Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Bread

When my family members ask me to make "My Bread," this is the bread they want. It's very rich and tender, made with milk, butter and eggs. It's a variation of a Challah bread. You can braid it, or you can spread the dough with melted butter and then sprinkle with brown sugar and ground cinnamon before you roll it up into a loaf to make cinnamon bread.

I've been making this bread for over 32 years, and this is the recipe I use. This is it. There's nothing more on the back.I like to use maple syrup, but you can use honey or molasses. One thing - If you use maple syrup, use REAL maple syrup. Don't use an imitation, and DON'T use "pancake syrup." It is -not- the same thing.

You can eliminate the powdered milk, soy flour and wheat germ. Those simply make the bread more nutritious. I never measure the flour, but I can tell you six loaves will use most of a five pound bag of unbleached white flour. (I use King Arthur.)

Whenever I make this bread, I always make six loaves. It will disappear within a day. My sister will literally get in her car and drive five miles to my house to collect a couple of loaves when I call her to say it's come out of the oven.

Lynne's Bread
(makes 6 loaves)

4 cups scalded milk
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey or molasses)
4 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons (or packets) of Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
6 eggs
16 cups unbleached white flour (more or less!)

In a saucepan heat milk and butter until warm. You want the butter to melt. Don't let the milk boil. Pour into a gigantic bowl and add the salt. Stir.
Add the maple syrup (honey, molasses...) to the milk mixture. Let cool until 105F - 115F. Use a thermometer to check.
Proof your yeast. The water should be between 105F to 115F degrees. Use a thermometer. Add the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar, stir to blend, then cover with a baggie and let the yeast grow.
It should look like this. If it doesn't grow like this, start over.
While the yeast is proofing, beat the eggs together in a separate bowl.
When the yeast has proofed, add it to the bowl with the eggs and three or four cups of flour, and mix together.
Mix with a wooden spoon, adding flour one cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl and forms a ball.
Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead, using a dough scraper if necessary. Add flour as needed. To knead, push the dough away from you, give it a quarter turn, grasp the far edge and fold it toward you and then push the dough away.
The dough is ready when it won't absorb more flour, is spring-y, becomes a ball and it bounces back when pressed lightly.

Place in a large, buttered bowl, pressing down, then turn it over so the entire surface is covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk.

Like this.
Punch the dough down. Turn the dough over, cover and let rise again. Ooooh! Nice and doubled. Smells good! Punch it down, and turn out onto a lightly floured board.
Shape into loaves. (I forgot to take pictures. I divide the dough into equal sections, roll it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, then roll it up from the narrow end, and seal the edges.Place in six 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 2-1/2" lightly greased pans. Cover, and let rise. The dough should be popping up just above the edge of the pans.When the bread has risen, you may want to beat an egg with a bit of water and brush this over the tops of the loaves. This makes them shiny. While this mixture is still wet, you sprinkle sesame seeds, or poppy seeds over the top.Bake the loaves in a preheated 375 F oven for about 35 - 45 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow. I bake it until it smells done.Turn out the loaves and let cool on a wire rack. Resist the temptation to cut into a loaf while it is hot. Let them cool a bit.This bread is so tender, you really don't need any butter. It's very good as is. Don't store your bread in the refrigerator. It just dries it out. All bread freezes well.


Monday, December 8, 2008


If you're a Second-Degree Black Belt, and you think it's fun to ride your bicycle 6-1/2 miles to work every day (even at 40F degrees), and more fun to ride 20 miles to visit your friends, and then ride back, then this is the way you eat your brownies. Four of them, with vanilla ice cream.

For us mere mortals, all that's needed is a glass of milk. A pan of these rarely lasts more than 24 hours my house. I likes brownies with nuts, but my son doesn't. The recipe is from my mother's Betty Crocker 1953 Red and White Cookbook.

They are good with whipped cream, too.


Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Melt together over hot water:
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 ounces)
1/3 cup shortening or butter (5-1/3 tablespoons)

Add to bowl containing these ingredients and mix well:
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Mix in: ½ cup broken walnuts (optional)

Spread in a well-greased 8” square pan. Bake 30 minutes, until top has a dull crust. A slight imprint will be left when top is touched lightly with fingertip. Cool slightly, then cut into squares.

This recipe doubles easily: put in a 13 x 9 x 2” pan and bake for the same amount of time.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Malty Cheddar Spread

If you like sharp cheddar cheese, this zippy dip is for you. It's got cheddar cheese, horseradish, onions, garlic, and beer! But I must warn you, it really is nippy!

Malty Cheddar Spread

Makes about 3 cups

This is a nippy spread, best on crackers or on crisp buttery rounds of melba toast. It should be made several hours ahead of time to let the flavors blend.

For the success of this spread, it is vital the cheddar cheese be at room temperature, and that it be cut into small cubes – about ½” is fine.

1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into slim wedges

1 small garlic clove, peeled

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. ketchup

1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish (for those less daring, use 1 tsp.)

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

¾ pound sharp, well-aged Cheddar cheese, cut into ½ cubes, and at room temperature (orange cheddar gives this dip a nice color)

½ cup flat beer (you gotta have the beer)

In a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, place the onion, garlic, mustard, ketchup, horseradish, cream cheese, one third of the Cheddar and one-half of the beer. Turn motor on and let run 30 seconds nonstop. Stop the motor, scraped down the sides of the bowl and lid. Re-cover and run 10 seconds longer. Add the remaining beer with another one-third of the cheese and buzz for 60 seconds nonstop. Add the remaining cheese, again scrape down the sides of the bowl and lid, then whir for 60 seconds longer. Inspect the texture of the mixture and if it is not creamy-smooth, buzz for another 30 seconds or so. Empty into a bowl, cover and let ripen in the refrigerator for several hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving, or until of a good spreading consistency.

From Jean Anderson’s Processor Cooking

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spaghetti with White Bean Sauce

This is a hearty, filling pasta sauce. I like it because it isn't tomato-based.

Spaghetti with White Bean Sauce

1 Tablespoon Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, very finely chopped
1 red pepper, cut into ¼ inch dice
3 stalks celery, cut into ¼ inch dice
1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Vegetable broth
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 to 10 ounces spaghetti

1 to 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Romano)

1. Prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper and celery and cook over medium heat until soft, but not brown, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the white beans and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth, half the parsley, the pepper flakes (if using), and salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned. Simmer until the beans are quite soft. Coarsely mash half the beans with a fork.
(Here’s what I do: Take half the beans and a little liquid and mash them in the food processor before I add them to the sauce. Add all the beans together as the recipe says. No need to mash with a fork.)
3. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot in 4 quarts rapidly boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
4. Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a boil. Transfer the spaghetti and bean sauce to a large shallow bowl and mix well. Sprinkle the spaghetti with the remaining parsley and serve at once with freshly grated cheese on top.

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course.

Sometimes I use 2 cans of beans, and add more water so the sauce doesn’t get too thick. This way you can serve 4 hungry people and usually have some left over. This sauce keeps well and reheats nicely in the microwave.

From High-Flavor, Low-Fat Vegetarian Cooking by Steven Raichlen

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's a Wrap!

This makes a quick lunch, and it travels well. This is a vegetarian wrap, but you can change out the ingredients and make whatever you want.

I started with sliced roma tomatoes, sliced avocado, red and yellow bell peppers and alfalfa sprouts.Spread prepared hummus on tortilla or vegie wraps. This one is lemon hummus on a whole wheat wrap.
This one has roasted red pepper hummus on a plain wrap. Spreadabout 2-3 tablespoons of hummus on the wrap stopping within 1" of the edge.
Arrange the vegies on the top half. Don't overstuff.
Top with sprouts, and don't forget to season the wrap with salt and pepper.
Fold the bottom edge over, Fold the edges in, and roll up.Slice, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. The wrap will keep a day in the refrigerator.Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

One Saturday afternoon many years ago I was folding laundry while watching one of Lidia's TV cooking shows. She was making pasta with uncooked cherry tomatoes. My son came in partway through and said, "We should try that." So we tried to remember what ingredients Lidia had used, and we made a list. Then we drove to the grocery store for everything we needed, and made it for supper that night. It was wonderful. To this day, if you ask my son what's his favorite dish, he'd say this one.

Cold Cherry Tomatoes on Pasta

4 cups cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a pinch of crushed red peppers
Salt & freshly ground Pepper
1 pound wagon wheel pasta
about 1/2 cup freshly chopped Parsley
about 3 Tablespoons freshly chopped Basil
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
about 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, cut up into 1/2" squares

Wash the tomatoes, dry and cut in half. Salt lightly; add olive oil, chopped garlic and crushed red peppers. Stir and let marinate for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir.

When the wagon wheels are "al dente," drain well, and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the feta cheese, and sprinkle generously with pecorino cheese.

(sometimes we add capers)

Feeds one extremely hungry son and his Mom, or four normal sized servings.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tortellini Capri

This colorful, cold vegetarian salad is from Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Express. It's a great recipe for summertime, when you don't want to heat up the kitchen. It takes less than 30 minutes to make. It's good as an everyday meal, but special enough to serve to company. My son loves it.

Tortellini Capri

1 pound good-quality frozen cheese tortellini or vegetable-filled tortellini
1 cup unthawed frozen green peas
2 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli florets
10 or 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers

Juices from the roasted peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Begin cooking the tortellini, according to package directions.

2. Layer the frozen peas and the broccoli florets in a large saucepan with 1/2" of water. Bring them to a simmer and steam over moderate heat, covered, until the peas are thawed and the broccoli is bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the peas and broccoli and rinse then under cool water until they are at room temperature.

3. In the meantime, drain the roasted red peppers, reserving the juices in a small mixing bowl. Cut the peppers into strips.

4. Combine the red-pepper juices with the remaining dressing ingredients and mix.

5. When the tortellini are done, drain them and rinse under cool water until they are at room temperature. Combine them in a mixing bowl with the peas, broccoli, red pepper strips, and dressing. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again.