Monday, January 19, 2015

Pesto Bread

Back before Thanksgiving many versions of this recipe were making their rounds on Facebook and Pinterest and I just couldn't wait to try it.  I just keep forgetting to buy or save up enough basil to make the pesto.  As luck would have it, my basil plants were getting a little tall and needing a trim right about the time that I stumbled across yet another re-pin of this idea.  I did some recipe shopping and was having a hard time finding good reviews on some of the recipes I could find so I decided to just use the idea and make my own version.  I dug out one of my sandwich bread recipes and looked up the ratios of a basic pesto recipe and got to work!  I have to say, while my bread here is not perfect as I had some company over and I accidentally let it rise to long which made a fairly large hole in the loaf, it is by far the yummiest idea ever.  Seriously, thanks to whoever got that whole pesto bread trend started!

Start by placing 1-2 cups of basil in the food processor.

Then peel your garlic - I like to use this handy garlic peeler - pretty inexpensive and a huge time saver!

You just put the cloves of garlic inside and roll it around to remove all of the peel!

Add your garlic and pine nuts to the food processor as well and then blend to a paste.  Add in parmesan cheese and drizzle in olive oil until a smooth pesto is formed.

Now we will start on our dough!

Add a little bit of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter and water in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes and then add 1 Tbsp. of pesto and the rest of the flour.

Mix on medium speed using the dough hook for 6-8 minutes until a smooth ball of dough forms.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 10"x15".  Spread the pesto evenly over the dough and then starting on one of the short ends tightly roll up the dough.

Be sure to pinch the seam closed to ensure the dough forms into a nice loaf.

Place in a lightly greased bread loaf pan.  Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

I lost track of time and let mine rise a little long...

Bake at 375F for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Allow to cool completely and then slice and serve with or without butter.

Makes 3/4-1 cup of pesto

1-2 cups basil
1 Tbsp. pine nuts
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic

Place basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and run until a paste forms.  Add in Parmesan and drizzle in olive oil.  Run until everything is incorporated.  Set aside until later.

Pesto Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. pesto

In a stand mixer, combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, salt and warm water and butter.  Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.  Add in 1 Tbsp. of pesto and then mix in the remaining flour.  Using the dough hook, mix for 6-8 minutes on medium speed until a smooth ball of dough is formed.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.  Next, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 10"x15".  Spread 1/2 cup of pesto evenly over dough and roll from the short side tightly across and pinch seams to seal dough.  Place in a greased 9"x5" bread pan and let rise until double in size; about an hour.  Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes and allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.  Serve warm with or without butter or use for sandwiches.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

White Whole Wheat English Muffins

I don't know about your families but I know mine is a huge fan of english muffins, so much so that I swear I cannot keep them in the house.  Sometimes I just cannot buy enough to meet our demands and the very last thing I am going to do is run to the store first thing in the morning just for english muffins - hence my idea to make my own!

As far as breakfast ideas and pre-school and work morning meals go, these are a good choice! The recipe is fairly simple and not one that has to rise for a long time plus it is easy to customize exactly what kind of muffins you'd like.  I chose to try to sneak some whole wheat past my family by using white whole wheat flour but feel free to use all-purpose if you'd like.  Just be aware you might need to add a little bit more flour to get the right consistency.

In a small bowl add in the milk and heat carefully in the microwave or over the stove.  Add in the butter and stir to melt then add in the yeast.  Set it aside and allow the yeast to "bloom" a bit.

 In another bowl, add together all the dry ingredients and whisk until they are well combined.

After about 5 minutes, your wet ingredients should look something like this - the stuff on top shows us that the yeast is active and ready to bake with.

Pour the milk mixture into a stand mixer bowl and add in the egg.  Be sure to break up the egg yolk and mix it in a little bit before you add in the dry ingredients.

Carefully add in the flour mixture a third at a time.

Once all the flour is added, beat on medium using the dough hook for 6-8 minutes or until a smooth ball of dough is formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll until it is 3/4" to 1" thick.

Using an english muffin cutter or a the ring to a large wide mouth canning jar, cut out as many muffins as you can, re-rolling when needed.

Place the muffins on a cookie sheet lightly dusted with a layer or cornmeal and sprinkle some corn meal on top.  Cover and allow the dough to rise for about 20 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 325F.

After the dough has risen, heat a cast iron skillet over low heat and lightly brown each side of all of the english muffins and then place them back on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Serve immediately with butter or jam by piercing the sides with a fork to separate them or store in a bread bag on the counter for up to a week.

English Muffins
Makes a dozen muffins

3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. yeast
1 3/4 cups milk
3 Tbsp. butter
1 egg

Heat up the milk just until warm enough to melt the butter over the stove or in the microwave.  Add the butter and yeast and set aside for a moment.  Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar and baking soda) in a small bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to a stand mixer bowl and beat in the egg.  Add in the dry ingredients in thirds until completely incorporated and then mix using the dough hook for 6-8 minutes until a smooth dough forms.  Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 3/4"-1" thick and cut using the lid of a large mouth canning jar and dust lightly with cornmeal.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes.  Warm a cast iron pan over low heat and brown each side of the muffins just until crispy and then set on a baking sheet.  Once all the muffins are browned, bake for 12 minutes at 325 degrees F.  After baked, use a fork to separate the sides and serve with butter and/or jam.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Blueberry Muffins

Happy New Year all! I'm sure for most of you, this week marks a return to normal life as it does with my own family and here on the blog.  With the busy holiday season over and everyone back on normal schedule, it is much easier to start to plan for those work and school day mornings and prep yummy breakfasts ahead of time.  What better way to start them off than with a homemade warm buttered blueberry muffin?!  Plus it is a quick and easy recipe so you could even make these in the morning right before school and work!

Add all of your dry ingredients to a medium sized mixing bowl.

Whisk or sift together to break up any clumps.

Add in your wet ingredients.

I like to whisk it for just a moment to break up that egg, then switch to a spoon.  Be sure to mix just until combined - this recipe is quick and easy; great to do by hand!

Carefully fold in those blueberries. Keep in mind the more you mix, the more purple your batter will become!

Scoop into your prepared cupcake pan - you should get 12 muffins exactly.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Cool on a rack or serve immediately!

Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup blueberries
Sugar in the raw, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Add in the oil, eggs and milk and mix until completely incorporated.  Fold in blueberries.  Be careful about over mixing.  You don't want to have gummy muffins and the more you stir, the more purple your dough will be. Prep a cupcake pan - with liners if you prefer or use non-stick cooking spray.  If you are careful about pouring your batter, this recipe should make exactly 12 muffins.  If desired, sprinkle on the raw sugar for a little cruch on top.  Bake for 18-20 minutes and then allow to cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container if you are not going to eat them immediately. Enjoy!