bread

Fresh burger buns

I have always bought burger buns from my grocer’s bakery. We don’t often have burgers but when we do we do it the easy way. What’s not to like? It’s convenient to purchase ready made breads. Since I’ve made the decision to eat cleaner I’ve been learning how to make more of what we eat at home. When you make things from scratch you know exactly what is in your food. You also know that your food is free of any unpronounceable preservatives etc. I also happen to enjoy cooking from scratch, but whatever the reason you decide to make them these buns are delicious.

I found this  recipe by Chef John on Allrecipes.com and since I had already made another one of his bread recipes I decided I couldn’t go wrong.  I highly recommend that you try this recipe. For a complete list of ingredients, instructions and a video demonstration click here.

I don’t really have much else to say. This recipe makes eight generously sized buns. You could easily get ten buns out of it. In order to get equally sized buns I weighed the dough and figured out how much each of them should weigh. They are best the day you bake them but they will keep for a day or two in a zip bag.

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My taste tester!

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Also good in a BLT.

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Delicious Banana Bread

There’s nothing worse than having food go to waste and in an effort to avoid doing just that I found myself in the lucky predicament of needing to use up some bananas. Naturally, I made some banana bread.

Joy of Baking has what I consider to be the best library of recipes around. Coupled with the Youtube videos demonstrating most of them and you have a fabulous resource. Stephanie Jaworski has the grace and poise of an experienced cook and she makes you feel like you can do it too. Even though she makes it all look effortless don’t be fooled, she has serious skills.

The banana bread recipe I used is from her website and you can find it here. 

I was all out of nuts so I omitted those and I sprinkled some oats on top of one of the loaves. I liked the oats on top, it added some nice texture.

I baked the loaves in paper molds. These were smaller than a regular loaf pan which is exactly what I wanted. These are great for gift giving as they are greaseproof and the paper is a pretty brown with gold print. I picked these up from Sur la Table for 75 cents each.

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Making bread

The smell of freshly baked bread is one of those things that is universally appealing. I have been wanting to try my hand at making bread for a while but was very intimidated by the whole proofing of yeast thing. My first foray into bread making was pizza dough. I was moderately successful with that. If you look up bread recipes you will find tons of them. I have found that not all recipes provide the same amount of detail and therefore a novice bread maker might run into some errors that could easily avoided. Before I make anything for the first time I like to do my research. I read various recipes from different sources because I find that each recipe can provide me with important tips and tricks that another might leave out.

The recipe I used is from i heart nap time (a cute title that I wish I had come up with!) but I also referred to this recipe from Brown eyed Baker. My recipe is a slightly altered version of these.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 TB sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 TB salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (the original recipe called for evaporated milk but I had none)
  • 5-7 cups of bread flour, white or wheat will work too (can use more if needed)
  • oil for coating the bowl once the dough is ready to rise

 

Directions:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven. This is where you will leave the dough to rise. You can also set it next to a window but I found that this is a pretty fool proof method of ensuring the environment is warm enough for the dough to rise.
  2. Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the warm water (not too hot) over the yeast mixture and let it sit for 15-20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.
  3. Combine melted butter, sugar, milk and salt into a large mixing bowl. When your yeast mixture is ready add them together and mix.
  4. If you are using a stand mixer put on your bread hook and then pour in 3 cups of flour. If not you can stir/kneed it as well. Then add in 1 cup of flour at a time and mix. When you get to 5 cups of flour in the bowl, add in 1/2 cup more of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides. You’ll know it’s ready when your fingers no longer stick to the dough.
  5. Cover the ball of dough and sides of the bowl with oil and cover the bowl with a warm towel. Set in your warmed oven to rise (approx 1.5 hours). When it has risen over the bowl punch it down and place on a floured surface.
  6. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Cut dough into two pieces and roll them out into a rectangle. Roll the dough up and place into 2 greased bread pans.
  8. Let the bread rise again, and when it looks like a good loaf of bread place them in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. When the bread is done remove onto a cooling rack.
  9. Enjoy!

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