Sandwich Bread

With the appliance rebate we received a few months ago, I bought my KitchenAid standing mixer. Best. Appliance. Ever. M talked me into getting one of the largest models available – and this was it. I was hesitant at first thinking I would never need such a large capacity, but I’m glad I took his advice. I use it several times a week  – it’s so powerful and convenient, especially when it comes to bread making. I have only tried hand kneading once but when I use this, it takes all of the guess work out of the process. All the bread I have made since I started using the KitchenAid has come out perfectly. It’s so nice to let the machine do all the hard work because if I didn’t have it, I would have to hand knead for at least 10 minutes – no thanks! Since it’s purchase in July, I haven’t bought a loaf of bread! Let me tell you – the difference is like night and day when comparing taste and quality. I used to make this with plain bread flour but about a month ago I started adding white whole wheat in combination with it. White whole wheat is milled from white spring wheat rather than the traditional red wheat and it’s lighter in color and milder tasting. If you buy this type of wheat flour, it’s recommended that you store it in the freezer to prolong shelf life. I keep this, my whole wheat and my semolina flour all in the freezer just to be safe. On this blog I will be sure to post all the different recipes that I try. I have so many bookmarked from other blogs, like a cinnamon swirl bread, brioche, Challah, dinner rolls, oatmeal bread…the list goes on.

This is my go to recipe for sandwich bread and I often double it to freeze the other loaf for later on in the week. We easily go through these two loaves before the weekend, and I have found that freezing the bread doesn’t change the taste or texture. Thanks for reading! I look forward to sharing more bread recipes with you.

White Sandwich Bread – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 packet “highly active” active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 7 to 9 ounces lukewarm water
  • 12 3/4 ounces of unbleached all-purpose flour, bread flour or a combination of bread flour and white whole wheat flour (I use 5 1/4 ounces of whole white wheat and 7 1/2 ounces of bread flour)
  • 1 1/4 tsp of salt (I use bread salt)
  • 3 TBSP sugar (I use raw sugar)
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or non fat dry milk
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of diastatic malt powder, optional (it helps prolong shelf life)

Directions –
1.  If you’re using active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you’re using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
2. Combine the dissolved yeast (or instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a smooth dough. If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk. Rising may take longer, especially if you’ve kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.
4. Gently deflate the dough and shape it into an 8″ log.
5. Transfer the log, smooth side up, to a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Tent the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap.
6. Allow the bread to rise till it’s crested about 1 1/4″ over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour. Again, it may rise more slowly for you; let it rise till it’s 1 1/4″ over the rim of the pan, even if that takes longer than an hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till the crust is golden brown, and the interior temperature measures 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.
8. Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. As soon as it’s completely cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap; or in a plastic bag, air pressed and fastened securely at the top.

Pizza Night


Aaaww…yeah! Everyone’s favorite night – well I know it’s ours anyway. I always make two different kinds – one that the kids can’t turn down and the other is a special one for mom and dad. I love making pizza from scratch and will be sure to post about the pizza sauce recipe I use and the pizza dough recipe, too. I keep both on hand in the freezer – it makes pizza night so quick and easy. The little investment of time and effort completely pay off when you compare homemade vs. store bought – especially in price! There’s not contest. A five pound bag of bread flour costs less than 4 dollars, and the 1.5 pound bag semolina flour costs less than 5 dollars. With those two bags, I can make about 8 pounds of pizza dough which for us equals eight large pizzas dough portions.

Pizza night was a success as usual. Even my picky-eat-like-a -bird daughter scarfed her’s down and little boy M said he wanted thirds. Thanks for reading!

Ingredients for Pepperoni Pizza –

  • 1 – 15 ounce ball of pizza dough, homemade or store bought
  • 1 cup of pizza sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
  • 15 slices of pepperoni
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pizza seasoning or dried oregano (optional)

*Preheat your oven to 475 about 15 minutes before you make your pizza. I use a pizza stone and place it on the lowest rack of my oven.
1. On a piece of parchment paper, shape the pizza dough into the desired diameter. I use a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Work from the inside out, and gradually move your hands away from the center of the dough. You could also do this with a rolling pin – I happen to love using my hands for the job. Once you’ve achieved the size you want, take a fork and poke the tines all over the surface of the dough.
2. Spread the pizza sauce all over, making sure to leave about an inch around the circumference. Next, take your torn mozzarella and place on top of the sauce. Because it’s fresh mozzarella, you can leave lots of empty space because this type of mozz melts beautifully and spreads itself nicely when heated. I love the stuff! Top with pepperoni, followed by your Parmesan cheese and dried seasonings if desired.
3. Carefully transfer the pizza – still on its parchment paper to an upside-down sheet pan. I use it like a pizza peel to move it to the stone in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. Using the sheet pan again, remove the pizza from the oven and place the parchment paper and all onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Ingredients for the BBQ Chicken Pizza –

  • 1 – 15 ounce ball of pizza dough, homemade or store bought
  • 1/3 cup of store bought BBQ sauce, I used Sonny’s
  • 1/2 cup smoked Gouda cheese
  • 3 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
  • 1/8 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 6 – 8 ounces shredded, cooked chicken – sauced with a few tablespoons of BBQ and ranch dressing – trust me on this one!
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)  if you have it – I didn’t but it’s a great addition
  • 2 small Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Pizza seasoning and dried oregano (optional)

Shape the dough and dock with fork as above. I placed the toppings in this order: BBQ sauce, mozzarella, 1/2 the smoked Gouda, all the chicken, the other half of the Gouda, Parmesan, then the dried seasonings, and tomatoes. Transfer the pizza to a sheet pan and then into the oven for about 10 minutes. Place on a rack to cool as before and enjoy!

Today’s Lunch

I love making sandwiches extra special. This has the “works” on it: baby swiss, romaine lettuce, tomato, roast beef and honey turkey. I use mustard topped with Boar’s Head deli dressing, kosher salt, pepper and dried oregano…not necessarily in that order. I’m running out of bread, so I will be sure to post one of my favorite bread recipes later on this week. I just wanted to share with you my favorite lunch – I eat this Monday through Friday and I’m not sick of it yet.

Chicken Pot Pie

I have been planning this meal for some time. It’s one of our favorites and I haven’t been able to make it for several months. Pot pies don’t go well with nasty, humid weather. Fall is my very favorite time of year because it goes hand in hand with comfort foods. It would be nice if the weather would cooperate with the time of year! Oh, to live in a place with four distinct seasons…I have yet to know what that is like. Although, areas where there is an actual visible transition into Fall usually equals really cold and long winters…I couldn’t handle that. I get cold when it’s below 75 degrees!

I used two different recipes to make this pot pie – one from Food.com and the other is an Ina Garten recipe. This is my first attempt at making pastry dough. The food processor makes it super quick and easy, but as with most types of dough, this one can be a little fussy. Everything has to be ice-cold and you can’t over work it or it will become tough. Of course I could have just picked up store-bought pie dough today, but I like the challenge because lately I have really enjoyed making as many meals from scratch as possible.

The pastry dough turned out so flaky and flavorful – there is nothing better than a first try turning out well. Everyone enjoyed this, even S told me “thank you” tonight – she’s my picky eater. I know this recipe has lots of steps, but take the help where you can get it – buy a rotisserie chicken and pre-made pie dough. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Roasted Chicken – adapted from Ina Garten

  • 4 bone in skin on chicken breasts – about 4 pounds
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Shred or dice the chicken. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

Pastry Dough – adapted from Ina Garten

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie – adapted from Food.com

  • 2 cups potato, diced
  • 1.5 cups onion, diced
  • 1.5 cups celery, diced
  • 1.5 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups half and half
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups roasted chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 pie crusts (either store-bought or your own recipe)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for about 10 minutes. Add flour to sautéed mixture, stirring well. Cook one minute stirring constantly.Combine broth and half and half.Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.Stir in salt and pepper; add chicken and stir well.Pour into one 13 x 9 casserole dish and top with pastry dough. Cut slits to allow steam to escape. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Cookie Dough Truffles

Hi everyone! I haven’t blogged in a couple of years, so I’m hoping it becomes easier the more I post. I am definitely not a writer nor do like to write – but I do love cooking and baking!

I started posting on my FB wall a year ago about all the new recipes I was trying. Surprisingly, several friends told me how much they appreciated it or that they enjoyed certain recipes.  Last night my husband told me I should start a website to keep all my tried and true recipes organized and in one place. Over the year I have accumulated tons of bookmarks, emails and recipes I have handwritten. He’s right –  I really do need a better system so I don’t lose a favorite.

A few weeks ago, M (my husband) requested that I make these Cookie DoughTruffles for his college class. This Wednesday is his third to last class before he completes his Master’s degree – I’m so proud and happy it’s almost over! These aren’t difficult at all to make but they do take time because of the two separate chill times. Don’t skip these steps though, it’s much easier to work with the dough when it’s firm. Here’s the step by step pictures and the recipe for them!

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Chocolate Cookie Dough Truffles – adapted from Love and Olive Oil

  • 2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Butter Or Margarine, Room Temperature
  • ¾ cups Sugar
  • ¾ cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Milk Or Soy Milk
  • 1 cup Mini Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 14 ounces, weight Dark Chocolate Candy Coating

Directions:

Beat butter and sugars and in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

When dough is firm enough to handle (it may help to lightly flour your hands), form dough into 1″ balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place sheets in the freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate candy coating in a double boiler or in the microwave according to package directions. Using forks or a dipping tool, dip cookie balls into the candy coating to cover. Tap fork on the side of the pan to remove any excess coating, and return to the waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until set. Store, chilled, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy:o)