Sourdough Sunflower Seed Honey Bread, page 286, June 22, 2015

This is another loaf for my sister.  I am making myself a loaf of sourdough French and decided to keep the starter active and bake a loaf for Becky as  well.

First thing I have to mention is that the title is misleading here.  I am sure it must be an editing error; but there is no honey in this bread.  The sweetener called for here is dark brown sugar.  I considered substituting honey, but decided to follow the recipe as printed.

Into the pan on my bread machine, I added 1/2 cup fat free milk, 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces, 1 cup sourdough starter, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup bread flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup sunflower seeds and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts.  After making a small well in the top of the dry ingredients, I added 1 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

The loaf requires a dark crust setting and the use of the Whole Wheat cycle on my machine.  

IMG_4246I didn’t hover  much on this one.  Once or twice I checked on it and scraped down the edge of the pan with my rubber spatula, but I didn’t stress myself out adding sprinkles of flour and water, trying to “perfect” the dough.  This was probably a wise decision on my part as the loaf is lovely.
It rose nice and high, with tasty sunflower seeds dotting the exterior, I am sure the inside is just as lovely.  I will ask Becky to take a picture of the loaf for me after it is sliced.

Well, I forgot to ask for pictures of the sliced loaf.  Here are the opinions, though:

“Good, needed butter, though.”

On a side note, Becky had provided butter, this person just didn’t know.

“Really awesome flavor!! Soft texture.”
“Awesome for rustic French Toast.”
“Love this!”
“Soooo yummy!”
“Would be good for anything.”
“Very moist”

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Granola Bread, page 459, June 14, 2015

I ended up staying home this weekend and as I am finally feeling able to get around, I though it was time to bake another loaf for gifting.  I will be taking this Granola Bread (along with a jar of the Caramel Apple Jam I made last year) to the Oceanside Animal Clinic in Seaview.  They have been so supportive, and I know they truly care about my fur-babies. I have to go in to the office on Monday and will take them some bread as a thank you for being so great.

Granola is another one of those great things that I can’t eat.  Luckily, I was able to find some in the bulk bins at the grocery store, so I only had to buy the amount I needed for this recipe.

Ingredients for this loaf are:  1 1/8 cups buttermilk, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 1/8 cup bread flour, 1 1/4 cups granola (the granola I bought contains cranberries, coconut, raisins, almonds, walnuts and pecans), 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon gluten, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast. I am using the Medium and Basic settings on my machine for this loaf.

FullSizeRenderThis loaf rose up nicely and has a wonderful cinnamon scent.  I decided to slice this up and deliver it on a plate.  As you can see, bits of nuts and dried fruit are visible throughout the loaf.  The texture is soft, but the bread is on the heavy side.  I will ask them to give me their thoughts.

They were so great, they even washed the plate for me when they were done; that wasn’t necessary.  They did let me know they are willing to act as guinea pigs again whenever I need them too.

“Like the nuts!”

“Very good”

“Good”

“Yumm yumm! Love it!”

” Good – A little dry. Thank you!”

“Yummy”

“Good!”

Thanks again, to the staff at Oceanside Animal Clinic.  You all have been so wonderful, and continue to be.

Roquefort Cheese Bread with Walnuts, page 374, June 5, 2015

I have company coming this weekend and have promised to send them each home with a fresh loaf of bread.  This first one is for my sister, Becky.  Of the two loaves I am baking for my guests, this one is less delicate and will stay nice in the freezer. I live in a fairly small town on the Washington coast and finding Roquefort was no small task.  I had to do some grocery shopping yesterday and thought I would check, again.  Low and behold, there it was!  (Thank you, Okies Thriftway in Ocean Park.) This ought to make my sissy happy. Wait, hold the presses.  I started putting the bread together and realized I grabbed Gorgonzola.  After a little online research, I found the following on myrecipes.com.

Roquefort and Gorgonzola are two kinds of blue cheese. Roquefort is a French sheep’s milk cheese and Gorgonzola is Italian and made from cow’s milk. Roquefort has a sharper flavor, but is not as strongly flavored as robust and aromatic Gorgonzola.

So, this will be a more “robust” and “aromatic” Gorgonzola Cheese Bread with Walnuts.  I didn’t want to change today’s blog title, because that is the actual title of the recipe.  Becky will still love it.  I will still bake it. I placed my ingredients into the machine:  1 cup water, 2 tablespoons sherry, 5 oz crumbled Gorgonzola (the recipe calls for 4 oz, but it is a 5 oz package and I am going to gamble on “more cheese is always better”,) 1 tablespoon walnut oil, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 2 3/4 cup bread flour, 1/4 cup medium rye flour, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon gluten, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.IMG_4144 Before the first knead, I was sure to scrape down the sides of the bread pan to ensure all the ingredients were incorporated into the dough ball. As you can see, the loaf rose nicely and the blade action of the machine broke the walnuts into very small bits. During the last hour in the machine, the loaf started to crater.  I thought I wIMG_4152as careful when measuring my ingredients, but mistakes happen.  It will still eat the same.  The loaf smells good, just enough pungent Gorgonzola aroma to let you know it is in there.  I will be sending the loaf home with Becky, tomorrow, and she will let me know how it turned out, so I can share the results with you.

Well, I heard from Becky and It is good and bad.  In her own words:

“Just tried the bread.  Nice and moist.  Good tang from the Gorgonzola.  Walnuts add a nice crunch every once in a while to break up the cheese flavor. Strong after taste that is not 100% pleasant.”

Oh dear.  She was so nice, the way she said that.  She told me that she is planning to take some into work tomorrow to get opinions from her co workers again.  I told her to warn them about the aftertaste and she said she would rather they form their own opinions, in case the aftertaste is something that only she would notice.  If not, and everyone at Steamboat Animal Hospital gets stuck with nasty Gorgonzola aftertaste, please know I apologize and tried to get you warned.  I will let you know what her co workers have to say.

June 9, 2015 – I heard back from Becky again.  She sent the following:

“I think it may have just been me because so far all the reviews from work are stellar.”

That makes me feel a little better about it.  Gorgonzola and walnut is a robust flavor combination, so it certainly wouldn’t be for everyone.  I am just sorry she didn’t like it.

Here are the comments from her coworkers at Steamboat Animal Hospital.

“Very good! Don’t usually like walnuts in bread but would definitely like to try this toasted as a BLT!. . .or as a grilled cheese. . .or as a toasted turkey. . . I just love sandwiches, okay?”

“Yummmmy!!”

“Yum! Awesome, Fluffy, Light Texture, Love the smell.”

“This is so nummy! We had salmon, artichokes & asparagus last nigh.  This is what was missing.  Nice Work!”

“I don’t like Gorgonzola so I prob wouldn’t have another piece BUT this bread is very good if you like Gorgonzola! Perfect texture, cheese flavor isn’t overwhelming. ”

“Delicious and I do not like walnuts.”

“Two thumbs up from a non-gorgonzola fan.”

“Was very good! I don’t like walnuts, or nuts in bread really, so I kind of picked around them after at least trying one.  But good news is there wasn’t an overwhelming amount. I think this would be super nummy toasted with some sliced tomato and herbs on top, maybe even more cheese!  Mmmmmm. . .cheese.”

I am definitely feeling better about this loaf now.

WALNUTS! May 22, 2015

walnutI baked 2 different loaves today; Toasted Walnut Bread (page 322) and Fig and Walnut Bread (page 340.) I am combining the two and just doing one post.

I can’t eat nuts, myself, so both of these loaves will be “gifted” to others and I will have to get their reviews added to this blog post later.

Early this morning, I started the Toasted Walnut Bread.  According to the cookbook, this recipe was a clipping from a Fleischmann’s Yeast Ad in a magazine.  The first step in making this bread was to toast 1 cup of walnuts.  In a 350 degree oven, this took only 4 minutes.  Then I set them aside to cool while measuring my other ingredients and starting my bread.

Into the bread machine, I added 1 1/3 cups water, 2 lightly beaten egg whites, 2 tablespoons of butter (cut into pieces), 4 cups bread flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast.  (The walnuts were added later.)  I used the basic cycle and medium crust settings.  Between the 1st and 2nd knead, my machine beeps, and that is when I added the, now fully cooled, walnuts.

I used the ingredient amounts for a 2 pound loaf instead of a 1 1/2 pound loaf this time.  I probably should not have done that.  My machine isn’t quite big enough for a 2 pound loaf.  (Or this bread just rose like mad.)  I noticed during the final rise, that the dough was already touching the top window of the machine.  I removed some dough with a spoon and discarded it.  I still ended up with a large loaf of bread, but the top wasn’t as smooth as it might have been.

Since I made two loaves today, I am going to take the time to mention now how to best clean the pan and blade of your bread machine.  Always try to hand wash the parts of your bread machine.  The coating on the pan will stay nicer, much longer, if you don’t use the dishwasher.

The second loaf is a Fig and Walnut bread.  This recipe is in a special section of the cookbook that delves into using boxed bread machine mixes and creating specialty breads from them.  I purchased a Krusteaz Country White Bread Mix.  Along with the mix, I put 1 cup of water, 2 teaspoons of gluten, and the yeast from the box into my bread machine and set the cycle for basic and dark.  While the dough was starting, I chopped 1/4 cup of walnuts and 3/4 cup dried figs.  When the machine beeped between the kneads, I added the fruit and nuts.

I am really wishing I had taken photos today, I will have to get back on that with my next loaf.  I checked the dough regularly, just to make sure I wasn’t getting another crazy big rise.  As the figs were kneaded into the dough, the seeds spread throughout the loaf and it looked so pretty in the pan.  I am looking forward to hearing how the bread looks after it has been sliced.

As I said before, I can’t eat these loaves. So once they were fully cooled, I wrapped them well and put them in the freezer.  I will be seeing some friends this next weekend and asking them to take a loaf home and let me know what they think.  When I get the taste test results, I will add more to this post.

I sent the toasted walnut loaf home with my friend, Jennifer to share with her family.  The results?

“We all loved the bread! We ate almost half of it the first day. . .yum! Thanks for sharing”PART951433203356172952015060195170033

My sister got the fig and walnut loaf because I know how much she loves figs. We were lucky enough to take a trip to Dubai a few years ago and got to try fresh figs for the first time.  Becky is now a fan of the fig.  In addition to trying it herself, she took it in to work and asked for people’s opinions.  Before that, she made herself a toasted cheese sandwich and took a couple pictures for this post.

PART_1433204498509_20150601_172117My sister’s comments included,

” Smells wonderful.  Looks nice and dense.  The fig has a nice little kick of sweet you aren’t expecting.

Comments from her coworkers:

“Good flavor, a little dry. Would be better as toast.  Should be more moist.”

“Good flavor, crunchy bits in it. Prefer no nuts. Agree – bit dry – maybe great as french toast.”

“Rustic, fruity and delicious!”

“Yummy!”

“Reminds me of fig newtons but crunchier. Not bad, a bit dry though.”

“Tasty, sweet flavor, would be awesome toasted with cream cheese, pretty dry.”

So the consensus, tasty, but dry.  I can either attribute the dry texture to having frozen it after baking or the fact that this recipe called for a boxed bread machine loaf instead of making it from scratch.  I may try adding the fig and walnut to a from scratch white or whole wheat loaf at some point to see if it is any better.