Category Archives: bread

Beer Bread Pudding with Roasted Vegetables

Okay, so maybe this isn’t *really* bread pudding, but it tasted like it! (and you’ll probably be suprised when you see what the ingredients were!)

I always wonder how chefs and cookbook authors come up with recipes until I realized a few weeks ago that they probably do exactly what I do…just mix things together knowing that they’ll eat whatever it is regardless of what it tastes like.  I guess I’m just lucky that I’ve done this enough that now more often than not it turns out okay.

While looking through a blog I subscribe to the other day, I came across a good idea for stale bread.  I had 1/4 of a loaf of last week’s beer bread so I decided to give the advice a try and put it in soup.  I wasn’t really anticipating it to come out pudding-y, but it was delicious.  (albeit horribly unphotogenic).

I did the usual, started boiling barley and red lentils, and then once the liquid was almost completely gone I broke up the bread into crumbs and stirred them in the soup.  I wound up having to add ~1/2 cup more water and I let the bread soak that up while stirring constantly.  While this whole process was going on I was roasting potatoes, onion, and turnip.

Next time I can do without the turnip.  It didn’t add much to this dish.  The onion, on the other hand, went fantastically with the pudding.  Surprisingly, the beer flavor was really pronounced.  I mixed in a tablespoon of good, grainy mustard, too.  I think if I had added any more, though, I would have ruined it.  It was really difficult for me to stop eating this but I forced myself to save some for lunch tomorrow.

creamy, beer-y goodness

The whole time I was thinking that corn would have been great mixed in.  If I try this again I will probably add more vegetables to it.  I also think this could be great with pork.  The only thing I would do is add more salt!  For some reason it seemed as if no matter how much I added there wasn’t enough.

I swear it tastes better than it looks

Total Cost: $2.68

organic barley: $0.40
organic red lentils: $0.30
1 organic onion: $0.42
2 organic potatoes: $0.40
1/4 organic turnip: $0.17
1/4 loaf of beer bread: $0.99

OH, I also found $5 today!!! Karma for spending so little on food last month?

Bread Fix!

I had no time this weekend to even think.

I literally did nothing besides work, run, clean the house, sleep (barely), and eat.

Unfortunately, I totally forgot to feed my sourdough starter to make bread for the week.  I’m not sure I really would have had the time to, though.

Realizing I have no food in the house, I decided bread was probably necessary.  I opted for a quick bread I used to make all the time in undergrad- beer bread!!

This bread is so ridiculously easy and delicious (if you like beer) (which I do) (a lot).

The recipe calls for a lager, but I have used it all.  PBR is one of my favorites to make this bread with.  My ex boyfriend (who hated to drink and also hated beer) loved making this with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat.  I don’t like it so much because it comes out a little bit too sweet.  Today I made this with Upland Wheat.  I also made a couple other changes from the original recipe.  Instead of 3 tablespoons white sugar, I used 3 tablespoons brown sugar.  I also used all wheat flour instead of white.

I’ve had mixed results, texture wise, with this bread in the past.  It has come out with a very hard crust, it has come out dense, and it has also come out undercooked.  I have no idea if that is a fault on my part (quite possible) or differences in the beer used.  For instance, PBR always seems to make a denser bread with a harder crust.

Tonight’s bread turned out amazing fluffly and moist on the inside with a crispy crust on the outside.  I think the moistness has a lot to do with the wheat flour and brown sugar.  Interestingly, I don’t think this bread has as much of a beer flavor as previous loaves I’ve made.  It’s still delicious and I think it will be good for lunch, possibly with my almond butter.

Beer Bread

-preheat oven to 400 degrees C
-combine 2-1/4 cups wheat flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablesppoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients to pour the liquid ingredients into.

Beer Well..what could be better?

-pour 12 ounces of beer and 2 tablespoons olive oil into the well
-mix until just blended (this always reminds me of my mom because she is a stickler on making sure baked goods aren’t over mixed)

no over blending here!

-pour into an 8 inch bread pan and bake for 45 minutes
-remove to cooling rack and let cool

I don't think I have an 8 inch bread pan..

 

Total Cost: $3.93

-organic wheat flour: $2.23
-1 beer: $1.20
-brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, olive oil: no more than $0.50

This was definitely more expensive than other breads I have made, but it’s great in a pinch when you don’t necessarily have the money to go and buy bread, but have a lot of random ingredients and not a lot of time.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cornmeal Squash Seed Bread

Yeah, that’s a lot of adjectives.

yumm

However, don’t be fooled by the number of ingredients.  This bread is simple and amazing.  The cornmeal and squash seeds impart a really satisfying crunch into the bread.  As an aside:  I never understood using the word “satisfying” to describe something like “crunch” until I tried this bread.  It was definitely an “Aha!” moment.  The loaf itself came out smaller than the sourdough.  I don’t know if that’s the nature of the bread, with the cornmeal, or if it had something to do with the rising process.  I think my second rise may have been a bit short.  Either way, I’m not too worried about it.  The process for making the bread is the exact same as I already described here.  The ingredients, however, have changed a bit:

Sourdough Cornmeal Squash Seed Bread Ingredients

2/3 cup sourdough starter
1-1/3 cups warm water
1-3/4 cups whole wheat bread flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (I used (surprise) butternut squash seeds)

The only difficult thing about making this bread was that the dough was much stickier.  This is apparently due to the replacement of wheat flour with cornmeal.  It did make it a little bit difficult to work with, so I would suggest using one of those bread scrapers, if you have one.

Other lesson learned:  when you create a steam bath in the oven, don’t use a porcelin baking pan.  Being chemists you would think we would have realized this, but we cracked our nice porcelin pan when we added cold water.

Other than that, this bread has a very artisan taste, which is a nice change of pace, especially given the ridiculous price tag “artisan” usually carries.

Total Cost: $1.50

starter (fed twice): $0.10 (here’s my rationalization:  $0.40 worth of flour was added, but about 1/4 of the starter was used)
bread flour: $0.77
corn meal: $0.37 (complete estimate.  don’t remember how much I paid, so assuming $4/5 lbs)
wheat flour: $0.21
seeds: $0.05 (again, estimate.  I paid $1.00 for two squashes and this is really just a by product)

My last loaf of bread lasted me 5 days, so, $0.30/day?

Quickies

1.  Sahara Mart fail – I stopped here on my way back from errands this morning to buy some organic wheat flour since I noticed they had it in bulk for $1.79.  That sounded cheap, except that I failed to really do the math.  5 lbs cost me $8.91, when a 5 lb bag of the same thing cost me $6.99 last month.

2.  Squash Part 4 – The squash has been great as mix in for oatmeal.  I’ve been doing 2 heaping spoonfuls of squash with brown sugar and honey.

3.  Squash Part 5 – I roasted the seeds and am using it in a recipe for sour dough – cornmeal – pumpkin seed bread.  More to come on that later.

Bun in the Oven (100% Organic Home-Made Sourdough Bread)

Finished Product!!

If being pregnant is half as satisfying as baking this loaf of bread was, then I think I may have to change my stance on babies.

This bread has been about a week in the making and tons of anticipation.  Honestly, it is better than I could have ever imagined.  For Christmas my sister bought me a cookbook that I have alluded to in a previous post – DIY Delicious by Vanessa Barrington.  I’ve been enjoying making a lot of various foods out of the cookbook — yogurt, cheese, creme fraiche, etc.  Today, I conquered this.  I could not be happier.

First of all, I have to say that baking your own bread is time consuming.  It is, however, 1.  cheaper than buying organic bread, 2. much, much tastier than buying your organic bread, and 3. damn cool.  The most expensive part is buying the equipment you’ll need.  In the book, Barrington suggests you buy a few different things but in the end the only supply I bought was a 1 lb bread pan.  I consider that to be an investment, though, since I will undoubtedly get a ton of use out of it.

For a sourdough bread, you initally need a starter.  The starter is a fermented flour/water mixture that gives sourdough that familiar tangy, yeasty flavor.  The downside to the starter is that it takes about a week to prepare.  The plus side is that once you have it made, you can keep it going indefinitely.  It’s also ridiculously easy to make, and, despite my best efforts, hard to ruin.  Here’s what you do:

Sourdough Starter

In a glass or hard plastic bowl (I used a pampered chef microwave bowl with a vented lid), mix 4 ounces (1/2 cup) warm water and 4 ounces wheat flour.  Cover with something breathable- a vented lid, a towel, etc., and let sit unrefrigerated over night.  24 hours later remove half of the starter and again add 4 ounces warm water and 4 ounces wheat flour.  Continue to do this for 1 week (called “feeding”).

Like I said, I had a couple mishaps with mine and it still turned out fine.  The first day I added cold water instead of warm, and the second day I only added 4 ounces of flour and no water.  oops.  I made up for it on the third and added twice the amount of warm water.  After a few days your dough will begin to ferment and look like this:

fermented starter

It should smell a little bit yeasty, slightly beer-y.  Apparently if the starter goes bad it will smell atrocious.  That made me feel better about my miscues…I would be the person to bake a rancid loaf of bread.

The unfortunate thing is that you have to throw away half the starter.  You can, of course, compost it.  Another strategy is to give it to your roommate so she can bake a loaf of bread, too.

Once your starter has been made, store it in the refrigerator.

Bread baking time!

To begin, if you plan to bake your bread at 7 PM on a Sunday (like I did), you need to take your starter out of the refrigerator on Saturday morning.  You need to feed your starter twice before you bake with it.  I fed mine at 8 PM on Saturday (I had forgotten to take it out of the refrigerator beforehand, though, and it was fine) and 12 AM Saturday night/Sunday morning.  At noon on Sunday, I began mixing.

mixing time

 

In the large orange bowl, I combined 1-1/3 cup warm water with 2/3 cup of the starter.  The yellow bowl to the left is for water to dip your hands into, as they get messy.  True to form I added my starter to this bowl and had to starter over.  Once your starter is in the correct bowl, mix it with your hands until it dissolves.  In another bowl, I combined 1-3/4 cups wheat flour, 1-2/3 cups whole wheat bread flour, and 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt.  After mixing I added this to the water/starter mixture.

While rotating the bowl counter clockwise with my left hand, I used my right hand to fold the dough from the sides of the bowl into the middle.  I did this for five minutes.  After kneading, I let the dough sit for 5 minutes.  I repeated this process two more times for a total of 15 minutes kneading and 10 minutes resting.  Make sure to cover your dough with a towel while it is resting.

After the final knead, let your dough sit for 3 hours, again covered with a towel.  An hour and a half into the resting period, I did a quick knead of the dough, again folding over the sides as I rotated the bowl.  This  only needs to be done for one complete bowl rotation (about 4, 90 degree turns)

Let your bread sit for another hour and a half.

This time, remove your dough from the bowl and place it on a floured surface.  Add a little bit of flour to the top of your dough.  Stretch the dough into a rectangle and then fold the stretched ends over on top of the bread, pressing down in the middle.  Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat.  Flip the dough over and rotate the dough with one hand while folding the ends under with the other hand.  Form a mound with the dough as you do this.

Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.

As the dough is resting, brush your bread pan with vegetable oil.

Once your five minutes are up, take the dough, turn it over, and stretch it again into a rectangle.  Fold the narrow ends into the middle, and, grasping an end with each hand, fold inward towards the middle, creating an envelope.  Grasp the top point of your bread and pull it towars you to form a cylinder shaped loaf.  Manipulate the bread so that the seam is on the underside of the loaf.  Push it lightly to remove the air bubbles.  Roll the dough so that you can barely see the seam.  Push the dough with the heel of your hand to seal the dough, but don’t smash it.  Place the dough in the loaf, seam side down.

Let the dough rest, covered, for another 3 hours.

Honestly, if all of this sounds confusing you should either 1. buy the book, or 2. make up your own way to knead.  My roommate didn’t follow this completely and her loaf ended up just fine.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees C.  Take a serrated knife and slash diagonal marks into the top of the dough to allow for expansion upon baking.  The author suggests pre-heating a cast iron skillet (I used a roasting pan) under the rack you will be baking on and adding cold water to the pan as you place the loaf in the oven.  The goal is to create steam.  I did this and didn’t get much steam, but my bread turned out great, so I don’t know how necessary it is.

Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 425 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan and let it finish baking on the rack for another 5 minutes.  Remove it from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack.

Total Cost: $2.59
whole wheat bread flour: $0.77 (used 7 ounces, paid $1.79/lb)
wheat flour: $0.72 (7/68 of a $6.99 bag of flour)
starter: $1.10 (used half my starter)

starter: $3.29 (32/68 of a bag of flour, including the 2 feedings before baking)

I feel like this cost is a little bit deceiving because of the starter.  I’m not sure if I should include that or not, since now that the starter is made I won’t have to make it again.  I suppose take the cost as you will.  Regardless of whether you include the starter, it is still cheaper and much more delicious than buying a loaf of organic bread.

 

post-run baking. I probably should have washed my hands...

Revelation!

Perfect way to start out the morning…I figured out a solution to a problem that’s been bothering me for a while. 

Problem:  I am an 8 year old and hate the butt of the bread. 

Corrollary:  Organic bread is expensive, so it’s a huge waste to throw those two pieces out. 

Solution:  Use a bread knife to saw off the very end of the butt and make it a non-butt piece! 

I can’t believe I never thought of that!! 

If a normal loaf of bread has 17 slices and you paid $3.50 (typical price for organic loaves on sale), you save $0.42. 

If you buy bread every week like I do, that’s a savings of $21.84. 

I just saved a week’s worth of groceries.