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Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board (White Lily flour will make better biscuits)

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp baking powder (use one without aluminum)

1 tsp kosher salt

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, VERY cold

1 cup buttermilk

1.  Preheat oven to 450*F

2.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in a food processor.  If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until consistency is achieved.

3.  Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.

4.  Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.  If it appears to be on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk, it should be very wet.

5.  Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

6.  Gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough until it’s about 1/2″ thick.  Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to 1″ thick.

7.  Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.  You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be near as good as the first ones.

8.  Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet.  If you like “soft” sides, put them touching each other.  If you like “crusty” sides, put them about 1″ apart but these will not rise as high as biscuits touching.

9.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  The biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.  Do NOT overbake.

Notes for great biscuits:

The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.  A food processor produces superior biscuits, the ingredients stay colder and there’s less chance of over-mixing.  Pat the dough out with your hands, lightly.

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Cinnamon Apple Bread

½ cup packed brown sugar
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅔ cup white sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine white sugar and butter until smooth.
Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat on medium speed until combined.
Add flour and baking powder, then milk.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan.
Cover with half of the apples.
Pat apples into batter with the back of a spoon.
Sprinkle with half of sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Pat topping into the batter with the back of a large spoon.
Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

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Pizza Dough

1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active-dry yeast

1-1/2 cups very warm water (110°F)

4 cups all-purpose flour; more for dusting

1-1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside (a Pyrex 2-cup measure makes for easy pouring; be sure the cup isn’t cold). Meanwhile, put the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade; process briefly to mix. With the machine running, add the water-yeast mixture in a steady stream. Turn the processor off and add the oil. Pulse a few times to mix in the oil.

Scrape the soft dough out of the processor and onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, quickly knead the dough into a mass, incorporating any bits of flour or dough from the processor bowl that weren’t mixed in. Cut the dough into four equal pieces with a knife or a dough scraper. Roll each piece into a tight, smooth ball, kneading to push the air out.  (Tester’s notes:  the dough can be entirely mixed and shaped by hand and comes out just as beautiful – a little more work and sticky hands but yields great results!)

If you want to bake the pizzas as soon as possible, put the dough balls on a lightly floured surface, cover them with a clean dishtowel, and let them rise until they almost double in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, turn your oven on, with the baking stone in it, to let the stone fully heat.

If you want to bake the pizzas tomorrow, line a baking sheet with a floured dishtowel, put the dough balls on it, and cover them with plastic wrap, giving them room to expand (they’ll almost double in size), and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight.  To use dough that has been refrigerated overnight, simply pull it out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before shaping the dough into a pizza.

To freeze the dough balls, dust each one generously with flour as soon as you’ve made it, and put each one in a separate zip-top bag. Freeze for up to a month.

It’s best to transfer frozen dough from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before (or 10 to 12 hours before) you want to use it. But I’ve found that dough balls pulled straight from the freezer and left to warm up on the counter will be completely defrosted in about 1-1/2 hours. The dough is practically indestructible.

Shaping your pizza

Put the proofed or thawed ball of dough on a lightly floured wooden board. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the ball. Using your fingertips, press the ball down into a flat cake about 1/2 inch thick.

Continue stretching and rotating until the dough is thin, about 1/4 inch, and measures about 9 inches across. Unless your dough is still cold from the freezer, it will be so soft that its own weight will stretch it out. Alternatively, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough thinly on a floured board. If you like a very thin pizza, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Be careful not to make it too thin, and remember that the thinner the pizza, the less topping it can handle.

Top the pizza, scattering the ingredients around to within 1/2 inch of the border.

Baking your pizza

Put a pizza stone or unglazed terra-cotta tiles on the lowest rack of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F. Ideally, let the stone heat in the oven for an hour.

Shake the peel (or baking sheet) gently back and forth to make sure the pizza isn’t stuck. If it seems stuck, lift the edges up with a spatula and toss a bit of flour under the dough. Quickly slide the pizza onto the hot baking stone. Bake until the edges are golden, about 8 min. Using a peel, a wide spatula, or tongs, remove the pizza from the oven.

We grilled our pizzas by taking the freshly rolled pizza doughs to the grill and grilling the one side until lightly grilled. We slid the dough onto a sturdy plate, grilled side up.  We topped the grilled side with our toppings and then returned to the grill, slid the pizza onto the grill to cook the bottom side and until the cheese looked nicely melted and steamy hot.  Yum!

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Blueberry Muffins

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1.  Heat oven to 375′.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.

2.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla, beginning and ending with dry ingredients until batter is smooth.

3.  Crush 1/2 cup berries and add to batter.  Fold remaining berries into batter with rubber spatula.  Spoon batter into muffin cups.  Make crumb topping.

Crumb topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon butter

4.  Mix together and sprinkle on top of muffins.

5.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pans onto wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

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4 cups whole wheat flour

1 ¼ cup white flour

2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp honey

1 ¾ cup warm water

2 tbsp oil

Mix flour with salt and baking powder.  In a small mixing bowl, mix together the honey, water and oil.  Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture and stir.  Then knead the dough until it is no longer sticky.  Divide the dough into three balls.  Flatten each ball into a circle.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.

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Pumpkin Bread

5 eggs

1 ¼ cup vegetable oil

15 oz pumpkin

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 – 3oz packages of vanilla cook and serve pudding mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325.  Yields 5 mini loaves.

Beat eggs, add oil and pumpkin, beat until smooth.  Combine remaining ingredients, gradually beat into pumpkin mixture.  Pour batter into 5 greased 5”x2 ½”x2” loaf pans.  Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

2 – 8×4 pans – 75 minutes

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Banana Banana Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 2 1/3 cups Bananas-mashed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

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