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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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.

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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.

 

Time for an Equipment Change

I was looking over my previous blog posts and realized I have been dealing with A LOT of cratering issues.  I have tried changing the order of ingredients into my machine, the placement of the machine in my house, the freshness of ingredients in the machine, even tried changing up some of the ingredient amounts.  What I haven’t tried is . . . a new machine.

Being without much money, I knew I couldn’t afford to buy a new bread machine, but someone locally posted that they had a “gently used” Zojirushi they were selling for $30.00.  I figured I wouldn’t be out too much money if it didn’t work.

The sky has cleared and the birds are singing.  I have done 3 test loaves with this machine (just for my own use, not for the blog) and each has been perfectly lovely, with a tall, rounded top and beautiful crust. Hooray.  I am now ready to get back on track with this blog.

The Zojirushi also has some features that my Oster doesn’t.  There are “Jam” and “Cake” settings.  To attempt the jam and quick-bread recipes before, I had to wait until I was visiting my parents so I could use mom’s machine.

I will definitely keep my Oster around as a back up, but I feel better using the ZO at this point.

When I finish up the loaf I baked yesterday (Basil White Bread), I will get baking for my blog again.

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

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.