Tag Archives: baking

Home-Baked Hygge

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My half-Norwegian mother is smiling at the swirl of interest in “hygge” (pronounced hoo-guh).  She was a master at home made simple pleasures that are the roots to kinship and comfort.  We could all use a few hygge tools in our kit right now.  I think my mom would endorse these five hygge hints to ease the holiday hectic:

 #5:  Prep a hot beverage mix, then use it. Choose something with warm milk, less caffeine, chocolate and herbs for a little calm. I love hot cocoa mix:  Whirl in your food processor until powdery:  ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 oz. roughly chopped semi-or bittersweet chocolate, ½ cup baking cocoa (Dutched cocoa is a deeper flavor), ¼ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, and a pinch of salt.   Store in an airtight jar and use 3 tablespoons mix per medium mug of heated milk or water.  Thank you @smittenkitchen!

Love your coffee too? Unwind with friends with a decaf version of C&H Sugar’s Toffee Coffee.

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#4: Employ lavender’s magic. After holding your breath all day working the lists, breathe in one of HBA’s Writer’s Guild pro Nancy Baggett’s Lavender Place recipes Culinary lavender’s comforts range from sweet honey-spice snickerdoodles, to savory herbed popcorn for starters.

#3: Break down prep time…try making dough and freezing ready-to-bake. Just thinking, you might have time to get the dough made…but no time to bake! HBA member test kitchens lead the way on how to freeze cookie, yeast and scone dough to pop in the oven at any time.  Try this Freeze and Bake Scones example

 #2:  Drop, don’t roll.  For some of us, rolling out dough of ANY kind is challenging. Go with a drop or “scoopable” version —there are many sweet and savory options!  Butternut Softies are a great holiday fruit and nut drop cookie and Drop Biscuits are naturally comfort food.

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 #1:  Often, eat simply.  Try a whole grain batter yeast bread served with a favorite veggie, lentil or bean soup and soak in the comfort of home.

Even these Top Five cannot guarantee coziness, simple pleasures and kinship when you focus on them alone. Include someone in one of these gifts, and hygge will come quickly to your heart and hearth!

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Easy Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

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Rolled sugar cookies ready for decorating. With a new method for mixing there’s no need to soften the butter or chill the dough before cutting out cookies!

This great recipe was provided by Land O’Lakes. Go to http://www.Landolakes.com for more holiday recipes.

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup cold butter cut into chunks

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

How to make

  1. STEP 1

    Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. STEP 2

    Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl; set aside.

  3. STEP 3

    Place sugar and cold butter into bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until well combined. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract; beat until well mixed. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until just combined.

  4. STEP 4

    While removing dough from bowl, knead to incorporate crumbs and form a smooth dough. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness.

  5. STEP 5

    Cut into shapes with 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until just beginning to brown around edges. Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Tip #1

If planning to cut with intricate cutters, chill dough 30 minutes before rolling and cutting. This ensures your cookies will hold their detailed shape.

 

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Give the Gift of How-to-Bake 

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After 35 years of baking everywhere and anyway I can with anyone 2 to 92 who’d join me, I love to find new ideas, recipes and resources to get the flour in the bowl and the heart and mind engaged.  It takes more than a cool app or web-site to get a baking buzz going in today’s kitchens.  There are at least three challenges to overcome:

  • Skill comfort to bake alone OR an available baking assistant
  • Available ingredients and tools
  • Time (inversely related to skill—the more baking skill, the less time you’ll need)

HomeBaking.org is ALWAYS a great place to start, so let me introduce our newest Writer’s Guild member, Deanna F. Cook. Deanna is a kids-cooking best-selling author, content director at Kidstir, as well as an acquisitions editor at Storey Publishing. She lives in western Massachusetts and is found online at deannafcook.com.

Her newest book, Baking Class, 2017, Storey Publishing, ISBN 978-1-61212-855-9, is perfect for building baking skills, baking for the family, and giving to someone you love.

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You can’t replace baking together as a gift that nourishes the whole person for a lifetime.  Contributing something you’ve baked for a meal or event builds self-sufficiency and true self-esteem. Deanna’s “baking companion” works great for kids ages 6–12 and features 50 easy-to-follow recipes.

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Deanna shares, “I invited more than 20 children over to my kitchen and we baked together and photographed the steps along the way. All the recipes are easy to follow, fun to look at, and can be made by kids with just a little help from a grown-up. “

Step-by-step photos teach bakers-in-training how to knead dough, make biscuits, popovers, decorate cookies, and make a perfect pie, along with essential skills like measuring flour and decorating a cake—perfect for meals or made-by-me-for-you gift giving!

You’ll start a new holiday meal “must-have” with Puffy Popovers, Just 5 ingredients—2 tablespoons butter, 2 eggs, 1cup milk, 1 cup all-purpose flour, and ½ teaspoon salt, a muffin cup pan and an oven! Popovers are “a science experiment you can eat” and MUST be locally made—yet another plus.

Teachers, get the total buy-in of students and parents by hosting an early childhood baking workshop using the Baking Class resources.

When you wrap a book to give, why not include a “time certificate,” for a date and place to bake some recipes side-by-side in 2018? It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Click here to get the recipe and instructions for Puffy Popovers

 

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Pastry Chef’s Guide to Sprouted Wheat Bread Flour Basics

stephaniepetersonYou may have noticed bread labels sprouting “sprouted wheat flour” as an ingredient. It’s even now available for home bakers! This fall’s baking season is a great time to explore the world of sprouted wheat flour baking, but you won’t have to repeat my mistakes!  Start your adventure with HBA member Panhandle Milling Company‘s Pastry Chef Stephanie Petersen’s guide and recipe!

Natural sprouted grain flours are among some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can add to your diet. If you’re like a lot of people who have tried to bake with sprouted wheat and found a few challenges, you’re not alone. In this article, we’re give you some great tips for using these flours in your bread baking that will give you great results.  Our seasoned pastry chef struggled with this flour through several experiments in our test kitchen before she finally found some tips to increase your success. Hopefully these will help you on your journey!

  • Knead more or add gluten. Sprouted hard wheat flour is slightly lower in viable gluten-content for easy dough structure. Increase the kneading time in your standard recipes by a few minutes, or add a 1-2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten per cup (depending on the baked product).
  • No long fermentation needed. Classically trained bread bakers know that long slow fermentation gives dough the deepest flavor and character. During this fermentation, the enzymes in the wheat go through some changes like the sprouting process. The depth of flavor can be achieved in a very short amount of time with sprouted flours. Longer fermentation will cause sprouted flour to not raise as much as it would with a short raise.
  • Cup for cup.You can use sprouted flour the same as you would use un-sprouted flour, cup for cup.
  • Sprouted spelt is different. Though it is a wheat variety, it contains less gluten than all other wheat varieties. Spelt does not rise as high as other wheat varieties due to the low gluten content.
  • Avoid rancidity.Sprouted flours should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in an airtight container and is best consumed within 12 months. The freshness can be extended by at least 6 months in the refrigerator and another 6 months in the freezer.
  • Be safe. Treat all flour like it is a raw product. Store raw flour away from ready-to-eat foods. Keep the measuring of unbaked dough away from areas where baked products are stored. Clean work surfaces with hot soapy water before and after baking with raw flour and doughs. Wash hands after handling raw dough and before tasting any baked goods. Bake all bread to a safe internal temperature (190°-210° F). 

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No-Fail Sprouted Wheat Bread

This recipe is one that our chef perfected after many loaves. We think you’ll agree, it is great for bread! There are many more ways to use this versatile dough. It’s a quick recipe. The bread is ready to bake in about an hour! Yield: 2 loaves.

Filtered water| 2 cups
Olive Oil| 1/4 cup
Honey| 2 Tbsp.
Sea Salt| 2 tsp
Sprouted Whole White Wheat Flour |6-7 cups

Vital Wheat gluten powder*|1/4 cup
Active Dry Yeast| 1 Tbsp.

Directions: 

  1. Wash and sanitize all work surfaces and tools.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sea salt and vital wheat gluten*.
  3. Measure liquid ingredients into a second large bowl. Add the yeast using only half the flour and adding yeast last.
  4. Mix gently until the flour is moistened. Continue mixing, adding flour until the dough comes away from the sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. Knead 8–10 minutes by hand or 4-5 minutes with a mixer using the dough hook on medium speed. Form into a ball and place in a gallon-sized bowl. Cover with plastic and allow to raise about 30 minutes. Deflate dough. Divide dough into two equal portions. Shape into loaves and place in greased 8 inch by 4-inch loaf pans.
  6. Wash and sanitize hands and work surfaces again.
  7. Let rise until doubled or 1″ above pan (we suggest covering it loosely with a tented plastic grocery bag or misting with water and placing in a cool oven.) Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until at least 190° internal temperature. Cool on racks. Slice after 15 minutes, store or freeze after 2-3 hours.

* Use of vital wheat gluten is optional, but our test kitchen has found this addition to give the most consistent results without having to knead excessively. If you omit this, increase your kneading time by at least 3 minutes by hand, if not longer.

by Stephanie Petersen

 

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Savory Galette: A to Z

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Who can resist seeing your own child bake and serve something amazing?  Whether they’re 5 and serving you their first muffin or twenty-five you’re savoring the moments. Granted, at five, somedays it’s hard to choose–“should I let them help and pay the “time and clean-up price” or do-it-myself?” Let me show you the pay-off.

Last weekend our 24-year old daughter served up an amazing Potato Leek Galette with Rosemary Sea Salt Crust for a shared Sunday supper.

We grew the Yukon Gold potatoes and onions in our Community Garden—she bought the leeks at the Farmer’s market and harvested her own fresh rosemary.

PotatoLeekRosemaryGalette

Katy’s recipe came from Cara Mangini, October/November 2017 Fine Cooking magazine.

From a teacher’s perspective, I love teaching people how to bake a Galette. Young bakers succeed and go home and can bake them on an oven-proof dinner plate–perfect for students who may not have a lot of baking pans yet.

For the Recipe Buzz” on galettes, sweet or savory, starting with “A” for Asparagus Galette and ending with a beautiful Zucchini Galette

For a ready-to-go lesson on baking a Rustic Fruit Pie (Galette), download Book and Bake Easy-as-Pie, filled with pie lore and apples galore.  See a How-to video, www.HomeBaking.org, the Baking Channel.

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Share the Whole Grain Wealth

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Pantries in the United States are blessed. We have so many types of whole grains and seeds to cook and bake. An excellent new resource includes the ingredient pages with images and descriptions of ancient and specialty wheats, corn, grains and seeds found at PanhandleMilling.com. Baking formulations are also being added by Chef Stephanie Petersen for a plethora of savory and sweet biscuits, tortillas and breads.

The health benefits of making at least half of the grain foods eaten every day “whole grain” are many.  The WholeGrainsCouncil.org offers teaching resources and infographics to illustrate what “whole grain” is and how to recognize whole grain foods using the foods label and with their Whole Grain Stamp.  The many benefits of eating cooked whole grains and baking with whole grain flours, rolled grains or meal are illustrated using their infographic.

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Another helpful guide to define what grains are “ancient,” and what are “pseudo” is Ancient Wheat and Pseudo Grain prepared by the Wheat Foods Council.

 Cooking and baking with whole grains, the flour and meal produced from them can be fun as well as challenging. In baking, if too much non-wheat grain is substituted, results may be disappointing.  Access Baking with Whole Wheat Flour 101,  and make a note:  Almost any recipe that is already great could be baked with a mixture of non-wheat whole grain flours or meal if it is no more the ¼ or 25% of the flour in the recipe.

  • Example: A pancake recipe calls for 2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour—you can use 1 ½ cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour plus ½ cup of a multi-grain mixture like cornmeal, flax meal, oatmeal, sorghum, spelt or other flours

The Home Baking Association members include many historic, regional mills. Stone-Buhr Flour buys regionally and mills soft Pacific Northwest Wheat, ideal for flat breads, crackers, Asian noodles and pastries. Bake your own whole grain cracker to celebrate whole grain month.

Bake your grand finale to September by choosing another historic flour to bake whole wheat biscuit whole grain, biscuit and breakfast celebrations.

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August Baking Calendar

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August National Baking Events

1: Raspberry Cream Pie Day

2: Ice Cream Sandwich Day

4: Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

6: American Family Day

Friendship Day (p.9-10 of lesson)

9: Rice Pudding Day

Book Lover’s Day

10: S’mores Day

15: Lemon Meringue Pie Day

18: Ice Cream Pie Day

20: Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

22: Pecan Torte Day

23: Sponge Cake Day

24: Peach Pie Day

Waffle Day

28: Cherry Turnovers Day

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