Friday, January 30, 2009

Seven Grain Honey Bread

Today Dylan and I baked another of my favorite Hensperger recipes from my falling-apart-at-the-seams copy of her Baking Bread: Old and New Traditions.
The recipe calls for seven grain cereal and I only had five grain but I used it and hoped for the best.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup seven grain cereal (I used five-grain cereal)
  • 1 1/2 T active dry yeast
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup warm buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup local honey (as a beekeeper, I was thrilled to use my own honey from my backyard bees)
  • 3 T corn or other vegetable oil
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs (we were almost out of eggs and had only two but I soldiered on)
  • 1 T salt
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups unbleached bread flour.
And here's what you do:
  • Pour boiling water over the cereal and allow to stand for 1 hour
  • Proof the yeast in the warm water with the pinch of sugar (about 10 minutes)
  • In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, honey, oil, butter, eggs, salt, and 1 cup flour.
  • Beat hard until smooth
  • Add the cereal mixture and the yeast
  • Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
  • Knead the dough until it is soft and springy (about 3 minutes), adding flour as necessary
  • Let rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 1 t0 1 1/4 hours
  • Turn dough onto work surface and divide into three parts.
  • Make round loaves - I have round baking pans - they are actually called pudding pans - and I used those
  • Let rise about 30 to 40 minutes
  • About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375.
  • Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped about 35 - 40 minutes.

Dylan's favorite part is licking the beater!

Here are the three loaves. I'm lucky they came out at all. I had baked rolls in my convection oven at 375 and thought it was still on when I put the loaves in the oven, but actually I had turned it off.

When the timer went off for me to take the bread out, I realized the oven wasn't even on, the bread was pale blonde and although it had achieved "spring" in the oven, it wasn't done in any way. I left the bread in the oven, turned the convection back on at 375 and baked it for another 20 minutes.

Despite the rocky baking experience and the lack of one egg, the loaves turned out pretty. They are a little softer than I would have imagined and the loaf on the left in the group picture shows the indentation from the cooling rack.
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Gourmet's Rye Walnut Rolls


Today I made Gourmet's Rye Walnut Rolls in this month's magazine on page 87. I didn't follow the recipe exactly because at my house we were all out of eggs by the time I got finished and I couldn't do the egg wash at the end. We also didn't have any onions (tomorrow is grocery day) so I used the lone shallot - a rather large one - that I had.

Regardless, my family loved them.

Here's the recipe:

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup) (I used a large shallot)
1 T salt, divided
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 T honey
5 1/2 cups all purpost flour
1 cup rye flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 large egg beaten with 1 T water for egg wash (didn't have this)
1/4 cup nigella or poppy seeds (didn't have this either so tried black sesame seeds - which I did have!)

  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper ( I didn't have any so I sprayed Pam on the baking sheets! - I was out of everything.)
  • Cook onion with 1/4 tsp salt in oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat until softened - 4 to 5 minutes
  • Drain onions in a sieve over a bowl, reserving the oinons.
  • Stir milk into the onion oil in the bowl
  • Stir yeast, warm water and honey in large bowl and allow to start to ferment
  • Mix flours, pepper, milk mxture and the remaining 2 3/4 tsp salt into yeast mixture until soft dough forms
  • Knead the dough until elastic and smooth (about 6 minutes).
  • Pat dough into a 9 inch square and sprinkle with onions and walnuts (see picture below)

(note: the little hands belong to my grandson and chief kneader who helped me)
  • Fold dough over to enclose filling and pinch edges to seal
  • Knead to distribute the walnuts and onions for about two minutes.
  • If anything peeks out (see below) just push it back in.


  • Allow dough to rise until doubled
  • Halve the dough and cover one half with plastic. Roll the other half into a 12 inch log and cut it into 12 pieces.

  • Roll each piece into a ball and place it on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart
  • Allow to rise, covered with a non-terry kitchen towel for about another hour

  • Preheat oven to 375 and brush each roll with egg wash. Sprinkle seeds on the rolls (I used olive oil but the seeds didn't really stick. You can see how they looked at the end in the first picture).
  • Bake 20 - 25 minutes and cool 20 minutes before eating
These smelled scrumptious while baking and turned out great - thanks, Gourmet, for focusing on rolls this month. Here's the third good recipe so far.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fantail Rolls - Part Two

Although I used a pizza wheel to cut the strips, I used a bread knife to cut the stacked strips into six rolls.
Then you turn the strip stack on its side and put each one in a muffin cup.



After you've done the first six, then you make the second half of the dough into six rolls.

Here they all are - I've fooled with this picture and can't get it to rotate to the right perspective without changing the rotation on all the others in this post - forgive its sideways orientation! The recipe says to fan the rolls out in the muffin cups before rising.



These rise again covered with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake the rolls in a 375 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Then brush the tops with the remaining 2 T of butter and cool at least 20 minutes.

Well, these rolls taste great - I love the sour taste that goes with cooking with buttermilk or sourdough starter - but they fell apart. I don't know if I were too generous with the butter before cutting the dough into strips. However, my best guess is that you shouldn't separate the stacks fan-like when you put them into the muffin pans. The rolls that stayed together were not fanned before rising.

That's what I'd do if I were to make them again! On the cover of Gourmet, they show the rolls mostly on their sides - I think if they stood theirs up, they would fall apart too!
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Buttermilk Fantails - Part One

In this month's roll feature in Gourmet, I also made the buttermilk fantail rolls on pg. 86. This was an interesting recipe to try.

Here are the ingredients:

1 stick plus 2 T unsalted butter, melted, divided
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 T honey
3 cups all purpose flour (I used bread flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Butter muffin cups (12) with 1 T melted butter.
Stir together the yeast, warm water and honey in a large bowl and let stand until foamy about 5 minutes - if this doesn't happen start over with new yeast. (Again, as a beekeeper, it pleases me to find recipes that include honey.)
Mix flour, salt, buttermilk and 6 T melted butter into yeast mixture until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto well-floured surface and knead (I used the dough hook on my mixer) for 6 - 8 minutes
Put dough in large oiled bowl to rise, covered with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel - takes about 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Turn out dough and halve it. Cover the half you are not using with plastic wrap.

Roll dough out with a rolling pin into a 12 inch square about 1/8 inch thick. Brush dough with 1/2 T butter.


Cut dough into 6 strips - as you can see, I used a pizza wheel.



Mine weren't exactly equal, but it worked out anyway.


Stack the six strips, buttered side up, one on top of the other.



Continued on next post.
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Cornstalk Rolls from Gourmet Feb '09

This month's Gourmet features rolls on the cover - lots and lots of rolls. Yesterday I baked two of the recipes. This recipe is for the Crusty Cornstalk Rolls on pg 86 of Gourmet.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T stone-ground yellow cornmeal, divided (I used white stone-ground corn meal)
and a spray bottle filled with water.

Stir together the yeast, 1/4 cup warm water and honey in a large bowl and let stand until foamy.
Note: I am a beekeeper and am partial to recipes that specify honey as an ingredient!)

Mix together flour, salt, 1/2 cup cornmeal, and remaining cup of warm water. (I messed up and put all of the warm water for the yeast to soften in and it didn't make a difference in these delicious rolls)

I mixed mine in the mixer, changing to a dough hook pretty much right away.

Continue to knead on the counter.

Put dough in oiled bowl to rise (about 1 1/2 - 2 hours) until doubled.

Turn out dough and gently roll into a 12 inch long log. Sprinkle a baking sheet with the remaining 2 T cornmeal and put dough diagonally in the center. Alternating sides, make 3 inch long diagonal cuts with kitchen shears. Gently pull apart cuts to stretch dough, forming rolls that remain connected to the central stalk. Allow to rise, covered with a kitchen towel (not terry) for about another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 with rack in the middle. Spray rolls with water, then bake, spraying into oven 3 times in the first 5 minutes of baking. Bake until golden - about 20 minutes.



We had these with spaghetti on Saturday night. I reheated the rolls on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for about 7 minutes.



Delicious - had a baguette like feel to them and even a little sour taste - don't know why since there's no starter or buttermilk involved?
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Maple Oatmeal Bread - Part Two

Continuing the recipe:
  1. Turn the bread out of the rising bowl and cut it into two pieces. A bench knife does a great job for this. You can make two round loaves or put the dough into two greased loaf pans (this is what I did).
  2. Allow the bread to rise for about 45 more minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375.


  • Bake at 375 for about 35 - 40 minutes.
The loaves turned out really pretty and smelled so good (wish I could convey that on a blog!)



I love this Hensperger cookbook. My copy is literally falling apart at the seams as you can see below, but I continue to use it over and over.



I made homemade pimento cheese and had a pimento cheese sandwich for supper on this delicious bread.



If you are interested, I use my mother's method to make pimento cheese -
  • You grate a lot of cheese (this was about 3/4 pound). I used my food processor with the grating wheel to grate the cheese. I use good cheese: Cabot sharp cheddar which was on sale this week at Whole Foods
  • I bought a jar of roasted peppers and chopped them into smaller pieces - you can see the jar in the back left of the picture.
  • I poured the cut pimentos and the juice from their jar into the cheese.
  • Then I grind pepper over the mix until it looks right (probably about 1/8 tsp).
  • I shake a little salt,
  • Worcestershire sauce - about 1/4 tsp, if that
  • a few drops of Tabasco,
  • a pinch of sugar and
  • just enough mayonnaise to make it spreadable....
And there it is - done and delicious.
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Maple Oatmeal Bread - Part One

Today I made Maple Oatmeal Bread from one of my favorite cookbooks by Beth Hensperger: Baking Bread: Old and New Traditions.

One of the keys to good bread is good ingredients. I used the ingredients above in this recipe. If you shop at Whole Foods, you'll recognize the brands and that most are organic.

The whole wheat flour in the upper right is some flour that I ground myself at a shop in Charleston, SC. It was so much fun - they had the wheat and I put it in the flour grinder and turned it into flour! I felt like the Little Red Hen!


I didn't have the wheat bran called for in the original recipe so I substituted ground flax seed. Here's what is in this bread:

  • 2 T active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup wheat bran (I used ground flax seed instead)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups unbleached bread flour


  1. First you proof the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water mixed with 1 tsp of the maple syrup.
  2. Then in the work bowl of the mixer, combine the rest of the water, the maple syrup, milk, oil, salt, brans, whole wheat flour, oats and 1 cup bread flour.
  3. Add the yeast. Beat for about a minute.
  4. Then add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should still be moist when you are through so that the brans and the oatmeal can continue to absorb moisture as the dough rises.
  5. Knead the bread and then put it in a greased bowl to rise for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. (Continued in next post)
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Bread Bowl Put to Good Use



So filled with lentil soup, the bread bowl made a perfect holder for my dinner. And, of course, the bowl itself was part of the meal!
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Making Bread Bowls for Lentil Soup

My youngest daughter comes over for dinner on most Sunday nights. Tomorrow night we are having lentil soup and I got inspired to bake bread bowls in which to serve it.

I found a recipe in Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread by Richard Bertinet.

This recipe comes from his olive dough section.

Preheat the oven to 475.
  • Put 3 3/4 cups bread flour plus 2 T semolina flour in the large mixing bowl.
  • Using your hands, rub in the yeast (1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast).
  • Turn the mixer onto slow speed and add 2 tsp of salt, 5 T olive oil and 12 fluid oz. of water.
  • Mix for 2 minutes on the slowest speed.
  • Then up the speed one notch and mix for 6 minutes with the dough hook.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer and shape it into a ball.
  • Put it into a lightly floured bowl to rest for 30 minutes. Cover the bowl with a lint-free cloth towel.
Take out 8 oven-proof soup bowls (about 5 inches in diameter). Grease the outside of the bowls with olive oil and turn upside down on a baking sheet. After the rest time for the dough, divide the dough into 8 parts, roll each part into a circle and fit it over the upturned soup bowl.



Bake for 25 minutes.



Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Then use a thin-bladed knife to loosen the bread from the bowl.



Cool on the rack until completely cool.



I'll post a picture tomorrow of the soup-filled bread bowl.

Addendum: I discovered that the bowls do not stay round unless they are stored on their bottoms. I put several in a Ziploc on their sides and they became oval bowls for my next soup meal!
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Monday, January 5, 2009

Making Rye Bread - Part Two



I decided to bake this bread in a basket that I have because I like the designs it makes on a round loaf. I bought the basket from King Arthur Flour years ago for this very reason. So although the recipe said to shape the bread into a round and let it rise on a cornmeal sprinkled cookie sheet, I let the bread rise in the basket. It needs to rise about 50 minutes to double in the pan.

Note: I looked all over the Internet for the kind of proofing basket I use and never found it. It's an old-fashioned kind that has to be kept dusted with flour when it is used. I did find many sources of bread proofing baskets such as this one, but most are plastic these days.

When the loaf had more than doubled, I turned it onto the cookie sheet and let it sit while the over preheated to 375.



The bread bakes for 35 - 40 minutes. It is a dense, lovely loaf, replete with the scent and taste of the caraway seeds.


The finished loaf. It was huge. I wished that I had divided the dough and made two loaves. The slices from this one can be cut in half to make a decent sized sandwich.
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Making Rye Bread - Part One

Sometimes I am just in the mood for rye bread. My parents used to buy "cocktail rye" which was a small, longish round loaf and I would eat slice after slice. The caraway seeds have such a special taste.

This weekend, I was really in the mood for rye, so I made an "old World" recipe from one of my favorite old cookbooks: A World of Breads by Dolores Casella



The recipe has cocoa in it and makes a very dark bread. Here it is:

2 cups rye flour
1/4 cup cocoa (I used Ghirardelli cocoa
2 T yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp salt
2 T caraway seed
2 T butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour or whole wheat flour

Combine the rye flour and cocoa. Stir with a whisk until mixed. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Mix molasses, 1 cup warm water, salt, and caraway seed in large mixing bowl. Add the rye/cocoa mix, the proofed yeast, the butter and 1 cup bread flour or whole wheat flour.



Beat until the dough is smooth. Change to a dough hook or pour onto flour covered counter and knead in the rest of the flour. (I used the last of a bag of whole wheat flour - about 1/2 cup - and the rest bread flour). Place in greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise until double (about 2 hours).

Here's my dough in the rising bowl before I covered it with plastic wrap.
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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Communion Bread - No Crumbs

Five or six years ago, I became the chair of the bread committee for Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. We do communion by intinction in which you break a piece of bread from the loaf and dip it in the cup. The charge from the worship committee was that they would like me to find a recipe that would not leave the church floor littered with crumbs and multitudes of crumbs floating in the communion cup.

I headed for the Internet and found two recipes that I combined for our communion bread with no crumbs. One was from a church in California: St. Jude the Apostle Episcopal Church and the second was from All Saints Episcopal School in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Here's the recipe we use:

1 pkg active dry yeast (about 1 scant T)
2 cups lukewarm water
pinch of sugar

2 T white sugar
3 cups white bread flour
2 tsp salt

1/2 cup hot water
3 T shortening (or 3/8 stick margarine)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp malt barley (can be found at Whole Foods) or you can use real vanilla

3 - 4 cups whole wheat flour

Soften yeast for about ten minutes in the warm water with a pinch of sugar in a large mixing bowl. When it begins to work (gets bubbly), add white sugar, white flour and salt. Beat smooth. Cover and set in a warm place until "spongy" - usually about 30 minutes or so.

Bring hot water almost to a boil. Add shortening, brown sugar, and malt barley. Cool to lukewarm and add to sponge

Add whole wheat flour. Mix as smooth as you can

Turn dough out onto floured board to rest for about 10 minutes

Knead. As you knead, add little flour since the dough will be gooey at first. Kneading is the process that develops the gluten in the bread so knead for at least 10 minutes. Well-developed gluten is one of the keys to NO CRUMBS. If you are kneading with your mixer, also knead on the counter to assure good gluten development.

Cover and let rise in lightly oiled bowl until doubled in volume. Punch down, kenad lightly for a minute or two and turn out on kneading board. Divide dough into three equal parts. Shape in oval loaves. Put onto greased cookie sheet or parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Cover.

Let rise about 30 minutes in a warm place. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the crust sounds hollow. I often cut a cross into the top of each loaf with a serrated knife (about 1/4 inch deep) before baking.


My grandson was here and helped me make a double recipe of the communion bread. He loves to knead and was again in his role as "chief kneader."


Only a grandmother could fully appreciate his little handprint in the bread after his turn kneading.


He put the dough in the pan to rise.
Below are the six loaves (two recipes worth) bagged to take to church this morning.


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