Posts tagged ‘bread’

December 14, 2010

Classic Bread Stuffing

IMG_5573-15

While Thanksgiving has come and gone, I still wanted to share this recipe, but I didn’t get the chance until now. This recipe is the one my mom always used, and she either got it from that 1960’s edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook, which is falling apart, or it’s the same recipe my grandma used to make (maybe both).

I am not sure about you, but when Thanksgiving comes around and I think Stuffing, I do not think about all those versions out there with nuts and meats and fruits. I think of plain ol’ classic bread stuffing with onions, carrots, celery and poultry seasonings. Plain and simple, but it is what my family and I like the best. Don’t get me wrong I like the other stuffing out there, but when it comes to Thanksgiving this is the only recipe I use.

1-2 loaves of bread (sourdough or French – I use a mix, the sourdough alone gets too tangy for me)
3T. poultry seasoning
1 large white onion
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1/2 stick of butter
salt and pepper
6 cups of chicken broth

  1. Cube or tear the bread, sprinkle 1T of poultry seasoning over the bread and allow the bread to dry out a day or two – tossing occasionally (so all pieces dry out).
  2. Dice the onion, celery and carrots (mirepoix).
  3. Melt butter in a large pan. Over medium heat, saute the veggies until the carrots are soft and the onion is translucent. Add salt and pepper and 1T poultry seasoning.
  4. Toss the mirepoix with the bread in a large bowl.
  5. Add remaining 1T of poultry seasoning to the broth.  Add 1/2 cup of the broth at a time to the stuffing (stirring between each addition). Continue doing this until the bread is sticky.
  6. Place in a large baking dish and bake 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Notes:

Bread – I use the loaves from the bakery, if the loaves of bread are large I use about 1 1/2 loaves.

Store bought “Poultry Seasoning” is a mixture of sage, thyme, marjoram, black pepper, and nutmeg (I do not know the ratios – McCormick’s doesn’t give that  secret out.

December 6, 2010

Skiba Kolachi

Kolachi w/Nut Filling

 

When I think about food this time of year my mind immediately thinks of baked goods. Thanksgiving it’s about the savory foods, but this time of year is about treats and baking. Which if you know me, you would know I am fairly new to baking, but I’m beginning to really like it more than I ever thought I would.  My favorite is baking homemade breads. Breads can be challenging, but there is nothing like the warm fuzzy feeling you get when eating warm fresh bread right out of the oven, that you worked on with your own two hands.  Baking with yeast can be intimidating and can be somewhat of a process, waiting around for dough to rise, then rest, then sequences of folding or kneading, and then another rise and finally baking. Then hopefully it turns out! Right?

Last year I was on a mission to learn how to make homemade bread. My dad knew this so for Christmas he gave me a really cool oven bread stone and several bread books he uses (my Dad likes to cook and bake as much as myself). One of the books was by Peter Reinhart, called Artisan Breads Every Day. That January, Peter Reinhart ended up in Reno teaching a bread class. Failing horribly at his Babka recipe, I decided to jump on the opportunity to attend his class to learn a little more. Before taking this class the whole concept of baking and having to abide by the rules was intimidating, see I cook to my own rules and make up and alter recipes comfortably – except when it comes to baking! So a few things I learned from that class were 1) baking is not as strict as I once believed it to be, and 2) even Peter Reinhart deviates from his own recipe directions. As for the Babka Peter ended up having to lower the oven temperature to cook the bread through without burning the outside (my Aha! moment, this is where I went wrong). There was a lot I learned from this class I could share with you, but this article would run on for days so for now I give you this recipe for Kolachi. It is one of the simplest yeast doughs I have made.  Whether you are new to baking or a seasoned baker you will enjoy how simple it is to make Kolachi dough.  I even made this recipe all by hand – no stand mixer (which is rare for me). 

Kolachi is of Slovak origin and this particular recipe has been passed down through my family (from Croatia). Two of my fondest holiday treat memories are ones that my Grandma Skiba made, Kolachi and clothespin cookies.  These two treats are tastes that remind me of Christmas and have become staples to my holidays just like the Christmas tree.  Grandma Skiba was a seamstress so in addition to Kolachi and clothespin cookies I remember all the hand made gifts she made for me. My favorite is a stocking that is completely hand embroidered from top to bottom with my name on it. I hang it up each year to remember her by. Several years ago my Aunt in Kansas began making Kolachi and clothespin cookies and sends a package to me, which I selfishly hide away and eat when my daughter is not looking. The first time my Aunt sent me the package I had not tasted either of these treats in years, but once I tasted them you know how some things just trigger wonderful memories from your childhood – yea, a nostalgic experience! Since Kolachi is not a very well known recipe and because I enjoy it so much I wanted to share this with you.  I hope you enjoy – from my family to yours!

SKIBA KOLACHI

Dough
1 cup milk
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large cake yeast (fresh!), soften in warm milk (or 3 pkgs of dry yeast)
3 eggs, beaten
5 cups flour

  1. Heat the milk to a near boil stirring constantly, remove the milk from the heat and stir in the butter, sugar and salt stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Cool to warm (80-90°F). (Remember anything over 140°F will kill the active yeast).
  2. Whisk in the yeast, then let sit while you get the flour ready and beat the eggs.

 3.   Add eggs and flour, mix well with a wooden spoon.

 

4.   Knead the dough lightly and form into a ball.

5.   Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rise until it doubled in size (about an hour). 

6.   Punch down (isn’t yeast dough therapeutic) and divide in 7 or 8 balls about 6oz each.

7.   Roll into rectangles.

8.   Spread nut filling or date nut mixture and roll up jelly roll style crimping the ends and slightly tucking them under to keep the filling from oozing out.  (3 rolls to a pan).  Your rolls will be about 3 inches wide and 7-10 inches long

9.   Prick with fork 2” apart.  Let rise for 30min – 1 hour.  Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until brown. 

  Recipe Notes: If dough is too soft, knead in a little flour. 
You can use this dough to make dinner rolls, cinnamon buns or bread. (I have not yet tried either of these uses).

FILLINGS

Nut mixture (Pictured)
2 lbs shelled nuts ground. (nuts to be ground finely or they will poke through the dough).
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups milk (add a little at a time)
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla.

  1. Grind nuts until coarsely ground, add the sugar and grind until the mixture is finely ground.
  2. Add egg, vanilla, and milk, adding the milk a little at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Cook on low heat to combine, then cool before spreading on dough.

Date & Nut Mixture
Small package of dates
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup hot water
2tsp. vanilla
1 lb. ground nuts

  1. Mix dates, sugar, flour, and water and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla
  3. Mash the dates with a potato masher.
  4. Add 1 pound ground nuts, cool before spreading on dough.

Notes: If mixture is too thick, add a little water.

Slice into 1” pieces and serve. You can wrap the loaves in press ‘n seal or plastic wrap to keep. Keep stored at room temperature.

Makes 7-8 loaves.

April 24, 2010

Homemade Croutons

Croutons

When I buy bread for garlic bread I never seem to be able to use it up as fast as it starts getting hard so now I turn that bread into something! Croutons. We can always use croutons for our salads and now I don’t have to waste bread or buy croutons!

The rest of a loaf of bread going stale
olive oil
salt
1t. garlic powder (or use garlic infused olive oil)
I have also used the Johnny’s Garlic Spread seasoning and it came out really good.

Tear or cut the bread into cubes. Let it get dry out over night (or you can skip this step and it will take a little longer to toast the bread).

Drizzle oil over croutons and toss. Add your seasoning or salt and garlic powder and toss again.

Toast the croutons until they brown – 5 minutes or so. turn and toast the other side for another 5 minutes or so. Or until the croutons are to your toastiness!

March 7, 2010

Artisan Breads Every Day w/Peter Reinhart @ Nothing To It!

(Please forgive the photo quality – they were taken on my phone) 

On Saturday I took a class at Nothing To It! (which is a great place to take cooking classes this was my second class with them). My dad gave me the book Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day (you have probably seen it in my list of cookbooks I use/read and I mentioned it in my Ciabatta post).  Several weeks ago I saw that he was actually teaching a class at Nothing To It, what coincidence! So I signed up right away! Lucky I did because looking at his schedule, his other classes on the West Coast have filled up and there were several out-of-towners in our class. There were 60 people in the class and that’s pretty significant for the small cooking school in small town Reno. 

The class was great. I learned a lot and just watching an expert make bread is a great experience. To watch Peter mix, shape and bake the bread is a lesson on it’s own. But he also shared tips and knowledge he picked up during his years of experiences being a baker – owning a bakery, writing cookbooks and now teaching.   As well as sharing the science of bread. In fact I could probably use a few classes of this information!- he teaches at Johnson and Wales. 

A Couple of the many things I took away from this class: 

Oil instead of butter! Peter mentioned that he started using oil and has found the dough is more supple. So I will be trying this out.

High altitude baking – water boils at a lower temp, which means you can reduce the oven temps.  We (those of us here in Carson) are only at 4500 ft so it’s not a huge difference and we probably don’t need to do this. However, since our climate is drier – and higher altitude environments are generally drier – it may require us to use more water in some recipes. AH HA moment! hence my Babka recipe blunder! I thought the dough was too dry but didn’t think I could add more water without compromising the dough. I was prepared to ask him if he would add more water to some of the recipes since we have a drier environment, but that was the first question that came up in the class! Guess I wasn’t the only one with that problem!!! My biggest babka problem was that it was not cooked through. I thought I used too much chocolate which resulted in it being undercooked, well this was the bread that Peter had to keep checking in class and it went back in the oven several times! While it seems to brown fast it didn’t burn like I thought it would so I should have just kept baking it – now I know. 

Babka

Babka and Challa baking

Next Peter demonstrated how to do a 6 braid Challa (pronounced hall-a, which makes me think of that Gwen Stefani song…holla back girl! LOL)! Instructions for braiding are pretty intimidating, but much easier to absorb when you get to see it done first hand!

Challa Braiding

Taste

While the enriched doughs (Challa, brioche) and sweat breads are super good, my favorites are definitely the lean doughs.  The nutty, crusty breads have always been my favorite, well before I got started making bread.  So my favorites are ciabattas, batards, boules and the like. However, the sticky buns are fantastic. Peter made three different stucky buns and my favorite was the cranberry pecan – those of you who eat my food will be having this sometime soon!  There was much more I learned that will help me in my bread making adventures! I feel more confident that while bread recipes are so scientific, I have more room to play around with than I thought.  So I’m going to be BRAVE in my bread making now! LOL I tell my daughter to “be brave” whenever she is scared…

This is the worst photo of me but I’m going to post it anyway because it’s all I have. It was a great class and I can’t wait to start making more bread! 

Me and Peter

December 13, 2009

Toasted Coconut Cranberry Bread

At work we have an annual Breast Cancer fundraiser during the month of October. We have a raffle, make food, and a themed dress-down day.  It ends up being pretty fun, especially on raffle day when we all compete for really cool prizes like massages, COACH products, or dinners at our favorite restraunts. I usually contribute to making Pink food! So this year I made this bread and it got SUCKED down! This bread is SO moist and dense and doesn’t contain too much sugar or fat. Most of the moistness comes from the yogurt and banana and the sweetness of the banana balances the tartness of the cranberries- one of my favorites!  Its even awesome without the icing.  Everyone loved it, so at the request of Sonia and Kim here is the recipe… (original recipe by The Hungry Housewife)

1/2 stick softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 bananas (the more ripe the better)
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup cranberries (cut in half)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place two separate pieces of foil on each side of the baking sheet. Spread the coconut in a thin layer on one piece of foil and place the walnuts on the other side. Toast until the coconut is light brown and remove the coconut (about 5 minutes).  Continue to toast the walnuts until light brown (another 3 minutes or so). The more toasted the coconut the better it holds up in the bread.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray. Cream together the butter and sugar with a mixer. Mix in the egg. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and the baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, alternating with the yogurt – make sure to start with flour and end with flour.

Mash the bananas very well with a fork. Fold in the smashed bananas, vanilla, toasted nuts and coconut into the batter then carefully stir until combined. Fold in cranberries. Pour the batter into the bread pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until tester comes out of the center of loaf clean. Let cool in the loaf pan for a few minutes before transferring to a rack. Let it cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm with butter. Enjoy.

GLAZE
1 c. powdered sugar
1/4c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1t. orange zest
3T. cranberry juice
1/2 T. unsalted butter

Mix all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl until the sugar dissolves. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds on high and then whisk really fast to ensure all lumps are broken up. Drizzle over bread and let harden. Tada!