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RaisinBread1ONE

Recipe:

1-1/2 cups milk

1 cup raisins

1 cup water

2 pkg active dry yeast (4-1/2 Tbsp.)

½ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

½ cup butter, melted

8 cups bread flour

2 Tbsp. milk

¾ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp. melted butter

Warm the 1-1/2 cups milk until it just starts to bubble (either microwave or stovetop). Stir in the raisins. Let this start cooling while preparing other parts.

Warm the water and stir in the yeast and the ½ cup sugar. Let sit while the yeast activates and it froths. I do this in my KitchenAid mixture. Mix in the eggs, salt, and butter. Stir in the warm, not hot, milk with raisins. Add about 4 cups of flour and run the machine to build the gluten for about 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour until it’s smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a very large greased bowl and turn it over so that the top of the dough is greased and the plastic wrap won’t stick to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface about 1/2 inch thick. Moisten dough with 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix together ¾ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle across top of moistened dough. Roll up lengthwise tightly; so it’s about 3 inches in diameter.* Cut the roll into thirds. Tuck under the ends. Place rolls into greased 9×5 inch loaf pans with the seam at the bottom. Spray the tops of the loaves lightly with oil (or don’t). Let rise again for an hour.

Bake at 350 degrees (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when knocked. Remove loaves from pans and brush with melted butter. Let cool before slicing.

*Note: As you can see from the pictures, my loaves split. They still had that beautiful swirl for each slice and tasted great, but I believe a looser roll might have alleviated the splitting problem. Next time! And next time I’ll try to remember to snap a picture of a slice.

RaisinBread2TWO

Warm the 1-1/2 cups milk until it just starts to bubble (either microwave or stovetop). Stir in the raisins. Let this start cooling while preparing other parts. Warm the water and stir in the yeast and the ½ cup sugar. Let sit while the yeast activates and it froths. I do this in my KitchenAid mixture. Mix in the eggs, salt, and butter. Stir in the warm, not hot, milk with raisins. Add about 4 cups of flour and run the machine to build the gluten for about 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour until it’s smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a very large greased bowl and turn it over so that the top of the dough is greased and the plastic wrap won’t stick to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

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Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface about 1/2 inch thick.

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Moisten dough with 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix together ¾ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle across top of moistened dough.

RaisinBread5FIVE

. Roll up lengthwise tightly; so it’s about 3 inches in diameter.* Cut the roll into thirds. Tuck under the ends. Place rolls into greased 9×5 inch loaf pans with the seam at the bottom. Spray the tops of the loaves lightly with oil (or don’t). Let rise again for an hour.

RaisinBread6SIX

Bake at 350 degrees (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when knocked. Remove loaves from pans and brush with melted butter. Let cool before slicing.

RaisinBread7SEVEN

*Note: As you can see from the pictures, my loaves split. They still had that beautiful swirl for each slice and tasted great, but I believe a looser roll might have alleviated the splitting problem. Next time!

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Hummus & Pita

The hummus recipe is based upon one found here.

Hummus Recipe

1 16 oz can garbanzo beans

1/4 cup liquid from can of garbanzo beans

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain garbanzo beans and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from garbanzos. Blend for a few minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

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Place in serving bowl, and create a well in the middle. Pour a small amount of olive oil into the well.
Serve with pita bread.

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The pita bread recipe is based upon one found at Under The High Chair.

Pita Bread Recipe

1 tablespoon yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3- 3 ½ cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and 1 ½ cups flour. With the dough hook, beat well to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. Let it knead for about 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it is too sticky. The dough will rise AFTER you’ve formed the flat loaves. Go straight to forming now.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six pieces for large pitas or ten for smaller. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them puff. Note: Do not roll out on parchment paper or let them rest on parchment paper in an effort not to use too much flour. They stick! Flour is the way to go. Flour them.

Let rest on the floured surface 30-40 minutes until slightly puffy. By the time you are finished forming the last one, you may be quite close to starting to bake the first one. Get your oven going. It takes time.

Preheat oven AND baking sheet to 425F. Let the baking sheet sit inside the hot oven for about ten minutes after the preheating is finished. That baking sheet needs to be HOT! A high-quality (thicker) baking sheet will retain heat longer, but will take longer to heat at the beginning. I could totally be making that up, but I believe it.

With a large spatula, flip a well-floured round of dough upside down on the dry baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until it’s puffed and light golden. I baked mine one at a time letting the baking sheet heat thoroughly between batches. I think two at a time would work, too.

If you have children or adult science buffs in the room, be prepared! Watching pita bread puff in the oven is really, really cool! A crowd could gather if you have a window in your oven door. Just sayin’. Learn to shout, “Step away from the oven now so I can remove the pita before it burns.”

I’m not telling you how to save your leftovers because these are so amazingly delicious that you will not have any leftovers.

Slice in half cross-wise and stuff with yummy sandwich ingredients or pile gyro ingredients on the top or slice into pie-shaped sections to serve as an appetizer with hummus. It’s all good!

Irish Soda Bread

Well, I’ve missed an entire month! Life happens. Here is one of my all-time favorite breads, based upon Sunset Breads (Lane Publishing 1984). I should have posted it at St. Patrick’s Day as that is when I usually make this, but life interfered then, too. Ha!

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

4 to 4-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

3 tsps. Baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ cup sugar

1/8 tsp. cardamom or coriander (optional)

¼ cup firm butter

1 egg

1-3/4 cups buttermilk

In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cardamom (if used) until thoroughly blended. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until crumbly, In a separate bowl, beat egg lightly and mix with buttermilk; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth (2 to 3 minutes).

Divide dough in half and shape each half into a smooth, round loaf; place each loaf in a greased 8” cake or pie plan and press to make dough fill pans. With a razor blade or sharp floured kife, cut a 1/2” deep cross in top of each loaf.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven (350 degrees for glass pans) for 35 to 40 minutes or until nicely browned. Makes 2 loaves.

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Stir dry ingredients together, then cut in butter. Mix in liquid ingredients. Remove to flour-covered board and briefly knead.

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Divide in half and place into two greased pans.

Cut a cross in the top of each loaf with a floured knife.

Cut a cross in the top of each loaf with a floured knife.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Served warm, it's awesome!

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Served warm, it’s awesome!

 

HamburgerBuns

I split and toasted these with butter, then piled on the pulled pork with barbecue sauce and sauteed sweet peppers. Oh, yummy!

Hamburger Buns Recipe

1 Tbsp. yeast (1 pkg)

1 cup warm water

2 Tbsp. oil

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. salt

3 cups bread flour (apx)

Egg Wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 2 Tbsp. water)

Sesame seeds

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir in egg, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir and stir and stir. Gradually add enough flour to make a dough stiff enough to handle. Knead well. Once it is smooth and elastic, place into greased bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled. Remove from bowl and cut dough into 8 equal pieces. If you are making sliders, cut into 15 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten. Place on greased baking sheet (I fit all of mine onto one sheet, but I should have used two.). Let rise until doubled. This second rise will take about an hour. Carefully brush each bun with egg wash. Sprinkle buns with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sliders should take about 10 minutes.

Hamburger Buns

These are the fluffiest, most delicious dinner rolls. The recipe is based upon one found in Taste of Home’s Oct/Nov 2000 issue. The original recipe calls for using a 15-oz. can of cut sweet potatoes, drained and mashed. I use a fresh sweet potato, cook it, and then let it cool a bit before adding to the recipe. I just eyeball the sweet potato to decide what would fit into a can.

Cook a sweet potato (steam, boil, bake, whatever) and let cool a little bit.

2 packages yeast

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg

1-1/2 tsp. salt

5 to 5-1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast, let stand 5 minutes. Beat in sweet potatoes, sugar, shortening, egg, salt, and 3 cups flour. Add enough flour to make stiff dough. Knead. Place in greased bowl. Let rise until double. Punch down.

Divide into thirds.

Onto a floured board, roll each out into 12” circle.

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter and brush each round of dough with  butter.

Cut each circle into 12 wedges. I use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.

Roll up from wide end and place, pointed end down, 2” apart on greased baking sheets (or parchment covered, as seen here).

Cover and let rise until double.

Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until golden.

Makes 36 rolls.

This recipe is from Sunset Breads, Step by Step Techniques (Lane Publishing, 1984). It is my bread making Bible. Most of my favorite bread recipes are found here. I’ve made this Molasses Pumpernickel Bread many times throughout the years. One lasting memory is when I pulled these loaves from the oven and then a couple friends stopped by. They started picking at one of the loaves and by the time they left, nearly a whole loaf was gone! I like to serve this bread with soup or German-style foods.

Molasses Pumpernickel Bread

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cups milk

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)

2 pkgs (4-1/2 tsp) active dry yeast

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1-1/2 cups whole bran cereal (All-Bran)

3 cups rye flour

About 4-1/2 cups bread flour

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp. water

Warm milk with butter until butter just melts. Stir in walk and molasses. Set aside.

In a large bowl (or mixing bowl with dough hook) combine water, yeast, and brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let stand until bubbly (about 15 minutes). Then add milk mixture, bran cereal, rye flour, and 2 cups bread flour. Beat until well-blended. Using mixer, let it go about 5-8 minutes medium speed. Stir in about 1-1/2 cups more bread flour. Continue kneading or mixing until smooth and satiny, adding flour to prevent sticking.

Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours).

Punch dough down, divide into two equal portions, and knead each portion briefly to release air. Then shape each into a smooth ball; flatten slightly.

Place each loaf on a baking sheet at least 10 x 15″, which has been greased and sprinkled with corn meal to prevent sticking. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 40 minutes).

With a razor blad or sharp floured knife, make 1/2″ deep slashed on tops of loaves, forming a ticktacktoe design. Brush tops and sides with egg yolk mixture.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until bread is richly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to racks and let cool. Makes 2 round loaves.

Popovers

I have tried several different popover recipes and I’ll give you the one that works best. I’m still on the hunt for a better one, though. This is based upon a recipe by Ina Garten (2001 Barefoot Contessa Parties). Popovers are a little like puffs (think cream puffs), in that they are egg based. In a perfect world I suppose that you could quickly remove your perfectly rounded popovers from the oven, slice off the tops, and fill the popovers with Chicken a la King. I have never been so lucky. This does not detract whatsoever from how good they are. The recipe calls for room temperature eggs and milk. I am never so advanced in planning. One trick I do use is to preheat the muffin tins for 2 minutes before pouring in the batter.

Whisk together 1-1/2 cups flour, 3/4 tsp. salt, 3 extra-large eggs, 1-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter and 1-1/2 cups milk. I use a 4-cup measurer as a bowl so I can pour the batter into the muffin tins without a mess.

Place buttered, greased, or sprayed muffin tins (18) in 425 degree oven for 2 minutes exactly. Fill each hot muffin cup half full of batter and bake for 20-25 minutes. DO NOT PEEK!

Remove from oven. Don’t they look crazy! Serve as quickly as possible. They fall very fast. Have your guests open with a fork, being careful not to burn themselves, and spoon Chicken a la King over the top. Delicious!

Popovers Ingredient List

1-1/2 cups flour

3/4 tsp. salt

3 extra-large eggs at room temperature

1-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter

1-1/2 cups milk at room temperature

Whisk all together. Makes 18.

Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Frosting

Based on a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network, this is a delicious and super easy breakfast/dessert.

Set the oven to 325 degrees. Chop 1/2 cup walnuts. Place the walnuts in a pie pan or oven-proof saucer and then into the oven while it preheats. Give the walnuts a shake every once in awhile so they toast fairly evenly. Watch that they don’t burn. Remove from heat once toasted and set aside.

Stir together the dry ingredients: 3 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 2 cups sugar. Set aside.

Mix together the wet ingredients: 1 cup oil, 3 eggs, 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract. Peel and mash 4 ripe bananas.

Mix together the dry ingredients, the wet ingredients, and the mashed bananas. Stir until evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Divide batter among 24 prepared (either paper liners or greased tins) muffin cups.

Bake the muffins at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or when tops are golden brown and bounce back when lightly pressed with a finger. Remove from heat and let cool, either in the pan or out, doesn’t really matter. (The missing muffin was delish, BTW.)

While the muffins are cooling, stir together 3 oz. cream cheese, 6 Tbsp. butter, and 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, all at room temperature. Stir in 3 Tbsp. honey. Spread a dollop of frosting over each muffin and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Dig in!

Okay, so once in awhile I do know how to make something pretty.

Tomorrow morning I’m headed to a bridal shower and was asked to bring something to share. This seems appropriate. I clipped the recipe by Aileen Claire (Times Wire Service) from the Anchorage Times back in the 1980s and have made it many times. I was able find it online at Ocala Star Banner, July 23, 1986. I’m going to give you the recipe the way I make it.

Let dough rise until doubled. Then punch down.

Puree dried prunes with orange juice in blender, then stir in almonds and orange zest.

On floured surface, roll dough out to 18 x 12" rectangle.

Spread filling along upper edge of dough.

Start rolling the dough toward you.

Keep rolling.

Brush lower edge with beaten egg.

Can you see the beaten egg along the bottom edge of the dough?

Pinch edges together to seal. Pick up the dough and move it to a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet, seam side down, in a horse-shoe shape.

Make 12 cuts, about 2/3 of the way through toward center of the dough.

Yeah, so I only made eleven cuts. Do as I say, not as I do. Fan the dough out a bit.

Let dough rise until doubled.

Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cover lightly with foil if it starts to turn too brown.

Remove from the oven.

Let cool. Make a thin icing by mixing powdered sugar with orange juice and drizzle over ring. Voila!

Prune Orange Almond Ring

1 pkg. (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast

1 Tbsp + 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup warm milk

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp. salt

3-4 cups bread flour

Prune Almond Filling (recipe below)

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Powdered sugar

In a large bowl, combine yeast, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and water. Let stand 5-10 minutes until bubbly. Add milk, butter, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and salt to yeast mixture. Add 2-1/2 cups bread flour to mixer with dough hook and knead very well. Add bread flour and continue kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic. Let rise until doubled.

Punch down and roll into an 18 x 12″ rectangle. Spoon Prune Almond Filling along top of long side and roll up as for jelly roll. Brush along lower edge with beaten egg; pinch edges to seal. Form into a horseshoe on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down.

With scissors make 12 cuts two-thirds of the way in center of roll; fan slices out. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Brush top with more of the beaten egg; sprinkle with almonds.

Bake in 375 degree oven 30-35 minutes, until golden brown, covering with foil as needed to prevent overbrowning. Remove to rack to cool. Drizzle with powdered sugar thinned with orange juice or water.

Prune Almond Filling

1-1/2 cups (about 9 oz.) pitted prunes

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup sliced almonds

2 tsp. orange zest

In a blender or food processor combine prunes with orange juice. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowl; mix in sliced almonds and orange zest.

Today I am baking Swedish Limpa. The recipe is based upon a recipe found in one of my two favorite bread cookbooks: Electric Bread by the late Suzan Nightingale. Electric Bread is a cookbook for using a bread machine. I gave away my bread machine several years ago when my daughter talked her dad into buying me a Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment for Christmas. I like having more control over the process of bead making, but the variety of recipes in Electric Bread is amazing so I’ve tweaked them for use in my mixer.

One of the things I’ve learned about making yeast breads in a mixer is that the best kneading takes place before the dough gets stiff, before adding that last cup or two of flour. That’s when you let the machine go for five minutes or so. Then add the final flour to make a stiff dough that’s not too sticky.

Swedish Limpa

3 tsp. active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup warm milk

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. molasses

2 Tbsp. soft butter

1 Tbsp. orange zest

1/2 tsp. anise seed

1/2 tsp. cardamom

3/4 cup flat dark beer (stir an open beer until the bubbles disperse)

1/2 cup rye flour

1-1/2 tsp. salt

2-1/2 cups bread flour (approximate)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add all ingredients except bread flour, start with 1-1/2 cups. Mix and knead very well. Gradually add bread flour until the dough is stiff and not sticky. Cover and let rise until double. Punch down and form into a loaf. Place in greased 9×5″ loaf pan. Cover and let rise until double. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool on rack.

This makes a great ham sandwich or toast in the morning for breakfast. I’ll bet a grilled cheese sandwich would be memorable as well.

What kind?