Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Mama's Old Fashioned Bread"

- Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook

Many thanks to Kat for physically coming over and reassuring me that bread is not as scary to make as I first assumed.
I've made this a few times this week already, and I eat way more than my share of it- it's hard to maintain self-control when it tastes to dang good.
This bread takes a few days to reach fruition, but it's worth it.

1. The late morning is a good time to start this recipe, as you'll end up baking it in the afternoon 2 days later.
2. Kneading by hand (at least with this recipe) is not bad, but keeping your hands and surfaces sufficiently floured is key to it's success.
3. Make sure you have THREE bread pans on hand, or you'll be running to your neighbor's in a panic looking to borrow one.
4. Don't bake this when you're home alone, otherwise you'll have eaten a whole loaf by yourself before your Hubby can come home to stop you.

(You see this?! Yeah, I made it all by myself!)

One 1/4 oz package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt

In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 1/2 cups water. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave the starter out at room temperature for 24 hours.
Transfer 1 cup of the starter to a separate large bowl, cover loosely, and leave it out at room temperature for 12 hours more. Refrigerate the rest of the starter, covered, and feed it every 3-5 days.
(To feed the started combine 1 cup water with 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tbs potato flakes and stir. The starter will keep for years if you feed it regularly and keep it refrigerated.)

1 cup starter
6 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
1/2 cup oil (they say corn oil, I used olive) plus more for brushing
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs salt

Lightly grease a large bowl. In bowl with starter, add 1 1/2 cups water and stir. Then add remaining ingredients. Knead once or twice in the bowl, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a stiff dough forms, adding more flour as needed by the 1/4 cupful. (I found if you get it to the consistency where you can pull your hand out of kneading it without globs of dough sticking to you, it's ready.) Place dough in the greased bowl, brush the top with oil, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Leave the dough out at room temperature for 6-8 hours, until it has tripled in size.

Lightly grease three 9x5 loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into three equal pieces. Knead each piece once or twice, form into a loaf, and place in the prepared pan. Bursh tops of the loaves with oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for 6-8 hours, until the dough has again tripled in size. he dough will be puffed over the tops of the pans.

Prehead oven to 350*. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are an even golden brown, with not light spots. Allow the loaves to cool in the pans for 20-30 minutes, then gently turn them out. Once the bread has cooled completely, cut into thick slices to serve.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Spinach Flatbread Pizza

-Taste of Home Magazine

This one is very easy. The hubster gave it 4 stars- I gave it 5 out of simplicity and yummy goodness. I don't follow the measurements with precision on this one. Be your own boss when it comes to making imitation pizza. :)

- 1 small onion, sliced
- olive oil
- 4 pita flatbreads
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Alfredo sauce (bottled or see below) OR hummus

Caramelize/saute onions in oil. Put pitas on baking sheet (line with foil to control mess level) and add ingredients like unto pizza. Bake at 425* for 6-8 min (or until cheese burns to your liking.)
Makes 4 small pizzas which can feed two ravenous people or four people with munchies.
Note: My pizzas tend to stick to the pan/foil. I tried sprinkling the underside of the pita with cornmeal this time, and it worked like a non-stick charm. Never understood why Pizza Hut did this, but now I finally get it. :)

** Alfredo sauce (if you want to make your own):
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half & half)
1/8 cup butter
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbs parsley (give or take)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (or a little more if you like it)

Melt butter in pan, add cream, and then everything else. It tends to be a little soupy, so I thickened mine up at the end with some cornstarch, but you could use flour as well, or just leave it as is. This amount makes enough for 4 pizzas.