In the immortal words of Popeye “I can’t stands it no more!” Sometimes you just have to have something and you’ll go to the ends of the earth to get it, well almost. And that’s how it was for me and cheesy bread sticks. I saw a post Colleen (The Smart Cookie Cook) did on Cheesy Garlic Bread Dunkers and I couldn’t get cheesy bread out of my mind!
Her recipe called for some purchased ready made pizza dough, okay, no problem, I went to the store and well, they didn’t sell any. So I went to another, and another and another…I even went to Papa Murphy’s and tried to talk them into selling me their dough, but it was a no go. By this time I could have grown my own wheat, harvested and ground it and made my own dough. Also by this time, It was getting late and I had zero patience’s left.
Imagine being in a foreign country and not for friendly reasons. You’re there because you stepped up and joined the services. The services…Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, the services…to serve. Many people have served this country, they sacrificed me time, family time, friends time and sometimes sacrificed everything, never able to return home again.
Serving and sacrificing for our country, the big, beautiful and diverse United States of America, is what this country was founded on. We didn’t get to be the greatest country in the world without the sacrifices of many people, especially the men and women of the armed forces.
The people who sacrificed for this country come from every aspect of life, rich, middle class, poor, famous, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and so on. It’s so easy to go on in our daily lives and forget what these people have done for us and how their patriotism is an example to us all.
Hola, ¿cómo estás? Feliz Cinco de Mayo! ¿Estás listo para la fiesta? Para esta fiesta mexicana, estoy compartiendo con chorizo y pan de masa fermentada cheddar para elclub de vacaciones recete.
Sorry, I was getting in the spirit of the holiday…In English: Hello, how are you? Happy Cinco de Mayo! Are you ready to party? For this Mexican holiday, I’m sharing with Chorizo and Cheddar Sourdough Bread for the Holiday Recipe Club sponsored by Erin of Big Fat Baker. For this holiday we had choose from one of these three ingredients: dulce de leche, tomatoes and chorizo. It would have been very easy for me to do recipes with all three (actually I’ve cooked with all three this past week) because I am a lover of Mexican, Mexican style, Tex-Mex, South Western cooking. They are all categorically different but similar in their flavor bases and well, just darn good.
I was making some black bean soup in my amazing pressure cooker. The soup takes a total of one hour start to finish and no soaking the beans; the pressure cooker has basically changed my bean eating world. But I’m not posting about pressure cooker/bean love today, however when you have a pressure cooker to do all the work it gives you time to make other things. Things like Chipotle Cornbread Muffins.
If you’ve been hanging out at this blog for long, you know I’ve been quite intimidated by the yeast, and usually don’t care for baking…all that measuring and mess and waiting, typically not for me. Lately, I’ve been more adventurous.
So this 5 minute artisan bread was all the talk several years ago, the bread baking world nearly imploded with the widespread bandwagonism of 5 minute artisan bread. Everyone thought is was so great, everyone except me, who really didn’t give a rats ass because it still required…ugh, yeast, measuring, waiting…baking.
Now that I’m trying to expand my yeast, measuring, waiting, baking self, I thought I’d give it a go round. I dug up a recipe posted in the NY Times, the recipe was adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007).
It was surprisingly easy. My first loaf I made was small and it was perfect, yeasty, adorable, crusty, chewy. The second loaf, the one pictured, I made much larger. It ended up being a little bit doughier. I would have cooked it longer, except my stone broke…boohoo.
I would definitely make this over and over. The dough is good for two weeks, which is great. It does take way longer than 5 minutes. It takes 5 minutes to mix, 10 minutes to clean-up and you still have that whole rise and bake thing. But in the world of yeast breads, this one is right up my alley.
And now for something completely different. I’ve decided to take a break for the holidays. I struggled with whether I was going to post or not but I didn’t get my ass in gear and line some up to be scheduled. Also my family is visiting and I really like to focus on enjoying their company. So I’ll be mostly MIA until their gone. I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday and is as lucky as me to have family or someone(s) special to share it with.
Time: About 45 minutes plus about 3 hours’ resting and rising
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough
In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.
Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.
Variation: If not using stone, stretch rounded dough into oval and place in a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Let rest 40 minutes if fresh, an extra hour if refrigerated. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack.
Baking is not my thing, baking with yeast is even less than my thing. But sometimes I get the yearning to bake fresh bread, usually in the form of my bread maker. Then I saw Amy’s recipe for her weekly bread and I got a hankering for skipping the bread machine. Amy is a local, she writes articles for our At Home section in the Great Falls Tribune and has a blog called Backyard Bounty. Amy is an amazing person, she is all about living simply, cooking and gardening, along with raising a family. I’m super envious of her gardening skills, if only I weren’t so lazy…maybe I can convince Amy to start gardening in my yard?
It was Amy’s weekly bread that caught my eye and got me to kneading. Her bread won “The Best Bread” Blue Ribbon at the Montana State Fair. Blue Ribbon Bread from a great person like Amy, how could I not try it? Amy’s bread is a whole wheat/white flour blend sweetened with honey (from the bees they raise themselves). It’s the wheat aspect that inspired my black and white/sepia photos for this Wednesday.
McGyver and I went on a drive Saturday to check out some new places to hunt. We drove out past Highwood and I was awed by the cut wheat fields. I shot the photo above and the photo below in the exact same spot, I simply turned around. On the one side is an endless view of cut wheat fields dropping off into the horizon. On the other side you can follow the cut fields till they butt up against the Highwood Mountains (which was our real destination but we missed our turn). I don’t think I could have found a spot that better represented the farming landscape of the Great Falls area, we’re partly mountains and partly plains.
I made Amy’s bread to go with our Thanksgiving meal. I made one small change by replacing some of the honey with (REAL) maple syrup.
I found the bread incredibly easy to make, it was a very forgiving recipe. For me to say that about a yeast based recipe says a lot! I baked one large loaf and six mini loaves. I made the mini loaves to replace traditional style rolls.
My family loved, loved, loved the bread. Did I mentioned that my family loved this bread? The texture was perfect with just a touch of maple to add flavor but not so much to be overwhelming.
Bonus, the mini loaves made the perfect little sandwiches. Later in the evening when we just wanted a small sandwich the mini bread was the perfect size. If I had small children at home, I would make small loaves all the time so they could have a personal grown-up whole sandwich instead of a half sandwich.
This recipe makes 3 large loaves of bread (or 9 minis). Amy says the bread freezes really well, I’ll have to take her word for it because we don’t have any left over to freeze.
Maple Wheat Bread (Amy’s Blue Ribbon Weekly Bread)
3 cups warm water (110°F to 120°F)
2 tablespoons yeast
2/3 cup honey
5 cups white all purpose flour
3- 4 cups whole wheat flour (you have to kind of play it by feel)
2/3 cup maple (or honey)
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
In a large stand-up mixer bowl mix warm water and honey, stir to blend. Sprinkle the yeast on top, add flour and mix well. Let proof for 30 minutes.
Cook’s Tip: Spray your measuring cup with no-stick spray before using, it’ll keep the honey from sticking. Use the same measuring cup to measure the warm water, it’ll rinse any remaining residue for an easy clean-up.
After dough has proofed for 30 minutes, add syrup, salt and butter, mix with your stand mixer with a dough hook, on low until well incorporated. Add 3 cups flour one cup a at a time mixing well between each cup. Add the 4th cup flour 1/4 cup at a time with the blender running, until dough pulls away from the sides and starts to form an elastic ball (if it’s a little sticky that’s okay). Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead for 5-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with a towel.
Cook’s Tip: Use non-stick spray to evenly coat your bowl, then spray some on top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap before covering with a towel. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the towel and save on laundry.
Let dough rise in a warm draft free area until doubled (about 2 to 3 hours). When doubled, punch dough down and turn out onto a board, divide dough evenly into 3 loaves. Form dough into roughly 9×5 rectangles and place into three greased buttered loaf pans. Cover with a towel and let rice until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake bread for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool 10 minutes and then remove from pans, finish cooling bread on cooling racks.
We have a cabin, a cabin in the mountains. A cabin on 40 acres of forested rocky mountain. I love our cabin, it’s where we spend nearly every weekend of the summer at. A place with out cable, internet and cell phones…a getaway.
Since McGyver and I play mountain man and mountain woman every weekend (hey, it’s not that kind of roll play), I really wanted to challenge my traditional cooking and go more old fashioned. I can’t say simpler, because cooking over an open fire or in a Dutch oven is not simpler. As a matter of fact it’s harder.
In my house I don’t have to deal with bad weather and I have dials and buttons and displays that tell me my temp, time, bake, broil or which ever. It’s just guess work out there. It’s guess work at first and then it’s experience.
I’m still in the guess work stage. If you remember my post about cooking a chicken over an open fire on a spit = epic fail, you know I’m definitely guessing! McGyver and I had a 4 day weekend, and the Baby boy was to drive up and meet us on Saturday for the rest of the weekend. Which meant that I had time (and help) to tackle some old fashion cooking.
I planned on baking a loaf of bread in a Dutch oven. If you follow me at all, you know I’m afraid of the yeast and really am not much of a baker. But I had this idea to bake a loaf of plain white bread and have sandwiches and toast for the weekend. I also planned on a meatloaf cooked in the Dutch and, gulp, my nemesis, the dreaded chicken on a spit.
On Friday, I mixed and made my dough and set it to rise. After one hour, it was looooking good! I punched it down and put it in my clay loaf pan (which had been soaking during the rise), while it was on it’s second rise I went out and lit my coals for the Dutch oven. Only it was real windy, after 22 matches the newspaper caught on fire and I was set (I was using a charcoal chimney).
Or so I thought.
Turns out that wind just caused my newspaper to burn up too fast to light the coals. I got more newspaper (brought from home, we don’t get delivery there…imagine that). This time I shoved it in as tightly packed as I could, my second dough rise was going on and I needed some coals! After another 22 matches, the newspaper caught on fire and I was set.
Or so I thought.
Really! That’s it, I’m a desperate woman now. I had it with the wind so I took my chimney and my newspaper and my matches to the only place that I have that isn’t windy, the cabin. I stuffed that charcoal chimney again with newspaper and after only 1 match it lit! I set it right on top of my wood stove. And. it. worked.
It worked so well in fact that the cabin was quickly filling up with smoke. I opened all the windows and ran my chimney outside (cuz it was really goin good..no fear of it going out) and caught some windy fresh air. Since I was sitting outside waiting for the smoke to clear in the cabin, I read that Kingsford charcoal bag (you do things like that when you don’t have cable or internet).
Do you know what it said?
It had a warning label on it, something about carbon monoxide hazard and it should only be used outside. Hmmm, I would have never guessed. Too late now.
Well, I baked that bread in that Dutch oven and it rose and rose. It rose so high that the top burnt to the lid. I went to check on it and lifted the lid and my loaf lifted straight out of the pan and stayed on the lid. Like it had some kind of magnet on it. What could I do? I’m holding a lid with this Dutch oven lid lifter, the lid is like 400°F and my “free” had is bare. I tried knocking that bread off and finally it gave in.
The loaf was a loss…but Summer didn’t mind! Normally breaking the bread is when you sit down for a meal with family and friends…not feeding it to your dog. But then again, Summer is family.
It took about 10 tosses and an entire roll of film card before she finally caught a piece.
The next day I made meatloaf, guess what? It was perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s right. I know it looks like a bunch of overly large turds covered in sauce on the plate but I cooked it in a ring to speed up the cooking time. It just wouldn’t come out of there in a ring.
Hey family, come and get some turd loaf for dinner
On Sunday I tried my hand at a chicken on a spit sans glaze (that was a bad move last time). This time I was going to be using some hickory wood and lightly smoke it. I had it on the spit and cooking shortly after 1:00 pm. I started it low and slow and utilized my stick trick for holding the spit handle in place. I dutifully rotated it every 15 to 20 minutes.
Whilst the chicken was cooking I enlisted the Baby boy to make some bread dough for me. No, I wasn’t going to try and make bread again. See the problem was, my Dutch oven wasn’t deep enough for a loaf in a pan, I was sure that was the real issue. Not to be conquered I decided on rolls instead.
I was busy sanding a table and some chairs, so the Baby boy helped out. He’s never made homemade bread before and I usually use a bread machine but my most recent endeavor left me feeling good about my recipe and the dough itself.
It turned out perfect! The Baby boy did a great job with the dough (with some coaching…) and I baked up some perfect rolls! IN A DUTCH OVEN! I knew I could, I knew I could.
If you are curious about the Dutch oven cooking, I used the Dinwiddie Method on the top and the coal count method on the bottom. My decision was based on recommendations from Toni over at Dutch Oven Madness (the goddess of Dutch Oven Cooking and my new hero).
As for the chicken…at 5:00 pm when I thought she was done, I pulled that leg and thigh out and looked inside. It looked done and the juices ran clear.
Nada. Nope. Not even.
Since I didn’t have any glaze on this bird, it was easy to put it back over the coals. Also, I only partially cooked my pan roasted potatoes so that when the chicken was ready I could just fire them up while it was resting. Another 90 minutes later, perfect. This time it was dinner at 6:30 pm and not raw chicken at 10:00 pm. Still some guess work but definitely better planning (experience). My rough estimation is that it takes about 1 hour per pound on an open spit.
Sunday Dinner, the old fashioned way.
I learned a lot this weekend and I finished painting my old orange table and brown chairs (I’m not sure if I like the red/white combo…maybe too café and not cabiny enough?). I also split and stacked a bunch of wood. I’m also happy to say that I finally learned how to use the manual mode in my camera (I used the aperture priority almost exclusively), I also learned how to use my remote and I borrowed a tripod and practiced with that this weekend.
Isn’t it amazing what can be done when there aren’t distractions?
Basic White Bread (Single loaf or pan of rolls)
1 1/4 cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 pkg. yeast
4 1/2 tsp. sugar
4 1/2 tsp. lard or butter softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 to 3 1/4 cups bread flour
In a large bowl add water and then sprinkle the yeast and sugar over it, wait 5 minutes. Stir in lard, salt and 1 cup of flour. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a a time until the dough starts to form a ball. turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Place dough in into a large oiled bowl and turn to coat dough with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down, then shape and place into a lightly greased 9×15 loaf pan or roll pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled (about 40 minutes). Bake at 375°F for approximately 30 minutes for the loaf and 20 minutes for rolls, or until the tops are golden brown and sound hollow when you ‘knock’ on it.
Saturday morning, after a long week I wanted to make some home made biscuits for breakfast. They had been on my mind all week. Biscuits, warm and flaky. After making a pot of coffee, I delved into the refrigerator to get my ingredients.
Hmmm, no buttermilk, no regular milk, only 2 tbsp. of butter. Yeah, biscuit aren’t going to happen, I certainly wasn’t motivated to actually get dressed and go to the store early in the morning. Then I remembered my mom used to make drop biscuits all the time, that thought got me to thinking. If I don’t have to roll out the dough, I don’t have to use cold butter, I can substitute, oh I don’t know, bacon fat? Mmmm bacon fat, another thought, how about some bacon in those biscuits?
I still didn’t have milk or buttermilk but I did have a 1/2 cup of sour cream. Mmmmm sour cream and bacon, and yet another thought! (Boy was I doing a lot of thinking…surprised I didn’t burn down the house.) I could add some cheddar cheese. The mostly empty larder still had a few gems in it!
I set to work, and had the biscuit dough whipped up lickety split and into the oven. Breakfast was ready in no time. Only problem, that meant I had plenty of time to go grocery shopping.
Sour Cream, Bacon and Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup bacon fat or melted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water, milk or buttermilk
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 450F. Mix dry ingredients, add bacon fat, sour cream, and liquid. Mix thoroughly, if mixture looks dry add more milk by the tablespoons (the dough should be slightly sticky). Stir in crumbled bacon and grated cheese. Drop by a large spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
Don’t let the words banana and granola lure you into believing that there is anything healthy about these muffins. The chocolate chips are a good clue that these muffins aren’t exactly healthy, add the butter and sugar, well, you get a great tasting, high calorie, and high fat muffin.
Don’t get the wrong idea, these muffins are totally worth it. Just don’t eat the whole dozen at once. Moderation is the key, especially for an over the top recipe. I made the muffins, not for myself, but for a bake sale to raise money for our local rec league wresting team. They sold in no time and got a resounding thumbs up!
Like most of my recipes, they start with a necessity to use something up. Some ripe bananas and the end of the granola cereal box were my main inspiration. In addition, I had a huge bag (purchased from Sam’s Club) of Ghirardelli chocolate chips in my freezer. As someone who does little baking, any opportunity to throw some chocolate chips into a baked good to reduce my stock, is a good idea.
Resist the temptation and leave your last 2 or 3 bananas, let them get ripe and make these muffins. You won’t be disappointed! Come on, I know you want some!
Banana, Chocolate Chip, Granola Muffins
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs. all purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3 bananas)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 plus 2 tbs. butter, melted and divided
1 1/2 cups granola, divided
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or line with muffin paper liners. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until moistened. Then stir in the granola, and chocolate chips. Do not over mix. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tbsp. flour, cinnamon and melted butter. Then stir in 1/2 cup granola. Sprinkle topping over muffins and gently press into batter.
Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean.
Last Saturday I missed the first day of the Farmer’s Market because we were up at the cabin. McGyver headed up again to take what will be our bathroom (shower, sink and other stuff) for our neighbor to install. I decided to stay back because I just couldn’t bear to miss going to the market. The Great Falls Farmer’s Market is a nice mix of farmer’s, crafters and a variety of other vendor’s to include Indian Frybread and children’s activities. I went with my friends Kim and Sean. They picked me up, promptly at 8:10 am (8:00 am was the plan but for Kim and I, 10 minutes after is prompt). We found parking no problem, armed with reusable bags we were ready to shop.
It was a perfect day, cool and sunny! The stalls were brimming with colorful vegetables, herbs, baked goods and crafts. So picturesque, and I forgot my camera. Can we all say “duh”. In all my excitement I ran out of the house without my trusty Nikon, so no pictures this time. I’ll have to save that for a rainy day (because you know the next time I go and remember my camera, it will rain.
I didn’t eat breakfast before going because I knew there would be treats to taste. I shared an Indian Frybread with Kim and Sean, we purchased it from our friend Tina who sells them there every Saturday. Besides all the wonderful local items for sale, the other thing I love about a local Farmer’s market are all the people you see. I saw Bette & Gail, Bill and Amber, Hillary, Bowen with Hillary’s Mom and her friend Jon and I saw a brunch of faces that I recognized through work, but don’t really know them. Just seeing familiar faces warms my soul.
Not having breakfast, and sharing only some frybread, by the time I got home I was definitly feeling a tinchie bit hungry. Honestly I couldn’t wait to dig into some of my purchases! So I whipped up a very simple post Farmer’s Market Brunch for one.
I made an 0pen faced brie and bacon sandwich with fresh sugar snap peas on the side.
My favorite cheese in the world is brie, my favorite meat in the world is bacon.
Put them together and I just made myself a little bit of heaven!
1 thick slice of good artisan bread
1/2 tsp butter
1 oz (2 slices) brie
2 slices bacon
Go to the farmer’s market or local bakery and get some country style bread.
This is mandatory, it just won’t be the same with bread from the grocery store.
I picked up this loaf from Matt Carlson’s Big Sky Bread & Pastry stall at the market.
Resistance was futile, I had to stop and buy.
I’m not sure if it was his bread or his T-Shirt that read “Knead Pain” that attracted me the most.
Ultimately, cool shirt or not, the bread was definitely worth the purchase.
Start off by buttering your bread then broiling it to a nice golden brown.
While you are waiting, eat the first slice of crust you cut off.
Enjoy the slight crunch of the crust, the tender chewiness of the bread.
Let the smell of yeast waft through your nose and dance on your taste buds.
Then get back to business.
I could just keep slicing the bread and eating it, it was that good, but brie and bacon were waiting for me.
When I need only a little bit of bacon I like to microwave it.
Wrap up a couple of slices in a double thickness of paper towels and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Naturally microwave ovens vary so choose the best time for yours.
Cook it until it is crisp but not crumbly.
Cut up into small pieces.
Cover your broiled bread with the cheese and put it under the broiler.
Cook until it starts to bubble.
Yes, I am fully aware my toaster oven has crumbs on the bottom.
I don’t care, I know I should, but I don’t.
I use it and it shows, what’s wrong with that?
All those crumbs are reminders of all the delicious stuff I’ve cooked in there.
Speaking of delicious, add some of the sliced bacon on top and broil for another minute.
It’ll really crisp up the bacon and render a little bit of that fat.
Brie with bacon fat, can you picture the dreaminess look in eye?
I have a confession to make….
you only need one slice of bacon.
I just cook two so I can nimble on the bacon bits while it broils.
Everyone should do this, that’s why I list 2 as a necessary ingredient.
I went out to the back porch to enjoy by Farmer’s Market brunch and read the latest issue of my Saveur magazine.
Ironically the entire issue was dedicated to Markets!