Posts Tagged ‘bread’

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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I forgot to share my meatball recipe yesterday.  Well the sauce is my Auntie Edna’s recipe but she used store-bought meatballs.  I make my own and just add them straight to the sauce (no pre-browning).

BBQ Meatballs

1lb ground beef                              1 sm. onion, chopped fine

1/2 c bread crumbs                      1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 c milk                                         salt & pepper
Saute onions and add to other ingredients.


1 1/2 c ketchup                             3/4 c brown sugar

3T mustard                                       3 T vinegar

Mix up sauce in casserole dish.  Form meat into small balls and drop directly into sauce.  Cover and bake 350F for about 1 hour.

Grandma always likes when I make mashed potatoes to go along with BBQ meatballs.  Personally, since the oven is on for an hour, it’s the perfect time to make baked potatoes or scalloped potatoes.

If you have the time, make these to go with the meatballs:

Garlic Parmesan Bread Sticks -makes 2 1/2 doz.


1 T yeast                                   1 1/2 c warm water

4 T butter                                1 T sugar

pinch salt                                4 c flour


1/2 c butter, melted

4T Parmesan                        2 T dried parsley

1 1/2 T garlic powder (not garlic salt)

Mix the dough ingredients to make a soft dough.  Let rest 10 minutes.

Combine the topping ingredients.

Roll out dough about 15×15 inches.  Carefully transfer to a lined baking sheet.  Cut in half, then cut into 1 inch strips.  Spread with topping mixture.

Bake 350F for 18-20 minutes.

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Here’s the rib recipe we had the other week.  It is delicious.  The only complaint was I cooked them too long for as ‘spare’ as the spare ribs were.  Use your best judgment.

Maple Glazed Ribs

3 lbs pork ribs, cut to serving size

3/4 c maple syrup                                       1 T apple cider vinegar

2 T brown sugar                                            1 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T ketchup                                                     1/2 t salt

1/2 t mustard powder                                 2 cloves garlic, minced fine

Stir everything together (except ribs).  Cook 5 minutes.  Let cool a bit and pour over ribs (I use a Ziploc baggie).  Let ribs marinate a few hours, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, cover a rimmed cookie sheet with in foil.  The more carefully you do this step, the easier clean up will be.  Pour ribs and sauce onto cookie sheet.  Bake 350F for 40 minutes, turning every 20 minutes or so.  Turn oven to 300F and bake for another 20 minutes.   Don’t over cook ribs.

Every Day Bread

2 1/2 c warm water                                   3T butter

1 T salt                                                            3 T brown sugar

3/4 c potato flakes                                    6 c flour

1 T instant yeast

Put everything in the bread machine in the order listed (or as your instructions say).  Run dough cycle.  Divide into 3 loaves and put into greased pans.  Let rise.

Bake 350F for 30 min.


Soak yeast in a bit of water and sugar.  Add everything else.  Knead till smooth and elastic (don’t add too much flour).

Another good bread I like to make, when I have extra eggs is Challah.


1 1/2 c water                                   1/2 c sugar or honey

1 1/2 t salt                                         1 T oil

4 eggs                                                  5 c flour

2 T yeast

Follow same instructions as above.

There are more yummy supper ideas over at Full Plate Thursdays.

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This is our front door this morning.  It was -32C when Colin headed outside to head to the barn.  Our old front door is only a single pane of glass, so not too great in the winter.  It’s a good time to make some comfort food.  I thought I’d share some recipes:


2 lb ground beef                         2 can tomato soup (don’t dilute)

7 cans (19 oz) kidney beans -drain half  or use 4 cans kidney beans and 3 cans navy beans (drain navy beans)

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes (don’t drain)

6 onions, chopped

1 small jar sweet pimentos, chopped

6 T chili powder, or to taste

Brown beef and onions, drain if needed.  Add everything else.  Simmer over low heat for a few hours.  Stir fairly often.  Even better when made the day ahead.

Ranch Buns

make ranch spice from Niki’s blog

then make a batch of potato bread dough, adding in 1-2 T of ranch spice:

1/3 c potato flakes                      2 T yeast

2 c warm water                             1/2 c margarine

1 T salt                                              2 eggs, beaten

6 c flour                                            1-2 T ranch spice

Put in the bread machine in the usual order:  wet stuff first, then dry, then flour and yeast on top.  Let rise once.  This is also easy to make by hand.

Roll into golf ball sized balls and place in a greased cake pan (9×9 makes 16).  Let rise then bake 400F for 15 minutes.  Brush with melted butter then sprinkle with Parmesan.

Yummy brownies.  These brownies have a secret ingredient -oatmeal!  But you would never know if you didn’t tell anyone.  This is only half a batch, the recipe makes 9×13

Oatmeal Brownies

1 c oatmeal                        1 c butter

2 c boiling water              4 eggs

3 c brown sugar               2 t vanilla

2 t bk powder and bk soda

2 c flour                                 1 t salt

4 T cocoa

Mix oats, butter and water.  Let cool.  Add all other ingredients.  Pour into greased pan or pans.  Bake 350F for 40 minutes until done.

Chocolate Glaze

3/4 c sugar (brown or white)                1/4 c milk

2 T butter                                                       1/3 c mini marshmallows

1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bring sugar, milk and butter to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add marshmallows and chips.  Stir till melted.  Let cool a bit.  Pour over cake or brownies.

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A friend of mine was asking for an easy sourdough recipe, so I thought I’d share it for everyone.


Put the following in a non-metal container:

1 c milk, 1 c flour and 1 T yeast

Let stand (I cover with tea towel) for 48 hours, until it bubbles and becomes sour.  Put into a cover container with expansion room and store in the fridge.  You should use it every week.  Every time you use it, feed the starter equal quantities of flour and milk.  Then let stand in a warm place for 24 hours.

Of course, you can just multiply the starter amounts if you think this won’t be enough.

Easy peasy.  You can also through your starter in the freezer if you are going to be away for a while.  Just thaw and let stand in a warm place for 24 hours.

Now what?

Sourdough Pancakes

1/2c starter                                 2 c milk

2 c flour                                         2 eggs

2 T sugar                                        1 t salt

1 t baking soda

Blend starter, milk and flour and let sit on counter overnight.  Then add everything else in the morning.  Mix well, but don’t beat.

Sourdough Biscuits

1 1/2 c flour                            2 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda                  1/2 t salt

1/4 c butter                             1 c starter

Cut butter into dry ingredients.  Mix in starter.  Mix well and knead till smooth.  Roll out 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out with a 3 inch round cutter.  Place on greased 9-inch square pan.  Brush with melted butter.  Let rise 1 hour.

Bake 425F for 20 minutes

Sourdough Bread

makes 1 loaf

1/2 c water                                     2 T sugar

1 T yeast                                          1 c starter

1 egg                                                 1 t salt

1 T oil                                                2 3/4 c flour

You’ll notice this recipe uses a bit of yeast on top of the sourdough starter, this is to keep the rising time short.  If you have lots of time, leave out the yeast and let the bread rise in its own good time.  The flavour will be amazing.

If making the recipe as written, let the dough rise 1 1/2 -2 hours.  Then shape and put into greased bread pan.  Let rise again 1 1/2 hours till double.

Bake 350F for 30 minutes.

and now for ultimate sourdough yumminess

Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

1/3 c butter                                                1 c brown sugar

1 1/2 t cinnamon                                     1 1/2 c flour

2 t sugar                                                       2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda                                      1 1/2 c starter

1/3 c oil

Mix the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon together and set aside.

This recipe doesn’t need the first rise.  So after making the dough, roll it out about 12 x 9.  The thinner you make it the more rounds your buns will have.  Spread the dough with the butter mixture.  Roll up from wide end.  Slice into 1-inch pieces.  Place in a greased baking pan.

Bake 400F for 20 minutes.  Invert on serving plate carefully, sugar will be molten.   Makes 12.

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Paula’s Perishky

I love meat perishky.  The Mennonite Girls Can Cook girls got me started making them.  But most of the time I just make them with leftover roast beef, my favourite is leftover Russian Brisket.

First you need a nice bread dough.


1/3 c potato flakes                      2 T yeast

2 c warm water                             1/2 c butter

1 T salt                                              2 eggs, beaten

6 c flour

Put in the bread machine in the usual order:  wet stuff first, then dry, then flour and yeast on top.  Let rise once.  This is also easy to make by hand.


1 lb or so of leftover roast beef, chopped

leftover gravy


If you followed the perishky link above, you’ll see that they add undiluted cream of mushroom soup.  That is about the consistency to which I thicken the leftover gravy.  Mix the meat and the gravy together, but don’t make it too liquid.  It’s hard to describe, you’ll know when it’s right.

Cut off pieces of dough a little larger than an egg, depending on the size of buns you want.  Press the dough out into a circle the size of your palm, I just use my fingers.  Make sure the centre of the dough doesn’t get thin.  Place a spoonful of filling in the centre of the dough, again, the amount will depend on the size of the dough circle.  Bring the dough up over the filling and seal well.  Put on a lined cookie sheet and let rise.

Bake 350F for 25 minutes or until golden.   These freeze well and make a quick snack/lunch.

This dough also makes yummy buns and can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.


Use the above dough.  Cut off golf ball size pieces and roll into balls.  Dip each ball into melted butter then into cinnamon sugar.  Drop balls into a greased bundt pan.  Let rise again.  Bake 350F for 30 min.  Invert on serving plate and pull off pieces.  Mmmm!  They taste like doughnuts.


Melt about 1/4c butter and mix in 1 t garlic powder (real garlic will burn).  Dip golf ball sized pieces into garlic butter.  Drop into greased bundt pan and let rise.  Bake 350F for 30 min.

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