Friday, November 27, 2009

Oatmeal Molasses Bread (Cold Rise Method)

One of my favorite things for breakfast at work is toasted homemade bread. I hadn't done any in a while so I looked to see if I had enough ingredients to whip up a loaf. I did, so I did.

One of the things I've been experimenting with is what's called a cold or cool rise. One can mix bread dough, and refrigerate it and even freeze it, and bring it to room temperature and it'll come out just fine. I've always used that as a time convenience or storage method more than anything else.

Come to find out though, there is a specific method or reason for this also. Turns out that when the dough is refrigerated for a period of time, the yeast slows down and the bread doesn't rise much of course, but the bacterias and the rising agents don't!  So the taste of the bread continues to evolve and become more complex. And it's true!  I really enjoyed the taste of this bread. You should try the cold rise yourself and see.

Also, I found out that dough is SO much easier to shape when it's cold. So you just take it out of the refrigerator the next day, shape in loaves or rolls or whatever, place in the baking vessel, and leave it alone until it returns to room temperature and rises and doubles in size. So easy.


1 package dry active yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warmed milk
3 - 5 cups flour  bread flour (added in 1/2 cup increments)
1 cup oatmeal (I used quick oats but regular will work fine also)
1/3 cup molasses

In a mixer bowl, mix yeast with brown sugar. Combine milk and melted butter together, test to make sure it is not too warm (I should warm to the touch but not hot, about 110 degrees) Add to yeast/sugar, stir, and let rest for 15 minutes. If mixture foams, it is proofed and you're good to go.

Add oatmeal, molasses and beaten egg and mix well. Add 2 cups flour, salt and begin mixing, adding flour in 1/2 cup increments until a sticky dough ball forms.

Scrape out onto lightly floured board, sprinkle with flour over the top, and knead briefly for a couple of minutes.

Place into greased bowl, turn over, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight, not to exceed 24 hours.

Remove from bowl onto lightly floured board, punch down and shape into loaf shape. Place in the center of bread pan, and place in a warm area. (I usually heat the oven to 200 degrees briefly, turn off the heat, and just place the bread in there)

Leave the bread alone until it has come to room temperature and risen to twice it's size.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, and then bake in 5 minute increments until the top is browned, and sounds hollow when tapped with your finger.

Let cool before removing from bread pan.

Enjoy plain or toasted. It's delicious toasted though, gotta tell ya.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Waffle Cookies

Surfing through tons of recipes as I sometimes do, I came across an unusual cookie I hadn't seen before. Naturally, I just had to make them.

It's a lighter dough that you bake in a waffle iron! They came out very well, and were a hit at work.

On the one hand you can only bake 4 at a time, but they bake very quickly, just like a waffle does. Check them out.

Adapted from Culinary in the Desert. 

Ingredients and Method:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks butter, softened
4  eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons milk

In a bowl, melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave in 30 second bursts until both are melted. (The butter will melt first) Stir and check chocolate after each burst.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the melted butter and chocolate with the sugar until well blended. Add the eggs, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix well.

Preheat a waffle iron. Lightly spray with cooking spray. I found that I didn't have to have to add any more oil to the iron.

If your waffle iron has a pattern of 4 waffles place a large tablespoon of batter in the middle of each square. My iron has a pattern of 2 waffles so I placed a tablespoon at the top  and bottom of one square and repeated with the other.

Close cover and cook for approximately 1 1/2 - 2 minutes until they are done. Remove to wire rack and let cool completely.

When they have cooled, mix together the cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan and stir and cook over low heat until melted and blended. Pour glaze onto a plate, and dip each of the waffle cookies gently into the glaze, just trying to cover on the very tops.   Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, serve and enjoy. These are delicious with cold milk, of course. Duh!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Curried Lentil Soup

Here's a soup I think you'll enjoy.What kicked this off is some Curried Butternut Squash soup I had for lunch from a bakery close by my work.  It was so good and I'm not normally a curry person, but I am now. Especially after making this Curried Lentil Soup. The taste of the soup is intriguing. At first it's just the delicious flavor of the lentils, broth and spice blend, which then gives way to the curry flavor and finishes with a touch of heat from the cayenne. Give it a try, it's delicious. Adapted from Epicurious.

3 cups lentils, soaked in water overnight, and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, washed, trimmed, and chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with puree
3 chicken bouillon cubes mixed with one cup water
5 cups water
a pinch of cayenne pepper (or two)
1 tablespoon salt (more to season to taste when soup is done)
2 teaspoons pepper (more to season to taste when soup is done)

I made this in a Pressure Cooker, but if you want to make it conventionally on a stovetop, follow the instructions, and just cook over medium heat for 45 minutes until lentils are soft.

Pour olive oil into cooker over medium heat. Saute onions, carrots, and celery for approximately 10 minutes until onions soften. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 3 minutes. Add curry powder, stir, and add bouillon liquid, and 5 additional cups of water and tomatoes. Stir in lentils and salt and pepper.

Turn heat to high, cover, lock and add thermostat. Bring up to pressure. When cooker begins to steam constantly, turn heat down to medium, and cook at pressure for an additional 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and let de-pressurize normally. When cooled down, uncover, add pinch of cayenne, stir, and taste. Add salt, pepper, in small increments, stir and taste again until it tastes how you want it.

Serve in bowls with a touch of sour cream and parsley for garnish.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Every once in a while, ya just get a hankering for something, ya know? Last weekend, I just HAD to have some Cinnamon Bread, homemade of course. So I made some. I usually don't follow recipes when making bread because I know how to adjust ingredients to affect the outcome of what I want. But in my reading recipes anyway, I came across one that sounded different and good. And trust me, it WAS. Just ask Amanda at work who really enjoyed it. Further, toasted and a little butter? Nothing else is as good.

Thanks to (of all places) for a great bread recipe.I adapted it to use a "cold rise". A cold rise is when the dough is allowed to rise slowly overnight in a refrigerator and then brought to room temperature before shaping, rising again, and baking. A cold rise or cool rise slows the yeast activity thereby allowing a longer and more flavorful taste to develop.  No only that, the "crumb" on this bread was exquisitely fine.  Do try. It's easy.

Igredients and Method:

2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup boiling water
1 cup evaporated milk
1 package active dry yeast (Do not use quick acting yeast)
6 cups (approximately) flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup milk

In a mixer or bowl, add the sugar and the shortening. Pour the boiling water in and stir until shortening melts. Stir in the evaporated milk to cool down the liquid and let it sit until the liquids are slightly more than lukewarm. Add the yeast, stir, and let sit for 15 minutes. If it is foamy then the yeast is "proofed" and you're good to go.

Add the flour, and the salt and mix in one cup increments until a sticky dough ball is formed.

Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured board. Sprinkle liberally with flour and knead for about 4 minutes, until it is smooth and all flour is incorporated.

Grease a bowl or other container, place dough ball into bowl and turn over so that top has a light covering of the oil.

Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator overnight.

Remove from refrigerator onto a lightly floured board. Punch dough down, and knead several times and let sit for a couple of hours so it can come to room temperature.

Divide dough in half. Roll one half into rectangle about10 x 8 inches. Brush with milk. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle half over the rectangle. Starting with a long side, roll bread up like a jelly roll. Pinch the ends completely shut and place seam side down in a bread pan. (Make sure you seal it or the sugar will melt and run out, as mine did, lol)

Repeat with the second dough ball.

Cover with a towel in a warm place (I use a warm oven with the temperature off) and let rise until doubled.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown. The bread is done when tapped on the top and it sounds "hollow".

You can glaze the loaves after they cool if you want, but they really don't need it in my opinion. The evaporated milk yields a rich dough and the sugar cinnamon swirl is sufficient.

Serve warm, or for a special treat, toast it and add a touch of butter.