Friday, August 21, 2009

The staff of life

There was a time when I didn't buy bread at all, I made it. This is a recipe I developed back in the days when I had the time to do it, (before children and horses and romance novels) and I made it at least once a week.

My, how times have changed! Not only do I buy bread now, but I probably shouldn't be eating it at all. However, homemade bread is one of the joys of life which must be partaken of now and then. Making the pumpkin bread got me in the bread-baking mood, and in the course of one week, I've made three different kinds.

The pumpkin bread didn't last twenty-four hours. This bread may last longer depending on your homemade bread deficit level. The trick is to keep from eating all of it at once.

Whole Wheat Bread

Mix together in large bowl and let stand until foamy:

1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
2 pkgs yeast

Then stir in:

1 egg
1 3/4 cup warm milk
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour

Add 5 to 5 1/2 more cups of whole wheat flour one cup at a time, stirring in the first 4 and kneading in the rest until you have a smooth, non-sticky dough. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Knead dough and shape into two loaves. Let rise in greased pans until nearly doubled in bulk. Bake at 350 for 45 min. If you make smaller, individualized loaves like the two in the picture, you can make 8 of them and you only need to bake them for 30 min.

And, yes, the arrangement of the bread in the photo was deliberate!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pumpkin Bread!

I'm baking the bread as I write this blog, and let me tell you, very few things in this world smell better than this bread when it's baking. Man oh man, does it smell heavenly!
This is one of Mikey's favorite things (next to Kalamata Olive bread) so I'm making it for him before he goes back to college next weekend. It's also a huge favorite with the gang I go to the lake with.

I got the original recipe for this from The New Book of Favorite Breads from Rose Lane Farm cookbook. I've modified it slightly and made it my own. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread

Combine and allow to stand until foamy:

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
2 pkgs dry yeast

Then add:

3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup flour

Mix well and add another four cups of flour, one cup at a time, kneading in more flour if necessary to make a soft, non-sticky dough. Let rise in greased bowl, covered, until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and knead dough until elastic and then cut into six equal portions. Roll each portion into a rope about 16 inches long. Braid ropes into two loaves. Place braids longways on large greased cookie sheet. Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise until double in size and a fingerprint on the dough stays put and doesn't bounce back.

Bake 35 min at 350. Remove from oven and brush with milk or evaporated milk. Return to oven for another 10 min.

Be sure to take a stick of butter out of the fridge to let it soften up while the bread is rising and baking. Trust me, you're gonna want it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tasty Tuesday Berry Crisp!

I got this recipe from a friend years ago, and it's a great favorite with my guys. You can make it with any kind of berry you like, or you can use apples. I've done it with blueberries, blackberries, and wild raspberries, and it's always good!

Berry (or Apple) Crisp

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (divided)
2 cups berries
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup brown sugar

Place fruit in a large square or round baking dish, sprinkle with brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and cornstarch and toss. Blend butter, sugar, flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt with pastry cutter. Spread over fruit and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 375 for 1 hour.