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.

Welsh Bara Brith

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.)

Greek Bread, page 55, February 22, 2016

I’ve been on a bread-baking hiatus for the past several months, so I am coming back with what sounds like a simple, tasty bread from the “Daily Breads” chapter of Ms. Hensperger’s book.  The dairy element in this recipe is evaporated goat’s milk.  It is mentioned that evaporated cow’s milk can be substituted, but that this is more “authentically” Greek.  The author also warns against substituting regular milk for evaporated because you will miss out on the sweetness.  This recipe uses a little bit of whole wheat flour, but I doubt it is enough to cause me difficulties, so I will be keeping this one for myself.

First into the bread machine pan goes 1 cup of evaporated goat’s milk.  (This didn’t use the whole can, so anyone out there how a suggestion for using a small amount of EGM, I am all ears.)  Next comes 1/3 cup water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.  Flour for this loaf is 2 1/2 cups of bread flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.  (According to the recipe, you can substitute 1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour for the whole wheat flour.) Then I add 1 1/4 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of gluten, 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  This loaf uses the “Basic” and “Medium” settings on my machine.

I forgot how great baking makes my house smell; this loaf is rising beautifully and shows no signs of the dreaded “crater loaf.”

My plan for dinner tonight is homemade chicken noodle soup, and I think this bread ought to be great served alongside it.

The machine finished its cycle and I put the bread on a rack to cool while making my soup. It is a really pretty loaf of bread. It has perfect air pockets and the taste reminds me a little of a sourdough, owing to the goat’s milk, I’m sure.



All in all, a very tasty bread to restart my baking.

The soup’s pretty good, too. I used a recipe titled “The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup” by Gina Nistico from the February/March 2016 issue of Taste of Home Magazine.  It makes a huge pot of soup, so my freezer will be full for a good long while.

Farmstyle Cottage Cheese Bread, page 371 September 6, 2015

It is definitely starting to feel like Autumn around here.  With that on my mind, I decided to make some stew for dinner and decided to bake myself another loaf of bread to go along with it.  This is another bread that will contain Lactaid cottage cheese (which I am loving.)  The author says that this bread is great for sandwiches, or even toasted and topped with more cottage cheese, applesauce, jam or olives.  It is also noted in the cookbook that this bread keeps fresh for 3 days.

Since the ingredients should be at room temperature before starting, I measured out my cottage cheese and let it sit, covered, on the counter for 20 minutes.

Into the pan go:  3/4 cup water, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 cups bread flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon gluten and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  I am using the medium crust and basic bread cycle for this loaf of bread.

This one wasn’t really fragrant while baking, but it rose nicely and has a lovely golden brown crust. The crispy, flaky crust surrounds a moist, tender and chewy loaf.  There is a slight tang from the cottage cheese. It made a great accompaniment to my stew.  I am looking forward to sandwiches with this bread in the next few days.

Farmstyle Cottage Cheese

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread, page 108, September 2, 2015

It has been a while since I made a whole wheat loaf and I will be giving this to a local artist, Karen Brownlee as a thank you.  During this year’s Peninsula Clay Artists Show and Sale she lead a ceramics workshop I participated in.  Unfortunately, the totem I made in class didn’t turn out and she graciously offered to have me come into her studio and try again.

In looking at the ingredients for this loaf, I noted the combination of buttermilk and maple syrup. I think that sounds delightful, so I hope she and her family enjoy the bread.

I added my ingredients in the following order:  1 1/8 cups water, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups bread flour, 4 1/2 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder, 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon gluten and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  The recipe calls for use of the medium crust cycle and allows the baker to choose between the basic and whole wheat settings, I used whole wheat.

This smelled great as it was baking, the tang of the buttermilk was certainly evident.  It rose to a nice height and baked up without a crater, I call that a win.  I didn’t think to get a photo of this one though.

It was still warm when I was ready to deliver it, so I did a little research online and learned that the best way to transport bread that is still warm is in an open paper bag.  Wrapping a warm loaf in plastic or foil will trap too much moisture.

I hope Karen and her family enjoy it.

I spoke with Karen today. She and her husband enjoyed it; but it was “too healthy” for her kids. 

Orange Sourdough Bread with Cranberries, Pecans and Golden Raisins

Baking another sourdough loaf before I put my starter back into hibernation.  This is another one I can’t eat, so I will be gifting it to either Oceanside Animal Hospital or the staff at Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park.

Last time I went to Trader Joe’s in Olympia, Washington, they had orange flavored dried cranberries, and I immediately thought of this recipe.  I really can’t wait to find out how this tastes.

I started putting 1/2 cup active sourdough starter into the bread machine pan.  I then added 3/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 1/4 cups bread flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  I set the Basic and medium cycles for my machine.  After the machine beeped between kneads 1 and 2, I added 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup golden raisins and 1/3 cup chopped pecans.  The dough looked a little dry, so I added a few more drops of orange juice.

The author does note in this recipe that you can add the fruit and nuts at the beginning if you don’t wish to wait.

As this is another sourdough, I have set myself an alarm to check the rise before baking begins.This one required another 90 minutes of rise time before I was comfortable enough to start baking it.

  
The loaf baked up to a lovely golden brown, studded with fruit and nuts. It smells great too; the orange scent is quite strong.

I stopped by today to pick up my plate and the comment sheet, but they couldn’t find the sheet. Not a problem, of course, the receptionist told me everyone loved it, especially the cranberry/raisin combo. I’m going to call this one a win. After all, 100% of the polled respondents (all 1 of them) told me how great it was.

Sourdough Olive Bread, page 287, August 21, 2015

My olive-aficionado sister is coming for a visit and I have been planning to make this loaf for her.  This recipe is actually a variation of a sourdough raisin bread in the book.  The author writes that by reducing the salt and replacing the raisins with a mixture of black and green olives you can easily adjust this loaf.

Yesterday, I took 1/2 cup of my sourdough starter from the fridge.  To that, I added 3 cups each of water and flour in a ceramic bowl, mixing with my dough whisk.  I then covered the resultant sponge and waited until it was fully active again.  (This took about 15 hours.)  I also added another cup each of water and flour to my stored starter and put it back in the refrigerator.

When the sourdough sponge was ready, I first had to prepare the canned olives.  I halved 1 1/4 cups pitted black olives and 1/2 cup pitted, pimento-stuffed, green olives.  I then drained these for about 30 minutes on paper towels.

Into the pan on my bread machine, I placed 1/2 cup of my sourdough sponge, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup fat free milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of butter (cut into pieces,) 3 cups of bread flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon SAF yeast.  I programmed the bread machine for a basic loaf with a dark crust and pressed start.  When knead 2 began, I gradually added in the pitted, halved and drained olives while the machine was kneading.  It was taking a while for the olives to be incorporated into the dough, so I used a rubber spatula to help it along. Due to residual moisture in the olives, the dough was looking sticky, so I added another 3 tablespoons of flour while everything was kneading together.

As I have learned, sourdough breads are sometimes slower to rise, so I checked the bread machine just before the bake cycle was to begin.  I decided the bread needed more rise time, so I unplugged the machine before it could start baking and allowed the rise to continue for another hour.  At that point, the dough ball was risen perfectly, so I plugged the machine back in and started the “bake only” cycle.

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When the cycle completed, I transferred the loaf to a rack to cool completely before wrapping it up to send it home with Becky.

I will be sure to let you know what she thinks.

NOTE:  If you are interested in the original, Sourdough Raisin recipe, the following needs to be changed.  Increase the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons and replace the olives with 1 1/2 cups raisins that have been soaked in hot water for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature and then drained well on paper towels.

I got word from Becky today on how the taste test went for this loaf.

” Awesome awesome texture, I love the little twangs of olives there. I think with warm olive oil and herbs would be delightful.”

“Very good! Would be excellent with pasta dish. Or served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Or with cream cheese, endless possibilities.”

“Would be a yummy addition to spaghetti! I like it a lot, very good.”

“So yummy, my favorite so far; I’ll take a whole loaf.”

Sounds like this is another keeper.