This is another monthly installment about our adventures in baking all our own bread products.
I’m sure I don’t say this often enough, but my wife is an excellent cook. And when it comes to baking, she really shines. She was baking breads, biscotti, cookies, and desserts long before we met. These days I’m the lucky guy that gets to help her eat those goodies! This month she went on a Scone Baking Adventure, testing recipes to help decide what to make to take to an upcoming garden club meeting.
I guess it’s possible that some of the people reading this blog might actually wind up eating some of the scones she will make. If so, you are in for a real treat! I know, because I was part of the exclusive taste-testing panel. If not, you’ll just have to take my word for how yummy they were.
The winner of the scone taste-off was the Cherry and Almond Scones from a King Arthur recipe. It was very tasty, but then I enjoyed all of the scones she made. I had to kick up the exercise level a notch to work off all of them I ate! She let me snag her images of the scones so I didn’t have to take photos myself.
My feature effort for April was a batch of Golden Greek Hot Cross Buns I made on Good Friday. This was a recipe from the Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine book. The rolls were made from an enriched dough that included white flour, egg, butter, cinnamon, orange juice, orange peel and golden raisins. I used the bread machine dough cycle to make the dough, which made it super easy. After the dough cycle was done, I kneaded in the raisins by hand.
After baking, the rolls were drizzled with a powdered sugar and orange juice glaze to make the cross shape. Eaten hot from the oven, they were a real treat. I’ve never made these before, and the mild citrus taste from the orange juice and peel was better than some commercially made ones I’ve tasted that were much stronger with the citrus. Only problem is that I went around singing this song for several days after eating these!
The first bread I made in April was this Olive Spelt Bread from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (HBinFive). My wife made this bread last year, and shaped it into rolls. We loved it then, and I wanted to give it a try in a free-standing loaf. I made a half batch of the no-knead recipe and formed it into two boule shapes.
With a steam treatment in the oven, the loaves formed a nice crusty exterior, while the inside stayed moist and flavorful. I used a mix of black and green olives this time. The recipe calls for plain yogurt, which gives the bread a nice tangy flavor. Like most breads, it freezes well, and the leftover slices make a great olive-flavored crostini. It’s not a bread I want every day, but it’s easy to make and tasty enough to make time and time again.
I made another batch of Moomie’s Famous Burger Buns this month too. Half of them were topped with a King Arthur Everything Bread and Bagel topping that includes dried onion, garlic, poppy and sesame seeds. The other half was topped with some white sesame seeds.
Before baking I brush the tops with an egg white and water glaze, then sprinkle with the toppings. These hamburger buns are a great way to get more whole grains in your family’s diet, and they freeze beautifully for use later.
I made Whole Meal Bread (again) from Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine. We love this bread, but the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of wheat gluten, which is a lot! The usual guideline is to use one tablespoon of the gluten per cup of flour, which would make for three tbsp. for this recipe. The gluten gives the loaves a great lift, but it makes the bread a little too light for my tastes. I am going to start developing our own whole grain bread recipe, which will of course involve much testing and tasting. It’s a thankless job and we get to do it!
My wife made Cracked Wheat grissini this month, and I made another batch of the chocolate chip banana bread and took it in to the kitchen where I volunteer. Everyone there seems to enjoy it, and I enjoy making things to share with others. I also made a double batch of pita bread (one batch of whole wheat and the other one of spelt).
That’s the April update on what’s been baking here at Happy Acres. I’ll be back next month with another update. Until then, I hope you enjoyed reading about our breads!