Category Archives: Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal, but during the week I fly through the house getting ready for work and can only manage to grab something quick. At the most I scramble a few eggs or an omelet. Just so you know it is a really crazy looking omelet that is actually just fancy scrambled eggs. For those of you that have kids, my hat is off to you. You are pretty friggin’ amazing in my eyes, because I can’t even imagine how frantic my mornings would be if we had kids.

Ahh but that wonderful feeling on the weekends, where I wake up slowly and I plod down the stairs to my quiet kitchen. Turning the knob on the stove, hearing the clicking of the igniter, seeing the crown of blue flames warming the water kettle; I know coffee will be coming soon.

This morning as I sipped my coffee, I decided I would like to bake some bread. Baking bread permeating the house is one of my favorite smells.  And the smell of cinnamon sugar swirled in the middle takes it to the next level. Yum!

IMG_0449

Dough
1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
5 tablespoons soft butter
2/3 cup lukewarm water

Filling
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup raisins

Directions
To make the dough I combined all of the dough ingredients in my bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough. Allow dough to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.
While the dough is rising, make the filling by stirring together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle approximately 6″ x 20″.
Brush the dough with the egg/water mixture, and sprinkle it evenly with the filling and raisins.
Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the ends to seal, and pinch the long seam closed.
Transfer the log, seam-side down, to a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover and allow the bread to rise until it’s crested about 1″ over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after the first 15 to 20 minutes. The bread’s crust will be golden brown, and the interior of the finished loaf should measure 190°F on a digital thermometer.
Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

Game Day Food!

Are you getting prepped for the super bowl this weekend? We definitely are here. Full disclosure, I may not know much about the two teams duking it out, but any event centered around food and cooking, I can get into.

Need some ideas to take to a party or maybe you are hosting the event, just look below, I have some great food that I would categorize as appropriate game day food.

 

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Homemade Soft Pretzels with Cheese Sauce

Yesterday I shared with you the buffalo wings that we had for our appetizer supper. They were awesome, but we also had a soft pretzel with cheese sauce on the side. Equally delicious.

I have been planning to try these for a while. A tattered piece of paper with this recipe on it sat in my kitchen for months. It happens, I tear items out of magazines and throw them into a holding pattern for months at a time, waiting until the “perfect” moment, or most likely when it happens to fall in front of my eyes again during a cleaning spell.

Months ago, I tore this from a penzey’s magazine, after showing it to my husband who voiced his interest. To my surprise, when I returned from yoga class the other night, he had found this recipe and made the dough. Yep, he’s a keeper.

Then we whipped up a simple cheese sauce to go along with it. The pretzels had a slightly sweet, soft bready interior with a salty crunch to the exterior. Delicious!

Homemade Soft Pretzels with Cheese Sauce

Homemade Pretzels with Cheese Sauce served with Buffalo Wings and Celery Sticks
Homemade Pretzels with Cheese Sauce served with Buffalo Wings and Celery Sticks
  • 11/4 Cups warm water
  • 1 TB. rapid rise yeast (1 package is 21/4 tsp. so you’ll need 2 to get 1 TB.)
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Cups bread flour
  • 11/2-2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Cups water
  • 4 TB. baking soda
  • Kosher salt or other seasonings as desired-get creative!
  • Cheese sauce- recipe follows

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for a few minutes. Add the sugar and 2 cups bread flour, stirring well. Add the first cup of the all-purpose flour and stir well again. Turn out on the kitchen table and add as much of the flour as is needed to make a nice soft dough. Add a sprinkle at a time while kneading, as soon as the dough starts to stick. For the batch shown we used 11/2 cups all-purpose flour. Kneading about 10 minutes will give a nice smooth elastic dough ball. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. It doesn’t need to double in size but it should be substantially bigger after 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500°. Divide the dough into 12-18 pieces depending on the size of pretzels you want. Roll each piece of dough into a “snake” about 18 inches in length. If you want perfect “toes” roll to 20 inches and flip the final inch in on itself on both ends and roll a bit until smooth. Twist into pretzels. Pinch the “toes”—this is important to keep the pretzel from unfolding in the boiling water. The pinch seems dramatic when you do it but you can hardly tell in the finished pretzel. Bring the 4 cups of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. Dip each pretzel in the water-baking soda mixture, one at a time, for 5-10 seconds, making sure to get the water over the top of the pretzel—a slotted spoon works well for this. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (make sure you shake off most of the water, you don’t want your pretzels sitting in puddles of water), sprinkle with  salt or other toppings as desired (the seasonings won’t stick if the pretzel has completely dried off) and bake at 500° for 6-8 minutes. The pretzels will look done on top before they are brown on the bottom, so if in doubt use a spatula to lift and look. Once you’ve done it a few times in your oven, you’ll know exactly when they’re perfect. Remove quickly from the parchment to a cooling rack by sliding under the pretzel with a sturdy spatula with a quick firm motion. Sometimes they stick.

Alternate baking method: Sprinkle your pizza stone with cornmeal, place in the oven and preheat to 500°. After you remove the pretzels from the boiling water, carefully place on the hot stone and bake for 5 minutes. The end result is a pretzel with a crispier bottom.

Cheese Sauce

1/2 tablespoon butter

1/2 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup milk

2 cups cheese (any variety, we used sharp cheddar)

1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)

Put a saucepan over medium heat. Wait for it to come to temperature then add the butter and wait for it to melt. If it begins to spit or bubble, nudge the heat down. We want the butter to melt smoothly not brown or burn. Add the flour, and stir continuously for 3 minutes. You don’t want it to sit still or it will brown. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 5 – 8 minutes. Stir in the cheese and cayenne. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before serving.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Zucchini season is here and one of the items that I love to make annually is zucchini bread. Because my husband is a chocolate lover, I throw some chocolate chips in the batter for good measure. Out of love, I use the mini chocolate chips so that he can get the taste of chocolate spread evenly through out every bite. If you need a great way to use up zucchini this season, this is a great idea for not only a family treat, but bake sales and gifts for neighbors. Also, after the bread has baked, it freezes well, so you can always have a nice sweet treat ready to go for any pop over guests. Enjoy everyone!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

(2 loaves)

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Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls

Living on the western coast of the U.S.,  it is quite easy to get great sour dough bread, but not as easy to find great wheat bread options. This week, I decided to make an old reliable honey wheat bread recipe that I have been making for the last ten years or so. The interior is soft and chewy while the exterior has a slight crunch. Cocoa powder gives the bread not only a deep color but an extra layer of flavor highlighted by the honey and molasses. The bread can be served with butter and a sharp knife on the side, like the bread baskets you receive at restaurants or as the perfect hoagie roll. Enjoy!

Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls

Makes 6 small loaves.

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Gratitude Apple Bread

One year ago today, I had just quit my job writing technical reports for a pharmaceutical company to go on a new adventure following my husband’s career.  As I found out the hard way, working with Big Pharma had left me stressed out and tired after having worked under three different company logos, three different company names, and three different company mantras in three years without ever leaving the same cubicle, due to acquisitions. Always worrying about my job security, I stayed later than most of my colleagues and came in earlier. I was part of the rat race. Me, the carefree art student, found myself in a black hole of negotiating quality agreements, understanding and enforcing government regulations through various systematic protocols and procedures to ensure compliance, and completing trend analysis of testing data and providing these reviews to not only my superiors, but any regulatory agency that showed up for surprise audits. I had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and needless to say, this was not how I had pictured my life going.

Moving yet again, I had asked my husband if it would be okay for me to take a bit of time off before venturing out into the working world again. I needed to get back to calm, to an even-ness, before I made a decision of the new direction of my life. He obliged a six month reprieve to do exactly what I wanted, a sabbatical. So I finished projects on our house to prepare it for the sale, I had a huge yard sale, we drove across the  country, I decorated and organized our new apartment, took care of all the paperwork that accumulated from moving and selling our house, and then after about three months, everything just stopped. There were no immediate projects that I needed to work on or complete, nothing.  After 5 years of scrambling around, my chaotic life had come to a dead stop and I noticed something, a deafening silence. It was increasingly evident that I was in a place where I knew no one. A melancholy quietness had blanketed my life and I started to feel like I was starring in my own version of “Lost in Translation.”

I prepared my resume and started throwing my hook into the water, a few nibbles, but after months nothing came of it. I started to feel trapped in my life, desperate. As January 2012 neared, I started to make New Year’s resolutions. I was going to live my life with gratitude, I felt that I was being too negative and I had a lot to be happy for; I just wasn’t seeing the picture clearly. Everyday, I was going to write down one thing I was happy about. After about ten days, I noticed I was happiest when I was cooking and began to think about how I have used food to interface with people over the years. It is what I love, so I decided that I would share with the world my recipes, my stories, my love. My thinking was, if you blog about it, they will come, so “Creative Noshing” was born.

Today’s post though, isn’t about what I’ve given to you, it’s about what you all have given to me. Each and every day, you give me inspiration, validation, and a community to feel part of. I have laughed and smiled and cried at some of your posts and comments. Every person who has clicked my follow button, I am so honored and amazed that you did. Some of you have touched me even further by giving me a stamp of approval through trying my recipes and blogging about it, reblogging me, “pinning” me, and/or nominating me for awards. Not to mention those of you take time out your day to comment, especially the one’s who I ended up having great back and forth conversations with. This post is for you, I want you to know I appreciate your generosity, kindness and hospitality and in turn I want to promote your blog to others, because you are the real deal and genuine. In no certain order, I want to give a special thank you to the following blogs:

Sugar Dish Me

Sweat Like Mambo

Mon Food Blog

Shecall

The ObamaCrat

Tabkhet el yom

“Round the Bend

Sheepless in Rhode Island

My Gulity Pleasures

A Dollop and A Pinch

rosewinelover

lostdododesigns

What to Cook?

Ginger(ly) Homemaking

Mama Miyuki Easy Pantsy

A Chef in Thyme

The Sugared Pecan

Liberez Vous

Susartandfood’s Blog

Hot, Cheap & Easy

Danny’s Kitchen

kiwsparks

Filing Away Cupcakes

Green Pocket Protector

Chez Chloe

Foodashion’s Blog

Hot Rod Cowgirl

Year of Healthier Living

Go check out their blogs!

Just like my Grandma taught me, you don’t come showing your appreciation empty handed. Below is the perfect thank you present. Good old fashioned apple bread. Yum!

Gratitude Apple Bread

Gratitude Apple Bread
Gratitude Apple Bread

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Ham and Broccoli Ring

After I cook a large piece of meat, such as a ham, I normally freeze leftovers in 1 pound airtight packages for later use. I mean, I love ham, but there is only so much that one can stand before becoming “hammed out” for a bit. This way, I can spread it out more evenly over months of use, such as this lovely ham and broccoli ring.

A mixture of ham, veggies and cheese are spiraled in a puff pastry to create a yummy, bready concoction, perfect for an appetizer, lunch or light dinner. An excellent use for leftover ham and a great way to introduce new veggies into a discerning palate. Serve by itself or with a light side salad as an accompaniment to round out the meal.

Ham and Broccoli Ring

Ham and Broccoli Ring
Ham and Broccoli Ring

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Pull Apart Pizza Bread

I am about to give away one of my “secret” recipes that is a definite crowd pleaser. This recipe is so simple and and only take a few minutes to pull together; but everyone will think you slaved over it for hours. A great way to use up any pesky pizza dough that may be sitting around in your fridge needing some love.  (Or a great excuse to make or buy extra pizza dough at the grocer.)

Pull Apart Pizza Bread

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Beer Bread

When we moved to the Midwestern part of the United States, I started to be invited to home parties of various sorts with the main purpose to sell products to the far reaches of America where big business had not infiltrated the culture yet. These parties were themed with anything; plastic storage containers, candles, cook ware, marinades, home decor, and various boxed food items. Mainly it was to bring together all of your friends to talk and laugh and have fun. I enjoyed the parties, it reminded me of what I picture the housewives of the 1950’s participating in.  I should have totally had a 1950’s theme party for one of those, but alas those are but fond memories now.

At one of my favorite parties, I was introduced to a beer bread, in box form, of course.  A beautiful sweet and savory quick bread. I did a little research to figure out if I could make a similar version at home now that I do not have access to those parties and box mixes anymore. Who knew, beer bread is quite simple to make even without the box mix and just as delicious as I remember.

Beer Bread

Beer Bread
Beer Bread

Ingredients:

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Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Last night, we decided to have chili and a variation of my Grandmother’s jalapeno cheddar cornbread. After the visit from my cousin, it had me thinking of my family, especially my Grandma who seemed to be the glue of our family most of the time.

A placard beside my Grandparent’s back door read “back door guests are best.” Through the first threshold was a mudroom area where you took off your shoes. You did not dare wear your shoes on my Grandma’s hardwood floor. Grandma was meticulous. She lived her life by the motto that there was a place for everything and everything was in it’s place.

When you entered through the second threshold you were greeted by my grandma, hair in curlers and her signature third person conversations. “Hey there, Baby! You give your Grandma a hug! Grandma has missed you so much!”

You were also greeted with the smell of salty fatback and black eyed peas simmering on the stove. Hot peanut oil in an old black cast iron skillet crackles and spits as a super thin mixture of corn pone spreads across the oil in a lace shape for a quick fried, crispy cornbread cake. As soon as Grandma moved them to the paper towels to drain, she had to make another batch because all of her “grandyoungens” would grab the hot cornpone, dancing them between our hands and making the guttural sounds of exhaling burning hot air from our mouths. Every piece of raw skin hanging from the roof of my mouth was worth the salty crunch of that crispy fried deliciousness. My love for cornbread started then. I could eat it by itself, but it has to be made properly, meaning in a smoking hot pan with fat in the bottom, so the underside of the bread gets a crunch that can not be replicated.

Growing up, we always had jalapenos in some form be it canned or fresh, so this cornbread was born out of that tradition. Now that I keep fresh red bell peppers around because my husband loves them, I incorporate that into the mix too. Last night, I instead of onion, I threw in scallions, because I had them on hand, but whatever you love and have on hand can be added to the basic mix.

Basic Cornbread Mix

¾ cup cornmeal

1-1/4 cups all purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Mix well in large bowl.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

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