Browsing Tag


Whole Wheat No Knead Bread

May 8, 2010

Despite what we all might want to believe, mothers really do know quite a lot about their children. Just a couple months ago, J. and my mom had dinner together without me, and my own dear mom decided to take it upon herself to share with J. what she thought was my best and worst trait. This happens to be one and the same: “My daughter is impulsive.” And boy, let me tell you, this is one time I will admit that she is completely right. For Mother’s Day I bought my mom a new carry-on suitcase and, unable to wait, I gave it to her two months early. It wasn’t the first time I have given a gift to someone early, unable to contain my excitement. In fact, it happens all the time.

And it happens when I blog, too. Case in point: this whole wheat no knead bread, which I’ve been dying to share with you all for almost a week. Did you hear that mom? I waited almost a week! On Monday, I baked my first loaf after being inspired by this recipe from the blog London Foodie in New York.

Some time ago, I swore off bread baking because I felt it took too much time and effort, but after last week’s nut butter success, I was feeling adventurous, daring, and crafty. So I tackled homemade bread and was blown away by the ease of it all. It’s a fabulous combination of lightness and density, which can be tricky with whole wheat bread, and goes great with almost everything. I would be eating a slice for breakfast this morning if the leftover banana pudding trifle in my fridge wasn’t calling my name.

Whole What No Knead Bread
Adapted and converted from London Foodie in New York
*2 cups whole wheat flour
*1/2 + 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
*1 tsp. sugar
*2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1 tsp. table salt)
*2 (1/4-oz.) pkgs. active dry yeast
*2 cups hot (but not boiling) water 
*1 Tbsp. olive oil

*Preheat oven to 400*F.
*In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and yeast. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients, and slowly add the water, stirring as you go, until all the dry ingredients are mixed with the water.
*Once it begins to look scraggly and has come together add the oil and mix with your hands. Remove from the bowl and knead a few times just to bring it together.
*Grease and flour a 2-lb. loaf pan. Form the bread dough into a loaf shape, and place in the pan. Brush the top with additional olive oil and sprinkle with salt or Italian seasoning, if desired.
*Cover with a towel and place in a warm location in the kitchen. I like to open my oven door slightly and set the loaf pan on top of the oven so the draft of the warm oven reaches the loaf and helps it rise.
*Let rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it is doubled in size. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove bread from loaf pan and place directly on oven racks for 10 minutes.
*Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Store tightly covered.

Happy Baking!


Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

May 5, 2010

Do you ever just miss home? I’m not sure age really matters, because when I think about home it’s not the place or the building, it’s that feeling and stage in life when you knew that someone else was there to take care of you and have your back. Growing up with divorced parents, I traveled a lot between Iowa and Florida, so getting homesick was rare. Now, living on my own for the first time, I still don’t get homesick, but I do miss home every now and again.  

And despite the distance and time that has passed since my years living at home, I am still able to get in the kitchen and capture my childhood with a few simple ingredients, a bowl, and a wooden spoon. (Okay, I used my food processor, too) Food is magical that way. It holds the power to inspire, to transport, to recreate moments and time passed. I think everyone has that special taste of childhood, and for me these buttermilk biscuits are it. 

Things really do come full-circle, because little did I know, my mom’s famous biscuits originated from a Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook circa 1972; Better Homes and Gardens, where I work and write and eat today. So yesterday, when I was missing missing home, I pulled out my own Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook circa 1950 that I purchased from a flea market this fall and got to making my mom’s buttermilk biscuits. And they turned out, just as I remembered – a piece of the familiar when so many things in life are changing around me.

Of course, I couldn’t resist making a few small changes. Instead of using all-purpose flour, I used a combination of whole-wheat and all-purpose. And I took out the shortening, because I hardly ever cook with shortening, and used butter in its place. Oh, and I made them a little bigger than the recipe suggests. Back in 1950 this recipe made 12-18 biscuits. In my kitchen, circa 2010, it made 9. So here’s to biscuits, and memories, and recreating home in your own kitchen, wherever that may be.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1950
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into pats
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg white from a large egg
Additional kosher salt, if desired

*Preheat oven to 450*F.
*Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor or a large bowl (if you are using a pastry blender). Add the butter to the flour mixture and process with a food processor or blend with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with small, uneven pieces of butter throughout.
*Stir in the buttermilk until wet and dry ingredients are just combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll to a 3/8-inch thickness. Cut into biscuits and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush egg white on the tops of each biscuit and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden.
*Serve warm, if possible, with lots and lots of butter and jam. Reheat in the oven if necessary.

Happy Cooking!


Basic Bread Dough

January 27, 2010

In the last two months, I’ve had a revelation. 

It started with a loaf of cranberry walnut bread from Great Harvest, and after one bite I was immediately filled with regret. I, like almost everyone else, had been buying generic, mass-produced, whole-wheat bread from the grocery store and was eating my way through life, ignorant of how deliciously different freshly-baked bread tastes. This revelation was followed by another, equally important one. Baking bread yourself can be every bit as easy.  

It’s not that bread baking has become a regular part of my life or that I’ve sworn off regular, store-bought bread (I actually have a loaf in my pantry right now). But I do find a simple dough both rewarding and convenient in many circumstances, and kneading the dough serves as a great 5 minute stress reliever. If you’ve been afraid to try bread-baking, like I was for many years, start off with this recipe to get your feet wet. 

Since homemade pizza is one of my favorite foods from my childhood, I used my dough as pizza crust. However, after the dough doubles in size, you could easily put the dough onto a baking sheet and bake at 350*F until the loaf is golden, or use the dough as you would for cinnamon rolls. 

*1 cup warm water (around 110*F)
*1 packet active dry yeast
*1 Tbsp. olive oil
*1 tsp. salt
*2 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour

For Pizza
*2 cups pizza or marinara sauce
*2 cups mozzarella cheese (more if you like your pizza very cheesy)
*Toppings of choice (I used spinach on my pizza) 

*Preheat oven to 350*F. 
*In bowl, combine water and yeast. Stir until yeast is dissolved and bubbles form on the surface. Add in the olive oil and salt. Stir until salt is dissolved. 
*Add in 2 cups of the flour and stir until well-combined. Dough will be sticky. Turn onto a floured surface and slowly add in the remaining 1/2 cup flour. 
*Knead the dough for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a clean, greased bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a place free from cold drafts. I put my oven heat on low, open the door, and let the dough rise on the stove so there is plenty of warm air. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. 
*Punch dough down and spread onto a greased baking sheet. 
*Top with sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings you choose. Bake at 350*F for 25 to 30 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. 

Happy Cooking!