Thursday, July 31, 2014

Old Mill Bread!

Here we are, staring fall in the face......the "back-to-school" ads have started, the county fair is going full-swing, the fall-ish festivals begin this weekend, etc., etc. All I can say is, "Where did the summer go?!!" I know, I know - we've still got August and early September, which I'm extremely grateful for. But after last year's never-ending winter, everyone in our part of the country is NOT anxious at all to see that first snowflake! I should probably be posting something summer-y and light, since I'm "anti-fall" right now, but as I'm sitting here typing, I'm enjoying an amazing piece of "Old Mill" toast. This really is more of a fall/winter recipe, but since it's at the top of my mind (and my tongue!) , I couldn't resist putting this recipe up. It's a wonderful, light mix-up of whole wheat, rye, cornmeal and unbleached flour, with the sweetness of a little honey. It's wonderful as bread, but also makes super duper toast (I'm a toast-a-holic!) I'm thinking my readers might like to make it once or twice before the snow flies.....and then you'll be making it weekly!! 

Old Mill Bread
1 Cup warm water
1 Tbsp/package Red Star Platinum yeast 
¼ Cup additional very warm water
¼ Cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp. honey 
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
¼ Cup rye flour (I have used both light or dark rye flour- both are good!)
1 ¼ Cup whole wheat flour
2- 2 ½ Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

In a small bowl, mix the ¼ Cup very warm water, cornmeal, honey & salt. Let cool.  Place yeast in the EZ DOH bucket and pour in the 1 cup of warm water. Stir and dissolve the yeast. Let rest for one minute.  Add one cup of flour to the yeast, then the additional ingredients, including the cornmeal mixture. EZ DOH-it ,adding enough additional flour to get a soft and elastic, but not sticky, dough (usually about 2-3 minutes. Remove the dough from the bucket and “pull” the sides to smooth the top of the dough. Spray the bucket with cooking spray and replace the dough in the bucket. Let rise until doubled. Remove the dough from the bucket and shape into a loaf. (I did not use a traditional loaf pan for this recipe – if you would like to, I think there would be enough dough to make 2- 8”x4” loaves) Let rise. Gently slash the top of the loaf and sprinkle with flour. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. ENJOY!!
Adapted from “Recipes from The Old Mill”


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sweet Cherry Rolls with Toasted Almonds!

Sol, picking blueberries! 
Sweet Cherry Rolls! 
Oh, you've gotta LOVE this time of year......fresh EVERYTHING! I made currant jelly from the red currants growing in my garden - My family has picked bags and bags of blueberries from our bushes - The local "bread and butter" corn is fabulous....need I go on? One thing that never used to be on my summer "MUST  EAT" list was cherries......somehow they never lit up my taste buds. Until now. Now, however, they are on the top of that list. The bag of cherries I recently bought from the farm market was printed with the words, "Nature's Candy" on it and, in my book, that couldn't be more appropriate. It's scary how fast that bag of cherries disappears when I sit down with them in front of me!! I used some restraint last week, though, and saved a few cups, as I kept dreaming about how amazing they would be in some kind of bread. 

Well, my dreams came true with these Sweet Cherry Almond Rolls. They are not an "over-the-top" sweet sweet roll. They showcase the fresh cherry goodness, which blends perfectly with the little bit of almond flavoring. Not only are they tasty, but they're beautiful, too. What a delightful summer breakfast they would make! Hmmm......maybe I'll need to think about adding a cherry tree for more backyard pickin'! 

Sweet Cherry Rolls with Toasted Almonds

1 pkg/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
½ Cup warm water
½ Cup warm milk
¼ Cup sugar
1/3 Cup softened butter or shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
½ tsp. almond flavoring/extract

3 ½- 4 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 Cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
Stir together cherries, extract and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to use.

¾ Cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. milk
½ Tbsp softened butter
½ tsp. almond extract

½ Cup toasted slivered almonds
(I just take ½ Cup almonds, pour about 1-2 Tbsp. of melted butter over them and toast them in my toaster oven for 4-5 minutes. You might want to toast 1 cup of almonds- you may find yourself nibbling at them –sooooooo good!)

For Dough: Pour warm water into EZ DOH bucket. Add yeast and stir to dissolve. Let rest one minute. Add one cup of flour, then remaining dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it (or use traditional kneading methods) until dough is smooth, soft and elastic, usually about 2-3 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary (dough should not be “sticky”). Remove dough from bucket. “Smooth” the dough by pulling on the sides and tucking under. Spray the bucket with cooking spray and replace dough in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Roll dough out to a rectangle, approximately 15” x 9”. Spread with the butter. Drain any excess liquid from the cherry mixture, then spread mixture over the buttered dough. Starting at a long end, roll the dough, jelly-roll style. Pinch finished rolled edge. Cut into 12-15 slices and place in greased 9x13 pan (my pan is just a bit smaller). At this point, you may spray them lightly with cooking spray and cover with saran and let rise overnight in the frig . Or, you may cover them lightly and let them rise until they’ve filled the pan. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until golden. (If you’ve let them rise overnight, take them out of the frig ½ hr. prior to baking) . Cool slightly then drizzle with a confectioner’s icing. Top with toasted slivered almonds! YUM!!

Mix all ingredients together well. Using a spatula, scrape into a small baggy. Cut one corner of the baggy off and squeeze icing from bag onto rolls – This allows you a little “artistic control!” 

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins!

Well, today it was off to the doctor for me........not just "the doctor", but the doctor who performed my reconstructive surgery following my mastectomy nine years ago. The drive to the Cleveland Clinic brought back a flood of memories - landmarks from our many trips back and forth on that highway for those long ten months -  the restaurant where we cried over dinner after receiving "the CA news".....the golf course that signaled "turn here" to head to Cleveland and chemo......."55th St.", which always meant we were almost there. Those were difficult, trying, learning times, for sure.

There have been a lot of memories made in my life in the nine years between then and now.....a "daughter" (in-law) added to the family; a "son" (in-law) added to the family; not just one but FOUR grandchildren added to the family; a mother (my own) now watching us all from heaven; friends added to our lives; other things taken from our lives. Through it all, bread  has been created and broken and shared around our table, with words of  thanksgiving and wonder for the beautiful gifts of love and faith and friends and family.

I wasn't really sure which recipe to attach with this little reflective note.I was sorely tempted to use the "Basic French Bread" recipe that's on the bucket - it's been the basis of soooooo many of our family memories! But, most of you already have that recipe! (If you don't have it, email's delicious!) Instead, here's a delightful recipe to enjoy some morning as you sip your coffee and recall the gifts in YOUR life!

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins
1/3 cup water, warm (110F)
1 tbsp sugar
1 pkg./ Tbsp. 
Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 cup milk, slightly warm
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 cup raisins
In the EZ DOH bucket, whisk together water, sugar and yeast and let mixture stand for 10 minutes, until slightly foamy . Add remaining ingredients and EZ DOH-it until smooth. Cover bucket and set aside until doubled. Heat a griddle/nonstick frying pan over medium/medium-high heat (water dropped on the griddle evaporates very quickly). Lightly grease with cooking spray if not using a nonstick pan. (If you like a crunchy crust, lightly sprinkle cooking surface with cornmeal before cooking)  Place 3 1/2” metal baking rings (round cookie cutters…)  sprayed with cooking spray onto cooking surface and drop dough into rings, smoothing to the sides, approximately ¼ cup. Cook until light brown (3-5 minutes).  Flip over and cook 2nd side until brown. Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes or until completely cool. When ready to serve, split muffins with a fork and toast. Makes about 10 muffins.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

DW German Soft Pretzels!

When I write my Friday blog, I usually talk about one of the breads I've posted on Facebook within the past week. It's hard to choose sometimes - so many fun, tasty treats and so many stories to tell about them! However,  it usually comes down to one that I've particularly fallen in love with or one that stirred up a lot of interest. This week, I chose a bread that reminded me of summertime fun..... the DW German Pretzels!

My good friend, Deb, is slightly DisneyWorld crazy (I say that in the most endearing way - I LOVE this woman!!)....but she and her family spend WEEKS at a time there....and love every minute. (I'm good for 4-5 days and then I'm ready to come home - LOL!)  There is a lot to be said for the place.....the entertainment is amazing; it's well-kept; there's something for everyone to do; it's beautiful; it's imaginative....and, generally speaking,  the food is AWESOME!!!!! Last week, Deb messaged me this recipe for their German pretzels and jokingly suggested that I might make them for her and her family. Well, I thought I would take up the challenge of making something as tasty as she might enjoy in Florida! The technique was slightly different than most pretzels I've made (actually it's simpler...) which made a pretzel that turned out crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. I rushed them up to her house, where I waited with baited breath for her professional DW approval.......and she loved 'em!! I hope you'll like them, too!

DW German Soft Pretzels

Yield: 10 pretzels
Dough Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3 ½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour

For topping:
1 egg

1 tablespoons water

Pretzel (or coarse) salt

prepared mustard (optional)


Place yeast and warm water in the EZ DOH bucket. Stir to dissolve yeast, then let rest for 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then remaining dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it, or traditionally knead dough, until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 10 equally-sized balls (about 3 oz. each). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each piece out to approximately an 18” rope, twist in the middle and then attach the ends to the dough to form a pretzel shape. Place prepared pretzels on a large baking sheet that covered with baking parchment (or spray your sheet with cooking spray). Cover and let rise until doubled. Whisk the egg with the water to create an egg wash. Brush the risen pretzels with the egg wash. Sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Dip in mustard, if you choose!

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Puerto Rican Sweet Bread Rolls!

Happy July 4th everyone!! What a privilege it is to be celebrating the freedoms we enjoy!

I'm someone who really enjoys reading biographies....One of the most moving and inspiring biographies I've ever read was John Adams by David McCullough. This book chronicles the life of one of the founding fathers of America - his struggles, his ambitions, his sacrifice - everything it took to help "birth" the United States. It's been years since I've read it (I MUST read it again!), but I remember being so humbled by this great man, wondering if I would have ever had it in me to make the sacrifices he and his family did, all the while not knowing what the outcome would ever be. What also struck me was all the different personalities that came together for this uncertain cause, and how everyone's gifts worked together to weave this beautiful, rustic tapestry that is our country. And so it is today......this nation is still a place where the varying gifts of so many are put to work, continuing to add to the tapestry. And  today we celebrate those gifts! 

In keeping with that celebration, today's bread comes from the US territory of Puerto Rico. These delicious, soft, slightly-sweet rolls are a perfect way to celebrate just about anything. I love that I can whip up the dough in the evening and pop it in the frig for the night. The next morning, I just roll, cut, rise and bake! Oh....can't forget that generous "shake" of powdered sugar over the top!! And then, of course, enjoy while warm! These make for a very tasty, beautiful celebration!

       Puerto Rican Sweet Rolls  
1 pkg/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
¼ Cup warm milk
¾ Cup warm water
4 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. sugar
½ Cup melted, cooled butter (Plus 1-2 Tbsp. additional melted butter for brushing rolls)
3 ¼ Cup unbleached bread flour
½ tsp. salt
Powdered sugar 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and ½ Cup melted butter. Set aside.

In the EZ DOH bucket, whisk together the warm water and the yeast. Let rest one minute. Add one cup of flour, then remaining ingredients, including the butter/egg/sugar mixture.  EZ DOH-it until just combined. Cover and let rest at room temperature for two hours, then refrigerate overnight.

Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll dough out into large rectangle (dough should be approximately ¼” thick). Cut the dough into approximately evenly-sized strips. (the pieces should be the length of the short edge of the rectangle) Roll each strip into a coil (or “snail”), tucking the end under the bun. Place on parchment, spacing evenly. Press down very lightly with your palm on each roll. Cover loosely and let rise for 30-40 minutes. Generously brush each roll with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Cool on a wire rack. Sift generously with powdered sugar. Enjoy while warm!! 

Just a note: The original recipe called for making 6 very large rolls from this amount of dough. We preferred to make 10 large rolls. Also, the day-old rolls make wonderful grilled sandwiches!  Adapted from Mallorca 2009


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