I was planning to make those pretzels for a while.
I don’t know why I was waiting so long. They came out super delicious.
Soft and fluffy.
My daughter couldn’t stop eating them.
1 1/4 C Water
1 TBS olive oil
1tsp Lemon Juice
2 TBS Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 Egg YOLK
3 1/2 C Flour
1 TBS Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup medium cheddar cheese (or any kind of cheese you like), shredded
1 TBS Heavy cream (or half&half)
1 Egg WHITE
coarse salt for sprinkling (optional)
Directions for bread maker:
1. Put all the ingredients to the bread maker in order as listed above (EXCEPT FLAX and Cheese!). Left out “egg wash” ingredients, too. Run bread maker on “dough” cycle.
2. During the second kneading add flaxseed meal and shredded cheese.
3. When the dough is ready knead it a few times on lightly floured surface.
4. Divide the dough into 14 to 16 pieces.
5. Roll each piece into a rope, about 12 to 14 inches long.
6. Fold into pretzel shape.
7. Place each pretzel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 to 2 inches apart.
8. Let them rest for about 30 minutes.
9. Whisk together egg white and cream. Gently brush each pretzel with the mixture.
10. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of each pretzel to your likes (optional).
11. Bake in 375 F for 15-20 minutes.
Directions for hand (KitchenAid) kneading:
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup of pretty warm water until bubbly. In a separate bowl mix together flour and salt. Make hole in the middle and pour the yeast mixture inside it. Gently mix with your hands adding remaining water, olive oil and lemon juice until the dough is not sticky anymore and forms a soft ball. Add flaxseed meal and shredded cheese. Knead until they are well incorporated into the dough.
At this point cover it with towel and let it rest for an hour or until doubled in size.
Follow the steps from 4 to 11 as in directions for bread maker.
Go well with almost anything, and they taste the best warm!
I have to admit, WE LOVE PIZZA. Whenever there is a pizza in the oven our two-year old always does her pizza song: “pizza, pizza, we eat”, and her pizza dance.
When my husband and I were dating I had surprised him with the skills of making pizza while he did the same eating it topped with a pineapple… .
These days we eat pizza quite often.
The base for my pizza dough is always the same. I have found the perfect one and I stick to it EVERY SINGLE time. I make mine in bread maker.
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour *
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active yeast
1/4 cup chia seeds/flax-seed meal (or mix of both)**
* sometimes I use a few cups of all-purpose flour with a cup of bread flour. sometimes I use whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour plus a cup or half of bread flour. No matter what kind of flour I mix I always try to include the bread flour as it gives a nice crisp to the crust. and depends on how much of each flour is used the amount of water needs to be adjust as well.
** to add an extra twist to the dough sometimes I add:
a handful of chopped fresh parsley, mint or basil, or mix of these.
I’ll tell you, the moment you bite the crust filled with those herbs you’ll be in love!!!!!!!!
Directions for bread maker:
wet ingredients first plus salt and sugar, next flour and yeast on top. close the machine, set on “dough”. press “start”. During the second kneading open the lid and add herbs, chia seeds/ flax-seed meal. close the lid. after it’s done take it out, knead a few times on a lightly floured surface and let it rest for about 10 minutes, covered. Divide into 6 parts.
For deep dish pizza spread 1 part of the dough inside a pie pan. For New York, roll the dough thinner and put it on a baking sheet.
Challah is a traditional jewish braided bread made on jewish holidays and Sabbath.
In Poland, challah is very popular and it can be bought in any bakery. Though, this baked goodie has no religion meaning. Many people don’t even know that this bread comes from jewish culture.
As a small kid I remember my mom buying it every Saturday. Each time we would sit at a kitchen table with her and gobbled it up, warm with some butter or jam on top, or just plain. Just the two of us. Fresh and warm challah is one of the best things ever.
The challah I remember was moist, sweet and very fluffy with not very crunchy (but soft) skin.
As I grew up the flavor and the texture of it have changed to something very hallow with hard and not very tasty skin. My mom and I didn’t really like it so we stopped buying it. Every now and then if I spotted a new bakery I would stop and buy one just to see if the bakery uses the old good recipe for moist and sweet challah but I had no luck.
I haven’t had challah for at least 5 years.
I’ve been looking for a good recipe for quite a while. Finally I decided to try the recipe from “Allrecipes”. I went through a many reviews under it and I made a few changes mentioned in one of them although I had to change it even more. At the end I ended up with totally different recipe but ah… still SO DELICIOUS !!!
After I took if out from the oven altogether with my daughter we couldn’t stop eating it.
I rolled the dough into three strands instead of four. Didn’t use any special way to braid it just the simple “hair style braid”. Because of that it came out a little flat. Next time I will invest an extra few minutes to learn the right way of doing it.
1 1/4 room temperature water
1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for honey but I didn’t have any)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour *
2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 flax-seed meal (optional)
* I guess, it depends on how big your eggs and yolks are but I had to add and extra 2/3 cup flour to the bread machine during the second kneading.
Add to the bread machine: water, olive oil, beaten egg and yolks, all purpose and bread flour, sprinkle the yeast on top. Close the lid and set on “dough”. During the second kneading if the dough is really runny (like mine was) add and extra 1/3 cup of bread or all purpose flour, close the lid and wait for a minute or two. Repeat until the dough form a soft ball inside the bread machine. At the end add flax-seed meal.
Divide the dough into 3 parts and braid as you would make your hair :)
Transfer the challah onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, cover with light towel and let rest for about 60 minutes in a warm place.
After it’s doubled (or tripled) in size preheat the oven to 375.
You can gently brush the top with egg white and sprinkle poppy/sesame seeds on top which I didn’t do.
Bake for about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes if the top of the challah is dark brown you should cover it with aluminum foil to prevent from burning.
I baked mine for too long and I burned the insides a little too much.
The thing was that each time I checked the bread I was expecting to hear a hollow sound when I tapped it but each time it was soft and seemed not quite baked inside. Finally after 40 minutes of baking I had decided to take it out and check the inside.
How surprised I was when it looked perfectly baked.
The entire house smelled like heaven :)
We ate it with blueberry jam on top. I mean, SHE ate it with the jam. I ate it plain. That’s how I like it.
I’ve made those cinnamon rolls twice before I got my bread maker. Each time they came out looking and tasting pretty good, but I wasn’t thrilled with the effect in general. Neither my husband. We ate them with cream cheese frosting which actually made them more enjoyable.
Last Saturday I decided to give them one more chance and I was craving cinnamon rolls.
I got up MUCH too early and I though it’s a perfect time to make those as the process takes about 2 hours. This time I used help of my dear friend, the bread maker :) and that was the best decision I could ever made. Those “nothing special” cinnamon rolls came out as THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS I have ever had !!!
Fluffy, soft inside and with a crunch on the outside. Those previous two times I made them they weren’t half that big and fluffy. I guess I am not as good in hand kneading as I though I was. In addition in my entire apartment there is no place warm enough for the dough to raise. A few times working with yeast dough I tried to leave the dough in warm oven but that didn’t work for me at all.
Look at those beauties. They were so good that I didn’t have to make any frosting just a little bit of butter spread over hot rolls and that was it.
This recipe is adapted from Chef in Training. I changed a few things to make them more healthy.
Ingredients for the dough:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/3 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup chia seeds
Ingredients for the filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided in half
10 Tbsp. brown sugar (more or less), divided in half
Mixed milk and brown sugar in a sauce pan and heat it up just until the sugar is dissolved and milk is slightly warm. Transfer to bread maker. Add olive oil, salt, all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Sprinkle yeast on top. Set the bread maker on “dough”. During the second kneading open the bread maker and add 1/2 cup bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, chia seeds and flax seeds meal.
After it’s done (in my bread maker it takes 1h 10 min), divide the dough in half. I never use rolling pin to roll the dough out. I use my hands to stretch it in into about 11 inch x 9 inch rectangle shape.
Don’t be greedy and spread a generous amount of softened butter (in my case it’s about 2 Tbsp, sometimes a bit less sometimes more – it depends on how big the rectangle is) over the surface of rolled out dough. Rub half of the brown sugar over the dough. You might start with 4 Tbsp. and if you decide it’s not enough add more until the surface is covered. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of cinnamon. Feel free to add more.
Starting from the longest side fold the dough towards you.
Cut rolls into 1 1/2 inch (2 inch is fine too) pieces.
Put them into greased pie pan or on a baking sheets. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Repeat with second half of the dough.
Bake in 375 for 18 minutes for pie pans or 12-15 minutes for baking sheets.
This time I used both: pie pan and baking sheets to compare which is better.
I used two 9 inch pie pans. In the first one I put 8 rolls in the second 7.
7 seems to be a perfect amount as you can see on the picture above.
Rolls on baking sheets were 1,5 inch apart.
… and while in the oven they leaked out the filling:
Rolls baked in pie pans where clean and nothing leaked out. They came out bigger and fluffiest, too.
They were so delicious and with the perfect amount of sweetness that we didn’t need any frosting at all. I spread a little bit of butter while still hot to make them more moist and not so dry on top.
I still highly recommend the cheese cream frosting from the original recipe. It’s so good that every time I make it I eat half just by itself.
This Little Lady ate 4 of those huge rolls on the first day and she kept asking (in her own language) for more.
I had to hide them as I was afraid she’s gonna get sugar rush. That’s there is the best indicator that the rolls were really good. Before, she wasn’t really a big fan of those. She would eat a half of one small roll and she was done, she didn’t want more even on the second day.
Now I know that the secret for a perfect rolls is in the bread maker :)
oh… and if I just had a coffee… those would be just perfect, but for now milk will do the job – it has to :)
My bread maker, old and used for years by my mother-in-law. Still working, though. Working great. Working miracles on my kitchen counter, jumping and making all those weird and loud sounds that even my daughter got used to.
The thing is that before I got it I knead everything by hand. All my breads, pizza dough, dinner rolls and bread sticks, and we still were buying bread from the store. Two months ago I got that bread maker, I thanked and put that thing to be forgotten. I thought I was doing pretty good before getting it and I’m going to be fine without it. Old habits die hard.
Finally about 3 weeks ago I came across bread recipe which called for a bread maker. I knew I would’ve made it without “that thing” (that’s how I named it) but… I decided to give it a try.
So far I only have used the “dough” setting where I bake the bread in the oven after all (not in “that thing”). The first time I used it I witnessed a real miracle. I have never seen a dough so smooth, rising so fast and big, and after all the bread being so fluffy inside and crunchy on the outside. And I became a believer. Me, a doubting Thomas.
Next thing I made in it was a dough for breadsticks and pizza. You need to know that I made homemade pizza a countless time in my life. Breadstick not so often but a few times, at least.
I’m the Chicago style pizza lover while my husband prefers New York style. I always struggled with making my pizza dough very fluffy inside and crunchy (but not burned and hard) on the outside. With my husband’s crust I’d never came to the ideal paper-like thin but still fluffy with crunchy edges crust. Until… I made the dough in the bread maker.
The same was with my breadsticks. They were always too dense and heavy inside. Tasted great but still… not perfect.
Now I can tell you that I’m never going to come back to kneading those by hand. NEVER.
My pizza came out with a crust that the best restaurants wouldn’t be ashamed to serve. Breadsticks… hmmm… I can only say: bye bye Olive Garden… I don’t need you anymore!
My husband ate his pizza and there was no crust left on his plate, what he would have done if it was too hard to chew or burned.
My recipe for the pizza dough:
1 1/2 cups water*
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
* if the dough is not made in bread maker:
the water needs to be very warm, and the yeast needs to be dissolved in it (plus the sugar) before mixing it with flour and the rest of the ingredients. knead until the dough is smooth, cover the bowl with a cloth and let it rest in a warm place until double in size.
* if made in bread maker:
wet ingredients first plus salt and sugar, next flour and yeast on top. close the machine, set on “dough”. forget for 1 h 05 m. after it’s done take it out, knead a few times on a lightly floured surface and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Knead it again and use.
For deep dish pizza spread the dough inside a pie pan. For New York, make the dough thiner and put it on a baking sheet.
Bake in 450 F for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust on the edges golden brown.
From this recipe I made 2 thin (New York style) and 2 very fluffy (deep dish) pizzas.
Since I started using “that thing” we haven’t bought a single loaf of bread and I wonder what was best for our budget. One (sometimes two) store bought loaf of bread per week or homemade bread that I make every other day (sometimes everyday). lol
ah… and look at those fresh baked buns I made my first sloopy joes with…
The recipe and the story behind it in my next post.
Today was such a gorgeous day. The weather is amazing.
For the last two weeks we have had workers working around our apartments. It’s loud and dirty everywhere. They start to work VERY early so we all had to get up early as well. Most of the time our daughter couldn’t take her afternoon naps (me neither) because it’s too loud. We lived that through and today I enjoyed sleeping in while my husband got up with our Little One. I really needed it.
On Monday the noise will start again, though. Ugh.
The best thing is that today I was able to clean our patio from all that dirt, dust and everything else. The thing that was even better was my daughter helping me like never before. She really did a great job.
She was so busy and engaged. It was great just to watch her doing her own things while trying to copy all the things I was doing. Of course, where we go the dog follows, as well. That’s natural thing in here.
Right now I’m enjoying long and quiet nap time. Finally I have chance to put together a post. I’m a little bit behind. So many pictures taken and nothing posted… .
So today I want to share 2 great things I made a few days ago.
BUTTER – homemade. It took my 15 minutes to make it!!!
BREAD – for the first time in my life I used a bread maker, and I LOVED it.
That machine is not only big and old but very loud as well. I got it from my in-laws a month ago. When it’s working it scares our daughter and it jumps all over the kitchen counter, but it turned out it works great.
I got my bread recipe from Sonoma Garden. I made the Gingery Whole-wheat Bread.
My changes to the recipe:
I used honey instead of molasses.
I skipped the ginger.
After I took the dough from the bread maker I added about 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds to the dough. Knead it to incorporate them. Sprinkle a few seeds on top as well, just for the look because they fall off while slicing the bread.
The rest of the recipe is the same.
That’s what I ended up with.
Doesn’t it look pretty.
But believe me… it tastes even better than it looks.
While the bread was in the oven I thought that it’s a perfect time to make butter. I read about a few methods of making it and I picked one that is the easiest and the fastest one in my opinion. You won’t believe how easy it is to make your own butter, and how delicious it tastes.
To make it you’ll need:
2. Heavy cream
3. Salt (optional)
Since I was making it for the first time in my life I decided not to use a lot of heavy cream. I just wanted to “check it out”. I used about 3/4 of a quart.
How to make it:
Put it in a mixing bowl and mix, first on low-speed. After about 5 minutes increase the speed. Just like you would make whipped cream. It actually will turn into a whipped cream at some point but to make the butter you need to mix it more. If you continue to mix you’ll see the mixture separating into a white milk-like water and yellow butter. You might have to pour that water out of the mixing bowl and mix the butter a little bit longer. You need to get as much of that water as you can.
The white water is called whey. It can be used for baking bread in place of water.
You could add salt to it or some kind of herbs and spices, but I prefer it without anything and add those things as I use the butter.
Tell me that wasn’t easy! ;)
All those two things goes so well with Polish cold soup and spinach pesto:
Recipe and more pictures of that delicious and refreshing soup next time! :)
Yesterday was a strange day and a strange comparison came to my mind when I was falling asleep last night.
Life is likecooking
At least in my case or in a case of yesterday’s day.
My cooking started early. While having breakfast I’d decided to make bread for lunch. As soon as I finished feeding our daughter and myself I started mixing all the ingredients for bread. I heated up water for the yeast. I put the yeast into the warm water and waited 15 minutes for it to have activated. Nothing happened. I had to throw it out. I started this part all over. After 10 minutes I saw a few bubbles but nothing more. I knew it’s not gonna work this time either. All together I had repeated it 5 times. After 4th time (and I don’t know why I thought about it) I decided to change the water I’d been using to activate the yeast. From tap water I switched to bottled water. It worked like a charm. The mixture got foamy and bubbly in 5 minutes.
By that time it was almost 11am and I knew I need to make something else for lunch because bread won’t be ready. In addition I was really mad and discouraged. I had thought that if that’s how it started then it means nothing good will come out from it, but I kept kneading. After I was done I left the dough to rest for about 2 hours or longer. I knew that at this point I don’t have to rush with it.
After those few hours the dough hadn’t risen enough, in my opinion but I couldn’t wait any longer. I added rest of the ingredients, rolled it up and left to rest for the second time.
For dinner I decided to make a chicken noodle soup for my husband and our Little Picky Eater. For myself I planned to make spinach souffle I saw the other day onJennifer’s blog. I didn’t have the cheese but oh well… sometimes you try to make the best from what you have not wishing you had more – one of my many lessons about life learned straight from my kitchen :) All of it would go perfect with fresh-baked bread.
I was so eager to try this souffle.
While I was making it almost everything seemed to be going wrong. I screwed up the sauce, separating yolks from the whites seemed to be so hard like I haven’t done it hundreds of times in the past. I coursed out loud like crazy while my daughter was watching me with a strange look on her face. Not enough, I noticed my bread is not rising as it supposed to. At this point I was ready to give up and ask my husband to order a take-out.
To make a long story short.
The dinner was delicious. It didn’t have to be perfect for us to enjoy it. Life is not perfect. Life not always goes as we plan. Life always brings surprises, obstacles, ups and downs, and there is many things missing now and then. We just need to make the best from what we have at the moment. We need to be patient and try to finish what we have started. If something goes wrong we need to rethink it.
Even if the dinner was awful I would be able to say that at least I tried and I gave the best out of me to finish it and to make it work.
At the end there is always somebody who won’t like your cooking anyway (even if the dish(es) is perfect in your opinion). On the other hand, you might be positively surprised when somebody who you thought from the beginning is not going to like it, eats up an entire plate. That happened yesterday with my Little One. She ate an entire plate of spinach souffle. She couldn’t surprise me any more than that.
The same happens in every aspect of our life.
I ate so much of everything I could barely move after all. The time and my heart I put in it paid back. After dinner it was great to enjoy a piece of chocolate my husband brought me from the store.
If you’re interested:
here is the recipe for bread. Instead of all-purpose flour I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose. In addition before rolling it into a shape I spread over the top flax seeds meal and fresh parsley. Yumm!!!
the recipe for chicken noodle soup still needs to be written down as I always make it from scratch and every time I improve it in something new. This time, for example, I discovered arrowroot, and I have to tell you all: “I’m in love in arrowroot”. That’s the next lesson from yesterday’s cooking. I don’t know if I’ll ever use corn starch again!!!
Since the day I left Poland I miss good breads. Though, I don’t miss it that much to be willing to pay $5 or more for a loaf. No ma’am. More likely I’m willing to learn to make my own. And I’ve tried… .
As Bob Ross in his TV show “The joy of Painting” would say: “We don’t have mistakes here, we just have happy accidents.” I go with his “ideology” in my baking journey. It really helped me in my countless tries to bake a bread. Edible one.
It happened only once before.
It was Irish Soda Bread and it was edible because I was so hungry for that bread that I would call “yummy” whatever I’d have baked that day.
Anyway, my happy accident begins a few days ago. That day we had pizza for dinner. I used only half of the dough for one very thin pizza (that’s how my husband likes it) and one very thick and fluffy (that’s how I like it). While eating my pizza I’ve noticed the crust is very bread-like. I got a little bit excited about that but having my experience in baking breads I knew I shouldn’t get too much excited ;) So I didn’t.
I stored the rest of my pizza dough for two days in the fridge. After that I took it out and using only half of the dough I shaped it in a round ball and let it rise for a few hours until doubled in size. From the rest of that dough I made pizza (we like pizza, A LOT!)
Isn’t it a beauty!?
This is my recipe for the dough:
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt*
1 pkg yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all purpose flour**
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour**
*If you make it just for pizza skip the salt.
** plus extra flour (which ever you prefer) if the dough is still too sticky
How to make it:
dissolve sugar and yeast in large bowl; let stand until bubbly
stir in the flour and knead until smooth
turn into greased bowl and let rise covered in a warm place until doubled
cut into 4 or 2 pieces (it depends on how big bread loafs you want)
shaped in long or round shapes
put it on greased baking pan
let rise until doubled*
bake in 400 F for 30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown.
*if you making pizza you don’t have to make that dough to rise twice. one time is totally enough.
Sometimes when I make pizza I add fresh herbs and different spices to the dough. What to add is really up to personal likes and dislikes. Feel free to experiment :)