Thursday, November 1, 2012

Honey Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat French Bread


  This morning dawned with a cool autumn snap in the air and I have a hankering to bake!
So I got a couple loaves of my favorite Honey Wheat French bread rising and then my glance fell on the over-ripe bananas on the fruit plate. Well, what could I do but turn on the oven and make some sweet banana bread? No special recipe for that, just good ol' Betty Crocker. The Wheat Bread recipe came from a cookbook put out by Victoria Magazine, (the old one), called At Home with Friends and Family. I have never made a recipe from that magazine that wasn't wonderful. I've tweaked it a bit over the years, here is my recipe:

Whole Wheat French Bread
4 to 41/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/8 cup honey
2 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/3 cup hot water (110-115 degrees)

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well and add the water and honey. Beat at med. speed until its well mixed. Add two more cups of flour, at this point I usually switch the paddle on my Kitchenaid to a dough hook attachment.

Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time at low speed until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth. I can usually tell that it is ready when it cleans the flour off the sides of the bowl and is firm enough to pull out of the bowl with a minimum of sticking. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead just a bit until smooth. Butter the mixing bowl and put the dough back inside, turn it to coat with the butter, cover and let it rise until it is double. (45 minutes to an hour)

Turn it out on a floured surface, punch it down, knead it just a little bit more to get the air bubbles out, cut it in half and form it into the shape of a loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet or in greased bread pans (place the seam on the bottom), cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400. Bake the bread for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes. Try to let them cool before you cut into them. Fight over who gets the end pieces. Or share if that's your style:>)
The scent of this bread baking is pure heaven! Just a couple notes before you try this recipe. First of all, if you haven't ever tried it, bread baking is easy. Secondly. I switch the recipe up all the time. Today I threw in 2/3 cup of oatmeal (uncooked) before I added the wheat flour, sometimes I add chopped nuts, or 1/3 cup 9 grain mix (try Bob's Red Mill brand from the grocery store) or sunflower seeds. I have also topped this with egg wash and an equal mix of coarse salt, dill, chopped garlic, and poppy seeds before I bake it for a yummy herbed french bread. You can even mix the herbs inside. It's all good and it all works and once you get the hang of it, you may even think of some variations of your own. Bread is very forgiving. It warms the house, and if you have never had melting real butter on warm bread fresh from the oven, well, I'm sorry but you really must.
Let me know if you try this, I think you'll like it.
Have a great weekend, and please share, what do you love to bake on a cool day?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

White Chocolate Blackberry Cheesecake

Earl made this for a party recently, and again for a potluck at church. It got rave reviews. It's a great way to use all those beautiful blackberries that seem to be so inexpensive in the grocery store right now!

White Chocolate Blackberry Cheesecake

v  1 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers
v  3 tablespoons white sugar
v  2 tablespoons cocoa powder
v  6 tablespoons butter, melted
v  1 (10 ounce) package blackberries
v  2 tablespoons white sugar
v  2 teaspoons cornstarch
v  1/2 cup water
v  2 cups white chocolate chips
v  1/2 cup half-and-half cream
v  3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
v  1/2 cup white sugar
v  3 eggs
v  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a saucepan, combine blackberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons blackberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons blackberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining blackberry sauce.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

A cold, snowy November day just before Thanksgiving. Sounds like a baking day to me, and we had just the recipe we wanted to try. I found this Pumpkin Coffe Cake recipe on pinterest. It's a new favorite:>)
Dense, moist, spicey pumpkin cake with a crumbly sweet stresel topping and a brown butter glaze. Are you hungry yet?
Thanksgiving breakfast?