Skillet Rustic Olive Bread

I was in a yeasty mood when I spied a jar of Kalamata olives in the fridge. Perfect to do some olive bread. This is great bread with soup, plain dipped in olive oil or to make sandwiches. For day two, I made sandwiches with some turkey breast brought to me by my sister from Bates House of Turkey Restaurant outside of Greenville, Alabama.

2 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon honey
1 package active dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4-5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
coarse salt for sprinkling

Combine water, honey and yeast.
 Let sit for ten minutes to activate yeast.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup of flour and salt; whisk to mix. On low speed, stir in yeasty water. Mix in olives, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic powder.
 Switching to the dough hook, add remaining flour, one cup at a time, mixing until thoroughly combined.
 Let the machine work the dough for 5 minutes. The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl but will still be very sticky and loose.

Transfer to a large, well oiled bowl. Cover and set in a warm spot to rise for at least 1 hour or until doubled in size.
 I placed the bowl in the cold oven with the light on.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Coat bottom and sides of skillet with the olive oil.

Transfer dough to prepared skillet and shape into a disk. Cover with a towel and let stand for 30 minutes on the counter.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush remaining olive oil over the top of the dough and sprinkle with coarse salt.
 Score the top of the loaf three times with a knife.
 Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is nicely browned.
 Remove from oven and turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool.

It is important to take the bread out of the skillet immediately or it will trap moisture and become soggy.

 

Advertisements

Raisin Bread

I had an urge for raisin bread on Sunday morning and searched through my recipes to find one that looked good. I flipped through my James Beard and Father Dominic cookbooks and ended up combining the best of both worlds.

I set everything up before the New Orleans Saints kickoff so it was ready to be put it together during halftime. The dough rose during the second half and I divided the dough before overtime started. Once we won the game, I preheated the oven and began to bake.

A couple of notes:

I make my own cinnamon sugar by combining 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. For this recipe, you’ll need about 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar, so store the rest in an air tight container for another use.

If you don’t want to cook both loaves at once, after the first rise and once you’ve divided the dough, press the bubbles out of one half and wrap it in plastic and put in an airtight bag. You can now freeze the dough. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before baking as described below.

 

Raisin Bread

2 packages of instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar, divided
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
5-6 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a bowl and stir gently to mix. Let proof for 10 minutes.

Soften raisins by putting them in a steamer basket over boiling water while yeast proofs. Set aside once plump.

Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat until butter is almost entirely melted. Pour into a bowl of an electric mixture and let cool to lukewarm. Add yeast mixture, sugar, salt and eggs. Mix until well blended. Add five cups of flour, one cup at a time and stirring after each addition. Mix until dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Stir in raisins.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Add additional flour in half cup measures, as necessary, until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Place dough in a large, oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and place in a warm place (I put mine in the oven with the light on) for one hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough and form into two loaves. Place in lightly greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until nearly doubled. Brush the top of each loaf with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

After the loaves have been rising for 30 minutes, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake loaves for 10 minutes. Loosely cover the loaves with foil and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more. Loaves should sound hollow with tapped on the bottom. Remove from the pans and let cool on wire racks.

Blueberry Muffins

I tried a new blueberry muffin recipe and they were pretty good. I usually make this Double Blueberry Muffins recipe, where you mash part of the blueberries. With less smashed fruit, the muffins in this recipe aren’t a strange grey from the blueberry juices, which was a plus as I brought them for the Forum for Equality Candidate Interviews for the upcoming election. Only problem was they didn’t want to come out of the muffin tins, so I ended up with a lot of muffin tops (which is frankly the best part). Next time, I’ll put these in cupcake papers, though.

Blueberry Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 – 12 cup muffin tins

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the extracts and mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl and then add the eggs one at a time.

Add in one third of the dry ingredients. Pour in half the milk. Add in half of the remaining dry ingredients and then the rest of the milk. Add the final bit of dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin tins with batter. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate and switch the pans midway through baking.

Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

I’m watching World Cup Soccer Round of 16 games today and I’m also craving yeasty, salty, rosemary-ie focaccia bread. I worked out the time needed and, so, started the dough after the France-Argentina game to allow for the first rise. It was ready to spread it in the pan right before the Portugal-Uruguay game began. I let it rise through the first half and then baked it during half time.

By using beer, I got a very light texture even with higher gluten bread flour plus an added flavor boost of yeasty goodness. I went with a wheat beer from Blue Moon.

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package)
1 12 ounce bottle of beer (wheat beer, if possible)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a dough hook, add 2 cups bread flour, sugar, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and yeast. Warm beer in the microwave to 120 to 125 degrees F. Add the beer to the stand mixer and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium, mix until combined.

Add in the all-purpose flour, ¼ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Switch the mixer to medium high, and knead for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm room until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I use the oven with the oven light turned on.

Lightly oil a rimmed baking pan. For an optional, added crunch, sprinkle on a little corn meal or semolina flour. Transfer the dough to the pan, pulling to cover the entire pan. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Press your fingers into the dough making holes across the entire loaf. Brush with remaining oil, sprinkle with remaining rosemary and the coarse salt. Bake until golden brown and it sounds hollow to the tap, about 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran Muffins

Michelle and I are nearing our anniversary and I wanted to bake her a special treat. As compromise is the heart of any good relationship, I crafted these muffins that are full of sweet potato and oat bran goodness for her but tasty enough for me. Of course, she is going to experiment with the fat content and even switching to some whole wheat flour but, for me, for now, these are a success – lots of sweet potato flavor but not dense and heavy.

This recipe is an amalgamation from one for Sweet Potato Muffins from The Loveless Cafe and one from King Arthur Flour for Oat Bran Muffins. The recipe makes 36 regular sized muffins but don’t be intimidated as they freeze really well.

We usually buy lots sweet potatoes when they’re on sale and then bake them all up, scoop out the insides and freeze them in 1 and 2 cup measurements. That makes it easy to pull them out and put them in all kinds of recipes, like this one. You’ll need about 3 sweet potatoes to make 2 cups baked and mashed.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran Muffins

1/2 cup oat bran hot cereal, not flakes (I used Hodgson Mill)
1 pound butter (4 sticks unsalted butter), divided
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
3 cups all-purpose flour
1  1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place cupcake liners into the cups of 2 twelve-count muffin pans, set aside.

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Mix with the oat bran cereal and let cool slightly. Melt 1/3 cup butter and stir into cereal along with 1 tablespoon honey. Set aside.

Cream remaining butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer and then add sweet potatoes and beat until blended. Add in the oat bran mixture.

In a separate bowl add all dry ingredients, whisking to ensure all the spices and baking powder are well-blended with the flour. Add flour mixture to sweet potato mixture a little at a time until you have a smooth consistency. With a spoon, mix in chopped pecans. Stir the vanilla into the milk. Slowly add milk mixture to the muffin batter, stirring until just blended.

Spoon mixture into muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.

Bake first pan of muffins for approximately 20-30 minutes, rotating midway through baking. They are done when golden brown and a toothpick placed in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove first pan and set the second muffin tin in the oven.

Let baked muffins rest in pan for 5 minutes before removing and letting cool completely. Let the muffin tin cool slightly before placing in more liners and refilling the pan as the second one bakes.

 

Oat and Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Here is another recipe to help use up any leftover cranberry sauce after your Thanksgiving feasting. My other version is here. I primarily did these because mom had less flour than I anticipated (and Dad was still expected me to make a batch of oatmeal cookies) because they include oats in them.

Oat and Cranberry Sauce Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups of leftover cranberry sauce
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

optional: cinnamon sugar (combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups or butter the muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine regular flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. In medium bowl, combine milk, oil, cranberry sauce and egg; blend well. Fold wet ingredients into dry. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill muffin cups about three-quarters full. If desired, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Corn Muffins

I’ve been craving corn muffins ever since I saw a TV chef make some. Today, I made a batch and then proceeded to gobble half of them up, still steaming from the oven. I put in some corn that came from Michelle’s grandfather and which she had cut off the cob and put in the freezer.

This is a southern recipe, so there isn’t a lot of sugar in it but, the addition of fresh corn (you can use canned or frozen, too), means they’re plenty sweet anyway. 

Corn Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (buttermilk may also be used here)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen is best – if using canned, drain first)
1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk together dry ingredients, making sure there are no white streaks. Scramble the eggs into the milk (or buttermilk). Use melted butter to grease either a 12 cup muffin tin or, if using cast iron corn stick pan, grease that plus a 6 cup muffin tin. Add remaining melted butter to milk and eggs. Stir in fresh corn and then add to the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes about 12 muffins.