Old-Fashioned Potato Bread, Pg. 65, September 15, 2018

Time for another loaf of white bread and I happened to have a potato left over, so I thought this was the obvious choice.  The potato breads I’ve baked previously have always called for instant potato flakes, this one starts with an actual potato. Ms. Hensperger actually states she think this is the best bread for sandwiches.

Besides . . . potatoes are kind of great.

Finally-a-diagram-describing-all-the-most-choice-potato-cutsThe first step for this loaf was to prepare the potato.  I took one medium russet potato, peeled it, and cut in into chunks.  I then placed the chunks in a small saucepan with 3/4 cup water.  I brought this to a boil, reduced the heat to low, covered the pan and allowed the potatoes to simmer for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes were up, I mashed the potatoes and cooking water together. (You can also puree them, if you prefer.)  The potato/water mash was then poured into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and I added enough water to make a total of 1 1/3 cups.  The mash was then set aside to come to room temperature.

After the mash reached room temperature, I put my ingredients in the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 1/3 cups room temperature potato/water Mash

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons gluten

1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast

This loaf made use of the basic/white cycle and the medium crust designation on my machine.

tater This is a really tasty loaf of bread, the potato flavor is present, but hardly overwhelming.  It rose perfectly and has a chewy crust.  It toasts well and holds together nicely.

The author was right, this is a really nice sandwich loaf.

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Sunflower Pumpernickel Rye, page 142, September 9, 2018

My folks are headed home tomorrow, so I thought I would make a loaf for them to take when they leave.  I like baking with whole grains, nuts and seeds for others because I cannot eat those kinds of things myself and still want to try out the recipe.   So Pumpernickel it is. . .

Ms. Hensperger notes that this is a great loaf to spread with cheese and use for tomato and red onion sandwiches, but it also pairs well with all sorts of wursts and mustards.

The ingredients went into the bread machine pan in the following order:

1 1/3 cup water

3 1/2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup medium (you can also use dark) rye flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1 1/2 tablespoons gluten

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

I then started the whole wheat/medium crust cycle on my bread machine.  When the machine beeped between kneads 1 and 2, I added 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds.

pumpernickel

Well, this loaf baked up tall and lovely, and smelled heavenly.  I could really smell the notes of cocoa and coffee during the baking process and afterward.  Mom and dad each had a slice before the loaf had cooled completely, mom with butter and dad with peanut butter.

The flavor and texture were both a hit.  Mom especially liked the slight crunch from the sunflower seeds throughout the loaf.

Soft Pretzels, Page 144, September 8, 2018

With family visiting this weekend, I thought these would be great for nibbling on and also a fun group project.

I placed the following in the bread machine pan:

1/2 cup water

1 cup nonfat milk (the recipe doesn’t specify fat content for the milk, nonfat is what I used.)

4 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon malt powder (you can substitute sugar, but the flavor added by the malt powder really can’t be beat.)pretzel day

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

 

 

Once in the bread machine pan, I set the program for the “Dough” cycle and let it get started.

While the machine was making the dough, I lined 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Once the machine beeped indicating the end of the cycle, I turned the dough out onto a lightly floured work area.  I then divided the dough into 12 equal portions.  Now was the time to bring in my reinforcements.

Mom, Becky and I each started shaping our pretzels.  With the palms, we shaped each portion into a 20″ rope.  Then, holding the ends of the rope, we twisted the ends together, brought the twisted  end up and over the loop, attaching it to the bottom center.  It was definitely a learning experience.  I can honestly say that some of them came out looking like pretzels.

Once shaped, the rolls were placed on the prepared baking sheets and allowed to rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the pretzels were resting, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, made an egg glaze and prepared a water/baking soda bath.  (You can skip the water/soda bath if you prefer soft breadlike pretzels.)

The egg glaze was made by beating 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of water.

The bath was prepared by boiling 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a large deep pan

When the pretzels are done resting, I used a large spatula  to carefully lift a risen pretzel and lower it into the boiling water.  You can boil 2 pretzels at once.  Leaving the water at a low rolling boil, I boiled each pretzel for between 45 and 60 seconds, flipping is over halfway though the time.  Once each pretzel was puffy, I removed it from the bath using a slotted spoon, and allowed the excess water to drip back into the pan before placing the boiled roll back on the prepared baking sheet.

I brushed each pretzel with the egg glaze and sprinkled with a little coarse kosher sea salt.  The pretzels were baked, one pan at a time, in the center of the oven for about 18 minutes (the recipes says 16-20).

The pretzels were placed on a rack to cool.  They can be eaten warm or stored (covered in a single layer of tin foil) at room temperature for up to 3 days.  I honestly don’t think we will need to be storing many of these, they are too good.  Becky (my sister) brought some cheese sauce so we all sat around dipping warm pretzels in cheese.  I really doubt there will be any left tomorrow.

pretzel]

They are delicious, chewy, slightly salty with the outer texture I expect from soft pretzels.  I doubt I would have liked them quite as much without the water bath.  Admittedly, they don’t look a whole lot like pretzels, but they are delicious.  I also imagine, because they are shaped more like rolls than pretzels, they would make great sandwich buns.

Another keeper, I may be making this one whenever I have company coming.

 

Venetian Panettone, page 523, December 24, 2017

I am making this recipe for our family’s Christmas Brunch. There are instructions in Ms. Hensperger’s cookbook for baking a single large loaf or 2 smaller, freeform loaves.  I am making the smaller and will only include those instructions in this post.

In a small bowl, I placed:

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup minced dried apricots (could also use orange confit)

2 tablespoons candied citron (could also use minced dried pineapple)

I tossed the dried and candied fruit with 2 tablespoons of flour and set it aside.

Into the bread machine went the following:

1 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 large egg yolks

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (could also use Fiori di Sicilia)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 cups bread flour

3 tablespoons vanilla sugar

2 teaspoons SAF yeast

The machine was programmed for the dough cycle and started.  I then set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes.  After the timer went off, I unplugged the machine and allowed the dough to rise for 1 hour and 15 minutes. While the dough was rising, I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and prepared a lightly floured mat to work on. According to the cookbook, the dough should have risen until it was nearly to the top of the pan.  It hadn’t, so I have it another 30 minutes of rising time before progressing to the next step.

After it had risen, I turned the dough ball out onto my floured mat and patted it into a large rectangle.  I sprinkled the floured fruit of the dough and folded it over, kneading gently to distribute the fruit.

The next step was to divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and to form those pieces into 2 tight round balls.  I placed the balls onto the parchment covered baking sheet 3 inches apart and using kitchen shear, but an “X” 1/2 inch deep into the top of each loaf.

I then covered the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and let rise another hour.

About 20 minutes before baking, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees.

When the loaves had sufficiently risen, I used the kitchen shears to “redefine” the X on each loaf.  I then inserted a 1/2 tablespoon piece of butter into each cut. The loaves were then baked for 30 minutes.

panettone

These loaves have a golden brown crust and chewy interior.  It was not too sweet, and the flavor was lovely.

 

Portuguese Sweet Bread, page 514, December 22, 2017

Yet another loaf for gifting at Christmas, this loaf is supposed to be reminiscent of a Portuguese holiday bread known as Pão Doce. Ms. Hensperger recommends serving it toasted for breakfast with jam or lemon curd, but mentions it is also good with a sweet wine for dessert.

Into the bread machine, I added:

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons water

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 cups bread flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon instant potato flakes

2 teaspoons gluten

2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast

This loaf requires the dark crust setting and can be baked using either the Basic or Sweet bread cycles.  I used Basic.

portuguese Sweet] Oh, boy, this one really reminds me of Hawaiian Sweet Bread.  The lemon and vanilla flavors marry well and this texture is tender and slightly chewy.

Here are my cousin, Faye’s thoughts:

“The next time you make your Portuguese Sweet Bread, try is as bread for French Toast. AWESOME!  I tried it as is and with jam, and the flavor was so good as it but also made great French Toast. Yum!”

Dutch Sugar Loaf, page 434, December 21, 2017

This recipe sounds interesting. Crushed sugar cubes baked into a loaf of bread?  We shall see.

The first step in preparing this loaf is to place 2/3 cups of sugar cubes in a heavy clear plastic freezer bag and, using the smooth side of a meat mallet, crack the cubes. You want them still to be chunky (no smaller than 1/4 cube).  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and a small pinch of ground cloves to the bag and toss to coat.  Set aside.

The following ingredients go into the bread machine pan:

1 1/8 cups fat free milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon gluten

2 teaspoons SAF yeast

This loaf uses the “Sweet Bread” and “Medium Crust” settings.  Five minutes into the kneading segment, I sprinkled half the sugar and spice mixture over the dough.  Three minutes later, I added the rest.

This smelled great while it was baking, the cinnamon scent permeated the house.  It baked up well rounded with a dark crust.

dutch sugar]The blend of cinnamon and sugar flavor here is amazing.  Throughout the loaf there are these moist, sugary pockets and the whole loaf tastes like cinnamon toast.  This is another loaf that I think would make wonderful French toast.

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!