September 03, 2014

Honey-Oat Sandwich Bread

I've made bread many times using a cast iron dutch oven, but until recently I had never tried making sandwich bread.  Thanks to Sandra Bullock's sister I recently bought a pullman pan for an ice cream dessert recipe.  That particular recipe was a mess, however I've since discovered the loaf pan bakes beautiful bread.

This recipe comes from King Arthur Flour and I found when it searching for recipes using a pullman pan, which is also referred to as a pain de mie pan.  Whatever you call it, it's a handy little pan for producing straight-sided bread which fits nicely in a toaster.

I tried the recipe exactly as written the first time around using only all-purpose flour and while it was delicious, I was curious about a whole wheat version which I tried next.

The lid on the pullman pan results in a flat top if you let the dough rise that high.  I prefer a slightly domed loaf, so I let the dough rise within an inch of the top before sliding the lid on to bake it.

Chris really likes this bread toasted with butter and garlic salt.  For breakfast, I enjoy it toasted with jam.  After receiving 5 Lilies jam as a gift from Abby via From Milwaukee with Love, I was excited to try their strawberry rhubarb coriander version on this bread and it did not disappoint.

The whole wheat version was a success and I plan to make it that way going forward so it's how I've written the recipe below.  I used this bread to make grilled cheese tonight, which I had with roasted broccoli and tomato soup.  It's a combination my sister turned me onto and now it's one of my favorite meals.

Although there are multiple steps and a couple rise times in this recipe, there's very little hands-on time.  As long as you're going to be home for a few hours this recipe is pretty easy to make.

Honey-Oat Sandwich Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes (+ 2.5 hours rise)
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients (1 loaf)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (one 1/4 oz packet)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients with the paddle attachment. Finish combining with your hands if there's any loose flour.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then add the dough hook to your stand mixer and knead for about 7 minutes.
  • Add the dough to a lightly greased medium bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Gently deflate the dough and shape into a 9" log. Place dough in a lightly greased 9" pullman loaf pan pressing it gently to flatten.
  • Place the lid on the pan and let the dough rise for 1 hour. Toward the end of the rise time, heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake the bread for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before cutting, wrap airtight and store for several days at room temperature.

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour
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August 29, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

I made these cupcakes to celebrate one of our friends becoming an American citizen today.  Not surprisingly, it's difficult to find red, white and blue items in August, but thankfully Amazon had everything I needed and Prime shipping got it to me quickly.

Until now I did not have a go-to vanilla cupcake recipe and was happy to find both a cupcake recipe and frosting recipe from Williams-Sonoma that I will definitely make again.

I prefer using large decorating tips when frosting cupcakes and Wilton's 1M tip is my favorite.  When using the large tips you'll need a 16-inch decorating bag and a large coupler.  All of these items are reasonably priced at places like Michael's and Jo-Ann's.


I love my Wilton Cupcake Carrier and no this post isn't sponsored by Wilton :)  The design keeps cupcakes from smashing into each other and the lid is roomy enough that I was able to leave the flag toothpicks in.  I especially enjoy sending this carrier to work with Chris, as he gets lots of comments from co-workers when he's carrying it :)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
    • 2 eggs (1 whole egg and 1 egg white)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with liners.
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and egg white. Then beat in the vanilla.
    • Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on a medium-high for 30 seconds (no longer than that, do not overbeat).
    • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (I use a large Oxo scoop). Bake for 20 minutes or until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely for about 1 hour.

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all ingredients. Beat on low for 1 minute, then increase speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes.
    • I use a 1M tip and 16-inch decorating bag when frosting these cupcakes.

    Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma - Cupcakes / Frosting
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    August 27, 2014

    100 Days of Real Food Cookbook

    100 Days of Real Food was one of the first blogs I found when I started blogging back in 2010.  In fact, if I remember correctly it was a google search for the definition of "real food" that led me to Lisa Leake's blog.  I was excited to meet Lisa at BlogHer Food this past May and happy to discover that she and her husband were just as sweet and genuine as they come across in her blog.

    When I heard Lisa was working on a 100 Days of Real Food cookbook, I excitedly pre-ordered a copy and it arrived today!  Well, sort of...the copy I received today is actually a complimentary copy for the purpose of reviewing, so I re-directed my pre-ordered copy to a friend with two young children who I think will love this cookbook.

    I've made three recipes so far - veggie corn chowder, cinnamon-raisin quick bread and frozen yogurt pops.  Each recipe was easy to make, used all familiar ingredients and the best part is that everything tasted great!

    Corn chowder is one of my favorite soups and Lisa's version did not disappoint.  It's pureed just slightly to thicken the soup without turning it into hospital food.  I only wish I still had access to Alsum's sweet corn that I used to buy at the farmers' market when I lived in Wisconsin.  Farmers markets here in Miami just aren't the same.

    The cookbook is a nice size with easy to read recipes and inviting photos.  Every recipe in the book has a photo which I think is so important.  I just recently culled quite a few cookbooks from my collection that lacked photos.

    The frozen yogurt pops have just three ingredients.  Look for whole milk yogurt because as Lisa points out "In most cases low-fat or fat-free dairy products are more highly processed than whole milk products."

    I'm embarrassed to admit how many yogurt popsicle recipes I've tried, all of which had failed until now.  This is the first recipe I've seen using maple syrup as a sweetener which I much prefer to honey which was used in the other recipes I tried.  The pops held their shape and tasted great - finally a yogurt pop recipe I can make again!

    Chapter 5 is one of my favorites because it talks about eating real food on a budget.  I know many people who think it's impossible to shop at Whole Foods.  I find their 365 products are often similarly priced to Publix, which is my conventional grocery store option, but as a bonus many of the Whole Foods items are organic.

    For recipes, like the cinnamon-raisin quick bread, I recommend buying individual containers of applesauce so you can open just the amount needed for the recipe.  The cost of real food will be higher than it needs to be if you have half-used jars of applesauce in your fridge.

    This was my first time using only whole-wheat flour in a recipe and I was surprised at how normal the bread turned out.  I was expecting a much denser result.  I like Lisa's suggestion of topping with cream cheese because cinnamon-raisin bagels with cream cheese was one of my favorite breakfasts as a kid.

    This book trailer video is a great 2-minute synopsis of the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook.  In the end Lisa says "I hope you're feeling inspired to make these important changes a priority" and it's a great way to sum up how I feel about her new cookbook.  Making the change to a real food lifestyle can be very daunting.  This book is the guide that will get me there.