Archive for the ‘Bread/ dough’ Category

I hosted Thanksgiving this year, for the first time ever.  I was pretty excited because I have been wanting to try making cheesy pumpkin dip for at least two years, but it’s not really something you can make and bring to someone else’s place.  This dip is pretty simple, but it is so ingenious (not to mention tasty) that everyone will be chattering about it all afternoon.

What you need:

  • A sugar pumpkin (or two, we had 9 people, double the following for two pumpkins)
  • Bread, any kind really, about 4 slices
  • Garlic, minced
  • Italian seasoning, just a pinch or two
  • Nutmeg, about a teaspoon
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces cheese: I used cheddar cubes and grated romano
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt & pepper
  • crackers, crostini, etc for serving

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cut the top off the pumpkin and keep it.  Scoop out the seeds, but no need to worry about all the stringies as long as the seeds are gone.
  3. Cube bread and cheese.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the following together: bread, cheese, spices. garlic, breadcrumbs, basically everything but the cream.
  5. Add mixture into the pumpkin, and really pack it in as much as you can.
  6. Add heavy cream to pumpkin, put top back on pumpkin (I secured mine with toothpicks).
  7. Place pumpkin in a dutch oven, or pyrex dish that you don’t mind serving it in and bake for 60 – 90 minutes.
  8. After it’s done, stir up the dip, and scrape the inside of the pumpkin to get the pumpkin meat off.  Stir again, then serve!

Hope everyone had a great holiday!  Here are some more pictures of some of the other stuff I served.

Creamed corn w/ parmesan

Simple salad with home made croutons

Garlic red mashed potatoes

Green beans sauteed in bacon fat, topped with parmesan and bacon bits

honey glazed carrots



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Farmhouse White Bread

OMG you guys – I made bread.  Wheeeeeeeee!  I got the recipe from this super awesome book, The Mixer Bible.  Can you believe it’s the only cook book I own?  Anyway, if you have a kitchen-aid or other stand mixer, you need this book.  So onto the bread… That I made…. From SCRATCH.  I am very proud of myself, even though it was pretty easy.  I had my mom’s breadmaker for like a year and had so many failed attempts with that damn thing (plus it’s so huge and only serves one purpose – lame).  Making the bread with the kitchenaid/ oven wasn’t that much more effort, but it made 2x as much bread, and I think it tastes better, and it was extremely satisfying.

What you need:

  • 2 loaf pans
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water – 100 degrees is best (digital thermometers are awesome, you guys)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 – 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter softened
  • stand mixer
  • very helpful to have a digital thermometer

What to do:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat milk and the 1/4 C butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Let cool to around 100 degree F.  Do this absolutely first, because it takes forever for it to cool down.  While it’s cooling you can start prepping for everything else.
  2. In the mixer bowl, stir together yeast, water and sugar. Let stand until yeast begins to foam, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add warm milk mixture and salt. Attach the flat beater and mixer bowl to the mixer. Set to speed 2 and mix until well combined.
  4. Add 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix until a dough forms.  I lost count when I was doing this, so my flour might have been a 1/2 cup off, so don’t worry about messing it up too much, because my bread was still perfect.
  5. Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook. Set to speed 2 and knead, adding flour 1/2 C at a time until dough forms a smooth and elastic ball that cleans the bowl. Continue to knead for 2 minutes, adding flour 1 tbsp at a time as necessary to keep dough from clinging to the bowl. You can tell when it’s ready when, for the most part, it starts pulling away from the bowl, instead of sticking to it.
  6. Using your hands, form dough into a ball. Place back in the mixer bowl, rub with softened butter and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.  (At this point I just put it in the fridge overnight.  When I took it out, I let it warm up/ rise for another hour before continuing on to step 7.)
  7. Uncover dough and punch down several times to work out air bubbles. Form back into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  And as far as the timing for the rise goes, it’s definitely variable.  In my place, it always takes at least double the suggested time.  You can’t really let it rise too much, so just make sure it’s roughly double in size.
  8. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut in half. As you work with one piece of dough, keep the other covered. Working with one piece at a time, pat dough into a 10×8 inch rectangle. Starting with a long side, roll dough up jelly-roll style, then fold under the ends. Pinch the seams closed and place in prepared loaf pan, seam side down.
  9. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 45-60 minutes, or until the top of the dough is nearly level with the top of the loaf pan. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Using a pastry brush, coat tops of loaves with the beaten egg.

    See how much they need to rise?

  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until loaves are golden and reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks before slicing.

    SO GOOD, and makes your house smell warm and homey

Suggested variations:

  • Herb Bread: Add 1 tsp each dried oregano, basil and thyme to the milk and butter in step 1.
  • Cheese Bread: Before rolling dough in step 5, sprinkle each half with 3/4 C any shredded cheese of your choice.
  • Cinnamon Bread: Before rolling dough in step 5, sprinkle each half with a mixture of 1/3 C granulated sugar and 2 tsp ground cinnamon.

I can’t wait to try again and experiment with adding herbs or spices!  Hope you enjoy!

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I seriously make these ALL the time.  I almost always have some in the freezer ready to bake with dinner.  I find that when you are cooking for two (or maybe you have a hectic life cooking for many!), it’s easier to just make a double or triple batch, throw em in the freezer and bake as needed.  This way you only have to make a mess once!

I got the recipe from smitten kitchen, her bleu cheese and scallion biscuits.  I have made these babies many times, with bleu cheese, gorgonzola, feta and cheddar – good ol’ cheddar is far away the favorite of all my taste testers.

What you need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut up into cubes (make sure it’s cold!)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded or crumbled cheddar (or whatever cheese you want to try)
  • 4 – 6 scallions finely chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk

What you need to do

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, sugar)
  3. Blend in butter cubes with a dough blender.  If you don’t have a dough blender, get one!  But you can use your fingers, or a whisk, or even a large fork
  4. Stir in cheese and buttermilk
  5. Drop 12 biscuits onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes
  6. OR if you are going to freeze them, just put them in a freezer safe container and freeze!  When you bake them, you can either bake them straight from the freezer for 20+ minutes (keep an eye on them after about 25), or let them defrost a bit on the prepared cookie sheet while the oven preheats, etc (preferred)

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Pizza Dough

So I made pizza dough, and then a super delicious pizza!  It might seem daunting, but all you need is a lot of flour and a rolling pin to make it totally manageable.  I used my Mixer Bible for the dough recipe (below).  I love any excuse to use my shiny beast of a mixer.  Then, as with most pizzas we make at home, I scoured the fridge for toppings.

What you need for the dough (makes two 12 inch pizzas):

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (100 degrees)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • stand mixer
  • rolling pin (preferably french)

What you need to do:

  1. Stir the yeast, water and sugar together in a bowl.  Let stand five minutes or so until yeast begins to foam.
  2. Stir in the oil
  3. Put flour and salt in mixer bowl.  Mix flour and salt together with the flat beater, then add the yeast mixture and mix until a dough forms
  4. Switch the flat beater for the dough hook and knead the bread on 2 for three to five minutes, until the sides of the bowl are clean.
  5. Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap on your counter until the dough has doubled in size.  It took my dough like 3 hours to do this, but the book suggests 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 450
  7. Get ready to roll out your dough.  USE A LOT OF FLOUR, trust me on this one.  I probably used at least a cup per pizza dough.  Cut the dough in half and roll it out to your desired thickness.
  8. Top with your toppings, and bake for 15 minutes or so

What I used for my pizza:

  • Marinara Sauce, this kind from Costco is seriously delicious and doesn’t have a bunch of junk in it
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Sliced white onions
  • Minced garlic
  • Asparagus, cut into 1 or 2 inch pieces
  • Turkey pesto sausage from the only place I will eat sausages from, pre-cooked (no raw poultry!) then sliced
  • sprinkling of italian seasoning and romano cheese

Here is the fine specimen after assembly

Then I baked it for about 15 – 20 mins at 450 degrees, before I stuffed my face.

PS you can totally make, and freeze the dough for later (that’s what I did!).  You just might want to let it give a chance to rise again, if you can.

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Hope you all had a great Independence day and three day weekend!  I was inspired by Smitten Kitchen and a log of fig goat cheese that I thought I would love, but kind of hated, to make this DELICIOUS cornbread for our holiday BBQ.  This recipe was awesome, not only because it was yummy and a huge crowd pleaser, but also because I didn’t have to go out and buy a single thing for it.  I had it all already in my kitchen.

Here is the link to the original recipe.  I basically followed it, except I added more corn and more goat cheese (had to get rid of it!).  I did use polenta, mostly because I already had it.  Oh I also didn’t soak the polenta in buttermilk overnight, but for about 2 hours.  Another tip – the goat cheese needs to sit out for quite awhile to soften up, well over an hour.  But I just whipped it in the kitchenaid and it turned out fine.

I did use a large, very deep (6 inches maybe?) cast iron skillet to bake it in.  Next time I will definitely just put it in two skillets, or a skillet and a dutch oven/ pyrex.  It took about an hour to cook, and the edges got totally burned because it was so tall.  So if you improvise and add more ingredients, just keep this in mind…. or use a really big rectangle pan/ dish, so it is more shallow.  Once I got over the burned edges, I realized this is probably the best cornbread I have ever had… which was a really cool thought because I made it!

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