Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Breads of Life (April 12, 2011)

Bread Making Night was a lot of fun. Janis Raje demonstrated a part whole wheat / part white flour recipe for bread and even showed a wheat grinder in action!  Rachel Devore made quick-and-easy rolls with her quick-and-easy smile.  Liz Whipple demonstrated making crescent rolls. ("Roll them up tightly, like you would a sleeping bag," she told us.)  Lisa Hamel talked about gluten-free breads and brought samples.  (You need to try those peanut butter cookies.)  Goya Calvert showed us how to make flour tortillas and later helped sisters make their own.  (She has that rolling technique down to a science.)  Linda Laforge demonstrated a cleaver alternate to rolling to tortillas by pressing them with a bowl.  Janis showed how to make Indian chapattis.  A number of sisters brought breads, rolls, and jams to sample and some offered breadmaking ideas.  The breads were great, and the company even better. Recipes for the evening are included below.

Homemade Flour Tortillas
by Goya Calvert

3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening or lard
1 cup warm water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add vegetable shortening or lard.  Or use a combination of half lard, half shortening.  Use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening or just do it the old fashioned way and use your hands.

Next add warm water a little at a time until your dough is soft and not sticky.  You do not need very hot water.  Knead the dough for a few minutes.  Let it rest in a bowl covered with plastic or a damp towel, or you can put it in a plastic bag.  Leave covered for at least 10 minutes – 20 minutes is better.  No you will pull off pieces of dough to form golf-ball-size dough balls.

This is a good time to heat up the pan.  You will want to set it at medium to high heat or 375 degrees.  Fit it is too hot, the tortillas will cook too fast.  Now you can roll out the dough.  It is a good idea to dust each ball with a little flour just before you roll them out.  It is good to lift the dough and turn it.  Again, rolling pin in the center and roll.  Roll them out fairly thin.

You want a hot, dry pan (over med-high heat). Non-stick, regular pan, or even a cast iron pan. Throw it in the preheated pan for one minute on the first side. You'll see little bubbles form. Flip it over and cook another minute - you'll see it puff up a little bit probably. Flip it over one last time for about another minute - you're going to see those little brown blisters, which are the signature of homemade tortillas.

There's where you can adjust the pan, if those are getting too dark, turn down the heat a little, and if they are too light, turn it up. There's where is can really start to inflate, which is very cool. So after about a minute on the last side they are done, and throw it on a plate. 
Continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough.

Homemade Flour Tortillas – no lard recipe
by Goya Calvert

2 cups white flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powered
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil
¾ cup warm water

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, combine the warm water and oil.

Add the water/oil mixture to the flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time and mix the dough with a fork.  Once the water is mixed in, add another tablespoon of water and repeat the process until all the water is mixed into the dough.  The dough will be sticky. 

Kneading the Dough – Lightly flour a wooden cutting board and knead the dough.  Kneading is done by pushing the dough with the heals and palms of both hands down onto the board.  Fold the dough back onto itself, give a quarter turn and push again with the palms and heals of your hands.  Just repeat the process of pressing, folding and turning for about 4 or 5 minutes.  Add a dusting of flour when the dough gets sticky.  If the dough sticks to the cutting board while kneading, scrape the dough and dust the board with a little flour and continue kneading.  Eventually the stickiness will go away and you will have a nice smooth dough.

Place the dough back into the bowl and cover it with a damp towel or damp paper towel.  Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.  Divide the dough into golf-ball-size balls.  Form each ball into a nice ball shape.  Place the balls on a flat dish, making sure they don’t touch each other and cover with the damp cloth.  Let dough rest again for 10 minutes.  Then cook as described above.

by Janis Raje

Traditional bread of India.  Served with curry, vegetable dishes, etc.

Chapatti flour – you can get this at an Indian grocery store -- or use finely ground hard white wheat from your food storage
     (use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup for each chapatti you will make)
Salt (not too much)
Water (enough to make a soft dough)
Oil (a small amount)

Pour Chapatti flour into a wide mixing bowl and add salt (abt ¼  t. per cup of flour).  Gradually mix in enough water to make a soft dough.  Pour in a small amount of oil (abt 2 t. per cup of flour).  Knead briefly (1 or two minutes).  Roll into smooth balls about the size of a small to medium egg.  Cover with and refrigerate until chilled. 

Preheat a flat skillet to a hot temperature (as you would for pancakes or a little hotter).  On a floured surface, roll out dough ball into a round, thin disk.  Place the chapatti on the skillet and cook for about a minute. Turn over the chapatti on the skillet, cook for another minute.  Little bubbles will start to rise in the chapatti.  Turn over once more. If all goes well, the chapatti should puff up (if not, parts of it will). Remove from heat when lightly browned.  While one chapatti is cooking, I usually roll out the next.

30 Minute Rolls
by Rachel Devore

1 ½ cup water
1/3 cup oil
½ cup sugar
3 Tbs. Yeast

Mix together and let rest for 15 minutes.

½ Tbs. salt
2 eggs
5-4 cups flour

Mix and knead until smooth.  Form rolls.  Let rise for 5-10 minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Refrigerator Rolls
by Liz Whipple

1 C shortening                                
1 C sugar                              
4 tsp salt                               
2 ½ cups hot water
4 Tbsp yeast
8 cups bread flour
6 eggs

In large bowl stir together shortening, sugar and salt.  Add hot water over the mixture and stir briefly.  Then sprinkle yeast over the wet ingredients.  Add half of the flour, mix and stir in slightly beaten eggs.  Mix in remaining flour, dough will be sticky (do not knead the delicate dough).  Cover and let raise in bowl at room temperature until doubled about 1 to 1 ½ hours.  Stir the mixture down, cover and put in refrigerator for at least 3 hours (can leave in refrigerator overnight).   Roll out 1/3 or 1/4 of the dough to ¼ inch thickness into desired shape (circle or rectangle) on a lightly floured surface.  Brush melted butter on dough and roll into crescent shapes or if you prefer you can cut out into circles and fold over into half circles.  Put on lightly sprayed /greased pans or on parchment paper.  Let raise 45 minutes to an hour and bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned on top.   Rolls will raise more as they bake.  Makes 4 dozen rolls.

Virginia Light Rolls
by Jacque Maldonado

Ingredients to use in a 1 ½ or 2 lb. bread machine

1 cup plus 1 Tbs. milk
3 Tbs. honey
2 large eggs
6 Tbs. butter or margarine, cut into pieces (I use butter)
4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. SAF yeast or 2 ½ tsp. bread machine yeast

4 Tsp. melted butter for brushing

Place ingredients in bread machine in order listed.  Program the dough cycle and press start.  The dough ball will be soft.  Take the dough out and divide into 16 equal pieces.  Then I roll it out into about an inch cylinder and wrap them like a snail and place them in a 9 by 13 inch pan.  Brush melted butter on top and cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°.  When the oven is heated and the rolls are ready, place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove the rolls from the pan and cool on a rack.

Flourless Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
by Lisa Hamel

2 cups peanut butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 eggs
Small bag of chocolate chips (optional)

In a mixing bowl, cream the peanut butter and sugar.  Add each egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  The batter will start out runny.  Continue mixing until it turns thick, like typical cookie dough.  If you’re using chocolate chips, add them now.  Roll tablespoons full into balls.  Place about two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and press on each cookie slightly to flatten, or use a fork for a more decorative touch.

Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until tops are cracked.  Remove to wire cooking racks.  Cool.  Yields about 2 dozen cookies.

Gluten-Free Cornbread
By Lisa Hamel

2 cups cornmeal
1 Tbs. baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
¼ cup corn oil or vegetable oil

Combine cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Beat the egg in a large bowl, add in milk and oil, and beat well.  Gradually beat in the dry ingredients.  Pour into a greased 9x9x2 inch ban.  Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 25 minutes.  Let cool before serving.

Note: Because this cornbread is gluten-free, it tends to be drier and crumblier than regular cornbreads, but it tastes delicious!

Irish Soda Bread
by Beth Topper

1 ½ C buttermilk* or you can use plain yogurt
4 C flour (white or ½ white and half wheat)
2 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder

Combine all ingredients and stir by hand.  Knead about 3 minutes.  Dough should be smooth and elastic.  Let it rest for a few minutes.  Shape into a round loaf.  Place on baking sheet (or in a Dutch oven).  Slash the top with a knife. 

 Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees until brown.  It should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.  Cool completely.  This bread should be eaten within a day or two as it does not keep well.  Wrap it well.    (This recipe makes one loaf.)

*If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by using:  1 ½ C milk with 1 ½ Tbsp. white vinegar, warm the milk slightly then add vinegar.  Let it rest while mixing dry ingredients.  You can also buy powdered buttermilk which will have directions on mixing into liquid buttermilk. 

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS – no shortening recipe                  
by Veda Woods

3 ½ cups flour                      
4 tsp. baking powder          
1 tsp. baking soda               
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk  (add more if dough is too dry)
¼ cup oil
2  Tbs. sour cream

Mix dry ingredients, then make a center well in the flour.  Then, mix together the wet ingredients and pour into the well of flour. Stir with a fork until flour mixture is moistened.  Pat or roll out to approximately 1 ½ in thickness.  Cut into rounds.  Brush tops with butter or spray with butter flavor spray.  Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

by Janis Raje

1 1/4 c. hot water
1 can evaporated milk
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 T. yeast
3 c. whole wheat flour
3 T. vegetable oil
1/4 c. honey or packed brown sugar
3 c. white flour (added gradually)

In a large bowl, combine hot water, evaporated milk, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. When the mixture is luke warm, stir in the yeast and then the whole wheat flour, one cup at a time. Cover mixture and let stand for 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the vegetable oil and honey or brown sugar. Then stir most of the white flour, one cup at a time, but reserving a little. Knead the dough, adding the remaining flour as needed. Knead for about 15 minutes until the dough forms a smooth ball. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Punch down and divide dough in two. Shape each piece into a loaf and place in a greased bread pan. Let rise until doubled in size. Cook in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove when the loaves are nicely browned and have a hollow sound when tapped with the knuckles. Brush tops of loaves with butter and let cool on racks. Makes 2 loaves.

(Variation -- when shaping loaves, knead in sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and uncooked oatmeal to add texture and nutrition.)

No Knead No Fault 100% Stoneground Whole Wheat Bread
from Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods

7-1/2 cups whole wheat flour 
2 Tb yeast, active dry 
3-1/2 to 4 cups warm water (110°)
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
2 Tb honey 
4 Tb molasses 
2 tsp sea salt 

Place the whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl and set it in the oven at the lowest temperature for 20 minutes.  While the flour is warming, dissolve the yeast in one cup of warm water. Add the honey to the mixture and set it aside.  Then dissolve the molasses in a cup of water, set aside. (About 10 minutes). This short time period will give the yeast mixture time to work before you combine it with the flour.

When the flour has been warmed, combine the yeast and molasses mixtures and oil and then add it to the flour along with the salt. Stir, do not knead the mixture vigorously, slowly adding enough of the remaining water to produce a very sticky dough.  Oil 2 bread pans. Place the sticky mixture into the pans filling them between 1/3 and 1/2 full. Let dough rise for 1 hour. 
Optional: garnish loaves with quick rolled oats or seeds, such as poppy seeds, or sesame seeds using an egg wash (1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon water).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaves between 35-40 minutes; the crusts will turn a dark golden brown. Remove from oven, but allow loaves to cool in pans for about 20 minutes. Loosen the loaves by running a knife around their edges. Turn pans upside down and remove the loaves. Allow to cool on a wire rack.  Yields 2 loaves.

Lion House Dinner Rolls
From the Lion House Cookbook

2 Tbs. dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
5 to 6 cups flour
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and water.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add sugar, shortening, salt, dry milk, 2 cups of flour and eggs.  Beat together until smooth.  Add 2 more cups flour, one at a time, mixing well by hand (or machine).  Knead until smooth and satiny.  Gather dough in a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Let rise away from drafts until about triple in size.  Punch down.  Cut or mold into desired shapes.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Brush surface with melted butter.  Let rise about 1 ½ hours.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned to your liking.  Makes 16 rolls.

Note:  Judy Goodsell says she uses this recipe for her loaves of white bread.

Cinnamon Rolls                                                                  
by Janis Raje

½ cup shortening                                        
¾ cup sugar                                                 
1 cup mashed potatoes                             
1 pint milk, scalded and cooled until just warm             
1 tsp. salt                                                      
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. yeast in ¾ cup warm water
2 quarts flour
1 tsp. mace (or cardamom)
Cream together shortening and sugar; add in mashed potatoes.  Add salt to tepid milk and combine with shortening mixture.  Add in eggs, yeast/water mixture, and one cup of the flour, and the mace.  Mix well.  Add in remaining flour one cup at a time and knead.  Cover and let raised until doubled.  Knead down and let rise again.

Divide dough into two balls.  For each ball of dough, roll into a rectangle. 
Spread with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, top with raisins.  Roll up across the width of the rectangle.  Cut into 1½ inch rolls and place on greased baking sheet or in rectangular baking pans, leaving room for rolls to rise.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Note:  This dough also makes good raised donuts.

Pizza Dough
by Janis Raje

1 cup warm water
2 tsp. yeast
2 1/2 cup flour  (I use 1/2  cup whole wheat flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. oil

1 can tomato paste
1 tsp. vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
Any or all of the following: oregano, basil,   
   garlic powder, onion powder, fennel seeds

Dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand.  (You can sprinkle the mixture with sugar for a better yeast reaction.)

Combine flour & salt.  Gradually mix in water/yeast mixture to form a dough.  Add more water if necessary.  When dough has started to form, mix in (by hand) the oil and begin kneading.  Knead for 5 or 10 minutes.  Let rest for at least 20 minutes and then press into pizza pan.  (Or you can let the dough rise until double, punch down, and then press into pans.)  Hint:  Press the dough partially into the pizza pan, then let rest a minute, then continue until the pan is covered.  Cover with sauce and your favorite toppings.  Let stand to raise awhile.  Pre-heat oven to 375°.  Bake on lower rack (not lowest) until browned.