Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

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Pumpkin? Yes Please.

October 10, 2013

pumpkin pull apart bread iiIs it me, or do you think of pumpkin in the fall?  It’s like I can’t get enough of that squash.  When Meeshie was small we would always visit a pumpkin patch.  We carve pumpkins just to enjoy the pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin flavored coffee is available at Dunkin Donuts.  I’m partial to Culver’s pumpkin pie shake.  As far as I know, the flavor is on their menu all year long, but I only want it now, when the weather is warm during the day.

I’ve made my share of pumpkin treats, but this next one is in my top five.  I made this along with the pumpkin donut muffins last weekend.  Oh, the aroma of pumpkin wafting through my kitchen….

Pull apart bread is quickly becoming my favorite treat.  I think it’s easier and less messy than a sweet roll.  It’s easier to roll out the dough, add the filling and cut it to set inside the bread pan.  Serving it is easier too; you can control the serving size when cutting the loaf.

I made this bread twice but did not double the glaze.  The glaze was the perfect amount for two loaves of bread.  Notice I didn’t say I doubled the recipe.  I’m not sure it can be doubled easily.  Try it and let me know.  In case you’re not aware, I bake a lot, but I don’t have luck with doubling a recipe unless it is stated.  So, I made the dough twice, which wasn’t that difficult.  I set up my mis en place and ran with it.

If you are still afraid to use yeast, try this.  Truly it’s pretty fool proof.  How do you know your yeast is working?  By the happy bubbles in the bowl, plus it will smell, for lack of a better term, yeasty.  No bubbles, then your yeast is probably bad and you can start again.  Don’t continue on, hoping the yeast will start to work.  It won’t.  Just get yourself some fresh yeast and soldier on.

What we loved about this bread was the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet.  That’s the problem sometimes with cinnamon rolls, too sweet.  Not this, the glaze is perfect and the rum just mellows the glaze.  It’s not something that is very prominent.  The nuts inside the layers are divine, but for those with the dreaded allergy, substitute the nuts with raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds.   And please, please, brown the butter.  I love the nuttiness of browned butter and it really does complement the pumpkin.

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat?

pumpkin pull apart bread viiPumpkin Pull Apart Bread

Bread:

  • 2 T Butter
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 2 1/4 t (1 envelope) Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 C Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1 t Salt
  • 2 1/2 Bread Flour

Filling:

  • 3/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 C Chopped Pecans
  • 1 T Candied Ginger
  • 3 T Butter

Buttered Rum Glaze:

  • 2 T Butter
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 T Milk
  • 3/4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T Rum

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, pecans and ginger and mix well. Set aside. Next, line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle.  Spoon the  melted butter/sugar mixture generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.)   Stack each strip on top of one another.  Cut the strip into six equal slices again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan.  While there is plenty of space on either side of the strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in size.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, brown the butter, add the milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.

Here’s the original post.

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Zucchini!

August 18, 2013

chocolate zucchini bread ii

I’m still enjoying zucchini. In the past, my zucchini has fizzled out by now. But not this year. Maybe it’s because of the newspaper I put down in the garden? I really don’t know. And what do you do with those jumbo zucchinis? Why bake with them.

I’ve shared my blueberry zucchini recipe before. This time I found a wonderful chocolate zucchini bread that is out of this world. Meeshie loves it, and she knows there’s zucchini in it. She saw the shredded zucchini in the colander in the sink and asked what I was doing with it. I told her about this wonderful bread, and although she was skeptical, she has managed to each an entire loaf.

It’s not overly sweet, but the cocoa and extra chocolate chips give it a perfect balance.  What I mean is that it tastes like chocolate.  Sometimes chocolate things are just sweet without the flavor of chocolate.  That’s not the case here.  I say that because, although I like chocolate, I don’t LOVE it.  I would not consider myself a chocoholic.  I would consider myself a very particular chocolate eater, though.

And once baked, you don’t see the shredded zucchini at all.

I wish I had a picture of the bread sliced, but I made three loaves with my jumbo zucchini, and once it was sliced it was gone.  I had this one loaf left only because it is a gift for one of my girlfriends.

chocolate zucchini bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 C Honey
  • 1/3 C Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/3 C Dutch Process Cocoa
  • 1 2/3 C Flour
  • 2 C Zucchini, shredded
  • 2/3 C Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 1/2 C Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 C Chopped Nuts, optional ( I used cashews)

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, honey, oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, mixing until well combined.  Stir in the zucchini and 1/3 C of the bittersweet chocolate chips and all of the milk chocolate chips.  Add the nuts, if using.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 C bittersweet chocolate chips.  You can also sprinkle a small amount of nuts on top, if desired.

Bake for 65-75 minutes until done.  A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when done.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out of pan to continue cooling.

Here’s the original recipe.  Thank you King Arthur Flour!

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A Touch of Irish

March 9, 2013

irish soda bread iiiI know I’ve shared this recipe before, but it’s just so good.  I made two batches of this bread last weekend.  I like using the two raisins.  It’s a visual thing as well as a taste thing.  But if you don’t have golden raisins, don’t let that stop you.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I like to soak my raisins.  That simple step really adds a lot to the texture of the bread.  Give it a try.

This bread would be perfect for Easter brunch or any time of year.  It makes two large loaves that can easily be split, although I never seem to get that far.  We eat the bread so quickly, but you can make four smaller loaves to share with friends.

Serve this bread plain or with butter, but either way enjoy!

I’m waiting for spring.  I’m tired of snow.  We haven’t had a lot compared to some years, but it’s March and I’m so over it.  Last week I saw my daffodils popping up, and this week Meeshie had a snow day.  Crazy!

irish soda breadIrish Soda Bread
•6-6 1/2 C Flour, sifted
•1 C Sugar
•3 t Baking Powder
•1 t Baking Soda
•1 3/4 C Buttermilk
•2 Eggs, beaten
•1/4 C Butter, melted
•1 1/2 C Raisins, soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes (I used 3/4 C regular raisins and 3/4 C golden raisins)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix the flour (I start with 6 C), sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture in the center. Mix the ingredients with the dough hook on a stand mixer, if you have one. If not, mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon. Mix the ingredients together until well combined. Add the raisins and knead until fairly smooth. Turn out on floured countertop and continue to knead for another minute or two. If the dough is overly sticky, add more flour and continue kneading. Divide the dough into two parts. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and pat into two round loaves. With a butter knife, cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep on top of each loaf. Sprinkle with flour and bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.

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Crusty Bread

July 1, 2012

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love bread.  All kinds of bread.  I also love making bread.  I came across a recipe recently that I knew I had to try at my earliest opportunity.  I’m so glad that I did.  This recipe is so simple and it’s one of the best breads I’ve ever made.  I think that says a lot, because I’ve made my fair share of bread.

What I love about this bread is that it’s fool-proof.  What do I mean by that?  Well it uses yeast, and although I’m a lover of all things yeast, I don’t like to use it too often in the summer.  The humidity can make it temperamental.  And it has been more than humid around here.  Hot and humid is one of the joys of summer in the midwest.  But this recipe puts the four ingredients together and you just forget about them for at least 12 hours.  You don’t have to stress about water temperature.  The longer you allow the yeast to feed, the yummier your bread will be.   It’s almost like make a starter for your bread.  Fool proof, I tell you!

The other great thing about this bread is that you bake it inside an enameled cast iron pot.  I have a beautiful one from Sur La Table, but feel free to use your Staub or Le Creuset one.  Baking inside the pot is what gives it that wonderful crusty crunchy texture.  This bread is great on a sandwich, or just sliced and eaten with some butter.

Crusty Bread

  • 3 C Flour
  • 1 3/4 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Yeast
  • 1 1/2 C Water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add the water and mix until combined.  It will be very loose.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside, on the counter, for 12-18 hours.  Do not refrigerate.  Trust me, once the dough has sat for at least 12 hours, you will have a happy little yeast community.  Once the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the pot in the oven, covered, for 30 minutes.  While the pot is heating, place the dough on a heavy floured surface and shape into a ball.  Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Once the pot has been in the 450 degree oven for 30 minutes, remove it and place the dough inside.  Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

That’s it, no need to grease the pot.  So easy and delicious!

Here’s the original post.

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Irish Soda Bread

May 7, 2012

I’m home today because Meeshie is not feeling well.  This morning she told me that she didn’t feel well and I did what I normally do, I told her she had to go to school.  I have a crazy week a head.   But she insisted.  She was actually not herself yesterday and didn’t sleep as well as she normally does.  Plus, I knew I was staying home when I told her that she had to go back to bed this morning and she agreed.  That meant no television, or electronic devices.

But that’s okay.  I’m keeping busy in the kitchen today while Meeshie rests.  Plus, I’ve been wanting to share this great recipe.  It’s Irish Soda Bread.  I know that in March this recipe is everywhere, but I love this bread all year round.   My good friend, Cathy makes a wonderful Irish Soda Bread.  This recipe, though, is from a lady who works in my office.  She said it’s an old family recipe and it makes two very large loaves.  This recipe can easily be divided into four loaves for sharing.

I’m a raisin soaker.  I know that some people like to soak raisins for Irish Soda Bread in whiskey.  It does add extra goodness to the bread, but I actually don’t have a preference.  Start with the six cups of flour, and adjust the dough accordingly.  Irish Soda Bread is dense and should not be overly dry.

Irish Soda Bread

  • 6-6 1/2 C Flour, sifted
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 3 t Baking Powder
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1 3/4 C Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C Butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 C Raisins, soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes (I used 1 C regular raisins and 1/2 C golden raisins)

Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl.  In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture in the center.  Mix the ingredients with the dough hook on a stand mixer, if you have one.  If not, mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon.  Mix the ingredients together until well combined.  Add the raisins and knead until fairly smooth.  Turn out on floured countertop and continue to knead for another minute or two.  If the dough is overly sticky, add more flour and continue kneading.  Divide the dough into two parts.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet and pat into two round loaves.  With a butter knife, cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep on top of each loaf.  Sprinkle with flour and bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.

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Everybody Needs a Great Bread

April 2, 2012

A while ago, I had a conversation with one of my blogging friends about focaccia.  Allison told me that she had a wonderful focaccia recipe, but needed to unearth it.  I had actually forgotten all about it until I saw the Sandwich King a few weeks ago.  He made focaccia and that sent me on a quest.  I know that I could have used his recipe, but he never made it on the show.  What’s the point of having a cooking show on the Food Network if you aren’t actually going to cook on the show?  Plus, I think his show is getting worse instead of better.  I liked his show in the beginning, but now I just wish he would stop talking, and dancing, and singing and just make something.

Sorry, back to the focaccia.  I found a great recipe from Anne Burrell.  I love her.  I love how no-nonsense she is.  Her recipe is really simple, because that’s what focaccia is, a nice simple bread.  Perfect for a sandwich, or not.

The only thing I did differently with this recipe is I used some 00 flour.  It’s used to make pasta, pizza dough and bread.  I used a one cup of 00 flour and the rest was the AP flour.  You can find this flour in Italian specialty shops.  It’s really expensive but worth the price.  I mean more expensive that King Arthur flour.  My one pound bag cost as much as the five-pound one of King Arthur.   Comparing it to regular flour, it’s easier to work with, yeast loves it and it’s airier.  I think it has something to do with they way it’s milled.

Focaccia

  • 1 3/4 C Warm Water (110 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 t Dry Active Yeast (or one package)
  • 1 T Sugar
  • 5 C Flour (or 4 C Flour and 1 C 00 Flour), plus more for kneading
  • 1 T Coarse Kosher Salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 C Olive Oil, divided
  • Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme for sprinkling

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl, place in a warm place and allow to bubble for at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 T salt, 1/2 C olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed.  Once the dough has come together, continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes until it becomes smooth and soft.  Add additional flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand one or two times.  Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl.  Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place the dough has doubled in size, at least an hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 C olive oil  Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the pan.  Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil.  Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan.  As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough to give it a rustic look.

Cover and allow the dough to rest until it has doubled in size, about an hour.  Liberally sprinkle the top of the dough with salt, oregano, rosemary and thyme.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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Brioche

March 1, 2012

I know it’s not a surprise that I love to bake.  I especially love to bake bread.  For the last six months I’ve actually taken the plunge and started to use King Arthur flour.  I say the plunge because King Arthur flour is not cheap.  Luckily my local Target sells it at a reasonable amount.  This flour is worth every penny I pay for it.  It’s fantastic.

Do you know what else is fantastic?  The King Arthur website.  They have some wonderful recipes.  Like their recipe for brioche.   Brioche is a sweet bread made with eggs.   It’s also one of the best breads to use for french toast.  With this recipe you can make mini brioche, one large loaf or two loaves.  You can braid the loaf, or make it traditionally as a topknot.  The only thing to keep in mind is that it browns quickly.  That means that it may look done, but it isn’t.  So check on it frequently and tent it with foil as soon as it gets that deep brown.

I love to just slice this bread, toasted it slightly and spread some blueberry jam on it.

Brioche

  • 2 3/4 C Flour
  • 1/4 C Dry Milk
  • 3 T Sugar
  • 1 1/4 t Salt
  • 1 T  Yeast (you can use instant, I use dry active)
  • 3 Eggs, plus one more yolk reserving the white for top of the loaf
  • 1/4 C Lukewarm Water
  • 10 T Butter, softened

Using a stand mixer, mix together all of the ingredients to form a smooth, shiny dough.  This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not knead by hand.  Once the dough is shiny and smooth, form into a ball and place it into a greased bowl.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for at least an hour.  Place the dough in the refrigerator.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and as long as overnight.  This will allow the butter to chill, making the dough easier to shape.

Divide the dough into three equal pieces and braid.  Place the loaf on a parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size.  You can also shape it into a large round traditional brioche; make mini brioche or make two loaves.  You can also place the dough into two greased bread pans.  Once the dough has rested and risen, whisk the egg whites with a small amount of milk and brush on the loaf.  Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake the whole loaf in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Check every 10 minutes and if the loaf becomes too brown, tent with foil.  Brioche should be deep brown and sound hollow when tapped.

For the mini brioche, bake in 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes and tent if necessary.

For two loaves, bake in 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, checking every 10 minutes and tent if necessary.

For the mini brioche, combine 1 C confectioner’s sugar, 1 t vanilla, and enough milk to drizzle on top.

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