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Blended Baking

So I awake this morning without the blare of my alarm (still got up before 9am grrr) to see a freshly sprinkled snow.  Rochester has been without snow for all of December and  now here it is.  I suppose it was hubris to think that Rochester wasn’t going to have a winter.It kind of looks nice but it wasn’t that nice to walk with laundry. There were a few dangerous moments in rainboots, balancing an overflowing laundry basket, and pulling out my student ID.

I thought to myself …Self, you should bake while this laundry is getting done. I perused my baking supplies and found half a bag of toffee bits and two frozen bananas. I was going to go all out and make some banana bread and the random recipe on the back of the toffee bits. I also riffled a bit more through the supplies and found soy flour and whole wheat flour left over from a class project.

As I mentioned before I used the recipe on the back of the Heath toffee bits bag. Except  here, I will link you to the  recipe I actually ended up using. The Heath-bag recipe asked me for cream of tarter. Uhhhh I don’t have that because no recipes ever need it. I said screw it and relied on the 1 tsp of baking soda for proper leavening. All was well. Another modification I made was to add 1 cup of soy flour in place of the all purpose flour. At first when I tasted the dough before I added the toffee bits, I tasted an awkward plant taste. However it quickly dissipated once I added the  toffee bits.

Here you can see what the dough looked like, a finished batch of toffee cookies, and one of the cafeteria cookies I made. To me insanely large cookies are cafeteria cookies since generally all cafeteria’s at schools serve oversized cookies.

 

 

 

 

Banana Bread

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 cup applesauce
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 2 bananas

I baked this at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and made sure to flour coat the pan before baking. Honestly, I didn’t do anything fancy but put all of this in a bowl and stir. I don’t claim to cream the sugar or any of that nonsense. I did substitute 1 cup of regular flour for wheat flour. This is what the bread looked like after baking for an hour. After it cooled on its side I made a cinnamon glaze and warmed up a little bit of cream cheese icing to drizzle over the bread.

 

 

 

 

These are the flours I used for my substitutions.

 

 

Swirly Bread

I am still on break and have read a few books regarding the food culture in America. Specifically I’ve read the Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I’m slightly paranoid now about all the corn we Americans eat so I’ve been making my own bread lately. It’s a little hard being patient for it to rise but well worth it. Here is the recipe I used for cinnamon swirl bread.

Here’s the yeast in a foamy state as mentioned in the recipe.

 

Here’s the Cinnamon Butter Mixture

 

Then I rolled out the dough and spread the mixture over the bread by hand. A spoon was not going to work ever.

 

I rolled up the dough and plopped it in the bread tin so it could rise again. For a finishing touch I poured milk over the top.

 

The bread baked and I finally got to try it!!! This recipe is a “keeper.”

 

 

Quid Pro Quo

Life would be so boring if we always did what we were already capable of. I had asked a friend what I should make for dinner. He suggested penne with vodka sauce.  Now being Italian you’d think I would have had  made this before. Well try again. My mom always stuck to basic tomato sauces so I chartered into unknown territory. I had to depend on Giada DeLaurentiis for some guidance so I didn’t end up with a pink tasteless sauce.

Since I was making sauce I figured I might as well go all out and make a complete meal. I haven’t properly cooked in weeks so it was “Go big or go home” time. To accompany my sauce I decided to make homemade Italian bread as well as some vegetables on the side. Finally, a balanced meal.I love making homemade bread and I made enough so I could have two loaves.

So here are the recipes I used and managed to make both things while completing a weeks worth of laundry. I felt so productive before work.

Vodka Sauce!

-1 jar tomato sauce

-1 small onion,diced

-garlic minced

-1 TBS olive oil

-can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning

-1/2 cup heavy cream

~(1/3) cup vodka (this is totally up to your own taste)

-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Dice the onion. Heat the oil in a skillet. Put garlic and onion in skillet. Add the can of diced tomatoes to the skillet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now put the jar of sauce in a pot. Add the vodka and the tomato mixture from the skillet. Simmer the sauce on low heat for a half hour. Add the cream and  Parmesan cheese. Heat thoroughly. This tastes amazing. I would have made the tomato sauce from scratch too but I didn’t have THAT much time.

Half-Wheat Italian Herb Bread

1 package of yeast

2 cups whole grain flour

3 cups all purpose flour

salt

3 cups warm water

Italian seasoning

1/3 cup olive oil

Proof the yeast in one cup of warm water. Add the remaining two cups of warm water. Add the whole grain flour and 3 cups of the all purpose flour. Mix well. The dough will be sticky like pictured below.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes

BEFORE

.

AFTER

Let the dough rise in a warm spot for an hour until it doubles in size. The dough bowl should be sprayed with vegetable oil as well as the top of the dough so that the dough doesn’t stick to the plastic wrap.

After the dough has risen, punch the dough and roll it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 2 minutes. With a sharp knife cut the dough into two balls or as many loaves as you desire. Place the dough back in the bowl and let rise in the same manner as before.

  Once the dough is risen, shape in oblong loaves and place on a baking sheet coated with corn meal. Score the top of the loaves with a sharp knife to prevent air bubbles. Coat the loaves with some of the olive oil and then sprinkle with the Italian seasoning.

Bake the bread at 375 degrees Farenheit  for about 30 minutes. Your kitchen will smell amazing. I would highly suggest using this recipe when you have company coming over.

BEFORE BAKING

AFTER BAKING

The complete meal.

This was delicious. I would definitely make this again. Having only half wheat allowed the bread to still taste normal and not be dense like many whole grain breads.