Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Technobabe...this loafs for you...

 I know, I know...I just crack myself up.

  This recipe is for a honey oatmeal bread that I make regularly in my bread machine. Now, I love  making bread the old way, mixing and kneading and punching down the dough...but since I've started making all our bread and not buying any, I use the bread machine and save the old fashioned way for specialty breads.

 I am notorious for adding extras to recipes like this. I have started using a white whole wheat flour made by Eagle Mills. It has 4 1/2 times the fiber of regular wheat flour and 30 grams of whole grain per serving.  When I make this bread, I add vital wheat gluten and milled flaxseed. Sometimes I add extra wheat germ.,  just because I can.  I also use  Hodgsons Mills yeast specially for use with whole grains. I  pay extra attention to the bread as it's mixing, and if it looks dry to me (because I have added so much extra stuff!) then I add a bit more water.  The more times you make bread the more you'll understand the process.

 I have some very dark honey from the bees we kept in North Carolina and I always use that in my bread. I also sea salt and real butter. Make sure you understand one thing about yeast, and you'll never lose another loaf of bread again. Believe me, I have baked a lot of bricks in my career..cold does not kill yeast. Too hot will kill yeast. I use hot tap water that I have run for a bit, and it's about the right temperature. Especially once I pour it into that cold metal bread pan!

 Put these ingredients in the order shown into the pan of your bread machine.

 Here are the ingredients:

1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp. hot water
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. honey
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal (quick or old fashioned-doesn't matter. NOT instant!!)
2 Tbsp. dry milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 packet yeast

Make a well in the center, pushing the dry ingredients into the corners and put in the  yeast.

  Lock the pan into the bread machine, program it for the 2 lb. loaf, medium crust and whole wheat setting. Press start and you're on your way !!

   This is one of the best breads for slicing for sandwiches, which is one reason I make it. The Irishman does love his sandwiches at lunch. It keeps well, and that may be because of the honey, which (as I'm sure you know) has antibacterial properties.  It's hearty and nutty flavored and everyone that tries it, likes it. It has a beautiful crumb, fine texture.

  Either that, or they're afraid to tell me.  LOL

Bon Apetit !!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

This was one easy recipe.  And the end result was lovely, with a fine crumb. I took a loaf to the Corned Beef and Cabbage St Patrick's meeting last night, and it was a hit. They ate every piece I took! I have to admit that I left about 4 pieces home for the Irishman...and that was after he ate 3 pieces.  lol   He told me this morning that a guy came in the door of the meeting last night and said --"Hey! I heard that somebody brought Irish Soda
Bread !! My grandmother used to make that all the time ! Is there any left???"  And he got the last piece, cooing over it and the real butter that I brought to slather on it.

  This recipe is made with buttermilk and the end result is beautiful.

  Here's the ingredients list:

4 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
[1/4 cup butter, melted]
[1/4 cup buttermilk]


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees R. (190 degrees C)   Lightly grease a  large baking sheet.

In a large bowl,  mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and  butter. Mix well. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and 1 egg. Again mix it as well as you can.

 Turn this out onto a barely floured surface and knead slightly. It won't be real smooth or shiny, but it will form a nice ball.  Form the dough into a  mound and put on the greased baking sheet.  Using a sharp knife, cut a large X into the top of the loaf.

 Now, mix together the melted butter and buttermilk and brush the loaf with this mixture.  You'll have a bit of the mixture left over, and about every 15 minutes, pull the loaf out of the oven and brush some more on it. Right at the end, the last basting, I also sprinkle some white sugar on the top...just to make it prettier.

  Bake the loaf in the preheated oven about 45-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick in--if it comes out clean, she's done!  And she's a beaut--

After it cools, it's much easier to slice than when it first comes out of the oven. This makes a huge loaf, enough for about 20 servings (not at my house! lol).  I cut it in half and then half again and make the slices about half an inch thick and 3 inches long.

  This is a great bread to make when you don't have a ton of time...it's about 15 minutes prep and 45 minutes to bake.

 Bon Apetit !!