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Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Pesto Bread

This was one of  the things I made for my friends after starting my first job at a bread store.   We were all young and didn’t have a bunch of money, but this was cheap, filling, yummy, and requested a lot!

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of french bread, and it doesn’t have to be the artisan type! (I prefer a non-sourdough)
  • 1-1/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan or Italian cheese blend
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup prepared pesto (see Basil “Pesto” recipe)
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Turn your oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the parmesan cheese with the ricotta.

Set it aside. Cut french loaf in half lengthwise. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on each half of the bread loaf. It should be around 1/8 of an inch thick.

Pour 1/3 cup to 1/2 a cup (depending on how big your loaf is) of pesto over the ricotta cheese mixture and spread to the edges of the bread.

Then sprinkle on the mozzarella,and place on an aluminum lined cookie sheet.

Bake  until the top is brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve!!!

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I’m pumping myself up for my “A” game.  Every year I plant a zucchini, and it’s inevitable. I always end up with way more zucchini than I need, even after freezing.  I never learn my lesson, although this year, I planted a gray zucchini in hopes to keep the harvest down. I have become a firm believer in the ” Leave a stack of Zucchini on your Neighbors steps in the middle of the Night” day. Oh yeah, it’s an actual day. Look it up. Or make this bread… you may never have to get rid of zucchini again!

Ingredients:

  • 3-1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cups sugar plus
  • 1/4 cup sugar divided
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or 1-1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup wheat flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp melted butter (about 3/4 of a stick)

First thing first… the  trick to a good tasting zucchini bread is to get as much water out of the zucchini as possible. There are two ways to do this. One is to freeze shredded zucchini, and when it thaws, squeeze out the excess water. Or you can stir sugar into freshly shredded zucchini which will help it release water.  Just like strawberries.  I opt for number two since in the case of zucchini, fresh is better.  The more water you get out, the more zucchini you can pack into this bread. Which means that you’re getting zucchini bread, not bread with some zucchini in it. And another this is that you get to use up more of your zucchini harvest! YEA!! OK, enough with the babble

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Shred that zucchini-

Yup, I use a regular old cheese grater. Unless I plan on making a lot of bread to give away, and then I bust out with a food processor.

Next mix the shredded zucchini up with 1/4 cup of sugar

and place into a colander to drain.

I place my colander over a bowl just to see how much liquid drains.  Plus the kiddos think it’s a pretty color. I agree!

While the zucchini is draining dump the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a big bowl, and stir until combined.

In a second smaller bowl, whisk together the rest of the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, yoghurt, vanilla, and melted butter

until combined.

Now you have to decide if you would like one large loaf or two smaller loafs, then grease  and flour your pan/s. I chose to make two, since my father caught wind that I was baking and had already called to make sure he had a loaf reserved.

Return to your zucchini and squeeze out as much remaining liquid as you can. It doesn’t have to be completely dry, But you should have a nice amount of liquid in your bowl.

Look at all that zucchini juice!

Mix the squeezed zucchini in with your egg mixture …

Then pour into the big bowl with your flour mixture, and fold (if you want to add 1 cup of nuts, chocolate chips, or what ever floats your boat, now would be the time)

until just combined.  You DON’T want to mix it too much! Mixing too much will make a dense bread.

Pour the batter into your pan/s

And bake on middle rack in the oven until golden brown for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool down for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and finish cooling on a rack.

or eat it immediately while it’s still warm.

YUM!

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You’ll go weak in the knees from the smell of this bread baking.  Well, any baking bread really.  I’m lazy, so this is a half bread machine-half oven recipe, though it can be done completely by hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon  white sugar
  • 2-1/4  teaspoons or 1 packet of dry active yeast
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup of pack brown sugar or raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups crushed bran cereal with raisins
  • 2-1/4 cups bread flour and some for dusting
  • 1/2 cup of raisins (optional)

Stir 1 teaspoon of white sugar into lukewarm water until it’s dissolved. Stir in yeast until it’s partially combined with the sugar water or looks like this:

Let it activate approximately 4-7 minutes or until it’s frothy. It should look something like this:

Neat huh!

Now here’s where you should follow your bread machine manufacturer instructions and pour in your ingredient accordingly, but I just follow the liquid (starting with the yeast mixture), to dry goods, to fats rule.  That is, I pour in everything wet first, then everything dry, and finally the butter.  In the end it should look something like this:

Put the machine on the dough cycle, and walk away for about an hour and a half.  If you want to add more raisins (or orange zest or anything else) you can do so when the machine beeps or in the last 5 minutes of the final kneading cycle.

Here’s the finished dough.  I know, nothing to write home about… unless you get fantastically excited about dough.

I’m warning you that this is a sticky dough.  A really sticky dough. “I’m not gonna come off your fingers” kind of sticky.

So be prepared.

Grease your loaf pan that the bread will be baked in, dust it with flour and set aside.  I tend to spray it down with a butter flavored cooking spray and sprinkle flour over that, not because I’m trying to be healthy. I told you, I’m lazy and it’s a great shortcut.  Once it’s floured, set it aside.

Scrape your dough out onto a floured surface and flip it over to lightly flour the entire dough ball. Viola, no more stickiness!  Press the dough into an approximately 3/4 inch thick rectangularish shape,  like so

It doesn’t have to be perfect, notice the hand prints?

Roll the dough into a long tube and put it into the pan, seam side down. Then cover with piece of plastic wrap

and put in a warm place to rise. After 35  minutes, turn on your oven to 350 degrees.  Let your dough finish rising while the oven heats up for another 10-15 minutes.  Take off the plastic, and hopefully it will look something like this

You can slash the top if you’d like at this point (I don’t=lazy). Pop that bad boy into the oven and bake for 50 minutes.   Cool the bread for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Finish cooling on a rack or an upside down muffin tin (the rack was dirty) if you can resist cutting into it while it’s still warm.

I understand if you can’t.  I’ve been there, believe me.

If you want to, you could just cook this bread directly in your bread machine under the wheat bread cycle. Now how’s that for a shortcut!

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Lack of sleep

I love the idea of being the type of person that wakes up before the sun is out, get’s a cup of coffee and reads the newspaper as the sun rises and shines upon my face.  I called it an idea,  since it is fiction, and I am not that person. I’m usually up at all hours of the night, trying to finish things that I have started during the day, or need to finish before the next morning. Or I’m up all night with insomnia worrying about about stuff I need to do the next day. And if and when I finally fall asleep, it is inevitable that one of the kiddos will wake up and need me to rock them back to sleep.  I do in fact get up early, I pack the Hub’s breakfast and lunch, and I get his coffee ready. He works hard. He totally deserves this little offering every morning. I kiss that man o’ mine goodbye, then in my zombie state I get the kid’s breakfast going. Not that it take a lot to put together a bowl of cereal.  And I am known to whip up a mean batch of pancakes, eggs, or french toast on occasion. Even now it’s almost midnight and I still have a sink full of dishes that will not get done tonight and a loaf of bread baking in the oven.  When it comes down to it, I’m just horrible at managing my time.  I don’t feel bad about not completing all daily tasks. I just keep myself awake thinking about it!

Bread in the oven:  Raisin Bran Loaf Bread

Recipe to come!!!

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