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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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Pain D’Ail, page 343, August 3, 2017

“There are five elements: earth, water, air, fire and garlic.” — Louis Diat

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This recipe uses freshly peeled garlic, but if you prefer a more subdued flavor, you can used roasted garlic.  I had some fresh garlic I wanted to use and thought this loaf sounded delicious.  According to the cookbook, it is good served with roasted meats and rice casseroles.  I look forward to trying it with pasta as well.

The first step was to set 3 tablespoons unsalted butter aside to soften.  When the butter was ready, I peeled 4 garlic cloves and pressed them directly into the butter.  Then I mashed them together, well.

The prepared garlic butter went into the bread machine pan first, followed by 1 1/2 cups water and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt.

Next, I added 4 cups bread flour, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.  I made a small well in the top of the dry ingredients, into which I added 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

This loaf requires a “medium” crust setting and the “French” bread cycle.

WOW!

I may have met my version of ambrosia here.  This loaf is incredible.  Just enough garlic to be present but in no way overwhelming.  After tasting this, I may try making it again with roasted garlic, just to see how that turns out.  I can’t imagine it could be an improvement though.  This is really tasty.  The crust has a nice crunch to it and the bread itself is soft and just slightly chewy.  Great served warm with a little butter, but I plan on serving it for dinner tonight with some pasta bolognese.  This bread just cries out for sopping up the remaining sauce from a pasta bowl.

So, so good.   So, so garlicky.  So, so going to make this one again sometime.