Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

These dinner rolls were made by Colin’s Grandma Fletcher. Now be warned, I think these are weird as a ‘dinner roll’ because at the end they get glazed with sugar! But it’s not a Fletcher family gathering without these rolls. Ella loves them, so I often have a bag full in the freezer. They make good snacking. I’ve cut the recipe down a little bit so that it fits in my bread machine easier. If you do this in the bread machine you MUST babysit it until it’s done mixing. Of course, you can also do this the old fashioned way, with a bowl.

This method I’m going to show you is the way I do most of my bread doughs. It comes from the book Secrets of a Jewish Baker. It’s a bit faster and I think it turns out a little nicer. It’s a sponge method where you let the yeast do it’s thing for a while before adding everything else.

In your bread machine pan, add the following and mix till combined (I just use a spatula).

3 3/4 cup water

3 cups flour

4 1/2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp sugar

Let this sit for 30 min.

Add the rest of your ingredients:

1/2 cup lard, melted and cooled

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

3 3/4 cup flour

Start your ‘dough’ cycle and watch the consistency.

Just about done kneading. Now here’s where this method saves time. You don’t have to let the dough rise. You take the dough and shape it as you wish. If you are using this method to make Grandma’s dinner rolls, cut the dough into 96 little balls (4 dozen rolls) and drop them into greased muffin tins. Let them rise somewhere warm for 30-60 min.

As you can see, this day I got tired of rolling out balls. I made 3 dozen rolls and a pan of sticky buns. Ella loves sticky buns too. If you want to make the sticky buns, just roll out 1/4 of the dough. I make it 12 inches wide by however long it will go. Then all you have to do is spread it with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. That easy, no measurements needed. Then roll up the short end and cut into 12 -fits my 9×9″ pan.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 min, the sticky buns might take a few more minutes. Turn out of the pans as soon as they are done. Of course, the sticky buns need turned out over a plate.

Mix 2 Tbsp milk with 1 Tbsp icing sugar. When the buns are cool, wash the tops with the glaze. They freeze well if you can keep the vultures out of them long enough.

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Bread Machine Bread

As you probably know, I make all my bread dough in the bread machine. It’s faster and easier on my wrists. This is a basic bread machine recipe from my King Arthur cook book. It makes just one loaf, which is handy if you need to make some garlic/cinnamon pull apart buns.

Bread machines are so easy. Just add all the wet ingredients first. Then add the dry ingredients, adding the flour and yeast last.

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup powdered milk

4 Tbsp butter

1/3 cup potato flakes

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3 cups flour

2 tsp yeast

Start the dough cycle. I always stand by and make sure it mixes correctly. I often need to add more water. You want the dough to be as soft as possible without being too soft and sticky. That’s what keeps your bread nice.

I let the dough rise in the machine since it’s nice and warm. I take it out before it starts the ‘second rise’ cycle. Shape your dough into whatever you are making and put it somewhere warm to rise. Usually about 30 minutes, sometimes more. I use the oven. If I turn on the oven and just wait till the gas lights, then shut it off, it’s the perfect temperature for rising.

For the pull buns or just a loaf of bread I bake this at 350F for 30 min, or until done. If you are using an angel cake pan for the pull buns, do yourself a favour and make sure you have something under the pan or else the butter/butter and sugar is going to get messy. And nothing sets off the smoke detector faster than burnt sugar.

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No Yarn Along this week.  Still working on the custom sweater but it’s at that stage where there doesn’t seem to be much progress, regardless of how many rows I knit.  I have a thing on Saturday so I started a new pair of purse knitting socks that will eventually be for Grandma for Christmas.  Thought I’d share a couple of recipes instead.


Ella Safe French Toast  -serves 1

2 Tbsp custard powder

2 Tbs sugar

1/2 cup ‘milk’ of choice

These turned out pretty good.  Certainly a better colour than the other recipe we tried.  Ella enjoyed these.  She’s been missing French toast.  They even passed the Daddy test.


Breaded Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops

1 cup vinegar                                                           flour

1 egg + 1 Tbsp water                                              3/4 cup bread crumbs

salt & pepper                                                           1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp parsley                                                             1 1/2 Tbsp butter and oil

Marinate chops in vinegar for a while.

Pat dry and dredge in flour.  Dip in egg/water, then in seasoned bread crumbs.  Press crumbs onto chops.  Let stand a few minutes (or longer in the fridge), this helps the crumbs stay on.

Heat oil/butter and brown chops.  Lower heat and cover.  Cook for 45 minutes (flip half way through).  Uncover for the last 5 minutes to crisp.

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How is 2018 starting for you?  Things are fairly quiet around here.  Ella caught her tradition ‘I’ve been to Toronto’ cold and has had a miserable few days.  I really should buy stock in Royale.   We have basically been house-bound since we came home from Toronto and I’m starting to go stir-crazy.  I think today is the worst yet.  It’s 2pm and it’s -20C and -40C /F with the windchill and the wind is blowing like crazy!  I love winter but weeks of -20/-40 get tiring.  I need to get out to get January groceries but I’m certainly not going out in this weather.

I’ve tried a few new recipes lately that I thought I’d share with you.  I’ll share the links, if they stop working let me know.  I’ve got the recipes written in my cookbook too.  The first is a delicious way to use up the last of the turkey, turkey and biscuit casserole.  Found Colin’s new favourite pizza crust, pizza crust.

OK, apparently I’ve lost the link for the next recipe.  We had steak the other day and ended up with some leftover (they were huge).  Pinterest to the rescue again and I found Steak Soup.   It was good with fresh garlic buns.

Steak Soup

serves 6

2 Tbsp oil                               4 cloves garlic, minced                                  1 onion, minced

5 small potatoes, diced       2 large carrots, diced                                     2 cups steak, diced

1 tsp salt                                 1 tsp pepper                                                     1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup tomato sauce          4 cups beef broth

Saute onions and garlic.  Add the rest of the veg. for a couple of minutes.  Add everything else.  Boil, then simmer (covered) for an hour.


I used some home canned tomato sauce in the soup so I had to find something else to do with the leftover tomato sauce.  Enter home-made ‘condensed tomato soup‘ and chili mac.  I really liked the chili mac recipe because it only made 4 servings, we won’t have to eat leftover pasta for days.

So that’s how I’ve been spending my days, what have you been doing to stay warm?

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What do you do with a 9 pound chicken after you’ve enjoyed it straight from the BBQ?  You search Pinterest and find some new recipes so you aren’t eating ‘just chicken’ for the next two weeks.

I found a recipe called Magic Chicken Pie and it was so good!  I started by finding a recipe for Bisquick since I don’t tend to buy boxed stuff.  Mix up a big batch and keep it in the freezer.  Check out the link too, she’s got lots of recipes.

6 cup flour

1 Tbsp salt

3 Tbsp baking powder

1 cup Crisco

And now for the Magic Pie -it seems really odd, but follow the instructions as written

Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a 9×13 inch pan (350F oven).

Meanwhile mix 2 c Bisquick with 1 1/2 c milk of choice.

Sprinkle 2 cups shredded chicken over the melted butter.  Then 2 cups vegetables (frozen or leftover).  Finally 1 cup shredded cheese.

Pour the batter over the meat/veggies.

Mix 1 can cream of chicken soup with 2 chicken stock cubes and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock.  Stir till smooth and carefully pour over-top of everything in the casserole pan.

Bake 350F for 45-50 min.

Give it a couple of minutes to quit boiling and dig in!


Another yummy leftover recipe I found was for Chicken Roll-Ups.

Start by making tortillas

2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp oil

1/2-3/4 cup water

Knead just till smooth.  Cover and let sit 30 min.  Divide into 8 and roll into 8″ circles.  Dry fry for 45 sec a side.

For the Roll-Ups:

2 cups shredded chicken

1/3 cup BBQ sauce

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use a Monterrey jack/mozzarella combo)

Divide this between the 8 tortillas.  Roll up tight and bake 425F for 6-8 minutes.

Check out the websites and see the other yummy recipes they have.


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I’ve had a few friends ask about making bread.  So, I thought maybe I’d do a tutorial for you.  This method will work with any of my bread recipes.  I’m going to share my new favourite recipe out of my new favourite cookbook –Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Recipes for 125 Breads from Around the World.

Step One: make the sponge

If you are using another recipe, put all the water, the yeast and half the flour in a bowl.  Once stirred it will basically look like pancake batter.  Cover with a tea towel and sit in a warm place about 30 minutes.

Milk Bread: 2 cups warm water, 1 1/2 Tbsp yeast (2 packages yeast), and 3 cups flour

After 30 minutes your sponge will look like this:

Step Two:

Add all the remaining ingredients in your recipe.  Mix well.  Add only enough flour to make a soft dough.  Too much flour will make your break dry and yucky.

Add to sponge: 4 tsp sugar, 2 Tbsp soft butter, 2/3 cup skim milk powder, 2-3 cup flour (start with 2 and work up to 3 if you need), and 2 tsp salt.

Step Three:

Knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes.  USE AS LITTLE FLOUR ON YOUR TABLE AS POSSIBLE!  I tend to use the old trick of oiling my table instead.  This is very important because you want your dough fairly soft (but not sticky).

Step Three:

Cut the dough into as many loaves as you are making.  If you are making the Milk Bread, cut the dough into two.  Cover with a tea towel and let rest 10 minutes.

Step Four:

Now for the fun part!  Shape the loaves into your desired shape (oil table if needed, do not use more flour).  I love to do a round braid (like challah for Rosh Hashana).  Here’s the video that taught me.  If you want more of a loaf shape, try the 8 strand braid.  Of course, you can always do a regular loaf.

Press dough out into a rectangle.

Fold the top half to the middle and press together.  Then fold the bottom half up to the middle and press.  Now fold the top to the bottom (forgot to take a picture) and pinch the two folded edges together.  You may need to gently roll the dough to make it long enough for your greased bread pans.

Now you need to find a warm place for your bread to rise.  If you’ve got central heating that will be just about any where in your home.  Since we heat with the corn stove in the basement (up until this year), I turn my oven on very low, just enough to warm it to about 80F.  Then I TURN OFF the oven.  It’s now a good spot to proof/rise my loaves.   Cover again with a tea towel and let rise again, usually about 45 min.  Sometimes I use an egg wash on the bread.  Just break up an egg with a fork and brush on the dough, don’t use too much or it will taste eggy.  Do this just before putting in the oven to bake.

Preheat your oven (take the bread out first if you are using it to proof your dough) to 350F.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  When you think it’s done, tip the bread over (out of pan) and knock on the bottom.  Listen closely, it will sound hollow when it’s done.  Be sure to take out of the pans and put on cooling racks.  Try not to cut into the loaves until they have cooled at least 20 minutes.

If you want to make a lot of bread my best suggestion is to get a bread maker.  I use mine all the time.  I let it do all the hard work of kneading (it’s hard on my wrists).  And according to testing done by my Robin Hood Flour cookbook, the bread machines do the best kneading job.  I never cook my bread in the machine.  My machine will do bread recipes up to 8 cups of flour (3-4 loaves).






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I love to roast meat.  It’s the easiest way to feed my family.  Usually just throw the meat in the oven and walk away for a few hours.  Who needs ’30 Minute Meals ‘ when you can have a 5 minute one?


Tomato Pot Roast -feeds 6

4 lb beef roast -we prefer blade

salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste

1 onion, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1 t thyme

1-2 T cornstarch (optional)

Sprinkle the roast with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  In a skillet, brown roast (about 3 min a side).  Put roast in your casserole.  In skillet add onions and other vegetables and saute.  Add in tomatoes and thyme.  Carefully pour over roast.

Put on lid and simmer 325 F for 3 hours.  You could add potatoes for the last 30 minutes, but we don’t like them that way.  Instead I tossed some in the oven to bake for the last 90 minutes.  I also dissolve the cornstarch with a bit of water and add for the last few minutes because I like a thicker ‘sauce’.

Here’s another favourite.  I like to make this when we have leftover steak or chicken.

Steak Pizza

pizza dough –this is our favourite

cooked steak or chicken -amount depends on size of pizza

BBQ sauce -we like Diana’s chicken and rib sauce

shredded mozzarella

Can’t get easier than that??  Roll out your pizza dough the way you like -individual or one big pizza.  Cover with BBQ sauce.  Thinly slice/shred the meat.  Sprinkle with cheese.  If I had the time to caramelize some onions, they would be good on here too but I always seem to think of them too late.

Bake 350F for 30 min.

One last recipe.  I’m not sure where this originated but it’s all over the internet so I thought I’d share my version too.

KFC Inspired Chicken

chicken thighs -mine was a package of 12

2 c flour                                             3 1/2 t paprika

1 t salt                                                1 t pepper

1 t sage                                              1 t oregano

1 t tarragon                                     1 t parsley

1/2 t thyme                                     1 t chives (dried)

1/2 t garlic powder                      1/2 t onion powder

1/4 t celery seed

Combine all the dry ingredients in a plastic bag.  Add chicken a couple at a time and shake to cover.  You could dip the chicken in beaten egg first, but I found the coating stuck just as well to the plain skin (and I was being lazy that day).  Put in a roasting pan, skin side up.  You could use a wire rack in the pan to help with the fat.

Roast 350F for 1 hour

This chicken didn’t taste ‘exactly’ like KFC.  I don’t think you ever can recreate commercial recipes.  BUT this sure made some tasty chicken and you can be sure we’ll be making this recipe again and again.

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Homemade Tortillas

When I have the time I like to make our tortillas from scratch.  They don’t really take a lot of time, but sometimes it’s just easier to open the taco box.

Tortillas -makes 8 small

2 c flour                         3/4c water

3T oil                              1/2t salt

Mix everything in a bowl, adding enough water.  Knead until smooth and let rest for 30 minutes.



Divide into 8 and roll out into circles (about 8 inches).

Dry fry over medium heat for about 45 seconds per side.  Stack and cover with a tea towel to keep them soft.


See, they are that easy.  I really should make them more often  🙂

The other day I used these tortillas to make quesadillas.  A good way to use up leftover roast beef.  AND it’s something Ella will gobble up.


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Do you sometimes have too many strawberries and too little time?  Or maybe you want a way to make them last longer?  Well here’s a recipe for you.

Portable Strawberry Shortcake

4 c flour

1 c sugar

1 T bk powder

1 t bk soda

1 c butter

2 c buttermilk

1 1/2 c chopped strawberries

coarse sugar for sprinkling

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in butter.  Add strawberries and stir in milk (gently).  These are a drop biscuit, so stir just until combined.  Drop onto lined cookie sheets and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 375F for 18 minutes.

These are so yummy straight from the oven, warm and crispy.

If you leave out the berries, this is delicious shortcake for any kind of fruit or even a plain biscuit.


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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Colin’s family has a fair bit of Irish in them.  My side has a little too.  So to celebrate, here’s a recipe for Irish Soda Bread.  It was given to me as a ‘old family recipe’, but I think it’s not as old as my friend thought.  It uses baking powder and that was only available late 19th century.  But it does stick to traditional ingredients with modest use of fat and sugar.

Irish Soda Bread -makes 2

4 c flour

1/4 c sugar

1 T bk powder

1 t bk soda

1/4 t nutmeg

1/4 c butter

2 c currants

1 egg

1 3/4 c buttermilk

Combine all the dry ingredients.  Cut in butter.  Mix in currants.  Combine egg and buttermilk, then add to dry ingredients.  Knead dough gently until combined/smooth.  Divide dough in half and shape into rounds, flatten a bit and cut a cross on top.  Place on a lined cookie sheet.  Bake 350F for 35-40 min.

Those of us up here in chilly Canada are starting to crave fresh fruit, especially if you don’t buy fruit and vegetables from questionable countries.  When I saw some yummy strawberries on sale I had to buy them.  They are from the US, but I don’t have much options for that yet.

We eat our strawberries with real shortcake, not angel food/sponge cakes.   This recipe also makes a very yummy tea biscuit.  1 cup of currants can also be added.

Shortcakes -makes 18 (depending on size)

4 c flour

1 c sugar

1 T bk powder

1 t bk soda

1 c butter

2 c buttermilk

coarse sugar for sprinkling

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in butter.  Add currants (if using) and stir in milk.  These are a drop biscuit, so stir just until combined.  Drop onto lined cookie sheets and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 375F for 15 minutes.

For really good shortcake, use them warm from the oven.  And of course real sweetened whipped cream on top.

How’s this for an amazing sign of spring?  Last week, the garden was under 2 feet of snow.  Today we found this!!



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