Soft Sandwich Bread & Butterflake Rolls

June 11, 2020

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Aaaand……I’m back to bread today – Peter Reinhart’s Soft Sandwich Bread to be exact. This Classic Sandwich Bread is wonderful! It comes together very easily and bakes up very tall with a lovely soft crumb.

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And bonus! This recipe can also be used to make these gorgeous little Butterflake Rolls, or a combination of one loaf of bread along with some rolls, such as I did.

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This dough does require an overnight rest, but otherwise everything about this recipe is quick and easy. And the bread…oh so amazing! There are few things that beat the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen.

IMG_0255This bread is lovely and soft, but sturdy enough to hold up to any sandwich. Wonderful for grilled cheese and delightful when simply toasted and slathered with butter.IMG_0272And speaking of butter – these Butterflake Rolls are the bomb! To make them you roll the dough out, brush melted butter all over the surface, cut it into strips, stack them and then bake them in muffin tins. Just look at all those lovely flaky buttery layers just waiting to be pulled apart!IMG_0298

Truth be told, I originally baked this loaf of sandwich bread to use in another recipe that I have been working on. I don’t want to give too much away, because I hope to post that one soon, but lets just say it is a sandwich like none other! How’s that for a teaser?!! And this bread was nothing short of perfection!

 

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Take my word for it! You will LOVE this Soft Sandwich Bread!

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Soft Sandwich Bread & Butterflake Rolls

  • Servings: 2 loaves or 1 loaf & 10 -12 rolls or a whole bunch of rolls
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon (.33 oz/9 grams) instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons (15 oz./425 grams) lukewarm (35°C/95°F) milk
  • 6 1/4 cups (28 oz./794 grams) unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (.5 oz./14 grams) salt, or 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons (2.75 oz. /78 grams) sugar, or 1/4 cup honey
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz./85 grams) vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved. Set aside for 1 to 5 minutes.

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, oil and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer, then pour in the milk mixture. Using the paddle attachment mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes.

Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured work surface for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is soft, supply and tacky but not sticky.

Knead the dough by hand for 1 minute, then form it into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days.

On baking day, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 1/2 hours before you plan to bake.

If you would like to bake two 8″X4 1/2″ loaves, divide dough in half. Each piece should weigh about 25 ounces (709 grams). For a 5″X9″ loaf, like I baked, you will need 794 to 907 grams (28 – 32 ounces). I then used the remaining dough to make the Butterflake Rolls.*see below for shaping method.

Shape the dough into sandwich loaves and place in greased loaf pans to rise. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2 1/2 hour, until it domes about 1″ above the rim of the pans.

About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F. (177°C)

Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 20 -30 minutes. The bread is done when the top is golden brown, the sides are firm and brown, the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is at least 185°F (85°C) in the center.

Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

For the Butterflake Rolls:

Roll the dough to a 1/4″ thick rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into four even strips, then stack the strips neatly on top of one another. Use a pastry scraper to cut the stacked strips into 1″ wide     pieces. Place the small stacks on their sides in an oiled muffin tin. Proof and bake following the recipe. It should take 15 -20 baking time total for rolls.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Soft Sandwich Bread & Butterflake Rolls:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Wilton 9″X 5″ Loaf pan

Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday Cookbook

 


Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits

May 21, 2020

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I have been all about bread recently…Skillet Cornbread and then, most recently, Buttery Potato Burger Buns. And guess what? I must be on a roll (ha! pun intended), but I’m going to stay the course today and share a recipe with you for Buttermilk Biscuits. And not any ole buttermilk biscuits, but these golden delicious darlings happen to be Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits!

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Now I must admit the Husband and I do love our buttermilk biscuits and have always been on the lookout for the “best” recipe. I took a look back at my catalog of past recipes and found four different ones for the elusive best buttermilk biscuit. There were the Buttermilk Biscuits that I baked for my Spicy Pork & Chorizo Breakfast Biscuits

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The Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits

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The Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

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And finally those Buttermilk Biscuits that I baked to go with my Nashville Hot Chicken

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That is a lot of Buttermilk Biscuits, no? So what makes these biscuits Bon Appétit’s best?  And perhaps more importantly are they our best? Well, there does not  seem to be any secret ingredient to be found in this recipe – it’s flour, butter, buttermilk, baking powder and soda, a little salt and sugar. Nope, it isn’t the ingredients. It is all about the technique. You need to use cold butter. You need to work quickly and have a very light touch. Overworking the dough will result in tough biscuits. Nobody wants that. Tender, fluffy & flaky are what we are going for!

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As you are mixing these biscuits up, you are probably going to think that the recipe is too dry. Resist the urge to add any more buttermilk. Just continue to lightly work that shaggy, craggy, crumbly dough as best you can into a square that is 1″ tall. As the dough sits it will continue to hydrate. Believe me. I was skeptical as I was doing it, but it really does work! Another trick that makes these biscuits so irresistible is the stacking of the dough. This ends up creating layers of thin sheets of butter. Kind of like that laminated dough I told you about when I made these Spinach Croissants

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It is these little butter rivers running through the dough that expand upon baking to create this lovely tall layers.

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Final tip – when you cut the dough into biscuits, use a sharp blade and push your blade straight down to cut. Do not saw back and forth. This will help to give you biscuits the tallest rise possible.

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And perhaps the best thing about this recipe for me is that you can make up a big batch of biscuits ahead of time and freeze them. Then when you get a hankering for a biscuit, be it for breakfast with some egg and sausage or even country ham, or slathered with butter and drizzled with honey or maybe to go along with your Sunday dinner, just grab however many you want out of the freezer and pop them right into a hot oven. A mere 20 -25 minutes later these exquisite golden tall flaky biscuits will be ready. Now you can’t beat that! But back to that question “Are these Buttermilk Biscuits our best?” Hmmm…these are definitely up there! They were so buttery & golden and rose so high with lots of flaky layers, but I’m not sure the quest is over. Certainly the continued pursuit will lead to even more biscuit sampling, which is always a good thing in my book!

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Bon Appétit's Best Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Servings: 9-12 depending on how big you cut them
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Bon Appétit

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces, plus more melted for brushing over the tops
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Pulse baking powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and 3½ cups flour in a food processor to combine. Add chilled butter and pulse until largest pieces of butter are the size of a pea. Transfer to a large bowl and gradually drizzle buttermilk over top, tossing with a fork as you go to incorporate. Knead mixture a few times in bowl until a shaggy dough forms (mixture will look a little dry), then turn out onto a clean surface and pat into a 1″-thick square.

Using a knife or bench scraper, cut dough into 4 pieces. Stack pieces on top of one another, sandwiching any loose dry bits of dough between layers, and press down to flatten. Lift up dough with bench scraper and dust surface with flour. Roll dough into a 1″-thick rectangle and trim a thin border around sides of dough to create clean edges. Cut into a 4×3 grid to make 12 biscuits (don’t reroll scraps). Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2″ apart; freeze 10 minutes.

Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if you desire and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and bake biscuits until deep golden brown on bottom and golden on top, 20–25 minutes.

Do Ahead: Biscuits (unbaked) can be made 1 month ahead. Freeze, uncovered, on baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Do not thaw before baking, but add a few minutes to baking time.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits:

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Oxo Multipurpose Scraper

Dough Rolling Mat


Buttery Potato Burger Buns

May 15, 2020

IMG_9980So let me get this right…last weekend we had a freeze/frost warning which had all the gardeners out there scrambling and me cooking up a pot of chili. Today, just six short days later, it is forecasted to be 86° F (that is 30°C)!?! That is insanity from the weather. Kind of goes along with the surealness of this Covid-19 crisis. I am definitely not pleased about either one. However, I know that a lot of folks out there will be happy to see this what I will call “hot” weather. They will be firing up their grills. And I’ve got a great Burger Bun recipe for you just in time: Buttery Potato Burger Buns!

IMG_9974Apparently pandemics bring out the bread baking in everyone out there. Folks have bought up all the flour, all the yeast. Hopefully you’ve managed to score some. Besides regular all purpose flour, this recipe does also call for potato flour, which I know is an ingredient that you might not have on hand. Don’t despair, you can just sub in some instant potato flakes and you’re good. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have a hamburger bun pan, you can make due with a parchment lined baking sheet.IMG_9972These buns are so amazing! I could not have been anymore pleased with them. If you’ve ever had a Martin’s Potato Roll – they are like that ‘cept better! I didn’t have any fresh hamburger meat in the house when the whole lockdown thing started, but we had some burger patties in the freezer. Believe me, these buns stole the show! I can’t wait until the day, you know a year or so from now (just kidding! I hope…) when I can actually get some ingredients that will be worthy to put between these fantastic, tender, buttery buns. In the meantime, I’m thrilled that these Buttery Potato Burger Buns are the thing that truly make us look forward to our quaran-burger dinners.IMG_9968

Buttery Potato Burger Buns

servings = “6 Burger Buns” difficulty = “easy”]

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (361grams) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup (43grams) Potato flour or 1/2 cup (43grams) dried potato flakes
  • 1/4 cup (35grams) nonfat dry milk
  • 2 Tablespoons (25grams) sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons (57grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (227grams) lukewarm water (95° F)

Directions:

Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it’s almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough onto a lightly greased surface, gently deflate it, and divide it into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

Place the balls into the greased cups of a hamburger bun pan, flattening gently. Or place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2″ to 3″ between them; flatten gently.

Cover and let rise until the buns have doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re light golden brown.

Remove them from the oven, and brush them with melted butter, if desired.

Transfer the buns to a rack to cool. Store buns, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Enjoy!

Buttery Potato Burger Buns brought to you by: RuncibleEats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Buttery Potato Burger Buns:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hamburger Bun Pan

 


Skillet Cornbread

May 12, 2020

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So Winter hasn’t given up yet around here! Over the past weekend there were frost warnings and forecasts of snow out in the mountains. Not that I’m complaining…I’d rather keep things on the cool side rather than move right into the hot, muggy unpleasantness that is often a Virginia summer. With the chilly weather, I decided to make up a big ole pot of chili, White Chicken Chili to be exact. And what goes better with chili? A big ole pint of beer? Well, yes. Beer is good. But how about a big ole hunk of cornbread slathered with butter! Now you’re talking!

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The Husband and I love cornbread. And I’ve posted quite a few recipes in the past. But I gotta say – I think we’ve found a new favorite: Skillet Cornbread. This cornbread has it all! It is moist. It is buttery. It has crispy crunchy edges. And it is not too sweet. A little brown sugar and a bit of honey gives it just the right amount of sweetness.

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I’ve always thought that Northern Cornbread was sweeter than Southern Cornbread. When I did a bit of snooping around online, I found out that I had stumbled into a raging debate. A lot of folks out there have some definite ideas about that topic and can get downright prickly over it with statements such as “If God had wanted sugar in cornbread he would have called it cake”. Hmmm…

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There is no doubt that cornbread is associated with the South. This is likely due to the fact that cornbread was the bread that was eaten there daily from colonial times up to the 20th Century. As it turns out, corn was the South’s main crop. Wheat tended not to do so well in the heat & humidity there. So although I know Buttermilk Biscuits are also considered a Southern thing, in the past they were only baked for special occasions or maybe for Sunday dinner. Folk’s daily bread was cornbread.

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I was fascinated to discover that back in the day, the type of corn predominantly grown in the South was a white corn. This corn was left in the fields to ripen completely and then taken to a water mill to be stone ground. Eventually, with industrialization, these stone mills were replaced by steel roller mills. This type of mill took away much of the corn kernel and thereby the flavor. Furthermore, these roller mills preferred to use unripened yellow corn, which was not as sweet. In order to get that sweet flavor back in their cornbread, guess what folks added – you got it, sugar.

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So, this recipe does have a little bit of sugar in it, but not so much sugar that you are going to be thinking you are eating a cake. But I think the thing that really makes this cornbread so spectacular is that it is cooked in a blazing hot cast iron skillet. Pouring the batter into that hot skillet sears the edges and caramelizes the sugar in the batter to give you that scrumptiously crunchy crust, while keeping the middle nice and tender and moist.

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Yum, yum and yum! Whether you’re from the North, or the South or any other place, you are going to agree, this is some super tasty, buttery delicious cornbread! Pull out your cast iron skillets and bake a batch of this cornbread today!

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Skillet Cornbread

  • Servings: 6-8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (120grams) cornmeal
  • 1 cup (125grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup (67grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) honey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons minced jalapeño peppers (optional – you could also throw in some cheese or bacon or even dried cranberries – or leave it plain, your choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • Maldon flaky sea salt to sprinkle over top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease a 9″-10″ cast iron skillet. Set aside.

Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and honey together until completely smooth and thick. Then, whisk in the egg until combined. Finally, add in the buttermilk and mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the jalapeños if you are using them and whisk until just combined. Take care not to over mix, or beat the batter or the cornbread will be tough.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is cooked through. Use a toothpick to test. Edges should be crispy at this point.

Paint melted butter over the top of the cornbread and sprinkle with a bit of flaky Maldon sea salt.

Allow to slightly cool before slicing and serving. Serve cornbread with butter, honey, jam, or whatever you like.

Wrap leftovers up tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Enjoy!

Skillet Cornbread brought to you today by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Skillet Cornbread:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet

Le Creuset Handle Sleeve

 


Corn Muffins with a Kick!

April 21, 2020

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How does that saying go… Thirty days hath September, April, June and November? Yeah right! By my reckoning March had about 2 years worth and April has about 8,ooo days at this point and counting! Just kidding!!! I know there are folks out there quarantining with toddlers, so the Husband and I who are just locked in with some talkative cats, have it pretty dang good, all things considered. Although Spring is definitely in the air, some chilly weather keeps trying to wiggle back into play. I’ve been cooking up quite a few warming, hearty stews, lentil dishes and chilis. These spicy Corn Muffins have been the perfect accompaniment to many a dinner.

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These muffins are very easy to make and come together quickly. I think it is quite likely that you will have most of these ingredients ready to go in your pantry as well. And these spicy devils do have a good kick to them. But if you aren’t a fan of spice, simply leave out the jalapeños and cup back on the cayenne. These moist flavorful muffins are not really sweet at all, which is how the Husband and I like our cornbread. They are delicious all on their own and you just can’t beat them when slathered with butter!

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Corn Muffins with a Kick!

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) milk
  • 4 7/8 oz. (1 cup) cornmeal
  • 6 1/4 oz. (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 oz.(1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 7/8 oz (3/4 cup) minced scallions (could sub. in shallots)
  • 3 Tablespoons jalapeño peppers, minced
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) shredded pepperjack cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F and heavily grease the wells of a 12 muffin baking tin.

In a small bowl, pour the milk over the cornmeal and set the mixture aside to soak while you assemble the dry ingredients.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Beat the eggs and add them to the cornmeal mixture with the oil. Add the cornmeal and milk to the dry ingredients, stirring until just blended; don’t beat this batter or your muffins will be tough. Fold in the scallions, jalapeños peppers and 1/4 cup of the pepper jack cheese. Using a 1/4 cup muffin scoop, place the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the muffins and bake them for 18 – 22 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Corn Muffins with a Kick:

Mason Cash “Into the Forest” mixing bowl – Sure…you don’t need this mixing bowl to make these muffins, but I absolutely love my Mason Cash bowls, so just thought I’d give them a shout out!

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

April 17, 2020

IMG_9748Here is a fantastically easy yeast bread recipe for everyone out there practicing social distancing: No-Knead Crusty White Bread. This recipe bakes up a crusty artisan loaf that anyone would be proud of.

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And here is some more awesomeness about it – once you mix the dough up it just sits in your fridge, developing more and more flavor, until you are ready to bake it! Yup, just pinch off a bit of the dough – as much as you want for your evening meal – and leave the rest in the fridge.  You heard me – multiple loaves of fresh bread in a week with minimal effort! Oh – bestill my heart!!!

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I know some folks are a little nervous about baking anything with yeast. I was that way in the past. But seriously, you’ve got to just get over it and take the plunge. Well, I guess you need to make sure you have the ingredients. There was a run on flour and yeast when all of the lockdowns started happening. I had yeast, but found myself running low on flour. I had mentioned to you in a couple of posts back that I was eagerly awaiting a delivery from Giant’s Peapod grocery delivery service. I had to wait about three weeks to get a delivery time slot and had no idea what I would be getting from my list as the service had stipulated that certain items might be removed depending on availability. So, it would be a surprise – kind of like Christmas morning. It turned out it was more like Christmas morning than I had intended as the time slot I got was 6:30 am – 8:30 am and don’t you know it, that driver was at my door at 6:30 am sharp. Yeah, we are definitely not early birds around here but it was a pretty big day for us, so while not bright eyed and bushy tailed, we were awake and ready. While I am grateful to get anything without having to venture to the store, I must say Peapod did not win me over. I ended up not getting about 1/2 of the items on my list. The biggest disappointments of the missing items for me were no flour and no sugar. And some of the produce that was sent to me were not items I would have picked – ie. the apples had big brown spots and were going bad. The other delivery services I was aware of, like Instacart,  had absolutely no availability. So I decided to take a look at Harris Teeter ExpressLane. They offered an express service whereby you could order and pay online, then one of their personal shoppers would pick out your items and finally all you would have to do is just drive up to the store and someone would come out and put the items in your trunk. Nice & contactless! The problem there was getting a time slot. When I looked, everything was booked out for six days. So I readied the items in my cart and just sat there refreshing the page. Kind of like trying to score tickets to a hot concert. And voila – a time slot suddenly came available just two days away, so I grabbed it immediately! I must say, it was a much better experience. Not only did I not have to wait nearly a month, but I was also able to purchase two bags of King Arthur Flour and two bags of sugar! Score! And I know you will find this hard to believe, but they even were able to grant my toilet paper wish! SUPER AMAZING score!!!

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Oh yeah, but back to this wonderful Crusty White Bread I was telling you about. This is such an easy-peasy recipe!

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I will say that if you are an experienced bread baker, this dough is much stickier than what you will be used to. You will end up using a good amount of flour while shaping it! But don’t fret, it will actually bake up very nicely. I experimented with baking one of the batches I made in a dutch oven and was very pleased with the result. The bread did rise up higher and the crust was absolutely phenomenal – crisp and chewy, glossy and golden – as if it came out of a professional bakery!

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Apparently the steam that is created and sealed in when you slip the dough into the preheated Dutch oven is the thing that transforms the crust. I have included some info on how this is done below and here is a helpful article from King Arthur Flour on Bread Baking in a Dutch Oven. Just for comparison, I also baked a couple of loaves simply on a bread stone, following the recipe below, and they came out quite lovely as well. The crust was not as crackly or crisp but still had a deliciously chewy texture.

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If it is your first time baking yeast bread, I urge you to give this recipe a try.You will be amazed at the masterpiece that will come out of your oven. No doubt you’ll be a bread baking convert!

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No-Knead Crusty White Bread

  • Servings: 3 or 4 loaves - depending on size
  • Difficulty: ridiculously easy!
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 7 1/2 cups (907g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 cups (680g) lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (14g) instant yeast or active dry yeast

Directions:

The flour/liquid ratio is important in this recipe, so measure carefully. Your best bet is to weigh the flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket. For first-timers, “lukewarm” means about 95° – 105°F, but don’t stress over getting the temperatures exact here. Comfortably warm is fine; “OUCH, that’s hot!” is not. Yeast is a living thing; treat it nicely.

Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined.

Next, you’re going to let the dough rise. If you’ve made the dough in a plastic bucket, you’re all set — just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here. If you’ve made the dough in a bowl that’s not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it’s going to rise a lot. There’s no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it’s time to bake bread.

Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you’re pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it’ll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it’ll rise, then fall. That’s OK; that’s what it’s supposed to do.

When you’re ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, (Seriously. Grease. Your. Hands. This dough is really sticky!) and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It’ll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.

Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface (let me repeat that – FLOURED. Work Surface. Again – this dough is Sticky!), and round it into a ball, or a longer log. Don’t fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can. If you would like to try your hand at baking in a Dutch Oven – see notes below*

Place the loaf on a piece of floured parchment (if you’re going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the bread moist as it rests before baking.

Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 60 minutes (or longer, up to a couple of hours, if your house is cool). It won’t appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it’ll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the loaf rests. If you’re using a baking stone, position it on a middle rack while the oven preheats. Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.

When you’re ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2″ deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that’s OK, it’ll pick right up in the hot oven.

Place the bread in the oven — onto the baking stone, if you’re using one, or simply onto a middle rack, if it’s on a pan — and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It’ll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.

Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s a deep, golden brown.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Enjoy!

* Notes on Baking in a Dutch Oven:

When you are ready to bake, measure out a two pound ball of dough. Shape the dough as best you can, on a piece of floured parchment. Leave the dough ball seam side up. Again this dough is ridiculously sticky. Be very liberal with the flour.

Preheat your dutch oven 30 minutes prior to your loaf being ready to bake. I used a 3.5 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven. A 4.5 quart oven should work as well.

When ready to bake, remove the hot Dutch Oven and spray the interior with a burst of vegetable oil non-stick spray and sprinkle cornmeal in the bottom of the pan to prevent the bread from sticking.

Slide your hand under the parchment paper and plop the dough into the hot pan. Don’t fret if the dough sticks to the parchment a bit. Mine did and it caused the dough to deflate a bit, but again all was well.

Make a few slashes in the top of the loaf. A bread lamé would work great here. I did not have one and had difficulty fitting my knife into the hot pan without hitting my wrist on the edge – OUCH!

Bake 25 – 30 minutes and then remove the lid and bake for another 5 – 10.

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for No-Knead Crusty White Bread:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Dough Scraper

Emile Henry Pizza/Bread Baking Stone

Le Creuset Signature 4.5 Quart Dutch Oven

Upkoch Bread Lame


Classic Irish Soda Bread

March 11, 2020

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What would St. Patrick’s Day be without some Classic Irish Soda Bread? I’ve got a great recipe for to share with you today that will tell you how to bake up a gorgeous golden brown loaf with a fabulous, crisp craggy crust and a dense yet moist center. Perfect to serve along with your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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Soda bread does not utilize yeast as a leavening agent, so there is no rising time required. It is the carbon dioxide which is produced from the reaction of buttermilk and baking soda that lightens the loaf. That being said, it is so very easy to make. You can literally mix it together in no time flat. And a loaf of Irish soda bread just would not be complete without having that cross cut into the top. I’ve heard various reasons as to why you do this. Some say it helps the bread cook evenly. I’ve also heard it is done as a blessing to keep the devil away. My favourite reason is that you cut a cross in to allow the fairies to escape! Your guess is as good as mine as to what they were doing in there in the first place, but there you have it.

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Around St. Patrick’s Day, here in the States you will often find stores carrying a sweet Irish soda bread which is shot through with raisins and has sugar sprinkled over the top. I definitely like that version. When I first started this blog I did share a recipe for just such a sweet soda bread loaf.

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Yum right? However, there is one incarnation of this bread that I do not care for. Sometime folks add those dreaded caraway seeds to the loaf along with the currents or raisins. OMG – I REALLY dislike it when those little demon seeds are added into the mix. I’ve been told that both the raisins and caraway seeds are a more Americanized versions of soda bread. The recipe I’m sharing today for Classic Irish Soda bread is closer to what you would actually find in Ireland. It has one cup of cake flour in addition to the all purpose flour because Irish flour is more finely milled than the all purpose flour found here in the States. This bread is only slightly sweet and has a sprinkling of sea salt flakes over the top. The crust is crispy crunchy with a nice chew to it. This bread is simply amazing slathered with butter – like Kerry Gold for instance. So what are you waiting for? Bake up a loaf or two of this Classic Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day this year. I promise you won’t regret it.

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Classic Irish Soda Bread

recipe from: Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • teaspoons cream of tartar
  • teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted

Directions:

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat oven to 400° F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Work the softened butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or your fingertips until the texture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork just until the dough begins to come together. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead just until the dough becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until the dough is smooth, or the bread will turn out tough.)
Pat the dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Score the dough by cutting a cross shape on the top of the loaf.
Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, or the internal temperature reaches 180° F on an instead-read thermometer, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and brush the surface with the melted butter and sprinkle with flaked sea salt if desired. Cool to room temperature before slicing, about 30 to 40 minutes. Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Enjoy!
Classic Irish Soda Bread brought to you today by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Classic Irish Soda Bread:
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks
Silicone Pastry Brush Set

English Muffin Toasting Bread

February 1, 2019

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Here it is…February already. And tomorrow, my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if instead Spring is on the way. So far this Winter we’ve had a couple of pretty snows, but really it has been pretty mild overall…you know aside from that crazy Polar Vortex that hit us Wednesday night. The Husband and I were prepared for it though. We’ve got a little holiday coming up soon where we are headed somewhere much colder than our usual Iceland visits. Stay tuned for that! Needless to say, we love winter, so I’ve gotta admit, I’m hoping that the little Punxsutawney critter sees his shadow!

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One extraordinary rodent!

Phil & all the folks up in Punxsutawney aren’t the only ones celebrating now. February 1st, which falls half way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, also marks the festivals of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas, all of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. Quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking an event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 8th year anniversary of  the my cooking blog! Yup… Eight years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.

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Last year I was negligent and didn’t post anything at all on February 1st. I do have a wee bit of an excuse though. I was off on an incredible holiday in Scotland. I just posted about the first leg of our trip in Glasgow and am working on writing up the second leg now. But a couple of years prior, I did share one of my favorite recipes with you: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:

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And let me take this opportunity to remind you of some of the other “anniversary edition” recipes I have shared. There was the one for those completely decadent  Banana Rum Muffins:

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That jaw-dropping, over the top Crack Pie:

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And who can forget that magical “caviar of the South” –  Pasture’s Pimento Cheese:

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But let me get back to today’s recipe: English Muffin Toasting Bread! I don’t know about you, but I love English Muffins. As I mentioned, one of my all time favorite recipes is the Model Bakery’s English Muffins.

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Those muffins bake up wonderfully fluffy and light as a cloud, yet are substantial enough to hold up to any breakfast sandwich you might send their way. The reason I don’t have a constant supply of those Muffins here in this house is that although the recipe isn’t particularly difficult to make, it does involve several steps and dough rising times. In fact, you have to be organized to make a biga the day prior to baking. I’d love to say that I am that organized and have everything all scheduled out, but I’m afraid it isn’t so. That was why I was so delighted to find King Arthur Flour’s recipe for English Muffin Toasting Bread.

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This bread is ridiculously easy to make. You literally just mix it all up, slap it in the pan for about a 1 hour rise and then pop it in the oven. You heard me right…a yeast bread that requires no endless kneading and not one bit of fiddly shaping. The resulting bread makes the perfect toast and has a rough craggy texture very reminiscent of English Muffins. Indeed, it’s just the perfect vehicle for lashings of salty butter and sweet fruity jam.

img_7235Not to mention it can stand up to any egg sandwich you want to throw its way.  Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that if I could wave a magic wand and have either the English Muffin Toasting Bread or one of the Model Bakery’s English Muffins appear with a poof in front of me, I would probably go for the actual English Muffin. But I must have slept through the Breakfast Bread conjuring class at Hogwarts and I can’t seem to pull that spell off no matter how hard I try. So the Model Bakery’s Muffins will likely remain my “flashy special occasion kind of thing”. Whereas the English Muffin Toasting Bread is my “roll out of bed and whip something really yummy together in a flash” kind of thing. Believe me, you’ll be amazed how easy this bread is to make. It’s a good thing too because as quickly as folks will devour a loaf, you’ll be making another before you know it. Get to baking!

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English Muffin Toasting Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf bread
  • Difficulty: super easy!
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 361 grams (3 cups) All-purpose Flour
  • 14 grams (1 Tablespoon) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 227 grams (1 cup) milk
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) water
  • 25 grams (2 Tablespoons) vegetable oil or olive oil
  • cornmeal to sprinkle in pan

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.

Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.

Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Using an electric beater, or stand mixer with beater attachment, beat at high-speed for 1 minute; the dough will be smooth and very soft. If you don’t have an electric mixer, beat by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and starting to become elastic.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.

Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

English Muffin Toasting Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for English Muffin Toasting Bread:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks


Amish Dinner Rolls

November 20, 2018

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Hold on a second…you mean I have actually been able to get a Thanksgiving recipe all done and dusted and on my blog BEFORE Thanksgiving?!!! Good Lord in Heaven above – I must be super organized for once. Finally got my act together and all of that… As much as I’d like to say that is what is happening here, I must confess, things might not be as impressive as they seem at first glance. I actually made these rolls last year. Yup – last Thanksgiving and I still had a hard time getting this blog post ready to go with all of the holiday preparations and well…life…going on around here. Oh well, the important thing is here they are – delicious, soft buttery Amish Dinner Rolls – just in time for your Thanksgiving feast.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I have shared some great Thanksgiving recipes with you in the past. Like who doesn’t love my Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce?

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Or my Smoky Bacon Cream Biscuit Dressing?

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Those adorable little Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins filled with Cider Cinnamon Cream Cheese

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And who can forget that Thanksgiving Pie – Toffee Blonde Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust with Pumpkin Ganache!

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And I’ve even given you a few tips on what you can do with all of your leftovers – like making these little Pirozhkis into Holiday Leftover Pies:

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But I freely admit, I’ve often had a hard time sharing these gems with you in a timely fashion. Someone actually took me to task for it last year. I will point out that all of these recipes will work for other meals, like say Christmas. It will be here before you know it! But let me get back to my very timely post that I have published today – two whole days in advance! I love a lot of things about these Amish Dinner Rolls. The fact that they are indeed delicious is high up on my list. But these rolls are very easy to transport. I baked mine in a 9″x13″ baking tin that has one of those plastic lids. So when it was time to head out to Mom’s, I just popped those rolls back into that pan, snapped the lid on top and off I went. The pan protected them somewhat from getting squished in the journey and when I arrived, I just slid them right into the oven again to warm. Easy peasy!

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Another great thing about these rolls, which is really awesome is that you can make them up a day or two before the big holiday event. They stay fresh-tasting at room temperature for several days. So maybe you won’t have to actually get up at 3 am to sit through two rises of the dough and baking time to have these fresh on your holiday table. And I’ve managed to get this post published two whole days ahead of time, so you could technically make these today or tomorrow and you’re golden!

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And back to their taste – Folks will go wild for these tender, moist Amish Dinner Rolls! I would say they would be great for sandwiches the next day, but I’m betting there won’t be one crumb of them left! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Amish Dinner Rolls

  • Servings: 16 -24 rolls
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (85 grams) softened butter
  • 1 Cup (213 grams) unseasoned mashed potatoes, lightly packed ( 1 large potato should yield enough mash for this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (water in which the potatoes were boiled is preferable)
  • 4 1/4 Cups (510 grams) unbleached all – purpose flour

Directions:

Mix and knead all of the ingredients together to make a smooth soft dough. You can do this by hand, bread machine or stand mixer. I used my stand mixer.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled. This should take 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted work surface and gently deflate. Divide the dough into 16 large balls or 24 smaller ones. Round each ball into a smooth roll.

Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9″x13″ baking tin. The rolls will be a bit crowded and will be very like pull-apart rolls with a golden top and unbrowned sides. If you prefer, you can place them further apart and they will brown all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the rolls for 20 -25 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and turn them out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Brush with melted butter.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store the rolls wrapped in plastic for several days at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Amish Dinner Rolls brought to you today by: Runcible Eats (www. leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Amish Dinner Rolls:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

 


Italian Easter Bread

April 3, 2018

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Happy Easter! Yes, I do realize that Easter was back on Sunday, but I really wanted to share this recipe for this beautiful Italian Easter Bread with you, even though I’m doing so a bit late. Truth be told, I had every intention to have this posted on Saturday morning, before Easter, but then life got in the way and it just didn’t happen. But hey, as it turns out, folks celebrate Easter every single year, so with this recipe already in hand you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019.

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This light and airy Italian Easter bread is similar to brioche. Rich and only slightly sweet, it looks amazing on your Easter brunch table. If you have a real sweet tooth, you can amp up the sugar factor by adding a sweet glaze once it comes out of the oven.  These lovely loaves are also a great way to display your brightly colored Easter Eggs.

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I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. Last year I baked Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread) . Tsoureki also has an egg or eggs baked into it.

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I’ve also made Slovak Paska

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And even tried my hand with the impressive Russian Kulich (Easter bread)

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And of course every year I bake Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.

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But let me get back to talking about this year’s offering – Italian Easter Bread. It was really very easy to make, rose like a champ and looked so festive on the brunch table. My only disappointment was the egg. The recipe said that you should use RAW eggs that have been dyed, not hard-boiled ones. The claim was that the eggs would cook perfectly as the bread baked. I was skeptical. I thought a baked egg would have a weird rubbery texture, but I was hopeful, so I did use raw eggs. Although it looks like Sprinkle Bakes (the blog on which I found this recipe) eggs came out great, mine did not. They were just not done, very runny. And I could not have left the bread in the oven for any longer than I did as it was perfectly golden. Turns out it wasn’t a disaster, we just ate around the offending egg. In the future I think I will just use a raw egg which has not been dyed, as a place holder in the oven. Once the bread is done baking, I will carefully remove that egg and swap it out for a perfectly hardboiled dyed egg. Another advantage of doing it that was is that you won’t have to worry about any of the eggs coloring bleeding onto the loaves. And don’t forget to rub your finished eggs with a little bit of oil to really make them shine!

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So, once again I hope you will forgive my tardiness with this Easter post. Please keep this Italian Easter Bread at the ready for next year. Happy be-lated Easter!

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Italian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 6 braided loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups (301 ml.) milk or half and half
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • Pinch of salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups (408 to 544 grams) bread flour (approximate)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Rainbow nonpareils
  • 6 raw eggs, room temperature, dyed in rainbow colors *please see my above note on use of raw eggs

Directions:

Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Warm just until the butter is completely melted and remove from the heat. Let cool until just warm.
Combine the yeast, salt, eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the warm milk and half of the flour. Knead with the dough hook until combined. Add more flour gradually until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the mixer. You may not have to use all of the flour (but I did!). Knead the dough about 3-5 minutes longer, or until completely smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour.

Gently deflate the dough with a fist. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and pat it down slightly so that the dough has an even thickness. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch thick rope about 14 inches in length. Take two lengths and twist them together; loop the twist into a circle and pinch the ends together. Place the circle onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise again for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small condiment cup. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle on the nonpareils and gently place a dyed egg in the middle of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden and fragrant. Let cool on wire racks..

Notes:

  • For a simple milk glaze, mix 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk together until smooth. A little vanilla extract couldn’t hurt, either.
  • After the dough is raised and turned out onto a work surface, 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit and 1/4 cup blanched almonds can be mixed in.  2 tablespoons of citrus zest may be added to the dough also.

Enjoy!

Italian Easter Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats www.leaandjay.com

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Italian Easter Bread:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hand Held Zester

Oxo Good Grips small silicone pastry brush

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 


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