Friday, February 27, 2009

Sourdough Waffles

When I was much younger, had anyone ever told me I would frequently make
sourdough pancakes , I would have laughed painfully hard and started... snorting. Not at all lady like. Then I probably would have giggled really small Elmo from Sesame Street "tee hee's" for a few hours afterward. It's a good thing I'm not on Sesame Street. I'd have a hoot with those fuzzy little guys, especially the Swedish chef...although I think he was with the Muppet Show. I digress. I don't laugh like that anymore (at least at the idea of sourdough pancakes or waffles).

A couple of people have asked for my sourdough waffle recipe. So, here it its : sourdough pancakes . For the waffles, I omitted the orange zest time. I also added 1 T of cinnamon. Other than that, it is the exact same recipe. If you want to do whole grain wheat. Remember to use soft wheat if you grind your own flour. Did you miss that one? :Flour making day...flour power. If you don't grind your own flour...use a whole grain cake flour, you will have much fluffier pancakes. All purpose will work, just be sure not to over mix.

I could have just said "use the sourdough pancake recipe for waffles as well as pancakes", and not done the pictures. I was hoping however that the leaning tower of waffles would inspire.

Toaster waffles: Once these are made and cooled, they can be laid out on a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap and frozen. Transfer the frozen waffles to a gallon size freezer bag, and there it is. Toaster waffles for really cheap! Healthy. Made with love. Yipeee!

IHOP has nothing on these bad boys, right?!

There you go.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hot Cocoa Cream Pie

Are there really words to go with that picture of chocolate cream pi?. There ought to be about 3 minutes of uninterrupted silence to really pay homage to such a pie.

I can't wait that long. Sorry. Lisa, the same one who sent the picture of the bread ( Lisa's Bread! )...asked me a while back about this chocolate pie. I make it out of dry hot cocoa mix that we get at our church's cannery. It can also be made with chocolate milk, but I love how rich and evil-creamy it tastes made from the dry milk powder...and I'm really picky. In Arizona, we can use hot cocoa about 3 weeks out of the year, so what do I do with all the rest of my mix?...I put it in my pie hole. I thought it was high time to post the actual blog entry so Lisa would stop calling me! Do you blame her?!

Hot Cocoa Cream Pie

2 9 inch prepared pie crusts (Here's my Pie crust recipe.)

2 cups cannery hot cocoa mix (you can use any hot cocoa mix you want...measured 2 cups non sugar free)...sugar free, use enough to make 6 cups of
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
6 cups water
1 tsp double strength vanilla
1 tsp micro plane grated orange zest
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (of your choice...oh dear...peanut butter chips would be good huh?)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a pie pan with pastry dough or use the frozen ones, I don't care. I'm not eating your pie...wait that came out wrong. I didn't mean I wouldn't eat your pie if you used frozen ones. I would eat any pie any day of the week. Please refrain from any words of wisdom about my dairy-air.

Prick a couple holes in the crust with a fork all over to help it bake up really crispy. I don't even tolerate soggy pie crust. Yikes. Ask me how I keep it crispy with cream filling.

Ask me. I mean it...don't forget to ask me.

Bake it for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn down your oven to "warm".

Now...for the filling.
Combine the cocoa mix and the flour in a 3 quart sauce pan. Turn the stove on to medium heat. With a whisk, slowly add the water 2 cups at a time being sure to whisk vigorously. When it's combined add the butter to melt while the mixture thickens. If you're smart, you'll find a little cutie to whisk for you so you can take pictures for your blog. Look out for band-aids...

I sense a young Evil Genius in training. Yes. Yes I do think this grin says it all. Welcome to the Evil Think Tank. This is my son Face (that may not be the name we gave him in the hospital, but it is the one that has stuck to my food blog).

This cooked filling will need to be stirred constantly so it doesn't scorch (15-20 minutes). My son didn't mind. I'm really a good mom and stood there the whole time. It did start to bubble pretty well near the end so I took him off the counter. Just so nobody calls CPS. Now, be sure to remove the pan from the burner completely. Add the vanilla, orange zest and nutmeg. The filling needs to cool a bit. So...let's look at that crust.

Thank you for remembering to ask how I keep my crust from getting soggy. It's chocolate. I've said it before and I'll say it again...chocolate could cause world peace. I may be confused as to how to spell peace. Is it Piece of pie or peace of pie? I do know the answer. I'm sure my High School English teacher would be proud. Will the rest of you at least try to look impressed?!

This will impress anyone...right?

Divide the chocolate chips between the two pie crusts. Put those pie crusts back into the warm oven for 2-3 minutes and then spread out the chocolate like this...

I know it's painful to watch:

That chocolate barrier will act like a fat brown parka and keep the moisture from getting that flaky crust all mushy and nasty. Oh I do love a crispy crust. Did I mention that already? So, let it cool about 15 minutes. I wish I had chocolate galoshes to go with that semi-sweet parka. I would have worn it to the prom. Whoa. I think I just figured out why I never got asked to prom!

I think I also may have been pretty intimidating to the boys with a my bow staff skills. Not to mention my wicked chocolate shaving skills... (this picture is going on Tara's kitchen to the shadow box of cocoa beans).

Pour the slightly cooled filling into the pie crusts. Chill in the fridge about 30 minutes. Top with shaved chocolate.

I happen to adore it with coconut.

Here's what it looks like cooled and sliced. Very rich. Very evil. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.
There you go.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sprouted Wheat Bread Troubleshooting part 2

In case you missed the whole story on Sprouted Wheat bread...visit the original tutorial:  Sprouted Wheat bread tutorial

The saga continues. Sprouted bread questions and answers. Starting with one of my lifelong friends. Shellee's recent problem, among other things... "My sprouts smell like stinky socks". My answer to need to wash your socks more. Head shake. Sprouts I mean. Rinse them a lot more and make sure they are in a colander out of the water and drained. Don't put them in a sealed container when sprouting, just cover them with a damp cloth...unless you are rinsing them 4-5 times a day.

Some more questions on sprouted bread done with a meat grinder (food processor doesn't require additional kneading but the meat grinder will!)

Angela from Adventures in Self Reliance . Here is what she wrote...

."Hi Tess, I tried the bread again, running it through the grinder 2 times, and the texture was better, it raised better, I buttered the top so it browned and looked nice, but the inside was still kind of gummy. Not so bad that we’re feeding it to the dog this time, but still not bread texture. So here’s my question now—are you using red or white wheat? I’m using white—would that make a difference? I’m running out of ideas as to why it does this to me. The only other things I can think of are altitude, humidity, etc, but can’t see those having that much effect on the finished product."

Here's my response...though I've added a little more to this post than her email response as I've thought about it:
"It sounds like you are making progress! That's a relief! It took me about 5 batches before I felt like it was a real bread texture. It is definitely an art. Don't give up. It sounds like you are getting close. Bread is actually very affected by the altitude, as well as the temperatures throughout the dough making process.

What temperature is your dough when it is rising? It needs to be right around 85-90 degrees in the dough (which you can measure with a meat thermometer or just poke with your finger) and it shouldn't feel cool at all. Like a baby bottle. If it is cold in your home (under 75 degrees) that will affect the rising time (usually adds about an hour if it's under 70 degrees). This temperature will give the yeast an opportunity to work it's magic on the gluten strands. They will become more elastic, stronger, and give your bread a better texture. Strong gluten will hold the carbon dioxide produced during the raising, adding a light texture that you want. I have been known to put the dough in the fridge for the duration of the raise because I really want that yeast to go through a long full fermentation process. It just gives you better bread.

However if you don't want to wait for the longer fermentation...I would add 2 tsp more yeast if you are under 2000 feet. It is okay to add a little more yeast, but don't go crazy. I would much rather have the yeast get more time to work on the gluten, than have a shorter raise from more yeast. Plus, adding too much more yeast will give your bread a very strong "yeasty" flavor.

I am using hard white wheat, which will also have a bearing. If you have soft wheat, you will need hard wheat (red or white both work...I prefer white for the flavor), which has a higher protein content--the only flour I recommend for bread. As for humidity, it won't have much of a bearing, except in flour storage. Not a factor here. So, my suggestions are add 2 tsp more yeast, and check your temperatures when the dough is rising. If the texture of the bread dough is right that is the first huge step. I am certain that the twice though with the fine blade attachment on the Kitchen Aid is perfect.

Also, are you kneading it at all after your grind it, or are you just putting it into a ball and letting it raise? It does require about 5 minutes of vigorous hand kneading - or 5-7 minutes speed 2 in your kitchen-aid. I use a little water on the counter but you CAN add a little flour if you want. I'm not 100% against it at all. The kneading will help develop proper gluten that will help the dough to rise and hold the air as it rises. This is very important. Another option...It is also possible to use the 3 cups of wheat (single loaf recipe). Sprout and grind it as usual. Then add 3 cups whole wheat bread flour 1 1/2 cups water and same amount of yeast and honey as for the 2 loaf batch, then knead it. It will be lighter but also get all that great texture from the whole grains. Keep going. I know you will find your niche!"

Photo help...

This is sprouted wheat added flour. The dough will be very moist!

When kneaded correctly, there will appear to be a wad of hair or something in the bowl. Don't's not your cat! (Ummm...better look for her just in case...) Those strings are GOOD! That is the gluten developed correctly! See the strings? It's like a really good orchestra! It's just not so good without the strings! It can still make music, but won't raise your spirits as much. Cool?

Again, this is a very moist dough. Without added fat it will need to be moist at this point, or the bread will get very dry after a couple of days on the counter. If however, it still seems like it is very wet...don't add any water at all to the sprouts! Just the yeast, honey and salt. This could be a problem caused by putting sprouts through the meat grinder that aren't completely drained. Make sure there isn't a lot of added water that you aren't expecting or your dough will be tooo wet.

Forming the dough into a ball and covering it before the first raise, it will look like this:
(I did grind up some raisins in there, so you may not have the same dark flecks.)

Check the temperature too. If it's hotter than 90 degrees, chill it for about 20 minutes. Again, this will give the yeast a good long amount of time to work it's magic on the gluten.

This is what the dough looked like after 1 and 1/2 hours at 85 degrees internal temperature. The gluten will be getting really strong. I punched it down and rounded it:

It looks really white huh?! That is the gluten all stretched out. It will look white with some chunks of bran and maybe an occasional grain of wheat artistically placed on the surface. Actually that little wheat guy jumped out on it's own! Again, there is NO flour in this dough. The white is the protein in the wheat called gluten.

So the assignment is to try it again. Getting the grind right and the kneading right will make a huge difference. Hopefully that will give a lot of you some troubleshooting answers!

There you go. Please feel free to ask any more questions and I will do my best to put up answers for you. I love your adventurous spirits!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Dill Cornbread Muffins

Can I just say I love cornbread ? I do. I wish I could eat it everyday. These cornbread muffins we had with some lovely French Onion Chowder and Cheese... It was a perfect fit. In case you didn't get the first two hints...the recipe for these is here : cornbread . For muffins, use a half recipe. cup flour instead of two...

Instead of sour milk or buttermilk, I used 1 cup prepared dill dip. Sue me.

I stopped myself from smearing this all over my face, despite the natural beauty it would have enhanced. That lactic acid alone is worth gobbing on your's the clumps of onion I'm not so sure about. I mean really, what if a chunk got caught in my ear canal. That would defeat the whole purpose of the beauty scrub, right? Wait, why would anything get caught in my ear canal if I'm rubbing it on my face?! That was totally random.

Then I added 1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon and 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese.

Why is it when I say or type bacon, I oink out loud. I also snort when I laugh sometimes. Which has nothing to do with muffins...

Mix just until combined, like the cornbread recipe states. Scoop into 12 muffin cups, lined with cupcake papers if you'd like. Bake 425 degrees, 12-15 minutes. Remove from pan. Put them in a lovely basket lined with a crisp clean kitchen towel...not one your kids have used to wash the turtle.

If you are not a cutsie chick or guy then just eat them standing up in the kitchen slathered in drippy butter. I do mean slather the muffins, not yourself. I see how that first sentence could be totally misunderstood.
I'm not checking to see if you present them in a decorative manner. Do what you want!

Dig in.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sprouted Wheat bread troubleshooting

A few days ago I did sprouted wheat bread with the fine attachment on my Kitchen Aid, running it through only once. This is the picture. It is pretty course and a bit heavy. I ate it. I didn't mind the hearty grains...but it wasn't as light as the hand ground dough that I always ran through twice, or the dough that I made in the food processor. It has been a grand new adventure having the machine grinder. Miss the first posting? sprouted wheat bread with a meat grinder . I figured a few new things out today.

First however...
I have to do a shout out to one of my peeps. Her blog is called Adventures in Self Reliance. Love ya Angela! An adventurous soul and kindred spirit in so many ways! She has been very good about writing me and getting advice on her sprouted wheat bread. This time she sent me pictures and wanted help trouble shooting. This next picture is my sprouted wheat bread from today. Run through the fine attachment for my meat grinder with the Kitchen Aid twice. I have decided that I will forever run it through twice, even though one of my other wonderful readers runs hers through only once, I think either my machine is different, or I haven't been running it through with the speed setting fast enough.

So...this is what it should look like. Texture is light and fluffy without huge hunks of wheat in there. They look more like nuts. I did grind the raisins with this one too, and I may forever do it that way. Sorry Tara. I like raisins.

The slices should be a reasonable bread thickness...

The raisins help it brown a little better, but I also have been spreading a little butter or oil over the top before baking.

These are Angela's pictures...hopefully she doesn't mind:

This dough has gone through the Kitchen aid fine attachment only once. We know her sprouting time was right because the wheat berries didn't taste sweet.

I'm adding a note here that I hesitate to do, only because so many people are bent on having the sprouts. It is possible to make this bread with a higher level of success if you kill the sprouting action by soaking the wheat in water that is boiling hot (the whole soaking bowl in the microwave for 5 minutes works great). I don't do it very often, but if you are finding it particularly difficult to get the timing right on the sprouts...this will give you a much better result. Soaked 12-24 hours then ground and made into dough. You can't call it sprouted bread, but you can call it whole grain (it's more of a "mash" than a sprout...technical stuff, huh?)

Do you see the large kernels of wheat? When it is ground correctly, it will not look that dense. I will personally look dense...but it's just a phase. Really.

Angela's other main concern was that the dough didn't brown. This dough is very lean. There is no added fat whatsoever. That, along with the low sugar content, does not contribute to a very brown crust. It helps to give it that light spread of butter/oil on top before baking.

This is what the top of her bread looked like:

The other thing to look at is the pan size and be sure it is 8 inches by 4 inches. Most importantly for these loaves as the larger pans will give too far a stretch and make it really difficult to get a good shaped loaf. It should curve nicely, not be totally flat (Oh I do so want to comment on my sister's chest right now...)
Good luck Angela! Keep me posted on your continued efforts...and thank you again for the pictures that will help many others get a better idea of what to do!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Classic Banana Bread

I've had a few requests for my low fat banana bread recipe. It isn't actually my own invention, but one I found quite by accident in the trusty old Fannie Farmer Cookbook (by Marion Cunningham...yea, like on "Happy Days"). It always makes a nice dense down right wholesome banana bread. Take a deep breath. Here it is.

Not so classic that I add chocolate chips to my banana bread. People usually add nuts. I say...there are enough nuts in this world! Then again, have I ever been normal? Can't think of one occasion I have fit into that category. Hallelujah! Especially if chocolate is involved.

Refrain from licking your computer screen. No, it's not scratch and sniff either (Olivia).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Before you turn it on, check to make sure you didn't shove any dirty dishes in there the last time company came by unexpectedly. I've never done that.

Here's what you need:
3 ripe bananas (now around my house the only bananas laying around get eaten in 10 minutes, so we just use the bananas even if they are really non-ripe...sorry Marion).
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour (all purpose or cake flour are best for this bread to be light and cake-like)
3/4 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or nuts...for the wack-o-nut-cases out there.(Own it. You know who you are!)

Mash the bananas really nice. It will be very important to get good fork prints.

Look what Face did when I said that...

Yea. Classic. "Mom you are insane". I can own that, right? To further prove this point of insanity...whenever I squash bananas I have to sing the song from the Lion King where the crazy baboon sings "la la la la squashed banaaanaaa..." Pretty sure I am the village idiot?

Okay. Pour the bananas into a shiny bowl with the cracked eggs (and crack pots...) What?
You don't have a yellow gingham table cloth for the perfect country banana bread photo op?

Oooo. Yellooooow.

In a separate bowl, measure the flour, salt, baking soda...

And the sugar...

Mix them up pretty good so you don't get a glob of baking soda that ends up in one spot and of course in the only slice your Mother-in-law eats...and she thinks you are a horrible cook...and you blame me. Most important you don't blame me. Geesh.

Mix the egg and banana really, really, really well. Really.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones along with the vanilla and cinnamon.

Here is the kicker. Brace yourself. Mix it just until the flour is moist. Not whipping it like a bad old boyfriend. We are all about peace, love, and happiness here. Seriously, this bread will treat you right if you go easy on it. Especially since we don't have any fat in there, it will be really easy for the protein to hook up. Fat coats proteins so they won't connect and the strands will be short...and tender cake like. Same concept applies for pancakes, most muffins, and biscuits.

Gently and softly as a dove fold in the food that will eventually bring about world peace...sing with me now..."There's a land that I see where the children are free"...aaaaahhhh.

In a LAND where the children are free...

Feel free to lightly oil the 8 inch by 4 inch loaf pan, and then sprinkle some flour on there. No flour power puns. no. no. no.

What batter you haven't eaten, put in the pan.

Here's a trick I learned working for a major food service bakery in Salt Lake City. We would make deck ovens full of these things and my mentor, Arnie, would insist on this decorative trick. I still can't make banana bread any other way. Here's what I do...
Lightly coat the top of the batter with a little butter. Lightly.

Then take a metal spatula and cut all the way through the loaf of batter the entire length of the loaf. This forces the bread to break in a perfectly uniform way as it bakes.


Place bread in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out fairly clean. Hard to tell when the chocolate chips start to melt. Remove from the pan to a rack. Serve still warm or cooled...if it makes it that long. Because it is so low fat, be sure to wrap tightly when cooled to preserve the moist texture.
There you go.

Perfect Patsy's Cookies

This may be one of my most random postings. It's about life and perceptions. I know a woman. Well, I actually know more women than one. I know one woman in particular who makes these cookies. I had to post her cookies. Every year, without fail, I can count on seeing these beautiful flawless wonders. They are always perfect. Not just good enough looking...immaculately mathematically and scientifically perfect. I bet if I measured with a ruler, they would all be exactly the same in every dimension. I bring this up because this particular photo I took of a plate of cookies that showed up at my youngest son's Birthday party. My mother in law laughingly said that she had made them. She knows she's not a cookie maker. We are all good with that. Just by looking we knew where they came from.

The woman responsible for these wonders of nature is named Patsy. She has never been seen in pants. Nobody I know has ever seen her sporting anything close to a pair of slacks. She always has make-up on and her hair... perfect. In the old neighborhood, I remember seeing Patsy outside in summer, gardening...always in a dress. Classic. She's just in that generation that wore dresses everyday and that's just how she lives. In a lot of ways I admire it. I have a lot of respect for her as a person of integrity and love. So not only are her heart cookies perfect, but people feel it in other ways too. She has perfect love for everyone who meets her. I think that is my random point. There is a certain group of men and women who are living lives of quiet desperation. Trying to hold up a perfect outward image, while inside they don't have hearts of love and integrity. They have beautiful cookies...but wretched hearts. They treat perfect strangers with more dignity and respect than they do the people in the walls of their own home.

So here's the challenge for me. Making Perfect Patsy's cookies. Cookies that match the heart one has inside. It's being a good cookie all the way through, not iced salt dough. For me, It's not about impeccable frosting and's about the woman behind the cookie dough. Can she stand the test?. Can her children grow up and say she was the same at home as she was in public? That is the cookie maker I strive to be. For the record, I'm not perfect. Not even close. I am trying harder everyday. Oh, and one more thing for the a Christian, I imagine that one day the ultimate test of my womanhood won't even include will include how well I loved others and lead others to Him. Will my heart match His? Not a cookie heart, but perhaps a complete duplicate. Perfect with love. So, there you go.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Raisin Sprouted Wheat Bread

I tried something a little different today with the sprouted wheat bread, and liked it so much I wanted to shout it out to the world. If you haven't ever seen a giant mountain of sprouted wheat bread dough with ground up raisins, well feast your eyes on this...

If I didn't know it was going to turn out like the top picture, I would probably be really, really, really grossed out. Kinda looks know, I won't even say what I'm thinking. That way you are totally non-grossed out. Did you miss the tutorial on sprouted wheat bread using only the grains of wheat and no flour? Here's the link:
sprouted wheat bread with a meat grinder

I added 2 cups of dark Thompson raisins to the grinder as the wheat was going through. Once it was kneaded and fermented the dough took on a very nice fruity undertone. It wasn't as pronounced as I thought it would be, but that was perfect. The pure wheat taste was there and the fruit just really enhanced that natural nutty goodness. Yea, fruit enhances MY natural nutty goodness too. I don't know a more technical way to describe it. My nuttiness that is...

I finally got my own meat grinder attachment for my beautiful new Kitchen Aid that Ace got me for Christmas. Still get giddy every time I look at it. It's the simple things in life, really.

Oh my land. Speaking of getting goofy giddy over simple things...I gasped with joy when I saw this dough after I had kneaded it for a while. Are ya' giddy yet?

If that doesn't do anything for you...than this one definitely won't...

To the rest of the purist artist out there, I think we can all agree that it looks totally wholesome and amazing. Right? That being said, I hope you will try it. The fruit didn't affect the raising or baking time either. Omit the honey in the original recipe or it will be totally sweet. Do what you want. The only thing I may investigate further with this new meat grinder is running the dough through the fine attachment twice instead of once. The dough was a lot heavier and there where a lot of whole grains left. It's an adventure everyday isn't it?
There you go.