Monday, May 24, 2010

Cornmeal Bread

I'm heading out of town this week and I wanted bread to make a sandwich to take on the plane, as well as to leave the husband with enough bread to make sandwiches while I'm gone.  James Beard's Cornmeal Bread fit the bill.  I love this bread because of it's texture.  The cornmeal adds a great toothsome texture and makes it easy to slice for sandwiches and toast.

I never use solely all purpose white flour in my breads.  I find the quality is not nearly as good and filling as when I use whole wheat bread flour.  There is a co-op grocery store called Greenfields Market up in Greenfield, MA that has absolutely wonderful whole wheat flour in their bulk bins.  It's almost a red color.  I stock up on it whenever I can!

The recipe below is based on James Beard's recipe.  It contains my own variations.  Do not be afraid of the amount of salt!  It is necessary in order to control the rising of the bread.

 The finished loaf

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup "warm to the touch" water (use this level of heat for all water mixed with yeast)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose white bread flour (I used Gold Medal)
1.5 - 2 cups of all purpose white flour 

Procedure (more to come later!)

sliced loaf and free form loaf

I'm submitting this post to YeastSpotting!  First submission after 2 faithful years of reading!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Coconut Rum Rice Pudding

Last night the husband and I decided that we would spend our evening making a magnificent dinner - complete with appetizer, main course, and dessert.  He wanted me to make a rich custard or perhaps a flan.  I couldn't bring myself to do it.  When I'm already eating a fantastic meal, the last thing I want is a few hundred calories worth of eggs.  I can't handle the amount of eggs that most pudding and custard families call for.  So, I took my dilemma to the internet!  

I was out of milk.  However, I had a can of lite coconut milk!  Thus, I searched the food blogs for a coconut milk recipe.  I settled on a basic coconut milk rice pudding.  I had never made rice pudding until yesterday.  Can you believe it?  It is a very simple and homey recipe.  I had never made it!  Of course, I used a basic recipe and added some variations, and it turned out to be delicious.

Mix in saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer 30 minutes:
1 - 14 ounce can of lite coconut milk
1/2 cup of arborio rice
1/8 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg 

simmering the mixture
Remove from heat and stir in:
1 - 2 Tablespoons of rum
Let cool and then add 1 can of mandarin oranges.  Chill and serve!

Wallah - finished product!

  •  Stir with a whisk to prevent scalding the milk.
  • Cook a little under the amount of time requested, as rice continues to absorb liquid.
  • Try using pineapple or mango puree instead of the mandarin oranges.
  • Could substitute the rum for vanilla extract and water...but who would want to?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Last week I baked 50 cinnamon rolls as my contribution to the Sunderland Public Library book, bake, and plant sale.  Last week also happened to be my husband's birthday and I was short on time...  I ended up going to bed early on Thursday and getting up at 4:00 a.m. on Friday in order to prep the yeast dough and bake them off before work.  My time estimate was dead on - it took me roughly 3 hours from start to finish. 

I used my Aunt Carol's sweet roll dough recipe with a few variations.  I substituted some of the white flour for whole wheat flour and I used Gold Medal's bread flour instead of the all purpose flour. 

The cinnamon sugar combo was also of my own invention.  So are all of the times.  I finished the rolls off with a sumptuous cream cheese frosting.  I brought the extras in to work.  I ended up typing the recipe up from memory because a coworker wanted it!  I consider that a success.

Emily’s Cinnamon Rolls (makes 12-14)

Prep and resting time = 3 hours
Baking time = 20 minutes at 350 degrees

1 c milk
2 T butter
1 t salt
1 T active dry yeast dissolved in ¼ c “warm to touch” water
½ c white sugar
1 egg
3.5 c flour (I usually use half whole wheat and half unbleached white)
1 T melted butter
1 T cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
2-3 T white sugar
1 T brown sugar

Combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan. Heat until butter melts. Meanwhile, dissolve active dry yeast in warm water. Let stand 5 minutes.
Remove from milk mixture from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Combine milk mixture with yeast mixture.
In a large bowl, mix the flours. Add the milk/yeast mixture. Beat the egg and add it to the flour and wet mix. Combine well with a large wooden spoon (if available – it does work a bit better than a metal spoon!). Add flour as necessary to make bread dough.
Knead for 5 – 10 minutes until the dough springs back when poked with a finger (do not knead in too much flour; keep it tacky but not too wet or dry). Lightly oil (canola, olive, or PAM) the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and moisten the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set to rise until double (about 1 – 2 hours).
Knead the dough briefly. Roll out into a rectangle, with the long end facing you and the short ends to your right and left. Spread the melted butter onto the dough. Combine sugars and spices. Liberally dust the dough with the sugar/spice mix. Roll up (from end closest to you) – not too tightly, not too loose! To seal, pinch the dough together (end of the roll + rolled portion).
Slice with a large knife or a dough cutter into 1 inch portions. Place in a buttered dish, leaving approximately ½ inch between rolls. Press down lightly. Spray tops with a bit of oil spray (PAM or olive oil, canola oil, etc.). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until “double”, approximately 30 – 40 mins.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Let cool.

When cool, frost with whatever mixture you like! I typically use powdered sugar + vanilla + coffee. Try cream cheese + powdered sugar + milk, or simply powdered sugar + milk. Enjoy!