Beer Batter Bread

This is always a fun bread to make especially since it is simple and you can oversee the children in the mixing but keep track of the beer! Actually, a priest gave me this recipe.

Beer Batter Bread

1 12-ounce can of your favorite beer
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups self-rising flour

butter

preheat oven to 350 degrees. Vegetable oil spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (You can put this batter into muffin tins, too.) Mix all the ingredients together and put into your prepared pan. Bake for approximately one hour depending on your oven. Every 15 minutes, butter the top of the bread with bits of butter.

Let cool in pan a bit before removing. Great to pull out of the oven about ten minutes before dinner and serve warm with soup or stew.

Homemade Naan Bread

I tried a new recipe for dinner last night. Given the dish was called Chicken Tikki Masala, I knew I would have to make Naan bread to go with it. I had planned on taking a picture but . . . It seems the bread was popular and it was gone before it had time to cool down.

Gluten-Free Naan Bread

Ingredients:
Approximately 1 cup milk (I use lactose-free)
½ cup plain yogurt (If you are out, I just added a tablespoon of vinegar to ½ cup milk and allowed it to thicken)
2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I always use BetterBatter)
1 ½ teaspoon psyllium husk powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt

First, stir the yeast into a quarter cup of just warm water and stir to dissolve. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the dissolved yeast, yogurt and enough milk to form a dough that is soft but still holds its shape. Cover and let sit in a warm place for an hour.

Heat a heavy frying pan or a cast iron one if you have it, and heat.

Divide the dough into eight to ten balls of dough. Dust your surface with some of the BetterBatter and roll out one of the balls of dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Place in the heated pan and brush the top with olive oil. When the top forms bubbles, turn it over and brown the other side. Brush the already-browned side with some olive oil. Flip it, again, to set the oil and removed to a plate while you make the rest of the breads.

These are great freshly baked from the pan but you can bake them all and then cover with plastic wrap and a towel to keep warm and supple until serving. A brief zap in the microwave works, too.

These are great for serving with stews dishes with gravy. No manners allowed when it comes to dipping up a chunk of meat between a pinch of the Naan.

Gluten-Free Bread – Success!

You can make good gluten-free bread but you still know that it isn’t quite the same although tasty. I’ve tried a variety of recipes and they were all edible and helped sooth the sighs of not having real bread anymore.

A few weeks ago, I saw a sale on a boxed gluten-free bread that claimed to be very much like the real thing. It looked good on the box picture and I liked the fact that it contained a variety of seeds to add protein and fiber. I purchased a few boxes and it was extremely close to the real deal. However, it is imported from Australia and pricey.

Now, I already have a go-to recipe for white bread that works well for us but wondered what the boxed mix had that gave the bread a good ‘crumb’, crust, and a chewy texture. It LOOKED like bread structure when you brown a roll open. I used to bake bread every week for the family so know what a good bit of bread looks like. I had an inspiration! To go with soups and stews, I often make Brazilian Cheese Bread which is gluten-free because it uses tapioca starch instead of flour. I always thought the cheese was giving the bread that chewy texture. I checked out the ingredients on the boxed mix and . . . a good amount of tapioca starch was in the ingredients. I evolved my own recipe and it worked perfectly and smelled like the good old gluten days.

Benevolent Bread Pudding

Ever have one of those days when you don’t know how you are going to get dinner on the table much less come up with dessert? My favorite go-to has always been the ‘lowly’ bread pudding . . . only bread pudding doesn’t have to be considered at the end of the wanted list for dessert. Another plus with bread pudding, that it takes care of the aging bread on the counter.

Benevolent Bread Pudding

3 cups cubed bread
4 cups whole milk, scalded
3 beaten eggs
1/3 granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Add bread cubes to milk. Combine eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, spices to the bread mixture. Pour into greased pan and dot with the butter. Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes our until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Ideas:
White bread is not the only ingredient you can use. Think about sourdough bread, raisin bread, Hawaiian bread, etc.

Adding dried fruit like crasins, raisons, diced fresh apple, diced peaches . . .

Want to go wild for the children, chocolate chips and serve with ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Chopped nuts are allowed, too!

Christmas Baking . . . It is Never to Early to Plan!

The weather is finally getting cooler in the evenings and, hopefully, foretells the coming of an Autumn season with some chances of having a reason to heat up the oven and begin some holiday baking. My first baking of that season is usually fruit breads. My favorite came about when I had leftover yams and I try never to let a leftover go to waste. My husband insists that everything we eat has roots way back to the first meal I fixed for him. I like these substantial loaves full of everything but the kitchen sink that stand up to a slather of butter, toasting, or just slicing and eating straight from the oven. There is also a lot of latitude for creativity and anyone who knows me, knows that I always find a twist in everything from my sewing to my baking. My husband’s only complaint in life is that I can never exactly replicate a favorite meal or baked good as I tend to stray off the printed pages of the cookbook . . . when I use one!

Besides the yam bread, I’ve included some ideas for making several other types. And, remember, as with ‘icing on the cake’, it never hurts to put a lemon glaze to soak into a tasty loaf of sweet bread when it comes out of the oven.

Yam Bread

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups cooked yams
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cups coarsely chopped nuts
2/3 cup raisins (optional)

Whip up the yams until fairly smooth.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of two loaf pans, 9x5x3 inches.

Mix shortening and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs, yams, and water. Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, baking power, cinnamon, and clovers. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into pans. (If batter seems too dry, you can always add bits of juice or water but go slowly as you don’t want it runny.)

Bake about an hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove and cool completely before slicing.

Pumpkin Bread
Substitute yams for 2 cups of canned pumpkin.

Zucchini Bread
Substitute 3 cups shredded zucchini. Blend in 2 teaspoons vanilla with the clovers. Decrease baking time to under 60 minutes

Banana Bread
Substitute 3 very ripe, smashed (and it ain’t easy getting them drunk!) bananas

Cranberry Walnut Bread
One cup roughly chopped fresh or frozen cranberries and ½ cup toasted, chopped walnuts.

Homemade Bread – You CAN do it!

Easy Homemade Bread

The longer the rise, the better the taste. Don’t give up if it is slow. The only thing that kills yeast is hot water!

2 tablespoons dry yeast
6 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
Water to form dough.

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup barely warm water and let stand a few minutes. Dump in flour and salt. Start stirring in the just warm water, mixing by hand when necessary to form a soft dough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth and elastic.

Place kneaded dough in an large, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, approximately one to one and a half hours. Punch down and let rise again until almost doubled.
Form dough into two or three loaves, making long loaves or round ones. Place on greased baking sheets sprinkled lightly with corn meal. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise once more.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes depending on size of loaves. Loaves should be well-browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom side.