Classic banana bread is still our favorite weekly bread so far. I love that we can eat it as is without the need of any spreads. However, sometime we don't have banana and still haven't had chance to go to grocery store. Sometime also, we want variation. That's when I try different recipes. This time I found another simple recipe from my old Mennonite cookbook.
Combine in a large bowl: 1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T salt
2 T butter/margarine
Pour over: 2 c. boiling water Stir in to combine.
Dissolve: 1 pkg dry yeast (or 7 grams) in 1/2 c. warm water
When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast.
Stir in: 5 c. white flour
When dough is stiff enough to handle, turn onto floured board and knead 5-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3 pans. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes. Cool on rack, brushing loaves with margarine for a soft crust.
After doing some research and asking Mike, my baker friend, I decided to get a baking stone. The stone, which is placed at the bottom of the oven, help distribute the heat evenly so thick crust can be formed before the bottom of the bread is over toasted. I should have gotten the stone earlier, because I kept trying recipes but never got "sexy" crust like what were shown on the recipe's pictures.
Some discussions about baking stone also slowed down my decision of getting it. Baking stone costs about $30-ish, can be higher of lower depends on the brand. Some people said that unglazed ceramic tile can be used to save money. People that chose the tile believed that the tile didn't have toxic chemical since it's unglazed. I thought about going to that route since a ceramic tile from Home Depot or Lowe's can cost less than $1 each. After thinking about it more, I decided to get one that is graded for food.
Baking stone has been sitting on the lower rack of my oven since it arrived in our apartment. I leave it there even when I use the oven to bake something else other than bread. It is big and heavy after all and wasn't meant to be moved a lot. I have tried some bread and the tile indeed helped creating crusty bread. It is not a magic wand though. Other than the stone, there are also many other techniques in bread making I haven't mastered yet.
I was still amazed that fresh cranberry could be really good for bread. I thought its shiny skin wasn't easy to soften that it needed to be boiled and never eaten raw. I was skeptical when reading a recipe that called for fresh cranberry. I was glad I tried it anyway, because those cranberries were softened as the bread were baked; and blended really well with the texture of the bread. Furthermore, the sour taste of the berries complemented the sweetness of the bread.
My first cranberry loaf was more like a cake, so I searched for cranberry bread recipe. I ended up using Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaf recipe from Baking with Julia cookbook. I still had half bag full of cranberries, pecan, fresh pumpkin from CSA, and other baking supplies. Oh, and I also had a new loaf pan! I'd been wishing to have a straight corner loaf pan. See, I didn't have excuse not to bake this bread
I baked this colorful bread on Thanksgiving weekend, and hubby went out of town at the beginning of the week. When he got back from his trip, there was still a lot of bread left. Although the bread was dried out, I knew it was still good because I stored it in the fridge. A week after I made it, I cut the bread to a size of regular biscotti and baked it with low temperature for about an hour. Now I have strips of toasted cranberry walnut pumpkin in a glass jar. I know it can be stored for a long time because they have very low moisture content, but last time I checked, they were almost gone
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving for all of my friends who celebrate this special holiday this beautiful weekend.
I must say that Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday. It makes me think about His countless blessings that have been poured out on me. For me, Thanksgiving is also like the opening of Christmas. In fact, the first advent this year is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I love this time of the year.
While in school, Thanksgiving is also the busiest time of the semester. Most finals project are usually due after Thanksgiving, and classes are usually wrapped up days after the break. I only have 2 days left of classes and the rest will be final exam period. I should have worked on my project and studied this whole weekend, but I chose to take some days off. I enjoyed my break with hubby, spent time with friends, and baked! Surely I have to catch up from now on till the end of the semester, but it's all worth it.
Here is what I baked, Rustic Potato Loaves from Baking with Julia cookbook. I used potatoes and realized that I didn't have enough of it, so mixed those with sweet potatoes. I am glad I did because the sweet potatoes enhanced the bread color.
I think I need to take stress management class. Whenever I am busy, I couldn't have a good quality of sleep at night. My mind keeps thinking and making list of what I need to do next. Last night, I also couldn't stop picturing statistics formulas for my exam this Wednesday. When I told myself not to think about it, my brain switched gear to organizing time to finish lab reports, homeworks, and thesis. Argh!
When I am busy like now, I wish I had anything half-made in the fridge. Sometimes I do have that, like this tomato foccacia I made earlier this semester. I had baked the other half of the dough for fougasse. For the topping, I used cherry tomatoes and onion, since those were hubby's favorite. The sauce is my usual basil pesto overpowered with garlic! Using the other half of the dough, we had a nice dinner and a nice lunch.
I've been trying to keep this blog updated. However, this never ending school works may not allow me to do so in the next few months. My apology if I can't update it as often as I want to. Stay tuned!
I made this fougasse last week and was more confirmed that making rustic bread wasn't easy. I was hoping for a beautiful golden brown fougasse just as shown on my new recipe book, but as we can see, mine was pale. Oh well. Someday... someday...
Despite the washed-out crust color, it was still a good dinner for us. We love bread dipped in olive oil. Yum...
After graduating in 2011, I told myself that I would never go back to school. I thought I had enough fast-paced and restless school life. Yet, guess where I am right now. I've been heavily occupied with school works this past few months started a day after I got back from home. Since then, I've never stopped to smell roses, and never had time to cook anything "blog-able".
I had a rough beginning, thus at the beginning of the semester, I questioned myself if going back to school was a correct decision. Things were cleared up bit by bit, and I started seeing myself enjoying my new field. In this past few months, I've been reminded of God's great love for me. I am surrounded by great friends and professors that are so willing to help; and also hubby who is very understanding and doesn't complaint when I ask him to cook
One thing he doesn't want to miss is my homemade bread. When I was away for 2 month, he told me several times that he wasn't pleased with the store-brought bread he had and wished to have my bread. Heeheee... Don't you all think that my bread is perfect, because it is not. It is just hard to find bread, that is not soft and light, including the wholewheat one. Some people may like that kind of bread better, but hubby prefers my dense and slightly-burnt-on-bottom bread He is just too nice.
So, I always make time to bake bread. Monday evening had been a perfect time for me to bake, but I have to do homework in the evening most of the time. So for the past few weeks, I had to move it to Sunday evening. Since I baked a day earlier than usual, hubby asked me to increase the recipe. That way we had enough bread for that week. Yet, I had a better idea. I divided the though to more pieces than usual so I got more yields but smaller size. Sure enough he figured that out
Hubby laughed when he saw pink bread on our kitchen cabinet. He said that I was having beet fever. Some time ago, I cooked many things with green tea powder, and now I like to cook things with beet puree. The puree was made out of our last few week's beet supply from CSA. To make the puree, I steamed the beets (with skin) for about 45 minutes then puree them using food processor.
I made this bread using a recipe from More with Less Mennonite cookbook called "Edna Ruth Byler’s Potato Dough Baked Goods", but I used pureed beet instead of mashed potato. The recipe is very easy and apparently multipurpose. It is a base recipe for rolls, donuts, cinnamon rolls, and other things. So, the base dough by itself is kinda plain. The original recipe yields 100 rolls, so I made only 1/3 portion of it.
I thought of my prego friend when I made this. She was miserable with nausea and very sensitive to strong taste, so I thought this bread would be great for her. I was happy when she told me that she liked it. I made another batch the weekend after, but using golden beet. From that experiment I found out that for coloring agent, color golden beet isn't as intense as the red one but the taste was still obvious.
Mix in large bowl: 1/3 quart milk (I used almond milk) 2/3 cups pureed beet
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
Let cool to lukewarm, then add:
Yeast mixture 2 cups flour
Let stand until mixture foams up (about 20 minutes)
Add: 1 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
3 to 4 cups additional flour
Mix the all of the ingredients until satiny. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk. Divide the dough to 30-33 rolls. Fill each roll with filling or just plain rolls. Arrange them on a greased baking pan. Let rise again until almost doubled in volume. Bake rolls in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes, or until done.
Having leftover pumpkin from making pumpkin cheesecake, I made this yummy bread to match colors outside my window.
Source: From Amish and Mennonite Kitchen Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt 1 cup mashed pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup raisins
Mix eggs and sugar until pale, add oil, water, and pumpkin. Fold dry ingredients and raisins. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for an hour or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
I like to try new bread recipes since I make bread pretty much every week. Yet sometimes I also like to play with old recipes and see if I can make them better. So far it often didn't work, and hubby laughed at me and gave me his "nice try" look. This time though, I was satisfied the result.
Chocolate Swirl Bread
Ingredients: 8 gr yeast
100 ml warm water 250 gr whole wheat flour
250 gr all-purpose flour
50 gr sugar
40 gr butter
8 gr salt
50-100 ml water
Chocolate: 3 Tbs butter, softened until reaching spreadable stage
1/4 cup ground walnut (or any nuts)
2 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs honey
Mix all of the chocolate filling mixture.
Combine yeast and warm water. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes.
Mix dry ingredients, add yeast mixture, butter, and water until well blended (stop adding water if the dough is sticky enough). Mix until smooth and shiny. Let the dough rise for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough to 2. Roll dough out into a basic rectangular shape. Evenly spread the chocolate filling. Roll up dough and form into 1 loaf. Do the same thing for the other dough.
Place on a greased loaf, seam down. Place the dough in a warm place and allow to double in volume (about 90 minutes). Glaze with egg yolk (if desired) then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake at preheated oven 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.