so I can pretend someone is listening

Baking Day – Oat Bread

I was going to try to post recipes only on Sundays, however, if I don’t tell you about this bread I just made and stay away from the kitchen, I’ll just eat the whole darn batch.  “My name is Judy and I’m a bread-a-holic” *Hi, Judy*  Here’s what we’re making:

Don’t you wish you were here to smell it?  If you were, I’d make you clean up and do dishes, so be careful what you wish for.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 2-1/4 Cups lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 Cup honey

I put these in the bowl of my Bosch mixer with the dough hook, put the LID on (I absolutely positively ADORE the lid!) and mix these three things up.  If you don’t have a Bosch mixer, don’t hate me because I do.  You see, I am the kind of cook who needs a lid on my mixer so I actually have some dry ingredients left in the bowl after I turn it on.  I’m also a bird magnet with my car and they run into me left and right when I’m driving.  That’s a whole other topic that I probably shouldn’t go into.  After the yeast has gotten happy and thrown a party with the water and honey, it will get foamy.  Then you’re ready to add the next ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 Cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1/4 cup canola or light olive oil

With the Bosch, you just dump it in, put the lid on and let ‘er rip.  I mix it on “1” until it all comes together and then check the dough. Turn off the mixer and take off the lid and feel the dough.  If it is really sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.  If it isn’t the least bit sticky, add lukewarm water, again about a tablespoon at a time.  Your dough should be slightly sticky without leaving much on your hand when you test it.  Today I had to add a bit of extra water once it came together, last week I used exactly the same recipe, exactly the same amounts but had to add a bit of flour to make it juuuust right.  Once it is the right consistency, put the lid on and turn the mixer to “2”, and let it work for about 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes, take the dough out and put it in a large, greased bowl, turning to coat the dough.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and leave it in a warm place to rise.  I put my bowl next to the coffee maker to keep it warm.  Let it rise about an hour, or until you stick your finger in and it leaves a dent without springing back.  The rising time is really dependent on your yeast and your kitchen temperature. 

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it in half.  Today I used one half to make a loaf, and the other half to make Pioneer Woman’s Buttered Rosemary Rolls.  To make a loaf, spray your counter with non-stick cooking spray.  This works way better than flour because floured dough won’t stick to itself and you’ll end up with big air-holes in the loaf.  Put the lump of dough on your sprayed counter and turn it over.  Grab your favorite rolling-pin (mine’s marble – love it!) and roll the dough into a rectangle about 10″x15″.  Roll it up, not too tightly but not too loosely, starting at a narrower end.  Pinch the end of the roll to seal it, turn it so the seam is at the bottom and then gently karate chop the ends of the roll and fold under toward the middle of the bottom, pinching again to seal.  Place in 9″x5″ greased loaf pan, cover with that same clean towel and let rise about 30-45 minutes. 

For the rolls, I divided the remaining dough in half (2 pieces), divided each of those pieces in half (four pieces), divide each piece again in half (8 pieces), and again (16 pieces).  I’ve found doing it this way gives me much more uniform-sized rolls.  I rolled them on the counter until they were nice and round, and put them evenly spaced to give them room to rise in a well-oiled 12-inch cast-iron skillet.  Let rise 30-45 min.  Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with rosemary.  I only had dried rosemary but I’m going to use fresh next time, hopefully.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and then more butter.

Bake the bread @ 350F for 30-35 minutes.  I usually have to put a foil tent on mine for the last 10-15 minutes so it doesn’t get too brown.  Bake the rolls @ 400F for 15-20 minutes or until beautiful golden brown.  If you only have one oven, you can put half of the punched-down dough in the refrigerator while the other half is being formed and rising, then when you put the first part in the oven, take the dough out of the fridge, form it and let it rise while the first batch is baking. 

When you take the bread out of the oven, turn it out of the pan right away onto a cooling rack or the bottom crust will get soggy.  Same with the rolls.  I’m not sure they’ll last long enough today to get soggy. 

These rolls are amazing.  I’m almost sorry I made them because I’ve already eaten two. 

The bread makes great sandwiches, it isn’t too sweet and it’s nice and soft.  I’ve got a confession.  It’s not about me, it’s about my kids.  I’m almost ashamed to say it though… I’ll just whisper it.  <My kids like store-bought bread better than homemade.>  Rats, I was expecting catharsis with that admission, and all I feel is shame.  I need a hug.  But don’t hug me if I don’t know you, that freaks me out.  Yes, my children will turn up their nose at homemade bread in favor of the cheapest, grossest white bread.  Must be some kind of genetic throwback or something, but I love them anyway.

So now that I feel all weird about admitting my shortcomings to you, I’m going to drown my sorrows in a Buttered Rosemary Roll.  And go find my fat pants.  C-ya.


April 28, 2010 Posted by | Bread, Fun stuff, Recipes | , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Dinner – Dutch Apple Crunch Pie

The house I grew up in sat on 2 lots in our little town.  It was an old house back then, and when it was built it was probably on the very edge of town.  The backyard had an old chicken coop, a “fruit house” that was like a above-ground root cellar, and many old fruit trees.  One of them was an apple tree.

Three seasons of the year this apple tree was our play-house and our horse (one of the main branches ran parallel to the ground and was big enough for us to sit on).  In the fall, though, it was a job.  My sister Kim and I would go out and pick up apples almost every day.  If we missed a day the darn yellow-jackets would find the apples and try to kill us for taking their food.  Once we picked up the apples, Mom would make and can applesauce with Red-Hots melted into it so it was a lovely shade of pink, and on special days she would make this apple pie. 

My apple tree now is only about 5 feet tall and kind of sad.  It’s all bent over from having too many apples on it a couple of years ago, but it’ll probably look cool 50 years from now if it makes it that long.  The apples it produces are great to feed the cows but not good for much else.  Oh well.  Maybe someday it’ll make enough good apples to make a pie.  I can hardly wait!

You can always tell the best recipes by the “patina” on them.  Here are my Grandma Mary’s recipe for pie crust, and Mom’s recipe for apple pie:

Never Fail Pie Crust  – makes enough for 2 double-crust pies

  • 4 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup shortening
  • 1 Cup butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • between 1/3 – 1/2 Cup cold water

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.  Using pastry cutter, cut in shortening and butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, beat the egg, then mix in vinegar and water (the amount of water is variable.  For me, if the weather is hot or humid, I use 1/3 cup of water.  If it’s winter and dry from the heater running, I use 1/2 cup.  It just kind of depends.)  Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Then I divide the dough into 4 pieces and put each piece in a zip-type bag and pop them in the refrigerator while I’m making whatever pie filling I’m craving.  You can also put the dough in the freezer if you’re not planning on making more than one pie, and it’ll keep for about 2 months if it’s well wrapped.

Dutch Apple Crunch Pie  –  This Dutch apple pie is different than most, because it has a top crust and then the sprinkles on top of that.  It is oh. so. good.

  • Pastry for one double-crust pie
  • 6 Cups peeled, cored and sliced apples
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Combine all ingredients and place in pastry lined 9-inch pie pan.  Put on top pastry and cut vents in top.  Add Crunch Topping:

  • 1 Tbsp shortening
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix above ingredients together with a fork until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping over top pie crust.  Bake at 425F for 10 min.  Leaving pie in oven, reduce heat to 350F and bake for 30-35 minutes or until nicely browned.  Depending on your oven, this could take from 25 – 45 minutes, so rather than go by the time given keep a good eye on it and bake it as long as it needs to be baked.  Cool and serve.  In my house we let it cool until it’s just slightly cooler than lava, and serve it with vanilla ice cream.

Oh, my goodness.  I want apple pie.  I REALLY want apple pie.  I hope you like this as much as we do!

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Dessert, Recipes, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment