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Bless Your Spoon: Homemade bread brings delicious smells into house

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Bless Your Spoon

 

As Easter approaches, I’m thinking of all kinds of bread – potato, sugar cake, hot cross buns – and more. I’m excited about baking homemade loaves that rise from the metabolic action of live yeast – known as fermentation. After all, the season’s about renewal of life. Baker’s yeast is a tiny, single-celled organism – coming alive when dissolved in warm water.

Now, if you’re new to home-baked, fresh bread or have no bread baking experience, don’t fret. For those of you who don’t feast on working with yeast – I’ve included bread recipes made with flour or meal – there’s something for everyone.

The delicious Baked Apple Pancake is perfect for breakfast on Easter Sunday – and feeds several. And those tasty Easy Dough Bowls are quite versatile – fill them with a sweet mousse or a savory like creamed chicken. The Easy Mustard Dinner Bread saves time – but still gives you that homemade taste.

More than anything I bake, I love how the delicious smell of homemade yeast bread permeates my home. But it’s not just the smell. A warm slice of homemade bread spread with a bit of butter and honey – it’s much like a tiny taste of heaven.

And that warm feeling one gets – it has much to do with making it yourself – with yeast.

A bread of life.

YEAST BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

3 pkg. dry yeast

½ cup warm water

5 cups self-rising flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. soda

1 cup Crisco shortening

2 cups lukewarm buttermilk

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, and soda. Add shortening to the dry ingredients and cut into small pieces. Add buttermilk and yeast. Mix well. Roll out dough and cut with a biscuit cutter. Bake in a 425-degree for 10-15 minutes or until brown.

OATMEAL HONEY NUT BREAD

2 ½ cups buttermilk

½ cups honey

1/3 cup salted butter

2 beaten eggs

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups rolled oats

2 pkg. yeast

1 Tbsp. salt

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup chopped nuts

2 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

In a deep saucepan, heat buttermilk, honey, and butter until warm. Add eggs. flour, oats, yeast, and salt to warm liquid. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Stir in whole wheat flour by hand and add nuts if desired. Place in greased bowl and brush top with melted butter. Cover and let rise for 1 hour until doubled. Punch down. Divide and shape into 2 loaves. Cover and let rise again. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until done. Cover tops with foil if they get too brown. Remove from pans immediately. Serve with honey butter.

HONEY BUTTER

1 cup softened, salted butter

6 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. cinnamon

In a bowl, mix well until smooth. Spread on all breads.

SWEET CORN AND BUTTERMILK BREAD

2 beaten eggs

½ cup sugar

1 cup buttermilk

  oz. creamed corn

2 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1½ tsp. salt

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add buttermilk and mix well. Stir in creamed corn and butter until mixed but don’t whisk. Add cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Pour into a butter greased 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and done.

EASY MUSTARD DINNER BREAD

1 split lengthwise, loaf French bread

¼ cup salted butter

2 Tbsp. yellow or Dijon mustard

½ cup chopped green onions, with tops

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Blend butter, mustard, green onions, including some tops, parsley, and poppy seeds. Spread butter on a split loaf of French bread. Bake in a 300-degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until hot.

BAKED APPLE PANCAKE

6 beaten eggs

3 Tbsp. sugar

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1 stick salted butter

2 peeled, cored, sliced, Golden Delicious apples

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix. Add milk and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Melt butter in a 9 x 13 glass dish. Lay the thinly sliced apples in rows in the dish. Pour the batter over the apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with real maple syrup.

CAST IRON COFFEE CAKE WITH ALMONDS

2 beaten eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup melted, salted butter

1 tsp. almond extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

Slivered almonds

In a mixer, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix. Add melted butter, extract, and mix well. Add flour and salt. Mix well. Line a cast iron skillet with foil in 2 directions. Pour batter into skillet. Sprinkle top with slivered almonds. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

EASY DOUGH BOWLS

1 can refrigerated, jumbo, flaky biscuits

Vegetable cooking spray

Roll each biscuit into a 5-inch circle. Turn upside down 8 custard cups and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Coat outside of cups with vegetable spray. Mold the flattened biscuits around the cups. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden. Cool. Remove biscuit bowls from cups. Fill bowls with whatever you desire.

TASSIE CUP SOUR CREAM BISCUITS

2 sticks softened, salted butter

1 cup sour cream

2 cups self-rising flour

Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Soften butter and add sour cream. Mix. Add self-rising flour. Mix with a spoon. Butter grease a small muffin tin. Drop by spoonfuls in muffin cups. Bake in a 400-degree oven until brown. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Yield: 24 small biscuits.

LITTLE BIT ‘OF HONEY QUICK LOAF

3 cups warm water

¼ cup honey

3 envelopes yeast

5 tsp. salt

9 ½ cups all-purpose flour

5 Tbsp. vegetable oil

In a mixer bowl, combine water, honey, and yeast. Stir until yeast dissolves. Add half the flour and salt. Beat hard with spoon until batter is smooth. Add remaining flour and blend well. Pour the oil over the dough and knead for 3 minutes. (You can use your bread hook and mixer at this stage) Cover bowl and let dough rise for 45 minutes or until doubled. Punch dough down and turn onto lightly floured board and knead slightly. Shape into 2 loaves and place in buttered loaf pans. Cover and let rise again for 30 minutes or until doubled. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until bread pulls away from sides of pan and is done.

WHOLE ORANGE-PUMPKIN MUFFINS

1 large egg

1 large egg white

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup honey

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 unpeeled, seedless, sectioned, pureed orange

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

4 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

In mixer bowl, beat egg, egg white, pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, and oil. Mix well. Fold in pureed orange with peel. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. Line muffin cups with paper liners or coat with cooking spray. Spoon batter into muffin cups and sprinkle tops with nuts. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 18 minutes or until done. Tops should spring back when touched.

Note: If you are unsure if your yeast is still alive, be sure to test it. Pour about 1/2 cup lukewarm water into a bowl and sprinkle over the yeast along with a pinch of sugar. Stir and let sit for a few minutes; if it completely dissolves and the liquid bubbles, it means the yeast is active.

Yeast needs warm temperatures to activate, so when placing the dough to rise, make sure it is sitting in a place that is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And if your recipe includes a lot of eggs, butter, sugar, and milk, the process may take longer.