Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

March 7, 2021

Once a week, we have bread and butter plus whatever little noshes I have around. The bread always starts with an adapted version of the King Arthur Flour Cookbook‘s Crusty Italian Loaf. I use half bread flour though, and bake my loaves (usually 2) in a dutch oven rather than braiding anything. Starting the preferment- the biga- overnight, makes the process a day and a half long project but it’s not very hands on. The flavor is great and it has a nice open crumb. Plus you can add whatever you like. A favorite is dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate. Cheese and jalapeño hits the spot. Tonight was cheddar, bacon, and chives. Smeared with a little butter, it tastes like everything I want in a loaded baked potato.

A note on the cheese: You really do want to leave it in chunks. If it’s shredded or in small pieces it will disappear into the dough and just leave you with a sort of cheddar flavor and it will soften the bread a lot.

For the biga:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tbs cool water
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

For the dough:
2-2.5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup water
2 tsp yeast
1 heaping tsp salt (probably more 2 in my house bc I feel like bread needs salt)
6 oz aged white cheddar, large (3/4 inch) cubes
10 strips crispy bacon, chopped or crumbled
2-3 tbs chopped chives.

On the night before you wish to eat your bread, mix the bigga ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Just use your hands or a rubber spatula. It will be thick and pretty shaggy looking. Cover it with a shower cap or plastic wrap and then let it sit in your warmish kitchen over night. The longer it sits on the counter, the more flavorful the bread will be.

The next day: add the cool water, 2 cups flour, yeast, salt, cheddar, bacon, and chives to the bigga. Turn on the mixer and allow the ingredients to mix at a 1 or 2 speed until it just cleans the sides of the bowls. Add the rest of the flour in small amounts if it’s too sticky. I don’t really work the dough at all at this stage. It’s together in a ball, but it’s not stretchy.

Remove the dough ball from the bowl and let it rest on the counter while you wash, dry, and very lightly oil the bowl. I’ve never needed flour on the counter at this stage. Then put the dough ball back in and cover it again. Set a timer for about 40 minutes. By that time, the ball should have sort of loosened up and gotten a little bigger. Wet your hand, then slide it under the dough, scoop/stretch the dough from the bottom and sort of fold it over the top. Vaguely like this. Do that 4 or 5 times, working around the dough ball. Re cover, let it rise another 40 minutes, and then repeat. Leave the dough to rise for another 30 minutes. Were I making just a plain bread, I would reduce each of those 40 minutes to 30…. the add ins will weigh down the dough and it will take longer to rise. You’ll notice these loaves aren’t particularly tall… another consequence of the additions.

Next, shape your bread. May I suggest youtube for tips, bc there’s no way I can accurately describe it? There are 10,000 ways to shape but I generally cut the dough roughly in half and make two loaves. 1’s a boule and 1’s an oblong simply because those are the bannetons I have. Leave these two loaves to rise, covered, for about 75 minutes. I’ve also done just one large boule in the round banneton and increased the rising time to about 90 minutes. You would also need to bake it significantly longer.

While the loaves are rising, place your dutch oven with it’s lid in the oven and heat to 450.

When the loaves have risen, place one in the fridge to cook after the first. I make a parchment sling and turn my loaf out onto it from the banneton. Then slice a cross in the top. Remove the dutch oven from the oven. Working very quickly, place the loaf (seam side down) into the dutch oven. Replace the lid, and put the whole thing in the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid then bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the bread and allow it to cool on a wire rack while you repeat with the refrigerated loaf. Allow loaves to cool totally before cutting. I find it much easier to turn the loaf on it’s side and cut, rather than attack from the top.

The end result is a loaf w/ a crunchy crust that tastes slightly of cheese, an open crumb w/ little pools of cheddar remaining, and a nice smokey bacon flavor. We ate it off a cutting board piled w/ fruit and deviled eggs.

Mixed Berry Muffins

September 4, 2017

muffin

My daughters have come to expect a batch of muffins just about every week to serve as their school day breakfast.  Occasionally instead of muffins I’m asked for stones (scones)  but this week I had a bunch of strawberries and dewberries left over and needed to use them up.  So in a muffin they went.  I had hoped the muffins would be a cheery pinkish purple color and the batter was just so.  I added the jam partially for color’s sake and partially because my berries weren’t terribly sweet.  They baked out to a fairly uniform white shade though so if you’re inclined and not averse a drop or two of pink food coloring wouldn’t go wrong.

These turned out ridiculously tender and buttery with a nice thin crust to the tops.  I set two of them out under a pie safe and the rest go in a gallon baggie in the freezer to be doled out from Monday to Friday.

Makes 15 muffins.

Mixed Berry Muffins
2 cups white flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 2/3 cup fresh mixed berries, chopped
2 tbs blackberry (dewberry) or strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 425. Dice berries and combine with jam.  Add all other ingredients and stir, just to combine.  Portion out into lined muffin tins.  Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Moxie’s banana nut bread

May 15, 2011

I’m always poking bananas in the freezer since I buy huge amounts of them for Moxie.  Today I made a double batch of banana nut bread which Moxie is delighted with.  A single batch would be:

1 cup mashed ripe (almost rotting) bananas
1/3 cup butter (for the double batch I used 1/3 cup butter and 1/4 cup olive oil)
3/4 cup maple syrup (have used honey or agave before)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs rum
3 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp soda
2 tsp salt (probably more)
1 tbs cinnamon
2 (plus a bit) cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup chopped pecans

I really just started my mixer and added, straight down the line. Added the extra bit of flour at the end so it was a nice pourable batter after I added the rum (which I just glugged in as an after thought) I made 4 dozen mini muffins and 1 loaf with the double batch. Poured out the batter into prepared pans, then baked the loaf for 35 minutes at 350, and 30 minutes at 300. The mini muffins I did 15 minutes at 350.

Jean’s Oatmeal Cookies.

May 19, 2008

I was raised by a pair of southern women cooks, my mom and my grandmother. Jean grew up in the depression, cooking for a family of six by the time she was able to drag a chair up to a stove. She was indominatable, my grandmother. Standing all of 5″ tall, she weighed in around 92 pounds. However, for almost 20 years after my Pa died, Jean ran two family ranches by herself. She brought the hay in every year, and cared for a herd of around 50 adult cows. The 280 acres she loved in Oakalla, Tx have always been amoung the most fertile in the county.

When she allowed herself to cook the way she wanted, everything dripped with bacon grease and the house almost constantly smelled like onions cooking in a heavy pan. There was nothing healthy about her kitchen, but out of it came every taste I long for when I’m sad or lonely.

She could be at times one of the hardest women I’ve ever known. She once threatened to throw me out of her truck for breaking down into tears. Usually Jean was full of affection though, and smiled brightly when she saw my sister or me.

These are her oatmeal cookies. I admit that they turn out a little different every time I make them. Jean didn’t write anything down, so this recipe is my mother’s transcription. I have never voluntarily consumed a raisin in my life, so I always use dark chocolate instead of them. I also don’t heed Mom’s suggestion to add more sugar. I usually cut it back a little actually. I add more pecans, use buttermilk instead of sweet milk, butter instead of Crisco, and double the amount of salt. Play around with it as you wish.

Jean’s Oatmeal Cookies (with annotations by Mom)
Sift together and set aside:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
In a big mixer add:
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar} you may use 1/2 cup more if you like
3/4 cup granulated sugar }
2 eggs unbeaten
1/3 cup milk
1 tbs. vanilla extract
Stir into batter:
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup raisins – more if you like-HA HA
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream sugar and shortening -add eggs and milk and flavoring. Blend. Add sifted flour mixture. Mix well. Add oats, raisins, and pecans. Drop by heaping teaspoons on cookies sheet and bake at 350 degrees until light brown, about 12 min. She also added coconut, and chocolate chips sometimes.