English Muffin Bread

We are at the end of our fiscal year at work, and that always means for higher stress times. So, in order to help with that, I usually try to bring in a few extra treats. I found this recipe and wanted to try it (because I love bread, especially bread that doesn’t take all day to make!), but didn’t want the temptation of a loaf of bread hanging out at the house.

Original Recipe is here (King Arthur Flour Company): http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/english-muffin-toasting-bread-recipe

What You Need:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda * 1 tablespoon instant yeast

1 cup milk

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil

Cornmeal or flour, to sprinkle in the pan

And Here’s What You Do:

1) Whisk together the dry ingredients (minus the cornmeal or flour for the pan) in a large mixing bowl. I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

2) Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Stir the liquid completely before measuring. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.

3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.

4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.

5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal or flour.

6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible. I used a spatula sprayed with some cooking spray.

7) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F. ( It took 30 minutes in my very warm garage for it to get twice this size. I also used plastic wrap over the top, so that could have trapped a lot of moisture inside).

8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it is golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf.

What I Did

I followed the directions this time. Now, the directions do not say to put the dough in your 90 degree garage to rise, but that is what I did. And rise it did! I think that the dough was sticking up over the top of the pan a least an inch and a half when I brought it into the house! At least it settled down to where it was supposed to be before I put it in the oven.

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I left a sign next to it saying what it was (since an unsliced loaf of white bread in the kitchen may or may not have gotten eaten), and it was eaten fairly quickly. I had a lot of coworkers pass by my desk saying “Great bread” or “That was really tasty”. A friend said that the bread, butter and strawberry jam was a killer combination.

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The bread was very crumbly, although the taste was divine! It really does taste like an English Muffin. I found that the small and thin pieces fell apart pretty easily, but would probably hold together a lot better if it was a thicker slice. The next time I make this bread, I won’t put it in the garage. My microwave is normally a nice warm spot, and would probably make a good place for dough to rise and be out of the way at the same time.

Since the consistency is somewhere between a quick bread and a loaf of sandwich bread, this would probably be best eaten as the name indicates – as an English muffin.  Unless sliced thicker, it probably wouldn’t hold up in a sandwich.

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

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Eggnog Cranberry Bread

After spending a few weeks baking with ingredients that I normally don’t have, I wanted something that would use up those ingredients, namely eggnog and fresh cranberries.  What could go wrong?

Recipe came from here: http://thecornerkitchenblog.com/eggnog-cranberry-bread/

What You Need:

2 ¼ cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup eggnog

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups fresh cranberries

 

And Here’s What You Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a standard loaf pan using your favorite method.  I’m a fan of lining the pan with foil and spraying with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside
  3. Combine the eggs, sugar, eggnog, melted butter and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. The original recipe said that the batter will be lumpy, but mine wasn’t, amazingly enough.  Just keep reading…Fold in cranberries.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes. Check for done-ness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before cutting.

What I did:

Since I knew that this would probably only make 1 loaf, I doubled the ingredients so I could make two loaves.  I didn’t feel like hauling out the stand mixer (mistake #1), so I mixed everything together with my adorable little hand mixer (mistake #2).  The dough quickly decided to adhere to one only one of the paddles, working its way toward the mixer base like a snake, and throwing dough everywhere outside of the bowl.  When my hand mixer started making a funny smell (I think I might have started to burn the engine up), and all the dough was far too dry and sticky to be decent bread, I realized that I’d forgotten to double the wet ingredients (mistakes #3-5).  More eggs…more eggnog…lots more eggnog…then folded in the cranberries with a spatula.  All 6 cups of them (mistake #6). Wow, lots of cranberries…

So, divided everything up and stuck it all in the oven.  After an hour, the house smelled divine!  I knew that all the mistakes I’d made would be worth the end result.

Only it took about twice as long to cook the loaves due to the amount of cranberries that were in the dough (mistake #…oh forget it.  Too many to count).  Yeah, I forgot that when you are using fresh fruit, it always adds baking time.  What can I say?  It’s the holidays, and everyone is going faster than they care to admit.

I covered the loaves with foil during the last bit of baking time so that their tops wouldn’t burn. 

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Terribly blurry photo…Sorry about that.  Its the only one that I got before the bread was gone.

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This was one of those times in my life when everything should not have turned out, but some miracle it actually did.  The bread is super moist, and it easily falls apart when cut/handled/looked at, but the flavor is very sweet and tart at the same time.  And not overwhelmingly eggnog-y.

I loved this recipe.  And I love making quick breads like this.  I think I would like to maybe concentrate on them a little more so that I can get the moisture level to a good point without having the bread fall apart on me when I cut it.  I could have used less cranberries and less eggnog, and it probably would have been fine. 

I guess I’m just paranoid that the bread will be dry.  Oh well.

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Apple Oatmeal Raisin Bread – Wholesome Breakfast in a Bread

Bread is such a great thing to make.  I think I feel the most satisfied when I have a golden loaf fresh out of the oven.  Unlike bread that uses yeast (like most sandwich bread), quick breads are much easier and faster to make.  No rising, no proofing, no kneading, punching, or making sure that your yeastie beasties don’t die.

I had a lot of apples that I needed to use, so I found a recipe for fruit bread that you can mix and match ingredients in.   The concept is the same as banana bread, just with apples.

What You Need:

1 cup shredded apple, squeezed dry

¾ cup rolled oats

½ cup raisins

1/2  cup sweetened coconut

1 ¼ cups flour

¾ cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

½ cup cooled melted butter or vegetable oil

½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon citrus zest (optional)

 

And Here’s What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter one 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix together until just combined.  Spread in the pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool 30 minutes in the pan on a rack, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

What I Did:

I followed the recipe, but the batter seemed like it was a little bit dry.  Out came the sour cream for two more tablespoons! After that, the batter was a tiny bit wetter than I liked (cause you know me, I usually swing from one extreme to another when it comes to baking), and I was praying that everything would turn out ok.

After its stint in the oven, the loaf was lovely and spongey.

The really cool thing about this recipe is that you can mix and match your ingredients.   The cup of apples can be substituted for banana, zucchini, carrots, or pears and you can put in a mixture of anything you want – nuts, chocolate chips, oatmeal, dried fruit, etc.  Just don’t use more than 1 ¾ cup of the mix-in ingredients, and no more than ¾ cup of nuts.  I used oats, raisins, and coconut, but use your imagination to see what you can come up with!

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Scott liked the bread, and it was a welcome snack at any time of the day.  The bread was pretty moist until the last slice was gone, so I guess that I’m glad that I added that extra sour cream.  I really like having this bread in the morning since it kinda tasted like a bowl of oatmeal in a bread.

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Chocolate-Glazed Banana Bread

I love making banana bread. It’s truly one of the easiest things to bake.  And it’s a great way to use all those half-gone bananas that you promised yourself that you would eat when you bought them last week.  Or, if you find yourself with one or two, stick them in the freezer until you have enough to make the bread.  Make sure you tell roommates/spouses/significant others/children that you have started saving the bananas in the freezer.  They might think you’ve gone bonkers when they see the blackened fruit.

One of the things I love the most about banana bread is the fact that it is so versatile. You can add pretty much anything to it.  I’ve added macadamia nuts, chocolate chips, almonds…pretty much anything you can think of.  But what follows is the basic recipe that I use when I make it, without any add-ins.

On to the recipe!

Bread

Here are the Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

¾ cup sugar

¼ canola oil

1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (optional)

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

And here’s what you do:

  1. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan; set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, oil, and lemon peel (if desired).  Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir until just moistened.  Fold in nuts.
  3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove loaf from pan; cool on rack.  Wrap and store overnight before slicing.  Makes one loaf.

I decided to get all fancy and add a glaze this time…I’ve never done this before!  So, here it is:

Glaze

Here are the ingredients:

4 oz of semisweet chocolate, cut up

3 tablespoons butter

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons hot water

 

And here’s what you do:

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Stir in powdered sugar and the hot water.  Stir in additional hot water if needed, to reach drizzling consistency.  Spoon over bread.

What I did to the bread:

Instead of greasing the pan itself, I line the loaf pan with foil, then use a cooking spray on the foil.  That way, you can just lift the loaf right out of the pan to cool it.  Nothing sticks!

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I don’t think that I’ve ever used the lemon peel in this recipe, so I can’t tell you if I feel that something is missing when it isn’t added.

The bread can be a little unpredictable when it comes to baking times.  I’ve baked it for a full hour before it was done.  This time, I baked it for only 45 minutes.  If the middle isn’t done, but the top is nice and brown, just cover with foil to finish baking.

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What I did to the glaze:

I was trying to come up with a way to use the extra unsweetened cocoa powder that was in my cupboard, so I came up with the brilliant idea for the glaze.  Most glaze recipes that I’d found called for semi-sweet baking chocolate (like this one), but with a bit of adjusting, it worked out well.  I added a bit more sugar, and had to add a total of five tablespoons of hot water (at three tablespoons, I had a lovely chocolate frosting.  Must remember this recipe for when I need chocolate frosting).

After it had cooled, I peeled the foil from the sides of the loaf, and set the entire thing (foil and all) on a baking sheet to keep the glaze off the counter.

I let the loaf cool completely before glazing.  It was a little runny when I first poured it over the bread, but it was easy to re-spoon the run-off back on top off the loaf.  I did this a few times just to get the majority of the glaze on the bread.

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So, really…how fantastic can chocolate glazed banana bread be?

Very fantastic, actually.

Some of it seeped down into the bread, causing this chocolatey-banana goodness.  The glaze has yet to completely set up, so it’s still a pretty gooey experience when you eat a piece.  This is definitely more of a dessert than something for breakfast, though.

I had a great idea for something I was calling “Elvis Bread”, and I was thinking that Scott would love it since he has such a love for peanut butter.  Alas, it will have to wait until another time.  He wasn’t feeling it…and the peanut butter chips from last week’s bars will have to stay in my cupboard until another time…

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Okay, I’m caving.  I’m posting this recipe because I’ve been asked to.  Repeatedly.  And I would just like to say that it is not mine, I didn’t make it up, I just love making it!  This comes from a place called the Cabernet Inn in New Hampshire.  I’ve never been there, but it looks awesome.  Click http://www.cabernetinn.com/ to see!

Here’s the ingredients:

2 1/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unpeeled, grated zucchini (about 3 medium)

And here’s what you do:

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a Large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and chocolate chips. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs slightly. Whisk in oil and vanilla. Stir in zucchini and add mixture to dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Pour into 2 lightly greased loaf pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and remove bread from pans. Yield: 2 breads.

My notes:

I don’t change a thing.  Not a single stinkin thing.  It’s good toasted.  It’s good sliced and plain. It’s good with butter.  It’s good with ice cream.  It’s good crumbled up in vanilla yogurt.  It’s been stolen out of Scott’s lunch box by his boss. The batter is good eaten with a spoon.  Not that I would know, of course….one should never consume raw eggs…especially when eating cookie dough….

Expect the batter to be slightly runnier than banana bread.  But it’s oh-so-fudgy when it’s done.

I’ve made this bread with both peeled and unpeeled zucchini.  There are more green bits in it when you leave the zucchini unpeeled, but it doesn’t affect the flavor.  It’s interesting how you can see the shreds of zucchini in the batter before it’s baked, but I’ve never really seen it once the loaf is done.  Maybe it breaks down??  Lord only knows.  I’m no chemist…

Alright, there you have it!  Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!

Peace, love, and cupcakes!