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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls, page 356, November 19, 2017

I am ready to tackle recipe two in my Thanksgiving pregame lineup.  I’ve actually never made yeast rolls before, bread machine or otherwise, so this is totally a new experience for me.  We are having 8 for Thanksgiving dinner and this will provide 2 rolls per person.  I originally thought to make 2 batches, but have since changed my mind.

This recipe can be made using any winter squash you prefer.  You can use canned/pureed or cook and puree your own.  I am taking the slightly easier route of using canned pumpkin to save a little time.

Ingredients went into the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (again, any winter squash puree you enjoy can be used here)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar (I am using light)

1 Tablespoon dried orange peel

2 1/4 teaspoons SAF yeast

I programmed my machine for the dough cycle and let it begin. While the machine was working, I took the opportunity to grease 16 muffin cups and set them aside.

When the machine beeped at the end of the cycle, I removed the dough to a lightly floured work space.  The dough was then divided into 4 equal portions, with each of those 4 being again divided into 4.  (I now had 16 portions.)  To make the cloverleaf style roll, I then divided each of my 16 portions into 3 equal pieces, rolled each piece into a small walnut-sized ball and arranged each group of 3 into a muffin cup.  Once the muffin cups were filled, I loosely covered them with plastic wrap and set them aside to rise until doubled in bulk (about 30 minutes).

While the rolls were rising, I preheated my oven to 375 degrees, Fahrenheit.

Once the oven was heated and the rolls were sufficiently risen, I ended up baking them for 17 minutes (the recipe says 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.)  I then immediately removed the rolls from the pan and set them on a rack to cool completely.  Since I am making these ahead of time, once they are cooled, I put them into airtight containers in my freezer to be reheated on Thanksgiving day.

They baked up large and fluffy, and I will post photos and reviews after the holiday.

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Not a great photo, but I forgot to take pictures until this morning and these are the only leftovers.

These were really delicious; ever so slightly sweet with just a hint of orange flavor and the delightfully yeasty smell that only seems to come from homemade baking. My sister made black-eyed peas as part of our Thanksgiving feast and several  our cousin, Mike, really liked using these rolls to dunk in that yummy broth.

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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.