BRAZILIAN CHEESE ROLLS: Gluten-Free, Chewy, & Oh So Good!

brazilian rolls10 textBrazilian Cheese Rolls – where have these been all my life?!  Crusty outside, stretchy inside. An added bonus for those of you who have a problem with gluten: they’re gluten-free!

I recently watched an America’s Test Kitchen episode that featured these yummy rolls. The gluten-free aspect caught my attention. Even though I’m not gluten-free myself, I like to expand my horizons and post recipes for people with a variety of needs.

Note: It can be a little tricky to find the tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch). It, most likely, will be found in the area where the alternative flours in small bags are kept. I was only able to find Bob’s Red Mill brand in my area.

Note: Weighing flour is always the best way to go – especially with tapioca flour. It’s very powdery (like cornstarch), and using a measuring cup will give you vastly different amounts, which may make a difference.

Note: If you like, you can try different cheeses.

BRAZILIAN CHEESE ROLLS – makes 8  3″ rolls

  • 12 oz (about 3 cups) tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp of table salt)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup + 2 T milk (175 ml)  (I used 1% milk)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil (you can use vegetable oil, too)
  • 1½ T butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3½ oz (1¼ cups or 50 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3½ oz (1¼ cups or 50 grams) Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated
  • optional:  egg wash – 1 egg + 1 T water + pinch of salt), beaten together

In the large bowl of your electric mixer (if you don’t have an electric mixer, just use a large bowl and mix by hand), put the tapioca flour, salt, and baking powder. Gently swirl together to blend. brazilian rolls1Put the milk, olive oil, and butter in a small saucepan. Over a low/medium flame, bring just to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediately pour into the flour.brazilian rolls2 Turn the mixer on low and beat until all the flour is incorporated – about 1-2 minutes. (It will look rough and crumbly.) brazilian rolls3Add in the eggs and mix on low speed. Once it looks creamy (like frosting), continue to beat another minute.brazilian rolls4 Add in the cheeses, and mix just to blend on low. brazilian rolls5Scrap down the dough and smooth top. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours – this will firm up the dough, making it easier to work with. brazilian rolls6

Preheat oven to 450º Fahrenheit, rack in the middle position. (Don’t short-change the temperature.)

If using an egg wash, beat together 1 egg with 1 T water and a pinch of salt. I highly recommend using an egg wash – it gives the rolls an appetizing sheen.

Score the dough into 8 even wedges. brazilian rolls7Using a large spoon, scrap out each wedge and roll into a smooth ball (it helps to have one of your hands wet so the dough doesn’t stick). Place each ball on a parchment lined baking sheet. They’re going to rise as they bake, so make sure to space them. One large sheet will hold all 8 rolls.brazilian rolls8 Using a pastry brush, paint the sides and tops of rolls with the egg wash. brazilian rolls9I’m going to use all caps because this is important!: PLACE SHEET IN OVEN, THEN IMMDEDIATELY LOWER TEMPERATURE TO 375º F. (The initial high heat is important to give the rolls a spring, but you need to lower it so they don’t burn.) Bake for about 40 minutes (yes, this is a long time). Remove to wire rack to cool enough to handle – about 5 minutes before eating.brazilian rolls12

FOCACCIA-OMELETTE SANDWICH: A Mouth Watering Meal!

focaccia sandwich2 textA new family favorite is my Focaccia-Omelette Sandwich, which makes a tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

While it’s extremely easy to make, the focaccia needs at least 5 hours of rise-time, so planning ahead is crucial. You don’t want to short-change this time period since this is when flavor and gluten development occur.

Note: Use a metal pan to bake the focaccia, if possible, to promote a crispy crust.

FOCACCIA – OMELETTE SANDWICH

  • 3¼ cup (400 grams) bread flour
  • 1½ tsp (4 grams) dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 14 oz (1+2/3 cup) (380 ml) water, room temperature
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt (or 3/4 tsp table salt)
  • 6 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • toppings such as olives, sliced shallots
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 6 oz Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Place the flour, yeast, and sugar in the work bowl of your food processor. Turn machine on and drizzle in the water through the pour-spout. Mix for 2 minutes, then let rest for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the kosher salt and run machine for another 2 minutes.focaccia sandwich8 Pour 2 T olive oil into a rectangular or square container with sides at least 3″ high, covering the bottom and sides. (The square corners train the dough somewhat and help it fill the corners of the baking pan. If you don’t have a container like this, just use an oiled deep bowl.) The dough is going to rise very high, then collapse somewhat. Cover container and let rise 5½ – 6 hours. Note the low height of the dough when I pour it in. focaccia sandwich16Here’s after 2½ hours:focaccia sandwich5 After about 4 hours it starts to collapse a bit – this is normal. focaccia sandwich6After dough has been rising for 5 hours, preheat oven to 500º Fahrenheit, rack in the middle position. If you have a baking stone or steel (I use a steel), place it on rack as the oven preheats.

After dough has been rising for at least 5½ hours, spread 2 T olive oil on the bottom and sides of a metal 9½” x 13″ metal pan. (I know, I know – the pan has, obviously, seen better days!) focaccia sandwich9Note how bubbly the dough is: focaccia sandwich7Gently pour the dough into the prepared pan, nudging the dough into the corners – try not to deflate the dough. focaccia sandwich10If you’re using toppings such as olives or slices shallots, sprinkle them on, lightly pressing them into the dough. Let dough set uncovered for 20 minutes. focaccia sandwich11Brush 2 T olive oil over dough, then sprinkle on 1 tsp oregano, pepper, and salt. focaccia sandwich12Place in 500º F preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until well browned on top and sides have pulled away from the edges a bit. Remove from oven and let rest in pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.focaccia sandwich13Decrease oven temperature to 350º F, leaving oven door open to expedite the oven temperature drop.

During that 10 minutes, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add in the red pepper, basil, Feta, table salt, and the remaining 1 tsp oregano. Beat mixture to blend. After removing focaccia from pan, line the bottom and sides of the empty pan with parchment. Brush a light coating of olive oil on the parchment, then pour in the egg mixture. Place in the oven at 350º F and bake until egg mixture is no longer wet – about 12-15 minutes.focaccia sandwich15 While omelette is baking, remove focaccia to a cutting board. Using a long bread knife, very carefully slice bread in half horizontally. (Take your time – the edges are crispy, making it difficult. I’ve found it best to cut into the bread only – not in and out, which tends to tear the bread.)focaccia sandwich14 Once the bread is completely sliced through, leave it together to retain its heat.

After removing the omelette, let it rest in the pan for 15 minutes to set. You can use this time to slice the tomatoes and shred the Fontina.

When the omelette has set, remove the top of the focaccia and set it aside, cut side down. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Fontina cheese over the bottom half. (The cheese is going to serve as a glue to hold everything together.) Remove the omelette from the pan by using the parchment to lift it. Set it beside the bottom half of the focaccia, long sides next to each other. Carefully peel the parchment away from the sides – I use a knife help separate the egg from the parchment.

Fold the long side of the parchment that’s next to the bread under to get it out of the way. Using the 2 short sides parchment ears, lift and flip the omelette on top of the focaccia bottom. Peel away and discard the parchment.

Sprinkle 1/2 of the remaining Fontina on top of the omelette. Layer on the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle on remaining Fontina and cover with the focaccia top.

If you like, you can place the entire sandwich on a cookie sheet and heat at 400º F for about 10 minutes to crisp it up, or you can go ahead and slice it up as is.

 

SPEEDY THIN CRUST PIZZA: My Very Favorite!

one hour pizza textSpeedy Thin Crust Pizza has become my go-to pizza recipe not only because I can have it on the table in a little over an hour, but because it’s REALLY good. It’s a very thin pizza with a nice chew.

Pizza in a little over an hour, you question? That’s right!!! This is my variation of America’s Test Kitchen’s 1-Hour Pizza. (I’ve made this pizza many times and could never make in in 60 minutes – more like 70 minutes.) Of course, the first time or two you make it, it will take longer.

SPEEDY THIN CRUST PIZZA – makes 2 pizzas

  • 6.25 oz (1-1/3 cup) bread flour
  • 2.75 oz (1/2 cup) semolina flour
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 5 oz (1/2 cup + 2 T) warm water (about 110º F)
  • 1-5/8 oz (1/4 cup) beer (I like a pale beer)
  • 1/2 oz (2 tsp) white distilled vinegar
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • toppings of your choice

Preheat oven to 500º Fahrenheit. Place the oven rack with a pizza stone or steel  4″ from the top heat source. It will take at least 30 minutes to bring the oven up to temperature, so I turn on my oven when I begin making the dough. 

If you have a scale (which I highly recommend), place the workbowl of your food processor with the steel blade in place on top. Turn the scale on if it’s battery operated so you start at ‘0’. Weigh the bread flour, semolina flour, water, beer, and vinegar. Add in the yeast, sugar, and olive oil. one hour pizza12Set the workbowl on the processor base and run the machine for 10 seconds.one hour pizza15 Let mixture set in place for 10 minutes. Add in the salt and process for 30 seconds. one hour pizza14Empty dough onto a floured counter and fold the dough onto itself a few times to bring the dough together. one hour pizza7Divide the ball in half and place each one on a piece of oiled (I use olive oil) parchment paper approximately 12″ wide. DO NOT USE WAXED PAPER – IT’S TOO THIN!!!one hour pizza9Rub the tops of the dough with a little more oil then top each with another piece of same-sized parchment. Press down with your hands to smoosh the dough into a square to get it started. With a rolling pin roll both dough balls to about 13″ x 10″ using short strokes, working from the center outward. (I find it easier to keep the parchment from sliding on my counter if I place it on a dry tea towel.) Let set 30 minutes.one hour pizza10 Use this time to get your toppings ready.

After 30 minutes, place one of the parchment covered pizzas upside down on a dry pizza peel or rimless cookie sheet. (The reason you flip the pizza upside down is that it’s easier to peel away the oiled parchment.)one hour pizza16 Carefully peel away and discard the top parchment (which used to be the bottom parchment). one hour pizza4bTop pizzas with your choice of sauce and toppings.one hour pizza17 Slide the pizza with bottom parchment onto the preheated stone or steel. one hour pizza18Bake for 4 minutes. Rotate the pizza 180º, then remove and discard the parchment by securing it in place with a spatula with one hand and pulling out the parchment with the other. (The parchment won’t burn your fingers, so you don’t need to use an oven mitt as long as you don’t touch anything else.) one hour pizza19Let bake another couple of minutes, until it’s browned to your liking. Remove from oven, let set a minute or two, then slice it up and serve. (This is not the same pizza I placed in the oven in the above pictures.)

NOTE:  If you want to sprinkle top with basil, do this after it’s baked – otherwise, the basil will burn.

one hour pizza6

 

PUMPKIN SCONES WITH MAPLE DRIZZLE

pumpkin scones text2I’m not sure when it happened but, for better or worse, every year new foods become pumpkin flavored during Autumn.

Pumpkin pie? Sure – I’ll eat that maybe once a year…unless there’s a better choice.

Pumpkin ravioli? Yeah – a small amount encased in pasta is fine… now and then.

BUT, Pumpkin Scones? Heck, yeah!  I’ll have those anytime – especially with a maple drizzle.

Scones are super fast and easy to make – the less you mess with them, the more tender they are! So jump on board the pumpkin trend and try these delicious Pumpkin Scones!

Note: As self-proclaimed Queen of Freeze, I feel obliged to suggest (or nag) you freeze the unused pumpkin in portion sized amounts for future use. This recipe only requires 1/2 cup, so there’s plenty leftover from the can.

PUMPKIN SCONES – makes 8 scones

  • 8½ oz (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz (1/3 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 T milk (any kind – I use nonfat)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Maple Drizzle – recipe follows at the end

Preheat oven to 400º Fahrenheit.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Cross-cut using 2 knives to break up butter into pea-sized pieces.

(If using the food processor, place butter with dry ingredients and pulse about 8 times – until the butter becomes pea-sized. Empty into a medium sized bowl.) pumpkin scones9 In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently fold to mix.pumpkin scones11 Empty onto a well-floured counter and knead about 5 or 6 times. (I use a bench scraper to help since the dough is sticky.) pumpkin scones3With floured fingers, pat dough into an 8″ circle (try to keep the dough to an even thickness) and cut into 8 wedges.pumpkin scones5Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet (I prefer a dark sheet that’s greased.)pumpkin scones6 Bake at 400º F with the rack in the middle position for about 16 minutes. They’re at their best when they’re slightly dark on the bottom. pumpkin scones7The last time I baked them, I thought I overcooked them (see photo), but they were amazing – a slight crunch on the outside and perfect chew inside. So when you check them for doneness, look for slightly dark sides. pumpkin scones14Then remove from oven onto wire rack to completely cool before icing.

MAPLE GLAZE

  • 1 T butter
  • about 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 T maple syrup (use the pure syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt butter. Stir in confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend well, smashing any sugar lumps. If icing is too thin, add more sugar; if too thick, add a little milk.pumpkin scones1For easier control over the drizzle, pour icing into a spouted cup or a pastry bag with a small circle tip. Design as you wish.pumpkin scones2Allow icing to harden before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONION NAAN BREAD – For Those Who Want More From Their Naan!

onion naan textI love Indian food!  In particular, I look forward to the soft chewy naan bread.  I previously posted a plain naan bread recipe (NAAN BREAD: A SUPER SCOOPER), but thought I’d share my Onion Naan Bread recipe for those who want a more flavorful version.

Note:  It really helps to have a food processor for this recipe, but it can be done without one.

Additional Note:  As self-proclaimed Queen of Freeze, I feel obliged to suggest freezing leftover buttermilk in measured amounts for future use. (I freeze buttermilk in 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup increments since those are amounts I usually need.)

ONION NAAN BREAD – makes 8 naan breads

  • 1/2 cup water at 110º – 115º Fahrenheit
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/2 T dry yeast
  • 2½ – 3½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 4 cups (about 1 lb) onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • about 9 T olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 T baking powder

In a food processor fitted with steel blade, blend together the water, honey, yeast, and 1/2 cup of the flour. Let sit in covered processor for 1/2 an hour. onion naan2During the half hour wait, sauté the onions: In a skillet put 3 T olive oil, the onions, and salt. onion naan3Over medium to medium/high heat cook until onions are well browned. Adjust heat as necessary. (This step can be done ahead of time.) Remove from heat to cool a bit.onion naan4 Once the dough has set for 1/2 hour, add in 3 T olive oil, buttermilk, baking powder, onions, and about 1 cup of the flour. Blend to combine and break down onion somewhat.onion naan5 Add flour in increments until you get a dough that’s only slightly tacky to the touch. ham loaf14Pour dough into an oiled bowl, flip dough so both sides are oiled, and cover. Let rest about 1 hour, until doubled in size.onion naan6 Pour dough onto a lightly oiled counter (not floured). Cut into 8 pieces.

On stovetop over medium flame, heat a dry skillet or griddle. Roll out 1 or 2 balls (depending on size of skillet) to about 7″ in diameter (very thin!) on lightly oiled counter. When skillet is hot, peel dough off counter and place on skillet. Lightly brush top with olive oil.onion naan7As it’s cooking, roll out next dough ball(s).

Let dough cook until lightly browned on bottom – about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until bottom is browned. onion naan8Remove to a tea towel and wrap to keep warm.

MOROVIAN SUGAR CAKE: Snack Or Dessert – It’s All Good!

morovian coffee cake textMy introduction to Morovian Sugar Cake was a little bittersweet.

I found the recipe in a newspaper (this was well before the internet!) and it sounded intriguing. Being very young and inexperienced in the kitchen, I didn’t allow myself quite enough time. I was able to get it in the oven before I needed to go to work, but my roommates were left in charge of removing it.

All that remained when I got home was one 3″ X 3″ square. They said it was so good they couldn’t stop eating it. I ate the remains, and it was magnificent. In fact, I was amazed they were able to leave me any.

Note: Don’t repeat my mistake – allow enough time for rising!

MOROVIAN SUGAR CAKE

  • 1 cup water 100º – 104º Fahrenheit
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant mashed potatoes flakes
  • 1/4 cup instant dry milk
  • 1 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt, divided
  • 6 T + 6 T butter, melted, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • about 4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

In a measuring cup stir the water and yeast together. Let proof for 5 minutes. ham loaf1

In the food processor, pulse together the granulated sugar, potato flakes, dry milk, and 1 tsp salt. morovian coffee cake10Add in 6 T butter and eggs. Process to blend.morovian coffee cake5With machine running, pour in the proofed yeast water. morovian coffee cake4morovian coffee cake11Add 3½ cups to processor and blend. Add flour one tablespoon at a time, processing after each, until dough starts pulling away from sides of the work bowl. Stop adding flour, and run machine another 30 seconds to knead the dough. Pour dough into a greased rimmed baking sheet (jelly-roll pan) and pat dough to fill the pan evenly. Cover with a tea towel and let rise about 45 minutes. morovian coffee cake2

Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.

While dough is rising, in a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp salt. morovian coffee cake1After dough has risen, create pockets with your fingertip, the handle of a wooden spoon, or something else that’s about 1/2″ diameter.morovian coffee cake9 Sprinkle the sugar topping over the entire cake. Drizzle the remaining 6 T melted butter over all. morovian coffee cake8Bake at 350º F for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. morovian coffee cake7Cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

HEALTHIER ZUCCHINI BREAD!

zucchini bread textThey’re out there and they’re coming – those overzealous gardeners who plant way too much zucchini. You can hear the pleading in their voices – “You want some zucchini? We have lots!”

Or maybe you ARE the overzealous gardener. Either way, zucchini abounds and it needs to be dealt with. Yes, you can stir-fry, stuff, and spiralize it, but one can only eat so much zucchini.

My suggestion is to make a healthier ZUCCHINI BREAD and freeze the loaves so you can enjoy your bounty months from now.

This recipe is packed with zucchini, but let’s not get crazy – I said “healthier”, not “healthy”. Even though I swapped the vegetable oil for olive oil and the whole eggs for egg whites, there’s still sugar in the bread so bear that in mind when slicing out the portions.

Note:  This recipe makes 20 muffins.  While it’s a little more work to grease, fill, and remove the muffins from a muffin pan, the benefits are portion control, ease of grabbing however many you want from the freezer, and the whole muffin is basically an end piece (my favorite part of quick breads).zucchini bread3

2nd note:  I noted both weight and cup measurements. Weighing dry ingredients is a far more accurate way of measuring than using measuring cups, but I included cup measurements for those of you who don’t have a scale. (Put digital kitchen scale on your wish-list!)

HEALTHIER ZUCCHINI BREAD – make 1 loaf or 20 muffins

  • 7½ oz (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2¾ oz (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1½ pounds zucchini
  • 4 egg whites
  • 8¾ oz (1 + 1/3 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T distilled vinegar
  • optional: 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped & lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit. 

In a medium sized bowl, blend the flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and walnuts, if using. Set aside. zucchini bread13Using the large holes of your grater, shred the zucchini. (You can use your food processor or do it by hand.) You’ll have about 5 cups of zucchini. Take a handful of the zucchini and place it in the center of a clean tea towel. Gather the edges together and twist the ball firmly to extract as much liquid as you can. Do this with all the zucchini. (It’s better not to put too much zucchini in the towel at one time.) Discard the liquid, unless you can think of a use for it.zucchini bread15 In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, sugar, oil, vanilla, and vinegar by hand.zucchini bread14 Stir in zucchini.zucchini bread4 Pour in the dry ingredients and gently blend until the flour is incorporated – there can be some flour showing. (Over mixing quick breads can lead to a tough loaf.) zucchini bread5Pour batter into an oiled metal (or glass, if you don’t have metal) loaf pan and smooth top. zucchini bread6Bake 60-70 minutes (mine took 65 minutes), until a toothpick comes out clean.zucchini bread7 Let sit in the pan for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack. zucchini bread8The loaf needs to cool at least 1½ hours to firm up before slicing. Honestly, try and restrain yourself – you’ll get nicer slices if you wait.

 

CLOUD BREAD: Gluten-Free & Light As A Feather!

cloud bread text

Never heard of Cloud Bread?  Neither had I until googled a bread question and happened to see this term. Intrigued by the name, I clicked the site and read about Cloud Bread. I assumed this was something the blogger made up, but then I googled “cloud bread” and found it’s a thing. Who knew?!

Cloud Bread is a gluten-free alternative to grain bread. In its basic state it’s made with just 3 ingredients: eggs, cream of tartar, and yogurt. I see no reason not to add spices or cheese to jazz it up, although I haven’t tried doing this.

It’s easy and quick to prepare, which is always a bonus. BUT, don’t expect it to be quite as sturdy as wheat bread. That being said, it held up which I made an avocado/tomato/cheese sandwich:cloud bread1

CLOUD BREAD – makes about 8, depending on how you ladle the batter

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

NOTE: You’ll need to line a cookie sheet with parchment. The parchment should lay flat, so if your cookie sheet has a rim, cut the parchment to fit inside.

Preheat oven to 300º Fahrenheit.

Separate eggs, putting whites in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, and yolks in a small bowl.

Into the yolks, whisk in the yogurt. Set aside. cloud bread6Turn your electric mixer on medium to break up the whites. When the whites begin to foam, add in the cream of tartar. cloud bread7Increase mixer speed to high and beat whites until stiff peaks form. cloud bread8Pour the yolks/yogurt into the beaten whites and turn on mixer to very low. Beat until the yolks are blended into the whites – this won’t take long. Don’t overbeat – you don’t want to deflate the whites. cloud bread9On a parchment lined cookie sheet, ladle out the batter into whatever shape you want, making them about 1/2″ thick. Space them at least 1″ apart.cloud bread4 Bake in 300º F oven about 25 – 30 minutes (mine took 25 minutes) – until beginning to brown. cloud bread3Place the Cloud Bread still on parchment on wire rack. After about 5 minutes, remove bread from paper to wire rack to completely cool. They should really rest at least an hour before using, in order to set. Store in fridge.

SWEET POTATO CORNBREAD – A New Tradition!

sweet potato cornbread textSWEET POTATO CORNBREAD

  • 1½ lbs sweet potato (either 1 big one or 2 smaller ones)
  • 7½ oz (1½ cups) fine grind cornmeal
  • 2½ oz (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ oz (1/4 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1¾ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole milk is best, but I’ve used nonfat)
  • 8 T + 1 T butter, divided

Preheat oven to 425º Fahrenheit.

Cook the sweet potato – either in the microwave or oven – until it’s easily pierced with a knife. (Don’t boil it – it’ll take on too much water.) Let cool enough to handle.sweet potato cornbread7 Split in half lengthwise. sweet potato cornbread6Scoop out the insides, measuring out 1½ to 1¾ cups, and mash. sweet potato cornbread8The skin and remaining insides are not going to be used.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the milk and mashed sweet potatoes. Melt 8 T butter, then whisk into the sweet potato batter. sweet potato cornbread1In a separate bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. sweet potato cornbread9Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and gently mix together just until the flour is incorporated. (Don’t over-mix.) Over medium-high heat, melt remaining 1 T butter in a 10″ non-stick or cast iron skillet until bubbling. sweet potato cornbread2Pour in batter, spreading out evenly. Sweet potato cornbread3Bake at 425º F 25-30 minutes – until toothpick comes out clean.sweet potato cornbread4You can eat it plain, or top with butter, maple syrup, honey, etc.

 

ITALIAN LOAF: No Need To Knead!

italian loaf textWho doesn’t love a warm loaf of Italian bread? Well, now you can make one just as good as any bakery….for pennies!

I’ve adapted America’s Test Kitchen Italian Loaf recipe to make it even easier and, IMO, tastier. The process in a nutshell: the day before, mix the ingredients in a bowl (no kneading!!!), cover, then at least an hour before serving, bake. You’ll never want to buy bread again.

Note: I highly recommend weighing your flour rather than using measuring cups – there’s too much variety, depending on how you pack in the flour.

Note: You’re going to need a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, or a Dutch oven, with lid. Make sure the handle and lid knob can withstand 500º Fahrenheit. I prefer using the 4 quart saucepan because it’s smaller in diameter thus producing a taller loaf.  However, if you prefer a squatter but wider loaf, use a Dutch oven.

ITALIAN LOAF – makes 1 round loaf

  • 15 oz (about 3½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 9 oz water
  • 3 oz (3 T) beer (I prefer a pale beer)
  • 1/2 oz (1 T) white distilled vinegar

The day before you plan on serving the Italian Loaf, prepare the dough.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add in the water, beer, and vinegar. Mix with a spoon until all the flour is incorporated. italian loaf14Cover bowl with a plate or tea towel and let the dough rest on the counter 8-18 hours (the longer, the better flavor). You’ll notice a significant change to the dough – it will become wetter and bubbly:italian loaf15

About 2 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 500º Fahrenheit, rack in the middle position. As it gets close to 500º F, place the saucepan (or Dutch oven) with lid into the hot oven to heat it up.

When oven reaches 500º F, empty dough onto a floured surface. Fold it onto itself a few times to firm it up. italian loaf3Cut a piece of parchment paper big enough to line the saucepan with corner ‘ears’ sticking up. Rub paper with a light coating of vegetable oil. Place dough in center of paper and rub top of dough with a little oil. Remove hot saucepan from oven and lift paper and dough by the corners into the hot pot.

Make a 1/2″ deep slash across the center, edge to edge. (I use kitchen shears rather than a knife.)italian loaf9Cover with lid and place in oven.  italian loaf10Bake at 500º F for 1/2 hour. Remove pot from oven and turn out the loaf. Discard the paper and replace the loaf in the hot pot. Put the pot without the lid back in the oven. italian loaf8Bake about 10 – 15 minutes (I only need 10 minutes), until temperature of loaf is about 109º F. If you don’t have a thermometer, do a visual check – the top should be browned. Remove the loaf and the bottom should be browned, too. italian loaf7Remove loaf from pan to a wire rack to cool. Let loaf cool at least 20 minutes (this takes some will-power) before slicing in order to get a cleaner slice.italian loaf13