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.

IMG_4637

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.

Sourdough Banana Nut Bread, page 288, August 13, 2015

I will be seeing my cousin, Mandy in a few days, so I gave her the choice of two different sourdough breads; whole wheat sourdough or orange sourdough with cranberries, pecans and golden raisins.  She said they both sounded good, but I later realized I was out of some ingredients for each of those. This one will come as a complete surprise.  (Well, unless she reads this post.)

Ms. Hensperger describes this as a “nice sweet and sour bread with lots of goodies in it.”  She also writes that it is good for PB&J, smoked turkey or black forest ham sandwiches, or just as toast.  I was also thinking this could make a good French toast.

I have been continually feeding my sourdough starter since the loaf I baked the other day, so it was ready to go.

Into the bread machine pan went: 1/2 cup sourdough starter, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cups sliced ripe bananas, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons of hazelnut oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon dry buttermilk powder, 1/2 cup hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons chopped dried figs, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  The machine was set for the 3 hour Basic Bread, Medium Crust cycle.

I know that sometimes sourdoughs take longer to rise, often requiring more time than standard yeast breads.  Because of this, I checked my bread machine manual and discovered that if I check the machine after 2 hours, I have the option of stopping the process to allow for additional rise time.  I can then use the bake only cycle to finish the bread when it has risen enough.  I set an alarm for 1 hour and 50 minutes and will check the bread at that point to see if more rise time is required.

I decided to let it rise a while longer, I gave it another hour and by that time it had risen sufficiently.  I then set the machine to the bake only cycle, which automatically times for 1 hour which is the same as the baking time for the basic bread cycle.

As this is baking, the banana scent is really coming through.  Along with the sourdough aroma, this is really nice.  Through the window on the top of the machine, the crust is smooth, light brown and speckled.

The bread is done.  The crust is a little dark, not burned black or anything, but darker than I am used to for one of my sourdough breads.  This could be from the ingredients, or from the baking.  Either way, it still looks and smells delicious.  I will try and post photos before I wrap it for delivery.  I will also ask Mandy and her husband, Rick to let me know what they think of it.

I just heard back from Mandy:

“The bread is amazing I just had some toasted with butter. I loved it.”

Sourdough Tomato Bread with Feta, page 295, August 10, 2015

After all the loaves I baked over the past couple of weeks, I decided another sourdough was in order.  I am imagining this bread served warm with melted garlic butter, or dipped in olive oil.

I took my sourdough starter out of the fridge last night to wake it up.  I made my sponge and let it rest, covered, at room temperature until this evening when it was bubbly and active.

This recipe calls for “3/4 cup chopped canned tomatoes with ‘some’ liquid.”  I really hate when something is vague like that.  I know the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients in bread is so important, so I will try to keep an eye on the dough, adding more liquid or flour if necessary.

Into the bread machine pan, I placed 3/4 cup sourdough starter, the (partially) drained tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 cups bread flour, 2/3 cup crumbled feta and 1 1/4 teaspoon SAF yeast.  This bread uses the basic cycle and dark crust settings on my bread machine.

The author mentions that you can substitute crumbled fresh goat cheese for the feta, if you prefer.  Feta is too strong for some people so that can be a deciding factor.  As far as health benefits, feta has slightly less saturated fat than soft goat cheese but twice the sodium.

Well, it looked fine while it was mixing, kneading and rising, so I didn’t add anything else to the dough.  It rose beautifully and now I am just waiting for it to finish baking and hoping it won’t crater on me again.  It smells lovely, I have always been a fan of tomatoes and feta, can’t wait to try this bread.

IMG_4591This is such a pretty loaf of bread.  It is a lovely pale orange color and has small bits of tomato throughout.  The smell is significantly more tomato than feta, but both flavors come through very well.  Tender and slightly chewy with a crispy crust, this bread reminds me a bit of tomato soup in aroma and flavor.  As such, I am guessing it would make an excellent toasted cheese sandwich.  The only downside is that there isn’t much “sour” flavor from the sourdough.  That is just a matter of personal taste, though.  I suppose if I used an older starter, that had more time to ferment, I would have found a more powerful sour flavor.