Breads · Family · New Favorite · New Traditions

Crusty No-Knead Bread

Crusty Bread that I don’t have to knead?  Just what I needed to go with the soup I was making.  Honestly, the recipe seemed too easy but it worked perfectly.  I baked the bread in my Lodge Dutch Oven and I baked it according to directions.  The crust was a little too brown, but the interior of the bread was perfect and tasted great!

It is wonderful served with soup and also wonderful as a sandwich.  As long as I plan a day ahead, I can make this bread any time!

CRUSTY NO-KNEAD BREAD

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. active dry yeast
1 ½ cups water 
room temperature

  • Form the dough: In a big bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula or a wooden spoon mix it until well incorporated. You do not need to activate the yeast before, even though we’re using active dry yeast. The slow rising process will do the trick.
  • Allow it to rise: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter or inside your unheated oven for 12 to 18 hours.
  • Preheat your oven: Preheat oven to 450°F. Add your cast iron pot to the oven as it’s heating and heat it as well until it’s at 450°F. Usually when the oven is done preheating your pot should be hot enough as well. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid from it. Use oven mitts, as to not burn yourself.
  • Shape the dough: Flour your hands really well and also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Sprinkle some extra flour directly into the bottom of the pot. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven. Alternatively, you can also place the ball of dough onto a piece of parchment paper, then lift the parchment paper and drop it in the pot, with parchment paper and all. This could also ensure that your bread doesn’t stick at all to the bottom of the pot. I have found that if I use parchment paper, the bread doesn’t brown so much on the sides, but otherwise it’s still crusty and delicious.
  • Finish the bread: Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pot, it should fall out easily. Let cool completely before slicing into it and serving.

Recipe from JoCooks.com

Breads · Holidays

Cranberry Orange Bread with Orange Glaze

Cranberry and Orange are a culinary match made in heaven.  The combination in this wonderful quick bread is divine, especially with the addition of Orange Glaze.

The bread is great with a cup of coffee or tea or can be served as a dessert.  

CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD WITH ORANGE GLAZE

1 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large orange
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries

For the orange glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a small bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk into the flour mixture. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake for 70-75 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. If your loaf starts to get too brown drape a piece of foil over the top to finish baking. I did this during the last 10 minutes of the baking time.
  • Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread with a knife. Carefully remove loaf from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.
  • While the bread is cooling, make the orange glaze. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the bread. Cut and serve.
  • Note-The bread is best eaten within 2-3 days or freeze.

Recipe from twopeasandtheirpod.com 

Breads · Garden · New Favorite

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Unique Zucchini recipes are always of interest to me and this Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Zucchini Break did not disappoint.  Breads, cakes and cookies with rolled oats are a favorite, now adding coconut and chocolate…what’s not to like!

OATMEAL COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI BREAD

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat white flour (may be substituted with all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup coconut sugar (may be substituted with granulated or brown sugar)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (may be substituted with canola oil)
2 large eggs
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard size loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Whisk together the oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and coconut oil vigorously, until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, coconut, and chocolate chips and stir until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Recipe from Flavorthemoments.com

 

 

Breads · Breakfast · Garden · My Roots · Vegan · Vegetarian

Wild Plum Jam

Wild Plums are a new discovery for me. A few weeks ago,  I was on a walk with my granddaughter when we saw these pretty purple, red and yellow fruit growing in the open space.  I brought a few back to house and identified them.  Wild Plums!  My daughter and her family walked to open space to pick several pounds of fruit. We were cautiously optimistic and decided to make a trial batch from the few ripe plums.  We left the skins on for the trial. It was delicious but and we did not like the texture of the cooked skins.

A week later, the rest of the plums were ripe and we decided to make and can the jam, using a food strainer to remove the skins.  My Mom’s trusty food strainer did the trick!

Vintage Sieve and Pistle

The jam is pretty and tart.  I can’t wait to try it on  breakfast toast, pancakes, or perhaps with a mild cheese.

Finding these little gems caused interest in the history of the wild plum and how Native Americans and our ancestors may have used them.  Wild Plums appear to grow in many states. The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer published an interesting history.

WILD PLUM JAM

5 pounds Wild Plums
5 cups sugar (the original recipe called for 10 cups of sugar)
4.5 tablespoons lemon juice

  • Pit the plums and place them into a thick bottomed pot.
  • Add in the lemon juice and cook for a few minutes, until the plums begin to release their juices.
  • Add in sugar and stir.  Simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes.1/2 to compensate for the naturally sweeter fruit.
  • When the jam thickens, pour the hot jam into a food sieve.  Press to remove the juice and pulp.  Discard the remaining skins.  Put back on heat to assure the jam returns to temperature.
  • Pour the hot jam into prepared canning jars.  At this point, the jam can either be stored in the refrigerator or processed for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
  • After a 10 minute process, turn off the heat, wait 5 more minutes and then remove the jars from the canner.
  • Allow the jars to cool, and after 24 hours place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.

Recipe adapted from Earthfoodandfire.com

Breads · Breakfast · Czech Heritage and Dishes · Family Favorites · Holidays · Home · My Roots

Cherry Kolaches, our Christmas Day Tradition

The gifts are wrapped, the house is decorated, and the baking is done. This year I thought I’d take a break from making Kolaches for Christmas Day until I mentioned this to my family. WHAT? BREAKING FROM TRADITION? So, I will not break the tradition and made them today.  The truth is I love them as much as my daughters and their families.

This year I used my Mother’s Foundation sweet dough which she used for cinnamon rolls and Kolaches. My KitchenAid mixer makes easy work of making bread instead of taxing my arthritic wrists. The past several batches of bread I’ve made from standard flour have been too dense, so I decided to try King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour. I loved the result with a very light sweet dough that melts in your mouth.

The cherry filling started with a bucket of frozen sour cherries I purchased at the Farmer’s Market last summer. img_8562

There is nothing better than the taste of those cherries. Truly, I could eat a bowl of the cherry filling and forget the bread dough!

I also make a dozen chocolate kolaches which started as a request by one of son-in-laws, now a family favorite as well.  I simply put chocolate chips (or this year a dove milk chocolate square) in the middle of the dough ball and then pinch it closed.  Let it rise to double in size then bake. When you remove from the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

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Another tradition for our Christmas Day celebration is the Nordic Kringla.  Turns out Kringla is a big hit with my 3 year old grandson and 1 year old granddaughter.  My 6 week old grandson has yet to weigh in…but next year…

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year!

CHERRY KOLACHES, our Christmas Day Tradition

Mom’s Foundation Sweet Dough

2 cakes (Packages) yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons shortening (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6-7 cups flour (I used 6 cups King Arthur Bread Flour)
3 eggs, beaten

  • Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in lukewarm water. Set aside to soften and rise.
  • Scald milk.  Add shortening, sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm. Add 2 cups flour to make a batter.  Add the yeast mixture and beaten eggs, and beat well.
  • Add remaining flour or enough to make a soft dough. Knead lightly and place in greased bowl. Cover and let set in warm place, free from draft.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
  • When light, punch dough down and shape in balls about the size of a walnut and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise for 10 minutes
  • When risen, push the centers of balls down and fill with cherry filling (or filling of your choice).  Let rise again.
  • Bake at preheated 400 degree oven (375 degrees for convectional oven) for about 7 minutes or until golden brown.

Cherry Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup juice from cherries
3 cups pitted tart red cherries (water pack)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

Combine 3/4 cup sugar with cornstarch.  Stir in cherry juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till mixture thickens and bubbles; cook 1 minute longer.  Add remaining sugar, cherries, butter, and food coloring and cook until thickened. (Mixture will be very thick.)  Let stand while preparing bread dough for Kolaches.

Reference:

KOLACHE … Bohemian Heritage and Christmas Tradition

Breads · New Favorite

Yogurt Cake with Pear and Dark Chocolate

Fresh, sweet pears have always been a favorite of mine. Rarely have I baked with pears but this recipe sounded too delicious to resist.  It has a wonderful texture and so very moist!
Yogurt Cake with Pear and Dark Chocolate

YOGURT CAKE WITH PEAR AND DARK CHOCOLATE

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks.

  • Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter (I found the recipe made too much for one loaf pan–I made an 8 inch loaf and a small loaf pan).
  • In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
  • Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
Slightly adapted from FiveandSpice.com

 

 

Breads · Family · Family Favorites · Garden · New Favorite

Lemon Yellow Summer Squash Bread

When yellow squash and zucchini are plentiful and I’ve made every possible recipe, I go to the web and try to find something different to make.  This bread was a phenomenal find. I’ve always been fond of lemon cake and this bread is addictive. No, you can’t have just one slice, I guarantee it!

IMG_7593

LEMON YELLOW SUMMER SQUASH BREAD

There is no reason you couldn’t substitute zucchini in this recipe; would be pretty with the green zucchini and yellow lemon zest!  I did not make the Sweet Roasted Lemon Garnish).
Serves: 2 loaves

1 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups grated summer squash

For the Glaze:

1 Tbsp. melted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

For the Sweet Roasted Lemon Garnish (edible and optional!):

1 lemon, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, seeds removed
½ tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Grease and flour 2 regular loaf pans or 4 mini pans.
  • Mix butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until well blended.
  • Add eggs one at a time and once all are incorporated beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Add squash and stir just to blend.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes for small loaf pans or 1 hour for regular size loaf pans.
  • Allow the pan to cool; remove the bread and place top down on a serving plate (makes for a nice presentation for the glaze and lemons).
Make the Roasted Lemons:
  • Cook lemon slices in a medium saucepan of boiling water 2 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain and pat dry.
  • Gently toss lemon slices with sugar, and 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until lemons are no longer wet and only slightly colored, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.
Make the Glaze:
  • Combine the melted butter and powdered sugar and stir until smooth; add the lemon juice and lemon zest and stir to combine.
  • Add water or milk if necessary to get the right consistency.
  • Pour the glaze over the top; covering it completely and letting excess dribble down the sides.
  • Arranged sweet, roasted lemons on top.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from CreativeCulinary.com

Appetizers · Breads · New Favorite

Focaccia with Carmelized Onions, Pear and Blue Cheese

Pears have been plentiful this year and I had to find a savory recipe to use extra pears when I discovered this fantastic recipe.  The focaccia recipe itself is wonderful and worthy of a totally different set of toppings; however, it’s hard to beat pears and blue cheese.

This is a recipe I’ll make over and over and over…

IMG_7612

FOCACCIA WITH CARMELIZED ONIONS, PEAR AND BLUE CHEESE

1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 large Bosc pear, cored and sliced
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)

  • In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the oil; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and the salt and knead until smooth.
  • Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let stand for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 450°. Oil a 9-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the sheet and press it down to fit. Dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes. 

IMG_7600

  • Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pear over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.

IMG_7601

Recipe from FoodandWine.com

Breads · New Favorite

Fresh Pear Bread

Pears, pears, pears!  I’ve overrun with pears thanks to my CSA shares this fall. They have been absolutely delicious but more than I can eat.

This recipe was simple and resulted in a moist, delicious bread great for a breakfast treat with a cup of hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate.  Due to family tastes, I omitted the nuts, but it would be delicious with walnuts or pecans!

Fresh Pear Bread
Fresh Pear Bread

FRESH PEAR BREAD

3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups finely chopped peeled ripe pears (about 4 medium)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • In a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; stir into the egg mixture just until moistened. Toss pears with lemon juice. Stir pears and walnuts into batter (batter will be thick).
  • Spoon into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Breads · Breakfast · Czech Heritage and Dishes · Family · Family Favorites · Holidays

Chocolate Kolaches

Christmas morning without Kolaches is like the 4th of July without fireworks. Cherry Kolaches have always been my favorite and, until a few years ago, the only kind I ever made.  What to do when your new son-in-law doesn’t like cooked fruit? You can never go wrong with Chocolate.

Hershey's Chocolate Kisses
Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses

The first year I was a bit doubtful about the results but I was pleasantly surprised. I took a piece of dough, as I would for the cherry kolaches, but flatten in slightly, pressing 1-2 chocolate kisses in the dough, then pinching the dough closed around the chocolate.

Update January 2021:  I have made these every year but have graduated to a higher grade of chocolate, using Ghirardelli chocolate chips or squares.

Allow the dough to rise, per the recipe, and bake.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar when removing from the oven (optional).

See the original recipe on my Cherry Kolaches post.