Saturday, October 22, 2011

Variations on a theme

I promised some variations on THE bread. That's the biggest hurdle right now: naming the bread. Mama called it "my bread", my sister called it "her bread", my brother called it "Mother's bread" and I called it "Mama's Bread". Any way ya cut it, and it better be cut evenly, it is a  "genius recipe". Remember, it's a no knead bread. That doesn't mean it can't be messed with or punched or prodded.  It means there's just no need to! But that's not the genius part of it, the real genius part is the flavor. Then there's the texture...
Oh, you know I could go on and on but let's get bakin'!
THE BREAD with variations:
Follow the basic recipe above.You can substitute a cup of whole wheat flour for the white flour if you want. It makes 2 loaves. After the first rise (45 minutes) add in (fold in) to 1/2 of the dough: 1 tablespoon dry toasted caraway seeds.To dry toast seeds, place them in a small pan and place over medium high heat until you smell them or they pop a few times. Keep the seeds moving for a few seconds.You can add 2 tablespoons butter to them if you want a richer bread. After folding in the seeds, form the loaf into the shape you want, placing it into a buttered or olive oiled pan, stone or mold that has been sprinkled with corn meal. It adds a great crunch, interesting flavor and the loaf won't stick to the pan either.Brush the top with a little melted butter or olive oil. Let it rise for nother 45 minutes. Now take the other half of the dough and fold in the following: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 4 tablespoons golden raisins and 2 teaspoons Vietnamese cinnamon. It's the sweetest and most intense cinnamon on earth! Look for it in the spice section. Sometimes it's called Siagon cinnamon. Now spread the dough out flat and sprinkle sugar mixture over it, then fold it over a couple times to seal in the mixture. Form the loaf and place in the pan or mold. Brush melted butter over the top and cover lightly and let rise for 45 more minutes. Place both pans in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 for 20 more minutes. Set a timer! You don't want to be disappointed at this point. If you follow the directions and don't do somthing wierd like put it in a bread machine, God forbid!,you will have a most wonderful bread that you can call YOUR OWN.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mama's Breakfast

Will you indulge me for a moment? I promise it will be worth your time to read and try this! I'm remembering having breakfast with my Mama back when she could pull out of  the frig the most magical of combination of satisfying foods! That morning, when she toasted the small slices of bread and spread butter on them, with large dollops of warm applesauce and there was not much said because the applesauce was dripping off and our mouths were full, I was a happy adult child!
The following recipes are for my Mama's bread with several variations, and her plain and simple applesauce. The bread recipe, French Peasant Bread, originally came from a Womem's Club Cookbook in Palo Alto, Ca., a timeless collection.
This being a no knead bread and two 45 minute rises, you to can be happy in no time,
and the applesauce recipe just springs forth from having an appletree!
                                                                  My Mama's Bread
2 cups lukewarm water (95-105 degrees)
1 package dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
2 teaspoons salt                                                                                                                                        
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal                                                                 
4 tablespoons butter, melted                             

In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar or honey and yeast. Stir to dissolve. I use my instant read thermometer to stir. Let set and proof. This means it will become a little foamy or cloudy. In a large bowl, combine salt and flour. Pour the yeast mixture over the flour and stir to combine gently. My mama always used a table knife to combine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then pour 2 tablespoons butter over dough and turn dough ball to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the sun for 45 minutes until it is doubled in size.
Butter a baking stone or small loaf pan and sprinkle on cornmeal. Flour your hands and divide the dough into 2 parts, shaping each into a loaf either round or oblong, but do not knead! Place both loaves on stone or in pans and let rise another 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter and bake 10 minutes. Set a timer! Reduce the temperature to 375 and bake 20 minutes more.
While the loaves are still hot brush with more butter. Enjoy the feeling of triumph!
5 golden delicious apples
1/4 cup sugar or 2 packets stevia
1/4 cup lemon juice
Wash and peel apples and slice into wedges making sure to remove any hard seed coverings.Place in medium size sauce pan. Sprinkle sugar or stevia  and lemon juice over apples and cover. Bring to boil, then turn down heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stirring the apples makes them mushy so just serve them in large soft chunks. You could sprinkle with a little cinnamon if that's your comfort level of the day!

Soon I will post the variations. In the meantime, enjoy breakfast with someone!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Afternoon snack

Welcome everyone! Let's get COMFORTABLE with food. This afternoon I mixed 2 tablespoons cream with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon (the most sweet and intense), added 2 cups almonds, spreading on parchment paper, baking in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 min. Carefully remove from pan and paper while they are still hot to separate the yummy, gooey nuts. This is also great using pecans or walnuts. I've been known to eat all these at one time or sprinkling them on granola or salads. ENJOY!