bread

Homemade Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread

There are few aromas I like more than freshly baked bread.  I don’t bake much during the hot summer months, and look forward to cool Autumn days and fresh baked bread. I enjoy baking all sorts of breads.

For a bread baking class last night,  I made Pumpernickel Bread. The dark color comes from a mixture of rye flour, strong coffee, cocoa powder and molasses. These ingredients also give this bread a richness and texture I adore.

It’s hard for me to find a store bought Pumpernickel bread that comes close to this one. Some store bakeries rely on caramel coloring for the color in the bread. For real flavor you need the real ingredients. It really is worth the time to make your own.

 

Pumpernickel Bread

2 Packages active dry yeast

½ c. warm water

2 c. lukewarm strong coffee

¼ c. each molasses and unsweetened cocoa

2 T. Caraway seeds

2 t. salt

5-6 c. flour- I use bread flour

2 c. rye flour

Cornmeal

1 egg white, slightly beaten

 

In large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in coffee, molasses, cocoa, seeds, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat with wooden spoon about 2 minutes. Stir in rye flour and enough of the remaining regular flour to make soft dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover and let rest until doubled, about 1 hour. Grease large baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

Punch down dough, divide in 2, and form into balls. Place on baking sheet and cover. Let rise until double, brush with egg whites, slash tops and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Swedish Limpa Bread

Swedish Limpa Bread

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh baked bread. This rye bread is a favorite of mine. It has a soft texture and makes great sandwiches. It also makes the house smell wonderful as it bakes.

The flavor in enhanced by a combination of caraway seeds and a little orange zest. It even makes wonderful French toast. My brother-in-law says it is just like the bread his Swedish mother made.

 

It is not like rye breads you might traditionally think of. Limpa is lighter in color and texture.  I baked mine in two round loaves, but you can also bake this bread in loaf pans, if you prefer. You can also shape the dough into dinner rolls, if you like.

 

 

Swedish Limpa

 6 ½ c. flour

2 c. rye flour

¼ c. brown sugar

2 t. salt

2-t. caraway seeds

2 t. grated orange peel

2 pkt. Active dry yeast

2 T. butter, softened

2 2/3 c. hot water (125-130 degrees)

 

Set aside 1-cup flour. Mix remaining flours and other dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter and water to flour mixture and stir to blend. Mix in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth about 8-10 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl turning to oil top. Cover and let rest in a draft free area until doubled, about 30 –40 minutes. Punch down. Divide dough in half and form into 2 balls. Place on greased baking sheet and cover until doubled in bulk, about 30 –40 minutes. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped lightly. Makes 2 loaves.

Note: you can also divide the dough and place in 2 (9×5-inch) greased loaf pans.

Honey Bunnies

Honey Bunny

If you are looking for a fun dish to serve for Easter, you might want to bake a batch of bunnies. The honey sweetened yeast dough, is rolled into ropes, and then the ropes are formed into these bunny shapes. Once the rolls are baked, they are brushed with a mixture of warm honey and melted butter. This is also a fun recipe to make with kids. I make them every Easter. Sweet and so cute, they are sure to be a hit when you make them.

The dough is chilled before rolling, so you can mix up a batch in the evening- put in the fridge- then roll them out the next day.

 

Honey Bunnies

 4-5 c. flour

2 packages yeast

1 t. salt

2/3 c. evaporated milk

½ c. each water, honey and butter

2 eggs

Raisins, optional

Honey glaze

1/2 c. honey and 1/4 c. butter or margarine heated together until warm.

In bowl combine 1 c. flour, yeast and salt. Heat together milk, water, honey and butter until very warm and beat into the flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes on high speed. Beat in 1 cup flour and eggs. Beat 2 more minutes, until batter thickens. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff batter and chill, covered with plastic wrap for 2-24 hours.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and divide into 15 equal pieces. Roll one piece of dough into a 20- inch rope. Cut rope into a 12- inch piece, a 5-inch piece and 3 one-inch pieces. Coil 12 inch piece to form body, five inch piece to form head and one inch pieces to form ears and tail. Place the body on greased cookie sheet and then place the head next to the body, making sure they are touching. Place ears and tail on the bunny, making sure they make good contact with the rest of the “bunny”. I tuck them under a little. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let rise, covered until doubled, about 25 minutes. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and brush with honey glaze. Place raisins on each to make eyes, if you like. Brush with additional glaze before serving, if desired. Makes 15 bunnies.

 

Dough is rolled out and cut into pieces for each of the bunny parts

Dough is rolled out and cut into pieces for each of the bunny parts

Unbaked bunny

Unbaked bunny

A colony of rabbits!!

A colony of rabbits!!

Brushing baked bunnies with honey/butter glaze

Brushing baked bunnies with honey/butter glaze

 

Vampire Chasers – Cheesy Garlic Toast

Vampire Chasers

Vampire Chasers

If you are concerned about keeping away vampires this Halloween, you might want to make this recipe for cheesy garlic toast. Garlic is widely accepted as a repellent for vampires- and a lot less messy than a stake through the heart.

 

This is one of my favorite appetizers. I make them a few times a year, but they are extra fun to serve at a Halloween party.

 

A mixture of garlic and onions are cooked in butter, then spread over the bread slices. That would be plenty for most garlic bread- but you take it up a notch with a cheesy/ mayo mix on top. Baked for just a few minutes- these are always a hit. They can be served as an appetizer, or as a side with dinner.

 

Vampire Chasers

1 French baguette, cut into 3/4 inch diagonal slices
1 large minced onion
8 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup butter
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Slice the French baguettes diagonally into 3/4 inch slices. In a medium skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Combine the onions and garlic in the skillet. Cook and stir until tender. Set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. On a cookie sheet, arrange the French bread slices in a single layer. Spread the onion and garlic mixture on the bread slices. Spread the cheese and mayonnaise mixture over the onion and garlic mixture on the bread slices. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or broil about 5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Homemade Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread

There are few aromas I like more than freshly baked bread.  I don’t bake much during the hot summer months and look forward to cool Autumn days and fresh baked bread. I enjoy baking all sorts of breads. Today I made Pumpernickel Bread. The dark color comes from a mixture of rye flour, strong coffee, cocoa powder and molasses. These ingredients also give this bread a richness and texture I adore. It’s hard for me to find a store bought Pumpernickel bread that comes close to this one. Some store bakeries rely on caramel coloring for the color in the bread. For real flavor you need the real ingredients.

 

Pumpernickel Bread

2 Packages active dry yeast

½ c. warm water

2 c. lukewarm strong coffee

¼ c. each molasses and unsweetened cocoa

2 T. Caraway seeds

2 t. salt

5-6 c. flour- I use bread flour

2 c. rye flour

Cornmeal

1 egg white, slightly beaten

 

In large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in coffee, molasses, cocoa, seeds, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat with wooden spoon about 2 minutes. Stir in rye flour and enough of the remaining regular flour to make soft dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover and let rest until doubled, about 1 hour. Grease large baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

Punch down dough, divide in 2, and form into balls. Place on baking sheet and cover. Let rise until double, brush with egg whites, slash tops and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Tomato Basil Breadsticks

Tomato Basil Breadsticks

Tomato Basil Breadsticks

I have had a lot of breadsticks over the years, but honestly, I didn’t like most of them. They were always too dry or flavorless. I love these. They are full of flavor and while you can bake them until they are really crisp, you can also bake them until they are still a little tender and chewy, rather than crisp.

 

 

 

Tomato Basil Breadsticks

2 T. olive oil
1/3 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c. tomato puree
1/3 c. water
3-3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
2 t. dried basil
1 packet fast-acting yeast
1 egg combined with 1T. water
coarse salt for sprinkling

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onion is tender. Stir in tomato puree and water and combine well. In bowl, with electric mixer combine 3 c. of the flour with salt, sugar, basil and yeast and stir in tomato mixture. Beat until smooth, adding the rest of the flour, Mixture should be sticky. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of the dough and roll into 8-inch long strips. Place on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Brush lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with the salt. Bake in upper third of 325-degree oven (it will take 2 batches) for 45 minutes (soft breadsticks) or 1 1/2 hours (crisp breadsticks). Makes about 25.

Duck Fat Bread

Duck Fat Bread

Duck Fat Bread

My Mom used to make this wonderful sweet bread. Made it for every family occasion. She was also a very frugal person and decided rather that toss duck skin she had removed from a duck she was using in soup she rendered the fat. Once it was cooled it looked like butter. She was making her bread and substituted the duck fat for the butter in the recipe. When my brother-in-law, Bob, tasted it he declared it was the best yet. My Mom told him what the secret ingredient was and from that day on we always called it duck fat bread- even when it was made with butter. Here is the recipe- wonderful even made with plain old butter.

 

 

 

Butter Coffeecake Braids aka Duck Fat Bread

4 1/2 c. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

½ c. butter or 1/2 c. cooled rendered duck fat

1 packet yeast

¼ c. warm water

2 t. sugar

1 c. evaporated milk

2 eggs, beaten

Combine flour with sugar and salt. Cut in butter or duck fat and set aside. Dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar in warm water. Dissolve yeast in warm water mixture and set aside. Allow to become bubbly, about 5 minutes.  Combine milk with eggs. Stir in yeast mixture and add to flour mixture stirring well. Knead dough in bowl until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours. Divide dough in half and then each half into thirds. Roll dough into ropes and braid three ropes together. Repeat with remaining 3 ropes.  Place braids in 9×5 inch greased bread pans and cover with a towel. Place in a warm, draft-free place and allow to rise until doubled, about 1½ hours. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. If you like glaze loaves while warm with a mix of powdered sugar, a little milk, butter, and vanilla. Toasted almonds or walnuts can be added, if desired. Makes 2 loaves.

Note: You can also refrigerate the dough after kneading it if you would prefer. Just place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Roll and shape dough into braids when cold from the fridge.  Rise, covered, until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours. Bake as directed.

Note: You can also place loaves on a greased baking sheet for a longer, flatter bread rather than in loaf pan.

Cheesy Onion Garlic Bread

Cheesy Onion Garlic Bread

Cheesy Onion Garlic Bread

We were having steaks on the grill and wanted some sort of a bread dish. I love garlic bread and make it a lot but decided to go all out and make this version instead. A mixture of garlic and onions are cooked in butter and then spread over the bread slices. That would be plenty for most garlic bread- but I took it up a notch with a cheesy/ mayo mix on top. Baked for just a few minutes- these were really a hit. They can also be served as an appetizer.

 

 

 

 

Cheesy Onion Garlic Bread

1 French baguette, cut into 3/4 inch diagonal slices
1 large minced onion
8 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup butter
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Preheat the broiler. Slice the French baguettes diagonally into 3/4 inch slices.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Combine the onions and garlic in the skillet. Cook and stir until tender. Set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. On a cookie sheet, arrange the French bread slices in a single layer. Spread the onion and garlic mixture on the bread slices. Spread the cheese and mayonnaise mixture over the onion and garlic mixture on the bread slices. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or broil about 5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Challah Bread

Challah Bread

Challah Bread

This is one of the first breads I learned to make when I was a kid. After the hundreds of other breads I have made, this is still a sentimental favorite. I baked the braided loaves on a baking sheet this time, but you can also bake them in  9×5 inch loaf pans.

Challah

2 c. hot water
1 T. each sugar, salt and oil
1 package active dry yeast
¼ c. warm water
About 8 cups flour
2 beaten eggs
Poppy or sesame seeds, optional
In large bowl combine hot water, salt, sugar and oil. Dissolve yeast in warm water in small bowl and add to oil/water mix. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and eggs, reserving 2 tablespoons of the eggs for later. Gradually stir in enough of the flour to make soft dough. When dough pulls away from sides of bowl remove to floured surface. Knead dough, adding flour as necessary about 8-10 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll three of the pieces into 12- inch ropes. Place on a greased baking sheet or in a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Repeat with remaining dough and cover. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush loaves with reserved eggs and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired. Bake for 40-45 minutes in loaf pans, a little less time on baking sheets. When done, loaves will be nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped. Makes 2 loaves.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Checking the freezer I found some frozen bananas so I opted to make banana bread. It’s really my favorite way to eat them, other than fresh. The recipe is simple and this bread freezes well so why not make a few and freeze some for later?  Also a great thing to do with bananas that are overripe.

Banana Bread

1 ¾ c. flour

1½ t. baking powder

¾ t. salt

½ t. baking soda

2/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. butter, softened

2 eggs

2 T. milk

1 c. mashed ripe banana

¼ c. chopped nuts, optional

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Combine sugar with butter and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Beat in eggs until mixture is smooth. Beat in flour mixture alternately with bananas. Fold in nuts, if desired. Pour batter into greased 9×5 -inch loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 60-65 minutes. Use toothpick to test for doneness. Cool in pan 10 minutes before placing on rack to cool. Store in plastic wrap to preserve moisture. Makes 1 loaf.

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