BAGELS!

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We got about 9 inches of snow last night, so I was gifted with a wonderful

SNOW DAY!

Snowed in with nowhere to go and nothing to do…What better way to spend my unexpected day off, than by crossing a challenging item off of my Baking Bucket List!

I pulled out my brand new Baking with Julia cookbook and was thumbing through it and came across her recipe for

BAGELS

Let me tell you, this recipe is 3 1/2 pages long. I knew I had my work cut out for me. And I resolved to do it the old fashioned way, with a wooden spoon and hand kneading. Phew, I got my workout in for the day, it’s tougher than I remembered.

My bagels aren’t the smoothest, or most beautiful bagels that I have ever seen, but they are delicious! They are soft and moist in the center, and nicely browned on the outside. Plus you can season them however you’d like! I used garlic salt and kosher salt on the first batch and on the second I used garlic salt, kosher salt, and a cajun spice mix. I can’t wait to have one for breakfast with some cream cheese smear and a coffee. Mmm.

I typed out Julia Child’s recipe below (yes, it took me quite a while). They are really very yummy, and I am proud to have accomplished the feat of making these babies from scratch. Enjoy, and please report back if you decide to try making some bagels of your own! I’d like to know how to smooth them out to make them prettier 🙂

BAGELS

Inactive: 5 hours     Bake: 35 minutes     Yield: 10 bagels

Ingredients

Creamy yeast

Creamy yeast

Bagels

  • 2 tablespoons (approximately) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 2 1/4 cups tepid water (80-90 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons (approximately) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper (optional)
  • 6 cups (approximately) high-gluten flour, bread flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour

Water Bath

After the 1 hour rise!

After the 1 hour rise!

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Glaze

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cold water

Directions

Brush the inside of a large bowl with some melted butter; set aside. Reserve the remaining butter for coating the top of the dough.

Mixing and Kneading

  1. Whisk the yeast into 1/4 cup of the tepid water. Add a pinch of sugar and let the mixture rest until the yeast has dissolved and is creamy.
  2. Pour the remaining 2 cups water into a large bowl and add the shortening. Add the yeast mixture along with 2 tablespoons sugar, the salt, and the black pepper, if you’re using it, and stir with a wooden spoon to mix.
  3. Stirring vigorously with the wooden spoon, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping when you have a soft, sticky dough that is difficult to stir. (You will probably use almost 6 cups of flour, but the dough will still be soft and sticky-and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be). Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Add additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface.

*Can use an electric mixer

Rise

After the refrigerator!

After the refrigerator!

Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the buttered mixing bowl. Brush the top of the dough with a little melted butter, cover the bowl with buttered plastic wrap, and top with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in bulk.

Chilling the Dough

  • Deflate the dough, cover as before, and refrigerate for 4 hours, or, if it’s more convenient, overnight.

*At this point, the dough can be well wrapped and refrigerated for up to 2 days

  1. When you’re ready to make the bagels, position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. If the bagels are to bake on a stone, preheat the stone too and generously dust a peel with cornmeal. If they will bake on baking sheets, brush the sheets with vegetable oil (or spray) and dust them with cornmeal. For added flavor, use one or all of the suggested topping ingredients in combination with cornmeal to dust the peel or sheets.
  2. While the oven preheats, fill a stockpot with water and bring the water to a rapid boil.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets or trays with kitchen towels. Rub flour into 1 of the towels and place both sheets close to your work surface.
Ready for the boil.

Ready for the boil.

Shaping the Dough

  1. Deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half; cover and chill one piece of the dough while you work with the other. Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces; work with 1 piece at a time and cover the remaining pieces with a towel.
  2. To form a bagel and develop the gluten cloak that will give it its structure, draw up the dough from the bottom, stretch it, and pinch it at the top. Keep pulling the dough up and pinching it until you have a perfectly round, tightly packed ball of dough with a little topknot or pleat at the top. Turn the dough over so that the knot is against the work surface and plunge your index finger into the center of the dough. Wiggle your finger around in the hole to stretch it, then lift the bagel, hook it over the thumb of one hand and the index finger of the other and start rotating the dough, circling your thumb and finger and elongating the hole to a diameter of 2 to 2 1/2 inches. Put the bagel on the baking sheet with the floured towel, and cover with another towel. Shape the remaining 4 pieces of dough.

Water Bath

Boiling!

Boiling!

  1. Add the sugar and baking soda to the boiling water. With a large slotted skimming spoon or slotted spatula, lower the bagels, one at a time, into the boiling water. Don’t crowd them-the bagels should swim around in the water without touching one another; it’s better to boil them in batches than to cram them into the pot all at one time. The bagels will sink to the bottom of the pot when you put them in, then rise to the top. Once the bagels have surfaced, boil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, flipping them over gently with the skimmer. Remove the bagels, shaking the skimmer over the stockpot to et ride of some of the excess water, and put them on the baking sheet with the unfloured towel, keeping the smoothest side of the bagel up.
  2. Keeping the smoothest sides up, transfer the bagels to the peel or prepared baking sheet. (Work quickly, because the wet bagels have a tendency to stick to the towel)
After the boil, ready for the oven!

After the boil, ready for the oven!

Glaze

Whisk the egg whites and cold water together until the whites are broken up, then push the glaze through a sieve and brush each bagel with the glaze. Try not to let the glaze drip onto the baking sheet or peel, or it will glue down the bagels. Don’t worry if the bagels look wrinkled-they’ll smooth out in the oven. Brush with another coat of glaze and, if you’re using a topping, or more than one, sprinkle it, or them, evenly over the bagels now.

Baking

Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

  1. Put 4 ice cubes in a 1-pint measuring cup and add 1/4 cup cold water. Put the bagels in the oven and immediately toss the ice cubs and water onto the oven floor (or into the hot pan). Quickly close the oven door to capture the steam produced by the ice, turn the oven temperature down to 450 degrees F and bake for 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the bagels remain in the oven for 5 more minutes. Open the oven door and leave the bagels in the oven for another 5 minutes. Transfer the bagels to a rack and cool.
  2. Before baking the next batch of bagels, be certain to bring the oven temperature back to 500 degrees F.

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Enjoy!

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French Baguettes

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My mom just bought me Baking with Julia

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A cookbook that every aspiring baker must have in his/her collection, and one that, as my mother says, I will cherish my whole life.

While I was waiting for the delivery of this little culinary masterpiece, I managed to work up quite the appetite for some homemade bread. I mean just look at that beautiful cover photography! 

However, I just could not wait for Julia’s recipe to arrive, so I decided to go ahead and make a Baguette recipe I came across online. I know I know, I built you all up for a Julia Child recipe review, but I’m afraid I must let you down. 

 I promise to try hers soon. And many many many other things.

The recipe I did try is from the Cooking Channel TV website, titled Homemade French Baguettes which can be found here and is posted below.  

It was very easy to follow and quite quick for a yeast recipe! 

Baking with the ice underneath creating a beautifully crispy golden crust, with a moist and light center. Yum.

May not be Julia Child, but these baguettes are delicious nonetheless.

French Baguettes

Prep: 15 minutes     Inactive: 1 hour     Bake: 20 minutes
Before kneading

Before kneading

Ingredients

  • 2 envelopes dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Canola oil, for greasing bowl
  • Cornmeal, for dusting pan
  • 3-4 ice cubes
Directions
  1. Combine the honey, yeast and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to combine and let the mixture stand until the yeast is activated and begins to foam, 5 minutes. 
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl with a dough hook and slowly add in the yeast mixture. Gradually add 1 cup warm water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball that is not too wet (you may not need all of the water). If the dough is sticky, add a little bit more flour. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 2 to 6 minutes. You can do the thumbprint test: press in the dough with your thumb and it should bounce back when it’s ready. 

    Punching down the dough.

    Punching down the dough.

  3. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a dishcloth, so it doesn’t dry out. Let rest in a warm environment until doubled in size, 25 to 30 minutes. 
  4. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Shape into 2 baguettes by making a flat rectangle out of your dough, then folding the top and bottom towards the middle, like an envelope, and sealing the seam with your fingers. Keep repeating the folding and sealing, stretching the rectangle lengthwise as you go, until it’s about 12 to 14 inches long and 2 inches wide. Fold and seal either end to round. Flip seam-side down and place on a sheet pan or baguette pan that has been dusted with cornmeal. Score the tops of the loaves, making deep diagonal slits 1/2-inch deep, cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm environment until they have doubled in size, 25 minutes. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and position your oven racks with one on the bottom and the other in the middle. Place an oven-safe (non-glass) bowl or pan on the bottom rack. 
  6. When your bread has doubled for the second time, remove the towel and quickly and simultaneously, slide the sheet tray with the baguettes onto the middle rack while carefully throwing the ice cubes into the bowl on the bottom rack. The ice will create a burst of steam that will give you a nice crispy crust. Quickly shut the oven door so no steam escapes. Bake the baguettes until golden brown, 15 minutes. 

*Cook’s Note: If you have a glass window on your oven, place a towel over it when throwing the ice in, hot glass can shatter if ice touches it.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!


Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

Enjoy!

Fat Tuesday Paczki

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Happy Fat Tuesday!

Or better yet…

HAPPY PACZKI DAY!

It is Polish tradition to indulge in these delectable donuts on the last Tuesday before Ash Wedensday, which is also the last day of Mardi Gras!

SO DEVOUR EVERYTHING! GORGE YOURSELF! EAT LIKE A COW!

Now here I should clear one thing up…

I don’t exactly honor Lent, and I’m not Polish.

But…

I do love honoring other cultures food traditions, obviously.

I found this Pączki recipe on this Eastern European Food site posted by Barbara Rolek. She explains her busia, or grandmother, used to make this Pączki recipe without a filling, and dusted with granulated sugar.

Her recipe is easy to follow, and is typed below.

Blackberry filling

Blackberry filling

I did find this dough to be extremely tacky and hard to work with, so where it says ‘lightly floured’ be a little generous. My dough kept sticking to my lightly floured non-stick mats, and to my floured fingers. Hence why some of my pączki are not the prettiest. I also used a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (aka my English Muffin rings), so my  pączki ended up a little larger than her recipe describes. The rises also only took me 2 hours total.

I made most of mine with a Blackberry filling (I let Wills pick it out), and dusted with powdered sugar. I also dusted some in granulated sugar and cinnamon. YUM.

Polish Pączki

Prep: 45 minutes     Cook: 6 minutes     Rises: 3 hours     Total: 3 hours, 51 minutes     Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients

Before the third rise!

Before the third rise!

  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk (no warmer than 110 degrees)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or rum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 gallon oil for deep frying
  • Granulated sugar (optional)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
  • Fruit paste for filling (optional)

Directions

Into the fryer!

Into the fryer!

  1. Add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, brandy and salt until well-incorporated.
  2. Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. My grandmother used to beat the dough with a wooden spoon until it blistered. Dough will be very slack. If too soft, add remaining 1/2 cup flour, but no more.
  3. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rise again (about 30 minutes).
  4. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch biscuit cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.

    Fresh from the fryer!

    Fresh from the fryer!

  5. Heat oil to 350 degrees in large skillet or Dutch oven. Place pączki top-side down (the dry side) in the oil a few at a time and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot so the exterior doesn’t brown before the interior is done. Test a cool one to make sure it’s cooked through. Adjust cooking time and oil heat accordingly.
  6. Drain pączki on paper towels or brown paper bags, and roll in granulated sugar while still warm. Note: You can poke a hole in the side of the pączki and, using a pastry bag, squeeze in a dollop of the filling of choice. Then dust filled pączki with granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar or glaze.

Enjoy while still warm!

  • Pączki don’t keep well, which is the perfect excuse to gorge yourself on them!IMG_5952
Cinnamon and sugar

Cinnamon and sugar

Enjoy!

Margherita Pizza

Before baking!

Before baking!

Okay so I have a confession to make.

After getting my Masters in Special Education this December, I have really been giving my brain a rest. I have been taking some time to just explore the things I enjoy doing such as baking, crocheting, crafting, and reading. I have a Bachelors degree in Literature, and I am embarrassed to admit I’ve been reading what I would consider ‘pop trash’.

Eat, Pray, Love

I also recognize that I am like 5-6 years late on this trend which makes me even more lame. Nonetheless, I just completed the section where she is eating her way across Italy and I have been craving a good Neopolitan-style Margherita Pizza.

This is as close as I could come.

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Pretty close, and AMAZING!

I scoured the Internet for a tried and true dough recipe and wished that Peter Reinhart’s American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza was part of my cookbook collection as it seems to be the universally accepted go-to book for pizza recipes. I finally settled on Bobby Flay’s Dough Recipe from Food Network after reading some reader reviews.

Finding a sauce recipe also took me quite some time, and I decided to use Mario Batali’s Pizza Margherita recipe which includes both a dough and sauce recipe.

Making both the dough and the sauce was fun. As the dough was rising, I had plenty of time to make my sauce!

AND I GOT TO CROSS OFF ANOTHER ITEM FROM MY BAKING BUCKET LIST!

I did have a little trouble transferring my prepared pizza to my pizza stone in my oven… I need a pizza peel if I try to do this again. I wish I could have photographed it. Me and Wills with hands full of dough and spatulas trying to ease the pizza on to the stone without losing any cheese or sauce in our tiny kitchen in our poorly-lit apartment. Thank god we didn’t flip it over on to the floor, I think I would have cried myself to sleep.

That brings me to another point. Sorry about the flash photography, I obviously prefer natural lighting, however the sun sets at about 6 pm here in West Lafayette, IN and I could NOT wait until tomorrow to devour this pizza!

Here are the recipes:

Pizza Dough

Prep: 20 minutes     Inactive: 1 hour, 10 minutes     Yield: 2 (14 inch) pizza crusts

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling (Chef’s Note: Using bread flour will give you a much crisper crust. If you can’t find bread flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour which will give you a chewier crust.)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

Directions

After the rise!

After the rise!

  1. Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball*. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
  2. Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

*I did 3 1/2 cups to start, then needed to add 3 tablespoons to get the right consistency

Classic Marinara Sauce

Prep: 15 minutes     Cook: 15 minutes     Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree (about 1 (28-ounce) can) roughly chopped
  • Sprig fresh thyme
  • Sprig fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

My dough spread out in to my pizza crust!

My dough spread out in to my pizza crust!

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Use now, store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Top with fresh mozzarella and some fresh basil leaves and bake for 10-14 minutes until the cheese gets bubbly and the bottom of the dough starts to brown!

This pizza was so delicious! The crust was divine. It was crispy on the edges but soft inside. I will definitely use the crust recipe in the future!

The sauce was a little runny, I will experiment with how to thicken it up slightly and report back.

I also made a barbeque chicken pizza for Wills 🙂

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Enjoy!

English Muffins

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Yesterday I posted my very ambitious Baking Bucket List and today, I wasted no time in getting busy crossing things off!

I was thumbing through a little book titled Scones, Muffins & Tea Cakes where I happened upon a recipe for Classic English Muffins (pg. 41). I had never even thought about people actually MAKING English Muffins! Sure I buy them from the grocery store, toast them, and slather them in cream cheese or jam, but I never even considered that these little gems could possibly be made at home! Of course they could! Why the heck not?

English Muffin rings

English Muffin rings

 

I did need to purchase English Muffin Rings in order to complete this recipe, but at only $4.99 for 4 rings, it was worth the experience of actually making English Muffins from scratch! I was able to find them at a kitchen specialty store in town, but you can find them easily on Amazon.com for a comparable price if your stores do not carry them. And they are versatile… you can use them for…. English Muffins… Crumpets (basically the same as English Muffins)… an Egg Ring… Biscuit Cutters… the list goes on and on (but not really).

Now, the recipe calls for “1 package (scant 1 tablespoon) active dry yeast, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water” and I wasn’t quite sure what ‘scant 1 tablespoon’ meant so I looked it up online. It simply means “just barely”, so use almost a full tablespoon, but not a jam-packed full tablespoon.

Also, whenever a yeast recipe calls for a liquid to be ‘warm’ I use my candy thermometer to make sure the temperature is between 105 and 115 degrees F. 

I have also learned that during the rise phase, the dough should be in a warm spot. I learned a trick from a previous recipe where you preheat your oven to 200 degrees F, maintain that temperature for 10 minutes, then turn off. When your dough is ready, cover and pop in the warm oven for the duration of the rise! 

This is the stickiest dough I have ever worked with! So elastic!

Dough after the first rise.

Dough after the first rise.

As for the final product…

OH. MY. GAWD.

These things are scrumptious. I amazed myself with this one. Golden brown and firm on the outside, soft and incredibly delicious inside.

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I WILL DEFINITELY MAKE THESE AGAIN, AND I WISH I HAD MORE.

Classic English Muffins

Prep: 20 minutes     Inactive: 1 1/2 hours    Bake: 20 minutes     Yield: 8 muffins

Ingredients

Before flipping

Before flipping

  • 1 package (scant 1 tablespoon) active dry yeast, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, sugar, water, milk, and salt and stir until well blended. Add in 2 cups of flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the batter is well mixed, stretchy, and sticky. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

    On the cooling rack!

    On the cooling rack!

  2. Add the dissolved baking soda, butter, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour to the batter and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 8 buttered 3 1/2 inch nonstick muffin rings on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spoon the batter into the rings, filling them half full. Let stand until the dough has doubled and fill the muffin rings, approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Place the baking sheet with the muffins in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then, with a spatula, lift the filled rings and flip them over. Continue to bake for 5 more minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven. Using a spatula, transfer the muffins, still in their rings, to a cooling rack. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
  6. Remove the rings and slice each muffin in half with a bread knife. If desired, toast them before spreading with your favorite topping.
English Muffin breakfast sandwich! YUM!

English Muffin breakfast sandwich! YUM!

Enjoy!

Olive Garden Breadsticks

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I am told that not everything I bake can be sweet.

That’s a challenge, because my sweet tooth smothers any of my other sensibilities on almost all occasions.

Lately however, I have been craving pasta. A big heavy heaping plate of pasta. A dig in with two hands, mow down, don’t come up for air, pasta night.

Fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

Alas, tonight I am making pasta, and what can I bake that perfectly complements a pasta dish? BREADSTICKS!

I was searching for a recipe online and came across this report from ABC News where Todd Wilbur claims to have uncovered the top secret breadsticks recipe from Olive Garden!

I HAD TO TRY IT OUT.

This is another yeast recipe, though I am really becoming more comfortable using this ingredient! It’s not nearly as intimidating as people make it out to be, and it feels so good when you can see your dough actually rising. A-HA! It’s working!

This recipe does take a considerable amount of time with its two rise phases, each lasting about 1 1/2 hours. But after you have whipped together the dough, you are free to go about your day in between rises.

Olive Garden Breadsticks

Prep: 20 minutes     Rise: 2-3 hours     Bake: 12 minutes     Yield: 12 breadsticks

Ingredients

My dough has risen!

My dough has risen!

Dough
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105-115 degrees F)
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
Topping
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions

  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water in a small bowl and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, or until it becomes foamy on top.

    Ready for the second rise.

    Ready for the second rise.

  2. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer to mix the softened butter into the flour. When yeast mixture is foamy, pour it into the flour mixture and use the dough hook on your mixture to combine ingredients. Knead dough for approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Place dough in a covered container and let it sit for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until it doubles in size. When dough has doubled, measure out 2-ounce portions and roll dough between your hands or on a countertop to form sticks that are 7 inches long.
  4. Place dough on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, cover and set aside for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size once more.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Bake breadsticks for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. When breadsticks come out of the oven, immediately brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt.
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Enjoy!

Cheese Rolls

Ready for the 2nd rise!

Ready for the 2nd rise!

High of 15 degrees Fahrenheit in West Lafayette, Indiana today?

With a wind chill that makes it feel subzero?

Sounds like the perfect day to try out a new Cheddar Cauliflower Soup recipe, and bake some delicious and savory rolls to accompany the entree! These rolls just may steal the show! 

This recipe was taken from the same publication as my Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake and Chocolate Chippers, the 2012 Best-Loved Reader Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens.

Cheese Rolls

Prep: 40 minutes     Rise: 1 hour, 40 minutes     Bake: 25 minutes     Yield: 9 rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine the warm water and yeast, stirring to dissolve yeast. Stir in sugar. Add 1 cup of the flour, the egg, shortening, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  3. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9x9x2 inch baking pan; set aside. For filling, in medium bowl combine cheese, onion, chives, and garlic salt; set aside.
  4. Roll dough into a 15×12 inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up rectangle, starting from a long side. Pinch to seal seam. But into nine slices. Arrange in the prepared baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (About 40 minutes).
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; serve warm.
Fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

 

Enjoy!

Pretzel Dogs

Okay so today I cheated. I totally cheated.

I did NOT try an entirely new recipe… rather I adapted my most recent post.

I found this amazing recipe for Soft Pretzels from Food Network’s Alton Brown and baked them up yesterday. They turned out so beautifully I altered the same recipe to make dinner for my family last night!

        PRETZEL DOGS!

Who doesn’t love a pretzel dog? I made the pretzels according to the recipe I included in my Soft Pretzels post. After rolling the dough in to a 24 inch rope, I simply wrapped the dough around a thawed anddry hot dog. I used Hebrew National all beef hotdogs.

SAM_0379Continue following the original recipe, placing each dough covered hot dog in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Place on parchment covered baking sheet, brush on egg yolk wash, sprinkle some coarse salt on top, then bake for 12-14 minutes.

 The recipe makes 8 pretzels, therefore this made 8 pretzel dogs. 

When doubling the recipe, (I had to because my family is so large) make the dough in separate batches. Otherwise your electric mixer may be in for a world of damage, EKE!

Let that pretzel dog cozy up to some deliciously spicy mustard, and ENJOY!

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Classic White Bread

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Bread making is not something that I have dabbled in on too many occasions.

However, when a girl gets a hankering for some homemade bread, nothing can satiate that craving besides digging your hands in some flour and creating a loaf from scratch. Bread can be an intimidating thing to make for the amateur baker due to the amount of time usually required for the dough to rise, and the sensitivity of yeast. I am admittedly primarily a spontaneous baker and therefore infrequently plan to conquer a recipe that may take all day, unless of course I have designated an entire day for baking. However, the recipe that I chose to utilize took no longer than 2 hours 30 minutes from start to finish, and was simple enough for even a novice like me to replicate with some success!

I originally came upon this recipe from a blog called, Brown Eyed Baker from a post called American Sandwich Bread from 2008,(http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2008/07/20/american-sandwich-bread/)which was a replica of  the recipe from the book, Baking Illustrated (2004, p. 74-75)

American Sandwich Bread

Yield: One 9-inch loaf

Prep: 1 hour 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

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  • 3¾ cups (18¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 envelope (about 2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.
  2. Mix 3½ cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup*. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to ¼ cup total, untilthe dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.
  3. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Gently press the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. WIth a long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes**.
  5. Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack at set the loaf onto the middle rack. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf read 195 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

Note: This recipe uses a standing electric mixer. You can hand-knead the dough, but we found it’s easy to add too much flour during this stage, resulting in a somewhat tougher loaf. To promote a crisp crust,we found it best to place a loaf pan filled with boiling water in the oven as the bread bakes.

* I heated the milk and water together in a small saucepan, careful to not let the temperature exceed 115 degrees, then added the honey and melted butter. Last I stirred in the yeast. It is important to have the milk and water reach about 110 degrees to activate the yeast and no more than 140 degrees as this temperature will kill the yeast.
** Let the bread continue to rise until it is about 1 inch higher than the loaf pan. Also, I used a glass loaf pan, though other bakers highly recommend utilizing a stone loaf pan for best results.

I recommend staying quite close to your electric mixer while it is in operation as mine started hopping around from the weight and density of the dough!

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This bread turned out beautifully! I was excited to see my dough actually rising! And it rose to the height described! However, I will be anxious to try this recipe out again as I substituted 1% lowfat milk for whole milk (it was what I had in the refrigerator), and my yeast had an expiration date of Jan 2013 making its value questionable. Obviously the yeast worked, but I will be interested to see the difference a fresher yeast may make on the height of the loaf and the difference whole milk may make to the taste of the bread.

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This is a very versatile bread as it can be used for sandwiches, toasted, or consumed on its own with butter, jam, peanut butter, Nutella, or my favorite combination- butter and honey. Everyone loved this loaf, this recipe is definitely a keeper!

Enjoy!