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Category Archives: Bread

From flat and hollow, to raised, soured and sweetened, bread has long been called the “staff of life” and rightly so. Don’t let the poor quality of the common, cheap loaf or bread fool you, bread can be much more than a wasted calorie that needs to be avoided.

Home Made Tortilla

So there was a great sale on lean hamburger at the market, of course I had to purchase some.  Had great plans on cooking up a big match or marinara and meatballs tonight for dinner only I forgot to purchase the pasta.  And no, I was ill in the mood to make the noodles by hand as that would take hours.

After digging around in the larder, discovered I had all the makings for tacos, except of course the tortillas.  Hmm, didn’t have enough corn meal to make corn so I busted out the Harina mix.  They are super simple, super quick and were enjoyed so much, the dishes were washed for me (maybe I should make them more often).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Harina flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix till it forms a nice dough ball, cover and allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes.

This recipe is for 12 6″ tortillas

Once the dough has rested, roll into a long rope of 12 inches in length, cut into 1 inch pieces.  Take each 1 inch piece and roll into a ball, place on a plate under a damp cloth.  Roll them one at a time either in a tortilla press or with a rolling-pin.  I couldn’t find my press, so I smashed them in my hands to make them flat, then rolled a few times under a rolling-pin.

In a heavy skillet, turn the burner onto high or two notches below high, depends on how quick you are about rolling them out.  Place your first tortilla and cook about 30 seconds each side or until toasted, place on a plate and keep going till they are all done.

Thats it, super simple, super easy and SUPER good.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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Scotch Scones

I’m hungry just at the thought of sharing this recipe, not only is it a great scone topped with fresh preserves or honey, but it also is an excellent choice to go with country gravy and sausage.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of flour (sifted)
  • 2 cups thick buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Mix flour and baking soda thoroughly.  Make a hollow well in the flour, pour in the buttermilk and rapidly mix the flour into the buttermilk.  The consistency should be that of a soft bread dough.

On a floured surface, knead lightly and quickly, you don’t want to overwork this dough or it will make it less fluffy and tends to taste “heavy and dry”.  Roll out to your desired thickness, I prefer about 1 inch thick and cut into desired shape.

Heat up a heavy fry pan on medium heat and place cornmeal on the bottom of the pan, you want the scones to rest on top of the cornmeal to cook.  It will take about five minutes per side to cook them, you might like to turn them several times in the cooking process, but try to keep it to about a total of five minutes per side.  They are done when browned on both sides.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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Navajo Fry Bread

I learned of this recipe when a small girl.  Mom would cook up a pot of chili and beans and would cover it with lettuce, cheese and salsa.  We knew it growing up as Indian Tacos, what ever you call it, it tastes great!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour (sift, important to sift flour being used for bread always, even though it might be “fluffy”, sift it)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions:

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and powdered milk thoroughly.  Pour warm water into flour mixture and mix it with your hands until soft.

Make a ball of dough and knead it until it is flat and round.  If you want to shorten the time, use a rolling-pin if you must, but if you practice doing it just with your hands, you will soon enough become very proficient and fast with this process.

Melt 1/2 cup of oil in a heavy frying pan, fry the do in the oil until brown on both sides.

Top as you like, it tastes great under chili and beans, as a taco or even with a drizzle of honey!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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Limpa, or Rye Bread

This weekend a girlfriend brought over some Limpa bread for the barbecue we were having, it was so delightful that I had to ask for the recipe.  She looked at me a bit funny, because I am not really good about sharing my recipes with others.  Not because I don’t want to, but I don’t really measure things so in truth, I don’t really know how to explain “a smidgen of this, up to the 2nd wrinkle on my knuckle of that”.  After you make things so much, you just start eyeballing things and learn by smells and textures what is right.  Quite often when someone wants a recipe, I have to make it based on my eyeball and write down the measurements so I can kick it out in an email.  After she teasingly stated, “oh just a little of this and a glob of that”, she shared with me her delightful recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup molasses (black strap, organic)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel (saved from the fennel harvest)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 (2-ounce) cake compressed yeast (4 ounces liquid yeast)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 cups sifted medium rye flour
  • 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup
  • Melted butter

Directions:

In a  saucepan, mix together molasses, water, brown sugar (I prefer dark), fennel, and salt. Bring to boiling point, then gently cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add shortening. Let stand until lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water (unless using liquid, in which case reduce liquid by same amount). Add cooled molasses mixture and mix well. Stir in the ryr. Beat until smooth. Cover and let rise at room temperature overnight, about 9 to 10 hours.

In the morning add 5 cups white flour, and place remaining 1/2 cup on a pastry or board for kneading. Turn out the dough and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Cut dough in half and shape into 2 loaves (round is more traditional). Place in 2 greased 9 inch pie pans. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise until light, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Remove and brush tops with melted butter

Thank you so much Brenda for sending me your recipe.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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Pita Bread Recipe

Pita bread is really quite simple to prepare, can be used in so many ways, to include what ever left overs you have, bake them slow in the oven or toss into the dehydrator over night to turn into pita chips.  Pita chips are great because they pack well in lunches and picnics and are most delightful with humus.  In fact even fresh out of the oven pita bread is amazing with so many toppings from humus to kabob.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce fresh yeast or 1/4 ounce of dried yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup room temperature water
  • Sugar (tiny amount)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (wheat, multi-grain, all-purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast in about 1/4 cup of the water.  Add a pinch of sugar and leave in a warm place until it becomes bubbly (about 10-15 minutes).  I use a large earthenware bowl microwaved for 1 minute to warm it, mix the sugar and yeast in it, put a plate over the top and put back into the microwave until it had become bubbly.

If using whole wheat or multi-grain flour, sift the flour and salt into another warmed mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture.

Knead well adding only as much of the remaining water as is required to form a firm but not hard dough.  If your bowl is large enough, knead the dough for another 15 minutes or until it is smooth and nice and elastic.  Add small amounts of flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your fingers.

If you want to make a softer pita bread, knead 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the dough.

Remove your kneaded dough from the bowl, pour a very small amount of olive oil onto the bottom of the bowl, this is only to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl or from becoming dry.

Cover with a dampened cloth and plate, leave in a warm, draft free location (gotta love the oven) and allow the dough to double in size, this will take several hours.

Punch the dough down, knead it again for a few minutes.  Depending upon the size of bread you want for your finished product take lumps of the dough and shape into balls.  Normally the size of a large potato will work for most purposes.  Flatten each dough ball on a lightly floured surface, roll with a rolling-pin or tortilla press if you have a really large one, place on another lightly floured surface and allow it to rise again for about 10-20 minutes.

Arrange the racks in your oven to accommodate a baking sheet and bread on each rack.  Preheat the oven to the maximum temperature you can set it to prior to it switching to the “broil” setting.  This varies from model to model of ovens.  Preheat it for a minimum of 10 minutes.  Oil two large baking sheets, and bake the oiled sheets for 10 minutes, use care not to burn the oil.

When the dough has risen again, slip the rounds onto the hot baking sheets, sprinkle them lightly with cold water to prevent them from browning and bake for 6 to 10 minutes.  Remove the bread from the baking sheets and place on cooling racks, do not let them cool on the baking sheets.

The end result should be a nice soft bread with a pouch inside.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Bread

 

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The history of bread

Before recorded history, bread existed, it has been the staple in many diets.  Though the common white breads and many other varieties known commercially today are touted as “empty calories”, it need not be the case!  Bread can be highly nutritious and has fed humanity for eons.  Bread is one of the earliest and the most generally used form of food adopted by mankind.  Nothing in the whole range of domestic food more affects the health and happiness of the family than the quality of its daily bread.

The word “bread” is derived from the verb “to bray” or to pound, expressive of the old method of preparing the grain.  Bread is made from something brayed such as wheat or corn, but is not formed into bread until moistened with water to form a dough.  The word dough is a word meaning “wet or moistened”.  The word “Loaf” comes from the word “lifian” which means to raise or lift up.  Hence this word came after the original cooks learned that by adding yeast or fermenting the dough would cause it to be raised, made light and more porous.

Originally wheat was grown in great quantities in Mesopotamia.  Wheat wasn’t always ground or pulverized and turned into a flour.  In the beginning, it was turned into a paste and set over a fire.  This would harden the paste into a flat bread.  It was by accident when yeast fell into the paste and the cook discovered that yeast caused bread to rise and become fluffy. In early times, the cooks learned that if they left some of the dough raw and used it to make the bread the next day, it introduced a rich flavor to the bread, thus “sour-dough” bread was given birth.

As the cooks learned more about the properties of yeast and learned to produce yeast cultures, it is said that “only the bad housewife would have no yeast growing in her larder”.  I will share with you another time how to make your own yeast.  The cost of yeast on the local grocer shelf is quite expensive.  Part of why I think bread has left the daily diet in so many cultures.  I mean lets face it, you can normally find two loaves of bread on sale for around $3 for the cheaper store brands, while a package of yeast to make 1 loaf of bread will cost you over $2 and you still have to purchase the flour, eggs, sugar, milk and butter to put them together a simple loaf.

I learned to make bread with my mother growing up.  We would knead and knead lots of dough every saturday, by the time they had raised, been punched down and allowed to raise again, baked….we turned out about 20 loaves of bread each and every saturday that would feed the family through the week.  It was a big production and took up every inch of flat surface space we had in the kitchen to accomplish.

As more grains were discovered and turned into a paste or flour, more and more bread varieties evolved in the diets of the population.  Back in the early days, the type of bread in which you ate told much of your family wealth.  Back then, the darker breads were eaten by the poor and the white breads were eaten by the rich.  Few had the money to purchase the ultra refined white flours, but could still make bread with the un-refined darker versions of grains.  So the poor ate the highly nutritious bread and the rich ate the lowered nutritional white breads.  There were diseases known as “rich man disease” which came from the lack of nutrition in producing white rice and white flours.  These were diseases not present in the poor ranks of society as they could not afford to purchase these ultra-refined flours.

The Greeks further refined the bread making skills of the Egyptians, the new techniques made their way all over Europe.  Rome felt that bread was more vital than meat.  The whole Roman welfare system was based on the distribution of grain to the Roman population for the making of bread.

In the middle ages, where community bake houses were born, normally a community bake oven was located on the Lord of the lands property, where everyone could come to bake their breads and cakes for a fee paid to the Lord.  Bread has through many dark times of poor economy sustained life, more so with the poor, but it was the staple that kept many societies alive through poor economies.

Falsely accredited to Marie Antoinette, who never really said it, but is credited for it when the French Revolution came about, she is quoted to have said “If the poor can’t put bread on their table, let them eat cake”.  She never really said this, but it just goes to show you the importance of flour and the meal table.

To this day, bread is used in religious ceremonies and even said in many common prayers like “Give us this day our daily bread”.  I think this refers not just to the sustenance of the belly but also sustenance of life, mind, body and soul.

While not true for the hybridized varieties of grain grown not for its quality but its weight, that is refined to the point that it has even less nutrition than when it began (which through hybridization and breeding for weight has reduced its nutritional value).  Bread is the “bread and butter” of life, and in many societies and family tables it remains the key to most meals in many forms.

Many historic books have cited that bread was often used as the plate in which the meal was served.  The juices from the meats and vegetables would soak into the bread and the guests would simply eat their plates.  being lazy I like this idea!  Think of all the saved time, “here is your plate——eat it up”, I don’t want to do the dishes tonight!  In the middle ages the entire family would gather for a meal and eat from the same platter or pot.  But when company arrived, each guest was normally given unleavened bread to serve as their plate.

In the Anglo-Saxon language, the word “lady” signified “giver of the loaf” which is not only appropriate but neat at the same time.

We hope you enjoy the many recipes for bread you will find in our bread section.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Bread, The Kitchen

 

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