Healthy Whole Wheat Challah, Page 111, November 20, 2017

Time for the final loaf before Thanksgiving, this one is a gift for my sister and her co-workers.  This loaf has an extra step I’ve not tried before and I am curious and hopeful about how it will turn out.

The cookbook notes that Challah is usually made with all white flour and this will be slightly more dense with the addition of whole wheat flour.

I added ingredients to the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 cup water

3 large eggs

1/4 cup pistachio oil (recipe calls for vegetable oil. After getting started, I realized I was out and went for the more flavorful pistachio.)

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups bread flour

2 tablespoons gluten

1 1/4 tablespoons instant potato flakes

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

There are options in the cookbook to use medium or dark crust setting (I chose medium) and Basic or Whole Wheat bread settings (I opted for Basic.)

This is not a loaf to “set it and forget it”, however. At the end of Rise 2, I needed to stop the machine and remove the warm dough from the pan.  The instructions are then to divide the dough into 2 equal portions, a roll each portion into a “fat oblong sausage” about 10 inches long. Next, Ms. Hensperger writes:

“Place the two pieces side by side.  Holding each end, wrap one around the other, twisting each one at the same time, to create a fat twist effect.  Tuck under the ends and replace in the pan in the machine.  The twist shape will bake in the machine.”

I am not sure if I did that correctly, I ended up with a twisty-looking circle.  We shall see how it turns out.  Once the loaf was back in the pan, I let it rise for 55 minutes and then bake for 60.  The loaf was then removed from the bread pan and placed on a rack to cool completely.

After it cooled, I wrapped the loaf tightly in cellophane and put it into the freezer.

20171128_052249[2207]

Because it spent time in the freezer, I knew I wanted to send some kind of topping to offset any dryness.   I included some whipped honey with the loaf.

I heard back from my sister today, she took the loaf in to be shared at Steamboat Animal Hospital in Olympia, Washington.  Here are the comments we received:

“Soo good! It tastes perfect”

“Very tasty”

“Soft, not dry, Tried with honey. Very good “cold weather” loaf.”

“Delicious! Yum – love the taste, what’s the recipe?”

“This is too good!  Had with some honey!  Need more.”

“Very very good!  If I have to give constructive criticism I would say a TINY bit dry – but mmm!”

Sounds like this recipe was a winner.  I think serving it without having frozen it might have helped avoid dryness.

Thanks again to the gang at Steamboat!

Advertisements

Dried Cranberry Whole Wheat Bread, page 458, November 19, 2017

This is a loaf I am baking prior to Thanksgiving, but it is just for my parents’ enjoyment, not for the holiday itself.  There are several variations listed in the cookbook for this recipe.  The liquid used is fruit juice and different combinations of fruit juice and dried fruit are suggested.  Apple or pear juice and dried apricots, pineapple juice and dried pineapple, prune juice with dried prunes and cherry juice with dried cherries are the recommendations other than the orange juice and dried cranberries I am using.  In fact, Ms. Hensperger writes:

“You can use whatever you have on hand, but not thick nectars in place of the juice.”

I happened to have orange-flavored dried cranberries already on hand, so this was the perfect loaf for them.

Into the bread machine pan went:

1 cup pulp-free orange juice.  (I the recipe doesn’t specifically call for pulp-free, but that is what I have.  I only mention it here if you are planning to recreate this loaf.)

7 tablespoons of water

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

2 1/2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (you can used any nut or vegetable oil)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/3 cup bread flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup rolled oats

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

 

I set the crust for medium and the cycle for Whole Wheat.  When my machine beeped (signalling between kneads 1 and 2,) I added 2/3 cups dried orange-flavored cranberries.

Note:  dried cranberries are plenty small enough to go into the loaf whole, but if you are using a larger dried fruit, be sure to chop it finely.

This loaf smelled delightful while baking.  The finished product has a nicely rounded, albeit slightly lopsided, top.  Photos and impressions will follow.

IMG_8976[2262]

The first day, Mom and Dad tried a couple sliced toasted with their tea.  Mom said, “A nice treat, good flavor with a bit of sweetness from the cranberries.”

The next day, they decided to have some as French Toast for breakfast, after adding a bit of orange extract to the batter to enhance the flavor.  I was told they both really enjoyed it.

Chicken Stuffing Bread, page 361, November 17, 2017

I will be doing quite a bit of baking with my machine leading up to Thanksgiving, so I am writing and publishing the process parts of the posts as I go, and will add the results and photos after the holiday.

Thanksgiving-quote-poem-1024x901

There is a small section in the cookbook dedicated to breads for stuffings.  I let my mom look through the recipes and this is the one she chose for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Since dad is deep-frying the turkey, this stuffing will be baked in the oven and not actually “stuffed” into anything.

Ms. Hensperger states that this bread, while created with stuffing in mind, is also good on its own.

I added the following ingredients into the bread machine pan:

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon gluten

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 1/2 tablespoons dried marjoram

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

This loaf requires the basic bread and dark crust settings on my machine.  With the amount of herbs included in this recipe, the kitchen smelled great, right away.

The delicious aroma only got better with heat and time.  It smells really incredible in here now.  I am wishing this was a loaf for use now, not one that has to wait (and get a little dry) before I am going to use it.  It rose nicely and has a golden crust, speckled with herbs.

CD095288-FAC6-40A0-8376-0ED5DDF5642E.jpeg

Well, I forgot to take a picture of the loaf itself, but cropped one I took of the whole table so you can see the finished stuffing.  The bread was so flavorful, I didn’t add any other herbs or spices to the stuffing, just sautéed celery, cooked turkey sausage, salt, pepper, chicken broth and eggs. It ended up being slightly over cooked, but the flavor was savory and delicious.

Yogurt Bread, page 54, November 13, 2017

I had my sister over for a visit not too long ago when I cooked Lebanese food one day.  (We try, every once in a while, to have a day where we have a meal from another country.)  That said, I was left with some plain yogurt now nearing its expiration date and I came across this recipe in the cookbook.  Ms. Hensperger recommends using this bread the day it is baked and that it is a “perfect sandwich bread”.

hey-yogurt-if-youre-so-cultured-how-come-i-never-see-you-at-the-opera-quote-1

 

I placed the ingredients into the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

3/4 cup water

2 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 Tbl. gluten

2 tsp. SAF yeast

 

This loaf uses the basic bread and dark crust settings.  It is noted that the you should not use the delay timer when making this loaf.  Another thing worth mentioning is that your dough ball will look sticky.  There is no need to add additional flour, as the stickiness will correct itself during the kneading process.

As this was baking, the smell reminded me quite a lot of some sourdough breads I have baked in the past.

IMG_8893[2046]

This loaf is really lovely, the crust has a slight snap, but the interior of the loaf is moist, chewy and delicious.  I tried a slice with just butter and it was great, but I also made a grilled cheese sandwich later in the evening and a fried egg sandwich this morning, both of which were perfect on this bread.  I really can’t express just how much I like this loaf; it is very slightly sour and delightfully soft and chewy.

Beer Bread, page 67, November 11, 2017

Fall has fallen here; everything is gray, wet and windy, perfect weather  for homemade soup and bread.  I started a batch of split pea and ham soup in the slow cooker this morning and realized how good that will taste with some freshly baked bread.  Flipping through the cookbook, I came across this recipe and think it will be an ideal November supper.

Now, if you are an aficionado of beer, you can choose anything, dark or light, domestic or imported, and know that it will uniquely change the flavor of your bread.  I am not, however, a beer aficionado, I am not even a beer fan.  That said, I had an old can of Budweiser in my fridge left over from “heaven knows when” and that is what I am using.  (Hipsters and beer-snobs, scoff if you must.)

First step was opening the 12- oz. can of beer and pouring it into a bowl for a couple hours to go flat.

After the beer was sufficiently “flattened,” I poured it into the bread machine pan.  To that, I added 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons of SAF yeast.

This loaf used the basic cycle and the dark crust setting.

Unlike most recipes in Ms. Hensperger’s book, this one doesn’t call for the addition of gluten.  My assumption is that the beer makes up for any deficiency.

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence.” — M.F.K. Fisher

The yeasty beer smell while this was mixing, kneading and baking was really mouth-watering.   I tried a little slice warm with butter and it is a tasty loaf, slightly sweet with great crumb and crust. I didn’t really get a flavor that screamed “beer” to me, but that could change with a different, more flavorful brew.

FullSizeRender[1960]

 

As you can see from the photo, this loaf definitely did NOT crater, which is nice, after the last several fails. I’m not sure to call what did happen here, but it isn’t a crater.

All in all, this tastes incredible and went so well with the homemade soup.  I will make this one again.  I might even buy a bottle of beer specially for it, instead of using some ancient can from the back of my fridge.

Granola Breakfast Bread, page 544, October 14, 2017

I was visiting my parents’ house for my mom’s birthday and decided to bake this quick bread for them using Mom’s bread machine.  Her machine has a quick-bread setting, where mine does not.  I do want to clarify that this is a quick-bread (no yeast), so you want to use a “Quick Bread” setting and not an “Express” setting.  (Express settings on a bread machine are for a faster yeast bread.

The ingredients were added to the bread machine pan in the following order:

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used plain Greek yogurt)

1/2 cup vegetable or nut oil (I used hazelnut oil)

2 large eggs

Grated zest of 1 lemon (I used 1 teaspoon dried lemon zest)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (see note after next ingredient)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour and left out the whole wheat pastry flour altogether)

3/4 cup granola (I used Partner’s brand Apples and Cinnamon Granola)

1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple of golden raisins (I used the golden raisins)

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or apple pie spice (I used cinnamon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

After the ingredients were in the pan, I set the machine on the quick bread cycle and pressed “start”.  Mom’s machine does not allow for a crust setting on this cycle, but the cookbook recommends using the dark setting, if you have the option.  After 5 minutes of the mixing cycle, I used a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the pan to ensure complete combination of the ingredients. The batter was thick and lumpy.

At the end of the baking cycle, the bread was not completely baked through, which is not unusual for quick breads done in the machine.  Using the “bake only” cycle, I  allowed the bread another 35 minutes to finish.  At the end of the extended bake time, a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf came out clean.

I immediately removed the pan from the machine and allowed the bread to stand in the pan for 10 minutes.  I then turned the bread from the pan, onto a wire rack, to finish cooling completely.  The cookbook says that an optional step at this point is to brush the top with some melted butter.  I skipped this step.  The bread, once fully cooled, was wrapped in plastic wrap.  This loaf can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

IMG_8704[1816]

Dad tried a slice of this bread with just a little butter and enjoyed it.  It was moist and the smell was lovely.

Mom tried a slice toasted, she says it was “Delish” and that she would  like to have me make it again.

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

IMG_8295[1439]

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.