Thursday, January 11, 2024

Chunky Apple Yeast Bread

I love anything with apples in it.  As a matter of fact, if it's a choice... apples will beat out chocolate.  

Too bad nobody makes any of the apple desserts taste great.  It's a sign of the times.  Even good restaurants don't make their own...they order it frozen from ... somewhere..... horrible.  The last 3 times I've ordered a simple apple dessert with ice cream or whipped cream on it...the only thing I ate was a bit of topping after the first bite.  We rarely eat out, and so for me...a huge disappointment.

In my mind bread is not really a dessert...but this one could be eaten with a fork and have some ice cream or whipped cream on top .... just saying..... 

It's a bit soft; sort of like a pull apart bread.  Lots of apples.  And, a lovely soft brioche-like bread... she mentioned having it toasted...but, I think my loaf would have probably fallen apart in the toaster. 

This recipe is from a blog called Seasons and Suppers.  She has lots of lovely recipes for everything... I've tried two and so far ... a big thumbs up from me.  The other one was Easy Cream of Mushroom Soup.  Loved it.  I added a few more ingredients...and, it was so good.  It wasn't ready in the 20 minutes she claimed... but within an hour we had a delicious soup for lunch!

The recipe makes 2 loaves ... and, it made a huge mess in my kitchen .. well, it didn't ....    I did.  I had to stop in the middle to deal with lunch and, then..hurry up to keep on track and schedule..and, well ... next time it will be much easier as I know exactly what I am dealing with.  The patting and rolling out took a lot longer than I thought it would... and I used every available surface in my kitchen to make it happen.


After spreading the apples on the rectangle of dough, rolling it.. then, cutting it into pieces and then again down the centre scoop up the bits and just plop them into the tins.  The egg yolk in the apples makes it pretty slippery and, the dough separates from the apples ..... and.... .... and it is a bit messy by then... but...look at this lovely rustic looking loaf...

Maple Syrup glaze...... 

If you love apples ..... this is for you !!

Monday, June 5, 2023

Greg's Pizza

Well, we call if Greg's Pizza because he used to make it for me and his family when I first met him.  He was very young then.  He still makes it, but nowadays ... it seems I get to make the dough and he is happy being the artist putting on the goodies....

 1 cup lukewarm water

 1  tsp. sugar

 1 envelope yeast (says on packet 2 1/4 tsp.)

 1  tsp. salt

 1/4  cup olive oil

 2  3/4   cups flour

 1 tin of tomato paste. (I add a bit of ketchup and some salsa to it for flavour)

Measure into bowl 1 cup lukewarm water.  Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar, then sprinkle with yeast.  Let stand 10 minutes and stir well.  Add 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 cups flour.  Beat until smooth then stir in additional  1  1/4 cup flour.  Knead, cover and let stand 45 minutes.  (this can all be done in a mixer) 

Press into greased pans - let rest 15 minutes.  Brush lightly with oil.  Spread tomato paste, slight Italian seasoning, then add your favourite toppings and cheese.  Stay just a bit in from the edges with the paste.

Bake for 20 - 24 minutes at 375 - 400 

Makes two pizzas (we use two large 11 x 14 pans and press it in more or less to fit).  It sort of becomes a long oval to more rectangular shape......

Click on any photo to see it bigger .....

We like to sauté onions and mushrooms before we add them... and, then... add some sliced ham or salami, and, I know it is sacrilege to some, but we like pineapple on ours... and, some sliced tomatoes (I'm crazy enough to slice the little grape they always have such great flavour) and, some cheeses.  Your choice.... we usually use some Mozzarella and a bit of cheddar or some Jarlsberg ...

In this one...we even added some sliced black olives ... sautéed red peppers... 

And, then, he went back to work in the garage ... cutting something for something we must have been building....we've been renovating our house for 40 years....

Friday, May 12, 2023

Basic White Bread

 Well, that's what they call it in the Kitchen Aid mixer booklet.  Usually in the bread world, 'basic' does not contain butter, sugar and milk...  this one does......

It is the recipe I began with many years ago when I finally decided to conquer my 'yeast phobia' and go for it.  Just bake bread. 

It was amazing to me how well it turned out.  We really enjoyed it; especially for toast.  Not as much for sandwiches as it is a bit crumby compared to the store bought slices that always stay together ( one wonders what they add to it to make that happen) ... but, nevertheless... I continued to make and enjoy it. 

Until sometime in the past year...when it began to turn out ...erm...well.......just not quite the same.....

It began to come out of the oven looking perfect...but, within 20 minutes.. began to get cracking and crazing on the surface .. you could hear it ... and, much as I have read that it is what some bakers are striving for... that baker is not me.   I want a crisp, lovely brown crust..that stays firm and smooth and an interior crumb that is soft and tight with no large gaps or air holes.  

A fellow baker (Philip, thanks again).  ... .. suggested baking it at a lower temperature ..and, that worked!!  Now it is staying uncrazed or crackled on the surface... but, of course not getting quite as brown on top and, is sort of settling into a dimpled, softish crust after half and hour.  Arrrghhh!@# .. 

It is still great tasting bread... we love it for toast.. by itself with coffee.....or for under a poached egg... or with soups... but, what has changed or what am I doing different or it the oven?  I do have a new oven but, have had it for a couple years now ..and, I'm sure it didn't all begin with that.  Although, maybe..... another fellow baker has offered to do some 'forensic testing' on my bread and the recipe.  So, without further is the recipe Kevin.... maybe you can come up with my solution ..or ...I could always just use a different recipe and get some bread with a nicer crust.... yes... why don't I just do that?  Not... I'm just stubborn enough to keep at it until I figure it out at the very least... then..  make a different recipe!

Basic White Bread

        1/2 cup    (125 ml)  milk
3 TBSP.   (45 ml)    granulated sugar
2 tsp.       (10 ml)   salt
3  TBSP.   (45 ml)   butter
2  Packets  active dry yeast (I use 1 TBSP yeast)
1  1/2 cups (375 ml) warm water (105 to 115F).  (40C - 45C) 
5 - 6 cups all purpose flour.  (1.25L to 1.5L)

    Combine milk, sugar, salt, and butter in small saucepan.  Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Cool to lukewarm.

    Dissolve yeast in warm water in bowl.  Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2  cups flour.  Mix on speed 2 for 1 minute.  Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl.  Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic,  Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.

    Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

    Punch dough down and divide in half.  Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greased 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 x 2.5 inch pan (21x12x 6 cm) loaf pan.  Cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

    Bake at 400 F (200 C) for 30 minutes.  Remove from pans immediately and cool unwire racks. 

    NOTES:::::  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I decided early on that 2 packets of yeast (which each contain 2 1/4 tsps. granules) ..was too I only use 1 TBSP or a bit less.   

    I have tried less butter...  less sugar ...  (usually only toss in a dollop (which is probably close to 1 TBSP of butter.. only usually use 1 TBSP or less of sugar) ....  I've tried using only water and no milk... 

    Usually I use one cup or 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour along with the 3  or 3 1/2 cups of white flour for my initial addition of flour...and, add 1/2 cup and a second 1/2 cup of flour until I get the consistency I feel is good.  It usually ends up a bit less than 6 cups total....

    Sometimes I knead in the machine...sometimes I just turn it out and knead by hand.... 

    Nowadays I bake it at 350F instead of the 400F they call for. ...but, next bake I think I may try 375.. to get it a bit browner..or just leave it in longer...or...  well, who knows... using milk or a bit more sugar might get a browner crust..... I'm still shocked at how pale it stays just because I began to use a lower heat for baking.

    The oven shelf is on the second from the bottom position... there are several positions I can use, but the lowest is better for breads it seems..or the top browns more quickly that the bottom.

    I have two baking settings... one called Surround (which uses a fan and upper and lower heating elements)  ..the other just Bake, which is the one I have begun to use more regularly.   I don't use steam pans or spritz any moisture on the bread or in the oven. 

    Well, there you have it Kevin... all the pertinent details.  Maybe you can figure out something that will get me the lovely crisp crust and soft interior that I used to bake with ease all those years ago and which now.... seems to evade me......


Okay, it's end of day and I'm totally bummed with the results. ...  just going to use a different recipe from now on.

The dough seemed good... nice and supple and smooth...

Click on any pic and it will show larger....

It definitely got a bit over risen in the pans... I'm always hesitant to only leave it for less than an hour ..but, in this case... I should have turned on the stove at about 40 mins and it would have been a better thing.  It was cool in the kitchen at only 20C..but, the dough was warmer I guess.  I did check it and it was above Charlie's favourite of 25C was closer to 27C.. but, I thought it would be okay as the room was cooler. 

I don't know what causes it to pull like this..only on one side always... it can't be under proofed... 

...because then... I got this.  A large bubble with a very thin membrane ...which I couldn't resist pushing in ... 

Th underside looks good... nice and golden....

A portion of the surface looks pretty darn good....

..but...once cooled ... and sliced ...look at this.  Another big bubble on the very top.

And, if you can see it ...the wrinkling or dimpling and softness I was talking about.  It may be just because it is more of an enriched dough with the butter, milk and sugar... but, who knows... 

    My husband had a slice with some butter and honey and declared it delicious.  I guess that's all that counts.... 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

No Knead Focaccia

 I've discovered the best and easiest Focaccia ever!  No knead and it only has to rise for an hour.

Yes, there are plenty of different recipes and ways of making it...and, I have tried several, but none are as easy and as tasty as this ... so far.

Taken from Geoff's Baking Blog.. as are lots of recipes I try lately.  He makes great videos of his bakes... is straight forward and easy to follow... and, anything I have tried from his blog has turned out very well.

Geoff's Baking Blog

He has another focaccia, but it needs more rise time and I have yet to try that one... and, even queried him on whether he thinks it tastes any better than this much simpler bake.  No reply yet...but will update this when I find out.  

The recipe is on the page.. I hope you give it a try... you'll be glad you did. 

Here is the first one I made from his recipe... I put on some sliced black olives, sun dried tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese... and into the dough I mixed some sautéed onions, a few sun dried tomato bits and spices. was YUMMY!  It's like a big, fat pizza by the time I get through putting on all the goodies.

Give it a click and see it BIG .....YUMM!

It puffs up perfectly and you get a big 9 x 13 inch panful of goodness.  


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Molten Orange Tarts

I tried these for the first time yesterday and my mid back is still bothering me.  They were a lot more fiddly than I thought they'd be.  As a matter of fact, Geoff, from whose site I got them, referred to them as"Easy"on the recipe.  He's a better man than I....... although, it didn't look that hard on his video.  He called them Gooey Orange Tarts..but, I don't really like the word 'gooey'.... so, I call them Molten instead.  There is just enough orange sauce inside them to let it gently slip down onto the plate if you cut one in half.  If you put too much into the shell it will just bubble up and over the sides...don't be tempted to do that.   There was plenty of sauce left over so I just heat some when we eat a tart..and spoon a little bit on top as well.  

Anyway... the crust is firm when baked, but still not tough if you know what I mean.  It is like the crust on fruit tarts.  It has a lovely flavour and you notice a hint of orange from the zest... which is strange as I thought the zest from two whole, very big oranges would be too much.  It wasn't.  It is perfect.  

Further info and thoughts...::: I think the chunk of dough for making the little topping balls should be kept in one big chunk and covered 'til you are ready to roll out the balls, otherwise it begins to feel a bit dry in spite of the fact that it is really oily.. quite weird.  And, mine did feel a bit grainy I think.. probably because I used granulated sugar when it called for caster sugar.  Next time.... and, there must be a next time as they are wonderful to eat!  So, I will have a better idea of what can happen...and will have more paper towels at the ready for my very greasy hands and will put the pot of orange sauce ingredients on the front burner of the stove ... also... the amount of sauce is overly generous for only 9 tarts.  A bit less would be fine.  I'll have to work out the measurements for a closer amount. 

Without further is Geoff's recipe.  

Geoff's Orange Tarts

Here is the original Youtube where Geoff got his idea for these tarts.

Ricette Fatte in Casa

Photo of my very cute finished tarts.

I got tired of trying to make perfect little balls so I tried one with just crumbles of the looks very nice as well.  Not quite as cute, but easily as acceptable and of course, just as delicious! 

......... making the 72 (or thereabouts) tiny balls..... which as you know...I didn't........  

Here is one with some extra orange sauce spooned over ....