The Little Things

Lot’s of sunshine, seasonable temperatures, and the little things made today a perfect fall day in the Finger Lakes.  It was one of those days when I felt like a lot got done.   I baked homemade cinnamon pumpkin (yeast) bread, made an apple pie, AND whipped up a dish of coleslaw for dinner to boot.

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like spending that much time in my kitchen!

Once I closed the kitchen down for the afternoon I headed out for some fresh air.  These little plants, or should I say weeds, were begging to have their pictures taken.  And so I obliged and I even gave them each a caption.

Sunny Fall Flowers
Sunny and Bright; Yellow and White
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More Pink Than Purple
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Pretty and Periwinkle

What kind of weekend did you have?  Busy, slow, productive, or not so much?

 

 

 

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Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread (Yeast)

Slathered in butter, made into a sandwich, or toasted; there is nothing better than homemade bread.  Many bakers are intimidated by the process of making homemade bread.  But I’m here to tell you there is no reason to be.  Especially, if you use this recipe. 

The canned pumpkin in this recipe helps make this bread super moist and practically no fail.  There is no fancy mixer needed either.  I simply use a wooden spoon and mix the dough by hand.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour + 1/4 c. for 1st kneading

1 tbsp. light brown sugar

1 tbsp. instant yeast

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. olive oil

3/4 c. pureed pumpkin

1 c. water

Grease 1 large loaf pan.

In a large bowl; add flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt, , cinnamon,  oil,  and pumpkin puree. Lightly stir ingredients until blended. Pour in water and mix by hand until all ingredients are combined.

Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface (using the 1/4 cup of flour you set aside). Knead dough until it forms a smooth ball. Place ball in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set in draft free location, and rise until doubled.

On lightly floured surface; punch dough down and roll into one large loaf. Place in prepared pan; cover and let rise until nearly doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until the loaf sound hollow when tapped. Turn onto cooling rack and brush with butter.

Do you make homemade bread?  If so, how frequently? 

Homemade Hearty Rye Oatmeal Bread

I usually make a lot of homemade bread during the winter months, but this year I have to admit that I’ve been a slacker. 

Today, I decided my slacker days are over. 

The thing I like most about homemade bread? Other than it’s deliciousness? There are zero preservatives in it. 

These loaves of bread didn’t rise particularly high, but the texture and flavor is exactly what I was looking for.  This recipe makes a moist, dense, and hearty stick to your ribs kind of bread.   I can’t wait to toast a slice and slather it with homemade jam!

Homemade Hearty Rye Oatmeal Bread

(Makes two loaves of bread)

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

2 cups boiling water

4 tsp. instant yeast

1/4 c. warm water

1/8 c.  honey

1/8 c. molasses

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. rye flour

2 c. all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, soak oatmeal in two cups of boiled water for about 20 minutes, or until it cools and is just warm.  Add  remaining ingredients in order; mix by hand.  The dough will be slightly sticky.  On a moderately floured surface, knead dough into a ball.  Place ball into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Let rise until doubled.

Knock dough down and cut in half.  Knead each half on lightly floured surface for about two minutes; shape into loaves.  Place loaves in greased bread pans and cover with towel.  Let rise until nearly doubled. 

Bake at 350 degrees about 20-25 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from oven and lightly brush olive oil on top of each loaf.  Remove loaves from pans and allow to cool before cutting.

*Note – if the yeast is added to the oatmeal mixture before it has cooled sufficiently, it will hinder your bread from rising properly. 

How do you feel about preservatives? Do you read food labels when you shop?  If so, what is most important to you when you choose a product?

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Rustic Oat Bread

Rustic Oat Bread

It’s that time of the year here in the Northeast. Our ovens become our winter friends.  They heat our kitchens,  fill our homes with wonderful aromas, and help us produce delicious comfort foods that warm our souls.

I love making homemade bread, and a chilly day with snow in the air gives me just the reason to do it.

What could be better than a warm slice of bread without any preservatives, and topped with fresh butter?  Hmmm… maybe a piece of toast  slathered with homemade strawberry jam that was made with plump berries from Silver Queen Farm in Trumansburg, NY.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Rustic Oat Bread

3/4 c. milk

3/4 c. water

2 tbsp. butternut squash seed oil

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 c. oatmeal, plus extra for topping

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

1 tsp. salt

2 c. all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for kneading

2 tbsp. honey

In a small saucepan, add milk, water, oil, and brown sugar.  Bring to boil; stirring constantly.  Once boiling, remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add oatmeal, salt, and cinnamon.  Pour milk mixture over oatmeal; mix ingredients.  Let stand until lukewarm.

Add yeast and flour; mix completely.  On lightly floured surface knead dough by hand for approximately 7 minutes.   Place in a large bowl greased lightly with squash seed oil.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Set in a warm place and let rise until doubled.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.  Cut in half,  briefly knead each half into a ball.  Place each ball a distance apart from each other on a floured cookie.  Cover with a clean dish towel and let it rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush each ball of dough with honey, and sprinkle lightly with oatmeal.  Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until bread is golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped.  Transfer to wire baking rack to cool.

*Baker’s note – I made this hearty bread with Stony Brook WholeHearted Foods Butternut Squash Seed Oil that’s produced in Geneva, NY. I like using squash seed oil because it gives food a deliciously light nutty flavor.  If you don’t have squash seed oil you can always substitute it with olive oil.

Homemade Rustic Oat Bread & Strawberry Jam

Here is a question for you local foodies.  Will Stony Brook WholeHearted Foods  and Silver Queen Farm be nominated for a Finger Lakes Foodie award this year?

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Hamming it up

I’m a fortunate girl.  My husband is an awesome cook and he actually enjoys cooking.  We share the cooking responsibilities in our house and we each have our own cooking style, favor certain herbs, and there are things I make that he typically doesn’t, and vice versa.

For example, while I am the exclusive mac and cheese maker in the house, he turns out the chicken wings.

For Easter we bought a Tavern Ham which he immediately took charge of.  He sliced the ham thin, piled it into a hotel pan and flavored it with a honey mustard sauce and a few of his secret ingredients.  As usual, it was a huge hit.

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With the baking of this ham we had leftovers.  And that’s where I came in.  I decided to make some homemade bread so we could make enjoy tasty ham sandwiches.

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I made my Soft White Bread recipe but substituted 2 cups of whole wheat flour for 2 of the cups of all-purpose flour. 

Without question, homemade bread takes some time to make but it is well worth the effort.

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I think you might be hard pressed to find a deli sandwich that could compare to this one.  But if you happen to know of a deli that serves up homemade sandwiches like these I’d love to hear about it!

Who does the cooking in your house?

No Knead Italian Cheese Bread

Any excuse to make homemade bread works for me.  Oh, we’re having pasta for dinner. What a perfect opportunity to make that new bread recipe I’d been waiting to try out. 

And what could be better than a warm bowl of pasta and Italian cheese bread?  My point exactly…

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I should probably attach a warning to this recipe.  This bread is so good you won’t be able to eat just one slice.  Hence, you’ve been warned!

This recipe came from the Pillbury’s  More Lovin’ From The Oven cookbook and it is considerably different than most bread recipes.  The first difference is there is no kneading required – yea!  The second, it only has to rise once, not twice – yea again!  And lastly, this bread is baked in a Bundt pan making it easy to slice and pretty to serve.

Quite often I modify recipes to suit my own tastes but the only modifications I made to this recipe was the reduction of salt by a half of teaspoon, and the exclusion of sesame seeds.

Ingredients:

Dough

2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

4 1/2 –  5 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 pkg. active dry yeast

1 c. water

1 c. milk

1/2 c. margarine or butter

2 eggs

Filling:

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 c. margarine or butter, softened

Directions:

Generously grease a 12-cup fluted tube, or 10” tube pan.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).

In large bowl, measure 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; mix well. 

In medium saucepan, add water, milk, and 1/2 cup of margarine; heat until very warm (120 – 130 degrees).

Add warm liquid and eggs to flour mixture.  Mix until moistened.  Stir in remaining flour and continue mixing until batter stiffens.

*Note – I found the batter was ready when it pulled from the sides of the bowl but was still sticky.  I would recommend using a stand mixer with dough attachment for this recipe – I did manage with a small hand held kitchen mixer, and by hand,  but I won’t encourage you to do the same.

In small bowl, make filling and mix all ingredients completely.

Spoon half of  batter into the prepared pan.  Carefully spoon filling over top of the batter. 

*Note – be sure to keep the cheese filling away from the edges of the pan. If too much cheese seeps out of the sides the bread will stick to the pan. I had a little trouble with my bread sticking to the center of the pan because of this.

Spoon in remaining batter over filling.

Cover batter with the plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Let rise in warm place until doubled in size.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove bread from pan immediately after removing from oven.  Serve warm or cool.  This recipe serves 24.

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So what’s your excuse going to be?

Mashed Potato Bread

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There is nothing more inviting than fresh bread baking in the oven.  Since I started this blog I’ve made rye, wheat, pumpkin cheese, soft white, and now mashed potato bread. Pick my favorite?  Impossible.  They all are good, have their own unique qualities, and make a mean sandwich.

The more I make homemade bread the easier it gets and the less I like buying store bought bread. There are no preservatives in homemade bread and it’s very economical to produce.

Homemade jam and homemade bread toasted are a match made in heaven.

What more can I say? 

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

4 tsp. yeast

1 1/2 c. mashed potatoes

1 cup water

3/4 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. milk

1/4 c. margarine

1 egg

5 3/4 c. flour, plus 1 cup for kneading

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, salt, yeast, and 1 cup of flour.  In a separate bowl measure out remaining flour.

In a medium saucepan, add mashed potatoes, water, heavy cream, milk, and margarine.  Heat to about 120 degrees.

Add 1 cup of liquid to yeast mixture. Mix on medium speed (with mixer) or thoroughly by hand until well blended.  Alternate remaining flour and liquid to yeast mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl often.  Beat in egg.  When dough starts to pull from the sides of the bowl remove and place on floured surface.

Knead dough for approximately 5 – 8 minutes.  Form into a ball and place in a large greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

Once dough has doubled, remove from the bowl, punch down and  turn on lightly floured surface.  Cut and and shape into desired sized loaves.

Place dough into greased pans.  Let rise until nearly doubled.  Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until bread is hollow when tapped and light golden brown.  Brush with margarine after removing from oven.  Cool slightly in pans before removing.

*Tip – I cooked 4 medium potatoes which yielded 1 1/2 cups mashed.  In a pinch you can use instant mashed potatoes. 

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