Monday, October 28, 2013

"My Life As A Loaf" - Basic French Loaf, aka "Stand-By Bread"

My daughter used this as the title to her senior paper in college. That tells you how much baking , particularly bread-baking ,went on (and continues to go on ) in our home. I was a little worried that perhaps she was expressing her inner hostility and resentment to taking second place to bread during her childhood …….. Boy, was I relieved to find that wasn’t the case!! We might have needed lots of counseling! Instead, I found as I read the paper, she fondly reminisced about being brought up in a home where there were home-cooked meals (that usually included fresh bread), prayers, great conversation, an abundance of visitors and lots and lots of love - all served at our dinner table. Our three kids used to lament about not having peanut butter sandwiches that were made on Wonder Bread…..What a tragedy! No tasty preservatives, no delicious chemicals, no yummy additives for their little bodies! And, in spite of what they might remember, there were times when I just gave in…..and they experienced the joy of soft, white store-bought bread.

Now the tables are turned…..they are adults, with families of their own. And guess what they are putting on their table as often as possible – homemade bread!!! – along with servings of prayer, good conversation, good company and lots and lots of love!

Here’s the VERY basic recipe for our family’s “stand-by” bread. So simple, yet so very, very tasty! This is the recipe that’s on the EZ DOH bucket, and that can be used for loaves, rolls, sweet rolls, pizza, etc!!

Stand-By Bread
1 Tablespoon/1 packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 ¼ Cup warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
1 Tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive) 
3- 3 ¼ Cup unbleached flour (I like sapphire flour – King Arthur’s unbleached is also VERY good!)

Dissolve yeast in water and let rest for 1-2 minutes. If you’re using an EZ DOH or stand mixer, add the remaining ingredients (start with only 3 cups of flour – add slightly more until the dough isn’t sticky but smooth) and mix until the dough is fully kneaded. You may also prepare this recipe by traditionally hand-kneading the bread. Let rise until doubled. Form into 2 smaller French loaves or one large loaf and place on greased cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal (The cornmeal helps give the bread a crunchy base – it’s not necessary, so don’t fret if you don’t have cornmeal in the house J) . Let rise for 10-15 minutes. Score the top of the loaf lightly with a sharp serrated knife. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let the loaves cool on a rack for 10 minutes before cutting.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Maple Wheat Loaves- Just Because!

My hubby is a meat-and-potatoes guy when it comes to frills, no veggies, no fruit, no whole-wheat, etc., etc. We've been married well over thirty years, so I've learned to live with this. Food-wise, though, I'm just about the complete opposite (though I do REALLY appreciate a good burger now and again!!). Sometimes I just can't help myself and make something "just for me"...and this was one of those recipes. It's super-simple (I must admit, I didn't have any real maple syrup, so I subbed Aunt Jemima !) and so very good. I'm a toast-lover, so know that this makes great toast! 

1Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 Cup warm water
1 egg
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/4 Cup maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Cup + unbleached flour

Follow the basic instructions on the EZ DOH bucket—Mix water and yeast in bucket. Let sit 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. EZ DOH-it until the dough is soft and smooth, adding additional flour if necessary. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket , replace dough and let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes. Divide into 2 pieces and  shape each into loaves and place in greased medium loaf pans. Let rise until dough is slightly above the top of the pan. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 25-35 minutes, until golden. Cool on racks . Enjoy!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Garlic Knots - Fragrant and Beautiful!

I've been making the "same old garlic rolls" for years......they've always been requested and enjoyed by family and guests. I'm always on the look-out for new recipes and new ways of doing things, though, so when I came upon this recipe, it intrigued me.......easy, yet it had a twist.  A group of friends were going to join us for the evening, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to try them. 

As I pulled them out of the oven, my hubby rushed into the kitchen and grabbed one, gobbled it down....then went to grab another.....he then got slapped on the hand - LOL!! I had to have SOMETHING to put on the table. I took his enthusiasm as a "thumbs up" on this recipe. 

They are fragrant, beautiful and VERY tasty! 

Garlic Knots

3/4 Cup warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp or 1 Packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
2 3/4 + Cups unbleached flour

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. melted butter               
2 cloves garlic, finely crushed

2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Mix bread ingredients according to the instructions on the EZ DOH bucket. Add one or two tablespoons more water as needed if dough is very stiff. After 1st rise, divide the dough into 15-20 even-sized pieces. On a lightly-oiled board with lightly oiled hands, roll each piece into 5” rope. Tie into a knot and place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.. Cover and let rise briefly. Bake in preheated 400 oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden. While the knots are baking, combine the baste ingredients and warm until garlic is softened. Add chopped parsley. While rolls are warm, baste. Cool.


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