09/7/14
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whole wheat blueberry breakfast bread

It’s secret recipe club time again! My assigned blog for the month was Hun… What’s for dinner?  Cindy cooks for her husband and 2 kiddos, and shares tons of dinner ideas.  In fact, on my dinner menu this week are her spicy avocado and caramelized onion quesadillas. Yum, right? I can’t wait to try them.

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What I baked up were her wild blueberry muffins. Although my blueberries were not wild, nor did I make muffins (a loaf instead), the recipe still rocked. I subbed in whole wheat pastry flour which is light and great for baked items, but gives you the goodness of whole grains. I also cut the sugar down by almost half. I figured the blueberries would add sweetness, and then I’d also feel better about munching on it for breakfast, which is what we did.

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The result? Deeeelicious! The extra sugar was not missed one bit.

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For breakfast one morning I paired a couple of small slices with scrambled eggs and banana. Hunter and I loved it and my hungry 2 year old asked for a couple more pieces, which I was happy to give him.

Now you can too, enjoy the recipe!

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Whole Wheat Blueberry Breakfast Bread

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I subbed in 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 plain yogurt and a splash of lemon juice)
  • 2 cups + 1 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp natural cane sugar – set aside for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp rolled oats – set aside for spinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a loaf pan with oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar; until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon extract, oil and buttermilk; stir to combine.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just about combined. Toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tbsp of flour and add to the batter, mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp rolled oats. Bake for 50-60 minutes; or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.

We spent this past weekend in Seattle for our second annual canning weekend (read about the first one here). More to come on that soon!

What did you do over the weekend?  Bake anything wonderful and delicious?  Please share!

Heather

02/9/14
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crusty no-knead dutch oven bread

I absolutely love baking bread now that I’ve gotten into a good rhythm of it.  Weekly I bake up 3 loaves of soft wheat sandwich bread, and throughout the week I’ve been making this crazy simple no-knead crusty bread I’m sharing with you today.  All it takes is some forethought the morning of, or the night before. That’s the hardest part of this recipe – remembering to mix your dough early enough.  If yeast bread scares you, I challenge you to start with this bread.  I told Jacob it was so easy even he could make it!  Though he said no and insisted I continue to be the one to make it, it really is easy enough a husband could make it.

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I’ve seen a couple of different no-knead breads that are baked in a Dutch oven.  When browsing my Secret Recipe Club pick – A Little Bit of Everything – I instantly knew I had to try out this bread.  The other recipe I’m dying to make are these 5 ingredient pb cookies, which look just as easy as my 3 ingredient pb cookies.

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Julie does a wonderful job on this bread.  So far I’ve made it three times – 1 full recipe and 2 half recipes – I’m going to share the full measurements below.  I made very slight adjustments to the salt and yeast amounts used from the original recipe.

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If you have a Dutch oven, flour, sea salt and yeast on hand, get this bread started!  Better yet, enjoy it with a cheese, sausage and pear spread like we did.  It might just become your new favorite homemade crusty bread!

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No Knead Crusty Bread

Slightly adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours (I’ve done just 9-10 hours with great success too).  Overnight works great.
  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot (dutch oven) with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.
  3. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

If you end up with leftover bread, try using is in a strata or make some simple pizza breads like we did this weekend.  Spread on the marinara sauce, add chicken sausage + veggies and cheese and broil until melted.  Super delish!

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Have you ever baked bread in a Dutch oven? Do you have a Dutch oven?  What’s your favorite way to use leftover crusty bread?  Let me know if you try this recipe out!

Heather

01/24/14
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homemade soft wheat sandwich bread

It’s Friday, hooray!  I always look forward to the weekend – more time with the hubs, sleeping in on Saturday and just a general relaxed feeling knowing I don’t have to leave the house at a certain time.  We have our 36 week midwife appointment coming up this afternoon.  I think we’ll find out if she’s for sure head down at this one, although at my last appointment the midwife thought she was.  I will be full term on Tuesday, yikes!

I tend to go through bread baking kicks.  Lately I’ve been on one and am happy to say I’ve successfully made a sandwich bread that everyone in the house really likes!  And that’s a tough thing to do… Jacob can be is picky about his bread.  While my preference is 100% whole wheat bread, I’ve yet to make a loaf that he would be willing to eat too.  I came across a recipe on pinterest and decided to give it a go.  It’s made with half whole wheat flour and half white flour.  I should really call it compromise bread like I do with the rice I make (half white, half brown).

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I originally decided to make my own sandwich bread to save us some money.  I haven’t really mentioned it here, but with the new year we are (so far successfully!) making strides on paying our debt down.  Doing that means making sacrifices, and one of those is with the food budget.  I’m down to a strict $75 a week… which is tough for sure.  Rachel, the one who shared the recipe I’m about to share with you guys calculated the cost of making it yourself.  She came up with $3.90 for the 3 loaves.  That’s about the same price as one good loaf of bread.  You know, the kind without 10 million ingredients.  I omitted the flax seed because I had none on hand, so my actual cost would be a little less.

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I ended up making 2 regular loaves and 2 mini loaves.  Thinking it would last us a while I put half in the freezer after making them.  I did not need to do that, because today we are down to the last mini loaf which means I need to bake more tomorrow to get us through the next week!  This bread is amazing.  So soft and pillowy, yet it doesn’t fall apart on you.  I used it for french toast and loved it.  I highly recommend it!

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Soft Wheat Sandwich Bread

slightly adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • oil spray
  • 3 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1 ½ tbsp dry active yeast (see note)
  • ¼ cup sucanat or packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour, plus 1/2-1 cup more as needed (if dough is too sticky and for dusting the counter)
  • 3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I used regular whole wheat flour, but plan to use white next time I make this)
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed (optional – I didn’t use it and just added more flour in instead)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp vital wheat gluten, optional (use more flour if you don’t use this)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or canola)
  • a cold stick of butter, optional

Directions

  1. In your kitchen aid mixer bowl, add warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir until combined and let stand 10 minutes. Should become foamy on top, if the yeast was activated.
  2. Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed (optional), salt, and vital wheat gluten (optional).
  3. Add olive oil into the yeast/water mixture. Don’t stir. Then, stir in flour mixture until combined.
  4. Using the bread hook, mix dough on a low setting in Kitchen Aid Mixer for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour if it’s too sticky. Stop and take it off the hook every few minutes to assure it’s mixing well. (I do this about 3-4 times.)
  5. Place in a large oil greased bowl. Turn dough ball around in the bowl to get it greased all around. Then cover the bowl with a smooth dishtowel. Set bowl in a warm place and let it rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Then, divide evenly into three equal parts (or however many loaves you are making) on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Roll out each portion of dough with rolling pin to remove air bubbles (I had never done this before!). Then, roll up each one into a loaf size and put into pan seam-side down. Spray tops of loaves with oil.
  8. Cover and let rise again only until it’s doubled, about 50-90 minutes. Note: Do not let it over rise or the bread will deflate when it bakes!
  9. Bake loaves on the middle rack at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  10. Let loaves completely cool in the pan on a wire rack. Optional: Take a cold stick of butter after it’s done, and run it over the top as soon as it comes out.
  11. Then gently turn the loaves out and slice on a cutting board. Tip: Using a bread knife, saw back and forth and don’t press down on bread.

NOTE: I adjusted the rise times based on what worked for me.  From reading the comments in the original recipe I found out the author used rapid rise yeast, which is why her rise times were about half of what mine ended up being.  If you use regular dry active yeast, your times will be closer to mine.  Room temperature will also add some variation to rise times.

In other news, I knit myself a slouchy beanie!  I kinda love it.  It’s wool and super warm.  I pretty much wear it every morning when I wake up and am standing in the cold kitchen waiting for my hot cup of coffee to be ready.  It came together quickly too.  I’m planning to make a mini one for baby girl so that we match. :)

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What is your favorite sandwich bread to buy or make?  Do you have people in your house that are picky about the kind of bread they eat? 

Have a great weekend!

Heather