Thursday, May 24, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sourdough or Not Best No Knead Bread Recipe

The moment you have all been waiting for!!!  First time bread makers should totally give this one a try.  The hardest part is forethought!  First rise is 12-18 hours.  But oh so worth it!

In a bowl mix:
3 cups of white flour (bread or all purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

For yeast users add: 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast then add 2 1/2 cups of body temperature water

Sourdough starter... its alive!

For Sourdough add:  1/4 cup active sourdough starter and enough body temperature water to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid total.

Stir either mixture up with a wooden spoon into a fuzzy looking ball.  Add water a tablespoon at a time if all flour is not incorporating.  Or a little flour if ball cannot keep its shape.
Cover this with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours.  I've even let it go 24 with sourdough.  And as little as 6 with yeast.  Still worked!  

After it sits for a very long time, dump it out of the bowl and knead it 10  times.  Form a nice little ball and let it proof in a bowl or pan lined with parchment paper.  Make a few slashes in the dough.  Now cover and let it rise for 1 hour for yeast and 1 to 4  for sourdough. 
It will look like this.
Then you pre heat your oven to 500 degrees with your oven safe pot, dutch oven, or crock from your crock pot, in your oven.   Be sure to remove plastic knobs on lids as they will melt or crack at this high temp.  When the bread is ready to bake, take the dutch oven, crock, or pot out of the oven, remove the lid and gently lift the bread by holding the parchment paper and lower it into your pot.  Turn your oven down to 425 degrees, put the lids back on the pot and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the bread by the parchment and place it on a cookie sheet to bake for another 15 minutes.  When its done, cool on a wire rack.  Serve it with butter or herbed cheese.  Oh my goodness you will love this bread!

I actually make 2-4 loaves at a time.  They freeze VERY well!  I pop a frozen loaf in the microwave for 2 minutes and its almost like eating it fresh. 

Some insider information:  The recipe my friend gave me for this bread has beer in it.  As I am not a beer drinker I had never bought the stuff before, but for this bread I would!  First time I went to buy beer I didn't have my I.D. with me.  Second time, my I.D. had just expired.  Third time, it was only 6 am and they cannot sell beer until 7.  So that was the last time I tried to buy beer, and I never miss it in this bread!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Sourdough starter how to...

There was a time when one could not enter a grocery store and buy commercial yeast.  One had to collect it naturally, from the yeasts in the air.  One had to nuture it, care for it, and most importantly USE it.  Sourdoughs are a lost art among the general population, but are still so easy to attain.  If you have a friend who has an active starter, by all means ask for some!  Or if you are like I used to be, and weren't sure where to go or what to do, go to:  I went there for sourdough advise and got more than I could have ever asked for.  They have video tutorials and recipes.  Of course this is just a beginning, but it will open up to you a whole new world of sourdough breadstuffs for your whole family to enjoy!  And if the day does come again when one cannot head to the market to buy instant yeast, you will still be putting warm, fresh bread on your table.

Basic Instructions:
  • Step 1. Mix 3 ½ tbs. whole wheat flour with ¼ cup unsweetened pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for 48 hours at room temperature. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. (“Unsweetened” in this case simply means no extra sugar added).
  • Step 2. Add to the above 2 tbs. whole wheat flour and 2 tbs. pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for a day or two. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. You should see some activity of fermentation within 48 hours. If you don’t, you may want to toss this and start over (or go buy some!)
  • Step 3. Add to the above 5 ¼ tbs. whole wheat flour and 3 tbs. purified water. Cover and set aside for 24 hours.
  • Step 4. Add ½ cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 to 1/3 cup purified water. You should have a very healthy sourdough starter by now.
After the initial starter is established, you can switch to white flour to keep it going.  Please note: If your sourdough starter ever turns orange, it has been exposed to a bacteria and you should NOT feed it to your family.  Throw it out and start over.  This has never happened to me.  I keep my starter in a cheap cottage cheese container.  I've tried using a jar, but when the jar needs cleaned due to dried on starter I have to chisel at it with a butter knife. (not fun)  This way when my container needs to be changed, I toss this one and call it a good green day!  To keep your starter alive, you need only to feed it and use it.  If you continue to feed it but do not lose it you will have too much and may have to throw some away.  That sends pains into my heart!  So use it please and may I suggest starting with a beautiful no knead recipe??  Or pancakes, you choose!  I know you may be thinking, oh great another mouth to feed?  Let me tell you that I can be a neglectful to this child....  It will sit in the back of my fridge for a month sometimes before I use it again.  But I never EVER have a problem!  Just feed it:  1 to 1 ratio of water and flour and let it sit a few hours.  It will be bubbly and brewish, ready to make some bread!  Stay tuned for the BEST bread recipe EVER!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Dessert

Yummy! This dessert is a hit at our house, especially this time of year.

I realized that I didn't take a picture.  By the time I remembered, we had finished it!

Pumpkin Dessert
1 package yellow cake mix, 1 cup reserved
3 eggs, separated, beaten
1/3 cup + 3 TB butter, softened, separated
3 cups canned pumpkin
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Mix cake mix (not reserved 1 cup) with 1 beaten egg and 1/3 cup butter.  Press into bottom on 9x13 pan.  Beat remaining eggs, pumpkin, sugar, spices and milk.  Pour over cake mix.  Mix reserved cake mix and remaining 3 TB butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake 350 degrees for 60 minutes.  Chill.  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CERT Training

This past week we finished our 7 week CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).  It was fabulous!  In the course they teach about first aid, search & rescue, fires, etc.  In the event of a community emergency or natural disaster, CERT members will be called upon to help.  Here is the link to the CERT website.  I urge everyone to become certified! Make a difference in emergency preparedness in your home and in your community.... AND you get the awesome green vest and hard hat upon completion!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mini Quiches

This is one of my favorite appetizers.  Each time I take them to an event, I get multiple requests for the recipe. Now that our chickens are laying, I love to make things to use them up!

Mini Quiches
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sifted flour
Combine all ingredients and chill one hour.  I use a food processor with cold butter and cold cream cheese.  I mix it until it forms a ball.  I do not chill for the hour if I use cold ingredients in the processor- only if the butter and cream cheese are room temperature.

  • 1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled (or use precooked bacon)
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper or Tabasco
Spray mini tins with Pam.  Form balls of dough and place in mini muffin tins. Use a tart shaper to form shells (or press dough into muffin pans with your fingers.

Mix together eggs, cream, salt and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle bacon then cheese in tart shells.  Pour egg mixture over cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Quiche can be made ahead and frozen.  If you are planning to freeze them, slightly under bake them.  They will finish cooking when they are reheated.   Makes about 36 quiches.  Yummy!

Roll little blobs of dough and place in sprayed pan.

Use a tart press to make the shells.  Or, you can just press it in with your fingers.

The tart shells ready to be filled.

Filled and ready to be baked.

The finished product!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tips for Canning Pears

My family loves, loves, loves canned pears.  However, I have never loved, loved, loved canning them because pears are so much work!  Well, my friend Missy gave me a trick that has revolutionized canning pears!! I really think this trick made my 41 quarts of canned pears go twice (or more) as fast.

What you will need:
  • A 4-6 inch piece of tuelle (fabric with little holes in it- think ballet tu-tus!) If you can find the slightly larger holes, it works better.  It is sort of a stiff, nylon mesh.
  • Large pan to blanch the pears
  • Large bowl of ice water
What to do:

Choose ripe, firm pears.  When they start to turn yellow, they are ready!  You can also press lightly right by the stem- if it is hard, they are not yet ready.  If it "gives" a little, they are done.  Put pears in boiling water for 22 seconds (depending on ripeness- this amount of time was perfect for my pears).  Immediatly put in ice water.
Take tuelle and wrap it around your thumb (I am right handed, so I used it on my right thumb).  You don't have to wrap it around your thumb, you can just use the tuelle with all your fingers to scrub.  I just found the thumb trick to work the very best. The thumbs are the strongest finger- you will use mainly the thumbs as you get rid of the skin!  Hold the pear with both hands so your thumbs are free to scrub!

Under running water, use those thumbs! Press hard enough that the skin just comes off.  The tuelle will get it started, and it will also remove any brown spots. Each pear takes about 5-10 seconds to scrub.

Put whole, peeled pears in bowl of water with Fruit Fresh or ascorbic acid to prevent browning.

Halve, and remove core.  A melon baller or metal measuring spoon does a great job. Prepare a light or medium syrup or pack pears in apple juice, white grape juice, or water. 

Process in Boiling Water Bath Canner, and ENJOY!

For processing times:
For Hot Pack:

Pints: 1-1000 ft: 20 min; 1001-3000 ft: 25 min; 3001-6000 ft: 30 min; Above 6000 ft: 35 min
Quarts: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40min

For Raw Pack:
Pints: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40 min
Quarts: 1-1000 ft: 30 min; 1001-3000 ft: 35 min; 3001-6000 ft: 40 min; Above 6000 ft: 45min

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Canning Peaches

I love friends that have mature peach trees that like to share their crop....
This past week has been fun with all the canning.  For anyone new to canning, hopefully this will be a good resource as what to do.  The information comes from USU Extension, as well as the USDA recommendations for canning.  We do want to be safe!

1.  Select firm, ripe peaches of good quality.
2.  An average of 17½ pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to 24 quarts – an average of 2½ pounds per quart.

Procedure: Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins. Cut in half, remove pits and slice if desired. To prevent darkening, keep peeled fruit in ascorbic acid solution. Prepare and boil a very light, light, or medium syrup or pack peaches in water, apple juice, or white grape juice. Raw packs make poor quality peaches.

Hot pack – In a large saucepan place drained fruit in syrup, water, or juice and bring to boil. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Place halves in layers, cut side down.

Raw pack – Fill jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add hot water, juice, or syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process in Boiling Water Bath Canner.

For Hot Pack:
Pints:   1-1000 ft: 20 min; 1001-3000 ft: 25 min; 3001-6000 ft: 30 min; Above 6000 ft: 35 min
Quarts  1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40min

For Raw Pack:
Pints: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40 min

Quarts 1-1000 ft: 30 min; 1001-3000 ft: 35 min; 3001-6000 ft: 40 min; Above 6000 ft: 45min

Peaches in boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Slip off the skins.

Slice peaches, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes (for hot pack method).

Fill Jars with fruit and hot syrup.... And Process!

The Finished Product!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mom's Peach Pie

Time for peaches! Yay! We had an unfortunate event where TWO of our laden peach branches snapped in the windstorm the other day.  Luckily, the peaches were perfectly ripe.  So, we got to make a couple of pies.  This recipe was the one my mom used to make growing up.  Yum!  A perfect ending to some wonderful peaches.

Mom's Peach Pie
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 TB flour
1 TB instant tapioca
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 cups sliced, peeled fresh peaches
2 TB butter
Additional 1 TB tapioca
Pastry for a 2-crust pie

Combine sugar, flour, 1 TB tapioca, and cinnamon.  Add to peaches and mix lightly.

Fit pie crust to pie pan.  Sprinkly with 1 TB tapioca.  Pour in peach mixtrue and dot with butter.  Place top crust on pie, flute edges, and cut slits in the top crust.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 F and bake additional 30-40 minutes until pie is golden brown.  Serve with fresh whipped cream, or ice cream. 

Our fresh peaches- Yum!

The dry ingredients mixed together

Pie Crust with the tapioca sprinkled in.  This helps thicken the sauce.

Dot the peach mixture with butter.

Flute the edges- don't forget to slit them!

The finished product.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Zucchini Cake- Yum!

What better way to use up your zucchini than in this rich, moise, super yummy, fantastic cake? We had some friends over this past weekend and they were in charge of the dessert. WOW!! It was sooooo good. She was nice enough to share the recipe (thanks Vanessa!!) In the past 3 days we have made it twice more.

Chocolate Zuccini Cake Recipe

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup oil
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups grated zuccini (if the zucchini is large, remove seeds first)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 TBS cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt

Mix all wet ingredients first, then dry ingredients.
Grease a 9X13" pan (I also tried it in 2 (9 inch) pans- works perfect- keep one and give one away)

3/4 Cup Pecans-chopped
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Chocolate chips
Mix together and sprinkle on the top. Pat it down just a little.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 min.

Serve warm with vanilla Ice Cream!

Our new favorite cake!!