Pain de Pandemic

How are you all?

I am working from home (miracle of miracles) part of the time. When going into the agency I am wearing a mask. Said mask is to last 5 shifts. I made a cloth mask to wear over it although contact with people is minimal, making being in the office a very grim place to be. But I am working and am not furloughed and am counting my blessings.

On weekends I bake. This past weekend I made a cake and Hubby and I ate it in two days. Not a good thing. Lunchtime on tele-working days has resulted in an apple pie and a chocolate snack cake over the past two weeks. Oh, and cookie dough. The problem with cookie dough is that I freeze rolls of it and then can slice and bake a dozen cookies each day, which I did, and we ate! Weekends have bread baking sessions. So when Hubby went out to the grocery store he bought plenty of flour.

Looking through my Fleischmann’s yeast cook-booklet I came across Verona Loaf.  At the time of this bake I had been running low on flour so wanted a recipe that did not call for 7-8 cups. Verona Loaf calls for half that. Although it says “loaf” it is made in rounds or boules. This recipe makes two. And is more than just flour, salt, water, and yeast.

  • 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3  cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (I use instant yeast so 2 teaspoons)
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup very warm tap water (120-130 degrees F)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup cold butter

In large bowl thoroughly mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, lemon peel, and yeast. Then add softened butter. Gradually add hot water to dry ingredients and mix at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs, vanilla and ½ cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough flour to make soft dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk about 45 minutes.

I am using my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. I use the dough hook throughout. I use speed 2 for medium although maybe that should be 4 which I use for high speed because 6 just seems too fast.

After the first rising comes the interesting part. This will now be laminated similar to puff pastry. First turn dough on floured board and roll dough to ½ inch thickness. Cut 2 tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces and place on center 1/3 of dough. Fold 1/3 of dough over butter. Now place the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter, also cut into small pieces, on top of the folded third. Bring remaining third of dough over to cover the butter. Now roll the dough into an 18 inch strip, fold in thirds, and wrap loosely in wax paper (or parchment) and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat rolling procedure and folding into thirds and refrigeration. Repeat twice. Next, on floured surface divide dough in half. Lightly knead each half and shape into a ball. Place in 2 greased 8-inch round pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 35 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. I have found that my oven requires the maximum bake time plus 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. (Sprinkle with sugar while warm. I’m not certain I did this last bit.)

This was a very tasty bread.

And more pains de pandemic:

Raisin white bread made with potato water!
Everyday mixed grain bread

Cinnamon Bread

Quite a while ago Hubby asked if I could make Cinnamon Bread, or at least I think he did, but I did not make any. King Arthur Flour’s website is a gold mine of baking recipes for us home cooks. I saw this and thought I would make this. I used to bake breads all winter long but not this winter. Not sure why? Here is the link to the original recipe from KAF: Cinnamon Bread. I made a few adjustments.

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant dry milk
  • 3 tablespoons potato flour
  • 7/8 to 1 1/8 cups warm tap water
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl of stand mixer. Put butter and water together in Pyrex measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds. Add the liquid to the dry, stir to combine, and then knead for 7 minutes at Speed 2. I first used the lesser amount of water but the recipe said the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl. With the lesser amount the dough cleaned the sides right away so I added the extra 1/4 cup. This made a more sticky dough that seemed to match the description from the recipe.

Place the dough in a greased bowl. To do this I scrape the dough to one side of the mixing bowl, spray with cooking spray, then scrape the dough to the sprayed side, and spray the rest of the bowl and the top of the dough. Cover and let rise until doubled. This took about an hour and 15 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased work surface. I did this. I had never not used a floured work surface for bread making. And this worked out well. Pat the dough into a 6 inch by 20 inch rectangle. Lucky for me my butcher block work surface has a pattern of 2 inch squares all over the top. So measuring the rectangle was to perfection!

Make the filling: 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons flour. Beat one egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush this on the dough before sprinkling on the cinnamon mixture. This is to keep the swirl from making gaps in the bread while baking. Roll into a log starting with the short end. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal. Place in your lightly greased or sprayed loaf pan. Tent loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until 1 inch over the rim of the pan.

The size of your loaf pan will matter. I spent my morning measuring the three I have and they are all 9″ x 5″ pans. This loaf, per KAF, will rise more nicely in an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ pan. In the 9″ x 5″ pan it will rise to the rim. Mine rose very slightly above the rim in 1 hour and 20 minutes time.

Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven. “Allow the bread to completely cool before slicing.” Yeah right!

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Perfect swirls!

This was yummy and makes a nice toast with my coffee. I just have to be sure I don’t eat it all in one day; that would wreak havoc with my goal of losing a few pounds!

I like recipes from which I learn something. From this one I learned that one could substitute potato flour for instant potato flakes, using an egg wash helps the filling stay in place, and one can use a lightly oiled work surface for shaping bread dough.

Another Loaf: Apricot

I have not written nor baked in a while. We have been eating ordinary meals. You know, baked frozen fish, grilled chicken or burgers, frozen vegetables, scrambled eggs with onion and peppers, and open-faced grilled cheese with tomatoes. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a pinch! Sometimes I just do not feel like cooking, so when Hubby comes home he throws something together. The open-face grilled cheese with tomatoes are one of his specialties.

At my last camping weekend I brought along the Settlement Cookbook to look through. There are some bread recipes that looked good. Simple and straightforward breads, quick and raised. My mother had given me a paperback Settlement Cookbook when I got my first apartment. I knew how to bake but not how to cook. This book was my guide to cooking meat and vegetables. I remember making biscuit dough cinnamon rolls from this book. Unfortunately like most well-used cookbooks it fell apart and eventually I could not justify saving the torn thing. 😦

At a tag sale (yard sale, garage sale, depending on what region of the country you hail from) there was this newly revised Settlement Cookbook. So I bought it for sentimental reasons. This edition was published in 1965, 1976.

I was originally looking at the banana bread since I had extra ripe bananas in the house. But I froze those so the pressure was lessened. I had some dried apricots so the apricot bread was my choice for the afternoon. I figure I have to bake while the weather allows.

Alterations to the recipe as pictured above are as follows:

  • why would one grind the dried apricots? I roughly chopped them.
  • I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour; to be healthy.
  • I did not have to strain the orange juice because the juice I like does not have pulp.

The batter smelled quite orange-y. The loaf came out very nicely colored and crunchy on the outside. The inside is quite nice with the squares of apricots and nuts throughout. For the future I might add a teaspoon of ginger and/or cinnamon for added kick!

I suppose spreading it with apricot preserves might be a bit too much!

Lemon Tea Bread

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I came home from work one day this past week and wanted to make something in a loaf pan. I took a handful of cookbooks outdoors and sat at the patio table looking through them to find something to make. I know that a traditional pound cake is a loaf cake but I wanted something else. This recipe is from my KitchenAid cookbook published in 1992. It is the larger cookbook, spiral bound, and not the one that comes with the mixer. I have that one as well but my sister said this larger one does not have all of the recipes from the smaller one, so I kept them both.

I have two lemons that need to be used. I have buttermilk but this recipe did not call for that. After deciding on this recipe I find a similar recipe using buttermilk on the back of the walnut package. Oh well, maybe next time.

I actually did a mise en place. Even chopping the walnuts and zesting the lemon before starting to make the batter. Highly unusual for me with baking in that I always assume that I have everything I need.

This is a tasty and moist bread. It is very nice to have with morning coffee. It would be nice with afternoon tea.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk; I used vanilla almond milk.
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel; I zested one medium sized lemon and juiced it for the lemon glaze (see below).

Put butter, sugar, and eggs in the mixer bowl and beat for one minute at speed 6. I was amazed at how this higher speed creamed everything together so much nicer that using the lower speeds. Combine dry ingredients and add alternating with the milk, ending with the flour. Stir in the zest and the nuts.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake at 325 F for 55-65 minutes. Brush with Lemon Glaze and cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove and cool on wire rack.

Lemon Glaze: 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 3 tablespoons sugar. The recipe says to bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until slightly thickened. Well, I put the juice and sugar in a small microwave safe bowl and nuked it for about 90 seconds in 30 second intervals. I poured this over the warm bread.

I had just read that breads and cakes made with citrus zest supposedly taste better the next day after the flavors permeate. I sent a piece to work with Hubby the next day and he reported that this is so.

Cranberry-Pecan Quick Bread

This turned out to be a bit of a labor intensive “quick” bread but lovely to eat. But first a few thoughts.

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Clearly, this is not a picture of the bread!

We are having a major snow storm so I did not have to go to work this day. It is a wonder to be “non-essential” and yet so much expectations and pressure at work to do more with less as each day goes by.

It will be a good day to try a new recipe or bake something yummy. But I have not been too inspired lately. The political situation has taken over my brain!!

In honor of the Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl commercial celebrating immigrants I got out my Anheuser-Busch Great Food Great Beer cookbook to find something to make. I could cook or bake. There are some great recipes in there! But I did not have one or two essential ingredients for some of the main dishes. What? You say. When did that ever stop you? What can I say? There was a lovely gingerbread cake recipe but it called for 1 1/2 cups of butter and I thought that was a lot of butter when trying to lose some weight.

So, it being winter in New England, I got out my The New England Table cookbook to find something. There’s a lovely lemon pudding cake and a cranberry-pecan quick bread. Guess which one I chose? Although I may bake the other as well. Wait and see!

I had everything for this recipe except the buttermilk. But it is so easy to make your own sour milk. And just because I had no milk doesn’t stop me either. I used diluted half-and-half. I also thought I would make it healthier by substituting half the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. I also toast the pecans in a dry skillet on top of the stove instead of in the oven. And I got to use my mortar and pestle to grind cardamom seeds. And that aroma was heavenly!

  • 2 cups flour; I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup unbleached all-purpose
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom; this was two pods
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk; I put a teaspoon of lemon juice in the measuring cup (you can also use vinegar), added 1/3 cup half-and-half, and added water to the 2/3 cup mark
  • finely grated zest and juice of one large navel orange; I zested a fresh orange but used 1/4 cup prepared orange juice; I wanted to eat the orange for my morning snack!
  • 1 extra large egg; mine was just large
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries; oops! the recipe calls for these to be coarsely chopped; I put them in whole
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped; I did remember to chop these

The labor intensity of this quick bread comes about for toasting the pecans, grinding the cardamom seeds, and making the buttermilk. Okay, that may not sound like a lot, but I did not read the entire recipe ahead of time and so scrambled to get these things done while putting together the batter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or butter a loaf pan, standard size of 8 1/2 x 4 inches, and dust with flour. (My standard loaf pans are actually 9 x 5 inches).

Sift or whisk the first 6 dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix the egg with the sugar until it is thick and yellow. Mix the butter, buttermilk, orange zest and juice in a small bowl. (This I forgot to do and had to scramble to put these in together but not as a mixture). Blend this mixture into the egg-sugar mixture. Then add the flour just til combined. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. My oven took only the 55 minutes. Test bread with toothpick or cake tester.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out of pan onto wire rack to cool.

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I, of course, did not wait for this to cool completely before trying a slice. When cutting warm bread remember to hold the loaf and gently cut with a serrated bread knife.

This was yummy. Not so good for a reduced calorie count for snacking as it is hard to eat just one slice!

Just because baking is a science, doesn’t mean that substitution and innovation results in disaster. Once you know how to bake you can have the confidence to change things up a bit. That may be ingredients but also technique. Happy baking to all!

Everyday Table Bread…

On this cold New England winter-ish day, I bake bread. I also made a nice supper in the crock pot. Tomorrow I may even bake cookies.

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I sat at my kitchen table early this morning and wrote out my Christmas cards. Hubby has put the wreath on the front door and we play Christmas music. I have been looking at my cookbooks, not in them, just at them wondering about doing any Christmas baking. We did purchase Red and Green M&Ms so that is Christmas-y! We take the dog to a dog park. It is not crowded and is in a wooded area. Leo (our new old dog) is great. There was one other dog and Leo put up with the puppy’s antics. We also stopped at the Home Depot to buy a kitchen trash can with a lid because “you know who” thinks “dumpster diving” is productive daytime activity!

Back to bread. I have made this bread before but don’t remember how long ago. It has good stuff in it like cornmeal and oats. It is from the Soulard Market cookbook.

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast; I use 4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 2-3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • rolled oats

In the large mixer bowl, I combine the first five ingredients. In a glass quart measuring bowl I put the water, butter, and molasses. I microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, 30 seconds at a time, until the mixture is about 125 degrees F. Between 120 and 125 was close enough for me. Stir that into the flour mixture. Add enough of the all-purpose flour to make a stiff dough. I then kneaded this with my bread hook for 5 minutes.The dough was not very stiff so I kneaded in about 1/2 cup more white flour. Still none to stiff but I did not want it to be too dry so I pushed the dough around the bowl while I sprayed with cooking spray so it would rise in a greased bowl. Cover this with a tea towel and let rise until double. In just one hour it had reached the top of the mixing bowl.

In reading the recipe it says to punch dough down and shape into round loaves. I don’t remember  these as being free form loaves, so I spray my two loaf pans and shape into loaves. Now let these rise for another hour or so.

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These have risen above the rims.

These are nicely risen. Make an egg wash with the egg and tablespoon of water. Brush this on top and sprinkle oats on top. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes. If making round loaves check after 35 minutes for doneness (is that a word?).

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A good and hearty bread.

Questions:

  • Why does my bread not stay as high and risen as before baking?
  • Do I use too much yeast?
  • Did brushing on the egg wash deflate them?

I suppose I could call the baking hotline or I’ll just internet search it. I could even look in some of my bread-baking cookbooks. Meanwhile we enjoyed this bread with supper and then for toast at breakfast.

 

 

First Bread

Fall is here and the cooler weather begs for bread baking. A few years ago my son told me about the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. Now this recipe is all over everywhere, even on King Arthur Flour, recipe. I use the recipe for The Master Recipe: Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf) from the book.

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
  • cornmeal or pizza peel (or baking sheet)

I use an empty 5 quart ice cream tub. And I don’t care if it forms a seal when covered in the refrigerator. This is a super simple bread recipe. It does make an artisan bread so is not the same texture as sandwich bread or the standard bread kneaded with two risings. But it is good. If you are a novice bread baker this is a good bread to begin your bread baking.

Put your water in the tub. Sprinkle on the yeast and the salt. It may not dissolve completely. No worries. Add the flour all at once and mix with a long wooden spoon until no dry spots; all the flour is incorporated. Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature for at least two hours. I forgot about mine and it sat for 4 hours. (Binge watching television shows occupied my time!) And then put in refrigerator. The original recipe says it should be refrigerated at least 3 hours.

I baked the first loaf the next day. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Reach into the tub and pull our about 1/4 of the dough. Oh, flour your hands first and sprinkle cornmeal on your pizza peel if you have a baking stone or on your baking pan. I used a baking pan because last spring my baking stone broke in two and I have not yet replaced it.

Add a little more flour to the dough in your hand and stretch the top onto the bottom shaping into a ball, smooth on top and bunched on the bottom. Put this on your cornmeal sprinkled pan. Let rise and rest about 40 minutes. Depending on how fast your oven preheats you want it to be 450 F when you are ready to bake your bread.

To be authentic there are instructions to heat a pan of hot water at the bottom of the stove but I did not do that for this loaf, nor for the second loaf!

Just before putting it in the oven, sprinkle the top with flour and slash the top with a serrated knife. This allows for an oven rise through the surface. Bake in the 450 F oven for 30 minutes. The loaf should be firm and nicely browned.

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Truth be told this does take more than five minutes per loaf. The actual time you spend with the dough is about that though. With a batch of this dough in my fridge I can come home from work and have bread on the table in just over one hour: 5 minutes shaping, 40 minutes rising, 30 minutes baking.

 

I miss my kitchen!

 

It’s not that my kitchen has gone anywhere, nor has it changed in any way, shape, or form. I’ve been back to work for about six weeks now and I miss sitting in my kitchen in the morning contemplating my day. I would have to get up at the crack of dawn to have about half of an hour to contemplate and it’s not easy to do that. It will get easier as daybreak comes earlier and earlier with the onset of spring. But I am not generally a crack of dawn person.

I signed up to make cinnamon rolls for a breakfast celebration at work. Sure, easy! No problem! I figured I would make  Alton Brown’s Overnight cinnamon roll recipe. I’ve made them before and it sounds perfect for a Monday morning work breakfast. That is one rich roll recipe: 4 egg yolks plus an egg and buttermilk, ¼ cup sugar. Then I think if it is such a rich roll how about making my mom’s Rich Rolls recipe.Now that one calls for 4 eggs, 1 cup butter, and 1 cup sugar. Whoa! Then in my most organized recipe notebook there is a sourdough roll recipe next to the standard Fleischmann’s. What to do? 

I decide on the Buttery Sourdough Buns recipe from King Arthur Flour. And these rolls were very nice when made for Thanksgiving. I’ll just roll cinnamon sugar into them. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/buttery-sourdough-buns-recipe

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I have sourdough starter that needs to be used and fed.

The beauty of this recipe is the simplicity of the process of putting the dough together. Literally put everything in the bowl and mix. I used the dough hook and let it beat at 2-4 speed for about 5 minutes. I did add an extra 1/2 cup flour and the dough came together nicely. I let that rise in a greased bowl for about 1 1/2 hours. I then rolled it into a rectangle, spread three Tablespoons of melted butter and liberally sprinkled that with about 1/2 cup of cinnamon sugar (1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon to 1/2 cup sugar.

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ready for the fridge to rise some more

I figure I can now cover this with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight. I plan to take it out for 30-45 minutes in the morning to rest at room temperature before putting them in the oven to bake. These are to bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes. The recipe notes that they do not brown as deeply as most dinner rolls. I don’t know why this is. The KAF website might say.

 

They were a hit at work. I made a bit of glaze so folks could add a bit if they liked. One cup powdered sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and a bit of water made about 1/2 cup glaze. Almost everyone added the glaze. I was surprised at that but that is what it was there for.

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A tasty light cinnamon bun

 

Easter chicks

I know that Easter is past. Life gets very busy so I don’t always have the time to write and post things as often as I had. But I wanted to share this fun roll recipe.

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Don’t these look fun? And they don’t take all day to make either. I saved this recipe from a woman’s magazine ad for Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise yeast and PET evaporated milk. I am not sure the year of the magazine that I got this from. I have made these for my stepdaughters maybe 10 years ago but I think I had saved the magazine page before that.

easter weekend 002These pretty much can be ready for the oven in one hour. Pretty good for a yeast roll.

  • 5-5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs,slightly beaten
  • glaze, optional

The best part about baking these rolls again was baking them with my granddaughter. She has “helped” me bake before so I thought she would want to “help” again. And she did! I even made her her own apron for the occasion.

The recipe: combine 2 cups flour, the sugar, yeast, lemon peel,and salt. Heat milk, water and oil until very warm (125-130 F); stir in dry ingredients. Stir in eggs and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Cover, let rest 10 minutes.

I have not kneaded yeast dough by hand for many years. That’s what my Kitchen-Aid mixer’s bread hook is for! But I am at my daughter’s house and needs must! While I am kneading the dough granddaughter is watching and starts kneading the flour on her small board. Daughter tells me that she is trying to do what I am doing, so I give granddaughter a bit of dough and she follows my lead and does a great job. Look at the concentration on her face.

Now it is easier to work with half the dough at a time to shape the rolls. These make a good size roll and will make 18. Cut each half of dough into 9 equal pieces. I did not get mine very equal but it’s home made, so who cares? Roll each piece into a 10 inch rope. Tie into a knot with one end shorter. This will be the head. Pinch this end into a beak and put tiny pieces of craisins (dates in the original recipe) for eyes. Flatten the other end into the tail and make a few cuts. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet. (If I were at home I would have lined the baking pans with parchment paper.) Brush oil over all (or spray with cooking spray), cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Or cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge from 2-24 hours. We placed these in the fridge for overnight so they could be baked fresh for Easter dinner. I took them out of the fridge about an hour before putting them in the oven. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.

I had packed the recipe card away and did not remember the amount of baking time. I guessed at 20 minutes but just before 15 minutes into the baking they smelled done. And they looked done. The bottoms were a bit browner than I like and I think that was because we oiled the baking pan. I think (but don’t quote me on this) that parchment paper would have been the better choice.  Optionally one can make a glaze with powdered sugar, milk or water, and food color to brush over the rolls to make them Easter colorful. I did not choose to do this.

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And they were served with our Easter dinner of  Prime Rib Roast (cooked by son-in-law), along with cucumber salad and mashed potatoes.  Pies, Easter brownie bites, and cookies for dessert.

He is risen. He is risen, indeed! New life for all!

“Anna, damn her” bread

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I will be able to go back to work soon. So now I feel all this pressure to get everything done that I can’t get done when I spend my days at work! This pressure comes from myself, I know this! So I have a list of sewing projects that need starting and finishing; I have a bunch of recipes I still want to try; there are books still to be read, solitaire games to play (oops!), and I have enjoyed the luxury of having mornings at my kitchen table writing and planning my days. But I am very much looking forward to going back to work, having a schedule, a broader purpose to the day, and seeing all my co-workers.anadama bread 018

This was my lunch. I saved this three ingredient pancake recipe on one of the many Facebook feeds I get from food and cooking sites. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/3-ingredient-gluten-free-banana-pancakes.html They are more like crepes and very light and tasty with a light banana flavor. Eggs and banana: protein and fruit!

That said, I was looking for an easy bread recipe and have always wanted to make Anadama bread. Basically this is a yeasted cornbread. The recipes in my many cookbooks vary using molasses or honey, using cornmeal or creamed corn, sometimes eggs sometimes none. The origin of the bread is in New England so I thought it appropriate to get out my cookbook The New England Table by Lora Brody and see if I could make that version. This recipe is  a “throw everything together in a bowl, mix, and knead”. What could be simpler?

The story, true or not, behind the bread is that a man was sent to work with cornmeal mush in his lunch box and kept asking his wife to put in bread instead. So he cursed her and added yeast, molasses, and flour himself to make the bread. I found this link to a food historian while googling the name of the bread: http://atasteofhistorywithjoycewhite.blogspot.com/2015/02/anadama-bread-new-england-tradition.html

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 scant teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons regular molasses

Handy hint: it does really work when you use oil in the measuring spoon before measuring the molasses. Slides right out!

I placed all the ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer with the bread hook attached. I mixed it up and then set it on knead (speed 2) for 8 minutes. Sticky dough! To place in a greased bowl I pushed the batter to one side of the bowl, sprayed with cooking spray, pushed it back to the other side of the bowl, sprayed that side and made sure the batter was covered with the “oil”. Covered this with plastic wrap. This was to rise one-third. So I waited an hour and it looked nicely risen to me. The instructions are to gently deflate the dough and knead in some toasted sunflower seeds but I didn’t plan to add seeds so I left this step out. I then placed the dough in the prepared pan (9 x 5 loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray). Cover this with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled. Spray the plastic wrap so that the dough does not stick when you uncover it.

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The loaf looks good at this point. Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake for 35-40 minutes. I checked it at 35 and it looked done to me although a bit flat. When I was much younger and baking bread the loaves would rise up out of the loaf pan. What is different now? Looking up on the internet it may be that I needed to bake it for the additional 5 minutes.

Dinner that night included this fresh baked bread. It was pre-breaded fish from frozen, leftover mashed potatoes, small spinach salad with olives and feta, and a citrus salsa. The salsa recipe is from http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/03/02/when-you-are-in-the-mood-for-seafood/. She has some nice recipes.

(If you look closely you can see the white paws of Felix the Cat in the background. He’s eating his dinner too.)