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?

Strawberry & Cream Cupcakes

I’ve only used one pre-packaged cake mix in the last year.  It happened to be King Arthur’s Deliciously Simple Chocolate Cake Mix which they sent me in celebration of my blog turning a year old.  The cake was chocolate flavored, and was absolutely delicious.  It tasted as if it were made from scratch, but only took a few minutes to throw together.  People who I shared the cupcakes with raved about them.  I imagine they would have never suspected they were a mix if I hadn’t said anything, and the fact that they were a mix didn’t seem to detour anyone from chowing them down.

I have never made a strawberry flavored cake mix before.  I’ve always been a little worried that a strawberry cake would have an artificial strawberry taste to it.    As I was strolling through the grocery store recently I happened upon a display of Pillsbury cake mixes.   Feeling a bit creative, but not overly ambitious, I bought the strawberry flavored mix to experiment with.

I made the cake batter according to the directions on the box.  I tasted the batter just before pouring it into the cupcake tins, it was then, that I decided to add a teaspoon of my Madagascar Vanilla Extract to the batter.  I really liked the results that adding the vanilla yielded – I think it toned down the strawberry flavor just a bit.  I also decided to add a dollop of homemade strawberry jam into the center of each cupcake before  I baked them.   As the cupcakes baked, the jam settled into the bottom of each cupcake leaving a super moist, and flavorful bottom.

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To save calories, and keep the cupcakes lighter, I topped them off with light whipped cream just prior to serving.

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My opinion, the  Pillsbury’s cake mix yielded delicious, moist cupcakes too.   These would make  great, happy endings at a picnics or barbeques this summer.  What is your favorite cake flavor, and how do you feel about using cake mixes?