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Basic White Bread By James Beard Recipe

James Beard is a legend in the food world.  The yearly “James Beard Awards” are the Oscars of the culinary business.  I haven’t yet tried Mr. Beard’s white bread recipe but I though some of you might be interested. – jughandle

Basic White Bread

By James Beard

Recipe

James Beard’s Basic White Bread Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves

 

Step 1

  • In a small bowl mix the yeast and the 1/4 cup warm water; add the sugar, stir well, and set aside until proofed. It is proofed when fermentation is apparent: the mixture will swell and small bubbles appear on the surface. (If it doesn’t proof at all, it means the yeast is not fresh or it is dead.)
  • Step 2
  • In a small saucepan heat the milk with the salt and stir in the butter until it melts. Set aside to cool until it is no warmer than the yeast mixture.
  • Step 3
  • Put 2 cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl and stir in the milk mixture. Beat well with a wooden spatula, add the yeast mixture, and continue beating the dough until it is smooth, adding an additional cup of flour to make a firm dough.
  • Step 4
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and begin the kneading process, which evenly distributes the fermenting yeast cells through the dough.
  • Step 5
  • There are several kneading methods, but the basic one is to flour the dough and your hand lightly, then push the heel of your hand down into the dough and away from you. Fold the dough over, give it a quarter turn, and push down again. Repeat pushing, folding and turning until the motion becomes rhythmic.
  • Step 6
  • Knead for about 10 minutes, kneading in additional flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, and blisters form on the surface.
  • Step 7
  • To test whether the dough has been kneaded enough make an indention in it with your fingers; it should spring back. If blisters form on the surface of the dough and break, this is another sign that the kneading is sufficient.
  • * Note: If you have a heavy-duty electric mixer with a dough-hook attachment, knead the dough with the hook and finish it off on the board.
  • Step 8
  • Butter a large bowl, transfer the dough to it, and turn the bowl until the dough is well coated with butter on all sides. Cover the dough with a dish towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until it is doubled in bulk. A good, warm, draft-free place is inside your room temperature oven.
  • Step 9
  • To test further if the dough has risen properly, make an indentation in it with two fingers: if the dough does not spring back, then it is ready.
  • Step 10
  • Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan, or two pans that are about 8x4x2 inches. Punch the dough down with your fist to deflate it; transfer it to a floured board and knead it well for about 3 minutes. Pat it into a smooth round or oval shape and let it rest for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 11
  • Then form into 1 large or two small loaves, by shaping the dough into an oval the length of your bread pan, then gently stretching, rounding, and plumping it in the palms of your hands, tucking the edges underneath and pinching them together.
  • Step 12
  • Lift carefully; drop the dough into the pan or pans and smooth out. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise again in a warm draft-free place for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is double in bulk.
  • Step 13
  • Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Brush the egg wash over the top of the dough.
  • Step 14
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes; reduce the heat to 350 dF and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer, until the crust is well browned and the bread sounds hollow when removed from the pan and tapped on the bottom with the knuckles.
  • Step 15
  • If you like a crusty loaf, remove it from the pan about 5 to 10 minutes before the end of the baking time and let it finish baking on the oven rack. It will get brown and crusty all over.
  • Step 16
  • Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing.
  • The bread may be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator after it has cooled. If you seal it in a bag before it is completely cooled, the crust will become soft. Stored bread will keep about 1 week. It also freezes well if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and sealed in a plastic bag and can be kept for up to 3 months.

 

Things You’ll Need

1pk Yeast; active, dry

1/4c Water; warm (110-115 degs)

2ts Sugar

1c Milk

3ts Salt

3tb Butter

3 3/4c Flour; All-purpose

————–EGG WASH——————

1md Egg White; beaten slightly

-in 1 tbspn warm water.

via Basic White Bread By James Beard Recipe | Garden Guides.

Notes from Thanksgiving – a few successes

Notes to self:

Self- in the future try to have fewer than 55 items on the menu for the week, 40 of which were new recipes I’ve never tried before.

Self- Don’t renovate the kitchen two days before a major holiday when 6 guests are coming to Thanksgiving dinner.

Attempted and the Result

My eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I seem to always be thinking about what I can accomplish with energy and dexterity I had 15 years ago.  The following are the dishes I scheduled to cook for the holiday week.  Some were good, some bad, and some were memorable.  Click on the links for the recipes:

Spinach Balls –  These looked great and weren’t too hard to make.  I substituted Panko bread crumbs for the All Brand Buds – the buds looked too much like kibble.  I sauteed fresh spinach instead of using frozen and  I also made my own croutons instead of using stuffing mix.  I screwed up by cooking them too long and some were burned and some were ok.  The mustard dip was great if you make your own ranch dressing.  I’d do these again and not cook them to death.  They did hold together well.  I made the balls with a small scoop and they were easy.

 

 

 Mario Batali’s Stuffed Cabbage –  This is a killer, must do and remember type of recipe.  The instructions include a “how to” on how to make the leaves soft enough to fold easily and was perfect and easy.  The recipe is vegetarian, but you could leave out the cheese and make it vegan pretty easily, or add meat and have a great dish too.  I substituted grated white cheddar cheese for the ricotta and Pecorino and it was very nice.  I didn’t have to use tooth picks to hold the packets together.  I just rolled them up and turned them seam down on the cooking sheet.  I did drizzle a little olive oil on the outside before baking and sprinkled that with Panko bread crumbs for a little crunch.  I’m using some sesame seeds next time. Every one loved this dish with the freshly made tomato sauce.

 

 Upside Down Potato and Onion Tart –   This may have been the best dish of the week.  It was gone in 60 sec, just like the movie.  I made this one exactly like the recipe called for, cutting my onions and potatoes on a mandolin slicer, which made it faster but wasn’t necessary.  I used a 9 inch, deep-sided, cast-iron skillet and everything fit nicely.  This can be cooked this a little in advance, which I did and when it came time to flip it onto a serving plate I had to warm the bottom and run a knife around the side of the skillet to release it from the pan, but that worked perfectly.  The tart cut cleanly using a pizza wheel and everyone wondered why I didn’t make two.  My only recommendation is to make sure you have another pan under the skillet when you put it into the oven to catch spill over and avoid filling the kitchen with smoke.

 

 Turkey number 1 – the rotisserie turkey is always a winner.  We have a Ronco standard rotisserie oven that gets used 3, sometimes 4 or 5 times a week.  I use it for everything from meat to vegetables.  The turkey gets brined with a 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of salt to every 2 gals of water, over night.  You don’t really have to do the brine with the rotisserie as it distributes the juices and always leaves a juicy result.  I dry the bird and rub it with olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with McCormick’s lemon-pepper.  That’s it.  This bird was a 13 pounder so I cooked it for 3 hours and 15 mins, then rotated without heat to redistribute the juices for 20 mins.  Easy. It pulls apart.

 

 

Turkey number 2, the de-boned stuffed turkey – My first de-boning of a turkey, went as well as could be expected.  No skin tears or bone fragments.  I cheated a little and left the wing and leg bones intact to better represent a whole turkey.  The stuffing was my own mix of rice, whole hard cooked eggs, spinach, arugula, mushrooms, dried fruit and nuts. The eggs were mostly for presentation when the bird was sliced, but I should have added 2 or 3 raw eggs to the mix to bind the stuffing more.  When it was cut the stuffing kind of fell out. The second picture shows the sliced bird.  I was able to eat the stuffing which was great.  Nice and moist.  Everyone loved the turkey and it would have been a star if it hadn’t been for the rotisserie turkey.

 

 This is the sliced bird with the egg reveal.

 

 

 

 

 The winner is!!  Pretzel rolls – this recipe got the most raves of all.  We had these with a nice potato soup that I made last week and Darlene doctored.  Chopped turkey was optional to add to the soup.  These rolls were easy to make.  They only have to rise about an hour and they you poach them in a salt/soda bath to make a pretzel like crust before baking them for 20 mins.  Crust on outside, doughy on the inside.  Great with butter or dipped in the soup.  I’ll be making these once a month at least.

 

 

 Thought I’d show you one of the desserts.  This is a double layer cheese cake with pistachio nuts on the outside and dried cherries and fresh blackberries on top.  Mine isn’t as pretty as the recipe, which was only one layer, but it was good.  I didn’t chop the nuts, so mine didn’t cover as well as the recipe’s and I changed the berries too.  My mother and I jointly made this cake using an old standard Philadelphia cheese cake recipe that is a never fail recipe.  It is so rich that only a small piece with satisfy even the sweetest of tooths.

 

 

 

More successes and failures on my next post – jughandle

Fried Chicken and Corn bread

Doesn’t that sound good?  Since I’ve now been a flexa-vegan-tarian for 5 weeks now and counting, the fried chicken is making my mouth water like all get out.  I thought I’d treat the crowd who isn’t beating themselves with a stick (read going on a diet) with a couple of great recipes from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  These are consistantly the best pan fried chicken and corn bread I’ve ever eaten.  The down side to these recipes is that like all great cooks, Beverly and Ella Ween don’t use a recipe, but cook by “feel” instead.  I’ll do my best to provide you with repeatable recipes.

Corn bread

Beverly’s corn bread is crisp on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside.  It smells great and is good with just about anything or nothing at all but a little butter.  She insists on using self-rising Martha White brand flour and self-rising White Lily brand corn meal and who can argue with perfection.  She coats the 9″ cast iron skillet with a heavy helping of Crisco shortening, but I bet lard would be good too.  The batter is a mixture of white flour and Corn meal but is heavily weighted to the corn meal side using 3 cups.  The wet ingredients are 2 eggs and a cup of butter milk.  She cooks it hot at 425-450 and it comes out with a crispy crust because of the Crisco in the skillet.

Click here for the full recipe

  

Pan Fried Chicken

Considering my new status as a non-meat eater, it is going to be hard to get through this post.  My mouth is already watering from the memories of crispy, tender, succulent fried chicken…  …Ok, I’m back now.  This chicken that my mother-in-law, Ella Ween makes is hard to describe, except to say I could easily eat a whole bird, piece by delectable, scrumptious, luscious piece.  Ella Ween achieves a great piece of chicken by removing the skin and generously seasoning the pieces with salt and pepper before dredging in a wet mix of egg and butter milk followed by a dry coating of seasoned self-rising flour.  I’ve seen that or done that before you might be thinking.  Yeah, you might have but did you use self-rising flour or follow that by browning the chicken on both sides in the hot oil, then lowering the temperature and covering the pan while simultaneously frying and steaming the bird?  I didn’t think so.  People, this is seriously good chicken.

click here for the complete recipe

  

 

 

Make your own tortillas – video

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (not bread flour, AP)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup hot milk

 

1 Light up the stove or griddle. Get a large non-stick surface hot and ready to go. I like these to cook fast, so fire that baby on up. Set out a heavy plate (that will hold heat) and a spatula to handle the hot bread.

2 Put a smidgen over 3/4 cup of milk into the micro and set on high for 60 seconds and leave it. We’ll cover why it’s just over 3/4 cup shortly…

3 Measure out all of the dry ingredients into the mixer of your Kitchen Aid or a large bowl that you can mix in by hand.

4 Add in 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Yes, vegetable oil. No, I don’t mean butter. It works, trust me. Now mix those items together just a bit.

5 Slowly mix the hot milk in until the dough ball comes away cleanly. You may need to add a little more or less and you may need to adjust with additional flour.

7 Mix the dough for 3-4 minutes then turn out on a floured surface and knead once or twice to shape it some. (Note: To this point you should have taken no more than 5 minutes tops! Yes, the clock is running, come’on! Didn’t you read the post title?)

8 Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, if you are measuring with scales each ball will be somewhere around 2oz in size.

9 Here’s the fun part that you may want some help with the first couple of times. Roll each ball into a 6″ circle on a lightly floured surface and cook them on the skillet/griddle. Each one will take about 30 seconds per side to cook so you can put one on and roll out a second tortilla. Once the second one is ready you can flip the first one and place the second one on the surface. By the time the third one is ready the first will come off and the second will be ready to flip. Lather, rinse, repeat until done.

10 Be standing at the door when your SO walks in with one of these lathered up in butter and waiting for him/her. Don’t ever send them to the store again for something that’s so easy for you to whip out. Seriously, that’s just mean. 🙂

Cooking time (duration): 25 Number of servings (yield): 12 Meal type: snack Culinary tradition: Mexican