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Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Here’s a dessert I really enjoy and is simple to make.  While this site usually advocates using produce in season, here’s a recipe that is fairly forgiving if the strawberries are not at their peak – though of course, in season tastes better and costs less.  Also remember to clean your strawberries well as they are listed among the fruits with the highest levels of residual pesticides.  Beginners: slice off and discard the tops.

This is recipe is a mild variation on another web recipe but this time the changes are few but significant.  The original recipe calls for ¾ cup of vegetable oil.  Here I cut the oil in half and compensate by increasing the amount of strawberries.  Strawberries when they bake give off a lot of water so do not be concerned that your batter will be barely moistened when you add in the strawberries.  A note for dieters – even with cutting the oil in half, the entire recipe is about 2700 calories – which per serving (no matter how small you serve) is not slimming.IMG_0318

The other change is that I use an 8×8 pan rather than a loaf pan.  The best parts of this recipe are the top and the sides (the rest is very good too).  Also cooking in a flatter pan also reduces baking time and you do not get that gooey middle that sometimes forms when oil based breads take a few days to eat.  If you want, a 7×11 pan should work well too.  I find that many dessert breads turn out better in an 8×8 pan than a loaf pan.

Oatmeal Strawberry Bread – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oats (I have not tried the quick variety)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound strawberries roughly chopped (about 3/8 “ dice +/-)

Cook:IMG_0314-2

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 glass pan.
  • Stir together in a large bowl: flour, outs, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil and the eggs until well mixed
  • Stir the oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients until all the dry ingredients are moist
  • Fold (stir) in the strawberries
  • Place batter in the pan, spreading it out evenly
  • Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 – 60 minutes (check out 45 minutes if using a 7×11 pan).
  • Cool on a wire rack.
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For those unfamiliar with Challah, it is a sweet egg bread which is a staple at Jewish holiday meals but enjoyed all the time.  Typically, it baked as a braided loaf or a round swirled loaf, both with shiny tops as a result of an egg-white wash prior to baking.  The recipe here differs from the typical challah by being made in a bread machine with its tall loaf shaped pan.  Another difference is that most store bought challahs are made without any dairy so that those who keep kosher can enjoy the bread with a meat meal.  This recipe contains butter and milk and is very delicious (I find the top 1.5 inches of the loaf to be heaven – almost as enjoyable as cheesecake).

Bread Machine Challah

Bread Machine Challah

I assume if you do not have a bread machine, you can combine the ingredients below and prepare it as you would any white bread.  In addition, many people enjoy adding ingredients.  Feel free to add a half cup of golden raisins (but possibly reduce the sugar content to compensate for the added sweetness of the raisins).  Some enjoy a little vanilla extract in their challah.For those with a bread machine, you know how simple making bread can be.  Place your wet ingredients in the pan first and then place the dry ingredients on top; let the machine do the rest.  I find with some bread machine recipes that the machine has some trouble combining all the ingredients together.  That is not the case here.

Bread Machine Challah – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup milk (I use ½% milk and have found using whole milk makes no difference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt (approximate)
  • A pinch of saffron, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, either melted or softened
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoons dry yeast (not rapid rise)

Cook:

  • Measure milk into a measuring cup and microwave to a slightly warm temperature (settings vary based on microwave strength – start with 20 seconds and go from there if needed)
  • Pour milk into the bread pan
  • Add the next 6 ingredients (though you might want to beat the eggs first)
  • Top with flour and yeast.  If you are starting the machine with a time delay, place the yeast on top so it does not come in contact with the wet ingredients.
  • Set bread machine to the standard white bread setting, 1½ pound loaf, light crust.  Start and wait (about 3 hours).
  • When done, remove from loaf pan to cool on a rack.  Try not cool in pan as the bread machine paddle may have trouble coming out.  You don’t have to let it cool too much before you can slice.  Who doesn’t love fresh, warm bread?  Enjoy!

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I love it when a delicious recipe is beyond stupid easy.  It makes me happy.  Why should good food have to be difficult?  This banana bread recipe is as easy as it gets when it comes to baking.  The best part is you can add goodies like chocolate chips and walnuts to it to add flair.

When baking with bananas you want them to be over ripe, but not yet rotten.  It’s a fine line.  But a banana with lots of brown spots usually is perfect for baking.  You want it to be super ripe and soft so that mashing it is easy.

 

Banana Bread – ½ rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (plus additional to grease the pan)
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can also use regular sugar instead)
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Prep:

  1. An hour before baking set out the butter to soften.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  3. Using spare butter grease a loaf pan (about 8 x 3½ x 4 inches) on all sides.
  4. In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork until they are well mashed and gooey.  Set aside.
  5. Break the eggs into a small bowl, making sure no shells fall in with the eggs.  Then beat the eggs with a fork and set aside.
  6. Measure out the yogurt and set aside.

Bake:

  1. In a large bowl beat the butter with a fork until creamy.
  2. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter and mix until fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking soda.
  5. With a spatula stir in 1/3 of the flour to the butter and sugar and mix until incorporated.
  6. Next add the yogurt and stir until mixed in.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the flour and stir until mixed in.
  8. Add the bananas to the bowl and stir until well incorporated.
  9. Add the last of the flour and stir until well mixed.
  10. Add to the bowl the chocolate chips and/or walnuts if you are including them and stir until they are mixed in.
  11. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for one hour.
  12. Allow the bread to cool in the pan before serving and enjoy!

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The  line between dessert and breakfast food for me is a bit blurry.   So blurry that for the week after my bat mitzvah I ate cake every morning for breakfast (marble cake with raspberry filling and butter cream frosting, in case you were wondering).  This spice bread also blurs that line.  Part dessert and part breakfast food, you can enjoy it any time you want.  For me, I’ve been enjoying this with my morning coffee this week.

A few quick notes about the recipe before we dig in: If you have a mixer and want to use it, go for it.  You will only need it though to cream the butter, sugar and eggs.  So feel free to spare yourself the clean up and just go for a wooden spoon or spatula.  This recipe also calls for sifting flour.  If you don’t own a sifter don’t sweat it.  Just be sure to add the flour slowly to the batter.

Apple Spice Bread – 1 Rolling Pin

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup applesauce (unsweetened and without any funky flavor additives like “cinnamon” or “berry”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 8” x 3½” x 4” loaf pan with butter or cooking spray (I recommend butter).
  3. In a large bowl stir together the butter and sugar.  Mix until creamy.
  4. Measure out the flour and place in the sifter.  Take 2 tablespoons of flour from the sifter and add to the bowl with the butter and sugar and mix.
  5. Beat the eggs in a small bowl with a fork until foamy and add to the large bowl.  Mix together with butter and sugar mixture until a fluffy mixture forms.
  6. Add to the sifter the baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
  7. Stir in the sifted flour alternating with the sour cream or yogurt and the applesauce.  I like to break everything into thirds.  I add a third of the flour, stir, a third of the yogurt, stir, and then a third of the applesauce, and stir.  I repeat this until I’ve mixed everything together.
  8. Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour or until the center springs.
  9. Let the bread cool before serving.

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