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Crumpets

I’m working on a new story and crumpets play a key part in the tale, so I decided to make some. To my knowledge I’ve never even tasted them before, so it would be a good experiment.

Wanting to use a true British recipe, I reached out to a wonderful friend in England and she shared one that was easy enough even I could follow the step by step directions.

For all my British friends out there – my apologies for messing with your long-standing traditions! Here is a link to some crumpet history, if you are unfamiliar with them.

The key component of crumpets, from my limited understanding, is to have plenty of holes in the surface for butter to melt into. Crumpets were quite popular for tea time in the 1800s and many British families enjoy them today, particularly for breakfast. You can top them with jam, eat them plain – but most definitely serve them with a spot of tea.

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Mix flour and yeast together.

Mix flour and yeast together.

Stir in milk mixture.

Stir in milk mixture.

Beat until you have a smooth batter (about 3-4 minutes).

Beat until you have a smooth batter (about 3-4 minutes).

Cover and let rise for 20 minutes to an hour. The dough should be full of lovely little holes.

Cover and let rise for 20 minutes to an hour. The dough should be full of lovely little holes.

Stir in water mixture.

Stir in water mixture.

You want the consistency to be like heavy cream.

You want the consistency to be like heavy cream. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

On medium heat, using a griddle or cast iron skillet, heat a little oil. You will need rings (and you can purchase crumpet rings, but I used these pancake rings I had on hand. You could also use a round cookie cutter, a jar lid, etc.) Make sure the rings are well greased then spoon in batter.

On medium heat, using a griddle or cast iron skillet, heat a little oil. You will need rings (and you can purchase crumpet rings, but I used these pancake rings I had on hand. You could also use a round cookie cutter, a jar ring, etc.) Make sure the rings are well greased then spoon in batter.

 

Cook about two minutes, until tops are bubbly. Remove the ring then turn over. I used a regular dinner knife to flip them over and it worked great.

Cook about two minutes, until tops are bubbly. Remove the ring then turn over. I used a regular dinner knife to flip them over and it worked great.

 

See the holes in the surface? Holes mean places for butter to drip into and create all manner of deliciousness.

See the holes in the surface? Holes mean places for butter to drip into and create all manner of deliciousness.

Eat them hot out of the pan with butter, top with some jam if you want a little sweetness to it. If you don't serve immediately, make sure you toast them before eating. They are much better warm than cold.

Eat them hot out of the pan with butter, top with some jam if you want a little sweetness to it. If you don’t serve immediately, make sure you toast them before eating. They are much better warm than cold.

Crumpets

2 cups flour

1 package instant yeast

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups warm milk

2/3-1 cup warm water

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

oil for cooking

Mix flour and yeast in a bowl. Set aside.

Warm milk until it no longer feels cool to the touch, but isn’t hot. (Think baby bottle temperature.) Add sugar and stir until dissolved then stir into flour mixture with a wooden spoon.

Continue stirring 3-4 minutes until batter is smooth. (This is great exercise for your arms!) Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour.

It should rise up in the bowl and have holes on the surface.

Fill a measuring cup almost full of warm water. Stir in the baking soda and salt until dissolved, then slowly add to the batter. You want the consistency to be like heavy cream. If it still seems too thick, add a little more water. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pour a little oil in the bottom. You will need rings for cooking the crumpets. I used pancake rings, but you could use a round cookie cutter, a jar ring, etc. Make sure your rings are well-greased inside. (You can also purchase special crumpet rings if you are so inclined.)

Spoon the batter into the rings until they are about three-fourths full. Cook a couple of minutes until bubbles appear and the surface looks set. Remove rings, turn over and cook another two to three minutes.

Serve immediately or toast before eating with plenty of butter.

She Who Needs Some Tea with her Crumpets

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bird bread finishedI saw a photo on Facebook of bird bread a while back. I knew I had to give it a try at some point. When I decided to go with a Wish It Were Spring Theme for my book club gathering, it seemed like the perfect thing to make.

Of course, by then I could no longer find a link to the recipe or directions, so I decided to wing it (yes, pun intended).

It wasn’t hard to do but if you are looking for uniformity, that would so not be my name.

bread dough ingredients

Ingredients. Plus you’ll need mini chocolate chips and slivered almonds.

Start by scalding milk with oil and sugar.

Once the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, you can add in a package of yeast.

 

Sprinkle yeast over the milk and let rest for a minute.

Stir in yeast and four cups of flour.

 

Place the pan in a warm area, cover with a tea towel and let the yeast do its thing for about an hour. I like to put my pan in front of the fire. It is warm and makes the dough smell heavenly.

Punch the dough down again and start pinching off pieces about the size of a golf ball.

bird bread dough ballsYou’ll have a couple dozen balls when you are finished.

bird bread roll outThen roll those balls into a long rope. I found about 12 inches worked well.

bird bread folding in knotYou are basically going to tie a knot with the dough. Just fold one end under and one end over.

bird bread on panIt will look something like this when you get it pulled together. The end that is “over” is the head and the “under” end is the tail.

bird bread cut tailfeathersTake a pair of clean kitchen shears and cut little slices into the tail. This makes the feathers.

bird bread tailfeathersSee? How cute is that?

bird bread almonds for beakUsing slivered almonds for the beak

bird bread beak inBeaky…

bird bread eyes with chipsAnd mini chocolate chips for the eyes (you could use cloves, but chips sounded tastier to me!).

bird bread ready to bakeAnd your birdy should look like this when you get done. Let the dough rest about ten minutes then bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

bird bread bakedAnd it looks all golden brown and lovely like this. Oh, and poke the chips so the narrow end goes into the dough instead of the flat end. It works much better!

Bird Bread plated 2Tweet, tweet!

Bird Bread

2 cups milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tbsp. salt

Scald the milk, oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat (bring heat to nearly a boil, but don’t let it boil!). Set aside and cool to lukewarm (think temperature of a baby’s bottle). Sprinkle yeast on top of milk and let rest for one minute.

Add four cups of the flour and stir until just combined. It is going to be sticky. Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place for an hour.

Remove the towel and add baking powder, baking soda, salt and final 1/2 cup of flour. Stir to combine.

Pinch off golf ball sized pieces of dough and roll into ropes about 12 inches long. Fold each rope into a knot (just like tying your shoe) with one end up and one end down. The up end will be the bird’s head, the down end will be it’s tail.

Place on a baking sheet.

Using a clean pair of kitchen shears, cut feathers into the tails. I made about four half-inch slices.

For the beaks, poke a slivered almond into the head where it looks like  beak should go. Add mini chocolate chips (pointy-end facing the dough) for eyes.

Let the dough rest for about ten minutes (preheat oven to 350), then bake for about 12 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.

You can’t help but smile with one of these little birds on your dinner plate!

She Who Loved These Little Birds

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bread dough hamber patty with heart cutter

If your true love is a carnivore like mine, then today’s recipe will be a big hit! Make your meat-eater happy with these fun Heart Shaped Hamburgers. (Sorry for the photo of raw meat right up front…)

On a side note – if you don’t want to make burgers, you could also cut the meat into heart shapes for use with pasta (think meatballs, except in the shape of hearts).

We’ll start with the dough for the buns then move on to the burgers.

bread dough ingredientsIngredients for the buns.

Start by scalding milk with oil and sugar.

Once the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, you can add in a package of yeast.

Sprinkle yeast over the milk and let rest for a minute.

Stir in yeast and four cups of flour.

Place the pan in a warm area, cover with a tea towel and let the yeast do its thing for about an hour. I like to put my pan in front of the fire. It is warm and makes the dough smell heavenly.

When they’ve puffed up a bit, bake them in a 350 degree oven until the tops are golden brown.

bread dough bun sliced openSlice open and build that perfect burger. (And you might not even need to slice, since the two hearts are easily separated.)

bread dough meatFor the burgers, add whatever spices you like to the meat, then flatten it out to  whatever thickness you like. I think ours were about 1/2 inch thick.

bread dough cut out burger pattyUsing the same cookie cutter (so the meat and buns are somewhat uniform), but out heart shapes in the ground beef.

bread dough heart burgers ready to bbq

How fun is that? Grill them or fry them or cook them however you like.

(I may have begged until CC cooked our outside on the BBQ. Good thing the snow is gone and the temps warmed up yesterday!).

bread dough burger on bun

Once the meat is cooked, place it on your bun, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Hamburger Hearts

Dough

2 cups milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tbsp. salt

Hamburgers

1-2 pounds of ground beef

spices

your choice of condiments

Scald the milk, oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat (bring heat to nearly a boil, but don’t let it boil!). Set aside and cool to lukewarm (think temperature of a baby’s bottle). Sprinkle yeast on top of milk and let rest for one minute.

Add four cups of the flour and stir until just combined. It is going to be sticky. Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place for an hour.

Remove the towel and add baking powder, baking soda, salt and final 1/2 cup of flour. Stir to combine.

Roll out and cut into heart-shapes with a cookie cutter. I used one that was about four-inches wide. Place a single layer of hearts on a baking sheet, then place a second layer on top of the first (like you’re making a heart sandwich, except without the filling).

Cover with a tea towel and return to a warm area to rise for another 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When dough is ready, bake for about 10- 15 minutes, until the tops are a lovely golden brown.

You should be able to easily separate the tops and bottoms of your heart-sharped buns, but if not, just got them in half.

While the buns are baking, mix your ground beef with whatever spices you like. Pat it out to whatever thickness you like your burgers then use the  same cookie cutter you cut out the buns with to cut out your burgers.

Cook (grill, fry, toss on the barbecue – whatever you like), then slide onto the bun. The bread will be just slightly bigger because it expands and the meat tends to shrink a little.

Top with your favorite condiments and listen to your meat-eater praise your efforts.

With the cookie-cutter I used, I had 24 hearts or 12 buns. The number you get will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. I used a 1 1/2 pound package of ground beef and got six burgers. You can cut the bread recipe in half if you want to make a smaller batch.

She Who May Have Enjoyed These, Too

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valentine-heart

From now through Valentine’s Day, I’ll be posting Valentine themed recipes, craft ideas, tips and more! Check back daily to get in on the fun. I may even do a giveaway next week…

To get things off to a good start, here is a recipe for yummy Coconut French Toast. It’s fast and easy to make – perfect for serving to your sweetie Valentine’s Day morning.

coconut toast plated

Ingredients for making Coconut French Toast.

Ingredients for making Coconut French Toast.

 

Melt butter in  microwave safe bowl. Just takes about 10-15 seconds if your butter isn't right out of the fridge.

Melt butter in microwave safe bowl. Just takes about 10-15 seconds if your butter isn’t right out of the fridge.

Beat in egg, then add sugar and vanilla. Mix well.

Beat in egg, then add sugar and vanilla. Mix well.

 

Finally stir in coconut.

Finally stir in coconut.

 

Place bread on a baking sheet. (I use foil to cover mine because I don't like scrubbing off any spills.) Spread batter over the bread and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until bread is lightly browned.

Place bread on a baking sheet. (I use foil to cover mine because I don’t like scrubbing off any spills.) Spread batter over the bread and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until bread is lightly browned.

Remove from sheet and top with chocolate syrup, regular syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar, fruit, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Remove from sheet and top with chocolate syrup, regular syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar, fruit, or whatever tickles your fancy. If your sweetheart loves coconut, they’ll be sure to thank you for your efforts.

 

Coconut French Toast

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 slices white bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in microwave safe bowl. Beat in the egg then add vanilla and sugar, mixing well. Stir in coconut.

Place bread on  baking sheet and spread topping on one side only.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until bread is lightly browned.

Serve with your choice of tempting toppings (like chocolate syrup) and enjoy!

Makes three servings. If you need to serve more, the recipe is easily doubled.

She Who Loves Coconut 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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