Back when we were dating most of our date nights were spent in the kitchen cooking together. We liked cooking better than going to movies because we actually spent the time with one another, talking face to face, instead of sitting in a dark room, not paying any attention to one another. It was cheaper than eating out too. Continue reading Home made corn bread
Wowee wowow! Who needs Red Lobster’s biscuits? These are amazing! Not to mention SUPER easy. The recipe only made 9 biscuits and that is a very good thing as we ate half of them within 5 minutes. They’re not bad as leftovers either. My only edit to the original recipe would be to omit the extra salt. The cheese is plenty salty enough. I lied; there is one more edit: add basil and oregano to the butter that you brush over them. Continue reading Cheddar & Herb Biscuits
A chain letter. That is what Amish Friendship Bread is, except with this one you end up with tasty bread at the end. Actually, mine ended up more like a brownie or dense cake but it is still tasty. The idea, for those who don’t know, of Amish Friendship Bread is that you start with a bag of goo (yeast, milk, sugar) and there are certain instructions to follow for 10 days. On the 10th day you measure out 3 or 4 parts to put in individual bags and give to your friends, and you use the leftover batter to make the bread. Then your friends start the process over with their “starter” bags, continuing the chain.
I’m still wrestling with calling it Amish bread. Instant pudding is used, and I’m pretty sure that’s not Amish. Also, you can’t use metal utensils but plastic and silicone are ok? I thought it was anything that was a machine, or made with a machine, couldn’t be used In which case, metal would be ok because you can smith metal; you don’t need anything but fire to make metal utensils. I think that perhaps it started out being an Amish recipe but somewhere along the line it was changed quite a bit. For this reason I’m changing it’s name to 10-Day Bread of Fun.
Anywho, I signed on to take a starter bag from a co-worker of mine. It turned out pretty good, though I doubt I’ll do it again because I don’t know anyone nearby who would want to take on 10-day bread. The idea of milk and yeast sitting on the counter for 10 days is a put-off to a lot of people, but I promise, it doesn’t go bad!
There are several variations one can do to make the bread; I chose to make chocolate strawberry bread:
10-Day Chain Bread
Starter Ingredients (start here if you have not been given a bag of “starter”)
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 cups white sugar, divided
- 3 cups milk
Starter Directions (only if you are making the starter from scratch and have not been given a starter bag Skip to 10-Day instructions below if you have a starter already)
- Starter (begin here if you have not been given a starter bag already. Skip to step 2 if you have) In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
- Day 1 is the day you were given (or made) the starter. Don’t do anything else to it.
- Days 2-4 just mush the bag around and let out any air the yeast has produced.
- Day 5: Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.
- Days 6-9: mush and let out the air
- Day 10: Stir in Day 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 3 cups and place 1 cup each in large zip-lock bags. Give these three bags to your friends as their starter.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
- With the remaining batter (just over 1 cup), add the following ingredients (check out the Variations below for additional/other ingredients) and stir until well combined. Batter may be a little lumpy (at least mine was):1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 – (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts
- Grease 2 large bread pans, 4 small ones, a 9×13 pan, a couple 8×8’s or whatever baking pans you want to use. Dust with cocoa, cinnamon and sugar. Pour in the batter and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours. Toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when done.
- Banana: omit the instant pudding, add 2 mashed bananas
- Chocolate: use chocolate instant pudding instead of the vanilla pudding, add 3 Tbsp of cocoa powder and 3/4 C chocolate chips
- Chocolate Strawberry: add about 1/2 to 3/4 C sliced fresh strawberries to the Chocolate variation above. (my own concoction, thank you 😀 )
- Apple Cinnamon: add 1 diced small apple and 1 C raisins
- Butterscotch: use butterscotch pudding in place of the vanilla pudding, add 1 cup of butterscotch chips
- Your Choice: this is a versatile recipe and you can use any flavor of pudding you want, can add whatever nuts you want, whatever kind of chips you want. Make the bread your own!
I think I may have missed my calling to make artisan breads—then again, I may have just found it as well! There is a recipe for Focaccia bread in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook that I have been wanting to try for YEARS but never quite got up the courage to go for it. I thought it would be difficult and laborious, taking way too much time out of my day, and I figured it would be near impossible to get good results, even if I did follow all the directions precisely. I finally threw caution to the wind and made this tasty bread that is served at many restaurants with Italian dishes like spaghetti, as well as soups and sandwiches. Well, there was absolutely no reason for me to be so fearful all these years! It was easy and it turned out GREAT. It did take a long time from beginning to end, but only about 30 minutes of my time was necessary; there was a lot of waiting involved so I could go off and do other things—I love multi-tasking!
from Better Homes & Gardens
- 4 to 4-1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 C water (105 degree F to 115 degree F )
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 C warm water (105 degree F to 115 degree F)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Coarse salt
- optional: basil and oregano to taste
- For the sponge, in a mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup of the flour, the 1/2 cup warm water, and the yeast. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand overnight at room temperature to ferment.
- Gradually stir in the 1 cup warm water, the 2 teaspoons salt, and just enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.* Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes total) . Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured baking sheet. Place an extra large bowl upside down over the dough to cover; let rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven and a bread stone to 475 degree F. Shape dough on the baking sheet into a circle about 11 inches in diameter by pulling and pressing with your fingertips. (Don’t stretch dough too roughly or the dough will deflate; you want to keep air bubbles intact.)
- Dust your fingers with flour and press into dough to make 1/2-inch-deep indentations, spacing indentations about 2 inches apart. Brush dough with olive oil; sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Carefully slide focaccia from floured baking sheet to the preheated bread stone.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, checking after 8 minutes and popping any large air bubbles with a sharp knife. Remove foccacia from bread stone with large spatulas. Cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 12 servings.
*I added in basil and oregano during step 2 (liberal amounts of basil, a little less of oregano). The original recipe calls for rosemary but H doesn’t like rosemary because the twig-like ‘leaves’ get stuck in his teeth and we both prefer things like basil and oregano for these applications anyway.
To serve: We ate it by dipping it in a little bowl of olive oil and black pepper—delicious! But you can use this bread to make sandwiches, to scoop up leftover spaghetti sauce, to sop up tomato soup… just about anything! I have also seen the bread baked with sliced tomatoes and onions on top, or garlic and black olives, cheeses; it’s a really versatile bread!