BASIC WHITE BREAD

Well…..I find myself in sunny Aruba again. This is where ATBB first started 2 years ago. Football playoffs are on so we are hanging out at the old hacienda today.

I’m not as enthused with Football as my husband. The Baltimore Ravens made it; they are playing the Chargers today. So in support of our local team I am logging a little bit of time. Since the TV is in the kitchen / sitting area I decided to bake and watch.

I am a big fan of my Kitchen-Aide mixer when it comes to making dough. Unfortunately, there isn’t one here. So what’s a baker to do??? Make it by hand of course. Yes, old school, kneading from beginning to end. It was actually kind of fun. It yields 2 loaves so I will have one for our guests arrival.

It has basic ingredients. All purpose flour, yeast, salt, water, oil, and a sweetener. I love using honey in bread. It gives it a nice mellow sweetness. You could use sugar if you like. Just remember, yeast loves sugar.  Sweet is essential for the rising process to occur. I used olive oil because that’s what I had. You could use vegetable or canola or any oil of your choice. They all work!

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The first rise takes place in a greased bowl. The dough is then divided in half and shaped into a loaf. The second rise takes place in two greased loaf pans. I put it in the oven with the oven light on. Cover it with a lint free towel. Dough loves warm places, free of drafts.

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Once the loaves have doubled in bulk it’s time to bake them. Bake for 30-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. When done they should sound hollow when tapped with your finger and golden in color.

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That’s it! Go bake some bread. The biggest challenge will be waiting long enough to let it cool to eat.  You’ll be tempted to never buy store-bought bread again.

BASIC WHITE BREAD

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 C warm water (110-115 degrees) if you aren’t sure use a thermometer
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp honey, or sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt, or sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, or oil of choice
  • 6-7 C of all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. (if if is too hot it will kill the yeast. It can be cooler,  it will just take longer for it to bloom.)
  2. With a wooden spoon add 3 C of flour the sugar, and the salt. Beat well until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour a cup at a time until if forms a soft dough.
  3. Flour a surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour if it is sticky. Continue to knead until it is no longer sticky and when you poke the dough and make an indent it should spring back immediately. Form into a ball and place into a well-greased bowl, turning over once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  4. Once doubled, punch straight down into the center of the dough with your fist. Turn out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each into a loaf and place each in a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with a lint free towel and let rise until doubled again, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Bake the loaves at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves from the pans to a wire rack to cool.

This also freezes well. Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again in aluminum foil. When ready to use just remove it from the freezer and let it thaw to room temperature in the wrapping.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

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RUSTIC PIZZA DOUGH (thin crust)

Who doesn’t love pizza? I personally don’t know anybody that doesn’t like it. For me it’s all about the crust. Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t have quality cheese and other toppings it’s not going to cut it. However, to paint a good picture, you need a good canvas. Don’t you agree?

Twice now,  we have been invited to friends and have had homemade pizzas. I sort of lost hope that I could ever duplicate a good crust.  But after the last invite I decided to give it another try. What you see here my friends is one of the best crusts I have ever had; including those fancy wood fired restaurants. I think I may have come up with the one that will make you stay home.

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There was another motive for this last attempt. We have a ton of tomatoes. As per usual, they all come off at the same time. My husband loves goat cheese pizza. PHILADELPIA, SHAKESPEARE, and GOAT CHEESE PIZZAS I like it too but there are other flavor sensations I also enjoy. My pizza was a ramp pesto, chopped calamata olives, and burrata. Hot off the grill and topped with fresh basil. Totally AMAZING!!!

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I cut my dough into 4 pieces because I wanted two larger pies. It worked out beautifully. I had two left over, so I froze one, and gave the other to my daughter. Mine was actually cooked on the grill. A thin crust with a major crunch factor and dough as light as air. I even impressed myself with this one.

If you’ve never worked with dough, don’t be intimidated. You really need to give this a try. Mine came out perfect the first time. I did have to add a little more water during the kneading process. I noticed some dry crumbs that weren’t mixing in. If you have to make additions do it sparingly and with patience. Using your Kitchen Aide is pure genius.

RUSTIC PIZZA DOUGH

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 C bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp French grey sea salt
  • 2 1/4 C cold water
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Olive Oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of a Kitchen Aide mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the dry ingredients on low until incorporated.
  2. Switch to the dough hook, add the cold water and the honey. Mix on low for 10 minutes.
  3. The dough should be smooth and elastic, it should not stick to the bowl. If it sticks to the sides of the bow sprinkle a little more flour. If it is too dry and the dry ingredients are still not mixing in, add a little more water.
  4. After 10 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl and cut into 4 or 6 pieces and form into rounds. Place the rounds on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil on top of each round spreading gently with your hand over the top.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a cold oven with the door closed for 2 hours to rise.
  6. On a work surface sprinkle some flour and remove one piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Using your hands or a rolling-pin spread the dough out into a disc or oval 10-12 inches in diameter (if you cut the dough into 4 pieces your discs will have a larger surface area)
  7. Dust a pizza peel (you can also use some sturdy cardboard) with cornmeal and place your dough on top making sure it slides around easily.
  8. ON THE GRILL: pre-heat and oil you grill generously. Slide the dough from the peel onto the grill and lightly brown on both sides turning gently as it cooks. Remove and top with your favorite toppings. Be careful not to overload as this is a thin crust. Return to the grill and cook to desired doneness.
  9. IN THE OVEN: place a pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat the oven to the highest temp (most ovens will go 500-550. Slide the dough from the peel onto the stone and repeat the steps as for the grill. Finish by placing it under the broiler for a nice charred effect.

* After the dough has risen you can easily freeze it. Just place the dough into a lightly oiled Ziploc or plastic bag and place in the freezer. When ready to use remove it from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in your refrigerator.

* Cutting: I have recently been taught by two friends to use a pair of scissors when cutting my pies. It works really well. Give it a try!!!!

Original recipe found at: https://ciaoflorentina.com

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

MOTHER NATURE IS BI-POLAR

Is anybody else out there tired of the cold and rain? I guess in some areas you folks are still getting snow. Mother Nature is going through naturepause or something. Seriously, I’m on the verge of needing medication or another vacation on an island somewhere.

I had to light a fire because it’s damp and cold. There’s not much else to do since I’m stuck inside. I said to myself, why not make some bread? So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to make a loaf of Egg Bread EGG BREAD or CHALLAH and I think I’ll make some of my grandmothers yeast rolls Grandmom Minnie’s Yeast Rolls.

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I love to bake bread. It makes the whole house smell so inviting and warm. It also reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen when I was little. It’s amazing how certain scents evoke such pleasant memories. Like the smell of a rose; it reminds me of my mother. It’s one of those days for reminiscing.

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Know what goes good with homemade bread? Why soup of course! It’s doesn’t matter what kind. It just has to be good and one of your favorites. I have several I’ve posted, one of my favorites is vegetable soup. WEEKEND IN ANNAPOLIS and Vegetable Soup. I love to make it in my Instant Pot. Of course if you are a good planner, the Crock Pot is also a great method.

I’m praying for mother nature and I ask that you do too. Maybe if we all pray real hard she will come out of her funk.

Send me some of your favorite soup recipes. Nothing better than a tried and true recipe that has been passed down. Keep smiling and find some sunshine inside. Bake a loaf of bread or make a recipe that brings back good memories.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxox

Viki D

I’m Back…..Air Fried Bagels

I promised myself I was going to write at least twice a week. So far I haven’t been great about it but today prompted me to remember my committment to myself. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year.

I don’t make resolutions because I feel like we should be the best we can be every day. Let’s face it, nobody is perfect! I am striving to be happier and healthier this year. I think that’s a great start.

So on that note…..I am following the new Weight Watchers Freestyle program along with the hubster. I have always loved Weight Watchers because I don’t have to buy special foods. I don’t have to cook something different for guests. I can still go out on occasion and I can still have a cocktail or dessert if I want to. While my daily points have decreased, the number of zero point foods has increased. It’s a learning curve, but we are getting there.

Recently posted was a WW recipe for air fried bagels. They can also be baked. I just happen to own a Cooks Essential air fryer and love it. Really, “everything topped” air fried bagels. I had to give it a whirl. It makes 4 nice sized bagels at 3 points.

So here’s the before air fried pic’s…..

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and here’s the after…..

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Can I just tell you………YUM. They really were excellent. I will make these over and over again. They were very simple to do. I will, in the future, make them into a thinner rope before shaping them into a bagel. Mine seemed to be a tad doughy. Taste wise, hands down, a great bagel. If you could only see the many possibilities rolling through my brain………..it’s exhausting.

So without further ado, I will post the recipe. Give it a try! Oven or air fried, it was well worth giving it a test run.

WEIGHT WATCHERS OVEN OR AIR FRIED BAGELS

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 FS POINTS PER SERVING

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (make sure it’s not expired)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 C non-fat Greek yogurt that has been strained overnight. (do not use regular yogurt, it will be too sticky)
  • 1 beaten egg, or egg white
  • Toppings of choice (you can purchase “Everything Topping” from King Arthur Flour) or use sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic or onion flakes or make your own everything topping.

DIRECTIONS:

OVEN METHOD:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Place parchment or silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment spray with oil to avoid sticking.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well. Add the yogurt and mix with a fork until well combined. It will look like small crumbles.
  3. Lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 20 turns. (It should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away).
  4. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Roll each ball into a 3/4 inch thick rope and join the ends to form a bagel.
  5. Top with egg wash and sprinkle both sides with seasoning of your choice. Bake for 22 minutes in 350F oven then increase to 550F for 4 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.

AIR FRYER METHOD:

  1. Pre-heat the air fryer  325F and set for 11-12 minutes.
  2. Repeat steps 2-4 as above for the oven method.
  3. Top with egg wash and sprinkle both sides with seasoning of your choice.
  4. Transfer in batches without overcrowding and bake 12 minutes, or until golden. No turning needed. You can check them at 10 minutes for color.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo