bread

All posts tagged bread

Rosemary Focaccia with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onion

Published October 10, 2016 by jenmatteson

Have you seen that commercial with Oprah saying that she loves bread? Well, who doesn’t? If you say you, I know you’re lying. You’ve got to be. What’s wrong with it? It smells good, it’s filling, it tastes so light and fluffy, and it’s a perfect vehicle for…well, anything!

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I’ve been swimming in tomatoes from my garden these last few weeks, so I am trying not to overload the hubs with BLTs every night. You know what else I have a lot of, rosemary. Rosemary and bread are one of those classic duos, like peanut butter and chocolate, or tomatoes and basil. In light of that, what better than a rosemary focaccia with sliced tomatoes baked in?

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I had absolutely no reason in the world to make this outside of having all the ingredients, and I really wanted to get back in the kitchen after a very busy summer. Plus it was football Sunday, which means the other half is not leaving the couch all day – despite how nice it may be outside. But, it really would be a perfect thing to make as an appetizer for guests, or even to bring to a potluck.

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Oh, and did I mention caramelized onions? You can never have too many caramelized onions! I used yellow and red tomatoes, but either/or would work just fine on their own. Don’t be shy with the rosemary, because that is what really pulls everything together. The dough recipe itself was wonderful. It would make for a fantastic pizza crust, too!

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Rosemary Focaccia with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onion

Source: Adapted from Cookin’ Canuck
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm water
1 tsp honey
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil, separated
2 tsp kosher salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1-2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used gouda, but parmesan, Romano or mozzarella would work great)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, gently stir together yeast, warm water and honey. Let the yeast proof, about 10 minutes, until bubbles form on top.
  2. Add flour, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Mix until dough is smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Place dough in lighted oiled bowl, cover with plastic or damp kitchen cloth, and let rest in warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove dough from bowl and press into a lightly oiled 9 x 13″ baking sheet, trying to keep an even layer, until it touches the edges. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough. Drizzle the dough with 2 tbsp. olive oil and let rest until the dough becomes puffy.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion slices, cover and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  5. Top the dough with tomato slices, onion, rosemary, cheese and salt. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  6. Bake until the focaccia is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut and serve.
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Drop Biscuits

Published March 21, 2016 by jenmatteson

These are by far the quickest and easiest biscuits to make, and wonderful for entertaining. The best part is that the dough can basically be assembled far in advance. A few quick steps, and they can be in the oven in less than 5 minutes.

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You can prepare the dough up through step one (all the dry ingredients and butter), and have buttermilk measured and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Just pour, mix and drop. These biscuits come out nice and flaky, buttery and rich. They melt in your mouth – no joke! I often make these for Thanksgiving, and are the last thing I put in the oven while everything else is getting to the table. Works like a charm!

Want to make these at a moment’s notice, but don’t have buttermilk? Don’t worry – you can make your own buttermilk substitute with these two ingredients you probably do have: milk and vinegar. Simply measure out 1 tbsp. of vinegar and pour into a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk into the measuring cup with the vinegar, filling up to the 1 cup line. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Viola! Buttermilk substitution.

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Drop Biscuits

Drop Biscuits

Source: Adapted from Fresh Direct
Servings: 8-12 biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Dump into large bowl, and stir in buttermilk with wooden spoon until just combined. The dough will be very sticky. Using the spoon, drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray with olive oil.

3. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes.

A twist on an old favorite: Swirl Banana Bread

Published November 12, 2014 by jenmatteson

My hubs loves bananas, and he’ll buy them any time he goes shopping on his own (so almost never). The problem is, he won’t eat them all before they start becoming a bit…questionable. Of course, my initial go-to is banana bread, but I thought this time I’d change it up slightly. After taking a look at the ingredients in this bread, I’m not sure you could call it bread, it is basically a cake. Oh well – it’s delicious!

Banana Swirl Bread

I ended up using a combination of unsweetened, bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate. I thought I had more bittersweet in the cupboard, but I guess it’s now on my shopping list. But the unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate seemed to balance each other out nicely. The bread wasn’t too sweet, which I liked. I also subbed skim milk for whole. I’m not a huge fan of spending $4 on a half-gallon of milk that I’ll only use 1 cup of, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. If you choose to use whole milk, I’m guessing the texture may be slightly more rich, but I’m not sure it’s really needed. While measuring the milk, I was slightly distracted and poured an entire cup. I ended up adding about 3/4 cup, instead of just a 1/2 cup, so the batter was runnier than it probably should have been. This is what I blame my poor “swirl” on 🙂

Banana Swirl Bread

This is an excellent way to use up some old bananas, and also spice up your same old boring banana bread!

Banana Swirl Bread

Banana Swirl Bread

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Servings: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1½ ripe bananas, peeled
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
zest of ½ a lemon
1 tablespoon dark rum
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup skim milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter or non-stick spray loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice, zest, and rum.

4. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the remaining stick of butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk; once blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas.

6. Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan. Using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.

7. Bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temperature right side up on the rack.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Try Some Irish Soda Bread

Published March 17, 2014 by jenmatteson

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make a loaf of Irish soda bread.  I’ve made this once before, but I truly did not like the recipe.  At one of our drink tasting parties, my girlfriend made Irish soda bread (the theme was countries, and her country was Ireland), and I loved the recipe.  We had lunch just the other day and she mentioned she made it again, which reminded me that I wanted the recipe she made before (she didn’t like the one she just made), so I asked for the previous recipe.

Irish Soda Bread

She wasn’t sure it was the same as what she made before, but said she thought it was similar.  It turned out really well!  I loved the caraway seeds paired with the sweetness of the raisins and bit of sugar in the recipe.  I don’t have a springform pan, which is why I think my recipe took just a bit longer to bake than the recipe called for.  There was quite a bit of extra flour once the ingredients were all combined, so next time, I think I’ll add a little at a time until the consistency is perfect.  Served warm with a touch of butter is heaven!

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Source: Unknown
Servings: Makes one loaf

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups sour cream or plain non-fat Greek yogurt
3/4 cup raisins

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, caraway seeds, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  In another bowl, whisk together eggs and sour cream.  Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.  Fold in raisins.

2. Spoon into a 9-inch springform pan (I didn’t have one, so I just formed the dough into a mound on the center of a foil-lined greased baking sheet).  Bake for 40-45 minutes (If not using a springform pan, it make take closer to an hour), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Cut into wedges and serve warm.

French Bread

Published October 7, 2013 by jenmatteson

My reason for making this bread was twofold.  First, I just made this delicious tomato soup, and I needed something to sop it up with.  Plus, I don’t think Nate would eat soup with a spoon, only with bread.  Secondly, I was having a ladies wine tasting party, and I wanted to make something fresh for us to munch on between wines, and my girlfriend got me these awesome oils and vinegars that I wanted to use for dipping.

French Bread

I made this recipe earlier in the week to be sure it turned out.  It did, however, I thought it was extremely bland and needed a little more salt, as did two of my taste testers.  The rest was wonderful – the outside was crusty and the inside was soft and warm.  I made another loaf the day of my party and added a little more salt, and this time I nailed it.  This is super simple to whip up and only has one rising period.  I thought the hardest part was getting the loaf an even thickness throughout!

French Bread

French Bread

Source: Adapted from Simply Scratch
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water (about 110-115 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (this is the same as one of those small packets)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
olive oil for coating

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, sprinkle yeast over warm water and add sugar.  Let the yeast bloom for about 5 minutes.  You’ll know when it’s ready when it’s all foamy and puffy on top.

2. Add flour and salt and turn mixer on low.  Once ingredients have come together, turn up the mixer to medium-low speed and knead until dough is smooth and tacky, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, coat a large mixing bowl with olive oil.

3.  Remove dough from stand mixer and form into a ball.  Place in pre-oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough completely.  Cover with a damp tea towel and set in a warm place to rise.  After about an hour, the dough should have about doubled in size.

4. Roll dough into a long loaf shape, and place on a baking sheet.  Score diagonally along the top.  Place loaf into an unheated oven.  Set oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is crisp and bread is baked through.  Drizzle with olive oil or spread with butter right away to add a little extra flavor.  Let bread cool slightly, then slice and serve.

Croissants

Published May 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

I have really been putting these off because I knew how time-consuming they would be.  But, I’m really running out of time to get my 30 Before 30 list done, so I had to bite the bullet and go for it.  It was actually a good weekend to make these because it was slightly chilly, and ridiculously windy.

Croissants

I was home alone on Friday night, and whilst making enchilada sauce, cilantro pesto and prepping my veggies for the week, I thought it’d be a good idea to start the dough for the croissants.  I’d just spent the afternoon at my parents house, relaxing by the fire with a cocktail, and then stopped at the grocery store on the way home.  I got in my comfies, cleaned up the kitchen (of course only so I could get it dirty again), and opened up Baking with Julia to start the croissant dough.  Like a good girl, I had already read through the entire recipe (and it’s LONG), so I knew what to expect.  I knew I could let the dough do its second rise overnight in the fridge, so I wanted to get to that point. Well, guess what?  I didn’t get any compressed yeast at the store, which was the first GD thing on the ingredient list.  Seeing as though I was already in my comfies and had a glass of wine poured, I decided not to go to the store again.  Plus, I wasn’t even sure my store would carry compressed yeast (I’ve never bought it before), so I didn’t want to take the chance of running out to grab some, and coming back empty-handed.  What a waste of time.

Layered Croissant Dough

Croissants

Instead, I Googled a recipe for croissants using dry active yeast seeing as though that was what I had on hand.  First recipe to come up: Martha Stewart’s.  Now, she may be a thieving felon, but damn, that woman knows her way around a kitchen…and a home.  I would absolutely love to live with her for a week.  Okay, a month.  Minimum.  Though I know Momma Marsha was counting on me to make Julia Child’s croissant recipe (from the cookbook I borrowed from her), I went with Martha’s, purely for convenience.

Croissants

Convenience is the farthest thing from making croissants, which I knew going into this from Momma Marsha.  While making them, I thought, I don’t think I would ever make them again unless I wanted to punish myself.  I didn’t at all think it was hard, but it really is time-consuming.  I started the dough on Friday night and finished late late on Saturday night.Everything seemed to be going swimmingly, until I got to the baking part.  The bottoms of the croissants completely burned.  The tops looked pretty, tasted buttery and were ultra flakey, but the bottoms were far from elegant.  I’m thinking maybe I let them rise in too warm of a place and the butter melted before putting them in the oven.  That being said, I might attempt these one more time (not any time soon) so I can get a better result.

Croissants

Croissants

Source: Martha Stewart
Servings: 16 croissants

Ingrdients:

1/3 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 tbsp sugar, divided
1 tbsp salt
1 1/3 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
2 tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 sticks (14 oz) chilled unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions:

1. In a liquid measuring cup, combine water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar.  Allow to proof for 5 minutes.  In another measuring cup, combine remaining 2 tsp sugar, salt and warm milk.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour.  Add yeast mixture, milk mixture and oil.  Blend everything together by cutting and pressing with a rubber spatula, incorporating all flour.  The dough will be wet.

3. On a well floured work surface, turn the dough out and let rest for 3 minutes to allow the flour to absorb some of the liquid.  Start kneading by lifting edges and flipping over onto the other side.  Continue movement, turning from one side to the other, end over end until dough is smooth and draws back to shape when pressed out, about 8-10 times.  Do not over-knead.

4. Transfer dough to clean bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down and turn out onto lightly floured work surface.  Using floured hands, push dough into 12-inch by 10-inch rectangle.  Fold dough in three, like a business letter, and transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet or plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  You could also let it rise overnight in the fridge.

5. Punch down the dough, cover with plastic, and return to refrigerator for 20 minutes.  This will allow the gluten to relax, making it easier to roll out.

6. Place butter on a lightly floured work surface and beat with rolling-pin to soften.  Smear butter out with the heel of your hand so it’s spreadable consistency, but still cold.  Refrigerate if it becomes soft and oily.

7. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into 18 by 10-inch rectangle.  Facing the rectangle, lengthwise, spread the butter as evenly as possible on the upper two-thirds of the rectangle, leaving a 1/4 inch border.  Fold the bottom, unbuttered, third of the dough up to the middle.  Fold top third down to cover it.

8. Lightly flour the top of the dough and the work surface.  Turn the dough so the edge of the top flap is to your right.  Roll dough out into 18 by 8-inch rectangle.  Move quickly, starting within one inch of the end near you moving to within one inch of the far end.  Fold dough in thirds as before.  Wrap in plastic and return to fridge for 1 hour.

9. Remove dough from refrigerator and sprinkle with flour and deflate dough by tapping lightly with rolling-pin.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 8 minutes, to relax gluten, if necessary.  Repeat rolling and folding process, as above, twice more.  If butter has hardened and congealed into flakes, beat the dough with light firm taps, from one side to the other, until butter has softened.  It must be able to stretch the length of the dough and width of the rectangle inside the dough as your roll it out until it has softened.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.  If refrigerating overnight, cover with board and 5 pound weight.  Resting overnight will facilitate shaping.

10. Place chilled dough on lightly floured surface.  Deflate dough.  Roll dough out to 25 by 12-inch rectangle.  Cut in half, lengthwise.  Return one half of the dough to the refrigerator.  Cut the other half into triangles with a 5-inch base.  One half should make about 8 triangles.

11. Roll the triangles out to enlarge slightly.  Roll toward the tip, creating tension by using your other hand to stretch the top of the triangle away from you.  The dough should overlap 3 times, with the tip sticking out from underneath.

12. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 2-inches apart, curving inward, creating a crescent shape.  Cover with lightly with plastic.  Repeat with second piece of dough.  Let stand in a warm place very spongy and doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

13. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and heavy cream.  Lightly brush over the tops of the croissants.  Open oven door and spritz heavily with water from a spray bottle and quickly close the door.  Place croissants in oven and spray the bottom of the oven with water once more.  Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes, turning after 10 minutes to ensure even baking.  Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to bake until cooked through, about 5 more minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Soft White Sandwich Bread

Published March 5, 2013 by jenmatteson

I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I want to dominate bread, so I’m just going to keep making it until I feel like it’s great.  I suppose technically, I should keep making the same bread over and over again, but that would be boring.  Everyone needs variety!  Although, after making this bread, I think I could easily whip up a few loaves over the weekend and store them in my new chest freezer!

Soft White Sandwich Bread

Today would have been a wonderful day to stay home from work and cook or bake all day, but alas, I do have a day job, and had to make the trek in.  It’s been snowing since late night on Sunday, with a brief interlude yesterday afternoon.  I’m not sure exactly how much we’ve got so far, but they were saying to expect about 14 inches.  Just when we think we’re on the way out of winter…I’ve once again underestimated the snowiest month of the year, and what a bitch she really can be.

But back to the bread.  I didn’t stay home and bake this today, but I did bake it on Sunday.  We flew through the sourdough bread I made last weekend, so I thought this weekend I’d give white bread a try.  Soft white bread.  Is there anything better than freshly baked soft white bread?  Not to mention the entire house smells like heaven, or at least what I think heaven should smell like.

Soft White Sandwich Bread

This turned out so great!  I had three slices that night!  I’ve yet to make a sandwich with it.  I’ve just been eating it with a little spread of butter or sometimes some good ol’ fashioned Skippy!  I was a little worried at first as the outside felt really hard, so I thought it might be more of a crusty bread.  Once it cooled though, it was nice and soft to the touch and melts away in your mouth.  This was simple and took very little effort since I used my dough hook on my Kitchenaid mixer, so I can easily see myself making this more often.  The original recipe made two loaves, but I only have one loaf pan, so I cut it in half.  After making and eating this, I feel as though I should invest in another loaf pan 😉

Soft White Sandwich Bread

Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread

Source: Adapted from Dinner with Julie
Servings: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, softened

Directions:

1. Pour 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Stir in yeast and sugar.  Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the rest of the water and 1 3/4 cups flour.  Stir until well blended.  Add the rest of the flour (1 3/4 cups), salt and butter.  Turn mixer on and mix until well blended.  Use a spoon to scrape the flour from the sides if necessary.  I let the mixer run for about 8 minutes.  remove from bowl and knead a few times by hand to be sure the dough is evenly smooth.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return to bowl.  Cover with a tea towel and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until dough doubles in size.

Dough after rising for 2 hours

Patting out into rectangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Punch dough down, remove from bowl, and form into a rectangle, about the size of a sheet of paper.  Fold the dough, lengthwise, in thirds, and place, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan.  Cover and let rise for another hour, until dough puffs up right over the top of the pan.

Rising in loaf pan

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake loaf on middle rack for 30-35 minutes, until the top begins to turn honey brown.  Remove from oven and immediately transfer loaf to wire rack to cool.

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