Pretzel Rolls

We had some beer brats that we were going to cook for dinner and needed something to go with them. I decided to made pretzel rolls as pretzels go great with German sausage. I used an eight loaf mini loaf pan to form the shapes although you can shape them with your hands as well.

They tasted great with lovely, soft interiors to hold plenty of mustard and the brats.

Pretzel Rolls

1 1/4 warm water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1-1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

3 quarts water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon coarse salt

Add first 6 ingredients to bread machine in order given. Select dough cycle. When dough cycle completes, remove dough from pan to a floured surface.

Divide dough into 8 portions and make into ovals. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat conventional oven to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, prepare water bath by bringing the 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add baking soda – it will foam up but when it subsides, drop rolls into the boiling water. Cook 30 seconds, then flip and boil for another 30 seconds.

Remove rolls to a wire rack to drain and then move to a well-greased cookie sheet or mini loaf pans. Use a sharp knife to slice a line into the top of each roll about 1/2 inch deep. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake 20-25 minutes, rotating pan midway through. Rolls will be golden brown on top and will sound hollow when done.

Remove rolls to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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Pan Yeast Rolls

Nestled together in a 9×13 pan, these light, buttery, yeasty rolls are delicious on their own but even better with a piece of ham and cheese.

I think I have my new favorite roll for the holidays, too!

Pan Yeast Rolls

2 1/4  teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (warm, but not scalding hot from the tap is fine)
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup milk scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 cup sugar
4-5 cups flour, plus extra for dusting work surface
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, whisked
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, divided for buttering bowl, pan and rolls.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve yeast and honey in the warm water. Add the now lukewarm milk and sugar along with 2 cups of flour and mix thoroughly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Add the cooled melted butter, whisked egg and salt to the mixture and beat well until combined. Add remaining flour and mix until it forms a soft ball. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes before coating the inside of a large bowl with some of the melted butter.

Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Turn out the dough into the buttered bowl. Turn it over a few times to coat the dough with the butter. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise until the dough is doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Punch dough down to deflate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle that is 1/2-inch thick. Fold the dough in thirds onto itself, like a business letter, and gently pat together to seal. It should be a little less than 9 inches by 13 inches when done. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Butter bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan.

Using a pizza roller or a knife cut 10 equal size pieces of dough. Lightly turn the dough in your hands to create rolls. Place the rolls on the greased pan, there should be a little room between them. Cover the rolls with a clean, damp towel and set in a warm place until they double in size, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and place pan in the center of the oven.

Bake rolls uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the tops are rich, golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately brush the remainder of the melted butter over the top of the rolls.

Yummy!

Tomato Basil Focaccia

In making my bruschetta topping the other day, I had a lot of tomato juice from those beautiful Creole tomatoes. I didn’t want to waste it, so I decided to make a focaccia using the juice in place of water. Adding in a few sun dried tomatoes helped push up the tomato taste and the last of the fresh basil added a lovely flavor.

If you don’t have fresh tomato juice, you can use commercial but omit the salt from the dough as the juice will have been salted when canned.

Tomato Basil Focaccia in a Bread Machine

1 cup tomato juice
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

Topping
1 ripe tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt

Soak the sun dried tomatoes in the tomato juice for 15 minutes. Add juice, sun dried tomatoes, oil, salt, flours, yeast and basil to the bread machine in that order and select dough cycle.

After the bread machine has done it’s job, remove the dough. If it is too sticky, add up to a half cup of all purpose flour and knead it to combine. Form dough into a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl for one hour or until doubled in size.

Use 1 tablespoon of the topping olive oil to coat a large baking sheet. Flatten the dough with your fingers into a rough rectangle and then let rise in a warm, draft free space for 30 minutes until dough has doubled in size.

Poke the top with your fingertips to form dimples. Thinly slice the tomato onto a paper towel to absorb some of the juice. Arrange the slices across the top – do not overlap. Brush with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the top with the coarse salt.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Olive and Rosemary Cornbread

I’ve been inspired to do more with cornmeal lately and it has nothing to do with my buying a 5lb bag of freshly ground cornmeal at the farmers market. Nothing at all!

After watching a TV chef add cornmeal instead of semolina to their focaccia, I looked around for more recipes. I found several different versions online of cornbread focaccia (including this one from Southern Living) that I used as a stepping off point.

I love the crust it gets from baking it in a cast iron skillet. While this doesn’t make the best sandwich bread (as it is a little crumbly), it is delicious on its own as an appetizer or snack or with soup.

Olive and Rosemary Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (1 packet)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
25 Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped (about half cup chopped)

Combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, yeast, eggs, butter and honey in a mixing bowl. Allow the yeast to proof for a five minutes. Stir together until well combined. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and stir to mix. Let stand while the oven preheats.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put 12 inch cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats.

Lightly oil the skillet, using a basting brush to get up the sides as well. Pour dough into hot skillet. Sprinkle the top with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of rosemary and the chopped olives.

Bake the focaccia for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove the focaccia to a rack to cool completely before serving.

 

Cornbread Sticks

I’m giving one of my cast iron cornbread stick pans to Michelle and I just had to check that it was working properly. I can cheerfully report that it does. It really does!

I inherited this one from my dad’s parents and it is perfectly seasoned after years and years cornbread making.

I like cornbread sticks as they increase the ratio of crunchy to the rest of the bread. Trust me, it makes scientifically better cornbread!

If all you have is fine or medium ground corn meal, use just the one cup. But I like the texture from the crunch of coarse or stoneground corn meal so I add that. I do soften it in milk, as I don’t fancy chipping a tooth!

Soften some butter as the cornbread cooks, to make slathering it on super easy.

Cornbread Sticks

1/4 cup coarse ground corn meal
1/4 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup finely ground corn meal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten into 1 cup of milk
1/4 cup Crisco shortening

Place the coarse ground corn meal in the milk and stir to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes to soften and absorb the liquid.

After 30 minutes, pinch off pieces of the shortening and place dollops in each slot on the cast iron cornbread stick pans. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F with the pans in the oven, melting the shortening.

Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in the melted shortening until it is the consistency of thick pancake batter. Pour the mixture into each of the corn sticks in the pans and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans midway through cooking. Tops will be golden brown. Immediately remove from pans to cool.

Serve with lots of butter or crumble some in a glass with a drizzle honey and plenty of cold milk.

Olive Semolina Focaccia Loaves

I’m out of sandwich bread and there was the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade between me and grocery store. It was make my own time. I didn’t want to make just a plain white loaf of bread, though.

Earlier this week, I broke one of my old fashioned mason jars I was using for storage and the next size I had available was just slightly too small for a new bag of semolina flour I had bought. Luckily, I had a recipe for focaccia that uses 1/2 cup, so it was a win-win.

Instead of making a sheet sized loaf, I divided the dough into eight pieces. I pressed them into the corners to form squares about the size of sandwich bread.

I started my bread making early in the day so I had a lovely ham sandwich on olive focaccia for lunch and then a turkey on focaccia for dinner.

Olive Semolina Focaccia Loaves

Starter
1 cup​ all purpose flour
¼ cup​ semolina flour
½ teaspoon ​kosher salt
2 ¼ teaspoon ​active dry yeast
1 cup​ lukewarm water

Dough
3 cups​ all purpose flour
¼ cup​ semolina flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons dry non-fat dry milk powder
1 cup ​lukewarm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Kalamata olives, chopped plus 8 olives sliced into four pieces each
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1 teaspoon salt flakes (I used Maldon)

Mix together the starter ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let rise for 1 hour.

Put the 3 cups of flour, semolina, salt and dry milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine. Pour the water, oil, and starter in the mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add in chopped olives.

When the dough comes together (add up to 1/2 cup additional all purpose flour if necessary), switch to a dough hook and let the machine knead for 5-10 minutes. The mixing can be done by hand as well.

Form into a ball and place into a large, well oiled bowl. Spin the dough to coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Coat the bottom and sides of a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and then flatten into loaves – I cheat by using the corner of the sheet pan to help form them into sandwich size squares. Cover the sheet tray with plastic wrap and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place four olive pieces on top of each of the loaves. Using your fingers make indents all over the dough disks, pressing in some of the olives. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons water until emulsified. Brush the top of the focaccia with the oil and water mixture. Scatter with salt flakes.

Place in the 400 degree F pre heated oven. The focaccia will take 30-40 minutes to bake. Lift an edge to check that the bottom is golden brown, like the top.

Let cool completely. Slice the loaves in half for perfect sandwiches.

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.