Rum and Eggnog Bread

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By Corinne

Rum and eggnog is perhaps the quintessential Christmas holiday drink. I felt like they would make a good match in a quick loaf, but unfortunately all the recipes I looked through either called for vanilla pudding mix or edible oil product flavoured coffee creamer, or only used artificial rum extract. Was it not possible to make a loaf with just… egg nog and… actual rum? It turns out that it is ūüôā

And since you have the rum and eggnog and nutmeg out already, you know, you may as well make yourself a drink while you’re waiting for this to come out of the oven.

Makes: 1 loaf

Oven: 350F

Time: prep 10 minutes, bake 40-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean – baking time will depend a bit on the type of pan you use, and your individual oven. Check at 40 minutes – mine took 50 minutes.

You will need:

For the bread:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 3/4 cup egg nog
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2 tbsp spiced rum
  • 2 tsp egg nog
  • pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup spiced rum, 3/4 cup egg nog and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the butter and sugar and mix until thoroughly combined.

Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir together with a spoon until just combined. Batter should be lumpy. Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 40-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out and allow to cool completely before glazing.

For glaze, sift powdered sugar, and whisk in 2 tsp eggnog, 2 tbsp spiced rum, and a pinch of nutmeg. Drizzle over cooled loaf.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

By Corinne

I first made homemade tortillas when I went to visit a friend in the Arctic, because I was cooking dinner and there are a lot of things you just can’t get up there- one of them being tortillas. It only took one time and I was a convert – I haven’t bought tortillas since. This recipe is easy, inexpensive and delicious. You can fill them with anything your heart desires!

Totally inspired by from http://foodess.com/articles/homemade-flour-tortillas/   but with some different instructions.

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You will need:

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix flour and salt, then add water and oil. Knead a few minutes until it’s come together and is smooth and soft, if you need to, add a smidge more flour. Form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest at least 20 minutes. The rest is an important step!

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium/medium low. Divide dough into ten equal sized balls and roll out into thin rounds. The dough is pretty elastic so I find my nice heavy marble rolling pin works great for this. Also, I like NOT flouring my work surface, as the tortilla peels off my counter easily enough, and if it sticks while rolling it’s actually easier to roll thinner. This next step can be done by yourself, but is most fun with a tortilla making partner. When your tortilla is rolled out, carefully lift off work surface and put into pan. Get your partner to take care of the flipping while you roll out the next one. They need about 30 seconds per side – before you flip it it will look like below, a little bubbly and then flip and it should be browned on the other side ūüôā

This particular night I went with a mix of veg, chicken, bacon, cheese and ranch dressing with some homemade oven fries on the side.  Pretty basic, yet delicious!

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Gordon Ramsay’s Soda Bread

Gordon Ramsay’s tv shows are a little unconventional but his food is actually tasty. ¬†I didn’t find anything in this book that I thought was overwhelmingly original, but most of it tastes great and it does what it promises, which is teaching home cooks how to make classic food taste good.¬†20160331_154035

I made this bread before I researched other bread recipes online because of most of the things in this book work out and I was lazy. ¬†Bad idea. ¬†Most other soda breads, including other at home cooks who have made this one, bake for 40-55 minutes. This book instructs you to cook it for 30-35 and then tap the bottom to make sure it’s done (you are listening for a hollow sound). ¬†My first attempt was still very raw in the middle. ¬†It took a full 50 minutes to cook this bread through and it could have used another five. ¬†Frustrating to say the least. ¬†That being said, it is very delicious. ¬†It is a hearty bread and tastes like buttermilk biscuits. ¬†I made it to go with my homemade turkey soup and it held up well to being dipped. It is also lovely toasted with jam the next day. ¬†Being soda bread, it dries out quickly so is best eaten the first night. ¬†I made Sweet Potato Stuffing with the leftovers and it was amazing. ¬†Make sure your soda is fresh or you will end up with heavy, doughy bread.

 

You Will Need:

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 cups of buttermilk.

Note: ¬†Gordon suggests if you don’t have buttermilk to use regular milk and a level teaspoon of cream of tartar. ¬†This works just fine. ¬†I have tried both methods.

Prepare The Dough

Preheat the oven to 400F. ¬†Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well. ¬†Gordon instructs you to reserve 2 tbsp of the buttermilk aside, this is good advice. ¬†The humidity of your flour changes all the time and your may need more or less depending on conditions and your flour. ¬†Pour the buttermilk into the well while stirring with a fork. ¬†Make sure all the dry ingredients are worked in but don’t mix more than you have to. ¬†If the dough hasn’t quite come together and seems dry, add the reserved buttermilk. ¬†I had to each time I made it except for the time when I used the buttermilk substitute.

Shape And Bake The Loaf

Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds (I just kneaded it 30 times until it started to feel like bread dough). ¬†It almost shapes itself when it’s ready. ¬†Make a round and cut a deep cross into it with a bread knife. ¬†Gordon cooks his on a floured baking sheet, I put mine on a stoneware baking pan, either is fine. Pop it in the oven. ¬†Gordon’s recipe suggests 30-35 minutes. ¬†I would check it after 30. ¬†It will be a deep golden brown when it’s done and when you tap the bottom it will sound like you’re knocking on a door. ¬†If it’s not done i will sound dull when you tap it. ¬†Look carefully at the cross too. ¬†Does any part of it look wet? ¬†Put it back in the oven if it does.

Let me know what your cooking time was.  My burn-o-matic oven is not the most reliable, but I rarely have an issue with underbaking things.

 

 

Basic White Bread

By Julie Packham

Once Upon A Time, I got a Kitchen-Aid mixer for Christmas. ¬†I’d always wanted one. ¬†I was sure it was going to make me a genius in the kitchen. ¬†Like POW! Instant Suzy Homemaker. ¬†Sadly, I used it twice and then it collected dust for a really long time. ¬†After some big life changes the cooking bug had found me again and I began cooking up a storm, experimenting with some tasty successes and some profound failures. ¬†However, two things frightened me more than anything: ¬†Bread, and pastry. ¬†We’ll get to pastry some other time. ¬†Today I want to talk about soft, chewy, pillowy white bread. ¬†I use this recipe for other things I make and will refer back to it.

It’s an art you know. ¬†Bread. ¬†Successful bread can make you feel like the queen of your domestic castle. ¬†Sad bread can make a really great door stop. ¬†The first loaf of bread I ever made was like eating bread that had been squashed under a brick and left out to dry in the sun. ¬†It took me about 5 tries to have something that I would feed to other people. ¬†Now this recipe is my staple, everyday bread. ¬†If you have acute bread-fear, like I did, this recipe is for you. ¬†Practice will teach you what your bread dough should feel like for yummy results.

It’s been one of my missions this year to reduce or eliminate the amount of processed food we eat. ¬†Now I’m not an idiot, I don’t pretend to think I can eliminate ALL processed crap, but I try. ¬†Really Hard. ¬†Like – making my own bread twice a week hard. ¬†My Grandmother made bread every Wednesday without fail, (my grandfather refused to eat store bought bread), and usually made scones with some of the leftover dough. ¬†It was heaven. ¬†Beyond heaven. ¬†And I have personal assurance from my mother that this bread is as good or,¬†gasp,¬†BETTER than Ma’s bread. ¬†Of course… she could be saying this to be nice.

If you’ve never tried it, and you have a kitchen aid mixer, I highly recommend starting with their basic white bread. ¬†The book is a little sketchy on the details, so I’m going to break it down a bit and show you some pictures and a few modifications that worked for me.

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp, plus 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast (or 2 packages)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 5 or 6 cups of all purpose flour
  • Butter or cooking spray to grease bowl and pans

Prepare The Dough:

Fill your kitchen-aid mixer bowl with warm water to pre-heat it.  This is important because if you put your warm water in a cold bowl, your yeast will be sad and not activate properly.  Dump the water and add the 1 1/2 cups warm water to the bowl.  Use a digital thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the water (after it is in your kitchen-aid mixer bowl), is between 105 Р115F.  This is the ideal temperature for yeast activation.  Add 2 tsp of sugar, (I can and have omitted this with successful results should you so desire).  and the yeast and stir gently with the thermometer.  Put aside and allow yeast to activate for 10min.  No shortcuts here.  After 10 min it will be foamy and nearly doubled.

In a small saucepan, combine butter, milk, salt and remaining sugar and put over low heat. ¬†Stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. ¬†Remove from heat and check the temperature with your thermometer. ¬†As soon as it has cooled to 115F you can add it to your activated yeast mixture (don’t add before the 10 minutes is up). ¬†Add 4 and 1/2 cups of flour to start and place on your kitchen aid mixer stand. ¬†Make sure to use the dough hook attachment, not the paddle. ¬†Turn the mixer on to mix and watch the dough come together. ¬†Turn it up to speed 2 and add flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, waiting a minute between each addition, until the dough begins to clean off the sides of the bowl and stick to the hook. ¬†You want the dough to be sticky and super stretchy. ¬†If you can rip a piece off like playdough, there’s too much flour. ¬†You can try saving it by adding some warm water and some extra kneading, but it is better to be super careful with your flour additions and stop before you get to that point. ¬†Flour your hands and pull the dough out. ¬†You can either use a separate greased bowl, but I just spray the kitchen aid bowl with canola spray and put the dough back in.

First Rise:

Cover your dough with a cotton towel and place in a warm, draft-free place.  I like to use the oven and turn the light on for heat.  If my oven is otherwise occupied or will be in the next 3 hours, I shove it in the microwave with a small dish of hot water.  Let it sit for an hour to rise.  No peeking.

Shaping The Loaves:

Grease your two 4×8 bread pans and remove the towel from your dough. ¬†Your bread dough should have doubled in size. ¬†Punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. ¬†Divide in two, and put half back into the greased bowl. ¬†Roll your dough out to a rough rectangle, as wide as your bread pans. ¬†I use 4 x 8 pans here. ¬†Starting at the short end of your dough, roll lengthwise into a tube. ¬†Pinch the seam together. ¬†Pinch the ends together and tuck under. ¬†Place seam side down in your greased bread pans.

Second Rise:

Put loaf pans back into your cold oven or microwave and allow to rest and rise for another hour.  No Peeking.

Choose Your Own Adventure:

For a more aggressive crust, preheat oven to 400F and cook for 25-30min.  This bread will stand up to pretty much anything you want to put on it while still being soft and moist.  I pull mine out at 25 when using this method. A little less if you like softer crust.  In my oven this is 23 min.

For soft, pillowy, chewy goodness. ¬†Don’t preheat your oven. ¬†Put the bread in cold and set the oven for 400F. ¬†Your bread will continue to rise as the oven heats and you will end up with a light, soft crust. ¬†It won’t stand up to wet sandwhich ingredients without being toasted and is more like a wonderbread texture. ¬†Bake 25 min or until golden brown. ¬†Your bread may sink a little after it cools, This is a sign that it could have used a little more baking time. ¬†This method is entirely dependent on how well you know your oven and may need a couple of tries to perfect.

I used all purpose flour here because i wanted a tender bread.  The kitchen-aid blog has a really good description for when to use what kind of flour.  Check it out here.