Learning each and every day

My quest to edify myself a bit every day

Archive for the tag “bread”

Day 364 & 365 – December 30 & 31

Well, I’ve arrived at the final post of the year!

Dec 30 – I was listening to NPR this morning, and they were replaying their most popular stories of 2012. When I tuned in, they were talking about the fungal meningitis outbreak from October 2012. While listening to the story, I learned about compounding pharmacies. Well, I didn’t learn what they were, I had to go check wikipedia. I did learn that they existed. Just in case you, like me, have never heard of compounding pharmacies, here’s a quick definition. Compounding pharmacies create their own products to meet the needs of their patients. This may mean taking out a non-essential component that the patient is allergic to, changing the form from solid to liqud or to get the exact dosage needed for that particular patient. It could be as simple as adding flavor to a medication, or more complicated. As I understand it, not all pharmacies are compounding pharmacies.

In any case, this particular pharmacy created a liquid formulation of a medication and it ended up having mold in it. This is generally not a good thing, and especially when it’s going to be injected deep into your back. Several of the people affected were interviewed for the story, and they mentioned that now their confidence in the healthcare system was shattered. I could go into a discussion of how utterly broken our healthcare system is, but the point here really is just to share my new knowledge and not my tangentially related personal opinions. 😉

Dec 31 – I wanted to make something special to eat on New Year’s Day and also for New Year’s Eve. I had bookmared a recipe in my bread cookbook for Snow Ring Holiday Bread. The recipe makes two loaves of bread that are to be cooked in a bundt pan. I only had one bundt pan, so I used a tube pan. I think the tube pan I have (which I got from an estate sale), is defective. Everytime I put batter in it, it drips out the bottom. To combat that problem, I placed foil paper in the bottom and then added the insert. The helped with the drippage, but I still ended up with a nice, gooey mixture in the bottom of my oven. The bread is sort of like monkey bread in that you place balls of dough all around the pan and the gooey topping goes in the pan both before and after the dough. The bread that baked in the tube pan didn’t bake as completely and the resulting bread was more chewy.
tube pan snow ring

The bread in the bundt pan turned out beautifully and it was very yummy!
bundt pan snow ring
I was going to make a dark chocolate sauce to drizzle over the top, but the bread disappeared too quickly! I guess that means that the family approved! And on that note, the year comes to a close.


Day 355 – December 21

Happy Holidays, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends! This post should actually have been posted a few days ago, but Christmas prep kept me busy!

Dec 21 – Today was another busy cooking day, with two totally new recipes. I tried another new bread recipe, and this one was SUPER good. So good, in fact, that I believe it may be our staple bread. It’s called Vita B bread and has bran flakes it, which is where it gets its name. Bran cereal is high in Vitamin B. This recipe is so good that I’m going to share it with you. (Since starting this post, I’ve had to make this bread twice . .. it’s THAT good!)

Vita B Bread from The Red Star Centennial Bread Sampler

1 cup whole bran cereal
1 cup hot water
6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 T salt
1 cup water
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs

In small bowl, pour 1 cup hot water over bran cereal; let stand. In large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt; mix well. In saucepan (or in microwave), heat 1 cup water, honey and shortening until warm (120-130 degrees; shortening does not need to melt). Add to flour mixture. Add eggs. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, gradually stir in bran mixture and enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. knead on floured surface, 5 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough. Divide into 2 parts. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat each half to a 14×7-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place in greased 9×5-inch bread pans. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans; cool.


I also made a banana bread using this recipe from the blog Money saving mom. The bread was pretty good. The rest of my family either didn’t know that it was available, or they didn’t like it . .. no matter . .. more for me! I made a few changes to the recipe. Instead of tapioca flour, which I didn’t have, I used cornstarch, following the substitution directions found here. I also didn’t have brown rice flour, so I used cake flour instead.

Day 353 & 354 – December 19 & 20

Dec 19 – It seems that noone in my family like chick peas except for me. That’s too bad for them, cuz they’ll be seeing a fair amount of the bean in the coming months as they are healthy and pack lots of nutrients. I found a yummy looking recipe for a garbanzo bean and tomato salad. I just had to try it because it looked so colorful and easy. I was the only person that liked the salad, everyone else complained about it. Well, DH didn’t complain, but in order to set a good example, he bravely downed two servings even though he REALLY doesn’t like garbanzos! I’ll probably make the salad again, but it’ll just be a snack for me. I see no reason to intentionally subject my family to food that they don’t like. In the future, I’ll add less honey and more salt, but overall, I thought it was good!

You may remember my previous attempt at making vegetable broth. I found a different recipe and decided to try making my own broth again. (This was motivated by the fact that I had forgotten to buy more broth at the co-op.) I used the recipe as a guide and just added in whatever I had: carrots, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, TONS of fresh dill and salt. The end result was disappointing. I really had high hopes for this broth . . . it smelled better and had more stuff in it. Alas, it was still woefully bland. I wonder if I need to cook it longer? Eh, who knows. I may try one more time. I’m saving the veggie scraps (cut ends of carrots, onion peels, etc.) in the freezer. When I have a critical mass, I’ll use those along with other veggies to make another broth. I’ll keep you posted.

A few weeks ago, a friend recommended the blog post punk kitchen. I was pretty impressed with the number of good-looking recipes there. Someone had given us a butternut squash, so today I tried out the Roasted Butternut Alfredo recipe. It was really quite labor intensive: roasting the squash, making the vegetable broth, soaking the cashews, making the butternut cream. It was alot of work. I was pretty excited about how it would turn out. When I tasted the butternut cream, it was pretty yummy. And then, it happened . . . . I added the soy-free miso. I’m pretty sure that is what ruined the whole dish. It gave it a weird flavor. Weird because we weren’t used to it, not weird because it was inherently bad. Just like the chickpea salad, this dish met with lots of complaining, and “mommy, I don’t liiiikke it!” (Poor kids, I was 0 for 2 in provided them yummy meals!) The babes didn’t eat very much, mostly just the required 3 bites of everything on their plate. DH ate it, but said that it wasn’t the most thrilling pasta he’d ever had. Sadly, I had made a whole pound of pasta, so there was ALOT! I figured I’d be eating alot of butternut squash pasta and that would be that.

Fast forward 24 hours . . . . all of the remaining pasta got dumped outside in our scraps pile. After seeing the pasta again in the form of diarrhea and puke from two of the boys, I was A) grossed out and B) grossed out. So, suffice it to say that this recipe has died a slow and painful death in our house. It’s too bad . . .there was so much potential!

Dec 20 – Yesterday was a busy cooking day. Today I decided to take it easy and just make bread. I tried a new bread recipe called Burlap bread. It contained molasses, all-purpose flour, wheat germ, coconut oil, and a few other things in it. The loaf was quite dark thanks to the molasses, and it was short because the loaves fell when I removed the tea towel after the second rising. So they were very dense, pretty good, but dense. Finally, I had hit upon a winner. I made two loaves of bread and they were both gone in 24 hours!

Dec 20 –

Day 345 – November 18

So far in this dairy/soy free endeavor, I’ve been using coconut milk and a coconut beverage in place of cow’s milk. It’s tastes okay, but is so expensive! Soo, in an attempt to not bankrupt us, I decided to learn about different milks. Today it was rice milk. It’s so super easy to make, time-intensive, but easy.

Add 1/2 cup of brown rice to 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You’ll end up with mush-looking stuff. Fill half of your blender with the mush and the other half with water. Blend until very smooth, then run through a fine mesh strainer how ever many times you need to in order to filter out the small bits of grain. And . . . .that’s it! Easy, right?

Now, about the flavor. I’m not going to lie, it’s not delicious by any stretch. But honestly, I’m not sure that cow’s milk is delicious, either. I drink it because I always have and am used to the flavor. I’m guessing one could get used to rice milk pretty easily. I tried adding some honey and vanilla, but that didn’t really help. Of course, I was drinking it warm, so I wonder if it will taste better after it has sat in the fridge for awhile. In any case, I have about 3/4 of a gallon that I’ll be using on my cereal and in recipes this week.

I’m also planning on trying to make oat milk and flax seed milk. Once I find a winner, I’ll make a ton, and then freeze it.

The other thing I discovered today is that coconut milk makes your bread behave in a weird fashion. I substituted regular milk for coconut milk and the texture of the dough was, well, it was just weird. I’m expecting the bread to be chewy based on the dough texture. . . . . Fast forward a few hours, the bread is only okay. It wasn’t chewy, but the flavor was just bizarre. I can definitely say that I won’t be using coconut milk in this recipe again.

Day 327 – November 9

I was in a cooking mood this evening, and got a little ambitious with my supper plans. Everything turned out, but it took longer than expected. Merrily, everyone thought the food was great and gobbled it up, so it was worth the wait. I made bacon and gruyere scones (which I’ve made before, I’d just forgotten), apple braid bread and sweet corn chowder. The breads are pinned on my breads board, and the chowder is a Nigella Lawson recipe.

I started out with the apple braid bread. The dough was rather interesting as it was really elastic, which meant that it didn’t cut very well, but it still worked out okay. The process of braiding the bread is very similar to that employed in the spaghetti bread that I love to make. I had a small snaffu in that I discovered that we didn’t have any lemon juice. I used some apple cider vinegar, and then found some key lime juice, so I used that as well. I think the vinegar would have been fine on it’s own, though. Anyway, it baked up nicely, and the glaze was super delish on it’s own. The glaze seemed to lose some of it flavor once it was on the bread, though. Seems like the bread needed more glaze, and it actually could have used more apples and liquid. It struck me as a wee bit dry. It wasn’t a total loss though. It’s a good basic recipe that could be amazing with a few tweaks, so I’m keeping it.

The chowder was relatively simple to make. The trickiest part was converting the measurements to ones I was more familiar with, like cups and and oz instead of liters and grams. The chowder was edible, but it definitely wasn’t the best chowder I’ve had. Frankly, if it weren’t for the toasted chips with cheese, the chowder would have been totally unremarkable. I suspected as much before putting the chowder on the table, so I added black pepper, salt, and whipping cream. They helped a little. If you are looking for a quick and easy chowder, this one will do. I personally will spend a little more time and use some other recipes that I have that yield tastier results.

Here’s a totally mediocre picture depicting the totally mediocre chowder.

I served the cranberry apple cider today . . .the kids drank it, but did say that it sort of tasted funny. I’m guessing it was the ground nutmeg . . .so maybe that wasn’t a great substitution. I did notice that the flavor was better when the cider was lukewarm rather than piping hot.

Day 319 – November 1

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a “Wow! I learned so much today!” kind of a day. I learned three things today, all about food.

First, I had a bunch of mom friends over with their babes and we did caramel apples. I had never done them before, so I looked online to see how to go about doing them. I got the original inspiration here. I really liked that the apples were cut into smaller, more manageable pieces for the babes. Another website suggested freezing the apples so that the caramel would stick. Uh, that was a big mistake. Yes, the caramel stuck, but then the apples were mealy and not crisp and it was just that much messier. The other problem we had was the caramel hardened rather quickly, so much so that sometimes it was already hardened before the babes could roll them in the goodies. So it wasn’t a total failure, but it didn’t work out as nicely as I thought it would. Oh well, I think all of the littles had fun, so that’s the important thing.

Second, I tried a new bread recipe . .. wheat germ snack buns. They were easy and quick to make and pretty tasty. They worked great as hamburger buns. I think I’ll just be making my own hamburger buns from now on!

Third, we needed something to go on the hamburger buns, so I pulled out a burger recipe from my vegetarian cookbook. It was a bean burger recipe that I modified a bit. I used black beans in addition to the called for kidney beans. I just think black beans are tastier and I think they pack more of a nutritious punch. The recipe also called for cardamom. . .I’m pretty sure I have/had some, but couldn’t find it in the heat of the moment, so I substituted dill and sage. I know, neither or those taste anything like cardamom!

Anyway, the outcome was quite good tasting, but I can’t say that they looked all that appetizing and they didn’t really stay together very well. I think it really needed at least an egg to hold it all together. The first few that I flipped broke apart, so I left the others under the broiler for a bit long. This made them stay together better, but it also made them much more brown, almost burnt. But, all of the burgers disappeared and the 4 and 5 yo wolfed down the first burger and ate about 1/3 of a second burger, and DH thought they were fantastic. So, I guess the ugliness of the burger didn’t really matter to them. I’m going to try this again and add egg to see if that helps hold it together better, and I’ll probably add more mushrooms since I’m a bit fan of mushrooms!

Day 304 – October 17

I generally make homemade bread for the family. For the past few months, I’ve been lazy and have been buying bread at the store. But, the good stuff is like $4 per loaf! So today I said, “Forget it! I’m making bread!” I tried a new recipe that had cottage cheese, whole wheat and honey. It was super yummy! So yummy, in fact, that the two loaves disappeared in less than 24 hours! Wanna make some yourself? Here’s the recipe.

Special Whole Wheat Bread
from The Red Star Centennial Bread Sampler, adapted by me
Makes 2 loaves

4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 packages Red Star Instant Blend Dry Yeast (2 pkgs = 4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 T salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup wqter
1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Heat milk, water, cottage cheese, honey and butter in the microwave until warm (120-130 degrees). In a stand mixer fitted with the beater, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, yeast and salt; mix well. Add the warmed liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed.

Turn the oven on for one minute. It doesn’t matter the temperature, you are just wanting to warm the oven up a bit.
Switch to the dough hook and gradually add enough all-purpose flour to make a firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Divide into 2 parts. ON lightly floured surface, roll or pat each half to a 14×7-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place in greased 9×5-inch bread pans. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans; cool.


Day 272 – September 14

After the failed recipe from yesterday, you’d think I’d stay away from my Vegetarian cookbook. You’d be wrong. I saw a vegetarian lasagna recipe that looked interesting. Again, I doubled the recipe since it only serves 4. Holy cow! This was a labor intensive recipe! I spend 1.5 hours in prep, and then it had to cook for 30 minutes. It was nuts! Granted, I did take about 5-10 minutes while the zucchini was cooking to make a quick Greek Salad. And I was dealing with a 2yo who refused to sleep and kept getting in and out of the baby carrier. But still, 1.5 hours is a LOOONG prep. Definitely not a recipe I would make for a regular weeknight. Since it’s for Sabbath, I suppose it’s okay. I just hope that the flavor is amazing!

It really looks pretty good: grilled eggplant, canned tomatoes, zucchini sauteed with garlic, parsely and mace (I have no idea what that is, so I used marjoram) and a bechamel sauce infused with black pepper, bay leaves and onion. There definitely wasn’t enough sauce. I had to pull out a little bit of jarred pasta sauce to supplement. Even though I doubled the sauce, I still needed half again as much more. I ended up with ALOT of veggies. I had too many zucchini, and the casserole dish was stuffed to the the top. I thought for sure I was going to end up with a mess in the bottom of my oven. Thankfully, it was okay.

The recipe says to cook the lasagna and then serve right away. Since I made it today for Sabbath, which is tomorrow, I ignored that part. Besides, I tend to think that lasagna is one of those things that tastes better the second day. I’ll wait till tomorrow to actually post this so that I can give a review of the flavor. All I have to say is that it had better be amazing, given the amount of prep time!!

The other thing I made today was a pumpkin chocolate chip bread. This was super yummy! I was finishing up the canned yams, so I didn’t use pumpkin. Honestly, the flavor was no different. I pinned the recipe from the Taste of Home blog. Since we were having the bread alongside apple sauce and berry smoothies for supper, I made 6 mini loaves and 2 slightly bigger loaves. That means that it didn’t take 60 minutes to cook. The mini loaves were done after 30 minutes and the slightly bigger ones were done after 45 minutes. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe around for the fall! I’ll probably play around with the spices, maybe adding some cloves or nutmeg or even ginger . . we’ll see!

Quick update on the lasagna . .. . it was quite good, just not good enough to be worth all of the work. The sauce needed a bit more flavoring and I could have used more salt. All in all, it was okay for today, not sure if I’ll make it again. Maybe I’ll add some mushrooms next time.

Day 254 – August 27

It seems like I go in spurts. Nothing for a few days, and then in one day I learn/try a ton of new things. Today is no exception. So, let’s get started.

This morning at Meijer’s, I found some zucchini in the clearance section. I got 4 or 5 for about 88 cents. They needed to be used up today, so I tried out this braised zucchini recipe. After making this I realized that unless you cook veggies until they are limp, it’s pretty hard to mess them up and they turn out quite good most of the time. The zucchini was so very yummy! Not really something the kids loved . . I think it was the cooked tomatoes that got them. But, it was a very easy recipe to make and I thought it was delicious!

During our weekly grocery trip to Meijer’s yesterday (yes, we go there several times a week), I happened to see the Pillsbury crescent rolls on sale. I remembered that there had been something on Pinterest I’d been wanting to try with that as the main ingredient, so I picked them up. This danish recipe from the blog Lauren’s latest was the one I’d been thinking of. The verdict? Well, DH asked if I had made the filling.

Me: Yeah. It was just cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and fruit.
DH: But what did you do to the fruit?
Me: Nothing, just dumped the blueberries on top of the cream cheese mixture.

So, there you have it . . . .amazing! I’m going to experiment with the cream cheese filling, adding different spices and things to change it up a bit. I also plan on trying one with fruit and a bit of chocolate. I see lots of possibilities with this one! And it was very, very easy!

One thing I forgot to note. The topping required powdered sugar, which I forgot to buy this morning. I thought I’d try to make my own using a blender, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 T of cornstarch. It was nothing at all like actual powdered sugar. Granted, I could have blended it longer to get rid of the graininess, but I wasn’t feeling all that patient. But it wasn’t just the graininess that bugged me, the flavor was strange. That was the ONE thing that I didn’t like about the danish. But, it’s a super easy fix, and now I know that DIY powdered sugar is a bust!

Dinner tonight was bean salad and cornbread. I tried out a new cornbread recipe and it was a complete winner. I was a bit skeptical at first because the batter was SOOOO runny! I thought, “This is NEVER going to cook!” But it was done in 30 minutes and it was very yummy. Sweet, but not too sweet, and moist. This is now my new favorite cornbread recipe!

Day 246 – August 19

Well, we are back from vacay, so I’m hoping to get back on the “daily” blogging bandwagon!

Chocolate and raspberry are about the best combination out there. Pretty much, give me chocolate raspberry anything and I’ll be a happy camper. Soo, when I saw this recipe for Raspberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread pop up on Pinterest, you KNOW I had to try it out!

Happily for me, Meijer’s had some raspberries that were on their last leg, so they were on clearance. I picked up some Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, and we already had some mega ripe and mushy bananas in the fridge. Most banana breads are super easy to make and this was no exception.

The smell coming from the oven was glorious and I couldn’t wait to try it out. . . . . . The verdict . . .. . not as delicious as other chocolate raspberry combos I’ve had. Maybe the bananas needed to be sweeter . . .maybe it needed more sugar . . .either way, it wasn’t terribly sweet. I also would have liked to have more chocolate and less moisture in the bread. I think the fresh raspberries made it super moist, not really a texture I like in my banana bread. I suppose I could have cooked it longer, but then the top would have been REALLY brown. I’ll probably try the recipe again using frozen fruit, or maybe cutting the fruit up smaller, and using more chocolate! But as my mom is wont to say, “It’s edible!” =)

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