Sunday, November 23, 2008

Award-Winning Wheat Bread

Yep, it really did win an award. This bread won 1st place in our Stake Preparedness Cook-Off. It makes great rolls, bread, pizza, cinnamon rolls, and breadsticks. It's light, delicious, and nutritious. You'll love it. Give it a try!

Whole Wheat Bread
(Yield: 3 large loaves. You can split the recipe in half or third if you don’t need that much bread. Also makes awesome rolls, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks, etc. Or better yet, make the whole batch and share some! Dough freezes well in Ziploc freezer bags. Just freeze before rising, remove from freezer a few hours before you’re ready to bake it, let it rise, and you have fresh bread.)

3 cups warm water (110 to 120 degrees)
3 Tbsp Instant Active Dry Yeast
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
2/3 Cup Honey
6 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (if you grind it yourself, you need to add 1 Tbsp Wheat Gluten per cup of Whole Wheat Flour)
1-3 Cups All-Purpose or Bread Flour

You can make this by hand, or you can use your Bosch or KitchenAid with the dough hook. Pour warm water into large bowl, sprinkle yeast on top of water, add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Let stand for 1 to 5 minutes, to make sure that yeast is active and bubbling. If yeast does not rise or bubble after 5 minutes, discard and start again or use dough for breadsticks or pizza dough. Add salt, olive oil, and honey to yeast mixture. Stir well. Add 6 cups whole wheat flour (and gluten, if you need it) to yeast mixture. Stir until combined. Add all-purpose or bread flour ½ cup at a time until dough is smooth and elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This dough should not be hard to knead. Remove from bowl and knead (or use mixer to knead for 3-5 minutes). Shape into loaves, rolls, or roll out for cinnamon rolls or breadsticks. Put in greased pan (or use stoneware, my personal favorite). Let rise until double in size. Bake loaves at 350 degrees for 40-55 minutes, depending on size of loaves. If baking in a convection oven, bake loaves for 25 minutes. Bake rolls for 15+ minutes (depending on size of rolls). Bake pizzas at 500 degrees for 10 minutes (I’ve only tried this in a convection oven, so I don’t know how it works in a standard oven).

Baked French Toast and Challah Bread

Hey All!
Here's one of my favorites. I just remembered it because I'm making it today.

Oven-Baked French Toast
Everyday Food Magazine, adapted by Avalie
4 Large Eggs
1 and 1/2 cups milk (can use church cannery dried milk reconstituted)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
4 thick slices challah bread or other egg bread (recipe for Challah bread below)
2 Tbsp melted butter

In a 9x13 baking dish, whisk together eggs, milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt.
Arrange bread in dish in a single layer; let soak 15 minutes in refrigerator.
Turn bread over; cover, and refrigerate until most of the liquid is absorbed, at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350.
Brush a rimmed baking sheet (I like stoneware better) with butter.
With a spatula, carefully transfer soaked bread to sheet.
Bake until French toast is set in center and lightly browned on the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve or cool and freeze in ziploc freezer bags.

To reheat frozen French toast, heat in microwave or toaster oven until warmed through. Serve with syrup, powdered sugar, or jam. SO TASTY! This is as fast as Eggo Waffles to reheat from frozen. Way better for you, and WAY better tasting (not to mention very cheap to make!) I make one or two batches of Challah Bread, and it makes LOADS of French toast. I just cook up a few dozen pieces, then freeze them. My family can help themselves to a great meal out of the freezer whenever they want it!

Challah Bread (we use it for French Toast)
Handmade Breads by Kathy Summers --this is an AWESOME BOOK! (Ordering info: see below)

You don't need a mixer to make this delicious bread. I have to admit, I do use my KitchenAid, since we make bread multiple times each week.

1 and 3/4 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup light olive oil
4 large eggs
6 to 7 cups bread flour (or unbleached flour)

Spray large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray (I use stoneware baking pans)
Measure warm water (110 to 115 degrees F) into a large mixing bowl
Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the warm water, add the sugar and stir until they dissolve.
Add salt, oil, and eggs to the yeast mixture. Stir.
Add 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture. Stir vigorously.
Add 1 to 2 cups more flour, approximately 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead in 1/2 to 1 cup flour until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should not be hard to knead.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the dough into two pieces for two loaves, or three pieces for one large braided loaf. Roll each piece into a loaf shape (or long ropes if you are going to braid it). Place on a greased baking pan.
Let the dough rise until almost doubled in size
Brush the top with a beaten egg, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from pan. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before cutting.
If making into French toast, cut into 1-inch thick slices.

Handmade Breads by Kathy Summers (one of our friends from Hawaii)
Ordering Information:
963 Holoholo Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vegetarian Dish

I adore French Onion Soup. So when I found a recipe for it, I thought I'd give it a try. Then I discovered that it can be frozen. Yipee! I'm still working with it a little. I don't think its salty enough. I'm going to make another batch today, and I'll let you know what I discover. Meanwhile, here's the recipe:

French Onion Soup
6 onions, sliced thin
4 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 cups water
1 can beef broth
1 tsp. dried thyme
French Bread
Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Melt butter over med-low heat in 12-inch skillet. Add onions and salt to cook. When onions are tender, and begin to carmelize (45 minutes), reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, 15 minutes more until turn deep golden brown. Transfer onions to another pot. Add water, beef broth, and thyme.
Heat to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450.
Bake French bread for 10 minutes
Place oven-proof bowls on pan. Spoon soup into bowls.
Top soup with bread, then grate Gruyere or Swiss cheese onto bread.
Bake 12-15 minutes, until cheese has melted and begun to brown.

To FREEZE: Ladle soup into individual freezer containers (plastic or pint mason jars), let cool. Place slice of bread in plastic ziploc bag, grate cheese into another ziploc bag. Seal cheese bag, place inside of bread bag, label. Put lid on soup, tape bread/cheese bag to soup container. Freeze. When ready to reheat, thaw soup in refrigerator or microwave. No need to thaw bread and cheese. Then follow last two instructions in recipe. Bread and cheese will take longer to brown from frozen. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Boy, do I love desserts! Here's my favorite Apple Crisp recipe. It's my own creation...inspired by many of my favorite pie and crisp recipes, and (of course), it's great for the freezer. You can make a bunch of crisps in disposable pie tins, cover them with foil, and put them away in your freezer for special occasions.

Avalie's Delicious Apple Crisp

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups peeled and sliced apples
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)

Avalie's Famous Crumb TOPPING (makes enough for 3+ crisps):
2 cups oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup cold margarine/butter

Peel and slice apples, pour lemon juice over apples. Mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if desired) in a small bowl. Pour sugar mixture over apples and mix until coated. Pour apple mixture into pie tin or small casserole dish.

Combine oats, flour, sugars, margarine/butter in KitchenAid mixer (or cut-in with a pastry blender) until resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over cobbler(s).
BAKE: Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve alone, or with whipped cream or ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Reheats great in microwave.

TO FREEZE: Finish assembling crisp, cover with foil, label, and freeze.

TO BAKE FROM FROZEN: Preheat oven to 375. Bake, covered, 1 hour, or until apples are tender.

VARIATION: Put a pie crisp in the pie tin, fill with apple mixture, and top with crumb topping. Now you have an Apple Crumb Pie. Bake 375 for 1 hour, until pie crust is baked. Delicious!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dry Beans

Okay, it's time to tackle dry beans. I was inspired by my sister-in-law in Seattle who asked for vegetarian freezer meal ideas. Plus, everyone's trying to find easy ways to stretch their food budget dollars. I can't think of a better way than to incorporate dry beans into your meals! They're inexpensive, readily available, and have an almost eternal shelf life! :) Of course, now we need to figure out how to use them. So all of us have used canned beans before, right? I've spent the last few weeks figuring out how to make our dry beans as convenient and easy to use as the cans, without the expense. I got started with the book Make-A-Mix by Eliason, Harward, and Westover. Then I adapted the ideas for crock pot, and created my own kidney bean recipe. So pull out your crock pot and a few simple pantry items, and you'll be ready to go. It takes a little time, but your crock pot does all of the work. You just need to throw it all in and let it cook.

Here goes:

Freezer White Beans
Soaking Water
2 lbs Great Northern Beans
10 cups water
1 cup dried chopped onion (or one large onion, chopped)
1 Tbsp garlic (or more if you like it a lot)
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper

Wash, sort, and rinse beans. Soak beans overnight. Drain and rinse beans. Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on High 2 hours. Then cook on Low 8-10 hours (until tender).
Turn off crock pot. Let beans cool 1 hour. Label freezer containers (you can use mason jars, ziploc freezer bags, or plastic freezer containers available in the canning section at the grocery store) with contents, date, and quantity. Measure beans into containers, close, and freeze. To use, thaw in refrigerator or microwave. Use in recipes that call for canned white beans.

I like to measure the beans into 2 cup measures. That's about the right size for my family, and pretty close to a 14.5oz can.

So, yep, you guessed it! You can do this with ANY bean. The only thing that changes is the quantity of beans and seasonings in the recipe, since each dry bean will inflate to a different size after soaking, and each bean needs different levels of flavor to not taste chalky.

Freezer Kidney Beans
Soaking Water
6 cups Kidney Beans
10 cups water
1 cup dried chopped onion (or 1 large onion, chopped)
3 Tbsp. garlic
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Wash, sort and rinse beans. Soak overnight. Drain, rinse beans. Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high 2 hours then on low 8-10 hours. Cool 1 hour. Measure into labeled containers, seal, and freeze. To use, thaw in refrigerator or microwave. Add to recipes that call for canned kidney beans.

Freezer Pinto Beans
Soaking Water
6 cups dried pinto beans
10 cups water
2 cups dried chopped onion (or 3 onions, chopped)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Wash, sort, and rinse beans. Soak beans overnight. Drain, rinse beans. Combine soaked beans, water, onions, garlic, butter, Kosher salt, and pepper in crock pot. Cook on High 2 hours, then on Low 8 hours. Let cool 1 hour before putting in freezer containers. Measure in to labeled containers, seal, and freeze. Great subsititute for canned pinto beans, or use it in any Mexican dish...mash and fry them for great refried beans, or use them straight on your favorite burrito.