The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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crumbbum

A week or two ago, I queried in my LJ about Ranger Cookies. Nobody chimed in, so I went off to google. I found several recipes and hacked one together from those. It was a reasonable facsimile of the ones sold here in the Vancouver-Portland area Fred Meyer stores. I'm going to record it with the adjustments that I'll make the next time, because the dough was super-stiff and all that stuff wasn't necessary for the cookie. The recipes all called for either corn flakes or crisped rice (rice krispies) cereal. I chose to use the rice, because that was an ingredient in the cookies that I like. Anyway, I'm only reducing the oatmeal and rice cereal quantities by 1/2 cup each in hopes that I can better stir them into the dough. Even my stand mixer wouldn't have been able to handle the original dough.

Ranger Cookies
about 3 dozen
greased cookie sheets, 350F, 10 minutes

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups quick oats
1-1/2 cups crisped rice cereal
1 cup flaked coconut

Cream shortening and sugars until fluffy, add eggs and vanilla and blend until smooth.

Sift flour together with baking soda, baking powder, and salt and add half at a time into the creamed mixture, incorporating it thoroughly.

Add oats, rice cereal and coconut by hand, mixing as well as possible--it makes a pretty stiff dough.

Bake (above) 350, greased sheets, about 10 minutes. Just very lightly browned tops. Leave them on the sheet for a minute or two then remove to wire rack. Store airtight.

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crumbbum

When Ben and I took the dog to the groomer's for a bath earlier this week, we stopped in at the Oroweat thrift store. I always end up with way too much stuff. This time it was a cheese danish-like crumb cake for Ben, cinnamon-raisin english muffins for me, and a loaf of the wonderful healthy multi-grain bread *sheepish face*, also for me. Then the lady at the checkout told me to take one from the free rack, so I picked a loaf of sliced french bread, we can have some of that, and I can use the rest for french toast, and I think I'm going to make either this bread pudding or this one with the rest of it. That'll be the extent of my baking for this week.

never one to leave things alone, I cobbled it together from 3 recipes, and that baby is puffed up and nearly running over the edges of the 13x9 corning pan. d'oh!

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crumbbum

my starter has died of black plague. either that or neglect. yesterday I dumped it out and started over. I really have a way with words, don't I?

anyhoo, I began with 3/4 cup white bread flour and 3/4 cup water. in yesterday's still pretty warm temperatures, it separated early on with much liquid on the top, and there was very minimal action there. I stirred it back in after about 12 hours and it had thickened some, but this morning at 0530, there it was separated again and still no real action. I dumped half out and mixed in 1/3 cup whole wheat bread flour and 1/3 cup white bread flour, and just a little less than 1/2 cup water. there is now a small bit of action happening, so I'm hopeful to have active starter again shortly. and it's really too bad it isn't good yet, because I have black bananas ready to go into a loaf ...

meantime, I made some very tasty cookies from the Quaker Oats website.

the real bonus for me on these cookies is that it only makes about 3 dozen, so you don't spend an hour hanging around in a hot kitchen, shuttling cookie sheets back and forth, in and out. I admit to being a lazy baker.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, uncooked
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 6-ounce package dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Cook’s Tip: To use Quick Quaker Oats, decrease flour to 1-1/3 cups.

Heat oven to 375F.

In medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. In separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered. Makes 2-1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

click the photo for the big view

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crumbbum

I used the scone recipe posted by qahtan recently, when my grocery store had new strawberries for 98 cents a pound over the mothers day weekend, but that's about all I've done lately. I think I'm going to work on some baking powder biscuits and try using different fats. I'm not afraid of lard, so I'll try that along with vegetable shortening and butter versions. I've been looking around at another site, and would like to throw it into the links section, but I don't know how or if I can do that.

It's baking911, and for people like me, who can't afford to buy all the books (or really don't need another cooking book), it has a wealth of basic baking information available. It explains why things work (or don't) in simple terms. In design terms, the site looks too busy, but it's well worth a visit for beginners or the nervous looking for information. Recipes and tips are also included, and there is an associated cooking911 site.

Good sites if you don't have a cookbook library. Or for those leaving the nest and needing guidance.

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crumbbum

I was going to make the valentine's day pain rapide au chocolat tonight because my boy wanted me to buy him chocolate chocolate chip muffins at the grocery. Well, I just couldn't see myself making mashed potatoes just for that, so I went to google and dug up two C-C-C muffin recipes and between the three recipes I came up with this. And they're quite good, like the bread recipe, not too sweet, but in the middle they have some melty chocolate chip goo that makes them just right.

1/2 cup sugar
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. powdered milk
6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

mix all the dry ingredients together, and if necessary, squish out any hard, rocky lumps in the baking powder.

in a smaller bowl or 2-cup measure, mix together:

3/4 cup water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
I also splooshed in 2-3 Tbsp. Irish Cream, lacking rum or any other appropriate spirits

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids, mixing just until blended--as usual for muffins, leave it slightly lumpy.
Spoon into a 12-cup muffin tin, greased or lined with paper accordion cups. Bake at 400F about 18-20 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean unless you've struck a chocolate chip.

and of course, you can use 3/4 cup dairy milk in place of the water/powdered milk ingredients.

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crumbbum

I'm trying to make a brownie that will turn out almost as soft and gooey as the cookie recipe below. Following the cookie recipe is an approximation of what I cobbled up from the cookie recipe and several brownie recipes.

These cookies are wonderful, by the way.

NavyDucks Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

1-1/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups peanut butter chips

Cream butter (or margarine) and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt) together and then blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the peanut butter chips. If it's a warm day or your kitchen is warm, you'll get better baking results if you chill the dough for a couple of hours.

Drop by the spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350F for 8 to 9 minutes only. DON'T OVERBAKE. The cookies will be soft; they will puff up during baking and flatten out upon cooling. EDIT: Cool about 5 minutes or until they are slightly set, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Will make about 4 dozen 2-1/2 inch cookies. YUM.

~~~~~~~~
Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

3/4 cup butter or margarine (1/2 c marg. 1/4 c butter)
1-1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
small amount of half-and-half or cream (1/4 cup?)
1 cup peanut butter chips

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together, and blend in alternately with splash of cream. Stir in peanut butter chips.

Spread in greased 13x9 pan, bake at 350F 30-35 minutes.

recipe called for 3/4 cup chocolate syrup. I didn't have any, but increased the fat and sugar by 1/4 cup each, reflected in the amounts above, and splashed in a little half-and-half as I added the dry ingredients in.

freshly out of the oven, it looks like a giant pan cookie. I'm trying to let it cool before cutting and sampling, but my resolve isn't strong.

follow-up: it didn't come out gooey like I'd hoped. alternatives: smaller rectangular pan for a thicker brownie, shorten oven time to 25-30 minutes, actually have chocolate syrup on hand (ya think?).

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crumbbum

This is the white bread I settled on about 20 years ago, when I was baking all the bread for my family of four. We ate so much, I just worked it up for two loaves, so that's the first recipe here. It's followed by the single loaf approximations I used earlier this week for the loaf pictured below. It's a good, tasty white bread for toasting or making sandwiches, and if it gets stale, it makes fantastic french toast.

WHITE BREAD
(two 9x5 loaves)

7-1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. instant yeast (or two 1/4-ounce packets)

mix 4 cups of the flour with the other dry ingredients.

heat to 120F:
2-1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine

add this, along with 1 egg, lightly beaten to your flour/yeast dry mixture and blend until evenly incorporated.

add the remaining 3-1/2 cups flour, a cup at a time, into the dough. it should begin to hold together after about two cups additional. if you're using a mixer, you can continue with that process, or turn the dough out to work the rest of the flour in by hand.

grease a large bowl, plop your dough ball into it, and turn it, cover with a kitchen towel, and set it to rise until doubled in bulk. depending on your ambient temperature, it could take 1-3 hours.

when it's doubled, punch it down in the bowl, and turn it out onto a floured work surface. knead it a few minutes to work out the bubbles, add a little flour if it sticks to your hands. flatten it out into a rectanglish-shape with your hands, and divide it evenly. flatten the pieces out a little more, then roll up tightly as you can, pinching the closing seams together, tucking the ends in if need be, and set them to rise (covered) in greased loaf pans. the second rise goes much faster, again, depending on ambient temperature, 30-60 minutes is typical.

preheat your oven to 375F, and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce to 350F for an additional 30 minutes. keep watch on it, I think my oven runs about 25 degrees hot, at least as compared to Floyd's temperatures. if all goes well, it should just roll out of the loaf pan when tipped on its side. cool it on a rack, resting on its bottom, and the rack will leave cutting guides for you.

Notes
If you coat the top crust with melted butter or margarine while it's hot, it will stay soft. The advantage to this is that slicing the bread won't crush the loaf. But you already know that a loaf like this should be sliced laying on its side anyway, right? It's another deterrent to crushing, and it exposes the cutting guides you made on the bottom of the loaf. And don't forget to use a serrated bread knife!

I skip the step of trying to heat milk without scalding it on the bottom of the saucepan by using powdered milk (1 cup) and the same amount (2-1/4 cups) of comfortably warm tap water in place of dairy milk.

This recipe can also be made into six mini-loaves if you want to have a special little dinner where everyone gets their own loaf of bread. Temperature is the same, adjust your own timing.

Single 9x5 Loaf:

about 4-1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. or one 1/4-ounce packet dry yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp butter
1 egg

start your dry mix using 2 cups flour, add the remaining in after the liquids.

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crumbbum

ooooo, look! I figured out how to do thumbnails that link to the photobucket fullsize images! click the pictures.

Honey-Whole Wheat Bread
single 9x5 loaf

2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast (or one 1/4-ounce packet)
1 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten (if you've got it)

mix these dry ingredients together.

heat to 120F:
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey

alternately, use 1 cup warm water and add 1/3 cup powdered milk to the dry ingredients.

add the liquids to your dry flour/yeast mixture and blend until evenly incorporated.

work 2 cups white bread flour, a cup at a time, into the dough. it should begin to hold together after this. if you're using a mixer, you can continue with that process, or turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead until the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth ball of dough. it will be slightly tacky, but shouldn't stick to the surface or your hands.

grease a bowl, plop the dough ball into it, and turn it so it gets 'buttered all over', cover it with a kitchen towel, and set it to rise until doubled in bulk. depending on your ambient temperature, it could take 1-3 hours.

when it's doubled, punch it down in the bowl, and turn it out onto a floured work surface. knead it a few minutes to work out the bubbles, add a little flour if it sticks to your hands, but this dough probably won't need it. flatten it out into a rectanglish-shape with your hands or a rolling pin, and roll it up tightly as you can, pinching the closing seams together, tucking the ends in if need be, and set to rise (covered) in a greased loaf pan. the second rise goes much faster, again, depending on ambient temperature, 30-60 minutes is typical.

preheat your oven to 375F, and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce to 350F for an additional 30 minutes. keep watch on it, I think my oven runs about 25 degrees hot. if everything goes well, it should just roll out of the loaf pan when tipped on its side. cool it on a rack, resting on its bottom, and the rack will leave cutting guides for you.

Notes
I used wheat germ this time because I had it on hand. I used to make it with cracked wheat, or wheat 'berries' that had been soaked in warm water to soften a bit. I'm guessing that was about 2 tablespoons in quantity.
Measures are approximations--nothing is to panic about as long as you're in the ballpark.
If you coat the top crust with melted butter or margarine while it's hot, it will stay soft. the advantage to this is that slicing the bread won't crush the loaf. Slice the loaf laying on one side--it's a deterrent to crushing, and it exposes the cutting guides you made on the bottom of the loaf.

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crumbbum

Let's see if I can figure this out. Old dogs and new tricks don't always work.

here's the recipe I sorta followed.

the night before
1/2 cup starter
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup water

in the morning
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

just before starting
1/4 tsp. baking soda

this recipe says it makes 18 very large hotcakes, so since there was just myself and a hungry shark teenage boy, I cut things down and we ended up with 8-9 hotcakes, about 6-7 inches across. I'm assuming everybody knows how to cook hotcakes.

my recipe for 2 hungry people, not for a ravenous horde goes like this:

1/2 cup starter
3/4 to 1 cup flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup water

1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 to 3 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. baking soda

they were good. we liked them so much we made them again the next day.

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