Thursday, December 29, 2011

Got Stale Bread??

Since I didn't get a new recipe made this month I still wanted to share are two things we like do to when we have stale bread, and when you make homemade bread it goes stale...very quickly!

I hope you enjoy these two recipes, courtesy of the Food Network!

#1 French Toast

Believe it or not French toast is best when made with old, dry bread. Alton Brown's Recipe is the best.

French Toast

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2003

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
24 min
4 servings


  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread (sour dough is also really good!)
  • 4 tablespoons butter


In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

#2 Bread Pudding!! I have several different recipes.I've made the Better Homes and Gardens version several times, but today I tried Paula Deen's recipe. Oh my yumminess!!! Loaded with sugar and butter, how can it not be?!

The Best Bread Pudding

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen, 2007

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
24 hr 10 min
Cook Time:
50 min
8 to 10 servings


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large beaten eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl (I used sour dough bread)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brandy (I substituted apple juice)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.
Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.
Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
For the sauce:
Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy apple juice, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.

Here are pictures of the bread pudding I made today! I just poured the sauce over the top and am anxiously waiting for it to cool off!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

French Bread

I love french bread because it is SO simple, and there is just something so delicious about a crusty bread with the soft insides. Mmmm. You don't have to collect any special ingredients, everything needed is most likely already in your cupboard.

To start place in a large bowl: 2 cups warm water, 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast, and one tablespoon of sugar (I was actually out of sugar so I didn't use any kind of sweetener). Let stand at room temp for about 10 minutes.
The recipe actually calls for 3 cups of bread flour and 3 cups of unbleached all purpose, I didn't have any bread flour so I used all unbleached. You add two cups to the yeast and stir briskly for 3 minutes. Then add the remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time (you may need more, or less, then 6 cups depending on the brand, batch, etc)
Knead for 10-12 minutes (Unless you have used bread flour, then it only takes about 8 minutes). Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let raise in a cool room until tripled in bulk. About 1 1/2-2 hours. If you have the time punch it down and let raise again for another hour.
Divide into three equal portions and shape each one into a rectangle (which would make a baguette) or if you want a french bread loaf roll up the rectangle into a sausage shape.
Like so.
Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes. Before baking slash little diagonal lines on the top of each loaf, no more then 1/4 an inch deep and let raise about 30 minutes. I baked mine on a greased airbake cookie sheet.
Eat immediately or transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. (The loaves I made were a lot smaller then a french bread loaf you would find in the store, I would say they were in between a baguette and a french bread)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Here is a GREAT site for that never ending menu planning! I'm excited to use it. Plus you can add your blog and all your recipes/blogs/websites will be available to all that follow this site. It's a great way to advertise your site and also get good ideas.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Vanilla Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Phew, now that I have a cross country move out of the way I can start doing more of the enjoyable (yet optional) this blog!

This cake is So good! I wanted to have some for breakfast for a few days but my kids liked it so much there was nothing left after the second day (and that's cause I hid some in the freezer for day 2! The first time I made it several years ago I wasn't so sure, but I think part of the reason was I made it in to small of a pan so it overflowed..yeah. It was perfect for the 10 inch tube pan!

 Five stars baby!!

Have some directions! (Preheat the oven to 375 F then grease and flour the pan of your choice! a 10 inch round, 10-12 cup bundt pan, or 2 9x5 inch loaf pans)
In a large bowl combine the following:
3 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt

In a separate bowl:
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 a cup)of unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-beat with an electric mixer/stand mixer until smooth and fluffy, then add 4 large eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Beat in 2 teaspoons pure vanilla (I used imitation this time, of course it works fine) along with 1 1/4 cups of sour cream just until smooth.

 Gradually add the dry ingredients, beat well until fluffy and light colored. There should be no lumps or dry spots

In a small bowl mix together:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
 3/4 a cup (3 oz) pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts finely chopped. (I did not have any nuts when I made this, so consider the nuts optional)
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Spoon 1/3 of the batter into the pan, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the brown sugar. Repeat the process for three layers of batter and end with brown sugar.
(Baking directions at beginning of post!) Bake on center rack for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cake tester comes out clean (or toothpick!) Top of the cake should not be shiny.  Let the cake stand in the pan for 15 minutes. remove from pan to cool completely on rack. NOTE: If using a Bundt pan it must cool completely in the pan, otherwise it won't come out in one piece! I sit it on a cooling rack for at least an hour, more if needed. As you can see from my picture we were a little impatient!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sweet Yeast Dough

Oh my goodness! I wish I had tried this a long time ago!

To make the sponge:

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1/4 cup warm water, 1 1/4 cups warm milk, 2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour. Beat until smooth then cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes. It will be really bubbly.

To make the dough:

Add the following to the sponge: 2 large eggs at room temp., finely grated zest of 1 orange or lemon (I used orange), 2 teaspoons salt, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth, then add3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) the butter should be cut in little pieces and be at room temp. Then add the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour 1/4 a cup at a time until the dough is smooth. The dough will not be firm like regular bread dough, it will be very soft.

Knead about four minutes (using flour as needed to prevent sticking) then place in a greased bowl turning once to coat. Then let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

After that you can do whatever you would like with it! The recipe suggests dividing into 6 portions and braiding (see braiding example below), which would be good because this dough is SO amazing!

I chose to divide the dough in half and make cinnamon rolls and an apple braid. I just used my favorite recipe for apple pie filling. (3 cups chopped, peeled apples, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. I mixed it up and let it sit in the fridge while the bread was rising. It's pretty wet, I just drained it all off...)

I dusted the top of my braid with cinnamon, nutmeg and powdered sugar. Then after it was done I glazed it with powdered sugar, vanilla and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Sorry, no pics of the cinnamon rolls...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peach Upside-Down Ginger Cake

Delicious! It's not super sweet (the cake title kinda throws you off!) so we had it for breakfast. Mmmm.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel and pit 6 (2-3 cups) ripe peaches and cut in thick slices.
Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 9 inch cake pan, or spring-form. (I recommend the cake pan because the butter and sugar leaked out the bottom of my spring-form). Put the butter in the pan and place in oven until melted (or stovetop works too). Then add 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.

Heat just until sugar is melted then arrange peach slices in a single layer. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream a stick of room temp unsalted butter (8 tablespoons) with 1/2 a cup of granulated sugar. Beat in 2 large eggs, 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla. In another bowl whisk 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg.

Add the flour mixture alternately with 1/4 cup boiling water to the creamed mixture.

Spoon over the top of the peaches. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.(woops, I had a little trouble as you can see by the one corner...)

Serve at room temp with chilled Amaretto Cream

Whisk 3 eggs with 1/2 cup sugar.

Scald 2 cups heavy cream plus 1/4 cup amaretto creamer in a double boiler (temp should be around 100 F). Whisking constantly add milk to egg mixture. Place in a saucepan on medium heat, stir constantly until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and if desired add 2 tsp almond extract. Refrigerate. Mixture will thicken as it cools.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Italian Walnut-Raisin Whole-Wheat Bread

As my almost-four year old would say: This bread is "Kasty" !! Ask her if she wants some she will say "hure!!" (She loves the h sound I suppose!)

We shall award it with four stars.

In a small bowl: 1/2 a cup warm water, sprinkle 2 tablespoons active dry yeast over the top along with a pinch of brown sugar or a drop of honey.

In a large bowl: 2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 cups of whole wheat flour 1/2 a cup at a time, add 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour 1/4 a cup at a time until it clears the side of the bowl. (Keep in mind it may take more flour then called for, I think I ended up using 1-2 cups more white flour).
Knead 5-6 minutes, or until dough is smooth and springy. It should be a little bit sticky under the surface but still hold it's shape.
Place in a greased container and let raise 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile an hour before it's done raising chop 3 cups (12 oz) walnuts, and soak 2 cups dark raisins (10 oz) in hot water.

Pat into a large oval and cover with half the nuts and raisins, pushing them into the dough. Roll it up and pat into an oval again, pushing in the other half of the nuts and raisins.

Then roll up and divide into 2 or 3 equal portions.

I made two free form loaves and a rather wide baguette (about 14 inches long). Place on a greased or parchment covered baking sheet.

Let raise 45 minutes to an hour. Twenty minutes before baking turn oven to 400 F. Using a serrated knife slash two parallel lines and one intersecting line only 1/4 an inch deep. Bake 25-30 minutes for Baguettes and 35-40 minutes for bread. I baked mine about 30 minutes for the three I made.

Italian Olive Oil Bread

I must admit, I've never really been one for the artisan style bread, I just don't like things super crusty. I've always been all about soft and gooey! Well everything deserves a chance and I do want to represent all the recipes in this fabulous book so I made this recipe. And LOVED it!!(Definitely 5 stars) It wasn't to crusty and it also made an AWESOME French Toast!! Check out Alton Brown's French toast recipe here (Note: It really does make a difference to slice your bread and let it sit on the counter overnight!) And a note on the french toast, we used 1% milk, and it was good!

Anyhew, here goes...

To prepare the sponge:
In a large bowl: 1 cup lukewarm water, 1 cup lukewarm milk, 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast, 3 cups whole wheat flour (It recommends stoneground, but that's not what I had and it was fine)
Cover loosely with cheesecloth (or plastic) and let sit at room temp for 8-12 hours. I made the sponge around 10-11 in the morning, then mixed the dough about 9 pm that night. You also let the dough raise for an extended amount of time, so I let it sit all night and then baked first thing in the morning.

Add to the sponge: 1 tsp. active dry yeast, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup wheat bran, raw wheat germ, or Roman Meal Cream of Rye cereal, along with 1/2 a cup of unbleached all purpose or bread flour. Beat hard for 2 minutes, and then add the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour a little at a time until you are able to knead the dough without getting to sticky. Knead about 3 minutes, set aside uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, then knead another 3 minutes.
If kneading by machine, switch from paddle to dough hook and knead 5-6 minutes. Place dough in a greased deep container and let rise until tripled in bulk, for 3 hours or overnight.

Gently deflate the dough, shape into two free form loaves and place on a greased or parchment covered baking sheet. Let rise about an hour. Slash a diamond design with a serrated knife no more then 1/4 an inch deep. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 F and bake another 25-30 minutes.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Seeded Dill Rye

I have been wanting to make a rye bread for awhile, I was very satisfied with this recipe. And my youngest daughter liked it a whole lot as well! I thought I would award it with 4 stars. (It sure makes me in the mood for a Reuben sandwich!)

In a small bowl (or liquid measuring cup) sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast over 1/2 a cup of warm water and sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over the top as well. Let it sit about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl mix together: 1 1/2 cups rye flour (I used mild rye) 1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk, 1 tablespoon each of dill weed and dill seed. (It also calls for 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds which I didn't have and it was fine without it) and also 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 3 tablespoons of unsalted, melted butter, along with the yeast mixture. Mix well until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Then add 3 1 /2 to 4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour and/or bread flour 1/2 a cup at a time until the dough is shaggy and clears the side of the bowl. (Note: you may use more or less flour depending on the brand/batch)

Knead about 5 minutes, using flour as needed to prevent sticking. Let rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for 1 1/2 hours.

Divide dough into two portions and shape. Let raise in the 9x5 inch loaf pans for 40 minutes. If desired brush with egg glaze (1 egg, 1 tablespoon water/milk)

Twenty minutes before baking turn on the oven to 378 F. Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.