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

Cinnamon-Apple-Pecan Bread, page 446, July 27, 2015

Onward and upward.  One more loaf before I head out in the morning, then I will bake a couple when I get to my mom’s.  This one is touted by the author as “the ultimate breakfast bread.”  From the ingredients, it sure sounds like that will be an apt description.

Ingredients for this loaf go into my bread machine in the following order:  1 1/8 cups buttermilk, 2 tablespoons walnut oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 3 cups bread flour, 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon (yeah, a whole tablespoon,) 1 tablespoon gluten and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.  I have set the machine for a medium crust and the basic bread cycle.

While that gets going, I chop up 1/2 cup dried apples and 1/3 cup pecans.  They will be added when the machine signals between Kneads 1 and 2.

As I check the dough after the first mix, it seems really dry. I will add more buttermilk, a little at a time, until the consistency looks right.  I am concerned that the first knead won’t be enough to blend the buttermilk in completely.  Please don’t let me end my night with another brick.

It was looking really ugly, so before adding the apples and pecans, I tossed the dough and started over.  This time, I added 1 more tablespoon of buttermilk during the mixing phase and it already looks better.

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This loaf didn’t rise terribly high, but that is what I am expecting from the sweeter loaves anymore.  Still it looks significantly better than the Greek Currant Bread I did earlier today.  It smells really lovely, too.  The scent of apples and cinnamon is always a delight.

My cousin-in-law(?), Brian, comments on a lot of my bread recipes, so I sent him half a loaf of this.  Here’s what he had to say:

” Thank you Paula for the wonderful bread! Love it! Ate half but going to toast the rest cuz I am all about that toast. Much thanks.”

Cracked Wheat Bread, page 129, July 26, 2015

Time to bake yet another high-fiber loaf to give away this next week.

This recipe uses molasses as the sweetening agent, so that will add an entirely different flavor profile to this grainy loaf.

An hour before I was to begin, I poured 3/4 cup boiling water over 1/2 cup cracked wheat in a bowl.  To that, I added 3 tablespoons molasses, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.  That was then left to stand for 1 hour at room temperature to soften the grain.

After the hour was up, ingredients went into the bread machine pan in the following order:  The cracked wheat mixture, 3/4 cup water, 2 2/3 cups bread flour, 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon gluten and 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast. (Depending on the instructions for your machine, just be sure to include the cracked wheat mixture as a liquid.)

The cookbook calls for this to be baked using the medium crust and basic bread cycle.  I really wavered about using the whole wheat cycle instead, but decided to follow the instructions.  Ms. Hensperger is the expert here.

I noticed as this was mixing and then kneading, that the dough ball looked really wet, so I sprinkled it with another tablespoon or so of flour and that seemed to help.  We shall see if that helped or hindered this loaf later on.

With just over an hour to go, the loaf looked beautiful through the window on the top of my bread machine.  Then, it cratered.  What a disappointment.  This could have been due to any number of things, the extra flour, the cycle I used, not adding enough extra flour, even my machine itself.  I will still use this as a loaf for someone else, just for someone who loves me enough to ignore a crater loaf.

No photos, you’ve seen one crater, you’ve seen them all.

Here are the results of the taste test:

“Good, I like the grains in it.  Needs butter.”

“Very good I put some mozz cheese on it and popped it in the toaster – I’m in love.”

“Chewy, I liked it with butter!”

Black Olive Bread, page 342, July 10, 2015

Today I am making a black olive bread.  I am really anxious for it to be finished because I bought some heirloom tomatoes at the store the other day and think this is going to make a really great sandwich. This recipe allows for you to use whatever kind of olives you prefer.  I decided to use some Greek Kalamata olives for a stronger flavor than I would get from standard canned black olives.  The author also mentions the use of a mixture of green and black olives, or use of garlic stuffed green olives.  I am getting the idea you could do a lot of different things with this bread. The one thing to remember when baking this bread is to thoroughly drain your olive pieces on paper toweling before adding to the dough.  This will help to remove most of the brine.  If you find your dough looking too wet after the incorporation of your olives, you can add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time. Ingredients for this 2-pound loaf are:  1 1/3 cups fat-free milk, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3 1/4 cups bread flour, 3/4 cup rye flour, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of gluten, 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast and 1 1/4 cups pitted olive pieces. I added the ingredients in the order I listed them, holding off on the olive pieces until the machine signaled between the first and second rise.  This loaf uses the medium crust and French bread settings. Ms. Hensperger includes the following tip:

“If you like big chunks of olives, press Pause at the beginning or Rise 1 instead, remove the dough, pat it into a rectangle, and sprinkle with the olives.  Roll up the dough and gently knead a few times to distribute the olives.  Return the dough ball to the machine and press Start to resume the rising.”

I didn’t bother with these extra steps an just let my machine do its thing.  The dough was a little damp looking, so I added another tablespoon of flour while it was kneading in the olives.  I thought I would try taking a photo during the kneading process but chose the wrong option on my phone.  I ended up with a crazy slow motion video that looked like an undulating lumpy black and white blob and sounded like some kind of monster.  I will wait and take photos after it is done baking, rather than subject you to that.

Image-1 (2)This photo is a little misleading; this is not another crater loaf.  Because I used the ingredients for a 2 pound loaf as opposed to my usual 1 1/2 pound, it rose a little too much and mushroomed over the sides of the pan and to the top of the bread machine.  This bread is light and fluffy.  It is tender and delicate with lovely bits of olive throughout.  Is has a very light purple tint, from the olives, but not enough to look weird.  The only thing I might do differently if I made this bread again is to use a little less salt.  The olives are quite salty and I think the 3/4 teaspoon of added salt could have been even less.  Because of the interaction between salt and yeast, this could affect the texture and rise of the bread, but I think I would enjoy it a little more.  The other option would be to rinse the olives and drain them again to remove even more of the brine.  All in all, it baked up well, but it is not my favorite bread.  (It did make a great base for my heirloom tomato sandwich, though.)