Bread #45 Acorn Squash Bread

A bread with squash is like a cookie with chocolate chips.  It just makes sense!!  This recipe is so wonderful and beautiful nd moist and well generally delicious!

Acorn Squash Loaf

Pop the whole acorn squash in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes until it is fork tender.  Scoop out the seeds, feed em to your chickens or toss em, and peel the skin.  Plop the yummy orange pulp into a bowl and let it cool until your dough is ready.

Combine 4 tsp. of yeast, one tablespoon sugar, and a half a cup of warm water in a bowl and let it proof.  After about five minutes, add in 3 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon salt and two eggs.  Blend it all up until there is no lumps.  Add in up to 4 cups of flour alternating with the squash until you have the whole squash incorporated and the dough is springy and smooth.  Shape it into a ball and let it proof in a buttered bowl covered with a damp towel.  Let it double in bulk.

Punch the dough down, shape back into a ball and let it rest for a few more minutes.  Split into two equal balls and using the envelope method of making a loaf fold her up.  Place each loaf into a buttered loaf pan.  Let them rise once more until doubled.

Brush with an egg wash (one egg beat until frothy with a touch of cream) and place in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes until it registers at 190 or sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.

Bread #44 Cinnamon Buns

It is almost finals for that man of mine… which translates to he might as well sleep at his office for he NEVER is home…  which is the equivalent of saying I am desperately searching all avenues of comfort after wrangling two crazy boys all day.  Typically that comes in the form of a certain golden liquid but also, more often than not, it appears in the form of a baked good.  So, this week, I chose the gloriously gooey cinnamon bun.

And what a choice it was.

Looks like the frosting pouring got a little of hand….

Cinnamon buns

Cream 6.5 tablespoons of sugar with 5.5 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of dried milk until smooth.  Add in an egg and 1 tsp. of almond extract.  Add 3.5 cups of all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of yeast and 1 cup of water and mix until the dough forms a ball.  Knead for about 15 minutes adding flour as needed.  Flip into an oiled bowl and let ferment for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface until about 2/3 of an inch thick.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar.  Roll it up and slice em.  They should be about 1.5 inches thick for each slice.  Place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with plastic for about an hour and a half until they are all giant and touching one another.

Place them in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Once they are golden brown you can take them out.  When they have cooled just a bit pour the frosting on.  Oh yes, this is how you make the classic fondant-  Mix about 4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of almond extract.  Add one tablespoon at a time of warm milk until the mix is quite thick.  You will probably add 4-6 tablespoons.

Oh yes.  Comfort Food.  Delicious heated up the next day too.  Or even enjoyed straight of the fridge in desperate times.

bread #40 Dutch Baby

Yesterday was one of those days in life you wish you could erase.  It was where I had more than one moment of questionable parenting decisions where I mumbled to myself, “I suck at this.”  Don’t pity me, we all have these feelings I am sure.  Right?

And to ice the cake of many layers at this point, the bread I chose to make had to rise over night.  With a sigh, I popped the dough in the refrigerator and flipped the pages of my borrowed book to pick again.  My miserable self knew that I indeed, MUST have bread!

I settled on an amazing recipe for a dutch baby.  Essentially it is a giant popover with an apple filling.  What is not to love?  It teeters on the edge of not bread-dom but if you taste it you will realize you could care less.  Bread, dessert, pastry, whatever you would like to call it, it is delicious.

I would like to include that this is an easy recipe and that it is fool-proof.  But giving the circumstances of my day and the state of my brain functioning, it turned out to be quite a frustrating little creation.  But, I assure you, if you can follow directions at all you will succeed.  Keep in mind the batter will be lumpy and that the recipe includes MILK.  So, by all means don’t try to mix it in after its been in the oven for a few minutes…. it just doesn’t work that way.

Dutch Baby 

Adapted from The Bread Bible

Mix 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup flour, and a bit of salt with 2 tablespoons melted butter.   The batter will be pea sized balls of dough at this point.  Mix in 2 eggs and two egg whites with a cup of milk and put them all together.  Heat up an 11 inch cast iron skillet in a 425 degree oven for 3 minutes with 2 tbs. of butter coating the whole thing.  Take it out and quickly pour the batter in.  Cook for 15 minutes, then lower the temp to 350 for an additional 30.  In the last 10 minutes of cooking poke a few holes in the monstrously rising beast to cook the center a bit.

While she is a baking away, saute up 2 pounds of apples in some butter, cinnomon and nutmeg until just tender.

Take the baby out, scoop it onto a platter, and top it with apples.   Whip up some cream too, if you have some.

So, I turned the lights out on such a discouraging day.  I have no plan on how to improve my mama status at this juncture.  But hopefully some dutch baby helped.

#39 On the Rye

 

After many years of my sweet brother encouraging me to open shop and call it “on the rye” (My nick name has always been ri).  I can say… well… I can say I made rye bread!  Hey, it is a start.  This recipe was so wacky and absurd I must say it was adapted to the point that it hardly resembles the original.  So, this is what I did:

Dissolve 1 tsp. of sugar, 1 tablespoon of yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water in a big bowl.  Add 3 cups of coarse ground rye flour, 2 cups of white flour, 2 cups of water, 6 tablespoons of molasses, 1 cup of brown sugar and a pinch of salt.  mix into a gooey mess, cover with a towel and let it sit for an hour.

After this first hour-long rise, add enough white flour (or wheat if you choose) until it becomes a texture you can knead.  I ended up adding at least 4 cups of flour at this point.  Knead it for a good ten minutes.  It is a sticky dough I assure you.

At this point you can shape the loaves into whatever type of pan you please.  It makes a LOT of bread.  I chose to use 6 mini bunt pans, 1 regular bread loaf, and one deep 9 inch pie pan.  Yes, this was quite glorious.  Make sure you butter the pans up really well.  Cover them up with a towel and let rise until they peek over the rims of your pans.

Pop in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Less time is needed for the little bagel like loaves, more for the larger ones.  If you feel like it just stick a thermometer inside and make sure it registers 190.  This is a done temp for bread.  As soon as you get them out of the oven take them out of the pan (carefully!  don’t burn yourself!) and place on a cooling rack.  Brush them with a mixture of molasses and water.  This will give them a lovely sweetness and a beautiful glaze when they dry.

Yum..  On the Rye.

Bread #36 English Muffins

“The best part of waking up…”, my mantra after another not so blissful nights sleep.  While YES, it is without a doubt the coffee that gets me up and going that I love and cherish so very much, but this morning, a little nook and little cranny had me wiggling my toes with excitement as I pulled back my sleepy warm covers to attend to a little one waking far too early for the bedtime he chose the previous evening.

That’s right.  You heard it.  English Muffins.  Oh me, oh my.  These little balls of dough happened to be the pertiest of doughs I had made in say…. at least six weeks!  Oh how I love me a satiny-soft white dough.  They are surely some of the most glorious substances on this planet.

Making the english muffin isn’t as difficult as old Mr. Thomas would have you believe.  And here is a secret:  you can do it better than him too.  I promise.

Start off with your fancy sifter and load it up with 2.25 cups of unbleached bread flour, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 3/4 tsp of salt and 1 1/4 tsp of instant yeast.  In another bowl mix up one tablespoon of butter and 3/4 cup of milk.  Oh, this looks weird!  The butter is all waterproof but soggy at the same time.  I don’t understand it either.  Start mixing the two together until you have a ball of dough.  If you need to you can add up to 1.4 cup more of milk.

Now on a floured surface beat it up good and proper.  Knock it around a bit.  

This should take a while if you are not practiced at it.  It needs to pass the window pane test.

Pop her in an oiled bowl, turn it once and let it rise for about 90 minutes or so.

Wipe the counter down and slice into 6 equal pieces.  Form each into a little ball.  Then, taking one piece at a time, pull back the dough over and over on the top until it forms a very tight ball.  Tuck the bottoms under nice and neat and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment.

Spray them all with olive oil or water and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Cover with a towel and let rise for another 90 minutes.

Heat up a big old skillet with a brush of olive oil (which surprisingly enough fixes squeaky doors! Who knew?) to a medium temperature and cook them biscuits on each side for about 5 minutes.  While you are sizzling the first batch, cover the remaining ones back up so they don’t get all hard.  Place all the golden brown muffins in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Let them rest for a good thirty minutes before you dive in.  This is a must, for they are still finishing their cook time.

Oh yes, the simple things in life are what keep this here mama going.  A warm, soft, buttered, english muffin on a crispy eye monday morning is just the thing to keep me grinning for many hours to come.  And of course a slightly bottomless mug of joe.  That doesn’t hurt either.

OOh yes, and these taste divine with a spread of marscapone.  Like most things tend to do.

Hope the start of your week is a little bit tasty too.