Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beautiful Marbled Rye Bread!

Time for the "Big Game" this weekend ! (Pssst.....Did you know that you're officially not supposed to use the words "Bowl" and "Super" together in a blog like this? It was news to me, too! Some sort-of licensing thing for the name of the game.....) . I've been scheming about what bread-based goodie I'm going to serve on game day. There are sooo many choices, I'll probably end up with more than one. I've got one I can't wait to experiment with......I'm very excited about it, but a little nervous, so just in case that one goes badly, I've got to have a dependable stand by! So I'm thinking mini reuben sandwiches!

A few weeks ago, I made a marbled rye for the first time. I had been meaning to do it for years and after tasting it, I truly wondered why I had waited. I suppose it was like so many looked time-consuming and unlikely to turn out as beautifully as the pictures indicated. All this - NOT TRUE!! It WAS easy and didn't take a lot of time, and, best of all, it was beautiful. So now I'm more than ready to do it again, only a mini-version. The recipe that follows will give you one very nice-sized loaf. My plan is to roll it out further so I'll have a skinny loaf that will yield slider-size sandwiches. Even if you don't make this for the "Super game", put it on your menu for sometime during one of these cold winter nights....


Light Rye Dough

1/2 pkg. Red Star Platinum Yeast
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. Water
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 cup Bread Flour (plus some additional, if needed) 
½ cup plus 3 Tbsp. Medium rye flour (I used light and it turned out fine) 
1 Tbsp. Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Caraway seeds

Dark Rye Dough
Repeat “Light Rye Dough” with the addition of 1 Tbsp. cocoa

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, adding small amounts of water or flour, if necessary, until the dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, , “smooth” dough and place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and proceed to making dark rye dough in the same EZ DOH bucket. Let both doughs rise until doubled.

On a very lightly floured surface, roll each piece to a 14x7 rectangle. For a dark crust, place the light rye piece on top of the dark rye. For a light crust, reverse this. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Working from the center of the loaf to the ends, gently roll the loaf back and forth to form a baguette-shape approximately 14" long. Place on a greased baking pan. Cover loaves; let rise. Bake in a 375°F preheated oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on rack.

Adapted from “Marbled Rye Bread” on the Red Star Yeast site.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tasty Asiago Cheese Bread!

Mmmmmmmmm.... asiago cheese!!  I bought a chunk a couple of weeks ago, thinking I really wanted to try another asiago bread sometime soon. Well, it disappeared in my refrigerator under bags of regularly-used cheeses - forgotten -  until Tuesday. I was pondering what bread to create for my expectant fellow-workers on Wednesday when I recalled that lonely piece buried under less-praiseworthy cheeses. I pulled it out and began the shredding process. If you've worked with asiago before, you know that it is pretty "stinky" in its unbaked state, so you can surmise what my hands smelled like by the time I was done! I gave them a quick wash, then proceeded out to the living room and plopped down on the couch by my hubby to catch a little evening television. After only a few moments, Dave jumped up and began lifting the couch cushions, as though searching for something.....but he was sniffing. "Do you smell that???!!! Do you smell that?!!  Oh that cat! Did he throw up somewhere?!!" I started to laugh.....I obviously had NOT done a good job of washing my hands after the shredding process - they still smelled of asiago cheese. 
The bread is another story......once baked, the cheese lends a wonderful fragrance to the already-amazing aroma of freshly-baked bread. And, simply put,  the bread is absolutely delicious. The hubby was a little tenuous about tasting it after his smelly experience the night before, but once he slathered a piece with soft butter, he was hooked. There wasn't enough left at the office to take home and serve with dinner, but it would make a wonderful addition to an Italian meal.....or any meal! ENJOY!! 

Asiago Cheese Bread

1 pkg. Red Star Platinum yeast
¼ Cup warm water
1 Cup warm milk
3 ¼- ½ Cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. coarse ground pepper
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 ¼ Cup finely shredded Asiago cheese

1 egg, well-beaten
¼ Cup finely shredded Asiago cheese

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated, adding additional flour, as necessary, if the dough is too sticky.  Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch down the dough and remove it from the bucket. Form into one large French-style loaf, or two smaller loaves. Place on a lightly-greased baking sheet or in two smaller lightly-greased loaf pans. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise until doubled, usually 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly “slash” the tops of the loaves with a sharp serrated knife. Brush the tops with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. ENJOY!!!

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Adapted from a recipe at “Tastes of Lizzy T’s”


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Beautiful Cream Cheese Rolls!

We've started attending a new church. It's a big place with a big congregation ......a church where it might be easy to "get lost". That makes it very different from the church we were a part of for years. Sooooo do you "get found", or, in other words, make some new friends? It can be a little intimidating (I'm sure you all have your stories of similar situations - LOL!) But,  I've always believed "to have a friend, you've got to be a friend", so there was our answer. We got involved in the new members' class where we met some really amazing folks. Getting to know them better was now the goal.....And there's nothing like food to get people really talking and interacting! So I took these rolls to the second class meeting. They barely made it through the church hall as I wound my way to the classroom......My new friends in the classroom were very glad the rolls arrived safely! We laughed and talked and ate cream cheese rolls. And we even had a few left over for the hungry folks I had met in the hallway! We're feeling more and more at home there! 

 Make some rolls and make some friends!
And friends, leave a comment and let me know what you think of the recipe - Thanks! 

      Beautiful Cream Cheese Rolls              

1 Tbsp/pkg. Red Star Platinum Yeast
½ Cup warm water
¾ Cup milk, warmed
3 ¾ - 4 ½ Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ Cup sugar
½ Cup butter, softened
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

1 egg yolk
¼ Cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
8-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 Cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbsp. milk
½ Tbsp. butter, softened

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Lift dough out of bucket onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 18 equally-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, 12-15” long. Hold one end and loosely wrap the remaining rope around, forming a snail-shape. Tuck the end under the roll. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet (or lightly sprayed with cooking spray). Cover and let rise until puffy. (At this point, I sprayed the rolls lightly with cooking spray, and covered them lightly with saran wrap and put them in the frig overnight so I could have warm, fresh rolls for a morning treat J) .

Beat filling ingredients together until smooth. Make a depression in the center of each roll and spoon/pipe filling into center. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool rolls. Mix the drizzle ingredients together, adding enough powdered sugar or additional milk to make a slightly thick drizzle. Place in a sandwich bag; cut the tip of the bag off. Decoratively pipe drizzle onto cooled rolls. Enjoy!! 
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             Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Good-For-You Bread!

Well here we are at the beginning of a New Year!! Do you make New Year's resolutions? Let me encourage you to try this one:

Each year, I write an annual "Christmas letter" (though I just finished it a day or two ago- lol!)  to our friends who we don't see often. It gives them a very quick glance into our year past and helps us stay in touch, at least somewhat! I know, I know........this type of note generally gets a bad rap......people gushing about their successes, their trips, etc. That's not my letter. It's the facts, it's the fun and it's about the fam. I write it as much for myself as for my friends.  These letters have ended up making a fascinating history of the journey of the Perkins people. I've been writing them since 1985, so we literally have a little book. Writing these notes also gives me a moment to reflect.........I usually end up in tears some time along the way, simply amazed at what has happened in that short span of 365 days. I look....I laugh.....I learn.

I encourage you to take a moment to begin your 2015 with a lingering glance over the past 2014, maybe even starting a family history book of your own!

For those of you who are starting the New Year with health-related resolutions, here's a wonderful recipe. It's particularly tasty toasted!

Good-For-You Bread
This bread takes just a little thinking ahead J

2 ½ Tbsp. flax seeds
½ Cup raisins
¾ Cup warm water
Place flax, raisins and water in a bowl. Stir and cover. Let sit for 6-8 hours, or overnight.

½ Cup sunflower seeds
1 pkg/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast
½ Cup warm water
2 ½ - 2 ¾ Cup unbleached bread flour
2 Tbsp. wheat bran
1 Tbsp. powdered milk
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey

Prepare to bake:
Grind sunflower seeds (in food processor or blender-type appliance). Move seed “flour” to a bowl. Pour the flax/raisin mixture into the food processor and process. Set aside. In the EZ DOH bucket, mix yeast and water. Let rest for 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then remaining ingredients, including flax/raisin mixture. EZ DOH-it until dough is not sticky, adding flour if necessary, usually 2-4 minutes. Remove dough from bucket. Spray inside of bucket lightly with cooking spray. “Smooth” dough into a ball and place in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Remove dough from bucket and form into a long loaf. (I usually roll the dough out into a rectangle, then roll it up from the long side, jelly-roll fashion). Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise, usually 30-45 minutes. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes until nicely browned. 

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