Category Archives: Breads

Mango Jalapeño Jam

Mango Jalapeno Jam 1

Slightly sweet, slightly spicy. Perfectly versatile.

Serve it with savory scones, like these Bacon Jalapeño Scones:

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 5

Use it instead of apricot jam in this Apricot (Mango) Glazed Chicken:

Apricot Chicken 1

Serve it with these Indian Samosas:

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Heat the jam until warm and dip Chicken Taquitos in it:

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-Bake it with Brie wrapped in puff pastry dough for a delicious appetizer. Or cut pastry dough into squares and press dough into a well-greased mini muffin pan; place a square of Brie in the center and top with ½ tsp jam. Bake until browned.

-Spread it over a block of cream cheese or goat cheese and serve with crackers.

-Spread it between tortillas, along with grilled chicken and cheese, and grill for amazing quesadillas.

-Spread it on an English muffin and top with egg, cheese, and bacon for a breakfast sandwich with a kick.

-Add it to a grilled cheese sandwich.

-Spread it on a sandwich of leftover roast turkey or chicken.

-Add it to a marinade for roast pork or grilled chicken.

RECIPE:

Mango Jalapeño Jam

Yield: About 7 half-pint jars

Mango Jalapeno Jam 1

3 lb peeled and seeded mangos (weigh after peeling/seeding), about 6 cups
6-7 oz (about 6-7 whole) jalapeños
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
4 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box low-sugar pectin

Chop mangos in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pureed. You should end up with about 5 cups finely chopped mango. Pour into a large pot.

Use the food processor to finely chop the jalapeños. Leave the seeds/ribs in the jalapeños for a more spicy jam; remove them for a milder jam. Add to the pot along with the vinegar, and 4 cups of sugar.

Bring to a full rolling boil, reduce heat to medium, and boil for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the pectin and ¼ cup sugar. Add pectin mixture to the pot and return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil for 2 additional minutes.

Remove from heat and ladle into sterilized jars. Wipe rims of jars with a damp cloth and add lids and rings. Process jars in a boiling bath canner for 10 minutes for half-pint jars. Remove from canner and place on a towel on kitchen countertop. Let sit 24 hours. Check seals before storing on pantry shelf.

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Bacon Jalapeño Scones

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 4

Scones don’t have to just be a dessert food. Scone dough is perfectly suited to add savory ingredients and served for breakfast or brunch. Or as an accompaniment to soup, stew, or chili for dinner. These scones are stuffed full of bacon, green onions, gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, and chopped jalapenos.

I only used one jalapeño this time, which was hardly noticeable. Next time I will use 2-3. Heat levels of jalapeños vary widely, however, so it is wise to taste a small piece before committing to adding 3 full jalapeños.

You can eat these plain, slathered with butter or Clotted Cream, or topped with jam. I served them with a homemade sweet & spicy Mango Jalapeño Jam.

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 5

To form the scones, transfer your dough to a well-floured surface and use your hands to shape dough into an 8” round disc about 3/4-inch thick.

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 1

Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 wedges. This recipe makes 16 scones. Don’t make one large circle and cut into 16 pieces. Instead, divide dough in half and make 8 from each round.

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 2

An important factor in getting light, airy scones is not working the dough more than necessary. An easy and effective way to cut your butter into the dry ingredients is to use a cheese grater to shred frozen butter into your dry ingredients and then mix only briefly. You want there to still be strands of visible butter. That is what will create the air pockets and layers in your scones.

Tip for adding butter: This recipe calls for 8 Tbs (1 stick) of butter. Freeze TWO  sticks, then take a pen and mark around the 4 Tbs line on each stick. (It is hard to grate slippery butter all the way down to the end of the stick without grating your fingers ) Fold back the paper on the sticks of butter to the line you’ve drawn.  Holding the paper-covered end of the butter, grate the butter directly into your dry ingredients (briefly stir occasionally so that you don’t have a big pile of butter in one spot). Stop grating when you get to the line where you’ve folded back your butter paper. I usually use the larger of the two grating hole sizes on the grater.

You can also grate butter that is just refrigerated, not frozen, but it will hold it’s consistency longer if you freeze it for about 30 minutes first.

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 3

RECIPE:

Bacon Jalapeño Scones

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 4

2 ½ cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter (freeze TWO sticks for 30 mins for easier grating)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
½ cup chopped crisply-cooked bacon
¼ cup chopped green onion
2-3 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
2/3 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan

Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten + 2 Tbs heavy cream

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture to form coarse crumbs. Tip for adding butter: Freeze TWO sticks of butter, then take a pen and mark around the 4 Tbs line on each stick. (It is hard to grate slippery butter all the way down to the end of the stick without grating your fingers ) Fold back the paper on the sticks of butter to the line you’ve drawn.  Holding the paper-covered end of the butter, grate the butter directly into your dry ingredients (briefly stir occasionally so that you don’t have a big pile of butter in one spot). Stop grating when you get to the line where you’ve folded back your butter paper. I usually use the larger of the two grating hole sizes on the grater.

Mix together the buttermilk and the beaten eggs. Make a well in the center of the  flour mixture and stir in milk just until moistened.

In a small bowl, stir together the cooked bacon, green onions, jalapeños, and grated cheeses. Mix gently into the scone dough.

On a floured surface, knead dough lightly until evenly mixed. Divide the dough in half. Pat each dough half into an 8-inch round about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each circle into 8 wedges.

Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Place dough wedges on prepared sheets and place in freezer for 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove scones from freezer and brush lightly with egg wash. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Serve plain or with butter, Clotted Cream, or Mango Jalapeño Jam.

Yield: 16 scones

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**TO FREEZE SCONES TO SERVE AT A LATER TIME:

Scones can be frozen either before or after baking.

To freeze before baking: Prepare scone dough. Cut scones and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. DO NOT brush with egg wash. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 18-20 minutes.

To freeze after baking: Prepare and bake scones. Cool completely and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 300°F for 10-12 minutes.

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Vanilla Scones

Vanilla Scones 1

For our Scottish themed book group meeting, I made a variety of different Scottish foods, more of which I will share here shortly.

Scottish (or English) scones are a light, tender biscuit that can be adapted to many different flavors. Scones can be a savory food or a dessert. Or breakfast, or a snack, or just about anything you want them to be.

These vanilla scones, while not sweet themselves, are more of a dessert food. Especially if you serve them with Clotted Cream (or whipped cream) and jam. They also make a great base for Strawberry Shortcake.

I served them with a Homemade Clotted Cream (made in an Instant Pot) and Homemade Red Raspberry Jam and Cinnamon Pear Jam.

Vanilla Scones 3

Scones can also easily be frozen either before or after baking.

To freeze before baking: Prepare scone dough. Cut out scones and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. DO NOT brush with egg wash. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes.

To freeze after baking: Prepare and bake scones. Cool completely and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 300°F for 10-12 minutes.

RECIPE:

Vanilla Scones

Vanilla Scones 1

2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter
½ cup buttermilk
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (optional)
Egg Wash: 1 egg + 1 Tbs cream

Clotted Cream and Jams, to serve

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut cold butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. **SEE NOTE BELOW

In a separate bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, mix together buttermilk, 2 Tbs cream, egg, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds. In a small bowl, mix together egg wash and set aside.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk mixture. Use a rubber spoon to gently mix, until most of the dry ingredients are mixed in.

Turn dough out onto a flour coated surface and pat and/or roll dough to about 3/4” thick. Use a scone or biscuit cutter to cut into rounds. Place on prepared baking sheet. Gently reroll scraps to make additional scones.

Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve scones with clotted cream and jam.

**NOTE: To easily cut butter into dry mixture, freeze one stick of butter for 30 minutes. Fold back the paper wrapper to the 6Tbs mark and use the coarse blades of a cheese grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to fold butter shreds into mixture.

Yield: about 12 scones

**TO FREEZE SCONES:

Scones can be frozen either before or after baking.

To freeze before baking: Prepare scone dough. Cut out scones and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. DO NOT brush with egg wash. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes.

To freeze after baking: Prepare and bake scones. Cool completely and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 300°F for 10-12 minutes.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other stuff): Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

DAY 12 : Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

A delicious quick bread that makes great gifts for friends and neighbors. It is also great spread with a little cream cheese before eating.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pans 1

Dollar stores and Michaels often sell cute Christmas mini-loaf pans that you can bake these in. Then you can give the cute little pan to neighbors along with the bread.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pan

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Yield: 2 regular loaves or 5-6 mini-loaves

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (16oz) pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two regular loaf pans (or 6-8 mini loaf pans), or spray with Baking Pam.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin until well mixed.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir into pumpkin mixture. Fold in chopped cranberries and walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared pans. Fill mini loaf pans about 2/3 full.

For regular loaf pans: bake for 60 minutes
For mini-loaf pans: bake for 35-45 minutes

Bake until top of loaf springs back when touched gently (or toothpick comes out clean). Check bread after about 30 minutes: cover loosely with foil if it is beginning to brown too quickly.

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Homemade Crescent Rolls

Crescent Rolls 2

Looking for the perfect rolls to serve with your Easter ham? Or more importantly, to use the next day to make ham sandwiches?

Look no further: these rolls are amazing. They are soft and tender, but also hold up to slicing and using as a sandwich bun.

Leftovers are always the best part of a big holiday dinner. I love cooking once and then repurposing dinner for the next few days. And rolls are the perfect food to make ahead of time, freeze, and then reheat in the oven just before serving.

To help elongate the crescent rolls and keep them from being too thick in the center, I cut a slit in the wide edge, separate the slit slightly, and then roll the dough into a crescent shape.

Crescent Rolls 5  Crescent Rolls 6

This gives longer ends that are easier to curve into a rounded crescent.

Crescent Rolls 4

Happy Easter!

Crescent Rolls 1

RECIPE: 

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Crescent Rolls 3

2 cups whole milk
½ cup + 1 Tbs sugar, divided
1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbs) butter
2 tsp kosher salt
2 pkg active dry yeast (or 4 ½ tsp)
2/3 cup warm water
8-9 cups all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs
Melted butter (about 4 Tbs)

Combine milk, ½ cup sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbs sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add beaten eggs.

Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

Grease large baking sheets, or line with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.

Roll each dough half into a circle and cut into 12 wedges. Cut a ½” slit in the wide end of the wedge, separate slightly and roll  into crescent shapes and place on prepared pans.

Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. When done, remove from oven. Brush lightly with melted butter.

Yield: 24 rolls

**To prebake for serving another day: Bake rolls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until rolls just barely begin to brown. Remove from oven. Cool. Place in Ziploc freezer bags. Freeze.

On serving day: Place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until hot and golden brown. Brush tops with butter.

Adapted from Our Best Bites

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Bread

Homemade bread is a lot easier than you might think and is well worth the effort. This is a simple recipe for a Cinnamon Swirl Bread. Eggs, milk, and sugar in the dough make this a wonderfully rich bread that is perfect for toasting.

For a real treat, slice it and use for making French Toast.

If you like raisins, add them to the cinnamon filling for a delicious Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

For a fancier presentation, you can also make 3 longer, narrower dough rolls and braid the rolls and then drizzle the baked braided loaf with a powdered sugar/milk glaze.

This recipe makes three regular loaves or two braided loaves.

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Bread

1 Tbs yeast
¼ cup warm (but not hot) water
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 tsp salt
2 cups milk, scalded**
7 – 7½ cups flour
2 eggs
3 Tbs butter, softened
3 Tbs cinnamon
6 Tbs sugar
3 tsp water

Mix yeast with ¼ cup water. Set aside. Place ½ cup sugar, ½ cup butter and salt in a large mixing bowl; pour scalded milk over the mixture. Stir until butter is melted. Use a dough hook to mix in 3 cups of flour. Add eggs and continue mixing. Add the softened yeast and mix until smooth. Add enough remaining flour until you have a soft, kneadable dough. Knead dough into a smooth ball.

Place dough in an oiled bowl; turn dough over to coat both sides. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled.

Mix 3 Tbs cinnamon and 6 Tbs sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 3 rectangles. Spread 1 Tbs butter on each rectangle and sprinkle each with 3 Tbs cinnamon/sugar mixture. Sprinkle 1 tsp of water over the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Roll into loaves; seal ends and place in greased bread pans. Cover and let rise one hour.

Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes. If the tops start to get too brown, cover loosely with foil. Remove from pans, brush tops with butter, and cool on rack.

Makes 3 medium loaves

**TO SCALD MILK: Heat milk in pan over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge of pan and milk just begins to boil. Or microwave until milk just begins to boil.

OPTIONAL: Sprinkle dough with ¼ cup raisins before rolling.

BRAIDED CINNAMON BREAD: After dough rises first time, divide into 2 pieces. From each piece make 3 long, narrow rectangles. Spread with butter, cinnamon, sugar; sprinkle with water. Roll each rectangle and seal ends and edge. Braid the three loaves (keep seam sides down), pinching both ends to seal. Bake on a greased baking sheet at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly. Glaze with a powdered sugar/milk icing. Makes 2 braided loaves.

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Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon Rolls 2

The best way to start a 6:00am day? Homemade cinnamon rolls, of course.

Cinnamon Rolls 1

To keep your rolls light and airy, do not add too much flour to your dough, and knead only until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Because the dough is sticky, it needs to sit for a while in the refrigerator before rolling out the dough. To keep the rolls soft, I also roll my dough out on a buttered silicon mat (instead of a floured mat). Greased hands will help in handling the slightly sticky dough.

An easy way to cut your dough logs into rolls without crushing the dough and having the knife stick to the dough is to use dental floss (not mint!) or a strong sewing thread. See THIS POST for more details.

This recipe makes a lot: 36  large rolls. You can scale the recipe back if you don’t want as many OR Rolls can be frozen either after or before cooking.

To freeze before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon Rolls 2

2 ½ cups buttermilk*
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp salt
9 – 9 ½ cups flour, divided
1 ½ Tbs instant yeast

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2-3 Tbs cinnamon

Place buttermilk, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl (stand mixer) and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Mix in eggs and salt. Add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and mix until smooth. Add additional 5 cups of flour and knead until smooth. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make a soft dough that barely pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough with plastic wrap touching the dough and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and not sticky when touched.

Lightly butter rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” pans. Mix brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Divide dough into two halves. On a lightly buttered surface, pat each dough half into a rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) on each dough half and sprinkle with half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Starting from long edge, form a roll. Pinch long edge to seal. Use a knife to lightly score dough into 18  sections about 1” apart. Place a strand of dental floss under the dough and cross over the top of the dough at the scored marking. Pull dental floss to cut through dough log. Place in prepared pan. Cover with a thin towel and allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Spread warm rolls with cream cheese glaze.

Makes 36 rolls

*Buttermilk substitute: Scald 2 cups milk (bring to boiling point) and stir in ½ cup plain yogurt

 

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz cream cheese
6 Tbs heavy cream
3-4 Tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Use a hand mixer to mix all of the glaze ingredients. Add additional milk or cream if needed to make a smooth glaze.

 

To freeze rolls before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.

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You know you’re old when . . .

Sourdough 1

According to Little J, you know you are old when you meet the following criteria:

1. You can wear all of your birthday presents.

2. More than 90% of those presents are in the gray color palette.

3. You request bread for your birthday cake.

Middle K couldn’t argue with those well-presented facts, but she accepted her ancient age of 19 happily as she bit into the crispy crust and chewy center of her homemade sourdough birthday bread.

While I am not happy about my kids getting so “old”, I am all for homemade sourdough bread as a birthday cake!

Sourdough 2

I am no expert at sourdough bread making, but this recipe has been consistently successful for me. I like to add some whole rye flour to my dough, but you can also use all white flour. Or for whole wheat sourdough, check out this blog by my new friend Lorie who shared her sourdough starter with me. That is one more thing I was really sad to leave behind when I moved!

Here are a few notes that have helped me as I make this sourdough recipe:

  • This recipe makes 4 medium-small round loaves of bread. I usually bake 2 loaves and place the dough for 2 loaves in the refrigerator to bake later. See additional note below.
  • I use a 100% hydration sourdough starter (fed with equal weights of flour and water)
  • I  have much more consistent results when I weigh my ingredients for bread, but amounts will also be influenced by humidity, flour brands, measuring techniques and starter consistency and strength. Dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl, but not be too stiff.
  • If you are baking on a stone, don’t skip the steam in the oven- that is what helps with oven rise and creates the thick crispy crust.
  • If you do not have a very strong starter, you can add about 1/2 tsp yeast to the dough when mixing.
  • The bread can also be baked in a covered ceramic baking dish instead of using a stone and steam. You will need to bake a little longer and should remove the lid about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time to darken the crust. (Sprinkle cornmeal on bottom of dish and place shaped loaves of dough directly in dish for their final rise.)
  • For a stronger sourdough taste and great texture: Make the dough and let rise for 2-3 hours. Then cut the dough into 4 pieces, put them in oiled Ziploc bags and leave them in the refrigerator for about a week. The dough will continue to slowly rise (open bags and punch down if needed throughout the week). When you are ready to bake a loaf: remove from refrigerator, shape into loaf and let rise until almost doubled and bake as directed in recipe.

 

Sourdough 4

A very happy birthday to this awesome girl who has grown into an amazing young woman. I will sure miss her when she leaves for college this fall!!

RECIPE:

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough 2

Sourdough Sponge:
400 grams (about 2 cups) sourdough starter
600 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) water
600 grams (about 4 cups) bread flour (or all-purpose flour)

Additional Ingredients:
500 grams (about 3 1/3 cups) bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
250 grams (about 2 cups) whole rye flour (or use additional white flour)
30 grams (about 1 Tbs + 1 tsp) salt

DAY BEFORE BAKING:
If you keep your sourdough starter in the refrigerator, remove the starter from the refrigerator in the morning and feed it with equal parts (by weight) flour and water. In the evening, prepare the sponge by mixing listed amounts of starter, water and flour in a large bowl. Stir together, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight.

DAY OF BAKING:
At least 5-6 hours before serving, prepare dough: In a large mixing bowl, knead together the sourdough sponge and additional white and rye flours. Knead for about 2 minutes, or until well mixed. Cover bowl and let autolyse (rest) for 30 minutes in the mixing bowl. Uncover, add salt to mixing bowl and knead for 5-6 minutes. Add additional flour, if necessary, until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl when kneading.

Turn dough out into a large oiled bowl. Let rise until doubled, about 3-4 hours (longer in the winter). For round loaves, cut dough into 4 pieces and shape into loaves. Place each loaf on a square of aluminum foil (I like to use the non-stick foil), cover with a towel and let rise for about an hour or until risen, but not quite doubled. Dough can also be placed in greased loaf pans (I usually make 3 loaves when I use pans), covered and allowed to rise.

Place a baking stone in the center of oven. Preheat oven to 450°F for at least 20-30 minutes. About 5 minutes before baking, place a rimmed baking dish or roasting pan on the lowest rack or floor of the oven.  Fill a glass measuring cup with about 2 cups of water.

With a sharp knife, make 2 –3 slashes in the tops of 2 of the loaves of bread. Place 2 loaves of bread (on their foil squares) on the hot baking stone and pour the water into the baking dish. Immediately close oven door and bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. If the baking dish still has water in it after the first 20 minutes of additional baking, remove the pan of water and continue baking bread until golden brown. Remove bread to wire racks and let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing. Repeat with remaining 2 loaves (or use 2 stones and bake together).

 

Sourdough Notes:

    • This recipe makes 4 medium-small round loaves of bread. I usually bake 2 loaves and place the dough for 2 loaves in the refrigerator to bake later. See additional note below.
    • I use a 100% hydration sourdough starter (fed with equal weights of flour and water)
    • I  have much more consistent results when I weigh my ingredients for bread, but amounts will also be influenced by humidity, flour brands, measuring techniques and starter consistency and strength. Dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl, but not be too stiff.
    • If you are baking on a stone, don’t skip the steam in the oven- that is what helps with oven rise and creates the thick crispy crust.
    • If you do not have a very strong starter, you can add about 1/2 tsp yeast to the dough when mixing.
    • The bread can also be baked in a covered ceramic baking dish instead of using a stone and steam. You will need to bake a little longer and should remove the lid about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time to darken the crust. (Sprinkle cornmeal on bottom of dish and place shaped loaves of dough directly in dish for their final rise.)
    • For a stronger sourdough taste and great texture: Make the dough and let rise for 2-3 hours. Then cut the dough into 4 pieces, put them in oiled Ziploc bags and leave them in the refrigerator for about a week. The dough will continue to slowly rise (open bags and punch down if needed throughout the week). When you are ready to bake a loaf: remove from refrigerator, shape into loaf and let rise until almost doubled and bake as directed in recipe.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread 3

DAY 8: Cranberry Orange Bread

Another non-cookie recipe, but this comes at the request of my brother-in-law. Now he just needs to buy himself a plane ticket from Seattle to Baltimore so that he can eat some with us!

Cranberry Orange Bread 1

Cranberries and oranges are one of my favorite holiday flavor combinations. Which is why I also love these Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cookies:

Cranberry Orange Cookies 3

Cranberry Orange Bread makes a great neighbor gift, especially when you find these adorable small loaf pans in the dollar section of Michaels!

Cranberry Orange Bread 2

RECIPE:

Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread 3

½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
¼tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup buttermilk (or additional orange juice)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
(do not thaw cranberries before chopping)
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or use baking Pam): 1 large loaf pan, or 3-4 small loaf pans, or 6 mini loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Mix in ¼ cup orange juice, orange peel and vanilla. Add 1 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl and mix until just combined. Mix in buttermilk (or additional orange juice). Mix in remaining 1 cup flour until just combined. Fold in cranberries and nuts.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.

Baking times (check doneness with a toothpick in center of loaf):

Large loaf pan: 60-80 minutes
Small loaf pans: 45-60 minutes
Mini loaf pans: 25-35 minutes

**NOTE: If you use frozen cranberries, baking times will be on the higher end of the range. Cover bread with foil if the top begins to brown before center is cooked.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove to a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.

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Pumpkin Shaped Dinner Rolls

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Looking for a fun roll to go with your Thanksgiving feast? These pumpkin shaped rolls are also made with pumpkin, but are a savory roll that goes perfectly with all of your Thanksgiving dinner favorites.

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If you can roll a hunk of dough into a ball and have a pair of sharp scissors, you have all the skills you need to make these cute little pumpkins.

You can make these rolls with either whole wheat or white flour. I usually use a combination of about half of each.

To make the pumpkin shapes: Place balls of dough on a greased baking sheet (or use a silicon baking sheet). Use kitchen shears (or other clean sharp scissors) to make about 5 cuts around the edge of the dough; cuts should be about ½” deep.

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Brush or spray dough with oil, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled. For a shiny finish, brush rolls with an egg white wash (room temperature egg white mixed with 1 Tbs water) before baking.

After rolls have baked, use a toothpick or a skewer to poke a small hole in the center of each roll. Press a long sliver of a pecan into the hole to make the stem.

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If you are not into pumpkin shapes, you can always make them into more traditional crescents or knots. Instructions on making these shapes can be found HERE.

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I like to serve these with honey butter: Mix 1 stick of very soft butter  with 1-2 Tbs honey. These rolls can also be made ahead of time and frozen, then baked again just before serving.

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RECIPE:

Pumpkin Shaped Dinner Rolls

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1 ¼ cups warm water
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 Tbs honey
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs molasses
4 cups whole wheat or white flour
¼ cup wheat gluten
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice **
2 tsp salt
1  Tbs instant yeast***
about 1- 1 ½ cups additional flour
Egg wash: 1 egg white, mixed with 1 Tbs water
Pecans, for stem garnish

Mix water, egg, pumpkin, honey, olive oil and molasses in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, gluten, sugar, spices, salt and yeast. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add additional flour, if needed, a little at a time, until dough just begins to form a ball. Knead for 5-6 minutes, or until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl and springs back slightly when touched.

Shape dough into about 24 balls. Dough balls should be bigger than a golf ball, but slightly smaller than a tennis ball. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, or use a silicone mat. Use kitchen shears (or other sharp scissors) to make 5-6 cuts around the edge of the dough; snip completely through dough to a depth of about ½”. Spray or brush with oil and cover with towel. Let rise for 30-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Brush rolls with an egg wash: 1 egg white (room temp) mixed with 1 Tbs water. Bake at 375°F for about 15 minutes. After rolls have baked, use a toothpick or a skewer to poke a small hole in the center of each roll. Press a long pecan sliver  into the hole to make the stem.

NOTES:
**
Pumpkin Pie Spice substitute: 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp each allspice, ginger, and cloves.
***If you are using regular, and not instant, yeast, let dough rise once in a covered bowl until doubled, and then shape into rolls and rise again. (Instant yeast only needs one rise period)

If desired, serve with Honey Butter: 1 stick softened butter mixed with 1-2 Tbs honey.

To make and freeze: Shape rolls and place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Let rise as usual. Bake rolls for 10-12 minutes, or until rolls just barely begin to brown, but are cooked in the center. Rolls should look slightly underdone (not completely brown). Remove from oven. Do not put pecans into center of rolls. Cool completely. Place in Ziploc freezer bags. Freeze.

On serving day: Place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, bake at 350°F for about 7-10 minutes, or until hot and golden brown. If rolls are thawed, bake for 5-6 minutes, or until browned. Add pecans for stems after baking.

Yield: about 2 dozen rolls

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