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Archive for the ‘bread’ Category

Well. A lot of life has been lived since I last popped in here! 

A sugar shack has been built. 

We’ve been collecting sap. 

And look! Syrup! And sugar. And sugar bears!

Last spring my brother tapped a tree up at our cabin and just for fun boiled down a cup or so and made a thin syrup. That was all that was needed to get my dad’s wheels spinning and around Christmas, he and Brad and some of my brothers started a sugar shack. Mid February they purchased an evaporator and we’ve been learning the syrup details ever since. 

What hard work! I’ll never again complain about the price of real syrup. It’s worth every penny. 

I’ve been learning so much about trees, sap, and syrup the last few weeks. This week we made maple sugar and today I baked with it. 

Whoa. So wonderful!! I never purchased maple sugar before so I don’t know if ours is the same but it made some fabulous muffins. 

We also made some maple sugar candy and the leftover wet sugar I ground up and used in these muffins. I’m guessing these would be just as yummy using regular maple sugar but for now I’m writing the recipe exactly as I made it. 


Maple Streusel Muffins 

Topping:

1/3 cup moist maple sugar

1/4 cup fine maple sugar

3 T all-purpose flour

1/4 t cinnamon

2 T melted butter

Mix all together and set aside.

Muffins:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 T moist maple sugar

1 T baking powder

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter 

1/4 t salt

Mix floors, sugar, and baking powder in large bowl. 

In small bowl mix egg, milk, butter, and salt. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and divide between twelve greased muffin tins. Sprinkle topping on evenly. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 15-18 minutes or til toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. 

Remove from tins and place in a cloth lined basket. Eat immediately with a smear of butter. Swoon and repeat. 

Yield: 12 regular muffins 

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  I’m not in my normal kitchen today. The pantry is a bit sparse but don’t worry, we didn’t starve.  I brought along the dry ingredients, premixed, for simple muffins to go with the jar of soup I also toted with us.   The muffins were delightfully simple and satisfying.   The type of fat you use here will really change the end flavor. I used olive oil and loved the slightly earthy undertone it brought. Butter would be delicious, too, of course. Bacon fat or lard could be nice if you want a meaty flavor.  

 And these guys could be the base for a myriad of add-ins. Fruit, veg, protein, take your pick…whatever is floating around in your fridge or pantry! 

 Simple Muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 T sugar

1 T baking powder

1 egg 

1 cup milk

1/4 cup fat, melted if necessary 

1/4-1/2 t salt (depending if fat is salted)

In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, and baking powder. 

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, fat, and salt until combined. Add to dry ingredients and only mix until barely combined, no more. A few lumps are fine. 

Divide between 12 greased and floured muffin cups. Bake at 400F for 12-15 mins or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Enjoy warm with toppings of choice. 

Yield: 12 regular muffins

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Look!

 It’s here in the flesh! My mom’s cookbook: Baking with Whole Grains. This is a good one, folks. I’m not biased at all, of course. Nope, not at all.

 It was an exciting day when the first box arrived. It was several years in the making and what fun to see it all finished.

 We got to do a lot of taste testing along the way and it was all delicious.

The other day I tried a recipe that I hadn’t tasted before. We weren’t disappointed.

 Perfect for fall and with soup. Won’t you make this for dinner tonight? Pretty please? And then love it and buy the book. You know you want to.

My mom knows a lot about wheat. If you are confused about whole grains, she’ll help you out. I promise. There are tips and tricks for baking everything from yeast breads to muffins. And even a section on what to do with your failures. I love that part.

PS. $20 for a signed copy. You may pick them up at my house or I can mail. Shipping charges apply.
 Apple Cider Spice Bread

From Baking with Whole Grains

2 eggs

1/2 cup apple cider

1/4 cup plain yogurt

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup oil

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup whole wheat bread flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

Scant 1/2 t salt

1/3 cup chopped golden raisins (I used regular)

1 cup grated apple

1 t grated orange zest

Whisk the eggs. Add the cider, yogurt, vanilla, brown sugar, and oil. Whisk well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking  soda, spices, and salt. Mix and then add raisins, apple, and orange zest.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently stir, blending the dry ingredients up from the bottom. Don’t over mix. A few lumps are fine. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Yield: 1 9×5 loaf

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What a lovely spin on a classic biscuit.

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This recipe has been in my “must try” recipe box ever since I started collecting recipes when I was young. I have no idea where it came from but the writing is mine so I must have copied it from somewhere.

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Quick. Before frost takes your fresh herbs. Make these!

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Garden Fresh Dinner Biscuits

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all – purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T minced fresh parsley
2 T minced fresh chives
2 T finely grated carrot
4 T cold butter
3/4 cup cold milk

Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and herbs/veggies. Cut in the cold butter with a fork and knife until it resembles fine crumbs. Gently stir in the milk to form a ball of dough. Lightly flour the counter and form the dough into a 7 inch square. Cut into nine squares and place them one quarter inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Yield: 9 medium biscuits

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During the height of salad season a few weeks back, I baked a batch of bread and it failed. It just got rather heavy and holey, not exactly lovely sandwich material.

So I did the best thing I could think of: made croutons. I didn’t regret it. These things are like potato chips. Once you start, you can’t stop munching!

Seems to me that eating all of the croutons is also like getting pregnant. It happens fast!

(Yes. We are expecting #4 around the beginning of February.) (!!!)

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Croutons

Stale or flopped bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Butter, melted
Olive oil
Italian herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, etc)
Salt/pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Drizzle the butter and oil over the bread cubes and stir well. You want the bread to be fairly moist but not drenched.

Stir on the herbs, salt, pepper, and cheese. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 until golden and almost crispy. They will crisp up more as they cool. This takes about 45 minutes in my oven but it’s slow. Probably won’t take that long for you. Just check them every 5 or 10 minutes and give them a stir.

Store in an airtight container or jar. Yum.

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This is the bread I’ve been making lately. We’ve been wolfing it down so fast I have to make a batch about every week.

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If you don’t have whey, just use water. I really prefer the whey, though. I think it helps the bread to stay soft longer.

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Everyday Bread

4 cups whey (scalded and cooled to 115F) or warm water

1/3 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)

1/2 cup instant potato flakes

2 1/2 T active dry yeast

1/2 cup peanut oil

1 T salt

3/8 cup gluten

6 cups whole wheat bread flour

2-3 cups hi-gluten white flour

In a large bowl, stir together the whey, sugar, potato flakes, and yeast. Let sit 5 minutes. Add the oil, salt, gluten, and whole wheat flour. Beat vigorously. Stir in enough of the white flour to make a knead-able dough. Knead at least 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Place back into the bowl (I don’t bother greasing it). Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Scrape the dough out onto the counter and divide it into 3 (for large loaves) or 4 (for smaller loaves). Shape the loaves, place into your bread pans, cover, and let rise again until doubled. I like to slash the loaves just before baking but it’s not necessary. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 3 – 4 loaves

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Bread so easy it takes 5 minutes. I love this bread.

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The original recipe has been all over the world wide web for a few years now. I first saw it on my cousin’s blog. I’ve made it several times since then and really should have blogged about it sooner!

Of course the original version is all white flour. I’m sure I’d love it but have not yet been able to bring myself to make it. I have a strange fear of making 100% white bread. I think I’ve only done it 2 or 3 times (with other recipes). At any rate, you can use whatever combination of white and whole grain flours that you like. I’ve used up to half whole wheat with fine results. This particular batch is just 1/3. If you use all white flour, you can skip the gluten. I added that because of the whole wheat flour.

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This bread looks like a perfect artisan loaf. Feels like it, too…really crusty on the exterior and soft on the inside. It is absolutely fabulous buttered and dipped in soup. It makes quite a tasty breakfast pizza crust. Tonight we had it as our bread with sloppy joes. A bit difficult to eat but so tasty.

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5-Minute Bread

Adapted from Mama JJ

3 cups warm water

1 1/2 T active dry yeast

2 T wheat gluten

1 T salt

2 cups whole wheat bread flour

4 3/8 cups white bread flour

In a large bowl, combine the water and yeast. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Dough will be sticky but that’s okay. Cover with a shower cap and let rise until about doubled (an hour). Scrape dough down, re-cover, and place in the fridge.

When ready to bake bread, remove a hunk of the dough, shape it, and lay it on a well-cornmealed bread board or cookie sheet with no sides. And I mean WELL covered in cornmeal. We don’t want any sticking going on. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with flour, give it a few deep slashes with a serrated knife, and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

About 25 minutes before it’s finished rising, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When bread is ready, gently slide it onto the hot stone, pour a few tablespoons of water onto the bottom of the oven, and quickly shut the door. Repeat this two more times in the first 5 minutes of baking. Then leave the door shut for the next 45 – 50 minutes or until the loaf is a lovely brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Allow loaf to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing, though I prefer it to be completely cooled. When hot, the insides are too soggy to cut.

Repeat as often as needed to use up the batch of dough. They say it keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks. I’ve never had it last more than 5 or 6 days as we always eat it up too quickly.

Yield: 2 or 3 nice sized loaves.

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