Posts Tagged ‘Flour’

Making Homemade Bread

For a long time creating the daily staple of bread had escaped my grasp. My homemade bread was only good for eating when it was warm and slathered with butter. The day I finally made a loaf of good eating bread…so good you could use it for sandwiches…I very excitedly called one of my friends and told her.  She’s been a good friend through the years and one of my role models for homemaking, so she would understand my excitement over bread.

She congratulated me and told me she didn’t start making good bread till she was in her 40’s either. I hope those of you reading this, figure it out way earlier than us. I’ve been trying to make a good loaf of bread for a long time. Years ago, I asked the same friend if she’d show me how to make homemade bread. She welcomed me, just warned me she didn’t use a recipe, and I watched in awe as she made a loaf of bread entirely by hand.

I wish I could say my homemade bread was made in the truly old fashioned way of doing every bit of it from scratch. No such luck, I take a shortcut. I do use freshly ground whole wheat flour to make my bread, but I use the bread machine to make the dough. It takes about 5 minutes to put the ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order listed. I hit the option for dough and wait an hour and 20 minutes for the next step. (On my machine-I use the 1 1/2lb. setting)

After the timer beeps, I take the dough out and knead it just a bit on my well floured kitchen table. Next, I shape it in a loaf and put it in a stoneware loaf pan greased with olive oil. I put it in upside down so the top gets greased too, then just pop it out and put it back in the right way. The pan is covered with a towel, allowed to rise for 30 min. in a warm place, and then finally baked at 350 degrees F. for 25 min.(my oven, original recipe says 30 min.).

Beautiful Homemade Bread

Beautiful Homemade Bread

A trick I started doing is to lightly cover the top of the loaf with foil the last ten minutes of cooking time, so the top doesn’t get so dark. My family likes a light top loaf. The recipe I use is one I found over at the Money Saving Mom website in a post titled Homemade Bread for Beginners. It’s a great recipe! I use sea salt for the salt and extra virgin olive oil for the oil in it. Also, I love to cook it in a stoneware loaf pan.

The key to cutting the bread for sandwiches is cover the pan with the towel for 5 min. after taking it out of oven. Next, take it out of the pan, place it on a plate, and cover with the towel till it’s cooled. This is the really hard part and we can’t always resist cutting a piece of warm bread off to have with butter right away. Lastly, use an electric knife to cut into slices, then put the bread in a bag. I just twist the top of the bag and pinch closed with a clothespin.

*The electric knife is probably not essential, but I’d say if you don’t have one and intend to make bread on a regular basis, it’s worth the investment. The one I use, we actually found years ago at a thrift store. It makes slicing bread so easy.*


Apples, apples, apples…

It’s fall!  The leaves are a beautiful array of colors and apples are plentiful.  This means apples are usually on sale in most grocery stores and being the ever diligent budget minded person I am, I start thinking of ways to use them in our meals.  Besides snacking, there are numerous recipes using apples.  I found a couple of great recipes online and thought I’d share.  Both were easy to make and tasted wonderful!

As usual, even though most recipes are probably fine, I’ve gotta make some adjustments.  I’ll be sure to include the things I changed or found might work better.  This past Saturday, I made some delicious apple scones.  This is the first time I’ve made scones, but they turned out to be easy to make.  The recipe for Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones can be found over at the King Arthur Flour site.

Instead of the all-purpose flour, I used fresh ground whole wheat flour.  I did not use cinnamon chips as I didn’t have any, so I just left those out and didn’t do a substitution.  The only other change to the recipe ingredients I did, was I used regular sugar to make the topping for sprinkling on the dough.  They still tasted good, but I think the coarse sugar would have made them look prettier.

Other than those few changes, I followed the rest of the recipe exactly.  The only thing I believe I’d do different next time would be to chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes before cutting it in wedges.  I think it would have made that step easier, because I found it a little difficult to slide the wedges apart so there was 1/2 inch in between each piece.  Everyone loved these and I even ate a couple another day with a glass of milk for breakfast.

The other thing I love is these can be frozen in dough form and baked when you’re ready.  I read about it in the comment section below the recipe.  The recipe makes two rounds, so you could always bake one and save the other for another day.  Freezing this recipe would make it real convenient to have something fresh baked for breakfast, dessert, or a tasty treat for surprise company.  Here are some pictures(you can see the bit of a mess I made pulling apart the wedges) :

Scone Dough Shaped in a Circle

Scone Dough Shaped in a Circle

Scone Dough Divided Into Wedges

Scone Dough Divided Into Wedges

Finished Scones Ready for Eating

Finished Scones Ready for Eating

Yesterday, I made a tasty and nutritious apple cranberry crisp.   I was a little hesitant about the recipe I found.  It is a light recipe and did not use butter, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste.  I’m a firm believer in using butter in baking, but as I was out of butter I decided to give it a try.  The recipe can be found over at My Recipes for the Apple-Cranberry Crisp.

Now for the changes, you knew they were coming. 🙂  I added 3/4 cup of crushed pineapple drained, which I mixed in with the other fruit.  I sprinkled a tablespoon of lemon juice over the apples after I cut them up.  Lastly, I sprinkled about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground cinnamon on top.  The only reason I put the cinnamon on top is because I forgot to add it into the oat and brown sugar mix which gets sprinkled on top of the apple mix.

This recipe is another winner, despite my initial hesitations.  It tasted so good, I did not miss the butter.  The other plus of this recipe is it has a lot less sugar than crisp I have made in the past.  On the down side, this can make it a little more runnier than I’m used to.   I briefly thought about trying to add a little cornstarch next time, but then quickly dismissed the idea as this was so good there was nothing left after breakfast the next day.  I will make this again.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Hope you enjoy the recipes and get inspired to make something delicious with apples… 🙂

Almost Scratch Apple Pie

Apple Pie

There were some apples needing used up beckoning on the kitchen table, so an apple pie was just the thing today.  I call this an almost from scratch pie, because everything was made from scratch except the bottom pie shell.  Making pie crust is not my favorite thing and usually results in a mess, so I used a frozen pie shell.

For the filling I peeled and sliced three granny smith apples, then squeezed the juice from half a lemon over them.  In another bowl I combined a little over 1/4 c. sugar, a little over 1/4 c. brown sugar, 3 T. all purpose flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. ginger.  On the sugars I say a little over 1/4 c., which ended up combined amount was 3/4 c. sugars.  Mix all the dry ingredients together and stir in apple slices.

Once mixed well, the pie filling was poured into the shell.  I did cave and made homemade pie crust for the top shell.  Wish I could share a recipe, but all I really did was mix about 1 T. shortening and some cold water till it felt about dough consistency.  I rolled the dough out on some wax paper and used a small metal heart cookie cutter for the cut outs.

After managing to put the rolled out dough on top of the pie, I used a sharp knife to trim the excess from the edge of the pie.  Using a fork I pressed all along the edges to seal the two crusts together and put the dough heart cut outs on the top overlapping the cut out openings.  Pop in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes and delicious yummy almost scratch apple pie.