Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Here's wishing you all a happy New Year!  May it bring you joy and prosperity!  See you next year!!  (I love saying that!)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mock Sourdough Bread

 I have a confession to make. I have never made sourdough bread. Ever. I've never even attempted it. Which I think is just sad for a dutch oven cook.  Isn't making sourdough bread in a dutch oven a rite of passage?  I just have to say, in my defense, that the only experience I have with any kind of bread starter is Amish Friendship bread.  I think it spent about 6 months (or more) untouched on the top shelf of one of my cupboards.  The only reason I remembered it was the foul smell that permeated my kitchen.  Gross!

The real reason I've never tried sourdough bread is that it just seems time consuming and fussy, and lets face it, I'm far too lazy busy to remember to feed the starter the way I should.  I will agree with you though, its a shame.  I love sourdough bread and its expensive to buy so we never eat it.

You can imagine how happy I was to come across this on Pinterest.  A no fuss "sourdough" bread.  Right up my alley!

Now for the question you've all been asking.....How does it taste?  Its actually really good!  I have to say, its not as good as sourdough bread from a good bakery.  It is, however, as good as anything you'd buy at your supermarket, and a whole lot cheaper!  It doesn't have quite the "tang" that a real sourdough bread has, but since I'll probably never get around to making the real thing this will have to do.  Truth be told, I'll probably use this recipe a lot

For the sourdough purist, Mark at Mark's Black Pot recently posted a couple of articles on making sourdough bread.  I would never have the patience to do what he does.  He's my hero!

Mock Sourdough Bread
10" dutch oven

2 cups plain yogurt
1 Tbs. yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. oil
4-5 cups flour

Heat yogurt just to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Stir in yogurt, honey, salt, oil and 2 cups of flour.  Beat until smooth.  Gradually add the remaining flour just to make a soft dough.  Knead until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.  Punch dough down.  Form dough into a round loaf and place inside a greased dutch oven.  Cover and let rise about 45 minutes.

Preheat your dutch oven lid, then bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from pot and cool on a wire rack. 

Source:  Heat Oven to 350 

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Christmas Project!

I thought I'd show you what I've been doing with my time for the last 3 weeks.  And as you can tell, it hasn't been dutch oven cooking.  I've been building a Barbie house for my 3 little girls for Christmas.  It was no small undertaking.  I built and decorated, including making the furniture.

A dear friend had built the house for her girls 12 or 15 years ago, but decided to build a new one for her grand kids this year.  So I was the benefactor of her old house.  I stripped it down and started over.  As you can see, it turned out great.  Better than I thought it would.  And to say my girls are thrilled would be a huge understatement.  They didn't even want to open any presents.  The Barbie house was all they wanted.  It was great!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!  And I hope the new year treats you well!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breton Apple Cake

I've got a really good recipe for you today!  I've had this recipe for a while and I'm so glad I finally got around to making it.  I know I have other versions of apple cake posted, but this one is a little different.  Instead of apple cake, this is apples with cake in it.  The batter is really light and fluffy thanks to the beaten egg whites.

Now, you'll notice that there isn't a drop or cinnamon in this bread.  Normally, I'm a spiced apple cake gal, but this just tasted fresh.  You can certainly add any spices you want, but I thought it was perfect in its simplicity.

Breton Apple Cake
10" dutch oven
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Lightly grease a 10" dutch oven

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, followed by the vanilla extract and the yogurt. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until all ingredients are well combined and no streaks of flour remain. Batter will be quite thick.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir about half of the egg whites into the cake batter (you can use an electric mixer on “low” to stir) to lighten the batter, then gently mix in the remaining egg whites.

Fold in apple slices.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only moist crumbs attached.  Use 1 1/2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

Cool for at least 40 minutes before serving.

Cake can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8

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