minutes.  After that, I removed it, right side up, to the rack to cool completely, then I sliced it and stored the slices in the refrigerator until teatime.

After cleaning the pan, I started my Pumpkin Apple Butter. According to the cookbook, this recipe is adapted for the bread machine from a Libby’s recipe.

Into the bread machine pan, I placed:

15 oz of pumpkin puree

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated

1/2 cup unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

I set the machine for the Jam cycle and let it go.  When the cycle completed, I removed the pan and stirred in 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  I waited until the mixture was cool before transferring it to small containers to freeze.  You can also store this in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

The bread was dense, moist, and totally delicious.  Not being a fan of fruitcake, I was a little worried that I would not like this, but the tea made all the difference.

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The pumpkin apple butter was great also, but not really needed with the bread.  It was better with plain English Muffins or over biscuits.  The cookbook recommends serving the bread spread with butter, and I think that may be the best way to appreciate all the great flavors in it.  Since I can’t eat a lot of dried fruit, I sent the leftovers with Becky and she took them to work to get more opinions.  I also gave her the leftover Apricot Preserves, so she offered that with it as well.

Here is what our taste testers at Steamboat Animal Hospital had to say,

“Favorite so far”

“Iz Goood!”

“I love the tea soaked fruit.You can really taste the tea.  I tried it w/marmalade and without. . . both ways are delicious. I love the consistency of the bread and the mix of flavors are each distinct, but go together very well. Two thumbs up.”

“So Good!  Would have never thought of soaking the fruit in tea for baking – genius!  How can I get my hands on a whole loaf?”

“Dank”  (I totally had to use the urban dictionary online to define that one. . . an expression frequently used by stoners and hippies for something of high quality.) LOL

All in all, this one is a keeper, and will possibly show up again around the holidays.

Not sure if this would be good enough to serve the Grantham Family upstairs, but I am sure the staff downstairs would approve.  (Well, maybe not Mr. Carson.)