Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Super-Soft Sweet Potato Crescents!


Pleasantly, the Christmas holiday for the Perkins' family has been

one of celebrating friendships old and new. We spent Christmas eve day walking from neighbor's house to neighbor's house, sharing little gifts and a few moments of conversation. That evening was spent at two very different services - one in a cozy, warm church , serenaded by electric guitars, drums and beautiful voices and surrounded with friends and family.  The later service was in an unheated barn, decorated with tiny, twinkling lights. We sat on cold bales of hay and listened intently to a very special Christmas story that illustrated the gift that was given to mankind that night. Singing "Silent Night", we proceeded out of the barn at midnight, our hearts full and grateful for all these celebrations of  "Love come down".

We also got to share a meal earlier in the week with friends we hadn't visited with in quite a long time. Time disappeared as we ate, laughed, played cards and reminisced. I made these super-soft and super-tasty crescents as a part of our meal.......the extra loaf was used as a surprise gift for our friends to take home with them!


 Super-Soft Sweet Potato Crescents!

½ Cup milk, warmed to the touch
1 Tbsp./Packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
3-4 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
¼ Cup honey
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 Cup sweet potato puree (about one medium sweet potato, boiled, mashed and cooled)

*This recipe will make 24 crescents or 12 crescents and one loaf or…….. J

Place warm milk 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, starting with 3 cups of flour and adding more flour as necessary to produce a dough that is soft and barely sticky.  Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Divide dough in half. Roll one half out into a 14” circle. Score circle into 12 triangles. Lift each triangle and roll from the larger end to the point. Place into a greased rectangular pan (I used a 7x10”), six on each side. Repeat with remaining dough or use remaining dough to make a loaf (Use a greased medium loaf pan) . Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until golden. Cool and enjoy (I sprinkled the rolls with a tiny bit of brown sugar and coarse salt....so good!) 

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Finnish Nissua!

This week past, I had an encounter with a secret Santa......My daughter and I were enjoying breakfast at the Columbiana Diner, along with several other patrons. On his way out the door, one fellow stopped to wish everyone else in the restaurant a Merry Christmas......shortly after his departure, the waitress asked for everyone's attention. She proceeded to announce that the man who had just left had paid everyone's bill!!!    What a surprising blessing to begin the day with! And what a truly merry display of the spirit of Christmas!! Everyone in the restaurant applauded and, in looking at the faces around me, I could see that all of our hearts were spoken to by this unexpected act of kindness. I could also see that we were all inspired to imitate this man, whether it would be in large or small ways. It wasn't about what we received.....it was the beautiful display of generosity and selflessness that awed us all. This Christmas, I wish you eyes to see the generosity and selflessness that was poured out to us that first Christmas so many years ago!! 

This beautiful Finnish Christmas bread (Nissua) is very simple -
super-soft in texture but not fussy......a lovely addition to any holiday celebration! I imagine it that any leftovers would make amazing toast, too.......I didn't have any leftovers, so I didn't get to try it toasted! Again, Merry, merry Christmas! 

Finnish Nissua!

Dough:
½ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp./Packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 Cup milk
¼ Cup butter
½ Cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
½ tsp. cardamom
3 ¾ Cup unbleached bread flour

Drizzle:
½ Cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla
1-3 tsp. milk

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt together in a saucepan on low, until butter is melted. Let cool until just warm to the touch. Pour into EZ DOH bucket with yeast mixture. Stir in egg, ¾ Cup flour and cardamom. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Add remaining flour and EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes until the 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 let rise until doubled.

At this point, the dough can be removed from the bucket and divided into 2 equal portions for two medium-sized loaves.  Divide each piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece out to about 12”, or long enough to braid. Connect the ropes at the top by pressing together and then tucking under the dough. Continue to braid the dough, then press together at the base and tuck under. Place the two braided loaves on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise until almost doubled. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and brush with butter to soften crust. Cool on a wire rack. Mix drizzle ingredients and drizzle over the cooled loaf. Add sprinkles, if desired. 

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Poinsettia Bread!

Tis the season to bake Christmas breads! I've made this bread shape before in the summer, using a fresh pesto (which was absolutely delish!). However, I loved the idea of turning it into a Christmas bread with the red filling - sooooo very festive! And surprisingly simple! And isn't that the way the entire Christmas season should be.........?  Beautiful, yet simple! I've fallen into the trap time and time again of going for the "beautiful", but neglecting the "simple". I should know better, but.......... My prayer for you this holiday season is that you will find the beautiful  AND the simple as you make your way through your celebrations!

This bread "pretty as a posie"!  The folks at church "oooo-d" and "aww-ed" at this bread's beauty and told me it was tasty, too (By the time I reached the refreshment table, it was all gone!)  I hope you enjoy treating someone special to this lovely treat!

Christmas Poinsettia Bread!

Dough:
1 Pkg/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum Yeast
¼ Cup warm water
¾ Cup milk, warmed
1 egg
¼ cup softened butter
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 ½ - 3 ¾ Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Filling:
¾ Cup red-colored jam (can be seedless raspberry; strawberry; etc,  – I used my famous spiced tomato jam! )

1-2 Tbsp. melted butter

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 let rise until doubled.

Remove dough from bucket and divide into four equal pieces. On a lightly-floured surface, roll one piece into a 12” circle. Place on a greased baking pan. Spread 1/3 of the jam over the circle evenly. Repeat two more times, topping with final round of dough. Place a 2-3” round cookie cutter in the center  - do not press down/cut the dough! From the cutter, make sixteen evenly-spaced slices through the dough. Remove cookie cutter. Pick up two pieces and rotate each one outwards, turning twice. Pinch ends together. Repeat with remaining strips. Brush the “star” with the melted butter. Cover lightly and let rise until close to double. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar.




Adapted from Taste of Home recipe -Christmas Star Twisted Bread 

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cranapple Eggnog Bread!

This bread began with a two-pronged passion - #1. I wanted to send out a recipe for a Christmas bread this week and #2. I am probably obsessively practical - I NEEDED to use up the remainder of the eggnog that was residing in my frig following an impulsive, thirsty purchase. I thumbed through hundreds of online eggnog/ Christmas breads, waiting for something to strike me (I did find a few that I'm still going to try - it's an excuse for me to buy (and drink) more eggnog!) Finally, in a dusty cookbook in my basement, I found a recipe that "tripped my trigger." Fortunately, I had an apple that needed to be used up (a little too wrinkled to just eat) on hand, too, so away I went!  While mixing up the recipe, I took some "artistic license" to make it my own......and my tummy was VERY pleased with the outcome! 

I have a friend who I haven't visited with for a while......since I made this recipe as two smaller loaves, I think I'll be taking a trip down the road to share some "vittles" and a visit! I hope you'll enjoy this loaf .....and sharing it......over the holidays! 

Cranapple Eggnog Bread!

Dough:
¼ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp./packet Red Star Platinum yeast
¾ Cup eggnog , gently warmed in the microwave
3 Cups unbleached bread flour
¼ tsp. rum extract
1 egg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ Cup finely chopped and peeled apple
½ Cup dried cranberries

Streusel:
¼ Cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. cold butter

Drizzle:
¼ Cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. eggnog

NOTE: I advise letting this bread rise "as long as it takes"......it's rich, so it may rise a little more slowly . The final result is worth it! 

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 all ingredients are incorporated – dough should be generally smooth, but lumpy because of the fruit. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.


Remove dough from bucket and divide in half. Shape each half into a 12” rope, then twist each rope in a circular fashion and lay in greased medium-sized loaf pans. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until the dough rises above the edge of the pan. During the rise, prepare the streusel by mixing the dry ingredients together, then cutting in the butter thoroughly. When the loaves are risen,  brush the tops VERY gently with the beaten egg, working carefully so as not to deflate the loaves. Sprinkle the streusel over the tops of the loaves and press in – again, very gently. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. To remove from pans, cover the top of the loaf with a clean tea towel, invert and remove from pan. Place on a wire rack to cool. Mix drizzle ingredients and drizzle over the top of the loaves. 
ENJOY !!! 


Recipe is adapted from Bread Machine Baking

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Simple Salt and Pepper Rolls!

I imagine you are all in full holiday swing, now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed - I pray you had as joyous a Thanksgiving as we did! I have included a pic of our little celebration - this is "my crew!"  Did anyone make the "Every Thanksgiving's Oatmeal Rolls" (see my blog from two weeks ago) ?!! For our table of fourteen, I made three dozen of them....that way, I was fairly certain there would be NO complaints that there weren't enough rolls! 

The following Wednesday, we hosted a much smaller dinner with the leadership of our church. The meal was simple, but the fellowship we shared was wonderful. We spent the evening laughing and talking, looking at the past year and planning for the coming one. For this meal, there were no oatmeal rolls.....however, I did try these "salt and pepper rolls" and found them to be FABULOUS! Super-light, with a very slight crunch to the base, we all enjoyed them. There were sixteen rolls for six of us....and the next day they were gone! I got to send a few home with our guests, so hopefully the good memories of the evening lasted through the leftovers! 

Here's hoping your holidays are filled with much "memory-making" with those you are close to. Let these rolls help you make some memories - they are wonderful and beautiful to serve at a holiday table!   

Simple Salt & Pepper Rolls!

Dough:
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 3/4 c. flour

For pan:
2 Tbsp. olive oil

For topping:
Coarse kosher salt
Coarse pepper
Small amount of additional olive oil

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 let rise until doubled.

Remove dough from bucket and divide into 16 equal pieces. Prepare a 9x9 baking pan/dish by lightly spraying with cooking spray, then placing 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in pan, swirling around to cover the bottom of the pan. Shape each piece of dough into a roll and place in the pan, turning to cover the top and bottom of the roll with the oil (you should have 4 rows of 4 rolls). Let rise until the rolls fill the pan. Preheat oven to 350.  Sprinkle the tops of the rolls with the salt and pepper and place the risen rolls in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from pan and let cool on rack. When rolls are taken from the oven, brush them lightly with additional olive oil (be sure to brush lightly, as you don’t want to knock the pepper and salt off the rolls!) Best enjoyed the day of baking.


Adapted from homemakersdaily.com 


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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Oatmeal Rolls for Thanksgiving!


Dear Friends - This post is a repeat from Thanksgiving, 2012. It was written before I began faithfully blogging, so I'm imagining that most of you don't have this recipe. It truly is a family favorite, and I will, most definitely, be making these rolls again this Thursday. I know this post is a little long, but it's a quick read with a very special message. I wish you all a blessed time of Thanksgiving this week! Now, travel back to 2012 with me...... 

"The date is November 1 as I begin this blog……just yesterday, the neighborhood was decked in orange and black and there were charming little goblins roaming the streets. Today, as we turn the calendar page, everything around us changes, too. The tired cotton cobwebs are being pulled from porches and the sagging jack-o-lanterns are being retired to the compost pile. And already, I see a few homes and businesses donning their Christmas garb – wreaths on the front door, colored lights gleaming at night. Beautiful, but...have we forgotten something?..

“When I was young…” (I never thought I’d say those words, but…) “when I was young”, Christmas decorations never went up until after Thanksgiving. It was part of the anticipation and the ritual of the holidays. We anxiously looked forward to Thanksgiving day and the feast and fellowship that awaited. Relatives that we rarely had the chance to see would gather round a table and share stories of the year past and hopes for the year to come. We visited, we laughed, we ate, we complained about our full bellies (but kept eating when the pie was served) ...and we gave thanks…together.

I don’t want to “preach”, but thanksgiving (small “t”) is a passion of mine. It makes my vision clearer. It takes my eyes off myself. It humbles me. It makes me a better person. It reminds me to serve those less fortunate. It beautifies everything I do – large and small, easy and difficult. It brings me closer to the One who has every circumstance of my life under His control.

How sad that sometimes we forget…..we rush into our meal without stopping for a moment to give thanks for provision….we hurry into our day without a word of gratitude for the new opportunities ahead….we sink into our beds at night without whispering a thankful prayer for the strength we were given in the day….and we rush into the Christmas holiday, simply merging Thanksgiving into the beautiful chaos that the season brings. May this little note be a gentle reminder to STOP …if just for a moment… and give thanks. Truly CELEBRATE Thanksgiving this year!"

Below you’ll find the Oatmeal Roll recipe that I use EVERY year at our Thanksgiving table – there’s an uproar if I talk about not making them! My dear friend MaryJo used to ask me to make them for her family’s celebration, too. This year, though, MaryJo has an EZ DOH, so her teenage daughter is going to take on that responsibility! Happy baking – Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

 Every Thanksgiving’s Oatmeal Rolls

1 Cup plus 3 Tbsp. warm water
1 Tbsp/ 1 packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 1/2 Tbsp. softened butter or margarine
1 tsp. salt
1/3 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup dry oatmeal (I usually use quick)
2 1/2-3 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Place water in EZ DOH bucket and dissolve yeast in water. Add remaining ingredients and EZ DOH-it for 3-5 minutes until dough is smooth, adding additional flour if it is too sticky. Remove dough from bucket and spray bucket with cooking spray. Replace dough, cover and let rise till doubled.

 Punch dough down and shape into 12 rolls (these are large rolls—you may pinch them into smaller rolls, of course, if desired). Place rolls in a greased 9 x 13” baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. ENJOY with a thankful heart!

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Apple Challah Coffee Cake!

My brother and I agreed that this week brought "the end of an era" for us. We grew up in a wonderfully picturesque 1960's neighborhood......a dead-end street lined with homes full of middle-class families. Most of the mothers were home through the day to tend to houses and children. The multitude of kids spent our days zooming up and down the street together on bicycles or visiting at each others' homes. Every kid had their "favorite parent" on the block, and mine was Mrs. Weyman. Dark haired with beautiful, smiling eyes, Lois was a teacher.....not only by her college degree, but by the type of life she lived. She had a hearty, loving laugh and always sincerely listened, even if it was just a 10-year-old speaking to her. Because she was fun to be with, most of us took her up on her invitation to drive us to Sunday School on Sunday mornings. There, she was also the instructor .....who pointed us to the Ultimate Instructor. As we aged, many of us continued our friendship with Lois - her great love for us had made us love her all the more as we grew older. This week, at a vibrant 89, Lois passed away unexpectedly, surrounded by her grateful, loving children. 

I stopped over to see her youngest daughter after I had read the news in the paper. Whenever I'd visit Lois, I always took bread for her and the family. This time, there was no Lois, but in her memory  I took Kathy this tasty coffee cake, which she and her girls enjoyed as we shared memories of her dear mom. It was a special time.....celebrating a very, very special lady! 

Celebrate LIFE this week!! Making this delicious coffee cake could certainly be a great part of that celebration! 

Apple Challah Coffee Cake!

Dough:
1 ½ Tbsp/packets Red Star Platinum yeast
½ Cup warm water
3 ½-4 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ Cup honey
7 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. orange zest
1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Filling:
2 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into a small dice
¼ Cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. rum

Confectioner’s glaze  or
Apple Cider glaze:
2-3 Tbsp. apple juice or cider
1 Cup powdered sugar

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 additional flour as necessary if dough is too sticky , 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 let rise until doubled. (This is a very rich dough and will take longer to rise than most EZ DOH recipes- be patient, because it’s worth the wait! ) 

Remove dough from bucket and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll into an approximately 14” x 10” rectangle. Combine the dry filling ingredients in a small bowl, then add the apple pieces and the rum. Mix thoroughly. Spread ½ of the apple mixture down the “short” center of the rectangle. Fold one side of the dough over the filling and seal. Top with remaining filling , then fold the other short end of the dough over that filling (envelope-style). Seal. Spray a 9” or 10” baking pan (should have 2” sides, or use a springform pan) with cooking spray. Now cut the “envelope” of dough into 16 pieces (slice it in half, then cut each half in half until you have 16 equal-sized pieces. Lay the pieces in the pan, crowding them together in one layer. Take any apple pieces that have escaped and tuck them in this gooey mess! Cover and let rise until the dough has reached the top of the pan. Preheat the oven to 325 and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until quite dark on top and the bread sounds hollow. Loosen edges and remove from pan to cool on a wire rack. When cool, drizzle with the glaze ENJOY!! 

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Grain and Goodness Loaves!


*** A NOTE TO MY REGULAR SUBCRIBERS- The "Durum Sesame Loaf"  recipe from a couple of weeks ago had a mistake in it. It has been corrected, but please accept my sincere apologies for the incorrect info. It is one of our now-favorite loaves and totally worth making - as long as you follow the new ingredient list. Again, thanks for your patience!

With the arrival of November, in my opinion, soup season is upon us. If I had it my way, we'd eat soup every week through the year. But as it stands in my house, soup is seen as an acceptable meal only in the fall and winter......and only once a week. (Can you tell my hubby is a "meat-and-potatoes" kind of guy?) When we do have soup on the table, there's always a green salad and fresh-from-the-oven bread. Oh man, this sounds soooooo good! I'm soooooo happy soup season is here!

Here's a lovely, hearty loaf of bread to serve with your soup. Full of grains and goodness, you'll be glad this recipe makes two loaves, because they won't last long!  I wish you all a very happy "Soup Season!"

Grain and Goodness Loaves!

1 1/3 Cups warm water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
3 Tbsp. dry milk powder
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. honey
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 egg
1 Cup whole wheat flour
2 ½ Cups unbleached bread flour
¾ Cup 7-grain cereal (available at bulk food stores and some groceries)

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 let rise until doubled.


Remove dough from the bucket and divide in two equal sections. Roll out each section and roll up to form a loaf. Tuck the ends under the loaf and place in two medium-sized loaf pans. Let rise till the dough is above the rim of the pan. Preheat oven to 375. Bake loaves for 20-30 minutes. Remove from loaf pans and let cool on wire racks. 


Adapted from All-Recipes Seven Grain Bread II

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Russian Rose!


For the past few weeks, I have been busy helping to plan a baby
shower with my oldest daughter and daughter-in-law. My youngest daughter, Hope, is scheduled to deliver little Gwyneth Kate on New Year's Day (We laugh about the date - Hope has spent four out of their six anniversaries- Jan. 2- in the hospital.....and it looks like that will hold true again this year!) . This is an event we have all been waiting for for quite a while.  For Hope and Brian, the road to starting a family has been a lengthy and rough one, with many obstacles. So it is with sweet anticipation that we await this little one!

Now to a recipe.......On a different scale of "sweet waiting",  I know some of you have probably been waiting for me to post a sweet bread recipe!  It's been a while! However, this beautiful, delicious bread is definitely worth your wait! With a tender, but not too sweet, dough, this multi-layered cinnamon sweetie almost melts in your mouth. What more can I say? Just "DELISH!!" 


Russian Rose!

Dough:
1 ¼ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp./ packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ Cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
4 Cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

Filling:
½ Cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/3 Cup 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 let rise until doubled.

Roll dough out on a floured surface to a large rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the rolled dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the butter. Starting with the long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly. Pinch the seam. With a sharp knife, cut the rolled log in half down the length of the roll. (This will be messy!!) . Turn each half-log so that the filling faces out. Join the top of the half-logs and carefully cross them over one another, continuing to the end of the half-logs. Pinch the top and end of the log. Now curl the twisted logs into a “snail-shape”  - start with one end and continue to wrap the dough around the center – this will form the “rose”.  Place the formed loaf into a greased 10” springform pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (I put mine in the frig to rise overnight – it made a delicious morning treat!).  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then decrease the oven temp to 350 and continue to bake for 30-40 minutes, until it is deep brown on the top.  Remove from oven and cool briefly. Remove the exterior of the springform pan and let cool 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and ENJOY!!!



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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Durum Sesame Loaf!

READERS: THIS RECIPE HAS BEEN EDITED AND CORRECTED!
Thank you for your forgiveness and your patience!

I hope you'll forgive me........this bread is very similar to last week's loaf, but that's just where I am right now. Something tells me once you've made and tasted this bread, I won't need to ask for your forgiveness!! 

A little story about this loaf....I was looking for something to make for my card club friends. The host was serving Italian, so I was assigned to bring bread that would be an appropriate compliment to that. I discovered this recipe- It intrigued me for three reasons: 1. I had durum flour on hand that needed to be used up and 2. Its cornstarch wash was a technique I had never tried before and 3. It looked easy (I was feeling lazy!!). I quickly mixed it up the evening prior to card club and headed to bed. The next day I realized I had fresh tomatoes and fresh basil on hand that needed to be used up, so I changed my plans and mixed up the caprese bread (FIND THIS RECIPE on my site - It's amazing!). I had taken the durum dough out of the frig earlier in the day, so I prayed it would forgive me and I threw it back in the frig. Two days later, I decided to serve soup for supper and, of course, you need fresh bread when serving soup. With some hesitancy, I took the dough out of the frig again. I formed it and was letting it rise when I got a phone call and had to run to an appointment. The rising loaf got thrown once more into the frig. Upon arriving home, I FINALLY put the loaf, with many doubts, into the oven. To my surprise, it turned out beautifully!! In the words of Brinna Sands, a past owner of King Arthur Flour, "bread dough is very forgiving."  Forgiveness is, in more than one way, a VERY good thing! 

 Durum Sesame Loaf!

Dough:
1 ½ Cup warm water
-1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast (slightly less than a tablespoon or packet)
1 tsp. salt
1 Cup durum flour
2 1/8 Cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

For dusting pan:
½ Tbsp. cornmeal

For topping:
¼ tsp. cornstarch
¼ Cup water
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Parchment baking paper
½ Cup hot water

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, until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover the bucket and let the dough rise for two hours at room temperature.  Place everything in the frig until you’re ready to use it (up to two weeks – I left mine in the frig for two days. The original recipe also states that the dough can be used immediately after the two-hour rise also).

When you’re ready to bake, remove the bucket & dough from the frig. Flour a surface and, using a spatula, scrape the dough onto the floured surface. With floured or “sprayed” hands (spray with a bit of cooking spray), shape the dough into an oval shape. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Carefully place the loaf on the sheet. (I trimmed the parchment very close to the loaf – I’m sorry, but I’m still paranoid about putting paper in a very hot oven- lol!!  ) Let rise for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 450, placing a pan under the cooking rack (you will be pouring hot water into this pan to create steam) . Preheat oven for 20 minutes.


Mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a bit of a paste. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup of water and microwave for one minute, then stir. Gently brush the bread with this mixture, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Place the bread in the oven. Pour ½ cup of hot water carefully but quickly into the “steam pan”. Shut the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the bread is golden. Remove from oven and ENJOY!!! 

This bread is worth the investment of the durum flour (I found it at our local bulk food store). You will use it up fast, as this loaf is one you'll want to make again and again. 

Recipe adapted from thatsusanwilliams.com

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Quick and Crusty Loaf!

On this cloudy afternoon, a chilly wind is blowing, bringing with it a drizzle of rain.....not a great day to be outside. However, it does make a great day to bake! Tonight I'm planning soup and bread for supper - not my hubby's favorite meal, as he is a "meat-and-potatoes" kind of guy. However, when this type of weather hits, he has conceded to having this type of meal once a week. Knowing that he is not a soup fan, I'm not experimenting tonight with a new recipe - I'm serving one of his favorites, so there shouldn't be any complaints! Especially if I'm pairing it with this wonderful, airy, easy-to-make & bake bread! I served this bread for the first time last week when we were entertaining friends. Mike and Marge couldn't get enough of it!  Fortunately, there were a few slices left over for toast the next morning....so crispy and full of flavor! I'm confident you'll love it too! 


A Quick and Crusty Loaf!
1 ¼ tsp. Red Star Platinum Yeast
3 ½ Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 ½ Cups warm water
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. salt

Combine water and yeast in the EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Add honey, flour and salt and EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be sticky and not very smooth. Remove the hook and cover the bucket. Let the dough rise until doubled.

Preheat your oven to 430. Flour your work surface well and scrape dough onto the work area. Using your hands or a bench knife, gently push/form the dough into a loaf (I made one loaf – the original recipe suggested making three smaller loaves…..it’s up to you J ) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lightly sprinkle some flour on the sheet. Moving quickly, lift the loaf onto the baking sheet. Place the sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy while warm! (This recipe makes amazing toast. Do be warned, though, it does not keep well- plan to use it up within a day or two)


Original recipe from sharemykitchen.com  



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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Old Fashioned Potato Rolls!

I called my brother today to wish him a happy birthday.....59 big ones! He owns his own business, so he labels this day "Founder's Day" on his calendar and celebrates it as a holiday (Don't you love this idea?)  I hated to think I was interrupting his celebration, but he assured me I had only interrupted his cleaning of their cats' litter boxes and other routine tasks (Nancy, his wife, was travelling , so Carl was holding down the fort until her return) . Our conversation turned to the "routine" things in life and we began to reflect on the blessing of finding happiness in simple things. He stated that didn't resent spending his "big day" in this rather un-celebratory fashion. On the contrary, he was reveling that he could find contentment and pleasure in his "every day" life. After a half-hour conversation, we ended by agreeing that each of our lives are fairly simple, incredibly blessed and that we couldn't be too much happier.  

With that old-fashioned sentiment, I send along an old-fashioned recipe. These potato rolls were birthed from a "waste not - want not" old-time philosophy.....that even that simple half-cup of leftover "mashed tateys" in the frig are a blessing that should not be wasted. This recipe puts those "tateys" to GREAT use......these rolls are light, fluffy and tremendous!! 

Old-Fashioned Potato Rolls!

1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
¼ Cup warm water
1 Cup milk, HOT
½ Cup leftover mashed potatoes
¼ Cup shortening
¼ Cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
4 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in the water in the EZ DOH bucket. In a separate bowl, pour the milk and add the shortening, potatoes,  sugar and the salt. Stir until the shortening is almost melted. Pour mixture into EZ DOH bucket along with the egg. Add the flour and EZ DOH-it until all ingredients are incorporated and dough is smooth (you may need to add a little additional flour, but don’t add much – you want to keep the dough light!) . Remove dough from the bucket, spray the bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” the dough by giving a couple of quick kneads on the counter and return it to the bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.


Remove dough from bucket and divide into 12-24 equal pieces (I needed smaller rolls – this recipe made 24 perfect slider-sized buns!). Shape into rolls. Place in a 9x13” baking pan. Cover lightly and let rise until the rolls have risen and the pan looks “full”.  Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until golden.  Brush the tops with butter. ENJOY! 

Adapted from an All-recipes recipe

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Here it is....Oooah's Famous Zucchini Soup!!

"Oooah" with the grand-daughter
 who named her 
Well, I'm breaking from 159 weeks of bread-recipe sharing......After several requests for the zucchini soup recipe I spoke about in last week's blog , I thought I may as well make that the "recipe du jour". Here's a little bit of the history behind the soup..... 

My wonderful, wonderful mother was an elementary teacher, owned an antique shop, hooked rugs (she called herself "the antique hooker" - haha!), loved being "Oooah" (that's what my daughter, her first grandchild, named her and it stuck) and she was a fabulous cook. When Dave and I  moved back to Ohio, she was a huge help to us in so many ways. She helped me wallpaper our first dining room (back when wallpaper was in style); she recovered our pitiful-looking couch; she loaned us money for the down-payment on our first house (though she could ill-afford it).....the list of contributions goes on and on! But one of our favorite things was when she would cook for us.....no one fixed lamb at Easter like Mom! Even when the meal wasn't a fancy holiday feast, her meals were outstanding. It is hard for me to believe, but her zucchini soup was one of my veggie-hating-hubby's favorites! Loaded with peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini and celery, it is PACKED with flavor! EVERY time I serve it, I get a request for the recipe. And every time, I am proud to share it in her honor. 

So, my friends, I share this absolutely delicious recipe with you in honor of my mom! Go back through the recipe archives and I'm sure you'll find a bread recipe that you'll want to serve with this soup (maybe the garlic knots.....) I'm urging you - try this recipe on a cool fall day! It makes a nice pot full, so either share it or freeze some for a cold winter night! ENJOY!! 

Ooaah’s Zucchini Soup- Everyone’s  Favorite!

1-2 lbs. Med.sweet Italian sausage, browned well and drained
2 Cups chopped celery
2 lbs.  Zucchini,chopped
1 ½ cups chopped onion
10 cups stewed tomatoes (5 Cans,14 ½-16oz.) -I blenderize these, as my family doesn’t like tomato chunks
1 beef bouillion cube dissolved in 1 cup water
1 Cup tomato juice (I often do not have the juice on hand, so I substitute some spaghetti sauce diluted in a cup of water ) 
2-3 chopped green peppers 
1 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Oregano         
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. Basil
¼ tsp. Garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Cover and simmer till veggies are tender- 1-2 hours. Serve with grated cheese and garlic bread (Check out our recipe for garlic knots!!)  . This freezes well- make it in the summer with fresh veggies-serve it on a cool fall night! Makes lots!

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Delicious Onion Focaccia!

The other day I was in a "soup-making" mood.......the hardest question at times like this is "WHICH SOUP?!!" I decided on my mom's famous zucchini soup. It's one of those soups that I feel good about serving - it's LOADED with veggies; it's hardy; it freezes well; and....best of all.......it is amazingly delicious! I always get requests for the recipe. Oh, and one other great thing about this recipe: it makes a LOT of soup! Which, in this case, was good..... 

That day, my daughter and son-in-law were heading back to their home in Columbus after an extended visit here. They had stopped earlier in the day to say goodbye, but were going to make a few other stops before their departure. While I was bringing the soup to a boil, it occurred to me that they might enjoy taking some home. A quick phone call confirmed my suspicions, and they were soon knocking at the door for a half-gallon of soup and a loaf of bread to take home. That afternoon, my eldest daughter called, asking me to babysit her girls while she and her husband attended a meeting. I , of course, said "Sure!!" The soup was simmering and the onions were being sauteed for the focaccia as they arrived.....I didn't let Kate leave until I invited her family to dinner after their meeting. She gratefully accepted and we enjoyed a hearty meal together a few hours later. Even after they left, I had enough soup to freeze. That will be going to my dear friend who recently lost her hubby.  

Well, after all that, I should probably be giving you the recipe for the soup! But I must tell you, the focaccia was fabulous! My husband took a bite of it that night and said, "Why haven't I tasted this bread before?! This is awesome!"  So the moral of this story is: Make a vat of your favorite soup, make this focaccia as an accompaniment and then share it!  ENJOY!!! 

Onion Focaccia
2 medium onions, divided
2 ½  tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for bowl and pan
1 garlic clove, minced
2  teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
½  cup milk, warmed
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour

Finely chop 1 onion. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, the chopped onion, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Set aside to cool. 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, including cooled fried onions .  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 let rise until doubled.

Meanwhile, halve and thinly slice remaining onion. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add remaining  olive oil, the onions, and remaining  salt. Cook, stirring, until onions are soft and beginning to turn translucent. Set aside. When dough has risen, remove from the bucket and press lightly into a 12” greased pizza pan (or similar size pan) . Preheat oven to 450°. Using your fingers, poke holes straight down into the risen dough. Spread cooked onion mixture evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. (You may also sprinkle a little grated parmesan on the top, if desired)  Bake until golden, 20-30  minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Sunset Magazine 

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Best Pizza Dough Ever!

I almost feel ridiculous posting this pizza recipe....it is so darn simple! But it is also so darn delicious! My hubby stated that this is now "THE" pizza dough recipe.....and believe me, I've tried A LOT of pizza dough recipes! Surprising how something so simple is the best.....but isn't that true with most of life? The simple things.....family, a beautiful fall day, faith, etc......make our lives "the BEST!" 

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe....and that you also watch for and enjoy the simple things in life! 

Best Pizza Dough Ever!

Dough:
1 Cup warm water
1 packet/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour

To grease pizza pan:
2 Tbsp. olive oil

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 let rise until doubled.

As you remove the dough from the bucket, you may want to “flour” your hands a bit, as the dough may be somewhat sticky.  Grease a 12” pizza pan with the olive oil. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and place into the greased pan. (I baked mine in an outdoor gas pizza oven, so I just placed my dough on a floured pizza peel) Preheat your oven to 400. Let dough rise in pan for 15-20 minutes. Top with whatever ingredients you would like (I tried goat cheese and fresh basil – AMAZING!!!) . Bake for 15-20 minutes. (I also tried a free-form loaf with this recipe – delish!!)


Adapted from Chef-in-training 

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Honey Pecan Twists!

As summer fades and routines change, it's usually a time for reflection as to what the change of seasons will bring. This week, a true "change of seasons" occurred for a dear friend of mine. Her wonderful husband of 39+  years unexpectedly passed away. His death left us all reeling, as this man was also my youngest daughter's father-in-law and an amazing friend to our family and our community. Though we are all steeped in the mourning of this great loss, we are also celebrating the beautiful legacy he left......Four wonderful children; An example of selfless service to his church, his family, his profession and his community; A beautiful, strong wife who grew and served with him......Now we all will begin a new "season" of life without Terry, but the seasons we were privileged to have shared with him have impacted each one of us in a powerful way. Those times of our lives were truly sweetened by his presence with us! 

These sweet rolls are shaped in a "figure 8" or an "infinity" - there is no beginning and no end to the shape. It made me think of Terry.....though he is not here with our family physically, his sweet influence upon us does not end! 

These rolls are TOTALLY delish - Enjoy them with someone you love! 

Honey Pecan Twists!

Dough:
½ + 1/3  Cup milk, warmed to touch
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
4 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ Cup butter, melted
¼ Cup honey
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. salt

Topping:
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. honey (I warmed this slightly in the microwave to make it easier to spread)
½ Cup chopped, toasted  pecans (or other nut of your choosing)

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 let rise until doubled.

Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Deflate dough and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 12” then form a “figure 8” (tails should meet under the mid-section so they don’t show J ) . Place “8’s” onto the cookie sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until rolls are puffy, 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350.  Before baking, brush each roll with the beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when golden. Brush with warmed honey, then sprinkle with pecans. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Red Star Yeast recipe / A Treats Affair 
For additional wonderful bread recipes, check out wildyeastspotting.com 

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"You'll Never Know there's Zucchini" Cinnamon Rolls!

Before baking! 
For those who noticed, I failed to send out a recipe last week......and I'll bet you know why! Yes, our 5th grandchild came into the world, so we were quite busy with the fam! With all the hubbub, we barely noticed the days going by, but as I sit down to write, I can hardly believe it's August 31 and summer is almost finished! I know it'll be October or November before the farm markets close, but the calendar makes me want to rush out NOW and buy up produce! I did finally get my spiced tomato jam done and five dozen ears of corn frozen last week ...... and every time I was at the market, I'd buy a zucchini. No specific ideas in mind for them, though, so they got to the point where they HAD to be used up! I also needed to take sweet rolls to an event, so I decided to try this zucchini cinnamon roll recipe. After all, who had to know there was zucchini in the recipe? And I got to be thrifty and use up my veggies! In the end, these goodies got rave reviews.......I think you'll rave about them, too! (Don't worry- the green flecks you see in the above pic disappear in the baking process - no one will know!) 

Zucchini Cinnamon Rolls!

Dough:
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
½ Cup milk, warmed
1 egg
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1 ½ Cup shredded zucchini, drained and pressed in a paper towel to remove excess liquid
½ tsp. salt
3-3 ¾ Cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

Filling:
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
¾ Cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. flour

Icing:
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾-1 Cup powdered sugar
1 -2 Tbsp. milk

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 if 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. While dough is rising, mix filling ingredients.

Remove dough from the bucket and roll into a large rectangle, approximately 11x19 . Spread filling onto rectangle and roll up from the long side, cinnamon-roll style. Slice into 12-15 equal slices and place rolls into a greased 9x13 pan. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Mix icing ingredients and spread over the warm rolls. Enjoy! 


Recipe adapted from "VanessaBaked.com" 


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