Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

Homemade breads especially items such as bagels, doughnuts, dinner rolls and English muffins intimidate so many to try to make them from scratch.  They shouldn’t, they are actually fairly easy to make.  I am a strong advocate of making your own bread products. While its true that economically they are far cheaper made at home from scratch, the real reason for myself is being able to control the ingredients.  I no longer need worry about artificial ingredients such as colorants or flavors, high fructose corn syrup or excess salt, fat or sugars which pack on weight and offer little else.

This morning I made up a large batch of English Muffins.  Some will be served with jam for breakfast, others will go into making homemade Egg “McMom” Muffins. Grilled cheese sandwiches or ham and cheese are another popular freezer food for quick lunches as well as quick individual pizza’s.  They store well, lasting up to five days on shelf, up to two weeks in refrigerator and several months in freezer.  From freezer you can just take them out and use them as needed.

Once you see how easy making your own English Muffins are, and try your hand at it the first time. You will never go back to store bought,  there is just no equal.

The first English Muffins began at “Staff” food in Victorian England.  There the family baker would use the left over scraps of bread and biscuit dough placed on hot griddle to create light, crusty muffins.  They soon caught on and English Muffin Factories began appearing in England and from this the term “Muffin Man” was formed.

There are many recipes for English Muffins and I will do best to post them as I make them.  Today and most times I stick to the old fashion, simple Muffin as it has so much flexibility in uses.

English Muffins – (20 muffins)

1 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp sea salt (salt)

3 cups flour

2 tsp instant yeast

Warm the milk to luke warm and beat your eggs.  Combine the eggs, butter and milk and whisk together.  Place your dry ingredients in mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix well on low speed until well combined.  Slowly pour your wet ingredients into dry ingredients and continue mixing.  You might find you need to add small amounts of flour to reach a clean consistency of pulling away from edges of bowl.  Continue kneading on low until dough is smooth and elastic. Once you have reached this stage remove the dough hook and cover bowl with damp towel.  Let rest and proof until doubled in size.  Dump dough onto floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, cut into 3 inch rounds and place rounds on cornmeal sprinkled cookie sheet.  Brush the tops of the muffins with water and sprinkle tops with corn meal as well.  Cover and let raise for 30 minutes.  Preheat your un-greased griddle, grill, or cast iron cook pan to 350 F (175 C).  Cook each side of muffin 6-7 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Set to side to let cool, or serve with your favorite butter or jam.

Now see isn’t that easy? Go makes some for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.


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I should be in bed, it’s late and I am definitely more then a little tired, but situation of a strange house and a sick visitor is not allowing for it.  So I figure I will do a couple posts to the blog and hopefully by time I finish things will have settled down again to let me sleep.

This is actually a “oops” recipe which turned out wonderful and which I will certainly be making many times again in future.  I had planned to add chopped walnuts, and at time was getting my daughter a bowl of raisins while trying to whip this quick bread together and deal with a bit more then chaotic house.  Thinking I had grabbed the walnuts, I instead dumped the raisins in the cake and gave her the nuts for a snack. Not that she minded, she was thrilled and certainly not going to spoil the treat by telling me of my error. Not that in end it made difference, everyone was happy with results. I’m not certain if I should classify this as a bread, or a cake honestly.  It holds elements of both, and can be served both ways.  In this picture I accompanied it with vanilla pudding as it was dessert for our dinner, but earlier that morning we had it with butter which worked out just fine as well.

Banana-Golden Raisin Spice Bread/Cake

2 cups MYO Bisquick  (recipe follows)

4 banana’s overripe and mashed

1 cup wheat flour

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4  cup milk or buttermilk

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Combine ingredients, I know many recipes say this first or that first with this I won’t, because often I end up inserting whatever I get my hands on next with quick breads.  The only definite to hit the bowl first, is the banana’s as I mash them before anything else in bottom.  Once you have everything combined, pour into a greased bread loaf pan, square cake pan (I used the cake pan for this), or individual muffin tins.  Preheat your oven to 425 and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden at edges and toothpick test comes out clean.

I sprinkled the top with a mixture of  sugar/cinnamon 5 minutes prior to pulling from oven.

MYO Bisquick Mix

4 cups flour

3 tbsp baking powder

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup shortening  (or vegetable/canola/olive oil)

In large bowl or food processor combine, cutting in shorting until texture resembles fine crumbs.  Store in airtight container or baggy.

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Today became another “Waste Not Want Not!” occasion as several of my banana’s took a dive past their prime. I had intended to make banana bread, but then my daughter insisted upon muffins. Who am I to argue with a good muffin to start the day? Something I can sneak healthy foods and grains into and the kids now no better?  Sure! Muffins I agreed, then pulled up a chair so she could help me and we could have a bit of bonding time along with lesson time among the ingredients.

“Taste of the Tropics” Wheat Muffins

3-4 large bananas

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup butter (melted)

1 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup coconut

1/4 cup each to any of these (Dried and diced  mango, papaya, pineapple, cranberries, golden raisins) *highlighted what I personally used in these*

Mix dry ingredients together, add eggs, honey, butter, vanilla and mix well.  Put into greased muffin tins or paper muffin cups and bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm with butter or honey.

By the way, these muffins freeze exceptionally well.  I often double or triple batches and freeze.

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We all seen them in the store, and odds are we all have at some time purchased them also, especially if we have children.  French Toast sticks are so easy to make and freeze it is outlandish the prices they ask for a box of them.  To make them at home is super easy, all you need is to make french toast and cut it into sticks, flash freeze, then bag up.  When ready to use them, take a few out, put them in oven, toaster oven, microwave or even toaster and you have yourself a breakfast or snack.  I truly hope that rather then spend money on additives, preservatives and useless filler sugars and starches, you will stock your freezer with some healthy and homemade foods for you and yours.

Freezer French Toast Sticks.

8 slices bread (Texas, French, White, Wheat)

1/4 cup melted butter

4 eggs

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup milk

3/4 tsp vanilla

Heat skillet on stove top, prepare with PAM cooking spray or a small pat of butter.

In bowl mix together butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and milk.  Beat well to combine.

Dip bread slices into milk/egg mixture (do NOT do more then 2 at time or the rest will get soggy).

Lay slices two at time in skillet and fry golden on one side, then flip and do same on other. Set on cookie sheet side by side.

Do remaining slices in same fashion.

Let cool roughly five minutes before cutting.  Cut each piece into 3 pieces to create 3 sticks.

Place cookie sheet in freezer to flash freeze, then bag or put in Glad style container.  Pull out as many pieces as you need and simply reheat to serve.   Serve with honey, syrup or fruit syrup of choice.

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This weekend was hectic, and that is putting it mildly.  I did get some time to make up a couple pans of Eggplant Lasagna, one for fresh eating and two for freezing for later meals.  I really wanted a good bread to be an appetizer dipped in olive oil to accompany the  lasagna and salad dinner. Ciabatta is one of those breads that just has a perfect love relationship with olive oil.  It is also not difficult to make.  I am not certain where I originally got this recipe, but it has never failed me.

Ciabatta Bread

Make Sponge

1/8 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp warm water

1/3 cup room-temperature water

1 cup bread flour

Make the sponge: Stir together warm water and yeast, let stand five minutes until creamy. Transfer to bowl and add room temperature water and flour.  Stir for 4 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and letting sit at room temperature at least 12 hours to as much as twenty-four hours.

Make Bread

1/2 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp warm milk

2/3 cup room-temperature water

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir together the yeast and milk in small bowl and let stand for five minutes until creamy.  In bowl of electric mixer, blend milk mixture, sponge, water, oil and flour until flour is moist.  Beat an additional 3 minutes, then add salt and beat 4 more minutes.  Scrape the dough from bowl into oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit until doubled in size.  (This dough will be very sticky and full of bubbles).  Cut two pieces of parchment paper and place on baking sheet, flour top of parchment pieces well.  Fold dough onto well floured surface and divide in half.  Transfer each half onto piece of parchment paper and form into oval or square shapes roughly 9 inches long.  Dip fingers in flour and dimple loaves, then dust tops lightly with flour.   Let rise again until almost doubled.

Bake loaves separate at 425 F for 20 minutes or until pale to golden brown.

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Onions, considered by Egyptians to host strength-producing powers a belief held so firmly the builders of their very pyramids were fed them in abundance.  To me, they just taste good and if caramelized all the better.

This bread is made by using a simple Italian Bread recipe. This recipe can be used to make numerous types of flavored breads from Rosemary, herbs, garlic, cheese, beer.  The bread is light and extremely difficult to “mess up”.  A wonderful recipe for the beginning baker or the experienced.

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Bread.

2 pkgs active dry yeast

3 cups war water, divided

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp butter or shortening

1 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

8-10 cups flour

1/2 cup diced caramelized onions

1/2 cup minced garlic

1 tbsp butter plus 1 tbsp minced garlic, melted

In bowl dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add sugar, salt, egg, shortening and remaining water in mixer bowl and add 4 cups flour. Add yeast, minced garlic and caramelized onions and beat until smooth.  Stir in enough additional flour to make a stiff dough.  Turn dough unto floured surface and knead.  Place in greased bowl being sure to grease top of bread to avoid drying out.  Let rise in warm location until double.  Punch down, divide dough in half and shape into loaves by hand.  Place seam side down on greased baking sheets.  Using sharp knife, make four diagonal slashes across top of loaf and let rise once more to double.

Bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.  Brush top with melted butter/garlic mix.


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Earlier I had posted about making flour from acorns. I wanted to show the final product of making acorn bread.  You can make it in loaf pans, but I find myself leaning more towards hand-molding or “Mountain Style” when making my breads.

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Aw Nuts!

Ever hear the saying “From soup to nuts?” well this is close.  Today the kids and I went nut gathering along our property edges and out in our woods. Acorn nuts to be exact.  This is a small amount of the pail worth we gathered.  From those nuts came that flour, and from that flour will come some delicious bread and a thickener for gravies and soups.

Acorns long have been a food staple of the Native people in North America and Canada. Not only in turning it into flour, but also in roasting the nuts and grinding them up to make a coffee like beverage, or eating the nuts just as nuts.

Today allowed me not only to teach my children that nature provides for us, but also about the way our ancestors survived without local grocery store shelves or even gardens.

To make acorns edible takes a bit of work.

First you need to crack the acorns and remove the “nut”, a traditional nut cracker works fine for this.

Second you need to boil them in hot water, drain the water, and repeat the process three times to remove the bitter tannin.  This process will also remove any stubborn caps that won’t release.  (I personally save the water I drain off , at end of this post I’ll tell you why.)

Once you have expelled the tannin, take your boiled nuts and place them in a food processor, blender or food mill.  I use a food processor at the finest setting to get it as close to a flour texture as possible.  It will make at this point a paste, that is ok.  Spread the paste onto cookie sheets in thin layers and put in your oven to dehydrate.  You want the temperature around 150 degrees inside the oven for this process. My own oven does not go below 200, but I find by cracking the door open with a wooden spoon handle stuck in top, the temperature inside stays close to 150.   Dry for 2 hours upwards of 4 hours.  When you finish you want a solid “brick” that crumbles.

Return this dried brick to your food processor or blender and grind to flour like consistency. Don’t fret if all your flour is not uniformed.  At this point your acorn flour can be stored in airtight containers or baggies, or you can make it into a number of delicious foods.

Acorn Bread or Muffins

2 cups acorn meal

2 cups wheat flour

1/2 cup milk

3 tbsp butter or olive oil

1 tbsp baking powder

1 egg

1/2 cup honey OR maple syrup.

Combine all ingredients and pour into loaf pan.  Bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes for bread, 20 for muffins.

Indian Acorn Griddle Cakes

2 cups acorn meal

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

Combine into stiff batter and let sit one hour.  Fry on oiled griddle and cook like pancakes.  Serve with honey.

Pioneer Acorn Griddle Cakes

1 cup acorn meal

3 tbsp baking powder

1 cup flour

3 tbsp oil

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup milk

2 eggs

Mix into batter and cook on hot greased skillet.  Serve with butter, syrup, jam, or honey.

Acorn Flatbread

2 cups acorn meal

3/4 cup flour

2 tsp salt

water enough to make stiff dough.

Mix together to form stiff dough, let sit 30 minutes.  Squeeze into small balls and press each ball into a thin flat cake.  Fry on light greased skillet until brown on both sides.

Acorn Cookies

2 cups wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar (or white)

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup acorn meal

1/2 cup butter (or shortening but you know how I feel about that stuff.)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine ingredients keeping butter and sugar separate. Cream butter and sugar before adding to rest.  Pinch off walnut size pieces of dough and roll into balls.  Place 1 1/2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.  Transfer to rack to cool.

A delicious topping for this is confectioner sugar icing flavored with maple syrup or honey.

Now, about that brown water you boiled the acorns in.  It is useful to ease comfort of rashes, burns and small cuts.  Also for poison ivy blisters when froze in ice cube tray and held on wounds.  The cold ice fusion also helps to soothe inflamed tissues.

If you are a hunter that likes to preserve your own animal hide.  The Tannic Acid is used for that very purpose.  To use, soak the clean, scraped animal hides in the brown water to cure.

The brown water also is useful to dye white and lighter colored fabrics, card stock, cross-stitch fabrics, etc.  It takes on a tan coloration which makes for a “old” look.

All that said, I bet you won’t pass a oak tree the same way again.



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I know, it’s round.  I actually prefer to make round shaped bread rather then loaf when using for “casual” eating.  Casual being alongside soups, stews, spread with preserves or butters….pretty much everything that doesn’t involve a sandwich, though I have and do make sandwiches from the round bread loaves as well.  Round breads are the traditional way in which bread was made before the more familiar shape of loafs became the norm in every household and grocery store isle.

Bread making need not be difficult,  it is actually quite easy and the kneading process can be therapeutic.  Perhaps it has something to do with the kneading and pounding of the dough.

I usually make several loaves at a time and freeze the extras, it’s quite easy to pull out and de-thaw the night before.

Whole Wheat Bread

3 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1 cup warm water
1 tsp teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp dry yeast

Combine yeast into a little lukewarm water to activate the yeast.  Mix your butter, honey, rest of water, oil and salt in mixing bowl.  Add 1 cup flour, yeast and begin mixing.  Slowly add the remaining flour until the bread pulls from side of bowl into a clump.  Add more flour or water if needed.  Once it pulls from sides, remove yeast from mixer and put on floured surface.

Knead well (15-20 times) and return to bowl.  Spray with cooking oil or rub outside with butter to keep from drying out.  Cover and let rest to raise to double in warm place.

Once raised, return to floured surface and knead once more.  You will know the bread is ready when you feel a “squeak” to the dough under your palm.  Form into a ball and place on a cookie sheet, a pyrex bowl, cake pan or in a traditional loaf pan.  Let rise once more in warm heat until double in size. Be sure to once more treat the “skin” or outside of the bread with oil or butter to keep drying during raising process.

Place in oven at 375 degrees and bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and offering a dull hallow “thump” sound when rapped with knuckles.

Remove from pans and let cool on cookie drying racks or upside down bowl.

Simple and delicious.

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A delicious bread with Italian dishes or just served up warm with butter for a snack.

Onion-Garlic-Cheese Bread

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened  (reserve 2 tbsps)

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.  (or 2 tbsp pre-chopped)

Salt and pepper

1 cup coarsely shredded  cheese (3 ounces), can be cheddar, colby,  Gouda.  You just want a cheese with a stronger taste that is not to overwhelming.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp dry active yeast

Paprika, garlic powder, onion salt, parsley

Place yeast in 2 tbsp lukewarm water to begin culture. Mix baking soda, powder, flour and salt together in mixing bowl.  Heat buttermilk to lukewarm, melt butter in pan with garlic and onion, saute onion until slightly translucent and add to butter, onion and garlic to buttermilk retaining the lukewarm temperature of the milk.  Merge wet ingredients into dry and add yeast.   Mix until bread pulls away from sides of mixer bowl to form a ball shape.  Add more flour if needed.

Place dough on floured surface and knead.  Place in bowl and cover letting sit in warm location to double in size.  Once doubled punch down and knead again before placing in a greased round cake pan. (You can use regular bread pans if you wish).  Using a sharp knife or kitchen sheers cut mostly of way through dough forming a “flower pedal” shape.  This will create the groves as the dough rises.  Let rise again.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.   Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with paprika, garlic powder, onion salt and parsley…bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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