Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grammie's White Bread

This is my hands down, absolute, favorite bread ever. I promise.

Here's the back story. When I got married, well... I couldn't cook very well. Shocking I know, but it's true.

My dear husband grew up with his mom making bread every morning. I'm serious. She had fresh bread coming out of the oven every morning in time for all 12 of the kids to eat breakfast before school. Needless to say, she is really good at it.

When I joined the family, I had to go to bread making lessons from my mother-in-law. Since then I've done some tweaking and improved my abilities.

Now, my husband says mine is better than hers. Really.

The recipe is mostly hers, but the method is mine. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Grammie's White Bread

I use a Bosch Mixer. If you have a Kitchen-Aid, you'll have to half the recipe. It won't fit.

5 cups warm-hot water (it's ok if it's hot, the yeast will be OK)
2/3 cup oil or apple sauce (if you are trying to cut calories, use applesauce. Also measure the oil/applesauce first in your measuring cup, then the honey. It will be easier to get out)
1 cup sugar or honey (I've used either one and personally I like the honey flavor better)
2 Tbsp salt
2/3 cup powdered milk (regular or instant)

It will look like this:
Next sprinkle about 3 cups of flour on top of the liquid. Then add 3 Tbsp yeast on top of the flour like this:

Mix for about a minute, cover and let stand for another 2-3 minutes until it gets bubbly like this:

Now turn on mixer and add, one cup of flour at a time while the mixer is going.

Note: I use regular old flour. I have used bread flour with similar results. It will take about 10-12 cups flour, depending on the ambient humidity.

Continue to add flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
Then add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup more flour.

Put the lid on and mix for 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic-y.

Put the cover back on, but loosely. Let rise until it loks like this.
Good for bread, not for your jeans.

When it has risen, spray your bread pans with cooking spray. Mine came from IKEA years ago. I love the long narrow loaf it makes. Perfect for sandwiches and sandwich bags.Turn the dough out on to a well floured surface. Divide it into 4 equal balls. Some people weigh their dough to get the perfect amount. I just eye-ball it and it turns out fine.
(one less step)

Knead each ball a little to get the air bubbles out and form into a loaf shape. Then place loaf into pan. Cover them with plastic wrap. This helps keep the crust soft.
Let rise until it's about 1 inch about the lip of the pan like this.

Then turn on your oven to 400 degrees and let it pre-heat. When it's done pre-heating, place your pans in the oven and turn down the temperature to 325 degrees. Remember to turn it down or your bread will be too brown. Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove and place on racks to cool. Brush tops with shortening and let cool. (the shortening helps keep a soft crust, if you like a crispy crust, omit this step)
Slice, slather with butter, and taste a little bit of HEAVEN!

(notice there are no pictures of the sliced bread with butter. It couldn't hold still long enough for me to get the camera)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sneaky Cookies

Some days I am all about sneaky nutrition. If I can sneak some good stuff into some... well not as good stuff... I will.

I found this recipe and had to try it.
I modified it just a little to suit my tastes, and my kids.

Monster Marshmallow Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. I bake on a pizza stone and parchment paper. Make sure the stone is in the oven to preheat.

Cream together:
2 sticks butter melted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
Mix on medium until fluffy.

Beat in:
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

In separate bowl mix together:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Add to butter/sugar mixture and mix well.
Add in 1 cup at a time:
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/4 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Using teaspoon, drop dough on parchment paper.

Bake for 11 minutes, let cool slightly and Enjoy!
(PS. The kids didn't even know there were oats in them, and they loved the Marshmallows!)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A few of my Favorite Things

Just a quick post of a few of my favorites.

First: Oven Roasted Chicken
(plus it's a sneaky way to get some flax into your diet)
In a bag, place the following:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp chicken and meat seasoning (your favorite kind)
1/3 cup milled flax seed
Mix well and then put your favorite cuts of chicken in and shake to coat. I've used Drumsticks and Thighs. Any cut will work.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray baking dish with cooking spray and place chicken in pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Turn chicken and bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and enjoy some Amazing Chicken!

Next a favorite bread:
Rosemary Bread makes 2 loaves

In a mixing bowl, place
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water
Mix and let yeast become bubbly.

Mix in:
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp rosemary (fresh or dried) one suggestion is Tone's Rosemary Garlic Seasoning

Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Oil a bowl and put dough in and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double, about 1 hour. Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide dough in halfand shape into 2 small rounded loaves. Prepare baking sheet by either covering withcooking spray or parchment paper. Place loaves on sheet and let rise until double. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tbsp of rosemary on loaves and lightly press into dough.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Carefully remove from oven and brush with remaining 1 Tbsp melted butter and salt if desired.
Trust me, It's Amazing!

Lastly, I am a cookie snob.
There I said it. I only like my chocolate chip cookies. I've tried others and they just don't measure up. I only know of 2 others that rival mine and they are snickerdoodles my neighbor makes and some oatmeal raisin cookies I had once but could never track down.

So here goes:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Melt 1 lb butter (4 sticks) completely
In mixing bowl place:
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp vanilla
Add butter and cream butter and sugar.

Add 3 eggs and mix.
Next add:
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda and mix

Next add 6 cups of flour, one cup at a time. Mix well. Dough should be soft but not stiff. Add in 2 cups chocolate chips. (I've added lots of different kinds but Nestle and Ghiradelli are my favorites)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you have a baking stone, use it with parchment paper. I get perfect results every time this way. Cookie sheets can be unreliable sometimes.

Use teaspoon to scoop and shape balls of dough. Place on parchment and bake for 11 minutes. Don't over cook. It ruins them. Let cool on baking rack a little and enjoy!

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