Wednesday, December 29, 2010

French Bread

We love French Bread. Every time I make it my husband swoons.  It is the one recipe that I have posted in my kitchen, it is well loved with flour streaks, and water spots.  The ingredient list is simple and is easy to make.
A few notes:
French bread is really meant to be eaten the day it is baked. It is great the first day, okay the second day, and not good the third day.  But it is fabulous the 2nd or 3rd day as french toast, bread pudding of stuffing.

French Bread

Printable Recipe

2 Tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cup warm water
7 cups flour
2 T sugar
1 T salt

Dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, salt and 2 cups flour. Mix to combine. Add the rest of the flour and knead in stand mixer about 5 minutes.  If you have time let rise 30 minutes until double. It tastes best if you let it rise.  If not let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into ropes as long as the cookies sheet. Place on cookies sheet with AMPLE room between loafs (2 per sheet). make several evenly spaced shallow crust diagonally on the top of each loaf; brush or mist with water.  Let raise until double (about 30 minutes on the counter or 20 minutes in a warm but turned off oven) Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until bread is nicely brown, and gives a hollow sound when tapped.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Powdered Butter Revisited

I created a handout on powdered butter use.  It is at the below link

Powered Butter Handout

A few thoughts on baking with powdered butter.

  • When used in baking add dry butter powder with dry ingredients.   
  • If the recipe calls for butter to be “creamed” with sugar as it does in many cookies recipes, add the butter powder sugar and water (just the water to rehydrate the butter) and cream that.  It will NOT look right, but it will bake right.  
  • If the recipe calls for butter to be “cut in” as it does in many biscuit recipes. Just stir the butter powder into the dry ingredients with a wisk then add the water to rehydrate with the wet ingredients. 
  • Butter powder does not fry or saute well.

To replace fresh butter in cooking follow this chart
Amount of butter neededAmount of Butter powder Amount of water
½ c.½ c.2 T.
1 cup1 cup1/4 cup
2 cups2 cups 1/2 cup

Monday, December 27, 2010

9 Grain Porriage in the Crock Pot

9 Grain Cracked Cereal is a great addition to any food storage plan. It is super healthy containing spring wheat, winter wheat, soft white wheat, corn grits, barley grits, steel-cut oats, cracked rye, millet, flaxseed. It makes up into a delicious and super easy cereal.   A crock pot is essential.  You put it in before you go to bed and magically it is ready in the morning.

Pam Cooking Spray
2 cups 9 Grain Cracked Cereal
5 cups water
Salt-a dash
Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. Add cereal, water, and salt. cook on low for 7-9 hours.
In the morning when cooked try adding one of these options.  
*each crock pot is different. This is what works in mine you may need to adjust the cooking time or amount of water to work with how hot your crock pot cooks.

Sweet Stir in Options: I let my family decide so I have given the directions for individual servings.
  • Red Berry:  to each serving add 2 T each freeze dried strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, yogurt, and honey 
  • Apple-Cinnamon: To each serving  add 1 T. sugar, 1/4 t. cinnamon, and 2T. chopped dried apples. 
  • Cinnamon-Spice Oatmeal: To each serving add 1 T. sugar, 1/4 t. cinnamon, and a scant 1/8 t. nutmeg
  •  Raisins and Brown Sugar: To each serving add 1 T. packed brown sugar and 1 T. raisin
Savory Stir in Options:  I don't really like sweet things in the morning so here are some of the savory to try
  • Tomato and cheese (thanks for the idea Mom):  Add a handful of halved grape tomatoes and a tablespoon of Cream cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Southwest:  Add shredded cheddar cheese, and a 1/4 cup tomato salsa
  • Eggs and bacon:  Add a poached egg, and 2 T precooked crumbled bacon (or bacon TVP)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

January Menu Plan

Now the holidays are over I am menu planning again.  Here is my January Menu Plan. If you would like a copy of the word document so you can edit it e-mail me and I'll send it to you.
January Menu Plan a Google Document 

If you are just starting menu planning a couple of things that I have found to be helpful are:
1.  Choose a couple of catagories  for example each week I plan a soup and bread night, a kids favorite, a international, and a vegetarian.  Having catagories makes it easier to come up with ideas.
2.  Don't try to be June Cleave (unless of course you are)  when you first start planning menus it is easy to get carried away and plan a Thanksgiving dinner every night.  Plan what you really eat. If you eat peanutbutter and jelly, then write it on your menu.
3. Don't try to many new recipes. Your family finds comfort in consistency.  My son loves to eat turkey sandwiches for lunch.  I think it is the consistency he likes, he knows what to plan for and expect.
4. Do get the input of your family.  Have an activity where everyone suggest their favorite meals. 
5.  Survay your food storage before you plan your menu.  This allows you to plan to use that roast in your freezer and the oats in your basement. It also helps cut down on trips to the grocery store.
6.  Be Flexible.  The point of the plan is to be organized, to use your food storage, and to not have to ask what is for dinner every day.  If your plans change for the day be flexible with your menu plan.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peppermint Patties

My sister brought this delightful candy over the other day. It is delisious and easy enough you can make it with the kids.  An extra bonsus you probobally have all the ingredients to make it. 

This recipe is from Family Fun November 2010 issue.
Peppermint Patties
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar (3-3/4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 10 to 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 6 hard mint candies (we used Starlight), crushed in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and peppermint extract, then sift in half the confectioners' sugar. Add the shortening. Beat on medium, then slowly sift in the remaining confectioners' sugar until the mixture is well combined.
  2. Knead the mixture into a ball (it will be very stiff; if necessary, add 1/2 teaspoon water to make it workable). Use the bottom of a glass pie plate to apply firm, even pressure to flatten the ball between sheets of waxed paper into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Lay the waxed-paper-covered disk on a cookie sheet and freeze it until it's firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. null Place the frozen disk on a cutting surface and remove and reserve the waxed paper. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. With a small round cutter (ours was 1-1/4 inches), cut out circles from the disk, then place them on the cookie sheet. Gather the scraps into a ball, use the pie plate and waxed paper to flatten it again, and cut more circles until the entire disk is used up. Freeze the circles for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Coat the patties one at a time: balance each on a fork and dip it (use another fork as needed to flip the patty in the chocolate), then shake off any excess chocolate before returning the coated patty to the parchment. Sprinkle each patty with a bit of crushed mint candy. Add more chocolate to the double boiler as necessary until all the patties are coated.
  5. Harden the finished patties in the refrigerator for at least an hour, and preferably overnight. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge, layered between sheets of waxed paper, for up to one month. Include tags with your gifts instructing recipients to keep the patties refrigerated. Makes 5 dozen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Cookies Fail and amazing White Chocolate Chip Orange Deam Cookies

I made cookies with my daughter the other day. And it was a cookie fail.  Maybe even an epic cookie fail. So I thought about what I did and what went wrong. (I added to much liquid, I was trying to replace orange extract with orange juice) and it reminded me of a class I took at a conference (FACS teachers have amazing conferences) and I remember that the teacher shared some great ideas about cookies: These tips are from that class taught by Jolene Christian, 4-H Extension Agent Davis County UT.  With the cookie season in full swing I though I might share these tips and help you avoid a cookie fail of your own.

If you have a cookie recipe that you love, but aren’t getting the desired results, use these tips to get
your perfect cookie:
• Flat If you want your cookies on the flat side, you can do some or all of the following things:
Use all butter, use all-purpose flour or bread flour, increase the sugar content slightly, add a bit of
liquid to your dough, and bring the dough to room temperature before baking.
• Puffy For light, puffy cookies, use shortening or margarine and cut back on the amount of fat;
add an egg, cut back on the sugar, use cake flour or pastry flour, use baking powder instead of
baking soda and refrigerate your dough before baking.
• Chewy Try melting the butter before adding it to the sugars when mixing. Remove cookies from
the oven a few minutes before they are done, while their centers are still soft but are just cooked
through. The edges should be golden. Use brown sugar, honey or molasses as a sweetener. Let
cookies cool on the pan for several minutes after baking before transferring to cooling rack.
• Crispy For crisp, crunchy cookies, use all butter and a proportion of white sugar. Use egg yolks
in place of a whole egg. Cookies should be baked completely. Let cool on the baking sheet for one
minute before transferring to a cooling rack.
• Larger cookies will be softer and chewier than small cookies. The edges will have a crisper
texture than the middle.
• Cool the cookie sheet between use. That will prevent the fats inside the cookie from melting to
• Quality ingredients make quality cookies.
• Small changes in a recipe can create big results.

Here is the correct recipe for the cookies I was trying to make. I have made them before following the recipe and they are amazing.

White Chocolate Chip Orange Dream Cookies from Cristi Cragan Kirkham

2 sticks margarine
½ c brown sugar
½ c sugar
1 egg
¼ tsp orange extract
2 ¼ cups flour
2/3 tsp grated orange peal
½ bag white chocolate chips
3/4 tsp soda

1. Cream together margarine, sugars, and egg.
2. Add all other ingredients and mix.
3. Drop by large round spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 350ยบ for 10-12 minutes, until edges are light golden brown.
5. Let stand on cookies sheet for 2 minutes cool before removing.

Pork and Bean Bread

I have been thinking a lot about beans lately and a lot about bread. So when I ran across this recipe for Pork and Bean Break I was interested.

So what is the deal with beans in a sweet bread you ask? Well in many baked goods (cookies, cake, brownies) you can use beans as a fat replaceer.  In this recipe I am not sure how much fat is being replaced but the beans also act as the "fruit" for this bread. Usually when I make a sweet bread I use bananas or zucchini to give the bread moisture and flavor.  This bread is surprisingly good and easy to make.  And a sneaky way to get a little more fiber into your family.  If you don't have pork and beans using any canned bean or the equivalent of cooks beans with liquid can be substituted.

I got this recipe from Joanne Flukes cooking mystery Plum Pudding Murder.

Pork and Bean Bread (with my alterations)

1 can pork and beans (15 oz)  Do Not Drain
4 eggs beaten (4 TBSP egg powder plus 8 TBSP Water)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
3 cups flour

Spray two bread pans with Pam. Pour pork and beans with juice in the food processor or blender and process until smooth with no lumps. (if you are careful you can use your immersion blender right in the can)
Place the eggs, beans, veg oil, and vanilla  in a large bowl mix well. Add sugar,  baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until incorporated. Add nuts. Add flour stir until combined.
Pour into bread pan. Bake 350 for 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.  Can be frozen for up to 3 months.

How to Cook Dry Beans in the Oven: A No-Soak Method

The is really vary rarely something new about cooking dry beans, but the other day I ran across a post on about cooking beans in the oven without soaking.  So I tried it.  And I liked it.  So I thought you might like it to. I think this is a great method for beans with flavor.  I used Anasazi beans, but I think it would work great with black beans or any heirloom beans you might have.

This is the origional post:

How to cook dry beans in the oven:
Heat the oven to 325°. Put 1 pound of beans in a 3-quart (or larger) Dutch oven or pot with a tight-fitting lid.

A clay pot is ideal. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 1 inch. Put on the lid and bake for 75 minutes.

Check the beans and stir them. If they are tender, take them out of the oven.

If they aren't done, put them back in for 15 minute intervals until they are, adding a cup of hot water if they seem to be drying out. This will take at most 2 hours, but will probably take less than 90 minutes.

You can add aromatics like a bay leaf, chipotle pepper, or a few cloves of garlic, but do remember that fresh heirloom dried beans have enormous flavor all on their own. They are not the bland mush of canned beans.

Freezing Rolls-Brown and Serve Rolls

Let me just be honest I always want to eat fresh homemade rolls when I am having a nice meal, but I just don't always have time.  A few years ago at a Thanksgiving dinner I had the most amazing rolls and I asked who had made them.  Well my friend Katie fessed up that she had broght them and technically baked them but they were frozen.  That is when I found out that Pillsbury makes frozen already cooked rolls that you warm in the oven. Needless to say I went to the local grocery store and found that they were really expensive so I decided to make my own.  I did a little research. Thank you USU extension and did a little practicing and now when I have time I make a large batch of rolls and then freeze them for later.  I usually make the Lion House roll recipe but make what ever is your favorite. 
Brown and Serve Rolls
—or use your own favorite roll recipe.
Bake  rolls  until they are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool in pans for a few minutes. Remove to racks to cool completely, then place on a tray and put in freezer until firm.  Place in plastic freezer bags and freeze.  To complete cooking, place as many frozen rolls as you need on a baking sheet and bake at 400° until golden brown, about 6 or 7 minutes. 
**For some reason when you warm the rolls up they tend to stick to the cookie sheet so I always use parchment paper.

Rolls-How to make beautiful rolls

A couple of years ago I went to a class at a local book store focusing on how to make rolls. In Salt Lake City there is a restaurant called the Lion House, which has amazing food especially the rolls. Well the head baker was teaching the class. She had great tips and a great recipe. This is the recipe I use most of the time to make rolls.

Printable Recipe

Lion House Roll Recipe
  • 2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, shortening, or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, or bread flour

In large bowl or electric mixer, combine water and milk powder; stir until milk dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 cups flour; mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiff and remaining flour may need to be mixed in by hand). Add about ½ cup flour and mix again, by hand or mixer. Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff (It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour). Scrape dough off sides of bowl and pour about one tablespoon of vegetable oil all around sides of bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so it is covered with oil. (This helps prevent dough from drying out). Cover with plastic and allow to rise in warm place until double in size, about 45 minutes.

Shaping Rolls (this is what I do not what the Lion house does):
It is important to get your rolls the correct size.  What I do is roll the dough into a long snake trying to make it as even as possible along the length.

Then Using my bread scraper (or chef's knife) I cut the dough in half, and then in half again. I repeat until I have the required number of rolls.

Then I weigh the rolls on a small kitchen scale. This only takes a min uet and gaurentees that the rolls are all the same size.  I like my rolls to be 2 oz.

Then I shape the rolls.

CLOVERLEAF: Divide dough into 24 pieces. Divide each piece into 3 smaller balls, roll each small piece in melted butter, place 3 small balls in greased muffin tin, cover and allow to rise until double in size (about 20-40 minutes). Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

SWIRL: This is my favorite. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12 inch rope.  Flatten with fingers.  Roll up. Place in muffin tine. 

KNOTS: Divide dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-inch rope. Tie a loose knot in the center of each rope. Tuck ends of rope into knot. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise until double in size (about 20-40 minutes). Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

 Make sure to brush with butter before and after you bake:

 This is after they have risen



Other Shapes:
BISCUITS: Divide dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Lightly brush top with melted butter, place on greased baking sheet so balls of dough almost touch, cover and allow to rise until double in size (about 20-40 minutes). Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

FAN TAILS: Divide dough into 24 pieces. Using scissors, make 5-6 deep cuts into roll (being careful not to cut through bottom of roll dough). Brush butter into cuts, place in greased muffin tin, cover and allow to rise until double in size (about 20-40 minutes). Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

PARKER HOUSE: Divide dough into 24 pieces, roll into a ball, flatten each ball with the palm of hand. Sharply crease the center using a long spoon handle or dowel, brush center with melted butter, fold in half and press edges together. Dust with flour, let rise until double in bulk, bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

Helpful Tips for Making Rolls
Always add flour gradually and keep dough as soft as you can handle. A soft dough will produce a lighter roll.
It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour called for in the recipe—add only enough flour to make dough manageable.

To shorten dough's rising time, use one of these methods:
1) When dough is thoroughly mixed, oil bowl and cover dough with plastic wrap. Fill sink or larger bowl with about 2 inches of hot water or enough water to come about half or three-fourths the way up outside the dough bowl. Place bowl of dough in bowl of water and allow to rise until double in size.
2) Just before mixing dough, turn oven on lowest possible temperature. Place a pan of hot water on bottom oven rack. When dough is thoroughly mixed, place in oiled bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap; place in oven. Turn oven off, shut oven door, and allow dough to rise until double in size, about 50 to 60 minutes. Shape or cut into desired rolls. Place rolls on greased or parchment-lined pans and allow to rise until double in size. Bake according to recipe.

Brush top of rolls with butter when first taken from oven.
How to consistently make attractive, good-tasting rolls? Practice! Practice! Practice!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Strawberry Bread

A couple of months ago I was at Costco and tried som AMAZING bread they were sampling. The bread was swirled with strawberries, but they were not soggy and wet. The bread was served toasted with butter. Wow, so I go to buy some and it is over $5.00 a loaf. I put it down and think "I could make that." And it turns out it is not that hard. All you need is some bread dough and some freeze dried strawberries. 

Make bread dough, after diving dough into loaf size pieces. Roll out with a rolling pin until ¼ inch thick.  Sprinkle Dough with Freeze Dried Strawberries (I use about 2 cups, but what ever),

  and roll up. (like you are making cinnamon rolls or a jelly roll). Place tuck in seam. Place seam down in bread pan. Bake .

Whole Wheat Bread

I have been looking for a while for a bread recipe that will make tasty sandwithc bread.  There is much fabulous bread out there but this is the recipe I like.  My sister in law  Christi sent it to me, and one of the things I love about it is that it has insturctions for making by hand, using a kitchen Aid, and using a Bosch.  I use a Kitchen Aid and it works great.

Kitchen Aid Whole Wheat Bread
2 3/4 c Warm Water
2 T  Olive/canola oil
1/4 c honey
1 T Dough Enhancer
1/4 c Gluten
1 1/2 T yeast
1 T Salt
7 1/2 c whole wheat flour

Place warm water, oil, honey, yeast ,enhancer, gluten, and 3 1/2 c flour in Kitchen aid and mix well

Let sit 10 min until bubbly.

Add salt and enough flour to clean sides of bowl.  (about 4 cups)  Knead dough on speed 2 for about 8 min

If you want to keep your counter clean try covering your kitchen aid with a towle when mixing. 

 Form into 2 loaves

Place in bread pans  

and let rise until doubled
*I almost always use the one of the following Spead Raise Methods
1.  Oven--Turn your oven on to its lowest setting, my oven is 175. Let oven preheat and then turn the oven OFF. Place bread in oven. Allow to rise until doubled, about 20 minutes. Turn oven on (you do not have to remove bread)  to 350 and once heated cook are normal.
2.  Dishwasher-turn your empty dishwasher (with no soap on) let run 5-7 minutes (you will know it is ready when you open it and it is hot inside). Cancel and drain.  Cover bread in pans with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam.  Place bread pans in dishwasher for 20 minutes (do NOT run a cycle), then bake as normal. If you decide to do this method set a timer. I can then of almost nothing worse then cleaning over risen bread out of my dishwasher.   

Bake 350 for 30-34 minutes

Remove and cool on a rack

(notice you can skip rising before forming into loaves, this saves lots of time)

Bosch Whole Wheat Bread

4 cups hot tap water
2/3 c canola or olive oil
1/3 c honey
1 1/2 T salt
2 T Dough enhancer
1/4 cup Wheat Gluten
3 T Yeast
10-12 cups whole wheat flour

Place liquids into Bosch
Add Salt, enhancer and gluten
Place 6 cups flour on top and mix on speed 1 for about 30 seconds
Turn off and add 2 cups flour with yeast on top
Place lid on with middle insert out
Turn on to speed 1 for a few seconds then turn to speed 2
Add flour 1/2 cups at a time until dough pulls away from sides and gathers in the middle.
Let knead on speed 2 for 5 minutes
Divide into 4 and shape into loaves.
Place in greased bread pans
let rise until doubled (20-30 min)
Bake at 350 for 22-27 min

(notice again you don't rise before forming loaves)

"make by hand" whole wheat bread

5 1/2 cups Warm Water
1/2 cup olive/canola oil
1/2 cup honey
3 T  dough enhancer
1/3 c gluten
1 1/2 T Salt
3 Tablespoons
10-11 cups Whole Wheat Flour

Mix Water, Oil, honey, yeast, enhancer, gluten, and 7 cups flour in mixing bowl
Blend well (whisk) and let dough rest 10 minutes to proof the yeast.
Add salt and 3-4 cups flour until a good kneading consistency. 
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 12 minutes
Place in an oiled bowl and let rise 1 hour
punch down and shape into 5-6 loaves
place into well-greased bread pans
Let rised until doubled (1 inch above pans)
Bake at 350 for 30 min. 
Remove and cool on rack

What if I can't get dough enhancer and gluten?  In many places in the country it is difficult to find dough enhancer and gluten.  If that is true for you. Try making your own.  There are lots of recipies, here is what Christi does. But feel free to experiment with what you have access too.

I make my own enhancer using 3 cups potato flakes, 1 cup gluten, 1 box unflavored gelatin, 1 box of pectin.  Then I also add 1 egg to my recipe.
I also skip the gluten and just replace 1/2 - 1 cup of the wheat flour with white flour.  (Depending on whether I make 2 or 4 loaves of bread) .  This is because I can't buy gluten in bulk and can't buy enhancer at all.