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Mama Goose’s Pesto BLTC

23 Jun

Today, Jarrod and I had these delicious sandwiches for lunch. They’re my own creation, and this was our first time testing them out. After making them, I set our plates on the table and  went in the kitchen to pour some tea. By the time I got back to the table, Jarrod had already eaten his entire sandwich. He’s not one to really go on and on about food, but this time he did! He even told me this is the best sandwich he’s ever eaten. It definitely gives { this one } a run for his money.

Mama Goose’s Pesto BLTC sandwich

1) First  things first. I made this sandwich with my homemade sandwich bread. It’s the only kind of sandwich bread we eat, and it’s a must for the overall deliciousness of the sandwich 🙂

2) Cook the bacon. I’ve found that I like oven cooked bacon the best! It’s easy to do, and easy to clean up!

3) Toast the sandwich bread. On one side of the bread I melted Applegate farms white American cheese.

4) When the bread is done toasting, top the cheese toast slice with thinly sliced tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, and  the bacon.

5) On the other slice of bread, spread a thin layer of mayo and a generous layer of homemade pesto.

Put it all together and ENJOY!!

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread

4 Apr

For the last few months I’ve been testing out new recipes for homemade bread. After learning so many scary facts about chemicals found in store-bought bread, and while knowing myself well enough to realize I’ll never give bread up, I made it my mission to make our own.  This is by far the most complicated of the breads I have made, but it’s actually easy, and so delicious! My family ate half a loaf at breakfast this morning!

I found this recipe on the delicious blog, Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, and it comes from Cook’s Illustrated.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

****I didn’t have dry milk powder. After doing a little bit of research, I found out that you can use real milk in recipes that call for milk powder and also call for water. All you have to do is leave out the milk powder and substitute  milk for the amount of water in the recipe. In this case that means you would just use 1 1/2 cups of warm milk. I warmed my milk on the stove. I was worried about the milk spoiling since the bread takes so long to make. After doing more research most people said that it’s fine to use the milk because even if it begins to spoil, (bacteria growth in the milk) the cooking process will cook out all of the bacteria. The milk never seemed to spoil, and the bread turned out wonderfully. If you are worried about using real milk, then just follow the recipe. 

****Also, this recipe calls for instant yeast, and I just used my regular active yeast and it did just fine!

Ingredients: 

Dough-
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 3/4 cups (20 2/3 oz) bread flour
3/4 cup (2 3/4 oz) nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) warm water (about 110 F)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) raisins

Filling-
1 cup (4 oz) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten with pinch of salt (for egg wash)

To make the dough: Cut the butter into 32 small cubes. Add to a small bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the flour then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk the remaining flour, milk powder, sugar, and yeast together.

Add the water and egg, then use the dough hook to mix on medium-low speed until the dough comes together in a sticky mass. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil.

Remove the plastic from the bowl and add the salt. Mix on medium-low until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 7-15 minutes. It will just barely clear the sides of the bowl (it’s stickier than most dough I’ve made, so don’t be concerned if that’s the case – don’t add more flour). With the mixer still running, add the butter – a few pieces at a time – and continue kneading until the butter is completely incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes longer. Again, it might be wet and sticky, don’t add flour.

Add the raisins and mix just until incorporated. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and transfer the dough to that bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dough over itself by gently lifting from the bottom and folding the edge of the dough toward the middle. Turn the bowl 90 degrees (1/4 turn) and repeat. Do this 6 more times, for a total of 8 folds. (Below is what it will look like)

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the middle rack of your oven. Pour about 3 cups of the boiling water into a loaf or cake pan and place in the bottom of your oven. Close oven and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. (It should rise to look like below)

Remove the bowl from the oven. Use the rubber spatula to gently press down on the dough to deflate.

Again make 8 folds repeating the process used above. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and return to the oven. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 45 more minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt.

Spray two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half.

Working with one half, press it into a 6 x 11-inch rectangle. ( I just estimated…it’s hard with two babies trying to help 🙂

With a short side facing you, fold the sides in over one another (like a business letter) to form a rough 3 x 11-inch rectangle.

Starting on the short side, roll the dough up and away from you into a ball. Adding more flour to the work surface as necessary, roll the ball into a 7 x 18-inch rectangle. My dough was fairly elastic and kept shrinking back, but keep working it and it’ll eventually relax.  ( I forgot to take a pic of this part… sorry!)

Using a spray bottle, lightly spray the dough with water. Sprinkle half of filling mixture evenly over dough, leaving about a 1/4-inch border on the sides (the long sides) and 3/4-inch border on top and bottom (the short sides). Spray the filling lightly with water.

With a short side facing you, roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam of the loaf closed, as well as the ends. Dust the loaf lightly with flour and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Working with 1 loaf at a time, cut the loaf in half lengthwise using a sharp knife. Rotate the halves so the cut sides face up. Stretch each piece lengthwise until it is about 14 inches long.

Pinch the ends of the two pieces together then cross the piece on the left over the one on the right. Keeping the cut sides up, repeat until the pieces are tightly twisted.

Pinch the ends together then transfer to one of the prepared loaf pans, cut sides up. Press any exposed raisins gently down into the dough. Repeat this process to form a second loaf.

Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and move them to the oven. Let rise for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven along with the pan of water on the bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 F. Let the loaves rise at room temperature for another 45 minutes, or until almost doubled in size (they should rise about 1 inch over the top of the pan).

Brush the loaves with the egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust is brown, then reduce the oven to 325 F, tent the loaves with aluminum foil, and continue baking until the loaves register 200 F on an instant read thermometer about 15-25 minutes longer. I don’t have an instant read thermometer, so I just cooked mine for around 20 minutes longer and it was perfect!

Remove the pans to a wire rack and let the loaves cool for 5 minutes, then turn them out and let them cool completely (about 2 hours) before slicing. Store the bread at room temperature well wrapped for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Your family will love it!

Only the 2 best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten… {recipe for Cranberry Walnut Bread}

7 Mar

One of my favorite lunch spots is Bread & Co. Their Iroquois sandwich is made of chicken salad, lettuce and tomato, and is served on cranberry walnut bread. I always ask to have avocado in place of the tomato, I bathe the sandwich in black pepper, and I have a fruit tea to wash it down. The kettle chips and pickle spear are a nice touch too!

WELL let me just tell you that my Bread and Co. dining experience will never be the same. I’m not trying to brag, but my chicken salad, and my guacamole are just as good or better than anyone else’s that I have ever tried. After seeking out the recipe for this cranberry walnut bread, I literally made the best two sandwiches I have ever eaten in my entire life.

First, I cooked a whole chicken…

(By the way Natalie Arieux, thanks again for the roasting pan. I think about you every time I use it!)

Next I made my bread…

Cranberry Walnut Bread Recipe:

(recipe came from HERE)

The chart below came from the site that I pulled the recipe from. Everything with a star beside it means that I changed the ingredient to either All Natural or Organic. The prices listed are for non-organic items, therefore my cost was a little different.

INGREDIENTS COST
1 cup *ORGANIC whole wheat flour (Whole Foods 365) $0.16
2.25 cups * ORGANIC bread flour ( Whole Foods 365) $0.33
1.25 tsp * KOSHER salt $0.05
.75 Tbsp yeast $0.20
1/4 cup *ORGANIC chopped walnuts $0.42
1/4 cup *ORGANIC dried cranberries ( I like Whole Foods 365) $0.30
1.25 cups water $0.00
2 Tbsp * ORGANIC cornmeal $0.03
TOTAL $1.49

STEP 1: In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, salt, yeast, cranberries and walnuts. Cornmeal not included). Add the water and stir until a shaggy ball forms.

STEP 2: Let the dough rise at room temperature with a loose cover for two hours. After two hours turn the dough out onto a floured surface and give it 3 or four  kneads, just enough to make a  smooth ball. Cut in two, or leave as one large piece of dough. Shape into a round ball.

STEP 3: Place the shaped dough onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise for at least one hour or until double in size. At the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

(pretend like there is a pic here)

STEP 4: Using a sharp knife or a serrated bread knife, gently make a few slits across the top of the dough.

Brush or spritz the dough with water. * I forgot to do this step the first time I made it!** and bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

 AHEM…SO BACK TO THE SANDWICHES…

Recap:

Cook Chicken

Make Bread

SANDWICH #1, yet to be named:

Make chicken salad and guacamole (no I don’t share these recipes…yet… money talks)

Slice your freshly made bread, top with chicken salad, guacamole…and the kicker… fresh jalapenos.

SANDWICH #2, yet to be named:

Slice bread and toast in a toaster oven with a slice of Applegate farms white American cheese.

Top with the Herb Roasted chicken pictured above. Add Jarrod’s Famous Homemade White Sauce. It’s actually just the homemade version of Big Bob Gibson’s white sauce… don’t tell him I told. Cover in jalapenos.

TO DIE FOR.

Best thing since sliced bread…

7 Jan

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am always making special trips to the grocery store for the same items every week! We go through about two loaves of bread every week. The organic bread we buy at Whole Foods costs $3.99 per loaf, and there are never any coupons for it! That means we spend $31.92 on bread alone every single month! That’s $383.04 a year!

I am really tired of having to constantly spend money on bread, and since I’m not willing to sacrifice and buy the cheaper non-organic bread, I decided that 2012 is time for a change.

I am going to MAKE all of our bread this year! I found a great recipe for white sandwich bread. It is literally the best bread I have ever eaten, and I did a few rough calculations, and each loaf costs only $0.80! Each recipe makes two loaves, which is exactly what we need each week. Now we’ll only spend about $76.00 a year on bread! That’s a savings of $307.04 per year!

I’ll be making the bread on Sunday afternoons. It takes a few hours to make, but the actual hands on time is only about 20 minutes. I really enjoy baking, so this is right up my alley. I can’t wait to test out recipes for wheat bread and egg bread too!

I did some research online, and found this recipe from The Hungry Mouse.

This site offered valuable info about yeast:

Three important things to know about yeast

  1. Keep your yeast cold—It’s a living organism, and too much heat will kill it. (Dead yeast = dough that doesn’t rise.) The fridge or freezer is best.
  2. Measure your yeast by hand—Especially if it comes in those little paper packets. (You know the ones I mean.) The amount in each envelope can vary a fair amount.
  3. Always proof your yeast at the beginning of a recipe—Most recipes will start with something like, “Add your yeast to lukewarm water and let it sit for 10 minutes.” When it bubbles, you know it’s happy and alive. That way, you know if you have a problem with your yeast BEFORE you add all the other ingredients to the dough.

Homemade Sandwich Bread

2 cups lukewarm water
2 Tbls. sugar
1 Tbls. dry active yeast
2 Tbls. butter, softened
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour + more for kneading the dough
1 Tbls. kosher salt

Yields 2 standard loaves

Put the water and the sugar into a large mixing bowl ( I used my standup mixer)

Whisk until the sugar is dissolved

Add the yeast, whisking to dissolve.

Allow the yeast to sit for 5-10 minutes. (This is called proofing the yeast.) After 10 minutes there should be a thick creamy layer on top of the water. Seen here are my Willow House Pixie measuring spoons which you can purchase on my website, here.

This means that your yeast is alive and well. You can now move on to the next step.

Making the Dough

Add the flour and the salt to the yeast mixture

Cut the soft butter up into small pieces.

Toss the butter into your mixing bowl with the flour.

Mix well to combine the dough. When using your stand mixer, use the dough hook. Great advice from The Hungry Mouse: When using your stand mixer, get the dough started by hand first in order to prevent the flour from flying out everywhere.

Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes.

It’s ready when a smooth ball has formed that’s elastic-y to the touch.

One sign that the dough has been kneaded enough is that very little dough will be stuck to the hook or the sides of the bowl.

The First Rise

Round the dough into a ball and put it into a very large greased bowl.

Coat a piece of plastic wrap with a little bit of canola oil. Loosely cover the bowl with the oil side down. Let the bowl sit in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size. Check after 15 minutes, and you should notice that it has already started to rise.

Form the Bread Loaves

Punch the bread in the center. Mashing out the air. Knead it a couple of times in the bowl and form it into a neat ball. It should be tacky but not sticky. Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a board. Cut the dough in half with either a bencher or a large knife.

Pick up one half of the dough. Knead it a few times by folding it into thirds over and over again.

The Second Rise

Lightly grease two one pound loaf pans. Seen here is my beautiful Gail Pittman Alfresco loaf pan from my Willow House store (which you can purchase from my store here).  Set the formed loaf into the first loaf pan and repeat with the second ball of dough.

Set the pans in a warm place uncovered.

Let the dough rise for one hour or until they double in size.

About 15 minutes before your hour is up preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the Bread

When the dough has doubled in size, put them into your preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.

When they’re done, the tops should be light brown.

After cooling for 5 minutes in the pans, turn upside down (using potholders) to remove from the loaf pans.

Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

**Another tip to know your bread is done…thump it on the bottom, and if it sounds hollow, it’s done!

**Let the bread cool completely before slicing. The center can still be a tad gummy until it has cooled all the way.

Bread will keep well, tightly wrapped on the counter or the fridge, for about 4 days. If, of course, it lasts that long. (You can freeze a loaf to last longer)

YUMMMMM!

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