Sunday, December 29, 2013

Italian Bread Sticks (Grissini)

I'm very sad to say this is the first recipe I've made from this book that we didn't like. I liked the taste, but the texture wasn't very good. I will probably try them again with a different type of flour... BUT if you are looking for some awesome breadsticks, we made some out of the White Mountain Bread recipe, SO good!

Feel free to try these yourself, maybe mess around with some of the ingredients if you have made grissini before. It may very well be that I didn't follow the directions well...

In a large bowl: 2 tablespoons active dry yeast,  1 1/2 cups warm water,  1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup semolina flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour.
Beat hard until creamy, about a minute. Then add 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, half a cup at a time until you have a soft shaggy ball that clears the side of the bowl. If making by hand switch to a wooden spoon when necessary.
Knead until soft and springy, about 3 minutes. Dust with flour 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to prevent sticking.
Dust the work surface with semolina flour and pat the dough into a thick 12x6 inch rectangle. OR you can grease a large cookie sheet (I use airbake) and roll out dough right on the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise about an hour (or until doubled)
Preheat the oven to 425 F and place a baking stone on the center rack. (If you don't have a pizza stone unglazed terracotta tiles are a nice inexpensive substitute!) Gently deflate dough, then cut the dough into  four equal sections lengthwise (the dough will deflate a little more) Then cut into 6 strips lengthwise.
Pick up each piece and stretch or roll to desired shape. Dip each piece into olive oil, then semolina flour. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
I really like the idea of these, and I'm determined to figure out a way to make them to our family's liking! Will update when I figure that out!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Glazed Zucchini Bread

This one is definitely a winner! I have definitely made my share of not-so-good zucchini bread recipes and was overjoyed to have this one turn out so good!
One warning though (and you will see in my picture below!!) contrary to the recipe this one makes more then one loaf! I would suggest either two 9X5 inch pans, or a 10 inch bundt.

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large bowl: 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola, you could also use walnut oil if you have it. I don't have it very often since it is rather expensive), and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat well, then add 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat well, then  fold in 2 cups grated zucchini.
Stir until evenly distributed.

In another bowl: 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 a teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves.  Then finally add 1 cup (4 ounces) walnuts, chopped or golden raisins, plumped and drained. (I used walnuts)
Beat until well combined. Then pour into pans. (This batter would also make delicious muffins!)
Yep, even someone that has been baking for 15+ years can make mistakes!
Place in the preheated oven and bake 65-75 minutes. If you are using two pans I would check at 60 minutes.
Or if you decide to make muffins bake for 20-25 minutes.
I made a few changes to the glaze since I don't use alcohol:
1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brandy or cognac (I substituted with lemon juice, orange juice would also work)
What kid doesn't love the appearance of frosting? lol
Mmm. It sure was good for breakfast!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Santa Fe Blue Corn Muffins

So in light of ordering a rather large amount of blue corn online I decided to make all the blue corn recipes I could find in The Bread Bible!
These muffins were very satisfying, we had them with Sunday dinner with a beef roast, potatoes and carrots. I think they would go really well with soups, especially taco soup!
They do have sugar in them, but taste more like a savory muffin, which was new to me. Most of my repertoire consists of sweet muffins.
-Makes 12 muffins-
In a medium bowl mix until fluffy: 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, 1/2 cup sugar.
Then add 5 large eggs, 1/2 a cup of milk, 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies. Beat until well blended.
In another bowl: 1 cup blanched fresh or thawed frozen white corn kernels (I used yellow, it was fine), 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded Jack cheese, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/4 cups fine blue corn meal or harina para atole, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mixing well until it falls off your spoon in clumps.  If needed you can add an additional 1/4 cup flour if it's too runny.
Spoon into muffin tins, filling all the way to the top.  Bake in preheated oven at 375 F for 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blue Corn Tortillas

I loved the look of these with my enchiladas! I couldn't find blue corn meal at my local grocery store but found a good deal at can also get it from Bob's Red Mill) It was coarse ground, not exactly what the recipe called for. But they turned out great anyway even though they didn't roll as thin as they would have with the finer meal.
In a large bowl: 1 cup blue corn haranilla or masa harina para tortillas (or in other words, fine ground blue corn meal)
3/4 cup yellow or white masa harina para tortillas (I used instant masa mix)
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon hot water (add the water a little at a time)
Mix thoroughly until evenly moistened and you have a ball that is firm and not sticky. If it's too dry add 1 teaspoon of water at a time. Cover and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, blue corn meal dries out super fast.
Divide into 12 portions and shape into 5 inch rounds.
Keep under the cloth while you are working.
Heat the cast iron (or if you don't have one a skillet will work fine). Bake 30 seconds one each side, you may need a thin metal pancake turner if it sticks.
These are best eaten within an hour.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mexican Morning Buns

These were really fun to make. They are not nearly as sweet as the ones I have had in the past, but they are definitely a tasty breakfast!The recipe makes 16 buns.

In a mug, or cup of your choice: 1/4 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let sit until foamy.
In a large bowl:
2/3 a cup granulated sugar, 2/3 cup warm milk, 5 large eggs (at room temperature) 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups of flour (entire recipe calls for 4-4 1/2 cups flour).

Add the yeast mixture and beat well until smooth. Then add 6 tablespoons (3/4 a stick) of unsalted butter cut into pieces.  Mix on low to incorporate if you are using a mixer.
Add the remaining flour half a cup at a time, until the dough is smooth and shaggy. Don't worry if you need to add extra flour to get the dough where you want it.
That's me! Posing with my unbleached flour! :)
Knead for 3-4 minutes (or 1-2 if you used a mixer) If needed dust with flour 1 tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking.
Place dough in a greased container. Rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Sugar toppings:
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into pieces.

Divide dough in half. Then to one add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and the other 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon.

I mixed this with my hands.

Divide dough into 16 pieces. Then roll into balls and flatten.  Grease your hands, then smooth sugar topping over each one.

Then using a sharp knife or pan dulce cutter cut a criss cross or curved shell pattern into the topping. (see below)

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let raise about 40 minutes. 20 minutes before baking preheat oven to 375 f.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and firm.

Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pear Spice Coffee Cake

This is So delicious! Love it!
To make the struesel:
1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (half a stick) cold unsalted butter
You can either mix with your hands until combined but still crumbly. Or a couple of pulses in a food processor.
The butter chunks should be about the size of peas.

Parchment line the bottom of  an 8-9 inch spring form pan. Grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large bowl:
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 a teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 pears, peeled and sliced.

In another bowl:
1 cup sour cream (plain/greek yogurt also works)
4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs

 Mix wet and dry ingredients, then fold in pears.

Bake 55 minutes to an hour at 350 F. (I usually check at 50 minutes, then add more time if needed) You can check with a butter knife, cake tester, or toothpick.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove the pan. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

California Walnut Bread

This is by far the most unique bread I have ever eaten. It was somewhat of an "acquired taste" for me. I didn't really like the first bite, but by the third bite I was really impressed with the depth of flavors it had. And by the time I finished the slice I really liked it! I would definitely call this a gourmet bread. It also made a delicious bread pudding!
To make the sponge.
In a large bowl add the following ingredients:
2 tablespoons (or two packets) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
3 tablespoons honey or sugar (agave nectar also works well)
and 2 cups of whole milk at room temperature.
Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature about an hour.

If you have children this is a great time to get them excited about baking! My two year old loves to stir.
Chop 1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F about 3 minutes.

To the sponge add:
1/2 cup walnut oil (or canola works fine)
1 tablespoon of salt (I prefer kosher)
1 cup of flour .
Stir to combine.
Then add the nuts, and the remaining two cups of flour about half a cup at a time.
Knead on a lightly floured surface, about 4 minutes. Then place in a greased container, turning to coat. Let raise about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough. Shape and place in two greased 8 by 4 inch pans. (You can also do 2-3 round free form loaves).
Cover loosely and let rise about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F. 20 minutes in advance. Bake 35-40 minutes. Until loaves sound hollow when tapped.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Indian Fry Bread

Have a hankering for some Navaho tacos? These were perfect for ours!
In a mixing bowl:
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
To the flour mixture add 4 tablespoons shortening or lard.
I prefer to mix this in with my hands. You can also use two knives, or a pastry cutter would also work well. The shortening should be about the size of peas when you are done.
Add 1 1/2 cups hot water and mix well. Knead briefly, no more then 10 times. The dough should be smooth and soft. But not sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap (or a kitchen towel!) and let rest about 30 minutes.

Pull off knobs of dough, about 2-3 inches in diameter, enough to make 15-20 pieces. Roll out with a rolling pin (or shape by hand) and place on a pan (or counter top) cover with plastic and let rest about 20 minutes.
In the pan of your choice (I prefer the cast iron, but you can also use a wok, heavy kettle or deep fryer), heat 2 inches of oil. (I would also add salt, about 1/4 a teaspoon).
Cook two minutes each side.
Place on a stack of paper towels. You can serve these with honey-butter, plain honey, or some delicious tacos!