100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Whole Wheat bread_1 on Whisk Together

Book Update:  Completely finished “Allegiant” (Book 3) by Veronica Roth!   What I can tell you is DON’T read this book.  What a waste… just a waste.  Wow.  Where to start?  The plot is full of holes.  The characters don’t make any sense between the first two books and this book.  The narration is changed from third to first person, and narration changes between Tris and Tobias.  Of course, this would be fine if you could actually figure out WHO is talking in the first place.  Everyone out there was probably flipping to the head of the chapter to remind themselves who was narrating just like I was.   And the science?  What science?  It’s science fiction, so apparently she made stuff completely up that makes NO sense at all about genetics.   I expect the movie to be a huge success, but have great doubts that a second or third movie will be made.

Whole Wheat bread on Whisk Together

Recipe Update:  I have been looking a long time to replace our store-bought sandwich bread.  Ezekiel bread is healthy… but I can buy a 5 pound sack of flour for what one loaf costs.  Most whole wheat breads taste very… wheat-y, or the crust is tough, or the shape does not work for sandwiches.  There are several no-knead breads out there, but they must be made in a 8×4″ loaf pan or they won’t work for sandwiches very well.  This recipe works for several reasons:
1.  The orange juice tames the wheat flavor.
2.  You don’t have to knead the dough by hand.
3.  There are no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
4.  There is only one rise time.
5.  The bread is soft like the grocery store (though probably more dense than the Healthy Life we normally buy).  Without additions of vital wheat gluten and other stabilizers they use to get an airy piece of bread, I don’t think anything else could compete at home as closely as this recipe.
6.  The shape has the sandwich bread shape.
7.  The crust is soft like sandwich bread.

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
1 loaf

1 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted butter or oil
3 tablespoons molasses, maple syrup or dark corn syrup
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 and 1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups (12.75 oz.) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour

1.  Spray a 8×4, or 8.25″x4.25″ loaf pan with lots of cooking spray.  Yes, you NEED this pan to make sandwich size bread.  You can use a 9×5″ pan, but the result will be a different shaped loaf.
2.  Dump everything into your mixing bowl.  Seriously.
3.  Beat on medium high for 3 minutes.  The dough will be really, really sticky and lumpy.  That’s okay.  Put dough into the pan.
4.  Spray a piece of plastic wrap with some cooking spray and cover the bread up.  Rise time is 60-90 minutes.  Possibly less if using Red Star Platinum Yeast.
5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6.  Put the bread in the oven (without the plastic wrap obviously).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Put a piece of foil over the bread to keep the top from getting too brown.  Bake another 20-25 minutes.
7.  Take the bread out of the oven and cool about 10 minutes.  Let the bread cool more on a wire rack.
8.  Store in a bread bag or ziplock bag.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin Biscuits on WT

Book Update:  I heard the tail end of an NPR interview with the authors of “1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off.”  Sometimes trivia is organizing by category or subject, but not this book.  It’s just a lot of random facts that are roughly organized.  Some of the things I knew… but not many.  I found this book very entertaining and a quick read.  I think every teacher and substitute teacher should carry it.  It’s a good springboard to lessons and further research.

Some examples:

In 1999, a 4 year old turned yellow from drinking Sunny D; Until 1913 , children in America could be sent by parcel post; People earning over $21,000 per year are the richest 4% on the planet; under extreme pressure, diamonds can be made from peanut butter; 40% of the human race did not survive beyond its 1st birthday; when you use &*^@ for swearing they are called grawlixes.

Recipe Update:  So, my son is quite particular about biscuits.  We all liked the Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Biscuits, but he didn’t.  The flakiness isn’t there and I get that.  I tried these biscuits  and LOVED them.  Great flavor, great color, easy to put together and quick to bake.   The reviewers state they had trouble getting the dough together because it was so sticky.  I didn’t have this problem and I speculate that they did not weigh their ingredients.   Most people scoop their flour which could throw off the ratio of wet and dry ingredients.  But, if your dough is sticky simply throw in a little more flour and you’ll be fine.

I didn’t taste the pumpkin and the cinnamon was barely noticeable.  These would be great for breakfast or at Thanksgiving instead of typical rolls.  Sweet potato puree could be substituted for the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Biscuits_ on WT

Pumpkin Biscuits
14 biscuits

9 oz.  AP flour (or white whole wheat flour), about 2 cups
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into 1/4″ pieces
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1/3 cup milk)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (like canned pumpkin)
2 tablespoons honey
*If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you could use 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. allspice, cloves and ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  In a great big bowl, mix the dry stuff:  flour, baking powder, pie spice and salt.
3.  Cut the butter into the dry mixture using your fingertips, pastry cutter or knives.  Put the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes. (Or, you could do this part the night before.)
4.  In a big measuring cup, mix the wet stuff:  buttermilk, pumpkin and honey.  Add wet to dry.  Knead about 4-5 times.  Press the dough or roll out into 1/2″ thick.  Using biscuit cutters or a glass, press down and lift directly up.  Don’t twist of the biscuit may not rise very high.  I used my 1.75″ cutter – my middle size.  Reroll scraps of dough.  Cut out more biscuits.
5.  Place biscuits on a greased, parchment paper or silicone lined cookie sheet.  Put the biscuits in the oven.  Reduce the temperature to 400 degrees.  Bake 1 4 minutes.  Cool slightly and eat!

These tasted great with butter, honey butter and apple butter.

Recipe adapted from “Cooking Light”

Maple Cornbread

Maple Cornbread on Whisk Together

Here are some photos I took with the kids at the pumpkin patch!  Love these memories!

Rombach Farm_22C Rombach Farm_47It’s chili season and chili calls for cornbread.  I love the crispiness that cornbread gets when cooked in a cast iron skillet.  This is a northern cornbread recipe – the cornbread is mildly sweet.  Not too sweet, but it’s there.  I’m not sure why southern style cornbread is not sweet.  I did read that the reason biscuits were so popular in the South is because before we distributed our food nationally, the flour that grew well in the Southern summers was soft winter wheat.  Since the soft winter wheat has less protein content, it did not do well with yeast, but did great with breads that use baking powder as leavening instead such as biscuits, quick breads, etc.

You can make this without a cast iron skillet, but I like serving from it and the fact that it keeps warm during the meal.  I served it with the homemade apple butter I made last night.

Want regular corn muffins?  Try this similar recipe here.=–

Maple Cornbreadprintable recipe here

1 cup (4.25 oz. King Arthur Flour or 5 oz. other) AP Flour
1 cup (4.75 oz.)  yellow cornmeal
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup (2 oz.) butter, melted
2 eggs

1.  Put a 10″ cast iron skillet into a cold oven.**  Turn the oven on to 425 degrees and let it preheat with the skillet inside.
2.  In a great big bowl, mix the dry stuff:  flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
3.  In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix the wet stuff:  milk, maple syrup, butter and eggs.
4.  Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff.  Stir until just barely combined.
5.  Now once the oven is preheated, remove your hot skillet.  Take a little bit of butter or a stick with the paper on one end, and move that butter all around the bottom and edges of the skillet.  It will sizzle.  That’s okay.  Once all the nooks and crannies are covered, slowly pour in the batter.
6.  Bake until lightly golden brown and the edges are brown – about 20-25 minutes.
7.  Serve warm with butter, apple butter or honey butter.

**If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a muffin pan (makes 12), or an 8×8 greased pan or 9″ round greased pan.  Do not preheat these pans.  Simply pour the batter in like a normal cake or bread recipe.

Here’s a photo of the nice, crispy bottom because I used a hot cast iron pan:

Maple Cornbread_8 on Whisk Together

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Cinnamon Oatmeal Honey Bread

No Knead Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal Bread_7 on Whisk Together

Someone keep me away from this bread.  It’s so gooey and delicious.  I wish someone made a candle that smelled like yeast bread.  Ooh, a new business perhaps?  Okay – no, not another business.  I can only handle 3 at a time here.  I don’t want a grass candle, or guava, or espresso, or… wait, no, I would like the espresso one.  But except for that, a nice yeast bread candle would be awesome.

No Knead Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal Bread_8 on Whisk Together

Here is a very yummy bread that requires no kneading.  Yup.  No kneading.  Why?  Well, because you let it rise for… 12 hours.  Yeast can do its work by kneading, or by time.  This recipe uses time.  I had a few problems with the topping, but I made it differently from the original to avoid the sugar melting problem.

No Knead Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal Bread_2 on Whisk Together

By the way, this makes amazing french toast!  I took day old pieces and sliced them sandwich width.  Then, soaked them in some half and half, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Cook in a skillet and throw on some syrup.  Yum.

Bell, the temporary cat we are taking care of, wanted to be in the photo shoot, too!

No Knead Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal Bread_6 on Whisk Together

Cinnamon Oatmeal Honey Bread
serves 12

2 and 3/4 cup bread flour, plus another 1/3-1/2 cup for later
1 cup old fashioned or quick oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1 and 1/4 tsp. instant active dry yeast (I love the Red Star Yeast Platinum)
1/2 cup honey
2 Tb.  canola oil (I used a mixture of half applesauce, half grapeseed oil)
1 and 1/2 cups + 1 Tb. cold water

1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tb. sugar

1.  In a great big bowl, mix your dry stuff:  bread flour (2 and 3/4 cup), oats, cinnamon, salt, and yeast.
2.  In a not so great big bowl, mix the wet stuff:  honey and oil.  Mix well.  Add water.  Mix well.
3.  Add wet stuff to dry stuff.  I used a spatula and stirred until it was all combined.  I sprayed a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and covered the dough overnight.
4.  Keep your plastic wrap!  Uncover the dough and say, “Good morning!”  Add about 1/3 cup of bread flour to the mixture until it is a more solid mass of dough capable of kneading.  Stir in well – you may need up to 1/2 cup.
5.  Now spray a 9×5 bread pan and place the dough in there.  Use that same plastic wrap (why waste?) and cover the bread dough in the bread pan for 1-3 hours.  The dough should rise above the pan.  Make sure it is nice and warm and cozy.

No Knead Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal Bread_1 on Whisk Together
6.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap.  Bake 30 minutes.  Cover with foil and bake another 30-40 minutes.
7.  Once you remove it from the oven, take a stick of butter and just move it over the top of the bread to get it wet.  Then combine your cinnamon and sugar topping and sprinkle over the top.  Let it sit and dissolve a little.
8.  After 15 minutes, remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool.  Store in an air tight container until it gets moldy. 🙂  You shouldn’t eat it then.

No Knead Cinnamon Honey Oatmeal Bread_9 on Whisk Together

Recipe adapted ever so slightly from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Bakery Banana Bread

Banana Bread on Whisk Together

I’ve learned my lesson many times not to make recipes from restaurant or bakery published recipes.  I think they try to make them not exactly right in the book so you still buy their product or when they scale down the recipe for home-use it does not translate.  In the past, I have tried several recipes from books at the library and on the Food Network by owners sharing their secrets only to yield disastrous results.

But this one’s different!  This one really did work!  There were 450 – 5 star reviews on Food Network.com, so I figured I couldn’t go terribly wrong.  This was the most moist banana bread ever.  The recipe really does work and follow the method exactly to get a great, moist bread.

Bakery Banana Bread
1 loaf (or 1 small loaf and 3 baby loaves.  I love using baby loaf pans!)

1 and 2/3 cups AP flour (health substitute:  1 cup AP flour and 2/3 cup whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup + 2 Tb. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil (health substitute: 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup oil)
3 and 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed (I used 3 very large bananas)
2 Tb. creme fraiche or sour cream or greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray loaf pan (or pans) with Baker’s Joy or line with parchment.
2.  Sift dry stuff:  flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
3.  In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar and eggs for 10 minutes.  Yes, 10 minutes.  I put it on medium low because I wasn’t about to do this by hand.  They should be light and fluffy at the end.
4.  Drizzle in your oil (and applesauce if using).  Mix in your bananas, creme fraiche (or sour cream or yogurt), and vanilla.
5.  Remove your whisk attachment and fold in the dry ingredients by hand until just combined.  Add walnuts and fold until it just comes together.  (I think adding the wet to the dry might be easier though.  Either way works.)
6.  Add the batter to the loaf pan and bake 45-60 minutes.  My baby loaves were done after 25 minutes.

Banana Bread_1 on Whisk Together

Recipe from Flour’s Famous Banana Bread

Lighter Buttermilk Biscuits

Lighter Biscuits_1 on Whisk Together

Book Update: I finished “From Mama’s Table to Mine” by Bobby Deen.  The recipes look delicious, but the calorie counts are terrible.  Instead of creating real servings of food, one is expected to eat a bird-size serving of something and voila!  It has less calories!  Of course it does!  Nobody should have to split a 9″ chicken pot pie between 8 people for a main course.  I still like my America’s Test Kitchen “Comfort Food Makeovers” in that regard.  Their calorie counts are a tad higher, but it is a real serving. Their 9×13 chicken pot pie feeds 8 people.  That sounds more like it.

Recipe:  I’ve tried this recipe a few times and it works really well in making a high, consistently good biscuit.  You can use AP flour, white whole wheat or whole wheat flour.  Whole wheat flour will definitely give you that wheat-y taste.  I like this method because the dough comes together easily.  Make sure you use a sharp biscuit cutter!  And don’t twist the cutter, simply stamp out the biscuits.  Twisting the biscuit may create a seal and keep the biscuit from rising well.  Keep your ingredients COLD.

Per 2.5″ biscuit: Calories: 160 (instead of 300) and 4.5 grams of fat (instead of 16) and 3 grams of saturated fat (instead of 9)

Buttermilk Biscuits
yield 12 biscuits

4 Tb. cold, unsalted butter, in 1/2″ pieces
1.5 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese (neufschatel), cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 cups (15 oz.) all-purpose flour (I’ve used whole wheat and white whole wheat, too.  White whole wheat was easier.)
1 Tb. sugar
1 Tb. baking powder (preferably aluminum free)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk

1.  Put the butter and cream cheese in the freezer for about an hour.  I did mine in 15 minutes and it was pretty solid.  Preheat the oven to 450.  Cover a cookie sheet with silicone or parchment paper.

2.  In the food processor:  pulse your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt a few times to combine.  Add the frozen butter and cream cheese.  Pulse about 15 times.  Dump the mixture into a great big bowl.

3.  Pour in your buttermilk and stir with a spatula a few times to make a dough.  Knead the dough on a floured surface about 8-10 times.  It should come together towards the end.  Flatten this out into a disk about 3/4″ thick.  Cut your biscuits with a biscuit cutter.  I used a medium and large cutter.

4.  Bring your scraps together and knead to make more biscuits and repeat using the rest of the dough.  Put the biscuits about 1″ apart or more.  Bake for 5 minutes.  THEN, drop the temperature to 400 degrees and bake another 12-15 minutes.  Cool and eat.

Then … you can make a sandwich!

Lighter Biscuits_3 on Whisk Together

Lighter Biscuits on Whisk Together

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Oatmeal Walnut Bread

oatmeal bread_1cr

Good morning!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I have been busy freezing cookies for my cookie boxes.  It is so nice cookies freeze great!!  Last year, I froze the dough and did a baking frenzy, but this seems a lot easier.  I can’t freeze my fudge, marshmallows or caramel corn though.

This recipe came with my free packet of Platinum Red Star Yeast.  It was really easy to work with and gave directions for making it by hand.  So, naturally I just threw the ingredients in the bread machine instead and let it do the work.  The bread was delicious with dinner and a great toaster bread as well.  Just a good plain bread to add to a collection of homemade breads.

Oatmeal Walnut Bread
1 loaf – 9″x5″

1 cup water
2 Tb. vegetable or canola oi
4 Tb. molasses
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oatmeal (plus a little extra for decoration)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
2 and 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (it works without them too)

1.  Place ingredients in the bread machine per the manual.  For my machine, I put all the liquid ingredients in first at a warm temperature.  Then, add the dry stuff: salt, flour, but NOT the nuts.  Finally, poke a hole in the top of the flour heap and put the yeast in there.
2.  At this point you could put your bread machine on normal/medium crust OR the bread cycle and finish the bread in the oven.  Just be sure to add the walnuts 5 minutes before the end of the kneading cycle.
3.  If doing the oven method:  Place dough in a greased loaf pan and cover until ripe.  (You can do this by poking the dough and if it leaves a slight indent, it is ripe.)
4.  Brush the loaf with 1 egg and 1 Tb. water.  Sprinkle with oatmeal.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Stand Mixer Method:  Combine yeast, 1 cup bread flour, salt, oatmeal and wet ingredients with the paddle for 4 minutes on medium.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and knead the whole wheat flour, walnuts and remaining bread flour to make a firm dough.  Knead 5-7 minutes.  Cover and rise.  Punch and shape onto a cookie sheet.  Cover and rise.  Brush the loaf with 1 egg and 1 Tb. water.  Sprinkle with oatmeal.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Recipe from Red Star Yeast

Apple Butter Banana Bread

Instead of using oil, I try to find alternate methods for moisture in quick breads.  Applesauce is fine, but doesn’t lend a ton of flavor.  However, this apple butter banana bread does hit the spot!  Not as fattening as a full stick of butter, this bread is quick and full of banana as well as a healthy dose of apple butter.  I get no sugar added apple butter from the co-op which is made by a farm family.  I believe they sell apple butter in the megamarts as well, and it is really popular around the fall.  But you can preserve it for year round!

It takes me way more than $2.75 to make a half pint of apple butter, so I always just buy it.

Even if you have your favorite go-to recipe, try this technique for the top of your banana bread!  It is so pretty!

Apple Butter Banana Bread
yield one loaf

1 and 1/2 cups AP flour
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute like Splenda)
1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (2), the browner the more banana flavor
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup canola oil or applesauce

1 banana, sliced in 1/4″ slices
2 tsp. sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan with shortening or spray with Baker’s Joy.
2.  In large bowl, mix the dry stuff: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
3.  In smaller bowl, mix the wet stuff:  eggs, sugar, bananas, apple butter and oil or applesauce.
4.  Add wet stuff to the dry stuff and stir until just combined.  Pour into pan.
5.  Shingle banana slices on top of loaf in 2 rows, leaving 1.5″ wide space down the center.  Sprinkle sugar on top


6.  Bake 45-50 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test and comes out clean.  Cool slightly and eat.  Or Cool completely and freeze in a ziplock bag with all the air sucked out (I do this with a straw!)

Recipe from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and topping idea from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Have your chocolate and vegetables too!  (Well, it is a squash… so maybe it is actually a fruit?)  The kids NEVER ever noticed there was zucchini in this bread and they ate the entire loaf!  Well, it isn’t the most healthiest thing for you, but if you are going to eat something it might as well taste good and use up my produce as well.  I had quite a few zucchinis in my produce basket this time around, so I had to make this.  Even if it tastes great  — if Maddox can see the green, then he won’t eat it.

I might be MIA a little while this week.  Our show, “South Pacific”, is this Friday and Saturday.  We have rehearsal every single night.  And to top it all off, I chair the Homeowners Association meeting that same Saturday morning that we do two shows.  Then after the two shows, we clean the church for Sunday morning.  Now if I can hire two people to play me this week, I think we will be good.  Casting a Stay at Home mom and HOA director begins now!

**Update**  The Dark Hershey cocoa really works the best here.  I tried subbing applesauce for oil and it worked great.  I subbed white whole wheat flour for the AP flour and it still worked great.  You just can’t mess this recipe up!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
yield 1 loaf or 18 muffins or 48 mini muffins

2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola)
1/2 cup brown sugar (3.5 oz.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa (Hershey’s Dark Cocoa works awesome here. )
1 and 2/3 cup AP flour
2 cups shredded zucchini (8oz.) (1 large zucchini did the trick for me)
6 oz. chocolate chips (1 cup)

1.  Preheat to 350.
2.  In a great big bowl:  whisk the eggs, honey, and oil together.
3.  Add brown sugar, vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour.  Mix until combined.
4.  Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  It will be very very thick.  That’s okay!
5.  Bake 60-75 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes then flip onto a rack to continue to cool.

These make great muffins and mini muffins.  Shorten the time to bake dramatically – minis took about 16 minutes and regular muffins took 20 minutes.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Linked up to skiptomylou.org

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