Monday, March 25, 2013

Maple Goodness in Rolls!

There are people who love the Maple Oatmeal Bread--one version or the other--so much that they buy an extra loaf to eat on their way home.

And now I make it with local maple syrup. My friend in Jamesville has maple trees. She and her family work together to make the maple syrup, and it is delicious!

Today I baked Whole-Wheat Maple Oatmeal Rolls. My first attempt last week didn't work out so well. I just made rolls out of the bread dough. But they were doughy and heavy.

Today I made adjustments based on my tried and true dinner roll recipes. I increased the amount of oil and added instant potato flakes and instant dry milk. The aroma of maple syrup filled the kitchen as they finished baking. They came out of the oven a beautiful golden color.

They were light and tender, with full-flavored maple goodness.

I love living in maple syrup country!

Whole-Wheat Maple Oatmeal Rolls

2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup maple syrup
¼ C canola oil
1 T instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
¼ C instant potato flakes
1 C instant nonfat dry milk
1¼ C (5.3 oz.) soft white-wheat flour
3¾ C (7.5 oz. + 8.5 oz.) hard white-wheat flour

Put the oats into a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oats and set aside for an hour.

Mix the syrup and oil into the oats. Combine the yeast, salt, potato flakes, dry milk, soft white-wheat flour, and 1¾ C (7.5 oz.) hard white-wheat flour in a bowl and add to the oat mixture, mixing well. Cover the bowl and let rise for an hour.

Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is the correct consistency. Knead for 5 minutes; let sit covered for 5 minutes; knead for another 2-3 minutes. Let rise in an oiled bowl. Shape the dough into 24 rolls and place on greased baking pan. Cover and let rise another 45 minutes.

Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Welsh Cakes

Listening to Earth Eats awhile back, Chef Daniel Orr gave a recipe for Welsh Cakes. I had never heard of them before, but they sounded good. So I tried them! Here's the recipe. (Note: The second item should be 3 ounces granulated sugar, not flour. I listened to the podcast again just to make sure!)

These sounded so good, I dove right in trying three versions: all-purpose flour, hard white whole-wheat flour, and hard red whole-wheat flour.

Other than the three different flour types and using raisins and cinnamon, I followed the recipe as given.

Frying them up!
Outwardly, all three versions look the same:

Welsh Cake versions, clockwise from the left: White Whole-Wheat, All-Purpose, and Red Whole-Wheat
From this very limited experience, I found the Welsh Cakes to be like a combination of pancakes and biscuits or scones. All three versions tasted good, but I preferred the more-flavorful whole-wheat versions.

The dough is quite delicate, so you need to be careful while frying them. I used my doughnut cutter, minus the center circle. That was too big. Next time I will use something that is about 2 inches in diameter. Upon further reading, that seems to be a more typical size. I think they will be easier to handle.

I put too much sugar on them. Next time I will just sprinkle a little on top, more for looks. They are already pretty sweet.

Like pancakes, biscuits, and scones, these taste fantastic fresh, but not as good later. So make them! Use whole-wheat flour! They are really good! And really easy! But just make what you will eat right away.

Monday, March 11, 2013

In Praise of Parchment Paper for Baking

I never used parchment paper until recently. I first used it when baking pizza, to facilitate sliding the pizza onto the baking stone in the oven.

Even more recently, I found that lining the baking pan with parchment paper made it easier to slide cinnamon rolls out of the pan and into a box or onto a plate.

I resisted using parchment paper when baking cookies, because I've been baking cookies forever. Why should I change what works?

Except every once in a while it isn't working. Sometimes, when using butter instead of shortening--I'm trying to lessen my use of shortening--the cookies stick to the pan. Especially if I use flour ground from soft white whole-wheat or from oat groats.

The other day I wanted to bake some cookies to take to an event. I had some flour in the refrigerator that I had ground a few days previously. It was mostly from soft white whole-wheat, but I had mistakenly ground some oat groats into it, which is why I hadn't used it.

But this flour would be perfect for Oatmeal Raisin cookies. That's what I baked.

I lined the baking pans with parchment paper.

The cookies came off the paper perfectly!

By the way, here's the cookie recipe:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cream together:
1 C butter, softened
1 C brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar

Add and beat together:
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda
in 1/3 C hot water;
Add to mixture.

Stir together, then add to above:
2½ C (10.7 oz.) flour (flour ground from oat groats, soft white wheat, hard white wheat, hard red wheat, or any combination)
3 C oatmeal (old-fashioned rolled oats)
½ tsp. salt
2 – 3 C raisins
1 – 2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 – 2 C chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans

Drop onto baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bread Pudding

Bread pudding. It was created to use leftover and stale bread.

Now, if I have leftover stale supermarket bread, without hesitation, I feed it to the ducks or put it in the compost pile.

I can't do that with good homemade bread. Sorry, ducks. Sorry, worms and microorganisms.

If you Google "bread pudding," you will see countless variations.

My recipe is simple. You could vary it endlessly. But if you are looking for a good place to start, here it is.

Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat 6 eggs until smooth.

Mix in:
2/3 C granulated sugar
2/3 C brown sugar
5 C milk, scalded
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of salt
1 C raisins (optional)

Stir in 8-10 slices stale bread, cubed (about 8 ounces).

I used Oatmeal Bread today.
Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch pan or 12 custard cups. Place the pan or custard cups into another pan. After setting it all into the oven, pour hot water into the outer pan.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until set.

I bake a lot of bread and so I always have plenty of bread on hand. While whole-grain freshly-made bread is healthful, it's only part of a healthy diet. So I try not to eat too much of it.

So, while I have plenty of bread to use for bread pudding, I only make it when there are others around to eat it, too. Otherwise, I eat too much of it.

Today I had others here to eat bread pudding! Here is one of my granddaughters:


If you want to lighten it up, you can--
  • substitute 3 whole eggs and 6 egg whites for the eggs.
  • use 1/3 C less brown sugar. You can also substitute Splenda for the granulated sugar--it doesn't affect the texture or flavor--but I'm trying to stay away from artificial sweeteners, so I can't endorse that.
  • use fat free milk. I use reconstituted dry milk because I don't keep fresh milk on hand since I never use it. If you are used to making custards with whole milk or cream, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well fat free milk works.
Speaking of milk, there is a controversy about whether or not you need to scald the milk for a custard-based recipe such as this or whether it just speeds up the baking time. If, perchance, you are using raw milk, scald it for sure! If you use reconstituted dry milk like I do, there is no need. Otherwise, go here and here to make a more informed decision.

I think I'm going to start adding a little nutmeg.

I love bread pudding with raisins. I didn't put them in today because I wasn't sure if my grandchildren would like the pudding with them.

The bread: Whole wheat bread works great. I'd love to try it with whole-wheat maple oatmeal bread, but I never have any leftover. Any bread or rolls that you could make into cinnamon toast would work. (So, just like I wouldn't use pumpernickel bread to make cinnamon toast, I wouldn't use it in bread pudding either.) Cut up some day-old cinnamon rolls? Oh, that would be good bread pudding!

Another bread note: I personally prefer bread that has some substance and some character and, most of all, good flavor. That's the kind of bread I like in my bread pudding, too. So, if you use some other bread and your bread pudding doesn't turn out so well, I am not responsible.