Friday, November 30, 2012

BBB - Pocketbook Rolls

This month and the next are big baking months in this household.  I ended up making cranberry sauce, three loaves of stuffing bread, a breakfast braid, sandwich bread, two tarts and four dozen cookies to take down for Thanksgiving.  So the BBB challenge of these cute little pocket rolls got left to the last minute.  I'm actually late, but I had the dough made up and I baked them today and they are yummy.  They remind me of a cross between a good biscuit and a hot yeasty roll.  I think I was expecting more of a roll result because my dough was fairly sticky and I added more flour.  Probably didn't need to and they would have been even lighter.  Still, it was a lovely dough, easy to roll out after its chill time and the cool dough made the melted butter solidify so that it didn't stick to the towel while they were raising.  I'll make them again with the original flour measurement and I'm sure they will be fine after a chill.  When I rolled out, I really didn't flour the top, only rolled the pin over my pastry cloth so it wouldn't stick.  So my pocket's lips stayed sealed.  ☺  I also par-baked some to brown and serve later.  They really are best served warm from the oven.  For me, with butter and honey.  The girls have been happily snacking on them tonight!  Yum.

Pocketbook Rolls
makes about 2 dozen rolls
recipe adapted from The Glory of Southern Cooking by James Villas 

1 packet active dry yeast (I used instant)
½ cup lukewarm whole milk
¼ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
½ cup boiling water
1 large egg, beaten
3 cups all purpose flour (I used all white spelt flour)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Proof the yeast in the lukewarm milk until bubbly. Should take about 5 minutes, depends on your yeast though.  Meanwhile cream the shortening, butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the boiling water.  Add the yeast mixture and stir until well blended.  Add the egg and stir until well blended.  Add the flour and salt and mix very well.
 — from here you can keep the mixture up to one week in the fridge covered lightly with plastic wrap for further use.  

Three hours before ready to use:

        Roll out the dough. About ½ inch thick.
        Cut into rounds with a 2 to 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter.
        Fold each round in half and place on greased baking sheet.
        Brush each roll generously with melted butter, cover with a towel.
        Let rise in a warm place for about 2 ½ hours.
 Preheat the oven to 400°F
        Bake the rolls until golden brown. Should take about 7-8 minutes
        Serve hot.

    Tips: In the book it says it is essential that you let rise them at least 2 hours to attain the right feathery texture they are famous for.
    They also suggest that these rolls are easily stored in the freezer: if you intend to do so you should bake them no longer than 5 minutes, cool them and then store in an airtight container in the freezer until further use. When you want to serve them bake them in preheated oven at 400°F about 5 minutes or until golden.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Stuffing bread croutons

I love baking this bread every year.  It's a special bread that I only make this month but it smells so good while kneading and baking, I'd be happy to make an exception now and then.  Turkey stuffing bread makes the most awesome croutons for dressing and I hear it makes great sammies too.  The dough whips up fairly quick in the bread machine or kitchen aid and rises quickly too.  The shorter kneading time is to prevent the onions from breaking down and making the dough too moist.  Once it is baked up, the bread can be used for savory sandwiches or left out a day and turned into the most awesome croutons ever.  They hold together wonderfully and make fabulous stuffing and dressing.  

I make two loaves for enough croutons to stuff a turkey and fill a large casserole or two with dressing.  I use a combination of almond flour and millet to simulate the taste and texture of cornmeal, but feel free to use some organic cornmeal or granular semolina instead if you don't have those things on hand.  These croutons will not turn to mush when making dressing.  I think we put a least a full quart of broth, a couple eggs and tons of mushrooms, onions, celery, butter and giblets in there!  Maybe some rice too.  ☺

Use whatever types of flour you prefer.  This year I used spelt, white whole wheat and sprouted wheat flour, which yields a darker loaf.  The previous loaf was a 50% mix of white whole wheat and all purpose which gives a nice light colored loaf as you see the in stuffing pictures above.

Turkey Stuffing Bread
makes 1 loaf

1 cup lukewarm water
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, softened
½ small onion, diced (about 1/3 cup)
2 tsp granular coconut sugar or light brown muscovado sugar
1½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ tsp rubbed sage 
1 tsp celery seeds
¾ tsp poultry seasoning
1/3 cup millet flour or ground millet
1/3 cup almond flour
1½ cup all purpose flour
1¼ cup white whole wheat flour
1½ tsp instant yeast

Combine all ingredients in a bread machine or mixer.  Knead with machine or dough hook for 7 or 8 minutes.  Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour until double.  Shape dough into a loaf and place in a buttered loaf pan.  Allow to rise until cresting the pan by an inch, not quite double.  This should take 20-40 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  Bake at 375ºF for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and done.  (Internal temp of about 200º).  Cool completely or overnight.

To make croutons, cube the bread and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 225º for about 1-2 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and just barely golden.  Another easy way is to place on a wire rack on the baking sheet to facilitate drying without having to turn.  Store croutons in an airtight container until ready to use.  I have made mine up to two weeks in advance, just make sure they are bone dry.

Adapted from Bread Machine Cookbook III

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel dip.  It has been a journey to find one that works the way we want and still be the flavor and texture R wants.  I tried a marzetti's knock-off that I thought turned out great but it got thumbs sideways/down.  "I like your real caramels mommy."  I have never seen a store bought caramel dip that was not made with high fructose or corn syrup.  Usually when we want a dip for apple slices, I just give R a tiny dish of honey, which she loves.  I have seen many nice looking caramel dips but they all were too runny for my taste.  That's fine for home use, but right now I want something that is (corn free!) not runny, drippy, or too messy for the school harvest party.  I have a wonderful toffee granola bar recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk for the caramel layer.  It quickly gets thick when cooked, so that function takes care of the runny, drippy.  The rest of the standard caramel dip equation applies: butter, brown sugar.  And instead of corn syrup, use golden syrup and honey.  R already likes the honey part!  I'm sure it would work with all honey and no syrup at all too.  All the adults loved it just slightly warm, which makes it flow a little more:

But it is still less drippy than the others I've seen and at room temperature, is scoopable and not runny at all.  Like taking big spoonfuls of soft caramel.  But cool or warm, it is still now my number one dip.  ☺

(The honey flavor is just noticeable in this dip, so if you don't like honey, either use a very mild honey, less honey, or all golden syrup.) 

Caramel Apple Dip
makes about 2½ cups

½ cup butter (add pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
1 cup light brown muscovado sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup golden syrup
¼ cup honey
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

In a heavy saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, syrup and honey over medium heat.  Stir in milk and continue to cook and stir until mixture bubbles.  Stir constantly, otherwise the milk will form little bits of darkened caramel.  Let it bubble lightly for a minute and remove from heat.  If you do see little brown flecks, you can put the mixture through a fine sieve and it will be fine.  Or you can just ignore, they don't change the flavor.  Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.

For a creamy variation, mix 1 cup dip and 8 oz softened cream cheese.  Delicious!