Friday, June 28, 2013

Cracked Wheat Bread

I'm sure I'm not alone here, but I love to spend time pouring over old cookbooks. If I'm at a garage sale or bookstore and there are cookbooks there, I'm lost to the world for a long while. Every once in a while, I'll find one that HAS to come home with me - I try not to do that too frequently, as we would have rooms full of cookbooks! I found this recipe in a little paperback cookbook that I picked up for a quarter - this recipe alone was certainly worth the twenty-five cents. Love it! 

Cracked Wheat Bread                                                                

2 pkgs (or 2 Tbsp.) Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 ½ Cups warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
¼ cup Olive Oil
¾ Cup Cracked Wheat, divided (1/2 cup for bread recipe; ¼ cup for rolling bread in)
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3 Cups unbleached flour or bread flour

Dissolve yeast in water in the EZ DOH bucket – let sit for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (Note: only add ½ Cup cracked wheat to the bread). “EZ DOH” the dough for 2-3 minutes, or until relatively smooth. Remove dough from bucket – hand knead for 3-4 turns, just to “smooth” the dough (this is not necessary, but sometimes just makes a nicer dough). Spray bucket with cooking spray. Replace dough in bucket, cover and let rise for 30 min. Remove dough from bucket. Divide in two equal parts. Form each into a long loaf and roll each in the remaining ¼ cup cracked wheat to cover. Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment, or sprayed with cooking spray. Slash tops.

At this point, the loaves can rise for 30 minutes before baking OR they may be refrigerated – cover them lightly with saran.  Bake the loaves at 450 for 10 minutes. Then lower the oven temp to 400 and continue baking another 10-15  minutes or until golden. Cool on rack. 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Veggie Confetti Bread - A Party in a Loaf!

Parties are so much fun - at least if you're attending one.I like to throw parties, too, except I get carried away with the food prep and always make toooooo much (but is there ever REALLY too much food?!) We usually host a summer "bread bake" and I fill our outdoor oven with all kinds of loaves -  I love to use this recipe.  This loaf has so much going for it - color, taste, appearance...It's a great summer harvest bread, but most of the veggies are available year-round, so you can make it with that winter bowl of soup, too! (My pic is not the greatest - it was a last-minute shot before we ate it, so it's in bad lighting, but you can still see how beautiful it is!) 

Confetti Braid 
Combine and let sit 2-3 minutes:
¾ Cup water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 tsp. sugar

½ Cup shredded carrot                                  1/3 Cup shredded zucchini
¼ Cup sliced green onions                              ¼ Cup finely chopped red sweet pepper
1 Tbsp. softened butter/margarine                   ¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried thyme                                          3 Cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

EZ-DOH the mixture till dough is kneaded and mixture is not sticky. If it is too sticky, add additional flour till smooth. Remove dough from bucket. Spray bucket with cooking spray. Replace dough and let rise in warm spot till doubled. Punch down dough, remove from bucket and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 12-14”  log. Attach the three pieces together at the top and then braid them together, sealing at the bottom. Place braid on a greased cooking sheet and let rise 30 minutes, or until puffy. Preheat oven to 375. “Baste” bread with egg wash prior to baking.  Bake braid for 25-35 minutes until nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool on rack.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sweet Potato Rolls - Let's Celebrate!

When I go out to eat, I love to see a bread basket on the table with a variety of breads---oh heaven! So, when I'm asked to bring bread or rolls to an affair, I want others to be excited about the selection of rolls on the table. A friend was hosting a big BBQ, celebrating the efforts of our Christmas committee......The prior winter, with a committee of about 10 people, we launched the first-ever "Joy of Christmas" light show in our local park. We worked long and hard to make this thing happen (we're now in our third year!). My friend asked me to bring the buns for the burgers at this post-event summer BBQ celebration, so I went all out. These are just one of the rolls I served....they are  beautiful, tasty and worthy of a celebration! 

Super-Special Sweet Potato Rolls


1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons  or 1 packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (1 medium)
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 cup  whole wheat flour (regular flour can be substituted, or a white whole wheat) 
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Poppy or sesame seeds

Directions:  Put the water and yeast in the EZ DOH bucket. Stir and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and EZ DOH-it till the dough if soft, but not sticky (Feel free to add additional flour if necessary). This process should take 3-4 minutes. Remove the dough from the bucket, spray the bucket and return the dough. Cover and let rise until the dough is doubled (30-45 minutes).

Remove the dough from the bucket and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12” rope. Form each rope into a Kaiser roll shape (see below). Place the rolls on a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cover loosely with a towel or greased plastic wrap. Let rise for 20-30 minutes. (Preheat your oven to 375 at this time)  Brush the top of the rolls with the beaten egg mixture and follow with a sprinkling of poppy or sesame seeds, if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. The tops of the rolls should be a “cheeky” brown color when you remove them from the oven.  Slide the rolls off the pan and place on cooling rack. Cool at least 10 minutes before enjoying!  Makes 8 rolls.


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