Friday, May 28, 2010

Soft Sandwich Rolls

This recipe makes wonderful rolls for sandwich. I have also just made it into a loaf and baked it that way and it was very good. This also makes good dinner rolls. I just really like this recipe!

Soft Sandwich Rolls
2 1/2 teaspoons regular instant yeast or active dry yeast*
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup potato flour OR dried potato flakes
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (potato water, if you have any saved)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
*The recipe directions are written for instant yeast; to use active dry yeast, dissolve it in the potato water first. Also, be aware that your rising times will be longer.

To make dough by hand or mixer: In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar, salt, flour and potato flakes. Add the water, milk and butter, and beat until smooth. Knead the dough on a lightly oiled surface till it's smooth and supple. Add flour if you must, but the dough will continue to absorb liquid as you knead, so try to knead for 5 minutes or so before adding any additional flour. Remember, the more flour in the dough, the heavier and dryer the rolls will be.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set the dough aside to rise till doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

To make dough in a bread machine: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. Assess the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle; add additional water or flour as necessary to produce a smooth, supple, somewhat soft dough.

To complete the rolls: Divide the dough into eight pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, and flatten the balls till they're about 4 inches in diameter, trying to keep the tops of the rolls smooth; the nicer the top looks at this point, the nicer it will turn out to be once it's baked. Drape the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap, and set them aside to rise till they're very puffy, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them front he oven, set them on a wire rack to cool, and spray them with butter-flavored pan spray, if desired (or brush them with melted butter or margarine). This will give the rolls a soft crust. When the rolls have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container. Yield: 8 rolls.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Bread

I made this bread a few days ago and I haven't been able to stop eating it. It is so good! I accidentally used to too much cheese so I doubled the recipe. Oops! The recipe states to make a giant pretzel. I made snakes and just braided them together to make an actual loaf of bread. Robbie likes it. He says that he thinks it might make good sandwich bread. I think that if we make up some crispy bacon and mix it in that it would make a most excellent breakfast bread. I will have to try it and let everyone know how it tastes. But for now, here is the recipe:

similar to that found at Le Cellier, Canada Pavilion, EPCOT

Makes 1 loaf (20 servings)

This giant twist is for those who are fans of soft pretzels. Rather than shaping the dough into individual portions, it is rolled in a thick rope and formed into one oversized knot. Slice and serve with sausages and a good cold beer.

½ c chopped onion
1 Tbl butter or margarine
4-5 c all-purpose flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 egg
2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
1¼ c warm water (120°-130°)
1 Tbl sugar
1½ tsp dried Italian seasoning, crushed
½ tsp salt
1 slightly beaten egg white
1 Tbl water
1 tsp coarse salt (optional)

In a small skillet cook onion in hot butter or margarine till tender but not brown, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl stir together 1½ cups of the flour and the yeast. Add cooked onion, egg, cheese, 1¼ cups warm water, sugar, Italian seasoning, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (1-1¼ hours). Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and let rest for 10 minutes.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. Roll dough into a 48-inch-long rope. On the baking sheet form the rope into a large pretzel shape by crossing one end over the other to form a circle, overlapping about 12 inches from each end. Take one end in each hand and twist once at the point where the dough overlaps. Lift each end across to the edge of the circle opposite. Moisten the ends and tuck underneath; press to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place till nearly double (about 45 minutes). Stir together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; brush onto bread. If desired, sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.

Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 40-45 minutes, or till bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 20 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Making stuff at home- a microwave popcorn recipe!

There are a lot of things that we pay for in the store that we could make ourselves to save money. When I make chocolate chip cookies, I always double the recipe (everything but the chocolate chips) and we end up with a ton of cookies. There are only the three of us and the baby but she doesn't eat food yet. So, I started making cookie dough balls. I freeze them on a cookie sheet and put a dozen in a bag once they are frozen. Then, the next time we want cookies I just grab some out a bag out of the freezer. Cook like you normally would they just take a few minutes longer. I figure they are good for at least 6 months in the freezer. I don't think any have lasted longer than that in mine. I make waffles and freeze and bag them too. I can make them infinitely cheaper than they do in the store. Your kids like those french toast sticks? Make some french toast, cut into strips and freeze. Microwave when you want to eat them. I took the attitude that if a factory can make it, so can I. I just have to find a recipe. The internet has an abundance of those! Tonight I made microwave popcorn. It is not hard and there is nothing special about it. You just put about a third of a cup of popcorn in a container with a loose lid and put in the microwave. Times will vary from one microwave to the next. My suggestion is to start at 5 mins and watch it. When the kernels are popping slower, it is done. If you like butter on yours, throw a pat on top of the kernels before microwaving. How nifty is that?
One of the ways that we decided I could stay home is if I could cut our budget. I have been home for two years next month. I have learned how to make a lot of stuff in the last two years. I make my own laundry soap and almost all bread products at home. I learned how to make jam and then learned how to make pop tarts. Homemade cream of whatever soup is a huge money saver. Everyone on uses cream soup for something or other. This is super easy to do!

Homemade Cream of ___ Soup Mix

2 cups powdered milk
¾-1 ¼ cups cornstarch or 2 ½ cups flour
¼ cups chicken, beef, or vegetable bouillon granules
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes or 1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil or marjoram, crushed
½ teaspoon black or white pepper

Combine all ingredients and blend until mixed. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year. This recipe makes 3 cups and is enough for 9 cans of soup.

To substitute for one can of condensed cream soup:
In a 1-quart saucepan or microwave safe bowl, combine 1/3 cup of soup mix and 1 1/4 cup water. (If made with flour, add ½ cup mix to 1 ¼ water.) For soup, double the water. Bring to a boil or microwave on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Baby Doll? Really????

Let me start off by saying that Olivia has a ton of hair at 4 months old. She took after my Grandma and has porcelain like skin. She is adorable if I do say so myself. Anyway, while Rob's mom was visiting we went to the Naval Aviation Museum. There was Rob, Zach (my 13 year old son), Rob's mom and her friend. We were walking through the exhibits and I was pushing Olivia in her stroller. She started babbling like babies do and scared a woman. She laughed and said she thought I pushing a baby doll around! Really? I am almost 34 years old. There were no small girls around and quite frankly I would not push a doll around in a Peg Perego stroller. Then we are at Walmart the other night. Just Rob and I. Rob is carrying Olivia. He goes to get a cart and hands Olivia to me. She smiles and starts babbling. It happens again! Three women thought we were carrying a baby doll. Really? How many 30 year old men do you know carry baby dolls to the store? And the only thing I can say is Really?