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photo by Amy Wang

Without further ado! Bread pudding recipe! Make at your own risk of butter-induced heart attack!!

The Breads*

3 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. molasses or light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla (for light bread only)
12 oz. beer

* For the “black” bread, use molasses and a dark beer. I’ve used Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. For the “tan” bread, use corn syrup and a light beer. Nothing too hoppy. I’ve used Belhaven Scottish Ale.

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Oh yeah, I promised the recipe, didn’t I!

The final version is in a document at work, where I will be tomorrow, and I will post it for you then.

Stout-Beer

So, I am officially entering my first cook-off!! It’s for food made with beer. June 7 at the Bell House in Brooklyn. I will post more details when I have them, but I am going to make a bread pudding with homemade beer bread, and serve it with whipped cream. I don’t want to give any more away in case my competitors read this (hahahaha, as if they are somehow aware of who I am and are afraid) but I will be doing as much taste testing as possible before the 7th.

almondraspberrybread

So, I had these two sad bananas on my table for days and days. I kept telling myself I would make them into a banana bread, and kept putting it off. Then they were completely black and I was afraid to unpeel them. So, since I had just bought poppyseeds for the bagels, I decided a poppyseed bread was in order. I honestly don’t know why I don’t make more things with almond extract because it is SO GOOD. I modified this bread from a recipe I found on the Kitchen Sink, and decided I would feel better about making this bread somehow if it contained fruit. However, I do think this came out more like a dessert bread than a “healthy” bread — not that the ingredients are more indulgent than most quick breads, but it just seems more dessert-like with the almond flavor.

Also, I only took one picture because I was baking so many things all day that I just couldn’t take as many process pictures as I’d like. Flour on my hands and whatnot. Trust me, this bread is delicious.

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 c. + 2 T. buttermilk
3/4 c. sour cream or greek yogurt
1 T. almond extract
2 c. all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 T. poppy seeds
1 c. raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (OK, so mine didn’t turn out really light and fluffy — and my bread didn’t suffer for it, so don’t sweat this step if it isn’t “fluffy”). Add the egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt, and almond extract to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the whisked dry ingredients and stir gently with a spatula. When the mixture is almost combined, add the poppy seeds and raspberries. Stir gently until the wet and dry ingredients have just combined and the poppy seeds and raspberries are distributed throughout the batter. Try not to mash the raspberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and use a rubber spatula or spoon to smooth the top. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

bagelsdone

I don’t know what got into me this weekend but I baked not one, not two, but THREE things on Sunday. And I made sushi. But all that will come later.

First, I promised and now I finally presenteth to you BAGELS!! Have you ever really had a hot-from-the-oven bagel? It puts those sad grocery store bagels (and most deli bagels) to shame. Chewy on the outside, tender on the inside…this is one food that I think may well be worth the effort to make instead of buy. And when the ingredients are flour (albeit the elusive bread flour), yeast, water, salt, oil, and sugar, they couldn’t be cheaper.

bagels

As a yeast-phobe, I am amazed these turned out well, and I think I may be ready to tackle more breads. Thanks to The Internet Food Association’s Ben Miller for providing the reassurance that not having a stand mixer doesn’t mean you can’t make bagels. Here’s his post on these same bagels, which will provide you with all the instruction you need: Homemade Bagels

And, because Brian had to go to work yesterday (Sunday!) I made him his favorite: bacon, egg and cheese. Behold!

baconegg&cheese

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I used to make this bread long ago, two loaves at a time, and freeze one. Then I lost one of my loaf pans. OK, I actually left it at my last apartment during my move and let’s just say I’m not exactly friendly with my old roommate. So this time around, one loaf it is. However, since nuts seem only to come in larger bags than necessary, it would really maximize the cheapness of this to make 2 loaves at a time. Just saying.

I really enjoy this bread, and decided to make a couple of small modifications this time around (the original recipe is on epicurious, from Bon Apetit). I can’t say the flavor of the sweet potato (or zucchini for that matter) is present much, but it does have a unique flavor that’s not vegetable-ey, but also not too sweet. There was probably a time that I would have left the walnuts out — I was absolutely opposed to using them in anything because I found them bitter and gross (another childhood thing). Now, I quite like them in my quickbreads. Feel free to omit if you wish.

Sweet Potato Zucchini Bread

2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar (the original recipe calls for 2 c. but it sounded like a lot, so I reduced it)
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. grated zucchini (about 1 medium, you think you need more but you don’t)
1 1/2 c. grated peeled sweet potato (about 1 medium)
1 c. chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Sift first 5 ingredients into medium bowl. Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla to blend in large bowl. Mix in zucchini and sweet potato. Add dry ingredients and walnuts and stir well.

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Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes (it really does take this long). Cool bread in pan on rack 15 minutes. Cut around bread to loosen. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

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This was the easiest bread I have ever made. Quick breads, or breads with no yeast, are aptly named – but this is really a bread for the lazy. For so few ingredients, it produced a deep, complex flavor, which makes sense, considering its ingredients are dark and rich like Guinness and molasses. You can apparently use any beer in this bread, and next time I would love to try a flavored dark beer, like a vanilla or chocolate stout.

Beer, flour, sugar, salt, molasses. That’s it. Mix, bake, and eat with lots of butter. Be careful – this bread rises like crazy so don’t fill your baking pan too full. Mine almost went over the edge.

Since I have no plans to make corned beef (which Brian says he doesn’t even like), this is my mini tribute to St. Patrick’s Day. It’s definitely better than buying a leprechaun hat and drinking green beer.

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I love quick breads. One, I am not familiar with the ins and outs of yeast bread. Frankly, it scares me. Two, a slice of banana or zucchini bread is a great snack to get you through the day. Sweet but not too sweet, soft, and usually filled with fruit or vegetable goodness. I came across this recipe for pear bread on The Kitchen Sink Recipes, and it sounded great. It also made me realize that really any moist-fleshed fruit would work in a bread like this. When berry season finally rolls around, I’ll have a perfect new use for raspberries or blueberries.

I modified the recipe to include walnuts instead of pecans since that’s what I had on hand, and I could not find whole wheat pastry flour so I just used regular white (damn you Key Foods!). The original recipe calls for very, very ripe pears and I could only find barely ripe pears, so I also used 1/2 banana and 1/2 pear in case the pears weren’t moist or flavorful enough. I didn’t want bland bread, and I didn’t get it!

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